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Crybaby #001 – Artifact from John Waters’ Crybaby Jail Scene

Found this ID card in some old papers today.  It was required of all cast and crew by the Maryland House of Corrections (MHC), where we shot Crybaby’s prison scenes.

MHC, in Jessup, Maryland, was selected because it had a working prison license plate factory.  It was famous because Maryland bad boys were threatened by the juvenile authorities with a career making license plates at “Jessup” if they didn’t straighten out.

We shot on a Sunday because that was a day off for the prison workers.  All the working plate-making machinery and thousands of plates-in-progress made it a priceless location.  Without the card, the prison authorities joked we might never get out.

As location manager, I was responsible for getting the 100+ cards from the prison office for those who worked behind the locked gates, including Johnny Depp, who had spent several days with us shooting behind the bars. As first in line, I got #001.  I put on my best Elvis Jail House Rock face and glared into the camera.

Read about Robert Maier’s fifteen years working with John Waters in the new book “Low Budget Hell: Making Underground Movies with John Waters.”  Available on and booksellers around the world.



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