As you probably know, Alfred Hitchcock made the unusual choice of killing off his leading lady half way through his classic movie, “Psycho.” What you may not know is that the gruesome sound of the knife entering Janet Leigh’s body was created by a sound effects geek stabbing a casaba melon.
Ever since I heard this story I’ve thought differently about the casaba melon. Well, actually I thought about it for the first time, having never considered it before. Suddenly it became an intriguing fruit, not just another non-entry on my shopping list.
The next thing I’d like to know is why the sound guy chose a casaba, not, say, a watermelon or a cantelope, for the grizzly job. How was the casaba determined to have the perfect quality, a certain je ne sais quoi, that helped that fruit snag the role of stunt body for Ms. Leigh?
Being an actor, my slightly perverse imagination leaps to an image of a melon casting call. Dozens of them are lined up, pacing, studying scripts. A production assistant pops from a smoky room: “Okay, Honeydew, you’re up.” The other melons size her up as the starry-eyed Honeydew rolls off to meet her fate. She knows the gig involves pain and mutilation, but she’d do anything to work with Hitch.
As the clock ticks in the waiting room, Casaba wonders how long this will take. He’s got a two o’clock cattle call for a Ralph’s commercial.
When Honeydew finally re-appears, she glows, apparently from positive feedback. Little does she know that the part will not be hers, that she will be disappointed once again. She will, however, roll on, seeking other employment in the dream-crushing profession she has chosen.
“Okay, uh, Casaba? ” the P.A. says, pronouncing it wrong, as they always do. For this relatively unknown melon, however, the day will have a happy outcome. The history-making casting choice will raise casaba awareness exponentially, opening doors for future generations of the melon.(Don’t ya just love show business?)
If you’re looking for a casaba melon recipe, click here.