Abbotts Halloween Special


John Calvert

by Neil Foster

In a letter to Walt Hudson in 1973, New Tops Editor and magician extraordinaire Neil foster wrote the following.

"Your spook show series brought back fond memories of two unforgettable weeks when I toured with John Calvert's Spook Show. Calvert was a popular movie star and on stage he was truly a master showman. I remember (oh, so well) first performance with John's show. We had nothing but "talk through' rehearsals. Most of these took place on the special bus while driving to our first date from Hollywood. We were late in arriving, the godforsaken town was atop a mountain in Arizona, so before starting the climb up Calvert phoned the theatre manager and told him we were running a bit late and if we weren't there at midnight to start the movie and we would follow it with the stage show. We got there just in time."

"The show ran smoothly considering the circumstances we were working under. The finale of the show was when, after Calvert had encountered Count Dracula, the Cat Girl, and a Werewolf (me), he would change into Mr. Hyde and with a pistol shoot all three of the supporting cast. Earlier in the show I had thought John was being carried away a bit by firing the blank pistol too many times. When la grande moment arrived Calvert (now Mr. Hyde) fired at Count Dracula and he dropped dead. next he fired and the Cat Girl and the Werewolf...but no 'bang', instead there were two 'clicks'...the gun was empty. The girl and I, being seasoned (?) artistes of the theatre (thay-at-tor) dropped dead instantly! The three of us being leveled with only one shot! Wow!"

"Calvert gave the cue to the off stage men to 'close in'. Nothing happened. He repeated 'close in'...then shouted 'pull the curtain.' The theatre manager, in a simple soul voice, said, 'We have not got a curtain.' We had worked in front of the stationary movie screen and in the hasty arrival nobody gave a thought that there might not be a curtain. John told us all to take a bow so the three of us 'returned from the dead', took a quick bow and ran off stage."

"Another time we had a funny thing happen at quite a large theatre. But first I must explain an audience reaction phenomenon that happens occasionally. An excited audience, screaming and laughing real loud, will sometimes shut of quickly, as one would turn off a faucet. This happened to our show and this is how it happened and what happened when it happened!!!"

"I, as the Werewolf, chase Count Dracula out of the theatre in a early skit of the show. When we returned backstage Calvert was waiting his cue to enter but the screaming audience was still going full blast and he didn't want to break the momentum of such merriment. So he told the two of us to 'run out again and scare the pee out of 'em'. What he didn't know was that the off stage mike was 'on' and just as he uttered these words the unexplainable silence fell over the audience and his words went blasting through the theatre...I think they are still laughing!"

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