“From Show Biz to Sunday School”
By Sharon Leann Wyatt aka Sharon Leigh
SOMETIMES IT IS NOT ALL THAT SERIOUS (Part two)
On this one particular occasion, we were all out on the big field on the Warner Bros. back lot. That was today dressed up for a military parade. It was to be a marching exercise culminating in passing in review by the grandstands that were all set up for the “brass.” We were taught that morning, by a technical advisor, a lieutenant colonel who had served many years in the Air Force. We were to learn how to march in rank and file, double stepping and counter marching, and we marched all morning until we look like the real thing. This would later be interspersed with stock shots of the authentic Air Force doing their uniforms proud. We girls were shot first passing in review at close angle to the camera.
Bobby always took every job to heart and was very serious about any part he had to do. Bobby was so gung ho, especially when he had something special as today when he was chosen to carry the flag. T.H. was marching just behind and to the side of Bobby, who was also named, due to an out of proportion derriere “bubble butt Bobby,” or “bubble.” Which ever you prefer, who was doing his usual over acting as he, with great gusto marching towards the VIP stands, and the camera. The determined expression on his face was near comical, as he bore Old Glory. The drum cadence, the rhythmic beat as the squad drew closer and closer to Bobby’s silent bit. He was fairly busting his buttons with his having been chosen to do this special job. Well, he was about to have his big bubble burst, for T.H. had in his hand the biggest safety pin I had ever seen. And the long, sharp point had a mission to accomplish, and that was to be jammed squarely into the unsuspecting protrudance of “bubble.”
The precise moment when Bobby was directly in front of the stands, conjuring up every motivation he had ever learned in drama class, and now marching directly toward certain doom for the over exuberance Extra. The prankster, TH, was poised and ready to fire the guided missile, “hep two, three,” and with that T.H.’s arm came back with the deliberate swing, and thrust forward, taking careful aim at Bobby’s “big bubble.” Bobby, with the flurries began his silent bit as TH his arm came forward…. contact, the pin was inserted, and Bobby was thrown forward with a gasp and a wince of pain and shock! The impact hurled Bobby at least 29 inches off the ground.
“Cut, Cut, Cut!” The angry director screened out. “What the hell’s the matter with you May?” Bobby stood, looking at the director, with a Charlie Brown expression on his face. Knowing how irritated the director was, as he hoped to get this in one take, we all kept as quiet as we could. Though we were desperately holding back our laughter so hard we nearly exploded. Lips clenched tight, quivering under the pressure of near erupting hilarity. Bobby gathered his pride as the troops took an about face and returned to their out of camera marks. Bobby came through like the old trooper he was, and though he didn’t emote nearly as much as the first take, he carried the stars and stripes with a proud chest held high, and a wounded fanny held even tighter.
Dear Bobby! Believe me, I didn’t dislike the man at all. He was good to have around, for he brightened up many a set, if with nothing else than his “success” stories from all those shows he had previously worked, and with deference to Mr. Red Buttons, all the time he had doubled him.
I worked on “No Time” a lot, and always had a very good time. Everyone was very congenial, and like Bobby there were silent bits for me to do as well. Thank heavens without risk to any part of my anatomy! Laurie Siggald played a waitress in the show, and she and Sammy Jackson were sort of an item, but I think it was more a leading man leading lady kind of affection than anything else that brought them together.
One day we were madly shooting…..
(continued next month)