Originally posted: December 14, 2011 by CHRISTOPHER RIORDAN
I balked and screamed at my friend, RHODIE. I was NOT going to go to a dance audition for the great HERMES PAN. After all, this was the man who choreographed nearly every routine that FRED ASTAIRE did. He worked on ALL of the ASTAIRE & ROGERS films; had done the most famous of the numbers for BETTY GRABLE, and many other big musical stars of the day.
Before leaving San Jose, I remember sitting in the theatre and watching the energetic numbers in "Flower Drum Song." All the time, thinking of how much I would love to be doing one of those routines.
Now, MR. PAN had just returned from Rome, where he had choreographed all those gigantic numbers in ELIZABETH TAYLOR'S, "Cleopatra."
RHODIE began explaining that the whole time PAN had been in Europe, MR. A (as I used to call him,) had instructed HERMES to find a young male dancer that could keep up with BARRIE CHASE, in a new nightclub act that was to be produced, but NOT co-starring, MR. ASTAIRE. This would be BARRIE'S 'breakout' performance as a headline star.
Frankly, every aspect of it all scared me to death. FRED ASTAIRE, HERMES PAN, BARRIE CHASE.... and the thought of returning to Las Vegas. After all, I'd just gotten back home, and was now 'settling down' with the woman who was to be my son's mother.
I must say, RHODIE listened to my excuses fairly patiently. And then she said to me, "I could have introduced you to HERMES sometime ago; but now, I think the perfect opportunity has presented itself; and what's more...you are ready. But..... if you don't go tomorrow, I'm never speaking to you again."
And so, I thought, 'If nothing else, I will at least finally meet the great HERMES PAN.' And off I went, very early on that March morning. Mind you, to my knowledge, I had never even seen a picture of HERMES; so I had no idea what to expect. As usual, I was more than 'on time.' However, PAN was already there, waiting for me. My first thought was, 'He's so small.' True, HERMES was not a big man. And, like the God Pan, he was a bit elfish, with a grin that could melt you.
Many times, later in our relationship, I would see that grin turn a bit devilish. At this moment, however, he was being very gracious, and putting me at ease. Well, as much as could be, under those circumstances. We chatted for a bit. He asked of my background; and then he sort of 'spilled the beans' a bit.
Evidently, he had done some investigating; and he knew more about me and my work than even I had recollected.The time came when I knew I had prolonged things as long I could; and so I told him I would change into my dance-gear, and let him see what ability I might have.
I remember..... I slooooowly changed my clothes. And when I re-entered the dance floor, I then asked if I might warm-up. Again, PAN graciously allowed me my own timing. I went to the far side of the room and began to stretch along the barre. I must have executed every position known to Nijinsky..... and then I looked up. In the mirror, I could see that the man himself had entered the dance studio.
I was frozen as I observed these two great friends embracing and shaking hands.
Indeed, PAN had only arrived back in LA the night before. These two had only spoken on the phone. My first thought was to exit, and allow them their reunion. My second thought told me that would be stupid. But, IF there were a window I could crawl out of.....perhaps they wouldn't notice I had left. Hell, it would be worth leaving my street clothes in the dressing room. Anything, rather than having these two masters watch me execute dance steps. And I mean 'execute' in the sense of, 'KILLING.'
Once again, I sensed I had prolonged things to the ultimate degree; so I finally walked across the room and stood before them. Can you even imagine how small 'I' felt, standing face to face with FRED ASTAIRE and HERMES PAN? No, of course you can't. Only 'I' know that terrible sinking feeling I felt that morning.I finally muttered, "I'm ready now, I guess."
And MR. A put his hand on my shoulder and said, "That's OK, you don't have to do anything." Then he began talking away..... and I thought, "What a nice man. He's going into great explanation as to why they aren't hiring me."
Suddenly, something he said told me that he DID want me. And adding to my idiotic behaviour, I announced to MR. ASTAIRE, "But you know, I'm not really a dancer." Once more, he put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Kid, you ARE a dancer."
