Thomas Prusinowski served in the U.S. Navy for 28 years, but the recently retired Saratoga Springs man also spent two days pretending to be a sailor this October. He was one of 12 Navy members chosen to be in the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie Lost Valentine, which debuted on CBS Sunday, Jan. 30, and starred Jennifer Love Hewitt and Betty White.
"I was very blessed to pretty much be standing next to Betty White all day long. She's a fantastic person, very kind and generous," said Prusinowski. "She did an amazing job, cried very believable and hard every time."
Prusinowski and his fellow sailors traveled from King Bay Naval Base in Georgia to Atlanta for shooting. They were put up in a hotel, had one day of rehearsal and then spent 16 hours shooting their scene.
"They wanted to shoot from every different angle; top, bottom, left, side, right, up and down," said Prusinowski. "We worked with the production company and did everything they wanted us to do. They were all very happy with us."
"Lost Valentine" is about a woman (White) who's husband goes off to war and is shot down. For the next 65 years, she goes back to the same train station platform she dropped him off at to see if he will come home. After enlisting the help of a local reporter (Hewitt), the remains of her husband are found and the Navy brings them back for a proper military burial.
Prusinowski said the acting he did in the movie was a role familiar to him, as it truly did mirror true life.
"We brought in the American and Navy flags, went to the casket and brought it up to Betty White, who bent down, kissed the casket and flag and hugged it," said Prusinowski. "Earlier in my Navy career I was on the funeral detail for veterans when they passed away, I'd be asked to attend the funeral, carry the casket, fold the flag. "