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ESF on SNL
It's not unusual for the folks at ESF's Ranger School to receive funny phone calls from alumni, so when a caller identified himself as being with the NBC show "Saturday Night Live," Kathie Nevil, program aide, was not about to take the bait. The caller assured her he wasn't joking and provided a number at which to call him back.
Jamie Savage, associate professor, called the alleged SNL representative back and found out it was the real deal. Prop Master Greg Tull was looking for items to establish a classroom setting for a sketch on the January 18 show. SNL found the college as a result of an Internet search for "forestry" said Savage.
A few more phone calls and an hour and a half later, Savage had a box full of maps, pine cones, leaf mounts, Ranger School mugs, a hard hat and maple syrup ready to go to New York City. Ranger School stickers were slapped on many of the items so the college's name would be visible on camera. Savage drove from the Ranger School, located in the northwest Adirondacks, to Tupper Lake to meet a courier, hired by SNL who then drove the box to the city in time for the Friday morning pre-taping.
According to Savage, they had no idea what the skit was about except that it would take place in a classroom setting and involved trees. "When I was on the phone with Greg I could hear people in the background reworking the script."
"It was kind of crazy getting everything together," said Savage. "A lot of our stuff is still packed up due to the construction. I had to open up boxes to find things I thought would work." A major rehabilitation project was recently completed at the Ranger School.
The props were used in a sketch titled, "The Falconer," the story of a falcon who, when sent for help for a man trapped under a tree, instead goes to a college and ends up at a sorority party.
Not only did a number of the items sent get used (look carefully and you can see a Ranger School mug and a bottle of syrup), the college's name was worked into the skit when guest host Ray Liotta welcomes the falcon to "the College of Environmental Science and Forestry" and introduces himself as the "dean of log removal." "We were surprised they got the name right," said Christopher Westbrook, Ranger School director. "Usually people mess up the name."
The nod from the award-winning comedy show caused quite a stir at the Ranger School and on the main campus. Westbrook said many people have contacted him to say they saw the skit including a Cranberry Lake summer resident and friend of the Ranger School in Alabama who sent the following e-mail:
"Dear Sir, We watched your elegant performance on SNL. I had difficulty recognizing your office. I also wonder where that Sorority house is located."
"It was fun," said Westbrook. "It was just a fun thing to have happen."