What is an Apple Box? Please Help.

October 20, 2015

Let me tell you a story.  A story that for those of you who know me, will shock you to your utter core.

 

I once did not know what an Apple Box was.

(The Original Apple Box? source)

 

Please, do not run away from this post in terror.  

 

Those of you who know me, have heard the stories:  That I was berthed in the hollows of a great grip truck, that, because my father is a director of photography, I was formed with the inherent knowledge of filmmaking.

 

The fact that I did not know the word for the most basic tool in all of filmmaking, may rattle the foundation of everything that you thought was true.  

 

How did this happen?

 

My father, Stuart Asbjornsen, owned and operated a grip truck and grip gear rental business called ODD/EVEN in the 1980s.  I still have memories of riding in the truck, with my dad driving, fond memories of playing on the deadly lift gate.

 

Fond memories for sure...but where are the memories of the apple boxes???

 

As I got older, I would often visit the sets of Baywatch and other shows that my father was working on - watching him work with veteren Hollywood grips, camera crew and electricians.

 

Yet apple boxes do not feature in these memories.

 

Obviously, every memory of apple boxes, both visual and auditory, were systematically erased from my childhood.

 

How is this even possible, that I didn’t know what an apple box was until I was NINETEEN YEARS OLD??  

 

Unfortunately, I do not have the answer to this question.  

 

All I can do is describe the embarrassment that I felt on my first day working on a feature set as a camera PA, (BORN, starring Alison Brie) when the best boy yelled at me, “APPLE BOX, NOW,” and I just stood there, with a blank, vacant expression.  

 

The best boy had never met anyone on set who didn’t know what an apple box was.  He was shocked.

 

To make matters worse, because he had yelled the apple box command quite loudly, everyone on set simultaniously immediately realized I didn’t know what and apple box was.  

 

This was within the first hour of the first day on set.  From then on, I was labeled as a noobie, and I was systematically hazed non-stop for the next 3-weeks of shooting.  

 

(Trailer for BORN.  Yes, this is an actual movie.  And BORN is how I learned what Apple Boxes are.)

 

 

Now, 11 years later, I know what an apple box is.  Or do I?  What is the history of this amazing device?  Why are they called apple boxes, who named them, and where did they come from?  What are the physical properties of this box that allows the most spectacular blockbusters to come to life?

 

I decided to research further.

 

Obviously I started at Wikipedia:

 

Wikipedia:

Apple Boxes, “should not be confused with simple crates or other boxes.”  

 

So true. They are SO MUCH MORE.  Confusing them with "simple crates" could lead to disaster.  

 

Wikipedia:

“Apple boxes were originally used for storage. They would have a forward opening in the box and it could be used as a double storage device for small necessary things.”


What "things"?  So little written history on apple boxes...

 

After google searching for 15 minutes, I found nothing of real substance on the history of apple boxes.  

 

If anyone has any leads, please let me know.  After being in the dark for 19 years, I now want to know the truth about Apple Box history.  

 

Please help me.

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