I was working mid-days on KRAY-am in Amarillo. The morning man, Fred (?), was about to begin directing a production of “Anastasia” at Amarillo Little Theater and he asked if I would like to play the role played by Yul Brynner in the movie. Of course, I said yes. It was a most challenging role for many reasons. First, I needed to look older, and Fred determined to give me a beard and mustache. (The adhesive itched something terrible) We rented all the costumes from a Hollywood Costume House and I wore one made for Vincent Price that weighed in at 38 pounds. The Dowager Princess was played by a lady who had been in Hitler’s Royal acting company back during WWII. In her mid-sixties, her heavy accent and stately presence made for good theater. We had rehearsed our scene numbers of times and I was very comfortable with it. It was her throne room with lavish drapery and a beautiful throne placed center stage with a few steps up to double doors. She was seated the entire scene and I was to pace around her attempting to convince her that this waif we discovered was the real princess. On opening night, she did everything she could during performances to ‘upstage’ me. Instead of remaining seated, she immediately stood and went upstage to stand on the top level. I was shocked. Had we played that scene her way, it would have destroyed the whole thing. I would have had to address her with my back to the audience. In theater, that is a scene killer. Fortunately, I didn’t lose my composure. I immediately crossed up to stand beside her, refusing to give her the advantage. Afterwards, Fred read her the riot act and aside to me said, “Way to Go!”. The scene was played as directed for the remainder of the run. That experience further convinced me to give acting a whirl. My next run at civic theater was at Stage Center in Bryan. I played detective McLeod in “Detective Story”, John Proctor in “The Crucible”, Joe Cantwell in “The Best Man” and directed “Annie Get Your Gun”. I also did summer stock at The Point Theater, outside Kerrville, in “South Pacific”, Brigadoon” and “The Little Foxes”. And, of course the dream tour of a lifetime in “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”. I wouldn’t trade for my theatrical experience, at all, donchaknow. Really.
And that’s what I get from MY box of chocolates. AMEN