I watched an old Columbo TV show the other day, and as a car drove by in an outdoor night scene, you could hear one of the cast members making noises in the bushes. The sound of a cricket’s chirps rang out, trying to convince the viewers they really were outside at night.
I’m sure he wasn’t listed in the credits, but, he was probably the cricket cast member for Columbo. If there was a nighttime chirping part to fill, I imagine the sound effects editor pulled out the same “cricket 101” tape and over-dubbed it on the soundtrack. Perfection every time. Never missed his mark or had to do a re-take.
I wondered if this cricket was featured in other soundtracks. Had I heard him before but didn’t recognize him? Maybe he was a mega-star among crickets and recordings of his chirp were shared among the studios, and his “voice” heard in hundreds of shows and movies. Or was he even an international star – you wouldn’t need subtitles for that, because they all seem to speak the same in any language. (Actually not speaking, of course, but rubbing their wings together.)
I don’t know the answer to those questions or to the cricket’s stardom status. As you see, this relates to my last blog on “extras” in TV and movies. Slightly different because this one isn’t human, and we don’t see him but only hear him. Either way, his purpose is the same as other extras – to improve the quality of the environment, or as one comment said, to enhance the ambience of the scene – to make it more enjoyable.
Again, like my last post, that gives another aspect of being an “extra” that relates to our responsibility as Christians. Like the cricket who was heard and not seen, and perhaps noticed by only one person out of hundreds, we are to make life for others more enjoyable, without searching for praise and glory.
Jesus gave us instructions to enhance the ambience of any scene we’re a part of when He said “You are the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13) and “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). Then, He made it clear that we are the extras and the glory goes to where it truly belongs:
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16 ESV)