Behind the scenes photo, probably from Mystery Man. I do wish it was a better quality.
Behind the scenes photo, probably from Mystery Man. I do wish it was a better quality.
Young people should laugh a little, say comedians Yvonne Wilder and Jack Colvin.
"Too many high school and college kids are socially involved in being serious," explains Colvin.
That would be all to the good, he says, except that lots of them just go along with it because it is the vogue. It may be good for the movements in which they are involved, but it isn’t always good for certain individuals, he says.
"Seriousness can get to be a disease when it is a pose. Lots of young people have the courage of their convictions, but they don’t seem to have real convictions," in Colvin’s opinion.
Yvonne and Jack are a popular team on the nightclub and television circuit, and what they like about their act is that kids dig it.
"People are much healthier when they have a sense of humor about everything," says Yvonne. High school drama societies should concentrate on more shows "that poke fun at everything," rather than playing up all the serious aspects of life. Kids get a great kick out of satirizing family life and so on. It’s one way to look at the brighter side."
The two have been in show business all their lives. Yvonne is a dancer and choreographer — she toured Europe in “West Side Story.” Colvin directed the Menotti Opera Festival in Pasadena, played for two seasons with the Oregon Shakespearean Festival and in the controversial drama, “The Deputy.”
If it’s any encouragement to school comedians who spend a great deal of time in the principal’s office, Yvonne and Jack had the same difficulty.
"It was a meeting of two D-minuses in conduct," explains Yvonne. They met when Colvin was teaching a class in method acting.
"All the camp and trivia young people are going for now, including old comedians jokes, shows that the folk lessons of childhood have resulted in nostalgia," says Colvin. Hollywood is missing a bet in not inviting more slapstick, kids love it, he points out.
"Silent comedy was one of America’s art forms. No other country did it like the United States — Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Harry Langdon. They were unique. Laurel and Hardy were are greatest comedians in his opinion.
One reason the stage couldn’t do it quite the same way, was he points out, because the motion picture camera came along with inventions it could poke fun at —telephone, automobiles, airplanes. It was a kind of impact the stage had never known and couldn’t provide — sending a car off a mountain, a plane into the ocean or heroes hanging on cliffs.
Outer space can’t provide this perilous fun for comedy because people can’t identify with it. But other areas of comedy should be explored, say Yvonne and Jack.
Their own show is satirical. Colvin writes it and Yvonne gives suggestions from time to time. Their three-year relationship has been a traveling one — 30 television appearances and night club acts.
-SAYS COMEDIAN: Teens Need to Laugh More [or YOUTHS CAN CARRY IT TOO FAR - Severity Can Be Disease or ‘Laugh, Kids, Laugh’ Advise Comedians or Make Room For Fun], by Vivian Brown, AP Newsfeatures, July 1966
Strange quotation mark use regardless, this was a great (and surprisingly good at hiding) find.
1955, “Timon of Athens” rehearsal, Jack Colvin, Joan Kugell, John T. Macphee, and David Thayer. Photographer Anita Fowler.
1955, “Macbeth,” Jack Colvin, Robert B. Loper, and unnamed guards. Photographer Anita Fowler.
1955, “All’s Well That Ends Well,” Donald F. Soule, William Oyler, Michael Kasden, and Jack Colvin. Photographer Anita Fowler.
Jack Colvin wasn’t exactly overcome with enthusiasm when he was first approached to co-star in the TV series “The Incredible Hulk.” But it didn’t take him long to smell success.
"When they (the producers) told me the title, I laughed, and then there was silence," said Colvin. "But then they gave me two scripts to read, and I knew the series would go.
"People identify tremendously with the frustration, the rage and the anger that breaks out in a man."
Seven new episodes will air this fall, but the series will end after that, and Colvin says “it’s a little like leaving high school. You’re glad it’s over, but you’re a little wistful about it.”
After accepting the role, Colvin found himself spending much time away from his Studio City home shooting in the Saugus/Newhall hills “We were constantly getting up at dawn and driving out behind Magic Mountain,” he says. “In fact, my log for the whole series could be called ‘Bury My Heart at Indian Dunes.’”
