Date: Tue, 19 Nov
2002 12:29:41 -0500
Long, long ago, a summer stock theatre opened in Hinsdale (IL) at the time I graduated from high school. I worked as an apprentice that summer (1951), and subsequently rose in the ranks and was assistant designer by the time I graduated from college.
Time passed. In 1959 I started to do PR and the theatre used my services. Eddie Bracken came to town to be in a show at the theatre. On opening night, I (dressed in a brand new white dress) went to the theatre to do whatever you do on opening nights. I walked down a dark sidewalk to the stage door.
As it happened, there were electrical problems, and the electricians had opened the manhole in this sidewalk to go into the bowels of the air conditioning system. They had stationed an apprentice girl by the hole so that she could ward people off. She didn't. She said, "Hi, Alyce," as I fell into the rabbit hole.
There were metal edges, and my right leg scraped along and the shin was sliced to the bone. Blood was everywhere. People pulled me up from the hole and stood around dithering. Nearly curtain time! What an inconvenience.
And then, Eddie Bracken, hearing the rumpus, came running out. He saw in a flash that I was not in good condition and took charge. He got people to carry me to his rental car and he himself drove me to the emergency room.
I don't know what happened with the car and all the blood. I never learned if he had to pay, or the theatre paid, or what. Anyway, he went back to the theatre, the show went on about a half hour late, and I sued the theatre and got $1500.00 for my medical bills. Could have used more money for pain and suffering. My, it was painful and I lost a couple of weeks of work before I could walk. Also lost the account, of course, given that I was suing.
PS: The white dress was a goner.