by Gregory Crofton
Trent Harris and Groovin’ Gary first met pointing cameras at each other in the parking lot of KUTV Channel 2 in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was love, a certain type of love, at first sight.
Harris worked for the news station, producing and shooting for a late night boundary-breaking show called “Extra.” When he met Gary he was outside testing the station’s new video camera, which would mean switching from shooting his weird interviews and stories on videotape instead of 16 mm film.
Gary was in Salt Lake City visiting from Southern Utah — Beaver, Utah. He drove up in a cool car intent on getting in touch with someone from Extra and make it on the show. Gary was an entertainer who would impersonate people like Olivia Newton “Dawn” and John Wayne. He had his point and shoot camera out and was taking a photo of the station’s news helicopter when the two men serendipitously stumbled upon one another.
Gary was enamored with Harris’ access to television and his open nature: “Is this really going on TV right now?” And Harris fell for him, or in other words, his pathos and naiveté. BEAVER TRILOGY IV tells this complicated “love” story brilliantly, delivering the facts and touching moments at the right time, and most importantly, never delving into areas that might distract from this surreal tale of a movie that became three more movies.
Trent Harris is every bit as intriguing of a character as Groovin’ Gary — funny, unpredictable and a joy on camera. “I called her my crack angel,” Harris says in BEAVER TRILOGY IV. “And I learned this thing: Listen to your visitors. You don’t know, people are gonna come by and give you information that you’d never ever, ever guess.”
Watch this documentary! It was narrated by Bill Hader and directed Brad Besser, previously best known for his editing work, and it’s streaming now on Netflix or you can learn more about the film here.