Rick's has been a hit the world over with TV crews, and for a variety of reasons. First, of course, is the irony that after more than 60 years it really does exist - the newsworthiness brings the crews here. Then once they see it, the dramatic, romantic ambience that so very much resembles the look and feel of the film combines with the piano, the costumed waiters and today's (Madame) Rick to give a perfect visual backdrop for filming. Lastly, crews that visit Morocco feel its warmth and hospitality and amidst all the problems and challenges, the Rick's story is something very positive that shows the country's potential.
A Belgian crew visited, unannounced, a few weeks before we opened. I just happened to be at the site and they interviewed me - in French, for which I wasn't rehearsed. They liked my American accent though, so the interview went well - until they asked me to sing "As Time Goes By!" I explained I wanted to attract people to come here not drive them away!
But it was CNN's coverage that really put us on the map. I'll never forget getting the call from Al Goodman telling me he'd tucked the NYT article in his Morocco file and brought it when sent here from Madrid to prepare pieces for the first anniversary of the May 16 attacks. Al said there should be some positive stories, and this was certainly one of them. See related article.
Since then there's been TV Cataluna and Tele Cinco from Spain, a station from Slovenia, and a big crew and coverage from Hong Kong that included their leading media star. We've had time to get used to the cameras and telling the story, playing the song...
...This was great experience, and when we were contacted by a German film production crew for a large part in a documentary they were planning on Casablanca we were happy to agree. It was a lot of fun, over the three trips they made, working with them on scenarios and widening the scope of coverage to show some of the charming people and places in Casablanca. I can't wait to see the film. See related article.
We got very accustomed to the film lighting, and were amused to see that the clients loved this, it made them feel like they were in a movie. So now we're going to get lights mounted and as they're turned on each evening the curtain will rise on a new vignette involving our cast and a variety of supporting actors.