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Transcript of interview with Jim Hodge by Claytee White, April 13, 2009


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Jim Hodge describes an active and success filled life in this narrative. Born and raised in the South, Jim enlisted in the Navy at the young age of 17, just as World War II was winding down. His primary job was that of a cook. He became smitten with the life of an entertainer after participating in a play and headed for Hollywood in 1952. It was there that he auditioned for Donn Arden, who organized and directed Las Vegas shows. Though he didn't get the part, he did get hired to be a singer for a show featuring Betty Grable. Thus his career was launched and would span the heyday of Las Vegas entertainment from the 1950s to the 1970s. Jim talks about the people, shows and places that touched his life. He also offers thoughts about the changes in the Vegas entertainment scene as well as shares his relationship with his church over the past 40 years.

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Hodge, Jim Interview, 2009 April 13. OH-00866. [Transcript.] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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An Interview with Jim Hodge An Oral History Conducted by Claytee D. White The Boyer Early Las Vegas Oral History Project Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas ©All That Jazz Oral History Project University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2008 Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV - University Libraries Director: Claytee D. White Editor: Barbara Tabach Transcribers: Kristin Hicks Interviewers and Project Assistants: Lisa Gioia-Acres and Claytee D. White The recorded interview and transcript have been made possible through the generosity of Harold L. Boyer Charitable Foundation. The Oral History Research Center enables students and staff to work together with community members to generate this selection of first-person narratives. The participants in this project thank University of Nevada Las Vegas for the support given that allowed an idea the opportunity to flourish. The transcript received minimal editing that includes the elimination of fragments, false starts, and repetitions in order to enhance the reader's understanding of the material. All measures have been taken to preserve the style and language of the narrator. In several cases photographic sources accompany the individual interviews. The following interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the All That Jazz Oral History Project. Claytee D. White Director, Oral History Research Center University Libraries University Nevada Las Vegas • • • 111 Table of Contents Jim Hodge grew up in the South, spends most of his youth in Atlanta GA. In 1945, at age 17, joins the Air Force Reserve while World War II was winding down; enlists in Navy at 18; finishes school at University of Chattanooga. Talks about being a cook in the Navy; getting an acting part in a play; heads to Hollywood in 1952; tells about auditioning for Donn Arden, working for a Beverly Hills stockbroker and being invited to be a singer in Betty Grable's new Las Vegas show at the Desert Inn 1 - 6 Shares the first travels in his professional singing career with Betty Grable, Jane Russell, meets Martha Raye, Belle Barth Ritz Brothers. Tells about meeting Randy Wood of DOT Records, gets other singing jobs in LA area. Then in 1965 producer Donn Arden calls him to be in the Lido show he produced at the Stardust. Talks about his typical day in 1965, doing print and commercial ads, bit parts in movies, residuals and benefits 7-11 Talks about his Lido roles, packed shows; performed with Lido for 15 months; begins rehearsal for next Arden show and his role changes to "swing"; becomes lead singer in Casino de Paris at Dunes; then a lounge act in Lake Tahoe; Vancouver at the Cave and other locations and revues. Talks about different acts he was in. Gets job which requires global travel f o r e i g h t y e a r s 12-19 Illustrations after page 19:Jim at Bonanza as young entertainer; more recent photo with friend Janet McDonald. Tells about decision to step away from show business; travel to the Orient; father becomes ill; gets real estate license in 1979; auditions at MGM. Explains how he is known around town and gets calls to work; does surprise show for Steve Wynn's 50th birthday; does musicals at Spring Mountain Ranch. Mentions trip to Africa and to Europe with 125 nurses; Middle East, Fiji Islands and Tahiti 19 _ 24 Recalls his real estate career, high interest rates of 1979; friendships; church of 40 years. Talks about 50s and 60s era as heydays of entertainment in Vegas with big star names-future