Friday, August 5, 2016

All the world's a stage

Robert Young was an actor who played lovable wise daddy Jim Anderson on the 1950's sitcomadrama "Father Knows Best," in which he rose to every occasion and straightened out all the problems at home, as soon as he got home from the office and switched from suit jacket to beat up old sports coat with leather patches on the elbows.  The dress shirt and tie, of course, remained on as he figured out how to get Bud back on the football team or help Betty get over coming in second in the election for homecoming queen or sell another box of cookies for Kathy.

What no one knew at the time is that Robert Young had a substance abuse problem, and hid his bottles of alcohol in the closet on the "FKB" set where his sports coat was hanging up. Sober, he couldn't deal with the realities of real life, but on TV, he could handle anything.

And I'm not trying to rag on Robert Young. Being alcoholic was a disease he had to deal with, but I'm trying to say that we often see actors as the people they play, not the people they are.

The next big role for Young was "Marcus Welby, M.D." And that was a character who was the wise family doctor who could cure anything with a few comforting words and some Bactine. And, Young always said that any time he was out in public, people walked up to him and asked for medical advice!

And that says a lot about how good an actor he was, and how foolish we are, sitting home with the tube on.

So I had to laugh when people recently got their dithers up because Bradley Cooper, who played the "American Sniper" Chris Kyle in the film version of Kyle's biography, attended the Democratic National Convention!  Oh, how the fools carried on about it! 

Again, let's go over this: people are paid to act in movies, TV shows and theatrical productions.  They don't necessarily portray people who have their physical attributes or attitudes about life and politics and how things ought to be.  The person who plays the funny guy on your favorite show might be a really nasty jerk, and vice versa.  Cooper played a raccoon in "Guardians Of The Galaxy," and there is no evidence that he is really a small mammal that eats garbage and peanuts.

Here, for the information of all, is a list of all the actors whose roles always mirror their true personalities:

  1. Pee-Wee Herman

All the others are just acting.

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