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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, December 8, 2022


If you've observed a white cockatoo named "Sammy" get out of his cage, answer the phone, email his resume, and get the job, then you've seen the new AT &T commercial filmed in St. Thomas.
Featuring an entirely local cast, the commercial has received a lot of local and national attention. In fact, according to Dennis Grant, one of the creators of the spot, there is even some confusion that it is a national commercial. This is because of the professional quality of the film – movie film as opposed to video – and, of course, because of the highly imaginative concept and the colorful Virgin Islands background. This is to say nothing of the acting by the feathered and the unfeathered cast.
Erik Zucker of Flicks Productions came up with the bird concept, and they winged it, so to speak, from there. However, not without a lot of work. First they put out a casting call for locals and came up with more than 200 applicants. After weeding these down to a manageable number, they shot the commercial in five days at Lindquist Beach and Cyril E. King Airport, before winding up at their studio.
Shawn Carcelli, of Feathered Follies and Fotos, provided all 20 birds who performed in the spot. Asked about how she managed to have everybody looking so relaxed with the birds, she said casually, "Oh, it was easy and fun – they're very sweet and friendly, and they're used to performing." ( Indeed, from watching the commercial, they all seem a bunch of hams.) She went on to explain that she has raised her miniature aviary from eggs, "so they think they are all brothers and sisters." Carcelli had her birds at Coral World before Hurricane Marilyn canceled their stay there. Oh, and "Sammy" is only the stage name for the real-life cockatoo, "Elvis."
One person who appears decidedly startled to have a bird on his shoulder is local radio personality, Hans Eisler. "I was rather fortunate that the bird didn't baptize me," he said. He also explained that the startled expression could be chalked up to acting his part.
The commercial is in a rotating order, and should be showing again shortly after the new year.

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