FROM SHOW BIZ TO SUNDAY SCHOOL
Sharon Leann Wyatt’s autobiography
Colors and fingers (Part Two)
Then at times I believe it was perceived that Linda and I were a potential disruption any time we worked together. Once we were both called to work a club scene for “Valley of the Dolls.” The assistant knew us both and purposely separated us, putting the entire ballroom between us. As action was called we began dancing and making happy as a crowd at some hip Night Club. They were introducing to the American public a new European discovery, a singer whose whole attitude exuded self-confidence and his own perceived sex appeal. I caught Linda’s eyes at the far end of the room and our looks communicated a disdain and depreciation of this man’s supposed talents. Why would they bother promoting this guy? It was then Linda, who was closer to the stage where the lothario was caress his microphone, would lift her right hand so I could see her extending her little finger. Linda in her way was symbolizing her opinion of the man’s sex appeal. And I lost it, and began to laugh out loud, as did Linda in response. The director cried, “cut,” “what’s going on?” What could one say but that some honest evaluation had been made.
At this time I was called to play a significant part on a promotional short to aid in the selling of a new project to be called the “Bold Ones.” I was to play a surgical nurse assisting two doctors played by Joseph Cotton and John Saxon. Most of my morning was spent in training by a real surgical nurse in how to hand the various implements to the doctors, and how to prepare what are called sponges. Each one is prepared by opening the scissor like apertures held together by a spring, and wrapping the absorbent material in just the right way. It took some time and soon I had managed to almost master what was clearly an art. Then all these various instruments were laid out on a large towel covered tray, the names of which I had been careful schooled in.
After the morning spent in preparation the director deemed that I was ready for a run through once the principles had arrived decked out in surgical gowns, masks, gloves, and head wraps. The run through was fairly quick, with no problems. So cameras were readied, and I heard “speed, and “action.” Things went wrong almost from the start, the fake blood that was suppose to be ever so slight as the actors began to cut open the fake patient was excessive, and grew more so. Mr. Cotton began asking for sponges, and I became quite busy wrapping each and handing them to him as I was taught, but the director wanted me to look at the doctor, and kept asking me to “look at Joe.” I was puzzled but kept giving Mr. Cotton the sponges he asked for, who never asked for any thing but sponges. And the director still was asking me to “look at Joe.” Finally I spoke up, “who’s Joe?” He pointed at Mr. Cotton saying, “That’s Joe.” Knowing now that the scene was lost, I raised my right hand to my forehead in a mock salute saying, “Hiya Joe.” I always knew him as Joseph Cotton.
Then the director cried out, keep the camera rolling, as he sled from his chair to the floor in rollicking laughter. Joseph continued to ask for sponges, as he endeavored to control his laughter gasping for breath. And poor John Saxon was barely holding together as the tears of laughter began to discolor his surgical mask. We were fast approaching the last one. During my training with the nurse, there was one that would not hold together as the others, but would when we were practicing snap loose throwing the absorbent material into the air. She told me to hold it to the last, for surely they would not be asking for that many sponges. But as yet “Joe” had not asked for any thing but sponges, and we had few left. Then we were down to that last one, I tried my best to roll it correctly and hoped it would hold. Joseph Cotton took it from my hand but when he placed it in the supposed patient it then broke loose. Fake blood spewed everywhere. In the excitement, or rather chaos, the gloved middle finger of my right hand was caught on another instrument and in trying to free my hand that gloved finger tore off exposing my pink middle finger, which now clearly emerged from a green latex glove. Given the utter bedlam occurring I added to the moment by lifting that pink finger extending from the blue latex glove to the crew, exclaiming, “Look what happened,” as I gave to all unintentionally the international sign. That was it, everyone was doubled over in total hilarity, myself included. What became of that film I have no idea, but suspect that it is in someone’s private collection of out takes. Surely it never made the final cut, and we never did any retakes of the scene. I just hope that was not the reason that Joseph Cotton, a very fine actor, was not part of the cast of the “Bold Ones” when it did air. Personally I was just not cut out to be a nurse, even in playacting.
(continued next month 88)
Sharon’s autobiography has now been in print with photos included, for some time. This book, of 288 pages, in serialization will take at least six more years. So if you would like to have the entire story now, you can have a copy for a mere $20.00, which includes postage and handling.
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