I don’t care what time it is if I have a pun to tell you
my life, updated:
John Houseman Remembers The Mercury Theater on the Air
We’d have sort of a run through rehearsal, with Orson directing it, naturally, and acting in it and doing the cues and that would happen around noon or one o’clock and then the great discoveries would be made as to how long or short we were. This was not as much as a problem as one would think because Orson had an unbelievable capacity for shortening or hurrying shows. He was such a past master of radio that he could add or subtract fifteen minutes from an hour show, without major difficulty.
Once in a while we did have major difficulty. Man who was Thursday was Orson’s favorite novel and so he said, “We’re going to do Man who was Thursday.” And he said, “I don’t want any of you-you Houseman!I don’t want your coarse hands touching this work! I shall write this work myself.”
"Wonderful, Orson,great." So about a week went by.
"Orson, do we have a script?"
"No, I’m working on it! Don’t bother me-don’t hurry me. This is my thing that I’m really fond of-this is my show that I love."
Well we arrived on the Saturday and there was no show-not a word. He’d not written a word! He’d marked a few scenes in pencil.
So now we were desperate so we sat down and we with sort of a paste book and scissors and Orson choosing his favorite scenes-he knew the play very, very well, he really loved it-so we sort of started putting the show together. But even that was slow work because Orson hated to lose anything or whether to add anything and anyhow we went into the rehearsal and we never had a script. It was all sort of patches and pieces of paper stuck together.
We went into the dress rehearsal and we discovered that we were twenty-two minutes short. Twenty-two minutes-well, that was more than even Orson could handle. So we had a wonderful idea-I don’t know if it was my idea or Orson’s idea- but what happened was I ran down to the library at CBS and it was the end of the season-we were announcing our new season-so I got all these books. They were books that I knew both Orson and I liked so I wasn’t too worried about that.
I brought up this pile of books and we just sat there-we were on the air by this time-and I would hand Orson one of these books with a mark and Orson would read it brilliantly and say,”That is the kind of entertainment we’ll be giving you next season. Next-” and I’d hand him another book and he’d read another passage and that was how we filled twenty-two minutes.
could men who are no longer in my life stop sending me emails titled “please read this” thx