of local entertainment; what it was like for him to straddle different careers; more recent performances; Encore Dancers 25-38 IV Preface Jim Hodge describes an active and success filled life in this narrative. Born and raised in the South, Jim enlisted in the Navy at the young age of 17, just as World War II was winding down. His primary job was that of a cook. He became smitten with the life of an entertainer after participating in a play and headed for Hollywood in 1952. It was there that he auditioned for Donn Arden, who organized and directed Las Vegas shows. Though he didn't get the part, he did get hired to be a singer for a show featuring Betty Grable. Thus his career was launched and would span the heyday of Las Vegas entertainment from the 1950s to the 1970s. Jim talks about the people, shows and places that touched his life. He also offers thoughts about the changes in the Vegas entertainment scene as well as shares his relationship with his church over the past 40 years. ORAL HISTORY RESEARCH CENTER AT UNLV All That Jazz Oral History Project Name of Narrator: Use Agreement Lh Dae Name of Interviewer: .(2, 3. / / We, die above named, give to tKe Ofal History Research Center of UNLV, the recorded intervicw(s) initiated on 7/as an unrestricted gift, to be used for such scholarly and educational pjtrpo^cs as shall be determined, and transfer to the University ol Nevada I .as Vegas, legal title and all literary property rights including copyright. This gift does not preclude the right of die interviewer, as a representative of UNLV, to use die recordings and related materials tor scholarly pursuits. 1 here will be no compensation for any interviews. Date W/ \ •• Signature ofwf Narr ator Signature o0ntervie\ver Library Special Collections 4505 Maryland Parkway, Box 457010, Las Vegas, Nevada 89154-7070 (702) 895-2222 Jim Hodge Height: 6' 2" Remington Agency Weight: 195 SAG 702-547-3620 FEATURE FILMS COMMERCIALS < The Only Game In Town (Casino Manager) t List Upon Request Oh God, You Devil (Doctor) Rocky IV (Reporter) THEATRE The Gambler ( Dealer) Funny Girl (Nicky Arnstein) Take It To The Bone (Bar Guest) Chicago (Billy Flynn) South Pacific (Navy Captain) TELEVISION Tribute (Scottie Templeton) Vega$ (Detective) The Night Stalker (Police Officer) FEATURED SINGER The Millionaire (Businessman) Stardust; Dunes; Tropicana; MGM Grand Bridge Across Time ( Mayor) New York & Miami Beach Latin Quarter Unsolved Mysteries (Detective) Desert Inn; Silver Slipper; Moulin Rouge Julia (Highway Patrolman) (Hollywood); Lake Tahoe; Hilton (Manila) TRAINING TALENT American Academy Of Dramatic Arts (NY) Actor, Singer, Spokesman, Host, MC... Joseph Bernard (Las Vegas) Madam Rosa St. Ember (Hollywood) SKILLS Tennis, Golf This is Claytee White. It is April 13th, 2009. And I'm with Jim Hodge in his home in Las Vegas. So how are you today, Jim? Well, I'm just fine, thank you. And, Jim, could you pronounce and spell your last name for me, please? Hodge, H-O-D-G-E. Thank you. So you were about to tell me where you grew up. Could you go ahead and tell me about that? Well, as a real young child in Asheville, North Carolina, my dad was in the furniture business. And so he moved a little in the beginning before he got his own business. We moved to Augusta, Georgia, when I was five years old. Then at age 17—I'm trying to think—I graduated from the military academy in Augusta when I was 16. And then we had a two-year junior college, which was coed, in our military area school and I attended there for a year at which point I joined the Air Force Reserve. At that time the war was still on—World War II. It was a training program for pilots. My brother had been a pilot — well, he was a pilot during the war. He was older, of course. And so I went to North Carolina State for a year towards that training thing. In May of 1945, however, is when the war ended in Europe and then in August in Japan. So middle of May in Raleigh that program ended. I had until the 31st of May before I was turning 18. Therefore, I had the option of either staying in the Air Force as a ground crewman or going in the regular Army or getting out. So I got out and ran home to Chattanooga where my parents lived—where I was born, and where they used to live—both of them, and I joined the Navy just before my 18th birthday. I went off to Bainbridge, Maryland to boot camp in the Navy. I've been a lucky person all my life—there's just no doubt about it—as witness my timing for everything. I was really young to get in all that, but just in time to get all the GI Bill rights. When I got out, which was only 15 months later because the war had ended, I came back to Chattanooga and finished my junior and senior year at the University of Chattanooga and did some little theater