Having spent most of my life in Show Business, I have gotten to do a lot of fun things. One of them was when I was a young, twenty-two year old stage manager at the San Bernardino Civic Light Opera which back then about an hour and a half drive east of Los Angeles. The production was of the not-so-well-known musical Li’l Abner, of the comic strip fame. However, the production starred the VERY well-known Joe Namath in the title role.
I believe he was about thirty-eight years old at the time and he had done a couple of other musicals in the Midwest prior to our production. While he may not have been called “Broadway Joe” for his musical theater talents, he was decent in the role and he sure packed in the audience.
He was also one of the nicest guys you would ever want to work with. He respected the business and everyone else in the show, even the actress who had to carry around a little pig at every performance. Show Business – go figure!
Every time I would go into his dressing room after the show, he had his feet up and ice packs on his knees. But we would talk through the show in detail because he was always striving to improve his performance.
And I will never forget seeing the line of women outside the stage door after every performance, just wanting to see Joe and get his autograph. Broadway Joe comes to San Bernardino.