Margie & Me -- and Larry
In the forties, students at Central High School were expected to demonstrate school spirit every day which meant showing an interest in sports, especially football. Although that required an Oscar-caliber performance from me, I didn’t have to fake my enthusiasm for pep assemblies. I quickly became involved in writing skits and choreographing dance numbers for these almost weekly events. One of my favorites featured imitations of Al Jolson, Rita Hayworth, Mae West, Carmen Miranda, Eddie Cantor, Mickey Rooney, and Judy Garland.
I’m sure Margie (my debate partner) and I had more fun performing this act than the students had watching it. Except for my “Put the Blame on Mame” rendition, that is. Evoking so many laughs for impersonating Rita Hayworth didn’t sit well with me. I was going for Gilda’s sexy persona. Maybe that’s why my friends started calling me “Torchy” while giggling behind my back.
At one of the pep assemblies put on by a different class, I sat in the audience enjoying four girls singing and dancing to “Ramblin’ Rose.” Suddenly, I was shocked when a boy came onstage to join the routine. It was Larry, my cousin Sanford’s best friend. I didn’t know he could dance. This talent, plus his Glenn Ford-type good looks and offbeat sense of humor which I admired since our first meeting, made him irresistible.
“If he likes movies, he’s the one for me,” I thought to myself that day.
Spoiler alert: He did!
(Excerpt from Confessions of a Movie Addict, my award-winning life story with everything but the movie stuff edited out. For more information, click here.)