Sheriff Walt Longmire will warn travelers not to leave vehicles unattended. Deputy Archie Ferguson will help him inform people that smoking isn’t allowed. The stars of the “Longmire” TV series, set in fictional Absoraka County based on Wyoming’s Johnson County, will banter like they do in the show over a new public address system at the Casper/Natrona County International Airport terminal.
Actors Robert Taylor and Adam Bartley, who play Longmire and Ferguson in the series, recorded the airport’s new announcements that will be played when the new PA system is installed. Airport director Glenn Januska said the planned May 1 completion date has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but he hopes the new system with the announcements will be installed and operating sometime that month.
“The characters are from Wyoming; the author, Craig Johnson is from Wyoming,” Januska said. “And, you know, with ‘Longmire,’ we thought that this was kind of an appropriate thing to have in an airport in Wyoming.”
When the airport team was working on plans for the new PA system, Januska reached out to the Ucross author of the New York Times bestselling series about the possibility of the TV show’s actors voicing the announcements.
Johnson asked the actors, and they immediately agreed, the author said.
Januska at first asked Johnson to write the announcement script because he didn’t feel right about writing something and sending it to a bestselling author. Johnson, though, felt airport terminal PA announcements lay outside of his writing expertise.
So Januska wrote the script, “and they were really, really good,” Johnson said. “You know, he had put a little bit of humor in there.”
The author added a few adjustments, and the actors recorded the announcements in Los Angeles.
“And what we didn’t take into consideration is that you get two actors in a recording studio without adult supervision that, you know, probably things are going go a little bit sideways pretty quick,” Johnson said.
About half of the recorded announcement lines are in character, and the actors played off of each other with hilarious ad libs, Januska said.
“And some of the best clips we’ve got were the unscripted, them bantering back and forth types of ones.”
In one, Longmire asks where his deputy’s pistol is and tells him firearms have to be packed in checked bags.
In another about not leaving bags unattended and making sure children don’t play on the bag claim device, Ferguson says something like, “So I can’t put my hand here?”
“No Ferguson, you can’t do that,” the sheriff tells him.
Some are just for fun, like one advising people to hold on their hats, because they’re not in Absaroka County, but Natrona County, and it’s windy here, Januska said.
“I’d love to say that this was my idea, original idea. But I had heard in one of our trade publications that some other airports were doing something similar.”
When he thought about who to have voice announcements, the “Longmire” actors came to mind, he said.
Both actors have flown into the airport a number of times. So has Johnson, who lives less than two hours away.
“It’s a great travel experience. And I just hope that that maybe the voice of Walt Longmire and Deputy Ferg will help enhance that, you know?
Januska posted a teaser from the recordings on the airport’s Facebook page to hundreds of likes and shares.
Craig Johnson’s Facebook share garnered 1,000 likes within a day.
“The airport terminal building has been designated as a no-smoking area,” Longmire’s deep voice begins in the teaser.
Ferguson reminds people they can’t smoke anything in the building at any time, and the sheriff asks him about “that other thing.”
The deputy reminds him it’s called vaping.
“Yeah, whatever that is, don’t do it,” Longmire replies.
People who’ve commented on Facebook have gotten a laugh from the teaser, and so has Johnson.
“And the great thing is, like Walt is kind of anti-technology. So, you know, when The Ferg has to explain to him what vaping is, you know, it’s really pretty, pretty funny.”
Many commenters said they want to hang out at the airport or even fly into Casper to listen to the announcements.
“And the response we’ve gotten so far without even having the recordings done yet, in the terminal building,” Januska said, “it’s just been pretty phenomenal.”
Follow arts & culture reporter Elysia Conner on twitter @erconner
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