Shucks! Pay Back the Money
After master prankster and filmmaker Leon Schuster’s latest film Shucks! Pay back the Money got released in film theatres on 28 August; the film is already on everyone’s lips. The trailer promised once again a hilarious comedy treat from South Africa’s candid camera king. There are whispers going around whether this number 9 candid camera film might be Leon’s best yet. But will there be more to follow?
Leon Schuster, The man Behind SHUCKS
Leon Ernest Schuster, born 21 May 1951 in Vereeniging South Africa, spent his high school and university years in Bloemfontein, Orange Free State, where he also played his beloved sport of rugby for the first team of the University of the Orange Free State. That made him an enthusiastic Cheetah supporter ever since. After university, he went on to teach at his high school Alma Mater Jim Fouché for two years before working for the South African Broadcast Corporation. From a young age he showed a keen interest in filmmaking. As a child, Leon’s favourite pastime with his brother Otto was playing practical jokes on their family members while filming with a home movie camera. While working for the SABC, he gave light to the well known Afrikaans Vrypostige Mikrofoon radio program series, which consisted of various “victims” being pranced via telephone.
Sadly, it isn’t all moonlight and roses. Fame and success many times come at a price. Schuster got divorced after a 20 year long marriage, stating how his success might have been to his family’s detriment. His 4 children suffered with him through all the bad reviews and huge amounts of criticism over the years, despite all the success his films achieved. According to him, his bank balance also does not reflect the box office amounts his films had earned and that he invested enormous amounts of his own money in the making of his films.
Spectacular Career for SHUCKS
Leon Shuster is one of the most talented artists in South Africa as singer, actor, filmmaker and script writer. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award for comedy at the 2014 Huisgenoot Skouspel concert.
You Must Be Joking! – 1986
You Must Be Joking! Too – 1987
Oh Shucks…It’s Schuster! – 1989
Oh Shucks! Here Comes UNTAG – 1990
Sweet ‘n Short – 1991
Yankee Zulu – 1993
Panic Mechanic – 1997
Millennium Menace – 1999
Mr Bones – 2001
Oh Shucks… I’m Gatvol – 2004
Mama Jack – 2005
Mad Buddies – 2012
Shucks! Pay Back The Money – 2015
Singing Career Albums:
- Leon Schuster – 1982
- Broekskeur – 1983
- Waar En Wolhaar – 1983
- Briekdans – 1984
- Rugby – 1985
- You Must Be Joking! – 1986
- Dasiefoutie – 1988
- “Shakin” Schuster En Sy Opkikkers – 1992
- Hie’ Kommie Bokke – 1995
- Gautvol In Paradise – 1997
- Die Vrypostige Mikrofoon, Volume 1 – 1998
- Die Vrypostige Mikrofoon, Volume 2 – 1998
- Baas Funny Plaas – 1999
- My Beste Jare – 2001
- Groen, Goud En White – 2002
- Catchup Song And Every Cricket Hit – 2003
- Oh Schuks… I’m Gatvol – 2004
- Op Dun Eish – 2006
- Dra Die Bok – 2008
- My Mates – Die Bokke
Oh Shucks! South-Africa became Trigger Happy
Is it the end for candid camera filmmaking for Leon Schuster? In an interview he mentioned the intolerance and impatience of people. Why are we strung so tightly? According to Leon, it is due to the times we live in where load shedding, corruption and the lawlessness especially on our roads revs up frustration levels to the maximum. As he said: “I think my time is running out on candid stuff, so I don’t really know if I will make any more of these. Also I am a bit sick and tired of getting ‘klapped’”. At age 64, who can blame him?
He had to cut a few scenes from the film where guns were pointed at him. The public’s willingness to be set up for gags now differs completely from his debut candid camera film You Must be Joking in 1986, where the public were more relaxed and there weren’t a lot of people carrying guns around. As he joked: “I think one day my headstone will read: ‘Leon couldn’t take that last klap’”.