Even though “Crybaby” was a Universal Picture produced by Brian Grazer, the $9 million budget was cheap by Hollywood standards.
Of course taking away studio overhead, and the nice, high-six figure salaries of the executive producers and John Waters, the music, choreography and other name stars, in some areas the cheapness showed.
As location manager, I can attest they strained to save a bundle in that department, but never mind. Swag for the crew consisted of 10-cent combs. No T-shirts, no mugs, no fancy pens -– a few plastic combs.
Again, as location manager, they were pretty much the extent of my “thank-you” gifts to cooperative location participants, as I mumbled our deep appreciation and here’s a comb with a misspelling of the film’s title to make up for the grips’ trampling your prize-winning rose bush.
Toward the end, crew morale sank lower as hours got longer, scheduling became hopelessly chaotic, and the gap between the haves and have-nots grew; a pretty common thing on many films, especially in the lower-budget realm.
One particularly abrasive day, the producers showed up with a van-load of spiffy Hollywood film crew-style baseball jackets with a huge, beautiful likeness of Johnny Depp and the actual "Crybaby" logo on the back. They gave one to even the lowliest PAs. It did the trick. The crew cooled down, and proudly wore them even in the 95-degree dog days of a Baltimore summer.
I still have my jacket, on extended loan to one of my sons who wears it to many hip events. Of course I still have a few combs, but with a haircut very similar to John’s (e.g. no hair left), I haven’t been able to use them for years.