X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • The Fig Tree From The Godfather Movie

    Many of us know each other through the fig forums but few of us know how we make a living in the real (non fig) world. I am a Key Grip. If you look at the credits at the end of a movie you will see all these titles of film technicians with funny names. Key Grip, Gaffer, Best Boy, Prop Man, Set Dresser.
    These are all crafts involved in film production. I am a Key Grip working in movies, Episodic TV, music videos and commercials. My job involves working with the camera and the lighting. I'm a proud union member of IATSE Local 52 and have been doing this type of work for over 35 years
    As many of us do, we talk about figs a lot. As the original source of The Dominick, I have grown and given away trees to over 25 people in film production over the years (and 100's of others) and they all love it and his story.
    I have also heard over the last 20 years about a set dresser (these are the people who place everything you see on the set) who worked on The Godfather movie and wound up with the 2 trees from the movie and was growing them out in Long Island. One plant was at his house and the other plant was given to the gentleman who worked with him. These two trees were imported from Sicily just for the movie.
    I always wondered, how do I get in touch with this man and how do I get a cutting. This gentleman had retired from the business and I didn't know exactly how to get in touch with him, or if he still had this tree 30 years later.
    A couple of months ago I was working on a commercial and one of the "prop men" came over to me and said that he heard I was really into figs. I've known him and worked with him before, and he told to me that after his father passed away, he bought his house and that his father had worked on The Godfather and he had one of the trees from the movie
    "Excuse me"... did you just say what I thought you said. "Yes", he worked on the movie and he was given one of the two trees.
    Stunned was my reaction. I have been trying to find out where these trees are for over 20 years. He had one and he told me about the other one, but the daughter of that set dresser told him that hers had just died a couple of years ago. He now has the only one.
    My friend told me that the tree grows every year but it is very leggy and all the other plantings around it have overshadowed the tree over the last 30 years and it wasn't getting much sun.
    So two years ago he moved it, split it and placed it into a much sunnier spot and it grew somewhat better, but not that much better. This year however, it grew really nicely and finally made some figs, but they never ripened. He showed me some pictures of it that he had posted on social media and I could tell that the tree was badly overgrown, needed some nutrition and was not shaped correctly.
    I informed him that the tree needed a haircut badly, needed some training and some good winter protection. I happily suggested to show him how to trim it and protect it the correct way if I can have some cuttings.
    He then said to me "show me how to take care of it and you can have all the cuttings you want, and do whatever you want with them".
    Deal. I was shaking with excitement by now.
    So last Saturday I went to his house and trimmed the tree and we wrapped it well and protected it for the winter, and I took a small bounty of cuttings.
    I questioned him about the tree and he said that he never ate one. It wasn't growing well where it was and he didn't know what a ripe one looked like or if it was light or dark.
    This I must find out. I will be growing this tree and will see what it really is.
    What I do know is that it is quite cold hardy as it has lived out in Long Island NY for over 30 years with no protection.
    I have pictures of the leaves and I would say it has all the classic characteristics of the Mt. Etna trees.
    I will be growing a number of trees for him and his family and some for the daughter of the other gentleman who had the one that died.
    I am giving a few cuttings out to some of my fig pals, but have not decided on a mass distribution yet.
    It is a very special tree and I'd like to keep it that way.
    To be continued

  • #2
    That is quite the story Coop, how cool!!! I hope they all root and do well for you, when and or if you do a mass distribution, I'm in.
    Scott - Colorado Springs, CO - Zone 4/5 (Depending on the year) - Elevation 6266ft

    “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” – Bill Mollison

    Comment


    • #3
      Wow... That's really awesome. Best of luck!

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm sure some of us new members might like a chance to share/trade

        Dibs!! :P

        Jk (kinda) congrats on getting your hands on this piece of film history! And good luck!

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for sharing that story with us Coop. I think it is so funny how life works out sometimes. Him asking you to help him with the tree you had been wondering about for years. Now I'm going to go and watch the movies and look for fig trees.
          Kentucky Zone 6b

          Comment


          • #6
            Wow, what a great story! Best of luck with that tree and the cuttings!
            USDA Zone 9b Wish list: Abruzzi, Pasquale, Filacciano, Tagliacozzo, Zingarella, Godfather. Any, including unknowns, from Abruzzo, Italy.

            Comment


            • #7
              That is a really cool story !
              I will be waiting for the cuttings when any are available !
              USDA z 10a, SoCal. WL: Raspberry Tart, Boysenberry Blush

              Comment


              • #8
                Thank you for sharing the story.When the cuttings are made available,I would like to be in.

