FROM SHOW BIZ TO SUNDAY SCHOOL
Sharon Leann Wyatt’s autobiography
Misguided Wigs and Gym Rats (part two)
While on the U.N.C.L.E. set, my answering service told me that there was a call in for me at Universal. I asked the assistant if I could go to the phone, and he said it was all right to use the one right on the soundstage. I immediately called Carl at U.I., an exciting proposition came my way I was going to work on Laredo! I asked if they could use Linda Ezell, Karl said yes, and informed me that we would both be making money. That always meant you’ll be on a silent bit, or perhaps better, converted to as SAG. We were both so elated, money today, money tomorrow! Within moments after the call we were told we could go to lunch, and had an hour and a half to do it.
Unfortunately, we were not exactly dressed for a luncheon, so we didn’t do our usual long lunch ritual and go to the Marina Del Ray to dine. We went to the commissary; the food was pretty good at MGM so we didn’t mind that much. We entered the big bright room and took a seat right in the middle of the place. We were so early we had our choice, as there were only a few other tables occupied. We were seated and perusing the menus, when I realized it was Thursday, and that was always my watermelon Day. It was a way to cleanse the body, with a semi liquid diet, one day a week. A lot of studio people did this once a week an astringent diet, it did wonders for the skin.
Linda and I ordered our lunch, and it was then we noticed a table full of bodybuilders. They were all the Gold’s Gym type, with their perfectly combed hair and golden tans. Their “uniform” a very small pair of briefs, and I do mean small, even for that time. Why they didn’t cover up a little bit better is anyone’s guess, although one could imagine it was to show what they have spent hours at the gym developing. We kept looking over to this table of beef trust, and it seemed to arouse their exhibitionist nature for muscles began popping up all around, biceps bulging, pecks puckered, hamstrings heaved, quads quivering, thighs thickened, triceps twitching and sinew swelled, as the two of us carried on a discussion that was definitely dwelling on them. The more we exchanged observations, the more their puerility became prominent. Now, had these atlases been able to overhear our conference, they may not have been so anxious to expand their fiber. You see, Linda and I were wondering how they removed the hair on their bodies! It was, with the forced tans so even and smooth, the overly accentuated muscles, all so unnatural. It is in all honesty, when done to such extremes rarely attractive. Lunch arrived, and we never glanced their way again.
DO STARS REALLY TWINKLE?
I in particular did a lot of work on Laredo in the succeeding months. It seems they liked my presence or Linda’s on this set, because one of the stars was often belligerent and difficult to work with, except when we were on the set. Neville Brand, was always a gentleman with me, quiet, even modest, and I never saw him under the influence. However, I was told by other members of the cast that this was not always the case. Whatever it was about Neville our presence was considered a godsend, but as I said, I always found him pleasant and gracious. There is something about how a woman is perceived by others, particularly men. If they see a lady, a gracious open and friendly one, they more often than not will behave as they see you. I enjoyed working on Laredo. The cast and crew for the most part were quite enjoyable to work with. Granny Goose, as I referred to Philip Carey was totally a professional, and Bill or William Smith was always congenial, friendly, and one you enjoyed talking to. He was a very accomplished man, and spoke lovingly of his wife, his home up in Topanga Canyon, and his garden that he enjoyed working in. I was to learn he was multi-lingual, had an advanced degree, and was obviously an accomplished athlete.
I must share one earlier incident, in fact, my first opportunity to meet William Smith. I had been hired, because of my perceived innocence, so that the director could get the reaction he desired when Bill was to burst into the room. The show was Daniel Boone, and he was to enter with nothing on but the briefest of loin-cloths, as a savage Indian. I was not to be aware of this, so they could get an unrehearsed shock, or at least a blush and a quick turning away of my head. However, Bill’s torso was extremely well muscled, befitting an athlete. However, when I would get to know him later he would joke that his legs could disappear behind the spokes of a bicycle. Clearly an overstatement, but we all have something that we would wish were different in our appearance, no matter what others may see!
(continued next month)