“Do you want to get up on the table?”
An array of questions quickly flew through my skull: Is it allowed? Is it sanitary? Is it just too creepy for words?
Before I could put much thought into coupling answers to these questions, I heard myself saying, “Absolutely!”
Moments later, I was lying on top of an autopsy table.
But this wasn’t just any old autopsy table (is there such a thing as “just any old autopsy table?”). This was an autopsy table found in the morgue on the set of the hit television show NCIS.
I was at the set earlier this week in preparation for leading a tour today of historic film and television sites of the Santa Clarita Valley for the city’s Cowboy Festival.
My research that day took me to three studios, including Melody Ranch, Gene Autry’s old Western town where most of this weekend’s portion of the Cowboy Festival will take place, and to Valencia Studios, which for eight seasons has been the studio home of NCIS.
My guide was Lynn Wolverton-Parker, who’s been the show’s Set Decorator for its entire run. Before joining NCIS, Lynn worked in a similar capacity on JAG, the parent show of the spinoff NCIS.
Lynn is a friendly, courteous, blues-loving professional, with an easy-going demeanor which seems out of character with the type-A folks you sometimes encounter on a Hollywood lot.
It was the final day of shooting for the eighth season, and the stars were off on location for that part of the day. This gave us a short window to tour the small back lot and vacant sets which are scattered in and around a few commercial buildings in Valencia paralleling the 5 freeway.
Much of the crew was in-house that day, and they, like Lynn, turned out to be an incredibly friendly bunch.
To answer my initial questions, Was it okay for me to be on the table?
Yep. The Set Decorator said it was fine, and her word carries.
Was it sanitary?
Of course. After all, the table was never actually used for any real autopsies. (I hope.)
Was it too creepy for words?
Yeah, a bit. … But it was still pretty cool.
(Tune in tomorrow for a look at more of the SCV’s film and television sites.)