David Bruce: Create, Then Take a Break — Actors and Acting, Alcohol

Actors and Acting

• As a young actor, John Gielgud discussed his plans with Lilian Baylis, founder of the Old Vic. Anxious to impress, Mr. Gielgud, who had had a successful season at the Old Vic, told Ms. Baylis that he wanted to work there again but that he had many other engagements. Ms. Baylis put the young actor in his place by telling him, “That’s right, dear. You play all the young parts you can—while you’re still able to.”

• Actor Gene Barry, nee Eugene Klass, played Bat Masterson on television from 1959 to 1961. Once he stopped to buy a tallith (a fringed prayer shawl) for his son’s bar mitzvah. The man who waited on him at the store looked at his check, then asked, “Are you Gene Barry?” He replied that he was, and the man ran to the back of the store and yelled to his wife, “BAT MASTERSON IS JEWISH.”

• Natalie Schafer, who played Mrs. Thurston Howell on Gilligan’s Island, always kept her age a secret. Whenever she went to the doctor’s and the doctor asked her for her age, she always told the doctor to look up what age she had said during her last appointment. However, checking on her last appointment never revealed her age, because she been using that trick all her adult life.

• When she was an old lady, former heartthrob Sarah Bernhardt had an apartment at the top of an apartment building. A former suitor visited her and, huffing and puffing after climbing so many stairs, asked her why she had her apartment so high up. Ms. Bernhardt replied, “Nowadays, it’s the only way I am still able to make men’s hearts beat a little faster.”

• Sir Peregrine Plinge once gave a bad performance as Macbeth, so he told a fellow actor, “Give me £5.” When the actor asked why, Sir Peregrine threatened, “Because if you don’t, I shall tell everybody that you played Macduff to my Macbeth.” (Sir Peregrine even went to the box office and said that the play was so bad he wanted his money back.)

• Actress East Robertson once said in a play, “Oh, God, where will I be when my beauty fades!” A voice from the audience said, “In the gutter, love.” Ms. Robertson was well known for playing bitchy characters, and during another performance on stage, another voice came from the audience, saying, “I bet you are a bitch off as well as on!”

• Bob Denver is widely known as Gilligan of Gilligan’s Island, the TV series about a group of people who set out for a three-hour tour, were shipwrecked, and spent three years on an island. Every time Mr. Denver rents a boat, he knows he’s going to hear the same joke: “Three-hour tour, huh? We’ll never see this boat again, will we?”


• New Zealanders apparently don’t drink martinis—or at least they didn’t. When comic singer Anna Russell was performing in New Zealand, she threw a party, giving instructions to a bartender to make martinis using Fleischmann’s gin. Halfway through the party, however, the martinis began to be dark brown instead of clear. She investigated and discovered that the bartender had run out of Fleischmann’s gin, so he was using Fleischmann’s whiskey instead. (The party was a success nevertheless.) By the way, in San Francisco, Ms. Russell was invited to a party in a restaurant. The liquor was still flowing at 3 p.m., although a law prohibited liquor at that time. When Ms. Russell worried that the restaurant might get busted, the man sitting next to her said there was no chance of that happening. She asked, “Why?” He replied, “Because I’m the sheriff.”

• A bottle of beer can come in handy. When the Globe Theater, where many of William Shakespeare’s plays were first performed, caught on fire, no one was hurt. The trousers of a man caught on fire, but his neighbor put the fire out with a bottle of beer. By the way, Mr. Shakespeare was a commoner without a university education. Many people have little respect for people like that, and so they do not believe that Shakespeare wrote the plays attributed to him. Over 4,000 books have been written saying that the “real” author was any of over 57 people, including Queen Elizabeth I. (Of course, Shakespeare wrote the plays attributed to him. Commoners can be intelligent, you know.)


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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