Monday, May 3, 2010

How It All Began (Part One)


Today's "historical" post -- and its follow-up on (I promise) Thursday -- were originally posted on the Simpson/Lynch Studios blog, but they've since been deleted from there. So unless you follow that blog as well as this blog, you probably missed it. It was published before Skip and I decided to turn "SnL" into a blog comprised of ongoing fictional storylines. If you've read it before, I apologize. And if not, then we'll both be happy... I hope.

Ah, hell, at least I know Sandy will enjoy reading it.

* * * * *

Today, I want to share with you the genesis of the Simpson/Lynch partnership.

First, a digression. (What else is new, right?)

I make a big deal -- some say too big a deal -- out of being called "David" rather than "Dave," or -- God forbid -- "Davey" or "Davy." But such was not always the case (except for the "Davey" part). In high school, a lot of people called me David or Dave -- enough with the quotation marks! -- interchangeably. It even lists "Dave" as my nickname in my high school yearbook... and I wrote that (The listing, not the yearbook! Ah, if they had only known...).

(Hey, when I'm rich and famous, I wonder if anyone will try to sell my yearbook on eBay for a gazillion dollars?)

Somewhere in my early adulthood -- we're talkin' late 1970s, fellow babies -- my best (male) friend was a guy named Dave. It got confusing. When someone would call, "David?" we'd both answer. And when someone would call, "Dave?" we'd both answer!

Finally, I asked him, "If you had to pick between the two, would you prefer David or Dave?" He replied "Dave." I said "Good, cuz I'd prefer David.'"

Dave was involved with a community theater group in Southbridge, Massachusetts, known as the Gateway Players. They were casting for a Michael Weller play, "Moonchildren." Even before auditions, however, the director of the play had openly admitted that he'd mentally "pre-cast" Dave as "Norman," a part which Dave didn't want. Instead, Dave wanted to be one of a duo of colorful characters named "Mike" and "Cootie."

Dave's "Norman-avoiding" strategy was to convince me to audition for one or both of these characters. He was going to audition for the other. Dave assumed that our natural personal chemistry would shine through, and he and I would be cast as Mike and Cootie.

Dave really gave me the hard sell, too. (He had to; I'd done some acting with my high school drama club, and even before then, but I wasn't too thrilled about taking time away from my first fiancée for the sake of an unpaid acting gig.) "It's about the sixties!" he'd said. "And you love the sixties, right? And you love watching M*A*S*H, too, right? The Mike and Cootie characters are always wise-cracking and playing practical jokes on people, like Hawkeye and Trapper John do!"

Eventually, I heard "They're like Hawkeye and Trapper John!" more times than I could count.

So I agreed to audition.

I got the part of Cootie. Dave got the part of... Norman. Someone else got the part of Mike. I'll spare you the sordid tales of Dave's post-adolescent jealousies. You're welcome.

As most casts tend to do, the cast of "Moonchildren" became a temporary family. Some of us hit it off more than others, forming little sub-groups, but the majority of the cast would often congregate after rehearsals for drinking and other types of partying.

One evening, several of us drunks cast-members were gathered in the so-called Gateway "barn," a large structure where "Moonchildren" was to be performed. We had access to Gateway's costumes, lighting equipment, props... Oh, what fun!

At some point during the evening, Vic (one of the cast) was standing in front of a lighting fixture of some kind, experimenting with different brightly-colored filters. He placed a green filter over the lens, and suddenly began reciting "In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight..."

My eyes bugged out. I'd read comic books since I was a child, and at this point in my life had become, I daresay, somewhat of a historian on the subject. I had a sizable collection of comics, old and new, as well.

The words Vic spoke were the beginning of the fabled "oath" which DC Comics' Green Lantern character recited as he "recharged" his power ring. Naturally, I recognized this immediately.

And so did one of the other "Moonchildren" cast members, a thirty year old guy who'd read comics as a youth.

The name of that "guy" was Skip Simpson.

DC Comics' Green Lantern character

The poster for "Moonchildren," as delineated
in 1981 by Skip Simpson. He's the guy on the
bottom of the peace symbol; I'm the
bearded guy wearing sunglasses, on the right.

(To be continued...)

* * * * *

My next post, naturally, will be Part Two of this story.

Thanks for your time.

9 comments:

  1. You were right. I enjoyed reading this post. Can't wait for part two.

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  2. Oh, good. Cuz Part Two's better.

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  3. I knew you were both ring-bearers.

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  4. And the term "ring-bearer" is as close as I ever want to get to a wedding!

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  5. History brought to life. It should be on the Biography Channel.

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  6. That's it then...from now on I'm calling you Davidy. I just have to go my own way on the options...

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  7. @Alan: If a photo of the "Moonchildren" cast existed, I could've made this two-parter a "Sepia Saturday" post!

    @VE: "Davidy?" Well, that's a new one!

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  8. I'll see ya Sunday. Have I got an obscure "same name" reference for you!

    And awaiting pt.II ;)

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  9. Very cool post, Dave...err..a. David. :) Wasn't expecting that ending at all...fun.

    ReplyDelete

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