And yet, given enough time, I could learn to play "Mary Had a Little Lamb" on the harmonica, write some short story that might hold someone's interest for three minutes (Opening line: "Spring comes late to Carney."), smear some paint around in the impressionist manner, or talk with Obama or Castro. But acting? No. Forget it. Couldn't do it.
We tend to forget that there is such a thing as acting; at least, I forget it. We see stars such as, oh let's say, John Travolta. We first saw him as Vinnie Barbarino on "Welcome Back, Kotter" and every role since has been sort of variation on that theme. We had Greaser Vinnie in "Grease," Disco Vinnie in "Saturday Night Fever" and so on down the line, right up to Goon Vinnie in "Get Shorty" and Firefighter Vinnie in "Ladder 49." And listen, people still want to see him in movies, so it's all good.
Old timers like Phil Silvers - cocky, strutting, wiseacre burlesque comics - were in movie after movie, always pretty much the same guy, too...a cocky, strutting wiseacre buddy with Victor Mature, or a cocky, strutting wiseacre Army sergeant.
|Lindsay, Lindsay, Lindsay!|
Then, I went to see Garrison Keillor's movie "A Prairie Home Companion," and there she was, a New Jersey girl playing the part of a country singer from Minnesota! And then, we watched "The Devil Wears Prada," and she was acting like a completely different human being! I said, "Peggy, this shrewish harridan is nothing like Yolanda Johnson from Mr Keillor's movie!"
And Peggy, with the tenderness that we use to explain to children that Superman is just a made-up character, told me that she was able to appear to be different people by acting!
|Phil Silvers! Phil Silvers! Phil Silvers!|