Paul V. Coates -- Confidential File, July 10, 1959
July 10, 2009 | 2:00 pm
Mash Notes and Comments
"Have you taken a close look in the mirror recently?
"Well, we here at the Encino Summer Playhouse have. And do you know what we saw?
"YOU -- as an actor!
"Now we are prepared to offer you a deal. We'd like you to take part in our play, 'Laura,' which opens July 24 for two weeks.
"How would you like to have your name up in lights in front of our theater? That's a pretty exciting thought, isn't it? Just think of the comment it would cause among your close circle of friends.
"Your first reaction is probably something like this:
" 'Aw, go on. I'm too busy writing a column and doing a TV program every day.'
"Sure, you're busy! We're all busy!
"But a true artist never thinks of that. All he can think of is the excitement of opening night --
"The blaring overture...A quick once-over of the script to make sure you know your lines...The butterflies in your stomach doing the minute-waltz incha-cha-cha time...The last minute touches to your makeup...Then, the creak of the curtain going up in all its faded glory...And there you are -- in the flesh -- for all the world to see!" (signed) Bill Dodge,Encino Summer Playhouse, 4935 Balboa Ave., Encino.
-- I'm not going on like that unless the rest of the cast does.
"A compulsion drives many imperfectly educated men, like the writer, to put words on paper expounding theories and opinions that spring from the bottomless well of their imagination; an imagination that is renewed by contact with the works of literary giants and is similar to the method used by Antaeus to renew his strength.
"A representative example of this compulsion follows:
"Parkey Sharkey exists as the California counterpart of the British 'man who never was,' although neither run much danger of being tagged with a Social Security number.
"There is one significant difference between these two illusions: the 'man who never was' played a vital role in a desperate war, while Parkey Sharkey is the embodiment of his creator's frustration, tinged with revulsion, which is the natural result when an imaginative writer like you is forced into contact with the helpless, the downtrodden and the foolish.
"In short, a sensitive person must resort to such allegorical devices if he is to remain at all objective on the job in the face of the ceaseless waves of human misery beating against his desk...
"That's it. Or rather, it's only it until the next time the trigger is pulled by a remembrance, an article, a word. What do you think?" (signed) Harold Parrow, P.O. Box 42507, L.A. 42.
-- What should I think? You've just told me that my best friend in the whole world is only a hallucination.
"I have two jobs now, when I get through cleaning up the Oasis bar, I deliver Chinese dinners for a Chinese resterant.
"The other night I asked the Chinese cook, what you got for supper???
"He ran off a list of Chinese dinners which I had never heard of before. I had never had a Chinese dinner before, Paul, so I said Chow Mein, without the chopsticks. I can't eat with them.
"Paul, my wife is driving me nuts.
"The other day she walked a 82-year-old man home from a bar. He was drunk. They were crossing the street at a signal when his pants fell off him, and my wife had to pull his pants up for him in the middle of the street." (signed) Parkey Sharkey, c/o Oasis Bar, Menlo Park.
-- Lies! Lies! Lies!