During the four-year run of the show, Colvin kept a deliberately low profile. “When I was not in an episode, I didn’t visit the set. I knew they were going to shoot me for the next episode every days for eight days. There was no sense boring the crew to death with me. I felt that everything would sustain itself much better if we tended to business, and did what we were supposed to do when it was time to do it.”
Colvin maintained a similar relationship with series’ star Bill Bixby. “Our association was, I think, perfect,” he says. “We didn’t hang out together or socialize. But we worked together with a great deal of mutual respect and had quite a few laughs.”
In addition to acting in the series, Colvin directed two episodes last season. “I’ve directed a lot of theater, but I never had directed anything on film before,” he says. “The crew was my biggest asset. They knew everybody’s name and everybody’s job. I couldn’t imagine being thrown into that situation with complete strangers.”
Colvin has also played in numerous motion pictures, including “Jeremiah Johnson,” “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” and “Rooster Cogburn.”“On ‘Jeremiah Johnson’ we almost froze to death in Utah’s mountains. For four weeks, we took horses up a mountainside in a blizzard and when the picture was released, all that was cut out. Sometimes you really earn your money.”
Colvin also is a playwright whose play, “Girly, Girly and The Real McCoy,” was presented several years ago at Los Angeles’ Theatre East. Since then the play has been optioned four times and will finally be produced in New York this fall.
"It takes place on stage in an old theatre during the dying days of burlesque," Colvin explains. "The first act is the morning show, the second act is the afternoon matinee, and the third act is the evening show."
Throughout his acting, directing and playwrighting career, Colvin has had a few regrets, but he is sorry there was no concluding episode of “The Incredible Hulk.” “We were never able to wind up that chase, which was frustrating for me. The people who were loyal to that show for four years deserve some kind of tie-up. there’s been talk and Ken Johnson says we might do a two-hour movie at some point.”
Until then Colvin will continue working in various projects as they come along and possibly another series.
-Co-star in cancelled TV series has few regrets, by Gary Gelt, Los Angeles Times, Sep 20, 1981
Finally, the source of that incomplete, never sourced obituary quote.
To be critic is not to have a license to write paragraph-long sentences that are unintelligible even on the third reading, nor to be ignorant, cruel and irresponsible. In Lawrence Christon’s inexcusable review of Jack Colvin’s “Girly, Girly and the Real McCoy” (“‘Girly Girly’ at the Cast Theatre,” Calendar, Nov. 11) it is impossible to tell what the play is about. The conception and characters are condemned for “blank dreariness” and the lead role called “miserable.” Elemental fairness demands that evidence for such judgment, on which the fate of a show may depend, be given. Christon does not deign.
There are several dozen ways to express dissatisfaction with a performer, but “theatrical nightmare” is a critical excrescence revealing a cruelty that swims beneath the pompous references to “the theater’s living presence.” Christon poses as the protector of a true theater against the incursions of so-called “TV people.” (Note the mindless contempt: not actors, or directors, or writers, not even human beings, but “TV people.”)
Where they come from is irrelevant to the result. Poor theater, which “Girly” is decidedly not, has frequently come from those who have done nothing else all their lives, and actors must work where the work is, as ought to be obvious to anyone not enshrouded in a repertory fantasy. But his snobbish conceit is surpassed by his irresponsibility. The extensive theatrical background of Colvin, for example, is all in the program, which it was Christon’s duty to read.
I urge anyone who wants to laugh a lot, think and get scared all in one evening to see “Girly, Girly,” and I urge The Times to replace Christon with a reviewer who is civil, writes intelligibly, does not imagine himself the defender of Western Civilization and, above all, does his homework.
-CRITICAL LICENSE, letters to the editor, Los Angeles Times, December 4, 1983
This one was just a joy to transcribe. I almost don’t want to read the review that sparked this, just because it can never be offensive enough for this awesome diction.
When Lillian Hellman’s “The Autumn Garden” was first produced on Broadway 15 years ago it was dismissed as a Southern comedy of errors. This is similar to dismissing Faulkner as a sectionalist. However, after a decade and a half lapse the play made its Southern California debut a winning one under the able direction of Jack Colvin at Equity Library Theater West in Beverly Hills.
