It started at age five when I was in kindergarten in an elementary school in Manhattan. Came the holiday season and our class was out parading through the hallways of the school singing Christmas carols.
Then through sixth grade I was a willing participant in the holiday singing season. I even got to the point that I was singing all those Christmas songs at home. My parents thought me brilliant because by the fifth grade I had memorized all the lyrics to most of the songs and did not require the song sheets that we used while strolling through the school halls.
In seventh and eighth grades we now had Christmas plays, and because of my great memorization skills I usually had a large part in any of the school’s holiday plays. There were also plays presented by our drama class at the end of the school year and I was an active participant in those as well.
High school was a bigger challenge for the drama class included students similar to me who were interested in acting and had the same memorization skills as I had. By this age my voice had gone through changes and I was a baritone.
Now I was cast in musicals such as “Oklahoma,” the first one I acted in with the part of Curly, and then it was “Damn Yankees” and I was Joe the baseball player. I took voice lessons and started to learn how to play jazz and blues on a harmonica.
These musical performances and my ability to play the harmonica put me in good standing when I entered college. Many fraternities wanted me because of my natural acting talent and my harmonica skills, and I often would entertain at frat house parties. This of course made me popular with all the coeds on campus.
It was unusual but the college marching band that performed at all the football games had me join the band because of my harmonica playing. By that time I was playing an extra large harmonica that emitted some great musical sounds. It was there in college that I joined an improvisation group, and soon I was using my previous acting skills to feel very comfortable performing in front of large crowds.
After I graduated college I went back to New York City to see if I could get an acting job or singing job on Broadway. I discovered that there were thousands, it seemed like millions, of others also looking to get a Broadway job.
So on to Los Angeles to see if the movie producers wanted someone with my many talents. They didn’t.
I was fortunate and managed to get a position with Republic Studios as a marketing and research person. Republic Studios was a small independent studio that made mostly “B” films. These were low budget and usually horror movies with actors and actresses that few moviegoers knew.
After 10 years at Republic I became a director and made over 100 “B” films, although I never cast myself in any of the movies that I directed. I had married, raised five children, and retired with a fine wife, a beautiful house in the Valley, and a large retirement package from Republic.
I realized that my wife did not want me around the house in my retirement. So I went back to a Hollywood acting school in the hope that maybe I could get into a television show or some reality show. I notified all of my friends when I had finished the course and was available but I received no calls.
I then started to get pains in my chest and also I had developed diabetes. I underwent triple bypass heart surgery that left me with scars on my legs and with poor blood circulation that resulted in blood spots on my hands, face, and legs.
It was a chance conversation with my dentist when I went for my yearly dental exam. He saw my skin condition and he said that he was a large investor in a new detective TV series and that he thought the producer of that series would need someone like me to act in weekly episodes.
It has been three months since that dental appointment, and I would like to inform you that I am now a regular on “Murder Time.” Every week I play an important part in the opening scenes, which always show a corpse covered with a sheet. Then the lead detective uncovers a part of that sheet and shows either a person’s arms or legs.
Because there are usually scars or blood spots showing on the uncovered part of the body, I got the part.
The on-screen time is short but the pay and the residuals are great.
© 2017 Albert Zimbler
Albert Zimbler is a 92-year-old author of six humor short story books on Amazon of which MORE DATING AND MATING SECRETS OF SENIORS AND OTHER HUMOR SHORT STORIES is the latest. He also teaches senior improv.