Dennis O’Neill, creator of the proposed TV series “Bail Out,” was at Boyce Ditto Library in Mineral Wells, Texas, May 15 to talk about the series and show the trailer.
The story is about a tough, gritty New York cop who gets crosswise with the mob and his superiors and leaves the Big Apple, ending up in Fort Worth.
“Jimmy O’Neill leaves New York,” said O’Neill, director, writer and actor in the series. “He lost his girl, is having problems with the (police) department and hits a mob guy who is on the city council.”
Part of the show’s trailer was filmed with people from Mineral Wells, Millsap, Fort Worth and members of the acting class he teaches in Fort Worth.
“Originally we did a class project – it just took off from there,” O’Neill said, noting that it wasn’t long until it became a serious project.
“We had 22 people involved, it came down to five of us,” he added.
Those five are Pattie Walters Hart, a producer from Cool and daughter-in-law of Precinct 5 Justice of the Peace Bobby Hart; Dana Brumley, producer; Julie Hutt, assistant director; David Pinkston, direction of photography; and O’Neill, the primary writer, director and star of the series.
Co-starring with O’Neill is Terry Kiser.
Kiser, perhaps best known for his role as the dead guy in “Weekend at Bernie’s,” plays O’Neill’s partner. He has appeared in over 180 television and movie productions, including “Baretta,” “Barnaby Jones,” “Magnum, P.I.,” “Murder, She Wrote,” “Walker, Texas Ranger,” “Legacy of Sin: The William Coit Story,” and more.
O’Neill said Kiser is a gifted and versatile addition to the production.
“He brings his years of experience and his skills for acting and improvisation,” said O’Neill.
In fact, much of the dialogue in the trailer was improv.
“Everything in the trailer is not scripted,” he continued. “We’d come up with one word – say, ‘cigarette.’”
In the trailer is a scene where O’Neill and Kiser are sitting in a car and Kiser pulls out a cigarette. O’Neill tells him don’t smoke in his car. When Kiser protests, O’Neill reminds him it has always been that way over their 20 years of working together.
And Kiser has been a director.
“He was the director of a lot of the Carol Burnett shows.”
In addition, Dean Smith will appear. Smith, who lives in Stephens County between Graham and Breckenridge, is an Olympic gold medalist who parlayed his athletic prowess into a movie and television career that began in 1957.
“Again, what I feel he’s bringing is his positive attitude, his zest for life and his years of experience,” O’Neill reflected.
He said Smith has appeared in over 122 films and television programs, including 11 John Wayne movies, as a stunt man and actor and been behind the scenes as well, directing stunts.
“He’s in the Cowboy Hall of Fame,” O’Neill continued. “He’s a complete actor – his life experiences, acting skills and attitude.
“If you have a positive attitude, we have a place for you here.”
The trailer for the show has humor and action with real people.
“Some of the things in ‘Bail Out’ really happened,” O’Neill said.
He reflected that, when he first arrived in Texas, he went to a grocery store where the clerk asked, “How y’all doin’?”
“Why?” he said he answered, cautious because no one in New York ever asked such a question unless they were looking to create a problem.
“‘Just thought I’d ask,’” he said the clerk answered.
“I was really suspicious, I really didn’t get it,” O’Neill added.
“One thing we all agreed on, we didn’t want him coming from New York not liking Texas,” Hart said of the character. “We wanted him to fall in love with Texas.”
Of the people portrayed, there are no exaggerated drawls or mannerisms.
“We wanted them to be just the way they are,” she said.
Locally, Judge Bobby Hart plays – a judge. The trailer has him in his courtroom in the Poston Building in Mineral Wells. There were also scenes shot at the Mineral Wells Police Department, Holiday Inn Express, Nancy’s Italian Texan Grill and locations in Cool and Millsap.
Other local talent included Lucas Mitchell and Doug Hart, son of Bobby Hart.
The music for the show, “Southern Lullaby,” was written by Caleb Williams and performed by his band, Noltey. Williams, who attended high school in Santo, is a cousin of Pattie Hart.
“What we needed was a song,” said O’Neill, adding that Hart suggested her cousin, who he thought was someone who just believed they could sing.
“She lent me his CD,” he continued. “Two weeks later I listened to the CD. ‘Oh my gosh, she really has a cousin who sings.’”
Hart said she called Williams and explained in a few words what they were looking for – something that was closer to talk, but not, and not rap.
Two weeks later she brought the recording, “Southern Lullaby.”
“She just came to the school with the CD,” said O’Neill. “When I played it, I could not have written a better song.”
O’Neill and Hart continue to try to market it as either a TV series or made-for-television movie.
“We have a possible investor,” he said. “He wants to help us raise money for a movie or six episodes. We’re pitching it everyday.”
“Bail Out” is on Facebook, YouTube and at thebailouttvshow.blogspot.com/.
The series tag line, “Everybody has a story,” certainly applies, both to the proposed series and the people making it a reality.