Today in 1993, the release of the blockbuster movie Jurassic Park.

If you pay really close attention in the very beginning of the movie, when they’re feeding the velociraptor, you’ll hear the character Robert Muldoon say “Jophery, raise the gate.”

Actor Bob Peck was speaking to a character named Jophery Brown, played by an actor also named Jophery Brown, who happened to be one of the most accomplished stuntmen in the movie business!

And he was an accomplished stuntman with a fascinating backstory.

Jophery Brown was born in Louisiana in 1945.

Originally he was on track to be a pitcher for a Major League Baseball team.

He was drafted three times and eventually signed with the Chicago Cubs, though he only pitched once in the majors.

Still, he was briefly teammates with Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, and pitched to another Hall of Famer, Roberto Clemente (who walked).

But not long after, Brown tore his rotator cuff, and rather than return to baseball after healing up, his brother Greg suggested a new path.

Greg Brown was a pioneer in Hollywood, the first Black movie stuntman, and he thought his brother Jophery could be a success there too.

He was right: Jophery Brown did stunt work for hundreds of movies and TV shows, including Diehard, The Blues Brothers and the James Bond movie Live and Let Die.

He also took on a number of acting roles, like being the first victim of a dinosaur in Jurassic Park.

Maybe his most famous stunt was in the movie Speed, where he took the bus Sandra Bullock’s character was driving over 50 feet of missing highway.

The bus Brown drove was one of about a dozen buses the movie team had customized, some for scenes inside the bus, some for being blown up, and so on.

This one was stripped down to make it a little more aerodynamic.

Brown wore a special harness to shield his vertebrae from the bus crunching back onto solid ground at the end of the stunt.

The real bus actually went over a ramp and onto solid ground (the missing highway was a special effect) and it was only in the air for about a half a second rather than 11 in the movie.

But it was just what the director wanted, and Jophrey Brown emerged pretty well unscathed to continue his legendary stunt career.

Not the bus though – that bus was wrecked.

This week in 1752, Ben Franklin famously flew his kite in a thunderstorm, showing the connection between lightning and electricity.

Which I mention so I can bring up the grave marker of Sal Giardino in New Jersey.

It’s a giant black lightbulb with the words “World’s Greatest Electrician” written in lightning bolt-like letters, plus a drawing of an electrical outlet and Giardino’s electrician license number.

Talk about a shocking sight at the cemetery.

The pitcher who became a legendary Hollywood stuntman (

Weird NJ #9

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