Wednesday, March 22, 2017

"(More) Saddle Up!"

Veteran performers talk about their classic roles in old-time westerns. 

                                          THE PIANO PLAYER IN THE SALOON

“I never played a note.  I pretended to play, and they put the music in later.  Why did they hire me if I couldn’t play?  Because they thought I looked like a piano player in a saloon.  I felt a little bad about that.  I beat out actual piano players.” 
‘I practiced real hard, pretending to play the piano.  I’d sit there for hours, banging away, but without actually hitting the keys.  Just tickled the tops, you know?  It’s sort of crazy.  With all those hours I put in, I could probably have learned to play the piano.”
“My specialties were looking like I was playing ‘Oh, Susannah’ and looking like I was playing ‘Camptown Races.’  I could fake looking like I was playing ‘Beautiful Dreamer’, but if you watch my fingers, what I’m playing is ‘Camptown Races’ real slow.”
“Once I got fired for playing too loud.  I said, ‘I’m not playing at all!”  They said, ‘You look like you’re playing too loud.’”
 “A man who knew me from movies asked me to make a record.  I told them, ‘I don’t play the piano.’  He said,, “We’ll get somebody else to play.  We just want your face on the album cover.”   Is that the craziest thing you’ve ever heard?  You know something  even crazier?  I did it!”
“I never liked playing during brawls.  Things came flying at me.  Whisky bottles, tables.  They weren’t real, but they still hurt.  And when you’re playing – or even pretending to – you don’t see them coming.”

  Comes with the territory, I guess.  An ‘extra’ landed on my head.  I just kept playing.”

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