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Saturday, August 26, 2006

"The very young are almost as smart as the very old, Cornelius. It's in the middle that you get in all the trouble" ~ The Matchmaker, 1958.

We have an actor in/on our branch of the family tree.

After a week of auditions, Marsh has been awarded the part of ‘The Cabman’ in The Master’s Academy upcoming theatrical production of The Matchmaker.

Marsh plans to “take on the role and make it his own”.

The play, The Matchmaker, was written by American writer, Thornton Wilder. A staunch supporter of democracy, Wilder enlisted in the military during both world wars and used his extensive travels, lectures, and writings to promote his ideas of freedom. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963 and was one of the few Americans to win the peace prize of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association.

The Matchmaker is based on Austrian writer Johann Nestroy's 1842 play, "A Roaring Good Time, " which was based on British writer John Oxenford's 1835 farce, "A Day Well Spent."

From Amy Boratko, The Thornton Wilder Society: "The Matchmaker belongs in a selective club of comedy: the farce. It's filled with mistaken identities, secret rendezvous obscured by screens and hidden behind doors, separated lovers, exciting twists and turns, and a light, bantering tone à la Oscar Wilde. Unlike some of the more realistic stories on today's sitcoms, the situations in a farce seem farfetched. In Clark Kent fashion, a single piece of clothing (a pair of glasses, a woman's scarf around a man's shoulders) disguises identity.

The comedy opened in New York on August 12, 1955, and enjoyed a healthy run on Broadway. Later, film directors streamlined the number of characters, added songs and dance numbers, and created Hello, Dolly! the musical version of The Matchmaker.

This afternoon, Marsh and I watched the 1958 movie version of The Matchmaker with Shirley Booth as Dolly, Anthony Perkins as Cornelius and Shirley MacLaine as Miss Malloy.

Try as we might, we never DID see the part of the cab driver in the film version.

The part was played by Cap Somers, uncredited. Mr. Somers’ filmography lays claim to over 25 parts, all uncredited, in various well-known films during the 1930s – 1950s. I could not find a single picture of him anywhere on the internet.

Some of Cap’s roles included:

The Matchmaker (1958) ~ Cab Driver
Man of a Thousand Faces (1957) ~ Extra in Bullpen
Around the World in Eighty Days (1956) ~ Featured player
The Spoilers (1955) ~ a Miner
A Perilous Journey (1953 ~ Brawling Sailor
The Duel at Silver Creek (1952) ~ Claim Jumper
The Pride of St. Louis (1952) ~ Umpire
The Thing from Another World (1951) ~ bit part
South Sea Sinner (1950) ~ Sailor
The Stratton Story (1949) ~ Giants Manager
Ambush (1949) ~ Sutler
Force of Evil (1948) ~ Policeman #6
Panhandle (1948) ~ Bartender
Albuquerque (1948) ~ Bit Role
I Walk Alone (1948) ~ Butcher
Crack-Up (1946) ~ Cop
They Made Me a Killer (1946) ~ Cop at Hospital
The Hoodlum Saint (1946) ~ Mug
Music for Millions (1944) ~ Workman
The Master Race (1944) ~ Officer
Meet the People (1944) ~ Workman
Dr. Gillespie's Criminal Case (1943) ~ Prison Guard
Money to Loan (1939) ~ Arresting Officer
A Criminal Is Born (1938) ~ Patrol Driver
Carnival Queen (1937) ~ Carnival Man
Song of Revolt (1937) ~ Extra at Execution
Flash Gordon (1936/I) ~ Sharkman
Crime of Helen Stanley (1934) ~ Electrician

I am particularly impressed with Mr. Somers’ role as Sharkman in the Flash Gordon series, being a big fan of FG.

One of these Shark Men attacking Flash Gordon is Cap Somers. The other might be Burt Reynolds.

Perhaps even more significant than his role as Cab Man, Marsh was asked as well to be Prop Master, a responsibility he, in all probability, will enjoy even more. Per Wikipedia, “A prop master coordinates with the production designer, but also works closely with the director and actors to provide the items handled directly by the actors such as newspapers, weapons, musical instruments and food. For the most part, the prop crew, along with an on-set dresser, maintain the integrity of the production designer’s vision during the shoot and manipulate the items for the camera.” Whoa. Weapons……. Right down Marsh’s alley! And since a farce depends on an array of props, Mr. Drylie should be rather busy.

Also, a big congratulations to Marsh's friends Ryan, Andy, Ryan S., Mack, James and Alex for their parts in the play.

In the theater, they say "break a leg" to wish each other luck. I'll do one better. I hope your legs fly off completely. That's how much luck I wish you. Whatever you do and wherever it leads you, we are so proud of you, Marsh!

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