Movie making in the 1960’s was the topic at the Pattaya City Expats Club meeting on Sunday, December 25. There were over 80 members and guests present on Christmas Day to hear Pattaya resident Alfred Avallone talk about his career as a Hollywood actor.
After he was introduced by Master of Ceremonies Richard Silverberg, Al began by describing his early acting on the stage in New York in the 1950’s and his time at attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. He said he only attended one year of the two year program because he found work. In those days, he studied with many of today’s well known stars, who like him, were aspiring actors learning their chosen craft, such as Grace Kelly and Anne Bancroft.
Pattaya resident Alfred Avallone shares with PCEC members and guests his career as a Hollywood actor during Hollywood’s ‘Golden Years’. On the screen is a scene from the ‘Film Noir’ movie, ‘Experiment in Terror’ starring Glenn Ford and Lee Remick. Lee played a woman, Kelly Sherwood, who is terrorized by a man with an asthmatic voice and plans to use her to steal $100,000 from the bank where she works. In a case of mistaken identity, Lee thought that Al was the blackmailer. Al’s mistake was to fall for Lee’s stunning looks as Kelly, being neither the first nor last male to do so.
He also noted that he changed his name to Al Avalon for many of his acting roles – something that didn’t set too well with his father, who was quite proud of their Italian heritage. He described some of his early stints in stage acting and being an announcer on live TV; one being at the early beginning of the Tonight Show with Steve Allen. Al said that he moved to Hollywood because he had become overexposed as a TV announcer; selling appliances and other items. He realized this when he was auditioning for a part in a play and a director did not let him read because the director said he didn’t need anyone who the audience thought was going to sell them a washing machine when he stepped out on the stage.
Al said that he dragged his wife, Marilyn Harvey who was doing well as an actress, along with him. In Hollywood he founded the Actor’s Alley Theater where they staged several plays. He also found work in various television series including Perry Mason, Richard Diamond, and others. He also found some roles in movies. He eventually achieved becoming a “face” that directors and producers could put with a name, which improved his chances of getting work.
Roger shares his experiences with one of Pattaya’s better value restaurants, where PCEC members can get a 15% discount.
Early in his career in Hollywood, he met well know director/producer Blake Edwards. Blake offered him a role in a movie starring Glenn Ford and Lee Remick. The name of the film was, “Experiment in Terror” and it was filmed in San Francisco. The scene he was in was filmed in a night club, the Roaring Twenties, in the wee hours of the morning after the regular club closed.
At this point, Al started a video clip from the movie. He explained that Lee Remick played a woman who is terrorized by a man with an asthmatic voice and plans to use her to steal $100,000 from the bank where she works. This set the stage for his role and he fast forwarded to the scene where Lee Remick is supposed to meet with man threatening her; all under the watchful eye of Glenn Ford’s FBI team. Al played the part of a man in the Club who she mistakenly thinks is her adversary. However, the man thinks she is romantically inclined toward him. This leads to some interesting dialogue and expressions as each begin to learn that their conceptions were wrong. Al displayed his acting talents by being very convincing as a surprised and confused man who is suddenly surrounded by FBI agents with guns drawn.
Member Roy Albiston conducts the Pattaya City Expats open forum, where the mysteries of living in the exotic East are sometimes solved.
Al concluded by answering many questions from the audience including giving his view on the difference between older actors and today’s stars that are into method acting. During the question and answer session, Al also mentioned that as young student at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, he and others often speculated on who would make it big; he mentioned that James Garner was one that they expected to do well as he was tall and the leading man type – another that they thought would not make it was a fellow named Jack Nicholson.
Al opined that when you are young, you really have no idea who will have it. Much can be attributed to getting the right “role” that moves you into the limelight.
Richard Silverberg then called on Roy Albiston to conduct the Open Forum where questions are asked and answered about expat living in Thailand. The Pattaya City Expats Club meets at the Amari’s Tavern by the Sea Restaurant every Sunday morning; visit their website at www.pattayacityexpats club.com.