He then asked if I could wait around for MR. KARGER. FRED KARGER (Music Dept. at Columbia Studios, coach to MARILYN MONROE, and twice married to JANE WYMAN,) was to be the musical director of the act."
We heard you're quite a singer, too. So, if you don't mind, I asked FREDDIE if he'd come down and play for you." This suddenly felt as though it had all already been decided. Why had I worried so? And now I was feeling my oats.
MR. KARGER arrived. I sang. They loved it. Seeing those two gentleman, who somewhat resembled each other anyway, smiling away at me with such great pleasure.... well, it was like acceptance from twins.
I then 'insisted' that I perform some dance steps. What an ass I must have been making of myself. FRED asked MR. KARGER to play something I could dance to, and MR. KARGER gave a grin very similar to the one LESLIE PETERSON, at M-G-M, gave me a few years prior.
And now, everyone was terribly excited. HERMES had searched for over a year, trying to find someone to fill 'my' spot. Even MR. ASTAIRE had been asking around. I'm told, not only in LA, but in New York, as well.
Again, FRED asked me if I could wait around a bit. He wanted to call BARRIE and ask her to come down and meet me. I heard her say on the other end, "FRED, if he's as wonderful as you say, and you are happy with him, then that's fine with me." Therefore, I didn't actually meet BARRIE until the first day of rehearsal.
Once more, FRED said, "Wait just a minute." And then he called The William Morris Agency, and instructed them to write up a contract for me.It was early 1962; I was to make $500.00 a week for rehearsal, and $1,000.00 a week for performance.
As I left that dance studio on the cold March morning, I sensed that I was back on the E-Ride at Disneyland. From that moment on, the association with FRED ASTAIRE and HERMES PAN, have stuck with me. And I am VERY proud that it has.
Naturally, I have more stories about MR. A. And I worked with HERMES several times more; aside from becoming very good friends. And, to THIS day, I am still very close to BARRIE.
And, yes, I've often thought, 'What a silly little guy I was; that I balked at meeting the great HERMES PAN.
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Originally posted: December 27, 2011 by CHRISTOPHER RIORDAN
As I write this....nearly 50 years ago. It seems like last week; that's how deeply the memories are branded into my memory bank. Indeed, for all my naivete and foolishness, somehow MSSRS. ASTAIRE and PAN had chosen me to be the new young partner for BARRIE CHASE'S Las Vegas debut. I was shocked, of course. I could hardly believe it; even though people had been telling me for years that I was an exceptional dancer. Still, to be chosen by FRED ASTAIRE, to partner his last partner...the girl he'd plucked from the chorus and made into a star.
Talk about 'over night.' After a one hour Television Special, BARRIE emerged as the new dance sensation.
When that program came on the air, I was living in Glendale in a sweet little single apt. I didn't even own a television set in those days. Fortunately, my landlords had invited me up to their place to watch the show. This was a program that the entire country had been waiting to see. Just the name, FRED ASTAIRE, was enough. But for this performance, he had dismissed the idea of working with GINGER ROGERS again. FRED always wanted to be current. He did not want to re-hash old routines. In other words... he was really challenging himself. And in BARRIE, he found the perfect match in all things new.... and even when he stepped back just a little to show that the old flair, the old magic, was still there. Not only was it still there... it literally exploded when BARRIE and FRED danced together.
Someone said, a long time ago; that FRED gave GINGER 'class.' And she gave FRED, 'sex.' Well, when FRED and BARRIE danced together, it was just THERE. Nobody had to 'give.' It was simply nature taking its course.
During my very young dance career, people were always trying to pair me up with someone. And, at one point, I even relented and took a dance partner. We won several contests doing all the usual ballroom dances; especially the Tango. But I really didn't like it. I did not want to dance with anyone else. Even when people reminded me that my idol, MR. A, danced with partners....still, I rebelled.
However, when I watched BARRIE CHASE dancing with FRED on that first show.... I said (and I remember this as though I said it an hour ago,) "If I were EVER to dance WITH anyone....I would want it to be with that girl."
