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John Waters Backstage Photo During Polyester Filming, August 1980

This photo of John Waters (middle), Robert Maier, line producer (front), and George Stover, actor (rear) was taken in the basement of the Heavitree Hill home in suburban Baltimore that was Divine’s “home” in the movie “Polyester.”

The basement served as  the low budget film’s greenroom, make-up station, break room, conference room, and production office.  Notice the coffee maker and church-supper sized cans of cheap coffee share the line producer’s desk.  Note the old white Canon calculator on the desk, which appears to be the focus of attention.

I still have the black notebook that my elbow is resting on, which has about 2″ of lined paper filled with scribbled to-do lists, phone numbers, schedules, budgets, and all the other stuff that occupies line producers.  A true artifact that I actually use fairly regularly, sometimes to help Trashy Travels in their research.

Waters, wearing an uncharacteristic blue cable-knit Baltimore-preppy sweater, appears ready to spring out of the chair, but has a fairly calm look on his face.  George Stover watches intently  over Waters’ shoulder.

Since these were pre-computer days, we were probably looking at the 5-panel production scheduling board figuring out how to deal with a change due to bad weather, need to re-shoot a scene, or an actor being unavailable.

Thanks to George Stover for the pic!

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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