The Dream That Changed Everything (Part two)
You must realize that extras do not have scheduled vacation with pay. Many so-called vacations are more often spent in line at the unemployment office, where one usually runs into a raft of coworkers having the same “holiday.”
We were working on a party scene. The set was very old world, but due to the fact that this is supposed to be the Second World War in Italy, there was a drabness, a lack of festive decor. Nonetheless, it was a nice big set. And as was always the case having fun. The real comic on the show was Joe Flynn, heaven rest his soul. The industry lost a real talented character actor when Mr. Flynn passed away, his death due to drowning in the family swimming pool. O how I loved his humor. He was truly a storyteller extraordinaire. He could regale you by simply telling you the trouble he had mowing the lawn over the weekend.
As was always the case with me, everyone was a coworker, and being engaged for some time to a very nice young man, I didn’t look at men amorously. Although I could be flirtatious, I saw my co-workers as partners so to speak, each of us doing our part for the best of the production. Working on the show so many times before I knew each one of the fellows and they were all perfect gentleman, and delightful to work with. The sets were generally cordial and informal, and I think a lot of that was due to the director, Hollingsworth Morse. What a darling man, he was, so gentle and gracious, a real dear, who was always the same, never the tyrant or bully, but always sweet and kind to everyone. That night going home, I was so delighted that I had a four day weekend ahead of me, and two of those days I would actually be paid for, and I would be back on Monday working on a set I liked.
I had danced all day with Bobby Wright, a tall rubbery-legged all American looking young man who definitely could jitter bug. There were not too many scenes shot that day that we were not in, as we cut the proverbial rug. We had to be careful to match the master shot, that is a tricky business, so that when the close-ups of the principles are filmed we in the background don’t appear to be hopping about from side to side like two jack rabbits. Matching is very important to the integrity of the show. It was a long, but fun day.
Going home I had much to do in preparation for our Thanksgiving Holiday, which was to be spent with friends who lived in Costa Mesa. Then the next day as mother and I returned home that night full of the day’s events, seeing old and dear friends and family, we promised ourselves we would take a ride to the beach the very next day. We would spend the day in Santa Monica shopping for the coming holidays, and cap it off with dinner at one of the Malibu beach restaurants. Yet I was worn out, whatever the plans were for the next day, I knew that after my bath I would sleep like a baby. I retired that evening quite unsuspecting of what the night would bring.
I awoke the next morning refreshed with a sense of well-being. I was in such a good mood and bounced about in the early morning preparing for the day and I never questioned this wonderful feeling I was entertaining. It was like being in love, for I had never felt like this before. We then left for our shopping spree, as I drove and mother checked our list for our Christmas giving for our large family. This moment in my life I so vividly remember. I was stopped at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Bundy Drive, when suddenly it occurred to me why I was walking on air. I had had a most extraordinary dream. If it weren’t for the fact that this dream was such a significant influence on my life, I would definitely keep it a cherished secret. But in the dream, I was on the back lot of Universal Studios, working on McHale’s Navy. The entire cast was there, even though the setting was not exactly the back lot, for my subconscious had embellished it, and it was beautiful.
(Continued next month)