From Show Biz to Sunday School
By Sharon Leann Wyatt aka Sharon Leigh
The Queen Annie Cottage….Part Two
However, this antiquarian took an immediate liking to me. All of his overtures were purely Victorian and quite inoffensive, at first. He was eons older than myself, and though I should have been flattered, I quite honestly just tolerated him. I could have never been unkind, as he was extremely gentlemanly toward me, but old and not a bit attractive, which made all of his advances far more annoying than flattering. Had a younger, or a more handsome man used this dear man’s tact, I may have had my head turn. But he simply did not have an iceberg’s chance in Hades. Besides, I was faithfully engaged at the time, and totally committed. Nonetheless, even with my manners being just polite and not swooning over his sonnets supposedly inspired by my so-called innocent charm, he absolutely did not get the message.
It was not the set I had hoped it would be, working with Ginger Rogers. As a hoofer I just naturally had respect for the work she had done with the wonderful, Mr. Astair. I imagine Ms. Rogers and I as having at least one grand conversation on the subject, but, alas, there was never a word exchange. Quite honestly, she seemed terribly conceited, and cold. Usually that can be over looked and even penetrated with most, who like myself, have a mutual interest. But in this case, she all but ignored me at all cost. We worked together several days, on this small set, but she was not about to engage in a conversation with me, and I respected her seeming contempt for me having to be there.
Actually, Carol Lawrence was of the same ilk, and may I say, that too was a disappointment, as I had hoped to have a nice chat with her, as the musical stage was where I desired to direct my outside career as a stage entertainer. And to date had already had a fair amount of experience. But she seemed terribly wrapped up in herself, and my desire to hear any stories on the subject was dashed before more than one word was spoken. I often wondered if I should have been asserted and just engaged in a conversation and hoped for the best. But that was not Sharon Leigh of so long ago.
For three days, what went on was, of course, Abraham showing up every morning with new energy and another poem for me. On the last day of shooting, I walked up to the porch in the front of the house, and was gazing out over the lake. I heard footsteps coming up the stairs around the corner of the house. I knew exactly who it had to be, and indeed I was right, for even before he came into view, he began a soliloquy in his best Shakespearean style with one arm up in front of him and the other clenched at his heart. He filled the afternoon air with his pear-shaped tones, dripping with the passion and fervor that no Burton or Olivier could have better expressed. I felt a bit uncomfortable standing against the railing, smiling back at him in appreciation for the performance. All the while wishing he would have just stayed back with the rest of the cast and crew, who had stopped what ever they were doing to watch this ridiculous scene going on between the smitten old actor and the polite twenty-one-year-old extra. Oh, what they must have been thinking as they observed the scene that are only described in bad romance novels.
We returned to the studio that evening. I went into the wardrobe department to change into my own street clothes, and give back the studio costume. I came out into the common hall that linked the makeup department and wardrobe, and started down the corridor all alone. I had hoped to keep it that way, when I heard the melodic tones of my senior supplicant. At least I thought him to be humble and cautious in his advances, but how wrong this young girl was in judging this geriatric Casanova. I turned about to face my pursuer with the perpetual fervor, and if it weren’t bad enough that he was shorter than myself, older than myself by many years, and certainly in much more romantic mood than myself, he had his makeup removed, and to add insult to injury had removed his toupee.
(continued next month)