Surely this has been asked before, but “hay” is too small a word to search for.
After spending some time this morning handling hay for our horses, Mrs. Rainy commented that the Hollywood trope of a roll in the hay seems utterly ridiculous to anyone who has actually had to work with hay. It irritates the eyes, the nose; it is dusty, possibly moldy, and unpleasant on the skin.
So when actors are filming scenes in hay, particularly the other hay stand-by - the hay fight - is anything done to alleviate these issues? Is it super premium hay sans dust? Is regular hay washed and blow dried before it appears on camera? Or when you’re making big actor bucks do you just have to suck it up and deal with the hay fever?
A lot of times, what you’re actually seeing is straw. And it is scratchy. That’s not to say that hay can’t be too, though.
Once dried, most hay is a dull tan / brown color…not an issue in the days before glorious Technicolor…but it doesn’t translate as well to the set of a big screen production as beautifully as some varieties of golden colored wheat straw.
A number of years ago, I saw a men’s cologne ad that showed a ripped, sweaty, tanned, Abercrombie-looking dude tossing hay bales off a wagon. Oh, and he was shirtless, with his overalls artfully unbuckled and hanging down in front like a little apron. When I saw that, I laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed. His tan should have ended at his wrists and throat because of the canvas shirt that he should have worn under his overalls, and despite that he should still have had a rash like a billion tiny spider bites from the hay ends poking him through his clothing. The sweaty part was right, though, although they didn’t accurately portray how the sweat cuts channels through the dust and plant bits that collect in every skin crease.
Baling hay sucks. Stacking it in the barn sucks more.
Well, at the farm where I board my horse, they put up the first bales of the season a couple of weeks ago, and that hay is so soft and thin-stemmed and cushy and pale green and fragrant, I think one could have a highly enjoyable roll in it.
If you don’t mind being surrounded by ravenous horses eagerly snarfing down the yummy new hay, of course.