So, you see, on that very first morning of rehearsal, I was quite intimidated all over again. HERMES was there when I arrived. He was his usual warm and pleasant self. Always a gentleman. He introduced me to his assistant; a woman who would be, as she had been on the TV shows, BARRIE'S 'dance in.' In other words, she learned everything BARRIE had to do, and then worked with her on each and every step. She also knew what I had to do.
Buddy Bryan had been hired as 'the middle fellow,' as FRED referred to it. I recognized Buddy's face when we were introduced. I had seen it many times in various films. He was often chosen to be up front, or in the center. He was a fine dancer. One that could adapt to almost any choreographer's style. And, he had worked with HERMES before. In fact, ALL of these people had worked together before. I was the newcomer..... the 'outsider,' really. At least, that's the way I felt after the third dancer arrived.
Bert May had been around for a very long time. He'd worked with all the greats; GARLAND, CHARISSE, etc. He specialized in a somewhat eccentric way of performing. Legs going everywhere, and appearing very rubbery. All this went along with his rather homely face; which he also used to his best advantage when dancing.
When FRED arrived, he sized the three of us fellows up and seemed quite pleased with his choices. What he wasn't pleased about was the fact that BARRIE had yet to show up. I learned then: BARRIE CHASE is ALWAYS late.
While waiting for BARRIE, PAN explained his ideas for the act. Having just arrived from Rome, he came up with the idea (on the plane, he said) of doing a routine around The Mona Lisa. BARRIE was seen in a huge frame, posing as Mona Lisa, while Bert and I posed as guards. Buddy was to be the 'thief.' The one who tries to steal her from the museum. It was a very clever idea, and ultimately went over very well when we opened.
Suddenly, as Buddy was looking out the window, we all heard him exclaim, "She's here. Whose car is she driving?" And indeed, MS CHASE was emerging from a new Jaguar. Taking her time, and gathering enough 'things' that it looked like she was moving in.
I could see that FRED was composing himself so that he wouldn't seem annoyed. HERMES took it all in his stride. As did Bert and Buddy; they were used to all this. Only Pat Denise seemed a bit put out. But I was to see...this was Ms Denise's normal attitude. At least, whenever she was around me.
I later learned (from BARRIE) that originally, there were only going to be two dancers in the act. How, or why it was decided to have three, I've never known; and to this day, BARRIE says she was quite taken by surprise when FRED called her and told her about me.
Our initial meeting was cordial; but I would hardly say it was a warm greeting. One thing I learned right away was the fact that BARRIE CHASE was VERY serious about her dancing. Fortunately, she learned slowly. She's a perfectionist. I'm dyslexic; so of course I learn slowly, too. And if anything, BARRIE seemed pleased that she could take her time with me. At last, I'd made a positive point for the day.
Thankfully, FRED and HERMES, and Buddy, as well, were all very patient with me. And, I got along very well with our rehearsal drummer, Steve Dweck. Steve, who was married to GRACE LEE WHITNEY, the lady my son would get one of his first dogs from. (A gorgeous Great Dane, named, Mr. Deeds.)
No, it was only Bert and Pat who made that first day (and many subsequent ones) rather miserable for me.
More on THAT a little later........ Scroll down for more.
Originally posted: December 28, 2011 by CHRISTOPHER RIORDAN
I chose this picture of FRED, as that's the way he'd look at me when we were rehearsing. Somehow, he appeared 'pleased as punch.' HERMES was the same way. For one thing, he loved that I would try anything he gave me. I was still so young and inexperienced, I simply gave every movement, every step, my full-on energy. I know that Buddy got a big kick out of me; and he stopped everything one day when I had showed him I could dance barefoot, on the tip of my toes. I had stopped the show in 'That's Show Biz' at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre, during my number, 'Autumn Leaves,' when I did this.
