DO STARS REALLY TWINKLE? (Part Two)
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!
Their ruse, however, didn’t work. Despite the director calling for me to “look surprised, look shocked,” Instead I found him fit and attractive, only I would remark that he forgot his pants. I did turn to the extra I was with, Bobby Wright, and said, “do you see that man’s physique.” Bobby’s reaction would be a bit chagrined, “you really know how to make a man feel good.”
I would work with Bill many times, once as I remember it, as a Roman slave girl and he as the undercover Texas Ranger trying to rescue us from the clutches of someone, if you can believe this plot line, trying to reestablish a Roman-like Empire in the old West. Despite some of the story lines it was not the script, but those that you worked with that was enjoyable. You could have a lot of fun in some ridiculous contrived scenes if the people were enjoyable.
It was on this set that I would first meet Robert Wolders. I was knitting while in my “slave girl” attire, Nelville, Bill Smith, and Peter Brown were all seated near by waiting for the next shot to be set, when in walked this very attractive man, dressed in the exact outfit as Peter Brown. And I interjected, with some interest, “Who is that?” Peter would remark “Oh that’s Robert Wolders,” and would complain how he didn’t understand why they hired him. To which I remarked, “Well I thought he was your double, and I couldn’t believe that they would hire a double that was better looking than the star.”
It was just a few days later that Linda would be on the set of Laredo conversing with the same Robert Wolders. Who was a true gentleman in every respect. They were earnestly discussing a TV show they had both watched the night before. Peter Brown always one to interject himself tried desperately to join the conversation, but had not seen the show. This did not deter him, and finally in desperation stated “you can’t do this to me I’m a star.” To which Linda turned smiling at him, fluttered her eyelashes, and in her best breathy voice said, “A star, then twinkle for me.” Peter did feel a little insecure with Mr. Wolders on the set, complaining that he was not needed that the show already had an appealing star, meaning himself. That was, of course, a matter of opinion.
Once on the set of Laredo, Linda and I were on our lunch break, and taking our usual walk afterwards, when we saw the tour tram coming through. In those days, the tourists really got their money’s worth. And this particular day was no exception. The tourists took pictures of anyone in costume, and the guides always made sure to stop and ask what show you were working on. The tourists even had the opportunity to ask a few questions themselves, and so it was on this day. The tram pulled up, the little guy knew our names and gave the impression we were really stars of some magnitude, saying “well here’s Miss Leigh, and Miss Ezell, what are you ladies working on today.” The tram drivers knew what would work, shutters clicked, and home movie cameras whirred. The tourists, God love them, were absolutely elated to see us. I must admit the costumes, and hairdos just made us look like principal players, and we felt the folks deserve the full treatment. So, the encounter proved to be a complete success for those would-be fans!
The tram moved on. Its destination was what I always called fraternity row, the cottages assigned to the contract players on the lot. From our vantage point we could see Peter Brown’s cottage. The tram was just about to turn the corner onto the street where Peter was housed, when we would see him run from his cottage, sporting a bare chest, and leaped up on the hood of his car, striking a pose! Linda and I stopped
(Continued next month)