I remember the very first adventure that I ever undertook was in St. Joe, Missouri. It must have been a wonderful day for my mother, as I remember her smiling, giggling, and joking more than usual. At the time I didn’t understand the concept and ramifications of adventures, I just kept holding on to what was important to me; my mom’s blouse. It was 1960. I was four. And she had just dropped me off at the First Presbyterian Church on 7th and Jules Street for preschool. I guess an afternoon away from me was just what she needed.
We had just come from a delicious hot beef sandwich with mashed potatoes at Herman’s Drug Store on Frederick. That morning I had explored the treasures that laid amongst the many floors of Townsend & Wall. She had picked out fabrics for furniture, while I played with the home accessories and tested the flexibility of the seat cushions. We were a great team.
My mother was a well known interior designer, and I was her baby boy. “Little Bobby Maxfield” they would call me. I became insecure about the whole Bobby thing, so I started going by Bob in high school. In college my best buddies and I gave each other nicknames. There was Jamin for Benjamin, Tomo for Tamasi, Hump for Humphreys, and Stubs for Stubbers. Mine became Max.
Back at preschool I was apparently unhappy, because for years I had nightmares about standing in the corner bawling while all of my toddler mates watched me with silly looks of, “Who the heck is the new wimpy kid?”. “He’s messing up story time”, they would say as I cried uncontrollably. “Don’t you understand I seriously miss my mommy!”, I would shout back. They obviously didn’t understand the delight of a hot beef lunch with mom.
I tried to stay with Bob, as I knew it was a nice friendly name, but when I got into the film business there were just too many people on set named Bob. Every 5 minutes someone was calling out, “Bob!”. Nobody wants to get called out on a film set, especially a boom operator, as it’s usually a signal that you’ve probably done something wrong. So, I enlisted my olé nickname, Max. On mistake prone days, I feel like changing it back to Bob. I didn’t completely abandon my given name Robert, it has worked nicely in a business setting, but Max better tells the complex story about what I’ve been through over the last 55 years.
Since my early adventures as Bobby I have compiled a list of travels and travails enviable by even Marco Polo. I guess I got what I asked for, as I spent many a school hour daydreaming about going to places far away, and doing unusual activities that connected me with amazing people. Since my days at Eugene Field Elementary I have imagined myself on a stage in front of a microphone speaking about the truths I’ve discovered in the world. Since the speech tournaments I competed in at Central High School, I have embraced the recognition that comes from a great presentation. And now I’ve been fortunate enough to have spent an entire adulthood working with some of the greatest storytellers of our day. I guess having a career that involves waving a microphone around in famous people’s faces hasn’t been so…inappropriate.
Over thirty five years of radio, TV, and filmmaking has taken me to places around the country and world, where I have been privileged enough to work with over 30 award winning writers, directors, producers, and actors. I have worked on Twister, Mission Impossible III, Rush Hour III, Four Christmases, The Walking Dead, and many other Hollywood productions. It has been a long and arduous journey that has provided me with an unlimited source of great stories, like the times I worked with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Cruise, Shirley MacLaine, Hillary Swank, Diane Keaton, Adrian Lynne, J.J. Abrams, and many others. I would like to share some of these memories with you.
My 40 year class reunion is coming up the weekend of July 15th through the 17th, and it’s exciting for me to be invited by Greg Hatten, the reunion organizer, to share my adventures with the public. We are gathering in The Dooley Room at the East Hills Mall in St. Joseph, MO on Friday night at 6pm. There will be beverages and appetizers. I suspect it will be a lively group of people as most of the attendees will be there to see old friends from Central and other schools. I’ll have a slideshow playing with all of my best photos from behind the scenes of The Walking Dead, where I spent four years as the Boom Operator. I will ask you for your best questions, and probably have some cool stories to go with the answers.
If you really want to attend you will have to RSVP to Greg Hatten immediately, as space is limited. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Can’t wait to shake your hand,
Bobby, Bob, Robert, Max Maxfield