FROM SHOW BIZ TO SUNDAY SCHOOL
Sharon Leann Wyatt’s autobiography
BEACH BLANKET BIMBOS (Part Four)
The whole feeling of the show I loathed. I had worked on it several times before this particular occasion, and even when not being in a bathing suit I felt like a piece of meat. Every female was fair game, and they cared not if you were shy if they had something to say, as they would say, ‘no feelings spared.’ They seem devoid of any sensitivity or good graces.
I carried absolutely no enthusiasm as I stepped inside the heavy soundproof doors. This stage we were on that day was huge. There was actually a full size pool in one area of the immense building. There were a lot of different sets on this stage as well. There was a hospital room, and a portion of a hall with a nurse’s station. There was a large patio area around the pool, a cabana and wet bar, tables and chaise lounge all about the set. Included in this mishmash was a lavish bedroom set, which was roped off, and posted with a sign forbidding anyone to disturb it, being referred to as a “hot set.” Later, this sign would prove to have a double entendre.
The guest star on this week show was Peter Lawford. He had an eye for the ladies, but seemed quite tame compared to Ben Gazarra, who was very quick to say exactly what he was thinking. And may I add, he apparently had a very filthy mind! His raw witticisms seem to titillate some of my co-workers; they would giggled and twittered, fawn and ogled him. He ate up on it. But there seemed to be a dark side to him, one I had no desire to analyze.
The opening shot of the day started with the camera on Joanie Webster’s’ derrière! A mega-close-up! I’m certain that this Bosch and Lomb lens never had anything closer in its career, but the director felt he was really expressing his artistic flair when he came up with that one. Joanie was not at all uncomfortable in doing it. So the shot was a complete success in the eyes of the beholders, who wanted the exaggerated swing in her backyard. Good old Joanie came through, and the good old boys got their kicks. I was not at all amused at all the remarks being made once the director called out, “Cut, Print!” And I was soon to be even more revolted when I was asked to come into the trailer on the set for an “impromptu” interview.
The second assistant director informed me that my presence was requested in the dressing room. I felt myself blanche. I asked why I was wanted in there. “They want to see how you look in your bathing suit.” You see at this point I was still wearing my coat. Now, I was about to be confronted by what I believe is the worst of Hollywood. I walked over to the trailer, which was also on the soundstage, opened the door and cautiously stepped in. Sitting at the other end of the room was Ben Gazarra and the director. With no regard, whatsoever, for my obvious reluctance, I was abruptly instructed to “strip baby.” I flashed a look back at these two lascivious beasts, but it fazed them not in the least. And I felt impelled to do as I was asked. I was too dumb and ignorant of what my rights were to do otherwise.
Taking too long, in their estimation, they became impatient with me and more indignant. The tears began to well up in my eyes, as I slowly slid my coat off my shoulders and carefully let it drop on the couch behind me. Their eyes grew bigger and their grins broadened as they got their way. It gave them a feeling of power over an innocent young girl. The tears were beginning to flow from my eyes. I was asked what was the matter. “I wish this were not happening to me,” I told them. “Hey baby, this could make you some extra money.” I told them they could give it to someone else, as I was sure there were plenty of other girls on the set that would be more than willing to parade around for them. Their answer was, that this was probably true, but it was my body they wanted to see. “Please,” I said with a tearful quiver in my voice, “I’d prefer you hire some other girl for this.” Without any remorse or apology, I was told I could go, and Ben added, “but your body is too damn good to cover-up.” As I put my coat back on, I said “thank you,” and went out the door. They seemed amused that they had this encounter, and remarked that it was a first.
Later, as I learned more, and my ‘innocence’ became experience, this event would not have happened in the same way, or with the same results.
(continued next month)