BARRIE was shocked, and said she'd never before seen a man do this. I think, for a moment, PAN and FRED were thinking of how they could put this in the act. But truthfully, we didn't have much time to be adding new things. This entire act was put together in a matter of just a little over two weeks. AND, there were no try-out performances. PAN'S delays on "Cleopatra" had cost the act valuable time. I remember, Stan Irwin, CEO of The Sahara Hotel, coming into LA, two or three times...just to make sure things were 'coming along.'
One day, I came into rehearsals without shaving in the morning. FRED was fascinated by this look, and kept commenting on how interesting I looked with a bit of a beard. By the end of the day, it was decided that all three of 'the boys' were going to have a different little facial hair. Buddy gladly went along with this; but Bert was annoyed. (Just more more thing for which 'the kid' was getting some attention.) I guess I should mention that when I danced on my toes, Bert's back went up. If anyone was going to dance in a particularly strange manner.....it was going to be HIM. After all, he'd made a career out of performing in an irregular manner.
I soon realized that I was experiencing a Love/Hate relationship with this job. I loved working with HERMES. He came up with some of the cleverest ideas; and he was SO easy to get along with. One could easily see how, and why, FRED ASTAIRE 'always' insisted on PAN being involved, one way or another.
Of course, seeing FRED ASTAIRE every morning of my life was a true gift for sure. This rehearsal space had partitions around it, so that the dance area was private. However, there was a space between the floor and the bottom of the partitions. So, one's feet could be seen as they entered and
walked down the 'hallway' in order to approach us. Every time PAN saw FRED'S feet come in, he'd signal us and we'd do some stupid thing or another. Something to make FRED wonder. One day, we simply all sat on the floor; suggesting that we were wasting time, and money. But the kicker was.....JUST as FRED would leave, and we could see his feet about to disappear, we'd all say, "I thought he'd NEVER leave." He laughed, of course; and then one day, just a beat before we were about to say it, he exclaimed, "Right about NOW is your line." HE got US, that time.
So, in spite of the fact that we were racing against the clock, and that BARRIE was extremely nervous about all of this, there were some enjoyable moments.
When I look back, I really wonder how we made the deadline. For one thing, people were always dropping by. Even though FRED wasn't in this act, everyone knew he was behind it, and they wanted to see how it was coming along. Also, the fact that FRED and PAN had plucked an entirely unknown dancer to parter BARRIE, made me into an interesting object of curiosity. In other words, I was creating a bit of a stir in certain circles, myself.
Now, I had been putting up with Ms Denise, and her coldness toward me, all this time. When I'd ask her for help on something, she'd react with her usual annoyance, or simply say that she didn't have time to deal with me at the moment. Often, I could hear her mumble about, 'why did they hire such an inexperienced dancer?' And now, after all these years, AND a lot of experience, I realize that Bert was doing everything he could to make me look inept and unprofessional. Somehow, I refrained from saying anything.
But that was not the case with Buddy. I don't know exactly what it was now, but something set him off, and he stopped what he was doing and gave Bert the riot act. Everyone had a look of shock on their face. BARRIE, most of all. She walked over to us and asked what was going on. And she had a look of obvious concern on her face. With that, Buddy explained just what Bert had been up to all this time. "The kid would get it all just fine if people would stop making it so difficult for him," he said. And with that, BARRIE made a little speech about 'working together for the end result.' Adding that this was no time for petty jealousies. Were we all professionals, or NOT? And before she walked away, she looked at me, touched my hand, and said, "You're doing just fine. Keep it up."
I think it was that moment that I knew....BARRIE CHASE and I would be friends for quite a long time. She later told me that that incident reminded her of how she had been treated by certain dancers when FRED had picked her out of the chorus to be his partner.
Sad to say, but true... some dancers can be extremely cruel. There's a lot of jealousy and envy. And often times, a great deal of cruelty and destruction. BARRIE likes to tell the story of when SHEREE NORTH hid her leotards so that she couldn't audition. To both their credit, they later became friends. But that's how it is sometimes. And now, I had had this initiation.