Miss Hellman is more the moralist than the Chekovian realist. She has produced a play about ordinary people who have let time pass them by. They look back to a another and happier day when they were young and life had so much more to offer rather than the desperate choices of today.
The plot is minor but the characters are brilliantly etched. It’s amazing that Miss Hellman has written such a fine play with so poor a first act. Given over to exposition, it’s almost a lesson in how not to write an opening. With the scene set the actors almost jump for the chance to show their talents in the final two acts.
The action takes place at a summer resort on the gulf of Mexico. the owner, a spinster, awaits her girlhood beau. The beau, Nick Denery, a selfish scoundrel dabbles in art and meddles in other peoples lives. He is the catalyst for the numerous subplots. The characters who are spending the summer at the resort are living in the “Grand Hotel” in miniature. Although there aren’t the international aspects to their lives, there are enough “characters” to produce many social jabs.
Eugene Peterson as Nick has the pivotal role. He does a fine job, but at times particularly during the drunk sequence the character he portrays seems to get away from him. Regina Gleason as Nina, the rich wife who knows him for what he is, but puts up with him for what he isn’t, gives a sparkling performance. Her beauty, stage presence, and rich voice add new dimensions to a difficult part. Lily Fontaine, Alma Platt, Gertrude Flynn, Jack Wilson, Jack Carlyle and John Copage do handsomely. Daniel O’Shea as the quiet, cynical drinker seems tailor-made for the role.
A special note must be made for two performers. Eve Brenner as the ever-young Rose Griggs was outstanding. She has made a great contribution to the Billie Burke school of flightness. Eileen Patterson as the French niece Sophie has handled the difficult part so faultlessly that there’s little else but to extend kudos.
The theater at the Beverly Hills Recreation Center has been utilized to the utmost by director Colvin and Ted Donaldson. The production will run through Aug. 22 on Wednesday - through - Sunday Evenings.
-EQUITY PRODUCTION - ‘Autumn Garden’ Sparkles, by Stan Bernstein, Los Angeles Times, August 11, 1965
It’s impossible to know if Jack Colvin’s staging of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” at the Melrose Theatre is an extension of the idea that Hamlet is always in rehearsal to kill his stepfather, Claudius, or can never get around to the act. That’s because, while the idea is to present a “Hamlet” in rehearsal, the concept isn’t followed through.
With Hamlet-like indecision, Colvin as director is out front with his assistant, then vanishes, popping up on stage as the Ghost and later in the play-within-the-play.
This leaves only James Loren as the stage manager to monitor things-until Loren must come on stage as Horatio. Then, no one is watching the rehearsal and you worry that this is just a “Hamlet” production that couldn’t afford costumes and a set.
This might have been, but isn’t, a kind of “Hamlet Examined,” with the kinds of starts and stops and questions that typify rehearsals. There is, though, John Hugo’s highly eccentric Hamlet, radically slow, painfully self-obsessed and far and away the only interesting performance in a nearly four-hour ersatz experiment. “Hamlet,” Melrose Theatre, 733 N. Seward, Hollywood. Tonight at 7:30; Sunday 3 p.m. Ends Sunday. $15; (213) 380-3464. Running time 3 hours, 55 minutes.
-THEATER REVIEW Indecision Marks a `Hamlet’ Experiment at the Melrose, by Robert Koehler, Los Angeles Times, April 10, 1993
Mainly making this the first review published just because it’s pretty much the only complete pan I’ve found.
(Also, they aren’t as rewarding to transcribe)
Jack Colvin and Yvonne Wilder, a new comedy team, are displaying their wares at Marshall Edson’s Ye Little Club in Beverly Hills. The youthful performers have jumped from the hopeful to headliner category in the past six months. Colvin studied his craft with various groups in and around Los Angeles; Miss Wilder is a New Yorker who attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London.
-Night Life - New Comedy Team in Spotlight, by staff, Los Angeles Times, May 23, 1965