THE MISGUIDED WIG AND GYM RATS (part two)
One wonderful consolation in reviewing that time was the phone call from Linda when she said, “how would you like it if mother and my new address was 5718 Troost?” I was elated, as that street was only blocks from where I live. And within two months, the Ezzell ladies were our new neighbors. When Linda became a resident of North Hollywood it secured our friendship as almost kin. I’m sure we managed to talk on the phone every day, and surely to see one another as much as humanly possible. Even our mothers became the best of companions, a lot of that came from having so very much in common. Alas, they are both gone from us now, but they were truly good sports about all our antics.
With Linda so close, we thought nothing of asking favors of one another, that easily went with the friendship and no harm ever came of any request made. Linda loved to have me do her hair, and I love doing it, so it was a mutual good time. One such time came when after “calling in” together at my house, we picked up the same call, working on “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”
Linda and I were to be fashion models, a job description we can sink our teeth into. Linda had previously purchased a human hair wig, but had not as yet had it styled to suit her. She asked if I would be so kind to do a high-fashion hairdo for her, and within minutes she had run home and was back with wig box and hair accessories in hand. We began work right away, with great dispatch. You must remember the wig had not been sized either, and fit rather loosely on her head. I pinned it down to withstand a monsoon, but it still bobbed back and forth when she raised or lowered her head. But as long as she kept her head still, it was undetectable as a hairpiece. When I said, “Move your head around” the wobble returned and we went into hysterics. Understand that the two of us together found laughter very easy. And of course Linda did some comedy routines with that ill-fitting wig.
As we sat and chatted about which of our gowns we would wear for the job, we carefully watch the wig, but it seemed to behave itself, and Linda left feeling confident that tomorrow would be a perfect day. Promptly at 7 AM, I drove up in front of the Troost Avenue address, and the beautifully gowned, jeweled and coiffed Linda floated down her driveway, and carefully entered my rather low-slung mustang. We’ve both commented about the choice of furs we were wearing, and how much we enjoyed the “dress calls.” Such calls will even pay extra money for wearing evening clothes. The studios had very definitely been very good to us; we were living the good life as the working was steady, and becoming fun. We had no complaints, everything was well with the world.
We arrived at MGM and went immediately to the lavish set after picking up our vouchers at the casting office. It was a small call; only about five of us were to show our fashions. We would be walking along a rather narrow wall, which was the retaining wall for a very large fountain and pond. We were about two feet off the ground, and had to move back and forth in a six-foot section of the wall. Of course, all of this had to be done in a very high-fashion style.
The shot opened on Linda. She was directed to whirl about quite fast and stop abruptly looking at David McCallum. Then turn quickly, and proceed back. The director was not pleased with the rehearsal because he very definitely wanted Linda to turn her head with a quick, staccato manner, and stop abruptly as she looked at David. Linda followed her directions to a tea, but her wig had not worked as an extra before and apparently did not understand, for when Linda turned her head to the left, the wig did fine, but when Linda turned her head back to the right, the wig didn’t come along with her. Her head turned but the wig didn’t, and it ended up about a quarter turn off center.
The camera was still rolling, and when Linda and I caught one another eyes, our knees just about buckled out from beneath us. But we were supposed to be high-fashion models moving about, like clouds. We were positively dying inside, and at the same time trying to stay in character and not fall in the fountain-pond. A rather slick trick considering we were in 3 inch heels and long straight skirts, and then “floating” on a wall about 12 inches wide. Every time I looked at Linda’s lopsided wig, my composure would start to slip. She really managed to keep quite calm during the crisis, but she’s unable to tell the story now without breaking up. There is a little footnote to this story we later found the device in the wig to size it smaller. And then also discovered the wig had been put together backwards. But then where would this story be? Now having seen the show, remarkably, the faux pas hardly shows up, but I can’t watch it without experiencing total recall.
(Continued next month)