Filmmakers are imaginative big talkers. Stand still around one of them for 15-20 minutes and you’ll hear at least two or three pitches for their next big flick.
Errol Morris was one of these – but in 1977 he hadn’t made his film yet. Talk talk talk – he had 25 ideas for great documentaries in his head and he sought out ears to spill them into. One day he found a set of ears and talk talk talked. The owner of the ears happened to be Werner Herzog, the great German director.
Herzog listened to Morris’ idea about making a documentary about pet cemeteries. He knew the idea was a difficult one, and swore that if Morris could pull it off he would eat his shoe.
When Errol Morris finished Gates of Heaven in 1978, Herzog had one of his old work shoes boiled, then sautéed with garlic and special leather enhancing spices. He ate it with a bottle of beer onstage in front of a packed house. The event was documented by Les Blank and released later that year as a 20 minute short with Burden of Dreams.
You can look for this film at the public library and video stores with deep catalog foreign and documentary sections or order it from Les Blank himself at: http://www.lesblank.com/more/shoe.html