The case of the traveling 'Idol' backpack

The case of the traveling 'Idol' backpack

May 20th, 2011 by Barry Courter in Local - Breaking News

Lauren Alaina performs in front of the judges on "American Idol" on Wednesday. Michael Becker / FOX.

Fans almost never got to see a good bit of the footage shot here during "American Idol" finalist Lauren Alaina Suddeth's return visit here thanks to a misplaced backpack.

Saturday evening as crews were cleaning up at Coolidge Park, Friends of the Festival Talent and Production Coordinator Joe "Dixie" Fuller noticed a backpack lying on the ground.

"I figured it was one the rigging guy's and put it in the back of the Riverbend box truck to give to [crew member] Chris Keene later," Fuller said.

He transferred it to the back of his own truck later and drove home to relax and didn't give it much thought. Monday morning around 11:30, "Idol" producer/director Brian Robinson called Fuller.

"He said, 'Dixie, man, I've got something really, really important. Really important to ask you.' He said, 'I'm sitting here watching footage of the show at Coolidge and I can see a backpack sitting on the stage so I know it exists, but we can't find it.'"

Fuller said he asked Robinson to describe the backpack. When told it was orange and black, Fuller said, "It's sitting right here on my desk."

"That has about 50 percent of the footage we shot," Robinson said. "I need that yesterday."

After first deciding to overnight it to Los Angeles, Robinson told Fuller to box it up and that he would arranged for a courier to pick it up.

"I went on about my business, but by 5 o'clock, they still hadn't picked it," Fuller said. He called Robinson, who spent a few minutes discussing the competency of his staff before asking that it be overnighted.

The next morning around 7, Robinson called Fuller to ask if it had been shipped because he did not have it. After finding the routing number and tracking it down, it was discovered the guard at Fox Studios had signed for it and stuck it in the corner of the guard shack.

"Typical television," Fuller said. "They live in a different world."

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6354.