stuff, which got me started on a career other than the furniture business, which I also went into. 1 So your parents moved back from? Augusta. Back to Chattanooga? While I was in North Carolina in school. And so when I had to go down ~ it was a funny story. When I went down to the courthouse in Chattanooga to join the Navy, the man looked at all my records because my mother had gone home from Alabama, where they first lived, to have me born with her doctor in Chattanooga; everything said Chattanooga, Tennessee. And this man said you haven't been around much, have you? And I said for your information I didn't know my way to the courthouse. So that was my first experience there. So how did you like Chattanooga? Oh, I liked it very much. It's a beautiful place. And, of course, when I came home from the war in the fall of '46, everybody was coming home. We all went to college together again. A lot of them were freshmen because they had been in for several years. I was a junior, though, because I had had those two years already. So, you know, naturally I got to know everybody in Chattanooga pretty soon. Why did you decide on the Navy? Well, because I didn't want to be in the Army. And the Air Corps didn't appeal to me at all if I wasn't going to be a flier. So I just thought the Navy. And I knew some friends in the Navy and so forth. But the lucky part that I was telling you: after boot camp you have a little brief vacation and you go back to assignment unit type thing. And one other boy and myself were chosen for our IQ, which is funny because I'm not that smart, to go to Washington, D.C., to be on Admiral King's yacht. He was the head of the fleet, you know, the top admiral in the Navy. So I stayed onboard his ship, which is docked right next to (President) Truman's ship and (President) Roosevelt's. And I ended up being star struck. I got to see them and all that. Roosevelt was gone, but Truman took the ship down every weekend on cruises. And his daughter, Margaret, who was actually much better looking in person than her picture, was there. And I was always there casting off when they — So what kind of work did you do on the ship? 2 I was a cook. They made me a cook because all the cooks were getting discharged. In this place—it was called the USS Dauntless. It was a luxury yacht from the Great Lakes. It belonged to the Dodge brothers, the motor people. And they confiscated it, the Navy, and painted it battleship gray and put some guns on it and docked it in the Washington, D.C. Navy yard. And the admiral lived on the yacht and went to the Pentagon and back every day. And all the men that had been on there were supposedly overseas. We had an overseas address. We got overseas pay. (That was the beginning of the government waste that I knew anything about!) So that's how, you know, I stayed there. Every other night as a cook. Everybody was getting discharged. And so I was a new sailor. And cooking is the last thing in the world I knew anything about and to this day have any interest in. But they had several Filipinos on there who were taking care of the admiral. And they taught me. I learned how to carve a whole ham and a side of beef. I cooked in these big quantities. And I love eggs soft. Well, you know in the Navy they put about a hundred eggs in the pan. Then when it's hard they turn it over. And I stood there and stirred forever because I couldn't stand it. And I spoiled all these guys. Man, these are the best eggs. That's the way you've got to cook them. So anyway, I did that off and on for a year. Got my discharge and came back to Chattanooga just in time to go into school in September of'46. As I said, I actually was a business major, got my degree in business. But one of my teachers --1 taught a class called Speech, Voice and Diction that was one semester and the other one was Public Speaking because that always interested me. Of course, I had a thick southern accent, which I still have somewhat I'm sure. Well, anyway, I did that. And she was the drama coach also. So she put me in a play. And that sort of piqued my interest, you know. So what was that first play? It was called The Devil's Disciple. It was a George Bernard Shaw play. It was the lead (part). It was a wonderful part. And I practically ran offstage and learned the next scene and came back on. She was known for not using her drama students. She'd get somebody (who) she liked their looks or liked them and she put them in there. The drama people hated her. But that was good for you. Yeah, it was. So I had a wonderful time there. 