After that afternoon in the Ghost Town, I was treated to an evening at the Pollardville Palace BS (Before Showboat) for a Saturday night performance of ALASKA or THAR'S GOLD IN THEM THAR PANTS (or whatever the hell it was called) and the vaudeville entitled...uh....VAUDEVILLE (fill in the blank).
What struck me most about the showand the theater iself was how vibrant all the colors were...and I wasn't even high at the time. Take a look at the cast photo from ALASKA, probably the best looking picture ever taken on that stage to see what I mean. Now I couldn't tell you a damn thing about the melo itself except that the show opened with a rendition of PAINT YOUR WAGON, Phil DeAngelo as the hero wore a Hoss Cartwright hat and there was my sixteen year old friend Ed, gussied up as an "old" miner with a beard that made him look like he just stepped off a kid friendly cough drop box...Smith Brothers Jr. I also remember Ray Rustigian as a terrific villain. That night, whenever he entered, an audience member tossed a single peanut at him that bounced off his chest and his slow take would be consistent each and every time.
As for the olios, I haven't got a clue. I'm sure it was a patriotic finale...or a spiritual...I got nothing. But there is no way in hell that I could have forgotten the great diva herself, our very own Red Hot Mama, Miss Jeri Worth. As much as I enjoyed her performance as the femme fatale in the melo, but I was totally mesmerized when she took the stage during the second half. She tore the roof off of that place for what seemed to be a solid fifteen-minute set, culminating of course in "You Gotta See Your Mama Every Night".
Jeri was my favorite and most vivid memory from that night, not only on stage, but after the show as well. She was actually the first person at that theater that spoke to me for any length of time. I sat there like a star struck fan just chatting her up for at least a half hour. She told me how much she loved being on stage and of course in the spotlight. That was the first time I heard her line, "Every time I open the refrigerator, I do five minutes." Jeri was so totally gracious to this dopey little teenager. I’m sure she knew damn well that I had a little crush on her that night, pretty obvious by the fact that I found it difficult to take my eyes off her ample chest, causing me to cross my legs every couple of minutes.
Regardless of my post pubescent urges, I've always cherished those moments with her and didn’t realize until later that it was another reason I wanted to be involved with that place. I wanted to work with people like Jeri Worth. Later on when she changed her name to Starr, I understood completely. She sure was a star in my eyes and anyone who ever had the privilege to see her in all her glory, right there in the Pollardville Palace spotlight.
And that, my friends was My First Visit to the Ville.
What a day. And there were many more to come because this was just the beginning.
TO BE CONTINUED