Harold Ramis Made A Fool Of Himself The First Day Shooting Caddyshack

Few people have made quite as big an impact in comedy filmmaking as Harold Ramis. As a writer, director, and actor, he was a major part of bringing such classic comedies as "Ghostbusters," "Groundhog Day," and "National Lampoon's Animal House" to the big screen. Over the course of career, Ramis became a frequent collaborator with "Saturday Night Live" legends like Bill Murray, John Belushi, and Dan Aykroyd, even after turning down a spot on "SNL." His work was highly influential and very funny, and he's considered a legend in his field. 

Before becoming a famed filmmaker, Ramis was part of talented comedy groups like Second City and National Lampoon. After the success of "National Lampoon's Animal House," he got the chance to make his directorial debut in 1980 with "Caddyshack," a goofy comedy about golfers at a country club. There was just one problem.

While Ramis had plenty of experience writing scripts and working on television, he came into his first directing job without much knowhow on the day-to-day of film production. This led to an embarrassing scenario, as Ramis detailed in a letter to his daughter that she published in her book, "Ghostbuster's Daughter: Life with My Dad, Harold Ramis."

'I knew nothing'

Ramis came into his job directing "Caddyshack" as a hotshot young comedy writer, but quickly blew any cred he could have come in with on the first day, according to Ramis in the book. "I walked on the set of "Caddyshack" and made a total fool of myself on the first setup," said the director, referring to an incident where he was asked by the assistant director where he wanted the camera placed for a certain scene.

"The AD looked in the direction I was pointing and squinted. Apparently he noticed something I hadn't. 'So you want us to move the generator, the catering tent and all the trucks 'cause they'll be in the shot.'"

After this mishap, Ramis said he actually had quite an easy time directing the film, as now the crew had "the understanding that I knew nothing and should not be consulted on anything technical," as he put it.

Despite Ramis' inexperience, "Caddyshack" would wind up being considered a cult comedy masterpiece. That didn't stop the filmmaker's initial disappointment with the film's reviews and profits. I think the lesson here is that everyone needs to get their start somewhere, and frankly, if that's the most embarrassing thing that happened to Harold Ramis on set as a director, that's not too bad.