Ralph’s Manuscript - Page 2

Published Manuscript

We are entertaining the idea of publishing a first edition of Ralph's manuscript in book form.  This would be a hard bound limited print first edition with the complete manuscript (around 100 pages) and pictures.  At this time we are trying to gauge interest.  If you think you would be interested in a copy of this book, should we publish it,   Draft pages will be posted here so you can get an idea of what it contains.


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Posted - January 14, 2004

I practiced on members of the cast during show-time; Martita Hunt, the star, heard about my derring-do, arranged with me to come into her dressing-room each night at ten minutes before half-hour, to work on her neck and shoulders – to both relax her for the performance, and to get the juices flowing. 

Finally the time came that I was able to give two full massages upstairs in the old apartment David Belasco had maintained when he owned the theatre. The first was to Alan Shayne, the juvenile lead, and right after, to Fellicia Montealegra, the stand-in for Leora Dana, the ingenue. Felicia told Allyn Ann McLeria, who was then married to Adolph Green, and playing Amy in "Where’s Charlie." Allyn Ann called for massage the next day, and thus began a friendship that has lasted to this day; and a career as a massuer that sometimes has interfered with that as an actor. 

Most of my "clients" became friends as well. Most of them reacted mentally, emotionally, as well as physically; and more often than not, began treating the sessions as those of an analyst-patient relationship. Or, to my mind, a close friend talking with a close friend.

A long way around to get to a spring day in the Strasberg kitchen at 135 Central Park West.

Susan Strasberg, a client, and close friend, had just finished a massage, and was having a glass of hot tea, while I was drinking a cup of instant coffee, when we heard Lee talking with someone in the hall. He came in with on the most radiantly beautiful creatures I’ve ever seen. Not so much the physical attributes, as of the inner glow that penetrated every inch of that high-ceilinged kitchen. And, when I said creature – that was it. An animal. The blue-whiteness one sees sometimes in the stars of a desert night. White-blond hair, clear-white complexion framing violet-blue eyes. Years later, in 1979, a similar reaction in the Strasberg kitchen when I walked in one Sunday night to see a young man with the identical aura Marilyn had that afternoon. We were introduced by Anna Strasberg. He was an actor I’d never seen before (I don’t see any movies), and his name was Jon Voight. 

Lee made her a glass of tea, and while he was drinking his, stood before the sink, and regaled us with funny stories of the theatre. Marilyn, Susie, and I would occasionally look at each other with a smile of pure enchantment and delight. Finally, I had to leave for another appointment. Susie walked me to the front door, and when I asked who the girl was, said, "Why, that’s Marilyn. I thought you two knew each other." 

I had met Marilyn Monroe before. At several Strasberg New Years’ Eve parties. Once Judy Holliday and I were going to a party for Jules Styne, the songwriter. It was after her performance in BELLS ARE RINGING, and she wanted to walk. We were walking east on 54th Street, and were crossing Park Avenue, when Marilyn, standing on the island, called out; "Judy!" Oops, Miss Holliday, you’re wonderful! And I saw you on the Perry Como show the other night doing an imitation of me. I loved it". Judy blushed, and replied how wonderful she thought Marilyn was. The lights changed, and Marilyn and her escort said good-bye. We turned to cross the other side of Park, and bumped into two friends of ours who had been, unabashedly, "Marilyn watching". Mitton Goldman, and Arnold Weissberger. "We were leaving a restaurant three blocks away, headed the other way, when we saw her in all her glory, and like two zombies, we turned and followed her those few blocks. New York has rarely seen the likes of her." 

But these occasions were meeting Marilyn Monroe. That afternoon, it was Marilyn. Marilyn dressed in a loose blouse, slacks, no make-up, relaxed, and feeling no need or desire to be "on". During the next three and half years, I was to be with Marilyn under almost every imaginable circumstance and situation, spending hours, days, weeks, months with her. To this day, the memory of that afternoon is as vivid as any memory I have.

Manuscript property of the estate of Ralph L. Roberts. Do not copy without permission.