In April 1999, the Northport High School Symphonic Winds and Symphony Orchestra went on a field trip. It was a combination of sightseeing and musical education, including workshops at the University of Maryland, and stops in both Baltimore and Washington. But for many who went - especially for the seniors - one memory stands above the rest..."Forrest Hump."
The idea had been hatched months before, in January or February. Back in those days, coach buses were equipped with things called "VCRs," which made their debut on the Civil War-era old, old wooden ship Diversity. Among the tapes brought along for the ride was a copy of 1994's Oscar-winning Best Picture, Forrest Gump. You undoubtedly know the story of Tom Hanks' title character, overcoming physical and mental adversity through sheer perseverance to achieve his dreams. The adult supervision on the trip was well aware of the storyline. What they didn't know was that the tape aboard our bus was an enhanced version - a "seniors' cut," if you will. Not long into the film, Forrest's mother, played by Sally Field, brings young Forrest to school to enroll him, and they meet with the principal. The modification went something like this:
Principal: Is there a Mr. Gump...Mrs. Gump?
Mrs. Gump: He's on vacation.
(Brief fade, followed by ten seconds of a couple in the throes of orgasmic climax - in industry parlance, the "money shot.")
Principal: Your mama sure does care about your schooling, son.
This was the final movie played on the bus carrying most of the seniors, near the end of the return trip. Just before the spliced-in porn, one of the chaperones - a portly gentleman, and a veteran of many Northport band functions - was called to the back. When the graphic imagery appeared, he
In terms of degree of difficulty, this stunt doesn't necessarily skyrocket off the charts. It really stands out because it was pulled off despite the lead time and knowledge of its coming. Everybody and their friends, including plenty of people not on the trip, knew that a snippet of X-rated film was coming, and they knew it months ahead of time - and the "responsible" ones still couldn't sniff it out or stop it. For a long time, I was convinced that the chaperones on our bus were in on it, and let it pass anyway - but the mastermind of the prank recently assured me that wasn't the case.
The classmate who was behind "Forrest Hump" also did the morning announcements during senior year. The morning after our return to Northport, he paid homage to his work by announcing to the entire school, "...and as soon as I proclaim Forrest Gump the greatest movie ever, we'll stand for the pledge to the flag." In a slightly ironic twist, these days he runs the tape room for the news magazine Inside Edition. Whether or not he achieves his long-held ambition of making it big in late-night talk, many of us will always remember the ten seconds of total hilarity he gave us on a bus so many years ago.