Steve Archer's unusual business helped him land an appearance in "42," the movie about Brooklyn Dodgers great Jackie Robinson.
Archer, 54, is president of Archer Seating Clearing House in Vineland. His business is to collect, rent and sell stadium seats.
Officials from the movie "42" called Archer and requested use of 1,400 wooden seats from his business to replicate chairs from Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. Archer said yes. But he also asked for a role in the movie, which they gave him. He is visible during quick shots of the dugout in the film.
Archer is one of the Philadelphia Phillies coaches in the dugout when the Phillies manager explodes with racist rants against Robinson.
"It was fun seeing how they memorize their lines and how they concentrated," said Archer. The scene was shot in May 2012 in Chattanooga, Tenn. The would-be actor had to wear an authentic wool baseball outfit for his role, despite temperatures that climbed to 93 degrees in the shade.
Movie officials found Archer and his company through the Internet in April 2012. They used Engel Stadium in Chattanooga, which already had many old seats in it dating back to the time of early baseball legend Babe Ruth, Archer said.
Archer's wooden chairs were used to replace the plastics chairs in the lower level of the stadium, Archer said.
"We told them the proper color and paint to use to replicate Ebbets Field. The seats, in this case, were a bluish-gray color. Actually, that is typical of the old stadiums of that time," Archer said. "The style though of the seat, we just happened to be lucky enough to have just brought them in from Pompano Race Track in Florida. We used the wood from Pompano and the legs from RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. We combined them to make a faux Ebbets."
Archer went to Tennessee to film his scene with his fiance Veletta Sween, 54, of Pittsgrove, Salem County. While Archer sat in the shade, Sween was one of at least 450 people sitting in the stands in the sunshine for hours portraying fans at the game.
Sween recalls her shot at movie stardom as being very, very sweaty. Still, as an African-American, she was thrilled to be a part of the filming.
"I told everyone I had bragging rights. I went to Chattanooga. I was there for two days," said Sween, who is the Archer vice president and assistant administrator. "You reflect and say, 'How in the world could someone have endured what he did.'"
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