But let me tell you, from that day on, things were a lot different. And I also learned that people can give their best when they are encouraged and treated kindly.
Not that things were perfect. They weren't. Once again, after the show had opened, Bert attacked me in the dressing room. And once again, Buddy came to my rescue; and he accused Bert of not really 'learning anything.' He also told him that his actions were SO obvious. He was simply jealous of me.....in EVERY respect.
I had to work with Bert once again after the Vegas act. We were performing one of the numbers from the act on "The Hollywood Palace." This time, Bert was a little easier to deal with; but still, not my dearest pal.
Of course, a few years later; after I had gone on to work with HERMES many, many times.... and I had done some decent jobs in film and television.... things in which Bert was not included..... Well, to make a long story short, as they say; we were at an award show where they were honouring HERMES, and Bert asked to sit next to me. I allowed it, as the rest of the table consisted of nothing but my supporters. I'm happy to say, that Bert made every effort to be pleasant and complimentary. It must have been hard for him. I'd like to think my behaviour made it easier for him.
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Originally posted: December 30, 2011 by CHRISTOPHER RIORDAN
Somehow, with the music blasting in our ears, and the look of panic that came over BARRIE'S face... I didn't have time to think of how very nervous I was. Had I really taken a moment and thought of the entire talent roster of the M-G-M Studios that was sitting out there in the audience, I'm sure I would have panicked, too.
Instead, I just looked at BARRIE and said, "Got your eyelashes on?"
This little joke, that has remained with us 'till this day, comes from a day at rehearsal, after 'our' ice had been broken. At this point, BARRIE now knew that I was nervous about being 'the new kid on the block,' AND I had been putting up with a lot of nonsense from one of the other cast members. We were working on a combination, and it just wasn't coming. It got to that point where you either kill yourself trying to do it, or you abandon the idea entirely. Instead, as I had her in my arms, BARRIE looked up at me and said, "Well, let's not worry about it. As soon as we get our eyelashes on, it'll all fall into place." I laughed hysterically; and we suddenly knew we understood each others sense of humour.
So NOW, as soon as BARRIE heard the word, 'eyelashes,' she burst into giggles and took her place. But not until she gave me one more look. And that look relayed to me that she and I would still be standing long after all these other people were gone. And not 'just standing,' but standing together.
Even with the music playing, you could hear the mumbling of the famous audience. I could even recognize some of the voices. BARRIE poised herself in the famous Mona Lisa pose as she sat in the huge frame that surrounded her. I took three deep breaths, with all of my fingertips touching each other. (Something I've done all my life just before the curtain goes up, or I enter the stage.) Bert stood emotionless. Just staring at the floor. But dear Buddy was off in the wings and cheering me on. He knew I needed encouragement.
Slowly, the curtains opened. The music softened. The scene immediately looked like a museum after closing time. And when the light came up on BARRIE, just sitting there, with that wonderful smirk on her face, the entire room went up in a deafening roar. Before she had even moved...she had a standing ovation.
This audience got every nuance, and appreciated every combination. PAN'S ideas were brilliant. He was always clever with a somewhat sophisticated touch. And this worked very well for us. They loved BARRIE and Buddy doing their number. In spite of her aching back, she pulled it off wonderfully. Bert was the perfect comic foil; and of course, he was thrilled that everyone still seemed to like those bizarre leg movements.
My serious song had been cut. FRED said they needed to shorten the show. Years later, PAN told me, "It was the BARRIE CHASE Act, not the CHRISTOPHER RIORDAN Act." But I did get to introduce a new song that night. Dressed as a hippie, and with a guitar, I entered from stage left, walk-dancing in my own rather odd manner, and belted out, "Walk right in, sit right down, Baby let your mind roll on...."
I don't know what it was, but something about that entrance, my mannerisms, the way BARRIE reacted to it all, and the wonderful rapport we had developed....it all just charmed the people. And not just that one night. The number was really 'nothing,' I thought. But it was the somewhat comic relief that the act needed at that very moment. My instinct told me to play that character up. And when I danced solo with BARRIE, I played up being the young romantic lead. I was not letting myself be typecast.
