I get a call from Al Merrin. Alan Pottasch wants to do Pepsi commercial at the Berlin Wall. The Wall had fallen the day before, I think. We get to Berlin not knowing what to do. The first thing is to go to the Wall and see what’s going on. There is nothing going on. People are going back and forth as if nothing had ever happened. Since we don’t have a shred of an idea, I just start to shoot whatever’s there. We hand out a bunch of Pepsis (groan) and watch the people chip away to get pieces of the wall despite the fact that there is supposed to be asbestos imbedded in the concrete. I chip away for some older ladies who don’t have the strength to do it themselves and Al heroically takes the hammer from me to show me the right way and promptly gets stopped by the police. We do manage a few chips for ourselves as souvenirs.
Nothing is happening though and we have a few ringers, local actors, men women and some children with us. I ask for some flowers. I give them to a little girl and tell her to run up and give them to an East German guard. It’s a nice moment, a little corny. The New York Times calls it the most important news photo of the year. The guy in front of the tanks in Tiananmen Square is second. Can you believe it? Fiction is stranger than truth. People actually thought the commercial was edited from documentary footage.