                Will Dominick cuttings be available this year?
                New Bern NC Zone 8a ,Wish list : Col de Dame Rimada ,Galica Negra

                Comment


                • #9
                  Wow! Great story, Coop.

                  I'm going to have to watch the movie again to see if I can see the trees.

                  I look forward to the next part of the story.
                  Kevin (Eastern MA - Zone 5b/6a)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Great story, not all figs have to have old history attached to them. A new history is just as interesting. Maybe some day my Dominick will have a cousin.
                    Dave- Waterford, Ct. Zone 6a

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I binge watched all three Godfather movies about 3 years ago for the first time. Funny, I don't remember seeing a fig tree in the movie even though I was into figs back then as well. (Though I don't doubt there is a fig tree in the background of one of the backyard scences.) Was the Godfather fig tree in the scenes in Sicily or around New York? Why were you so interested in this tree (other than the connection to the movie)? It would be funny if it turned out to be a Sal's-Corleone type! Good luck - I'll look forward to your report in a couple years.
                      Steve
                      D-i-c-k-e-r-s-o-n, MD; zone 7a
                      WL: Nantes Maroc

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        When the set dressers "dress" a set there are sometimes items in a scene that you don't see that well. They are still part of the scene, but the camera doesn't focus in on it. The scene that these trees are in is when Don Corleone has a heart attack in his tomato garden. This is what I was told by both children of the 2 men who got the trees.
                        I guess you have to look very carefully
                        Last edited by Coop; 11-21-2015, 01:58 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Great story! Living memorabilia. I think that's the most amazing thing about figs....there is history to every one of them. Wish you the best with those cuttings Coop!
                          Quy
                          SoCal, Zone 9b

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Cool story, Coop, thanks or sharing!

                            Originally posted by Coop View Post
                            The scene that the these trees are in is when Don Corleone has a heart attack in his tomato garden.
                            Would have been neat if it had been a Sal's Corleone...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              How cool!!!
                              Zone 7a in Virginia

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Love the Godfather. Do you by chance have any photos of the tree before and after your pruning? (let's create a new word fort his. It's not a manicure or a pedicure. How about a planticure?)
                                Edward - Edgewater, Florida (Zone 9b)
                                Wish List: Holy Smokes, U. Prosciutto, Ham Rham, Labritja

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Very fun read, thanks Coop! Did the tree show no damage from these past two winters? Any idea how cold it got there?
                                  Greg, Maine, zone 5. Wish List: Green Michurinska

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Greg
                                    I consider it amazing that this tree has survived growing outside unprotected and uncared for in zone 7B for 30 years.
                                    I must save this tree and perpetuate it
                                    Attached Files

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      The story is just super cool Coop!
                                      Last edited by COGardener; 11-21-2015, 04:49 PM.
                                      Scott - Colorado Springs, CO - Zone 4/5 (Depending on the year) - Elevation 6266ft

                                      “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” – Bill Mollison

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Very interesting story Coop. The tree has a traceable history to Sicily. Since I am part Sicilian, along with part southern and part northern Italian, I would like to be on the list when cuttings are available. If you aren't able to pinpoint the variety you could name it "The Godfather".
                                        Wishlist; Green Michurinska, St. Rita
                                        Tony
                                        Sarver, PA Zone 6A.

                                        Comment


                                        • #21
                                          great story!
                                          Nothing in the world takes the place of growing citrus till figs come along. Ray City, Ga. Zone 8 b.

                                          Comment


                                          • #22
                                            I guess the 'prop man' made you an offer you couldn't refuse, Coop. {groan}
                                            Frank Tallahasee 8B
                                            North Florida Figs

                                            Comment


                                            • #23
                                              We have heard a well respected opinion that the plant in the movie and the leaf that I posted are in fact the same and they are a Sals Corleone
                                              How appropriate would that be.
                                              The mystery continues
                                              Last edited by Coop; 11-23-2015, 04:47 PM.

                                              Comment


                                              • #24
                                                Stay tuned folks, I will be making an offer you can't refuse

                                                Comment


                                                • fitzski
                                                  fitzski commented
                                                  Editing a comment
                                                  Count me in. If it has survived for 30 years unsheltered, imagine what it will be like with winter shelter.

                                                  Kevin

                                                • pukzpukz
                                                  pukzpukz commented
                                                  Editing a comment
                                                  Good for you coop count me in

                                              • #25
                                                Coop... Always Looking out for us. I can't wait.
                                                Scott - Colorado Springs, CO - Zone 4/5 (Depending on the year) - Elevation 6266ft

                                                “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” – Bill Mollison

                                                Comment

                                                Working...
                                                X