3 Great. That's the way college should be. Absolutely. Back then it was, really. So what brought you to Las Vegas? Well, my major story—which everybody that knows me knows—is that the love of my life was Betty Grable. As a kid going to the movies I was the first one there. I was mad about Betty Grable. And so actually when I was in one of those plays—the last one I was in—an actress from Hollywood came through on a tour promoting her movie, which was Harvey with Jim Stewart, the one with the big rabbit. She was the young pretty nurse in that. And she was a Tennessee girl. So she came home on tour and was queen of the Cotton Ball. It was very social there. This was a big deal in the summertime. And I used to escort all the debutantes and do all that stuff. And so I managed to get a date with her and we went out because obviously I wanted to. She was on a contract at Universal Studios at that time. She came to see my play. And Lord knows. Nobody ever does this, but she wrote to Hollywood on my behalf, to her studio and her manager and her agent. So I said, look, I'm going. I got out of the furniture business. I saved money for three or four months. I said I'm leaving; I'm going to Hollywood. Well, in the long run it didn't do me much good. But the fact that somebody did that for me is incredible—especially another actor. They just don't do that. What did your parents think? Well, they were all for it. They always have been for whatever I wanted to do. So I took off cold turkey to Hollywood in 1952, January. And I lived there till '65 when I moved here (Las Vegas). I came here early with Betty Grable, but I'll explain that. Anyway, I wandered around. Got a job at United Airlines ticket office on Hollywood and Vine there. NBC was right down the street at that time. And Nat King Cole—all the people, came up and bought their own tickets then. I was in hog heaven; I got to meet all these people. And like I said, it didn't really do any good, but I didn't know that. I just thought it was fun. And soon I met a girl who lived down the street from me, whose mother was trying to fix me up with her all the time. She was sort of not very pretty, poor thing, but her mother was one of those pushy mothers. One night for dinner this girl had a friend of hers there who was playing the piano and singing. And I had never sung professionally at all. But I found out who her teacher 4 was and I started going to this "old lady" once a week for a year or more before anything happened. And she said, darling, if you just were Jewish or Italian or something so your voice would be where it belongs, you know, I have to go down inside of you like this to get your voice up because it's so southern and laid-back like this, you know. She was the cutest thing. So we worked on an audition that they were having at the Moulin Rouge in Hollywood at that time, which was formerly the Earl Carroll Theatre. I think maybe it's still there right across from Sunset and Vine, right there. So I went to this audition they were having. It was one from Las Vegas. And Donn Arden, the man who did all the big shows here, was conducting the audition. There were 60 men there. And four days later there were ten of us left. They kept eliminating. I thought I have a job at last, you know. This was on a Sunday. I had my girlfriend and another couple come to the audition that day. And we're standing up there on the stage like you do and they're sitting out there in the dark. He said, okay, Jim, step out and do your routine. I had a little hat and cane routine to "On the Street Where You Live" [song lyrics] that I had perfected. Finally, the last time I went out and then he'd say, well, step back in line. Then he said, listen, Jim, we really like you, but you're just too tall. He says, we need four men in this show, four singers, but they all have to be the same height and we've already picked two of them. Well, it broke my heart. I thought that's the end of it. But he said maybe I'll use you later in Las Vegas. So I just dismissed it. And I became a stockbroker in Beverly Hills because a friend of mine had his office and I was a college graduate and all that. So I loved it. And about three or four months later he called me and said how would you like to go with Betty Grable to Las Vegas? I mean that was my first miracle in my life. He was staging her act, her first act after she got out of the movie business. She was about 40 at that time and still looked sensational. I was one of four boys, two of us this height and two a little shorter. We weren't dancers, but we were song men and moving around and lifting her and doing stuff like that. "Boys," they always called us. So I started rehearsing and met her and everything. I would have was paid to do it, you know. And I was doing this brokerage thing at that time. And I said, boys, I'm going to take off for a while. And they were as excited as I was, you know. So to make a long story short, we rehearsed quite a bit. We opened here