Consequently, when the reviews came out, or when articles were written, I was the only 'boy' that got a little more notice than just having their name mentioned.
I have to admit, it was hard to concentrate fully on that opening night. I mean, how often do you see ANN MILLER jump out of her seat and applaud so hard that her gloves flew off? And I kept peeking looks at JUNE ALLYSON at every chance I had. I'd had a crush on that woman for the longest time. I liked seeing her stand up, or leaning over to a table mate. That meant she let go of DICK POWELL'S arm.
Suddenly it was over. We had danced the last step. The curtains closed, and you couldn't hear the music playing over the cheers and clapping. When the curtains opened again, BARRIE pushed me out on stage. She was now choreographing our bows. So, I went first. It might have been the left over enthusiasm, but I do recall getting a huge hand and a lot of cheers. When I came off stage, BARRIE and Buddy were standing there to greet me. Then BARRIE tore Buddy away from me and told him to 'get out there.' Then BERT, and finally BARRIE.....and the house went crazy. Being BARRIE, she accepted it for just so long, and then she brought the three of us out there to join her. I looked back at the audience, and of course I sought out JUNE ALLYSON. She was smiling at me, and clapping very hard. And tears began to fill my eyes. So I diverted my attention to someone else that had come into view. There, walking toward the stage, was VINCE EDWARDS. His eyes were solely on BARRIE. None of us existed. I made a mental note of this, to be sure.
Naturally, FRED had arranged a 'little' party in his suite, after the show. BARRIE dreaded the thought. I, on the other hand, was MOST anxious to attend. But I thought we'd never get there, as nearly every audience member was now descending upon us backstage. FRED was trying to shoo them upstairs, promising food and drink...AND conversation with all of us. "Just let them change," I kept hearing him say.
BARRIE had shut her door. She just wanted to get out of her costume and back up into her rooms. "I can't believe we did it," she said. "AND, they liked it! Or, am I wrong?" I assured her that they did indeed, like it. They liked it VERY much. "Go figure," she said to me as she looked in the mirror. "It was the eyelashes, " I said, as I opened the door to leave.
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Originally posted: January 1, 2012 by CHRISTOPHER RIORDAN
And so, The BARRIE CHASE Act was a big hit. How could it not be? BARRIE was the rage at this time. And, as I soon learned, 'anything,' or 'anybody,' associated with FRED ASTAIRE, was going to get a lot of attention. And almost always..... acceptance.
Now, I had been told that MR. ASTAIRE liked to hold on to his dollar. In fact, HERMES often teased him about, 'bringing back coffee, or sandwiches.' Which of course, FRED never did. But the opening night party in FRED'S suite at The Sahara Hotel showed no signs of stinting anywhere. Someone later said that the hotel paid for most of it. After all, they were delighted to have half of Hollywood sitting in their Conga Room; and having most of these guests staying overnight in their establishment.
It was MOST impressive, I must say.
When I got out of the elevator, I could hear those familiar famous voices coming through the open doors of the rooms. Needless to say, I was nervous all over again. I hadn't stepped two feet into the party when ANN MILLER came rushing up to me. "Honey, you were just fabulous. Really fabulous. I told HERMES, 'If I ever do an act, I want that boy with me.' This is just the beginning for you. I know it." Wow, such words from ANN MILLER. And they went on and on. One compliment after another. And, from SO many Big Stars. The room seemed to ease into a slower speed as I tried to take it ALL in. I saw HERMES, sitting at the bar with his usual glass of red wine. He had that cute little smile on his face. The one he always got when something had worked, or gone right. FRED came over and put his arm around my shoulder. He just kept smiling into my (bewildered) face. I heard somebody ask him, "Where'd you find this kid, Fred? He's great." FRED began to answer, and then BARRIE entered the room..... with her mother. Naturally, FRED dropped me like a hot potato, and ran to BARRIE'S side. He was full of compliments for her; but being BARRIE, she brushed them aside. And I could hear her mother adding little remarks and suggestions; JUST as she had done all during rehearsals. (What a real character this lady was. BARRIE and I STILL talk about her, and quote her little 'sayings.')
