From Showbiz to Sunday School

One Year An Extra (part three)


This was ridiculous, and I stood up, and said, “You can have this job,” and walked out. And yes, so did the other two girls. Out on the street we could see the advertising agent and the company representatives arguing, arms flaying, and obviously a lot of shouting going on up on the second floor. Couldn’t happen to a nicer group of men.

One other commercial deserves mention, Fritos! A number of us were hired to act as if we were at a party and someone puts out Fritos, and suddenly the party becomes alive, as we all gather to eat these fun little corn snacks. Well we didn’t have to act, they had flown direct from the San Francisco Fritos factory fresh, I mean fresh, Fritos. They are fantastic fresh from the ovens, and we ate with gusto, so much so that they ran out. And we cease filming while they made the necessary arrangement to fly more down. The memory of them makes me want to drive to the bay area for some FRESH Fritos.

It is also amazing what such efforts, as hair dos, wigs, and make up can do for some of those familiar faces we all know up on the screen, or our TV sets. There are so many that literally are unrecognizable without all the effort that goes into their look.   There are those who are termed “sex goddess,” that can walk the streets and no one knows who they are. The hair just right, and the right feature emphasized, or de-emphasized and the transformation can be astonishing. Perhaps that is what Dennis Weaver didn’t see in me.



Norman Taurog the director, I was to learn hated the color yellow. And I had appeared on the set in a beautiful spring suit that was entirely yellow. There seems to be among some not just an inordinate dislike of a particular color, but a hatred for it. This ‘dislike’ is what I experienced this day and it was really something else. When he spied me he literally began to shout, “get that girl out of here, and can’t stand what she is wearing.” The reaction was surprising and certainly not necessary, but as he became shrill and almost uncontrollable, I sharply said, “Tell Mr. Taurog he can drop dead.” And with that I left the set. But why leave? I had a call to work as an extra, so I went back to wardrobe explained the situation, and was given access to the lesser costumes and found something that suited my mood.

I returned not much later dressed so that I might be unrecognizable, and so would not garner much interest. The costume I would describe as “Tug Boat Annie.” When discovered by my fellow extras they too were amused, and Norman Taurog was never the wiser. I never worked with Vincent Minelli, but understood that he loved the color yellow. I have often wondered if one man’s hatred of a color was because of another’s love of it.

Linda and I were to work on, “I love you Alice B. Toklas,” with Peter Sellers. And we were to learn too late after we arrived at the studio, that Mr. Sellers disliked the color purple. There we both were with accessories, and clothing in shades of that color. What could we do? Certainly we couldn’t go home and change, so we decided to do the best we could. Then as we entered an elevator, who should enter but Peter Sellers. He was a perfect gentleman, we exchanged some pleasantries, and he said nothing about our dress, instead actually complemented us on how lovely we looked. It does cause one to wonder about some of the stories and rumors.






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