Thursday, May 10, 2012
In 1975 director Jerry Jameson cast me in the role of Mr. Valchex in THE DEADLY TOWER. This made-for-TV film had a star-studded cast including Kurt Russell, Ned Beatty, Pernell Roberts, John Forsythe and Gilbert Roland. The reason the Baton Rouge state capitol was selected for this film’s location was because Austin, TX turned it down. The script was based on the 1966 Charles Whitman massacre of dozens of Austin’s University of Texas students, faculty and visitors. Whitman had positioned himself on the observation deck of the campus tower and proceeded to pick off 44 people, killing 16 and wounding 28. My role was that of a grieving husband whose wife, played by Becky Davis, was among the deceased. The people of Austin felt that a re-enactment on their campus would be too painful. Thus our state capitol was chosen.
Some of you may remember Lee Edwards, Baton Rouge's Little Theatre director until his death in 1978. Had it not been for Lee, we would probably not be enjoying the high caliber of theater that we’re blessed with today.
In this film Lee had a bit role as a passer-by. His character, upon seeing the gunfire from atop the “tower”, was to say “There is someone shooting in the tower.” But when director Jameson said “action” Lee’s line came out “There’s someone tooting in the shower.” CUT! Jameson said “Let’s try it again.” And once again Lee said “There’s someone tooting in the shower.” CUT! Jameson then asked Lee if he was aware of what he was saying to which Lee said “Yes, there’s someone tooting in the shower.” Jameson, laughing, then said “Did you hear yourself?” Lee then reflected for a moment and realized his mistake. He got it right on the third take.