I thought it most magnanimous that Buddy Bryan came over and congratulated me. By rights, he should have been the one getting the most attention. When he and BARRIE danced to "Wine and Roses," it was so sensual, so romantic. I really expected even bigger things to come Buddy's way, stemming from that performance alone. The two of them danced beautifully together. So much so, that I rushed to change my costume every night so that I could observe them from the wings.
I suppose, as it should be, Bert, and Pat Denise, entered the party together. Neither looked terribly happy. And after someone said to Bert, "You know, I never get tired of seeing you do those funny things with your legs," Bert decided to leave.
At this point, I tried to catch Pat's eye. My thought was, 'Even if she didn't want to compliment me, she'd surely thank me for the gift I gave her.' I tried to be gracious. I thought a gift and a note of thanks for her 'help' might set us on a smoother course. Someone told me she'd been eyeing a beautiful Italian decanter in the gift shop. I found out what colour she liked, and I bought it and had it delivered to her room. She never spoke to me....the entire evening. In fact, even when I've seen her since.....she's never even uttered the word, 'hello.'
I don't know how long the party went on. I didn't want to wear out my welcome. And, after hearing VINCE EDWARDS telling BARRIE (for the zillionth time) that she should show her legs more, I made my exit. BARRIE, too, wanted to leave, but her mother kept telling her she HAD to stay.
The Conga Room was sold out every evening. It was quite a topical combo; having The BARRIE CHASE Act, and VAUGHN MEADER do his take-off on The First Family. Off stage, MR. MEADER was a rather quiet man. And very distant. I did, however, make friends with two people from his act. One, was the New York comic, STANLEY MYRON HANDLEMAN. He loved trying out his new jokes on me. He reminded me of another comic I liked, ARNOLD STANG.
The other cast member was a man named DICK O'NEIL. He asked if I thought he should try Hollywood before returning to New York. I told him it would be wise to give it a shot. He became so successful as a character actor, he never did get back to New York.
Unfortunately, there was one other incident with Bert one night. I don't recall what his problem with me was this time. But once again, Buddy spoke up. And this time, he really laid into him. Flat out told him how ugly he was making himself by being so jealous. I'll never forget that kindness. After all, Buddy and Bert had worked together many times over the years; and would likely work together again....and again.
I had already sectioned myself off in the large dressing room. I'd put myself in the far corner; as far away from Bert as I could get. Now, I was even crossing off the days on my calendar. For whatever reason, Buddy mentioned this to BARRIE, and it somehow brought us even closer together. Over the years, we've discovered that we had the same sort of experiences in our younger years. And, in many, many ways our lives have woven a strange sort of tapestry. That, 'six degrees' sort of thing, you know.
At last, there were no more days to cross off. And on our last night, FRED had returned and threw, yet another party. In fact, many of the opening night audience had come back to see the final performance.
ANN MILLER had joined HERMES on the flight for the last show, as well. This time I was a bit more relaxed, and wandered through the guests with a more confident air. HERMES stopped me at one point, and asked me what I was going to do next. I told him I was returning to LA. I still had a lease on this sweet little bungalow; so I thought I'd go home and see what came up next. "Well," he said, "I'm going to be doing a movie. Would you like to work with me again? I'd love to have you." "Yes, of course," I answered... and then someone interrupted us. We went our separate ways for the rest of the party; but before HERMES left, he came back to me and said, "OK, I'll give you a call. We should start work sometime in September." "Fine," I said, and then turned away. Suddenly, a thought struck me, and I called to PAN just as he was exiting. "PAN," I softly yelled across the room. "By the way, what's the name of the movie?" "Oh," he replied, "It's called, "MY FAIR LADY." ......
And the rest, as they say, is History..... as it is recorded here!