on New Year's Eve in 1957, December j 1 st. So that was the first time — I had come here a year before with 5 somebody that was getting married, a friend of mine. But really I came here with her on that date for the month of January. Of course, I loved it. I loved every minute of it. So where were you performing? At the Desert Inn. She was a huge hit because everybody knew her and she was just out of the movies and this, that and the other thing. Oh, yes. So 1957, the Desert Inn, what did it look like? It looked like all the rest of them. They were like drive-ins. I mean it had a little porte-cochere that you drove under and maybe a two-story building. The Sky Room, it was called, was the second story; up there was a little nightclub where we rehearsed the night before we opened up there because they were doing something in the showroom. Jane Powell was in the showroom. It was her last night. So you've seen the pictures, mostly of the Flamingo, the early Flamingo. They had the great big porte-cochere out there and the 1950 cars all over the place. That's what they looked like. I mean it was heaven. I loved every minute of it. From the day I got here I just knew I was home. So we worked that month. And it just killed people. Everybody loved her to death. Of course, I got a lot of good experience naturally doing it including getting to pick her up by those legs every night. Where did you live during that month? In a motel not far away right down from the Strip on Convention Center Drive. At that time everybody had pretty much come from out of town and we were all living around someplace for the month. Then I went back to my job in Beverly Hills. And they allowed you to come back. Oh, yeah. They were excited. And that's all commission stuff anyway. So you only make money if you're selling anything. I was doing very well. I got started all on the telephone. So that was January. In March - this is the thing. In March we were booked as the stars of the Moulin Rouge show. Right there in Hollywood? Right there in Hollywood. And for two weeks. And I ended up in front of the boys I lost out to because we were the star act. I'm telling you my life has been like that. But that's the concrete 6 examples of how I got started. And I just ~ I don't know. Actually I thought it was natural. I expected things to work. That's why they did, you know. So we did that. Then we went to Lake Tahoe for a month in the summer. And then we came back to the Desert Inn in September for another month. January we went to New York City's The Latin Quarter, which [TV journalist/personality] Barbara Walters' father [Lou Walters] owned, as well as The Latin Quarter in Miami, which we went to after that; and where our tour ended. And then we were going to Havana. That's when Castro took over. 1959. Yes. It was February or March of'59 when we finished the act at that point. So, of course, we never got there. And so I came back and went back into the brokerage business again. So during that time you were working pretty often — Miami, New York. So would you go back in between to the stock brokerage? Oh, yeah. I'd go back a month or however much time we had off. How much were you earning in show business at that time? Let me see. I think we made $150 a week if I'm not mistaken, maybe 200. It was one of the two. I can't remember. But that was 1958 and 1959. Yes, like I said, I would have paid to do it. It was just great fun. And, of course, I met all kinds of people. Who are some of the people that impressed you most? Well, Jane Russell, wonderful gal. She and Betty had done How to Marry a Millionaire. Marilyn Monroe was in it. Betty said to Marilyn I've had it, honey, it's your turn. You know, she turned it over to her. Everybody loved Betty Grable because she had this sensational sense of humor and not full of herself at all even in rehearsal. She said, well now, what is it Betty does here? Damn, I can't remember all this stuff. The night that we rehearsed up in The Sky Room at the Desert Inn, the night before we were going to open, it was about two o'clock in the morning and we were doing this stripper number, fake stripper number. She had a feather boa. And Donn Arden was trying to—Night Train was the music. He was trying to teach her to do the feather boa. And he was like, oh, my god, this is terrible; she can't do that. One, two, three, four. Well, that night on the stage she did it like she had been doing it all of her life. She was smart enough to let 7 everybody do everything for her because that's what they did in the movies, see. You just act dumb and they'll teach you. They'll do it for you. So she was a really smart lady. Oh, and just so much fun. Everybody loved Betty. And she had this sensational, raucous sense of humor. I said, you