Home Hollywood CA Mid State Fair: Hollywood stunt show comes to Paso Robles

CA Mid State Fair: Hollywood stunt show comes to Paso Robles


People are the lifeblood of county fairs.

From kids showing off animals to grandparents showing off their gardening skills, local residents are stars.

Other attractions include concerts, carnival rides, rodeos, monster trucks and fried food. You might also engage in some old-fashioned entertainment—such as a magician, hypnotist, or stunt performer.

The Santa Barbara County Fair ends Sunday, and the Central California Fair will be held July 20-31 in Paso Robles.

Jill Duman published this story about the stunt performers at the Paso Robles Fair in the August 14, 1989, Telegraph Tribune.

Stuntmen: They just got to work

At half past six, on a dusty street at the Mid-State Fair, a pistol rang out.

Two people were shooting.

When it’s over, a villain, a hero, and a cartoonist sign autographs and smoke.

These three guys — Jerry Cobley, John Grantham, and Jim Boslove — are all stuntmen performing at the Universal Studios Stunt Show, which is a road show and is now at the expo First appearance in the United States. They free-falled from two-story windows, faked a few punches, banged bullwhips, shot real guns and spewed fake blood—all in the name of sharing Hollywood stunt secrets with groupies fans.

Jim Boslove (left) and John Grantham’s Western brawl was a big hit with the audience.Jeff May document

Even more amazing than their tricks was the genuine enthusiasm the men showed by performing the same show four times a day. This is not a gimmick. They really like it.

“When you have a big audience, you almost know you’re going to have a great show,” said Cobleigh, a 36-year-old stuntman who once played professional golf. “Nine times out of ten, you will have a lot of people.”

Cobleigh and his co-stars – Grantham, 30, and Poslof, 41 – are bona fide stuntmen, performing and performing stunts on TV and film.

All three said performing stunts on Universal Studios Hollywood tours and stunt spectacles was “the greatest part-time job in the world.”

They see it as an opportunity to make a living between homework and work in front of a live audience.

“It’s instant gratification,” Grantham said.

A former University of Mississippi acting student, Grantham realized after leaving college 10 years ago that “I’d be there for four years to get a piece of paper and everyone would be like ‘so what?'”

In true Hollywood style, he arrived in California in a van with $300 “and everything I own.” For three years, he has been working odd jobs trying to break into the showbiz.

Then, working as a tour guide at Universal Studios led to stunt work – first as a mini-show for tourists at Universal Studios, and then as a stuntman for films such as the 1986 (film) “Masters of the Universe”.

Cobleigh’s early career was split between the PGA Tour and the stage.

As a member of the West Coast tour group performing the Broadway production of “Flying Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” Cobley appeared on “The Merv Griffin Show,” met a stunt industry leader, and soon began putting stunt assignments together. Combine with widgets in action shows like “Hill Street Blues” and “High Mountain Rangers.”

“In a lot of shows, I performed and did my own stunts,” he said. “I rarely double for other people.”

Poslof drove a forklift for Lucky Food Centers and decided to put his childhood acting dream into practice.

John Grantham autographs for fans after his recent stunt at the Mid-State Fair.Jeff May document

Stunt work at Knott’s Berry Farm led to further career opportunities, including stunt roles on “Pippi Longstockings” and TV’s “TJ Hooker” and “General Hospital.”

But life as a stuntman is as much bandages and stitches as beer and skittles.

In 1984, Cobeleigh spent time on the sidelines – the result of a break-in with an axe handle that left him with a broken nose, broken jaw and missing front teeth. Poslov nearly shaved the top of his head when he fell. As part of the job, both escaped danger.

“It’s like sports,” Cobleigh said.

Stunt work pays pretty well if you live to get paid. A good stuntman can earn $400 a day ($955 adjusted for inflation) with health insurance. Stunt coordinators determine how much stunt performers and stunt performers are paid—depending on the number and difficulty of stunts in each TV show or movie.

Stunts can – and do – include falling from buildings, fighting wildlife and driving cars across broken bridges.

But the most dangerous thing Poslof does is not part of any script.

“Driving on public roads,” he said. “In stunts, you know what to expect.”

A report from the San Luis Obispo Tribune

David Midkamp profile picture

David Middlecamp is a photojournalist and third-generation Caltech graduate who has covered the Central Coast since the 1980s. Starting a career developing and printing black and white film now includes earning an FAA-certified drone pilot license. He also wrote the history column “Photos from the Vault.”

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