Some years back, when I was doing some movie work, I was called by the agency I worked for by a very excited someone. He informed me that I had been selected to portray the wife of Lloyd Bridges in his new TV series, "Capital News." I was in shock. I could hardly believe what I was hearing - until he explained that my appearance would be in still photos.
"Yes, he chose you from your picture," the voice on the telephone said. "They want to take a group of still photographs of you with him that will be in his office and on his desk."
Here I interrupted. "Just me and Lloyd Bridges?" I asked.
"You got it! I think you're going to Griffith Park for a few shots. You'll need something 'horsey' looking - you know jeans and a shirt type thing; picnic clothes; formal wear; and a nice dress that you would wear posing for a picture with your husband. And don't forget accessories - jewelry, shoes, hats, etc. These photos will be on his desk and will be seen all the time. Oh, wow! What do you think? Are you lucky or what?"
After giving me the time and date, he hung up. I sat staring at the phone. Had I heard right, or was I dreaming?
After a few minutes, I took a deep breath and phoned my husband at his work. He was very brave and tried to sound happy for me, but I think he was worried that I was about to run off with the hunk from "Sea Hunt." I put him at ease when I assured him that that wouldn't happen.
One of my friends, who is always up on what's going on in the entertainment business, informed me that "Capital News" was the newest, hottest show to come along. An enormous set was being built for it, and with Lloyd Bridges as the star it was sure to be a smashing success. "Maybe you will be discovered as star material, too," she added. She and everyone else I told were just as excited as I was and wanted me to remember every detail and fill them in after the "shoot."
It took a whole day to plan and assemble the four perfect outfits I'd been asked to bring. Having been in the modeling business for many years, it was easy for me to coordinate the costumes. But selecting the ones that would photograph the best and trying to imagine what the wife of a newspaper editor would wear took a little time.
The morning of the shoot arrived. I showered and shampooed, being careful not to use perfume in case my movie-star "husband" didn't like smells. I packed up my car with all my gear and nervously set off for the studio.
No one simply drives onto a movie studio lot unless they are somebody. Much to my surprise, the gate guard checked his list, found my name there, and said. "Yes, you are to go directly to wardrobe."
He gave me directions and a map and I proceeded, feeling much like a real movie star. Wardrobe greeted me with interest, helping me unload my gear and having me model what I'd brought. They approved my selections. Wow! So this is what it's like to be Lana Turner, I thought.
I repacked my car as the wardrobe person spoke on the phone. "Oh," she said, again and again. She looked at me and nodded. "You're to go to Building A, Room 22. It's up front by the gate."
Back in the car and back to the gate, I found a parking place and unpacked my gear again. Four outfits and four pairs of shoes in a heavy hanging bag were draped over one arm. My other hand held makeup kit with accessories and car keys. Up the stairs I climbed, lugging all this paraphernalia and searching for Room 22.
Before I could find it, I was met in the hall by a girl in blue jeans and a sweat shirt. "Are you Nancy?" she asked.
Smiling, I answered in the affirmative, expectant of more star treatment. Suddenly, my balloon was popped. "Didn't anyone tell you?"
"Tell me what?"
"The shoot has been canceled."
Silence. I held out my arm with the hanging bag as though it were an offering of some kind. I gave her a puzzled look. "Are you sure?"
She nodded. "We got Lloyd Bridges's actual wife to pose for the pictures. But you'll be paid for the day anyway."
"That's not the point," I wanted to say, but instead I graciously withdrew, feeling like a bride left at the altar. I lugged all my stuff back to my car and quickly reverted to being my old self.
At home my husband asked, "How'd it go?" He was sincerely sorry for me, but when I told him the whole story we had a wonderful laugh about it. "Capital News" lasted less than a season, but I'll always remember the day that I was almost a star.