Season 2 episode 6
Chatting up a lady forklift operator at Norfolk Harbor, Sonny lays out part of his philosophy, “most men are in chains, they don’t dream, they don’t do anything. Not me. I’m last of the buccaneers, the pony-express, a knight of the road.”
While Sonny is putting on the moves, a Sheriff repossesses his rig. Sonny and Will have five days to raise enough money to get the Kenworth out of hock. While struggling for the money, we learn more about Sonny than his philosophy of pick-up-lines. Sonny knows a Salvation Army lady in Norfolk, Amy (three time Oscar nominee, Diane Ladd). Amy urges faith and returns a $500 donation to Sonny that he made years before. She’s been holding onto it until she has twice as much and can get the mission a new roof. Will, too, preaches faith and manages to scrounge up a few hundred from girlfriends.
Sonny, we learn, is no stranger to faith. He talks to the big trucker in the sky and the money comes to him. Amy, Sonny, and Will arrive at the auction but are outbid by Moose and Benjy, who turn around and sell their rig, Pigpen, to Will. Later, after a few beers and chuckles while watching Benjy dance, Moose accepts Sonny’s challenge – a race from Norfolk to Raleigh: winner gets both trucks.
Moose and Benjy play dirty but Sonny has faith, and a few tricks of his own. We all know the outcome, but it’s worth watching the episode just to hear Benjy curse out Moose by calling him a “honkey-pinhead”.
“Movin’ On” was a difficult show for directors because we were constantly… movin’ on… from one town to another and a director had to allow our 1st assistant directors to heavily prepare the episode for them…. much more than might have been customary.
Guest star casting was done at our offices in Los Angeles and secondary roles were done on the road. A new director would show up on location, check out the sets, discuss the script with Claude, Frank, and supporting cast, do some local day player casting, have a rehearsal, prep with cameraman, set decorators, special effects, stunt coordinator, and location director. There was a heck of a lot of work to be done prior to the start of filming an episode.
Despite the difficulty, we had wonderful directors. We used several many times. Lucky for us they were able to fit into our very hectic schedule. One of those special directors was Leo Penn.
Leo had many TV credits under his belt and was a perfect compliment to Claude and Frank. Often, Leo would arrive on location with his young son, showing him the ins and outs of making a TV episode…. and believe me, Leo knew all of the ins and outs. His son was rambunctious, curious, and a lot of fun and always got into everyone’s hair hunging out on the set. But he seemed interested in the process so we all indulged his effervescence. One time I was having a discussion with Leo, Claude and Frank when Leo said, with a shrug, “the boy wants to be an actor.”
“Sure, Leo, everyone wants to be an actor, but what are the chances?”
Well, in this kid’s case, pretty darn good. As it turned out, Leo’s son is the Academy Award winning actor Sean Penn. Who would have guessed?