should have been a comedian. She said, oh, I did all right. Gosh, I guess so. Yeah, she did. Well, through her in Miami I met Martha Raye and Belle Barth and these kinds of people that she liked and the Ritz Brothers. Of course, a lot of her people that would come to see her I would say hello or something. She would be off with them or something and I didn't see that much of her. We used to lie at the Desert Inn pool in the afternoons, though, getting sun. And she kidded me because I always wanted ~ when it was lunchtime she would say, oh, Jim has to eat three times a day. We better leave here now. Growing up with my mother that's the way it was always done. I was so new to real show business where they're all kind of lackadaisical about things. And she'd say after a while, well, I better go stick my face in the freezer and get ready for the show tonight. What did that mean? It means to shrink it up, you know, so she'd look good. Did you have to put on special makeup before going on? Not special makeup, just like Max Factor stuff and a little bit of eye makeup. Do they train the men to put their own makeup on? Not really, no. They would tell you if it was bad. But really all you do is like I say your facial stuff. I used what's called Early Egyptian because it's a nice tan look. And then you just highlight your eyebrows and your eyes a little bit and maybe a touch of rouge. Most chorus boys like that overdo it I found out. So that the lights won't take it all away. Yes, that's it. Of course, now I don't do eyes and all that stuff. Fortunately, I'm not being compared to somebody 12 years old. So how did you get back to Las Vegas as a career? Well, after [Betty s] act I came back and I first of all, I was singing around in nightclubs in Los Angeles all that time, too, before I even came here. And then — wait a minute. That was 8 afterwards, though. I got it mixed up. I got a job in a couple of desert resorts between here and L.A., the Apple Valley Inn and the Hesperia Inn. I was singing one night and this guy gave me his card. People gave me cards all the time. But he said I'm with a date tonight and I've had some drinks, but call me tomorrow. I thought he sounds legitimate. So I called him. It turns out he was an Apple Valley land salesman. That was a big promotional deal at that time. So he wanted me to go up there and audition. So I did. I used my Green Stamps to get a golf bag because I hadn't been playing for a long time. And I had a new Volkswagen. That's the only thing new I had. We'd go up there and I sang. And they loved it and all that. But he said, you know, Jim, they decided they wanted a woman, which naturally they loved the boobs and all that. So I thought, god, that's another waste of time. But the day that I played my golf up there was head of DOT Records in Hollywood. Randy Wood, he was a big name in Hollywood. He and a guy from Palm Springs who was a furniture dealer were up there and a couple of other guys. That's who I played with and they were good golfers. I was a nervous wreck because I really wasn't any good. But the one guy from Palm Springs was very, very nice. And he said, listen, tonight ~ because I was finished and I was going to come on home. He says tonight let's go to the Hesperia Inn. My girlfriend is working over there and I'd like for you to go over there with me for dinner. So I went over there and sang and they hired me there. And I stayed there a year. Then they hired me at Apple Valley after that again for two or three months. I mean that's the way things always went. So that took up that time. And then I was at Bullocks Wilshire in the men's department in 1963 when Kennedy was shot. That's how I remember that. I was there then. And then the following year - actually it was '65 when Donn Arden called me, early 65, and said I need a singer in the Lido at the Stardust. So I went over and auditioned for them. And I came back here thinking I'd be here six months. And that's 44 years ago. Wow. But now, did Donn Arden remember? Oh, sure he remembered me. As a matter of fact, I was not really his type. He was pretty flamboyant. And he was a chorus boy essentially, but a wonderful director for gobs of people and everything. And he used to stop me on the stage during rehearsal and he'd say, Jim Hodge, no 9 matter what I do with you, you still look like you. It was actually a compliment, but he didn't want you to stand out, see. Tell me about Bullocks Wilshire. The reason I ask is because I loved that store. Oh, yes. It was very nice. Well, I just worked in the men's department at Christmastime. And a couple of these old men that were there all the time were very territorial. But I picked up the phone one day and it was Mae West. And the man, whoever she asked for, wasn't around