Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Horshack is Dead. I Didn't Do It


1990s
North Hollywood
Ron Pallilo (né public, Horshack) was casting for the musical
Three Men Naked from the Waist Down

I was called in to audition for “The Angry Guy” and around me were bean bags, cans, a wiffle ball bat, etc. I sang well enough for a part that was too low for my voice.

I was called back. And Horshack, wound up and wild, kept screaming at me in a strong NY accent, “Get angrier. Get angrier. Swing that bat! I want to see your anger!”

So---I got angrier.

“More!”

So I slammed the wiffle bat against the audition table, not near anyone, but it caused a wave vibration through the cheap folding tables and Horshack’s diet coke went flying in the air and thudded and emptied onto the gray and stained industrial carpeting. Everyone got really upset that I had crossed some line and felt the need to protect Ron from this lunatic actor wielding a long plastic yellow bat and it was clear that I was not going to get the part, and I did not.

A helper cleaned up the soda. Ron just stared at it contemptuously.

Something about a real can of soda really getting spilled showed me off as an out-of-control loon but it was really just an accident.

This was not long after I was directed in a reality TV show by Potsie from Happy Days.

It is sad to watch the sitcom stars of your youth directing questionable productions in the San Fernando Valley. I did have a crush on Potsie, the loveable dork, when I was a kid. As an adult actor on set in a Von’s parking lot in Sherman Oaks, acting like a mugger, all I could focus on between takes were the deep lines in the back of Potsie’s neck and I thought, “This California sun does a number on people. I am going to make sure I stay inside as much as possible.” He did set me up with some agent meetings. He was kind.

Is it easier to be a has-been or a never-was? I don’t know. But that kind of competition sure is something they should do on reality TV. Produce it in Van Nuys. Hand out wiffle ball bats…

I also had a crush on Mrs. Kotter. She was my type. I was a bi-kid.

Rest in Peace Ron Palillo. Sorry I spilled your soft drink. But I have to say, you did kind of overreact after steering me into a froth and then made it all about you. But I do wish you were still alive. Because, you know, death is beat.

1 comment:

George Sanders said...

Oh, Don! So many of us in the piano bars in New York met and knew Ron personally. He exchanged numbers with everyone and he threw parties (and so did we) in a big frenzy of fun. He was extraordinary and unpretentious. He was amazingly enthusiastic about other people and generous with his humor. However, he might have been sober at your audition.