Sunday, August 06, 2006

Donald Johnston, class of '53 wrote:

I just recently was made aware of the Searcy High School Blog "Searcy Yesteryear". Kudos to Tom and others who got it up and going.
I'm happy to see that you, Irvin and Bill, are going to continue it's existence.
I was a few years before you guys. My sister, Judith Ann Johnson, was probably there around your time. Acually, she was the one who told me about this site.

I've pretty much gone back over the entire archives with much interest. There are a couple of entries that I want to respond to:

= In October 2005 Harold Gene Sullivan wrote -"Thanks for the rundown on Arsenic and Old Lace being put on by the Center on the Square. It reminded me that we put on that play when I was in high school; it may have been our Junior play. Maybe someone else remembers. I don’t even remember who was in the play or what part I had. My only memory is that the fellow who was murdered and put in the window seat really cracked up the person who went over to open the window seat and look at the body. There was the “body” laying there eating an apple. The “body” may have been Donald Johnson."

I was, in fact the body in the window box. At the time of this production, I was involved in a couple of other drama projects (one being "Mooncalf Mugford" with Carolyn Thompson, I believe), so I didn't have a speaking part in "Arsenic". Haislip, instead, gave me a dual role - that of two dead stiffs, Mr. Spanalzo and Mr. Hoskins, residents of the window box.

As I recall, I used more props than an apple to keep the cast members who looked in the box in suspense as to what they would see when they opened it.

= Harold also mentioned the Minstrel shows that were a yearly event in the early '50s -
"I’m trying to remember what plays we put on. Our Town was one. Another was a Minstrel Show, blackface and all. My part in the show was getting sent out by the Interlocutor to get him a drink of water. I returned, running back in, and the Interlocutor asked me where his water was. I replied “I saw a snake in that water and if I scared that snake half as much as he scared me, you don’t want a drink of that water!”

Someone else responded that they thought those ministrals were put on by one of the civic organizations. Actually, both were done - at least in 1953. We put one on called "The Pocket Size Ministral" in 1953 with a high school cast and the Searcy Kiwanis Club presented "The Original Cottonblossom Minstrel Show on March 3 and 4, 1953. Our cast consisted of Don Christian as Mr. White, the Interlocutor (straight man) and the end men, Randel Reddin as Mr. Imp, Larry Killough, as Mr. Nibble ( I only show the name as Larry, but I think it was Killough), Sam (?), as Mr. Fizzle, and me as Mr. Shinbone. I still have the script.

The Kiwanis Club Minstrel that year featured some of the upstanding citizens of the city as well as several Searcy High School participants. The "Fly By Night Skit" featured a "Ghost Chorus" conposed of Jimmy Chandler, Donald and Ronald Jones, Bobby McInturff, Ray Dean Abbot, Charles Crozier, and HAROLD G. SULLIVAN. Several other skits were performed by high school students. (I have a copy of the program from the Show).

Imagine such a thing today!!

Keep up the good work

Donald Johnson/Johnston
(Another story - when I joined the Air Force, I discovered my birth certificate had a "t" in my last name. The recruiter said if I wanted to go then I'd have to sign it accordingly. Time passed and I never corrected it. After the AF, I continued my career in aviation with the Federal Aviation Administration and had to use the same name as the service showed. I never changed it, so since after college, I've been "Johnston". There's some evidence that that's the correct spelling anyway.)


Post a Comment

<< Home