FROM SHOW BIZ TO SUNDAY SCHOOL
Sharon Leann Wyatt’s autobiography
My First Elvis Presley Movie (Conclusion)
And, Sometimes It Is Not All That Serious (Part One)
I was getting acquainted with so many members of the guild, and with the procedures therein. How to know when you had an adjustment coming, like a whammie, etc, and just the right kind of clothes to wear to make the director happy enough to use you in these money making “situations.” You notice I didn’t say “role.”
I was meeting so many interesting and dear people. That word ‘interesting’ covers a lot of ground, which you will doubtlessly notice as these remembrances continue. I spent these days transforming myself from a hooker to businesswoman, athlete to harem girl, prosperous heiress to pauper, secretary to housewives, pioneer to princess, saloon girl to successful executive, woman on the street and the list goes on ad infinitum. Many of these people came from such varied walks of life and I’m sure every state and country was well represented. It made it interesting for me as I had always enjoyed studying the characteristics and mannerism of people of all heritage.
One darling little Japanese young woman was without a doubt a sweetheart. We were working together on the Paramount lot, obviously on some unmemorable epic, for I cannot remember what we were doing. I do recall this, however, she was wearing her kimono. We had been sitting and discussing the different types of food, and of course Japanese was the prime subject. Up to that time I had limited experience with food of that country, other than tempura and sukiyaki. She went home for lunch, but when she returned back to the studio Mariko (I believe that was the little doll’s name) had a big pink box, you know the kind that food comes in from a bakery. Well this box with filled with all sorts of artistic looking Japanese delicacies. I could only taste a few, as I had just had lunch, but that night my mother and I had a grand time trying out and finishing each and every beautiful morsel. That was a very special moment for me, and I hope that little lady might be reading this, so I might once more have the opportunity to thank her again for her kind gesture.
SOMETIMES IT IS NOT ALL THAT SERIOUS
My initial bad feelings about the business were beginning to fade, as I became more and more acquainted with cast and crews of the different shows. I was hired to work on one show in particular which was a TV version of “No Time For Sergeants,” with Sammy Jackson and Laurie Siggald. Laurie and I had attended junior high school and high school together, so it was like all old home week for me.
On the first day of this shoot I was sent to wardrobe to be fitted into a WAF costume. Everything had to be exactly according to Air Force regulations, length of hair, skirt, and precisely how the hat fit down on our foreheads. The shoes and purses were all regulation and any stripes had to fit with the age of the WAF. This show was filled with characters, Harry Hiccock, Arthur O’Connell, Sammy and various sundry others. There was rarely a dull moment. Some of the biggest nuts on the set were none other than the male extras, who were hired because they looked military, but also because some of them were the stand-ins for the principal cast.
Laurie’s stand-in was a lovely girl who resembled Mary Tyler Moore in a redheaded version. Judy was just a dear and we had an immediate rapport right from the start. She was an awful lot of fun, and working with Judy Stoner was always sure to be a delight. The troops, as I shall refer to that irrepressible bunch of pretend airmen, were a big collection of flirts, but entertaining and fun nonetheless. One particular fellow, who now I recall as looking and acting a lot like Tom Hanks, and because I cannot recall his name I shall ascribe him as T.H. from now on. He had a knack of doing “dos” on people, especially Bobby May! Ah yes, how do you begin to describe the braggadocio’s Bobby. First off, he was a dead ringer for Red Buttons, and with all due respect to the multitalented and clever Mr. Buttons, Bobbie was at least the same height. Bobby was just that type of personality that would arouse the impishness in those so prone, and for the onlooker it was sure to be hilarious entertainment.
(continued next month)