"I didn't realize what I was getting into."
Chuck Fick was reading a script to play a catcher in not just any movie. It was "The Naked Gun," the now-well-known 1988 comedic film starring Leslie Nielsen as Lt. Frank Drebin.
The final scene of the movie took place at a Major League Baseball game.
Fick, a former minor leaguer who’s now a scout for the Giants, played the Angels catcher in the film’s final sequence. He knew it wasn't your typical feature when he read there would be a game of pickle in which the umpires were involved.
"I knew something was up," Fick told Sporting News' Jason Foster last year.
Even though Fick had a "small part" in the movie, Foster made a good point. As the catcher, Fick was in just about every shot with Nielsen, who played the home plate umpire. Fisk had some close-ups and a few lines as well.
"When you do these pictures, you never know what they keep in or what they leave on the floor," Fick said. “But I was astonished on how much I was in the picture."
He also got to work with ... a bazooka?
In the scene below, the actress who portrayed Queen Elizabeth in the movie threw a pitch to Fick, and the movement created a corkscrew.
"It was on a wire, on a real thin wire," Fixk said. "And it was drilled through the ball. So when the guy shot it, he did a circular move with the bazooka, and that made the ball do its thing coming into my glove. It just went right in there. I wonder what the exit velo was on it."
But not all of it was Hollywood special effects. A real pitcher was on the mound.
"The guy who was the pitcher was a [real] pitcher," writer Jim Abrahams told Foster. "I think his fastball was like 92 or 93 mph. So I asked him if he'd throw me a pitch. And I swear I didn't see it. I don't know how guys hit those."
"I remember asking the pitcher … just to pitch to me. 'Give me a high hard one,' and he did. He put me down," said Pat Proft, another writer on the film. "He gave me a little chin music. I hit the deck. … I bailed out so quickly."
Abrahams, who also produced the movie, wanted to have the ending be at a sporting event. But having the famous "Enrico Pallazzo" reveal with Nielsen behind the umpire's mask was too perfect.
"Baseball was an obvious solution," Abrahams said.
In addition to the real pitcher, many ballplayers cameoed in the film. The filmmakers used players from the California League's San Bernardino Spirit. Joey Banks, son of Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, was the movie's baseball adviser.
But remember, they're ballplayers, not actors.
"You could be a great ballplayer, but once they say 'action,' your butthole gets tight," Banks said. "It's a whole other type of pressure that you face when you have the whole crew waiting on you to hit the ball to the right side and you don't do that."
And as far as working with famed Nielsen?
"Leslie, he was just a natural," Fick said. "That's what made it so enjoyable."