Hazard Trivia...

  • *The entire Hazard music video project was filmed in and around Piru, California, located two hours north of Los Angeles. Scenes that included Robert Conrad and Jennifer O'Neill were shot in this town of approx. 1,150 residents.

  • *Piru Creek, located in the Los Padres National Forest, was the waterway used in the video. At the time of the shoot (spring of '92), the creek was almost dry so thousands of gallons of water were purchased and pumped into the creek bed to get the shots.

  • Though a diversion from his other writings, Richard was the sole author to the lyrics of "Hazard."

  • *The high concept of the video was to make "Hazard" the "Ode To Billy Joe" of 1992.

  • Given his liking and repeated humming of the phrase "This old Nebraska town" as the chosen setting, Richard contacted the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce for a listing of Nebraska towns. You are welcome to read Richard's own response to this commonly asked question regarding the town's selection.

  • *The Hazard video director was Michael Haussman, who subsequently lent his talent for other artists, including Madonna ("Take a Bow") and Bonnie Raitt.

  • *There was discussion at the time about making "Hazard" into a feature film, but Haussman was not interested.  He felt that to tell any more of the story risked destroying its magic.

  • *Making two video versions to create the "whodunit" vibe was rather revolutionary for its time, as was the inclusion of the dramatic interrogation scene complete with audio and Mary's different teasers at the end of the two cuts. There was also an unusual TV campaign for the project which featured 30-second spots comprised of "exit interviews" of people who had viewed the video, --much like some movie ads, expressing their opinions on the song and the murderer.

  • *Another uncommon aspect of the video was Richard's decision not to include sequences of him singing the song. This kept the viewer in the story and made the video a continuous dramatic entity, --more like a sequence from a feature film than the standard music video.  Up to that time there had been very few videos where the artist did not sing.  A notable exception was Bob Seger's "Like A Rock," also a Capitol video. Although his previous videos often featured storylines, Richard generally played a version of himself. In "Hazard" he delivered a very convincing portrayal of a very different character.

  • *Hazard Chapter 3? The clamoring for a third version of the video came from EMI's international labels, especially in the Far East and Europe, where the video mystery was perceived as a rural American gothic murder tale.  Several of the territories ran "Who killed Mary?" promotions and wanted the prospect of a closure mechanism to extend the life of the project and end it on a high note. Though the idea was discussed over several weeks, there were several considerations that ended the prospect. First, footage had only been shot for the alternative versions. A third version would have meant reassembling the entire team for at least another day of shooting. Second, the video budget was already north of $200,000, which for its day was a healthy expenditure. Capitol Records, who fronted the money for the video, was not eager to extend the already sizable budget. The third (and fatal) reason came from Richard himself. In light of Richard's label releasing rumors (for promotional purposes) about plans of a third video that would reveal Mary's killer, Richard put a stop to it, explaining "that since the song never reveals the killer, there would be no 'Part 3' and that was that."

  • Richard was yet to be introduced to the real Hazard, Nebraska while writing the storyline. "Hazard" was the last word to be added to the lyrics.

  • Residents were yet to be introduced to Richard's song upon its debut in the music charts. As reported in a local newspaper, suspicions arose when "people started to stop along the highway to take pictures of the town's population signs, old creek beds and ditches and other parts of the town."

  • Hazard received its name from a dangerous depression near the tracks. Years ago, trains slowed down considerably as they passed through out of concern for ground stability. "Hazard" was inscribed on logs to warn unsuspecting engineers.

  • The sheriff and Richard's mother have been seen together before, --in the TV movie Glory Days (1988) directed by Robert Conrad, starring Robert and Shane Conrad and Jennifer O'Neill. In making the movie, Robert likened working with Jennifer as his "Summer of '88," citing that "she was a real pro to work with."

  • As some have noted on maps, the Bloody Run River lies just east of Hazard. Though a sizable gulch 80 years ago, it is now a dry creek bed. Its official name stems from an account where two housewives commenced to settle an argument using butcher knives.

  • In early 1992, a Hazard farmer received a call from radio station KZ93 in Peoria, Illinois informing him that he was on the air "live." The DJ asked him to describe the village to their listeners. In turn, the farmer mailed some Hazard memorabilia items to the station.

  • Richard's management sent t-shirts and tapes to our local paper that were handed out to residents during the Hazard Daze celebration in August of '92.

  • The town of Hazard, Kentucky  not only has the same number of syllables, but, we admit, better resembles the Hazard found in the video. This includes the North Fork of the KY River that runs through it. (see also WSGS Radio)

  • Richard visited the town of Hazard during his 1992 tour. You can read the newspaper article of his visit that comes from the archives of The Kearney Hub.

  • While best known for being the home of Mary's suspicious death, there are, ironically, no recorded murders or suspicious deaths in Haz's 115 year history.

  • "Was the song inspired by a true story?" is the most common question we are asked.

  • Hazard was harsh to its early settlers. The early 1900s saw a great fire that destroyed businesses on the eastside of downtown (including a hotel, general stores, and an opera house) only to be followed by another fire that destroyed businesses on the west end. "The great depression" saw the failing of both banks, followed by an extensive period of drought to its farmers.

  • The difference in travel time in driving from Hazard to Los Angeles and Hazard to New York City is only 11 minutes. (Source: MS Expedia)

*Information courtesy of Mick Kleber, best noted from his successful tenure as Vice President of Video and Media for Capitol Records from 1982 to 1993, and was the executive in charge for a variety of Richard's music videos, including the Hazard video project. Fans may recognize Mick as the "cheesy record exec" in the video "Don't Mean Nothing," and to this day, is highly regarded by Richard. At present, Mick is Senior Vice President & content producer for Spotlight Health.

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