then. So I got to talk to her for a while. She said listen, honey, I need a few sweaters for some of my boys. And so she just said pick me out a green, a blue and send them. That's the way she wanted them. So I had fun talking to her. Oh, that's great. Oh, but that store, the class of the store. Oh, absolutely. So Donn Arden calls you. And then tell me what happens. Well, I moved up here in May—next month will be 44 years—May of 1965. And as I say I figured, well, this will be a six-month gig. The show ran for about 15 months. Which show was that? The Lido de Paris at that time at the Stardust. And that's when it was gorgeous, '65. Everything was — I mean the big spectacles in the show like the swimming pools and the waterfalls and the train wrecks and all that. We were in all that in these production numbers. Again, it was like paradise to go to work at night. So give me a typical day in 1965. Well, I lived in an apartment. I had a roommate. I always ended up with a roommate. And we'd go to bed about four in the morning. We'd get off about 1:30 or 2:00. We had a bowling league. We went out bowling at night against every other show. We went horseback riding and all that. Parties, people would have parties often or just go to eat or whatever. And usually we would be sleeping basically between four and noon. Get up about noon and go to the gym or go swimming or what time of the year it was, depending, you know, shop a little. I started doing commercials and prints (ads). I was in every hotel brochure, you know, lying in bed or sitting in the room while they're serving and all that. Do you have some of those photographs? 10 I probably do if I can find them. I'll look in a little bit. I'm not the greatest at keeping everything, but I'll show you some stuff. I was in almost every one of them along the way. I had gotten this agent, of course, who got me those. I was doing bits and pieces in the movies and in TV when they came up here to shoot, which culminated, that part of my life, in 1985 when they shot [the movie] Rocky IV here and I was in that. And I'm still getting paid for it. That's 23 years ago. Yeah, that was the best thing. I worked a week, if you can call it work. I was the announcer in the ring. And the two men that announced the show all the time, they were sitting offstage. They're in every one of those. I was sitting right to next of one of them for a whole week, but you never saw me. But then on Friday, which was July the 3rd ~ and we were hoping it would go into Saturday, July the 4th. It would have been quadruple time and all that stuff. But finally on Friday afternoon they called my scene. And you can see me.. .when the big Russian knocked out Apollo Creed and killed him actually in the ring. You can see me going through the people in the background going up there. But then I had my only full screen close-up. I put the microphone to the big Russian — he was actually a Swede ~ in his face. I forget what I even said to him. But I got a big close-up and got screen credit and all that. So that was in July of 1985. And this is April of 2009. I just got a check for three or 400 weeks about last week. Now, every time it shows you get paid. And it's not all that much each time. But they sell it quite often in bulk to supermarkets or they sell it in overseas markets. And then you get a nice little chunk. Isn't that amazing? I'm going to write to the Screen Actors Guild and try to find out exactly ~ I never did keep track of how much money I made. But I want to find out just for the heck of it. Plus, that got me a pension and my secondary insurance after Medicare. So that's the beauty of it all. So those are the kinds of things you would do during the day. How much rehearsal did you have to do? Very little, only if somebody new came in the show. And even then that didn't affect us too much, the four boys - I mean the three boys in the Lido at that time. There were three singers and we each had our own things to do. At that time we worked seven nights a week, too, you know. And 11 at the end of the month we would get a couple nights off. And nobody was ever sick because you were docked if you got sick. I loved the way they ran it back then because we were all young and it was easy. I was 38. I was the oldest one in the place. But they didn't -- well, some of them knew it. I wasn't hiding it. Just as I say I got a late start into this. These people had been study singing and dancing since they were ten or 12 and were in the show in the early 20s or mid 20s and all that. So I was the old man in the thing. So tell me what your part was like in Lido. Do you remember any of your songs? Yes. I did "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow." It was a snowing scene and I was in a ski outfit and