Like Lucy Ricardo, let’s just say I’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do. I planned to have the day off yesterday, so was leisurely having my morning coffee when the phone rang. It was a rush call for a background acting job on a new television series coming out this fall on Showtime. The woman then went on to tell me the name of the show. Luckily we weren’t Skypeing, or she would have seen the look of horror on my face. After I had her repeat the name of the show twice, my horror pretty much turned to full-on nausea. The name of the show was “Masters of Sex.” That’s right, people, – little ol’ me in a porn picture? he thought alone could dramatically increase sales of Mylanta. I suppose I should have been flattered, almost turning 60 and all. But I quickly reminded this little tart, in terms I won’t go into here, that I don’t do nudity and she could take her little skin-flick and sail it down the pretty much dried up LA River, thankyouverymuch! She assured me that there was no nudity involved, and that the show was about the well-known sexual psychology team of Masters and Johnson – a period piece centering around a hospital in St. Louis during the later 1950’s. Well, I let her know this wasn’t my first rodeo and I could see that this project wasn’t a historical docu-drama that was going to eventually end up in the archives at the Smithsonian. More likely, on one of the cheesey, sleazy channels that make me downright blush everytime I’m flipping by on my remote. Well, she continued to tell me about the show and mentioned some of the principals in it, like Beau Bridges. Well, I started to think if one of the “Fabulous Baker Boys” was in this, maybe it’s OK. Then she mentioned that Michael Sheen (no relation to Charlie!) had a starrring role. Well, that was the clincher. If Mozart himself from “Amadeus” was in it, how could I go wrong. So, I quickly jumped in the car and headed to Columbia TriStar/Sony in Culver City.
I arrived at Stage 27 at 10 am after battling through crazy LA traffic, and headed to wardrobe. They had a full late 50’s outfit waiting for me in apparently the sizes they have documented for me. Well, when I pulled the suit pants on, they went almost all the way up to my underarms. It was more like a pinafore. The stylist assured me that high-waisted pants were the look of the fifties. I shrugged my shoulders as much as I could, being weighed down by the pants. Next, I went to hair/makeup where they trimmed up my neckline and created sidewalls around my ears. Last but not least, they geled and sprayed my remaining locks down nd threw in a side part that I haven’t sported since the Seventies. Then off to the prop department. I was handed a civil defense pamphlet to hold in my first scene, where I was playing a hospital administrator ( this would have been pee-in-your-pants funny to Ric,as he IS a hospital administrator) attending a CD preparedness meeting at the hospital – and then they took away my current-day glasses! To say that the rest of the is a blur couldn’t be more accurate. I could have been on a porn set and never know it – or maybe that was their ploy?
After a quick bite to eat from Craft Services, I was seated on-set for my first scene – right next to Beau Bridges, I might add! Between takes, he told me that his daughter is soon heading to the University of Minnesota – my alma mater! Well with that little tidbit of info, our conversation was off and running. I must admit I had a little trouble keeping good eye-contact since I was sans glasses. Does he look as good in person as on-screen? I’ll never know . . . but a very nice guy, nonetheless.
The day continued on with three more scenes in the “hospital,” one which includes me having my fractured arm fixed by one of the daper background doctors. After 13 hours of shooting, we wrapped at 9 pm . . . and I got back my glasses! I held my breath as I put them on. Had it all been on the up-and-up and not a raunchy ride? Whew. To my relief, everyone around me was fully clothed. Not a whip or chain in sight. All was wonderfully well, especially after I got out of my high-waisted trousers. Now I know how Showtime got the title for “The Sopranos.”