Modern Screen magazine, Nov 1945  cont'd.

"I was born in Don't Miss," he'd tell his pals waggishly. "Don't" was the name of the Mississippi town where Dad had taught school and fallen in love with Anice Speed, one of his pupils. After their marriage, they lived with Grandfather Speed while Dad studied theology at the Seminary. Dana remembered the smell of the woods - great old oaks dripping with Spanish moss - nothing in Texas smelled like the woods of Mississippi.

Then the winter evenings when Dad sat down at the piano and they'd sing by the hour. Dad's songs fascinated them. He'd learned them from his grandfather, and they had an eery quality. No one but Dad ever sang them.

Dana was the family show-off. Of them all, only Dana liked to get up in front of a crowd and recite. At four he appeared on the program of a church entertainment. At seven he'd take his school reader home and practice the stories with expression, so when Teacher called on him to read he could make a stir.

At twelve he got wind of a recital that the music teacher was putting on for her pupils. Dana didn't know one key from another, nor did Dad have the money to give him piano lessons. But he had to be in that recital or die. So he went to the teacher: "If I work for you, will you give me lessons?"

For two months he ran her errands, cleaned up her yard, led her cow to pasture -- and learned to play a pretty complicated march, strictly by ear. Came the recital, Dana played his march, made his bow, walked off purring, and the music teacher never set eyes on him again.

He wasn't old enough nor introspective enough to analyze this partiality for the limelight. Any more than he analyzed his passion for movies. But it wasn't natural for one of the Andrews kids to sneak out at night, as Dana did, and sneak in the back door of the picture house to indulge that love.

Now and then Dad would catch him. "All right," he'd say. "I'm taking the boys swimming tomorrow. You went to the movies, the others didn't. So you'd better stay home tomorrow."

He didn't want to stay home, and certainly he didn't want to be caught again, but the next chance he got, he'd sneak out to the movies. Movies with punishment was better than no movies at all.

At 13, he put on his most spectacular performance. He ran away. He packed his grip in the dead of night, slipped out and hopped a freight train to San Antonio.
Though he stuck it out for 3 days, he spent them drowned in homesickness, weeping for Mother who he knew must be weeping for him. On the third day he rang the doorbell of a friend of Dad's, who seemed pleased but not surprised to see him.

"I've been waiting for you, son. Your father phoned me. Now just come in here and sit down while I call him back."

Dad's friend put him on the train. All the way home, Dana kept wondering what punishment would be dire enough for this dire misdeed.   Pulling in at Uvalde, he caught sight of Dad on the platform. In silence they walked to the car, got in and drove through town.

Finally Dad spoke. "Tell me one thing. Why did you go away? Were you unhappy?"

His voice didn't sound stern at all, only quiet and a little sad, and Dana's heart burst. "I just wanted to make a lot of money, and put you and Mother up in a big house---"

There was another silence, but when Dad spoke again, his voice wasn't sad any more. "I think I can understand that, son. But you do realize that you made a mistake? You won't run off again?"
That was an easy promise to make, even before he saw Mother standing on the porch, tears streaming down her face.


Dana in "Fallen Angel" Now he's acting (for reel) what he lived (for real).



Real name's Carver Dana Andrews.
Clothes-conscious, he loves smooth but
conservative outfits like pin-stripe
he's wearing at CBS mike.

off to Huntsville...

The following year they moved to Huntsville. In the Andrews family, college was taken for granted. "I don't know how we'll manage it," Dad always said, "but manage it we will."
So his call to Huntsville, home of Sam Houston College, came like an answer to prayer. Living at home, with your bed and board assured, it was easy for a boy to work his way through.

"The Lovebug" started it -- the senior high school play in which Dana got the lead. Hook, line and sinker, he fell for the praise and applause. Maybe he was just a conceited dope, but he didn't think so. He realized that, while the plaudits were sweet, they were just the trimming. What really excited him was acting itself. Moulding lines with his voice, feeling the audience respond - that made him come alive in a way nothing else ever had.
Then he'd grin ruefully, thinking of Mother and Dad, who didn't believe in dancing or playing cards, to say nothing of acting. Gonna be an actor? Might was well say "a bum" and be done with it.

Just the same, he joined the dramatic club at college. Something happened in his sophomore year that clinched it. Dana'd got himself a job in a movie house. From usher he'd been promoted to ticket seller and assistant manager. Talkies were in, but the owner couldn't afford to lease a machine.
"Let's rig up a turntable and loudspeaker," Dana suggested, "and play records to the screen. It won't be talkies, but it'll be better than nothing."

Dana was elected to change the records. In order to pick up cues, you had to watch the screen every minute, which meant seeing the picture 49 times! The first time he was a sucker for the story. The second time he caught bits of business he'd missed the first time. Then he began studying the actors. They weren't gods or supermen, they were flesh-and-blood people who walked across the screen and tried to act like human beings. Anyone could learn to do that, especially Dana Andrews, because that was the one thing in the world he ached to learn.       continue


 
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