Modern Screen magazine,  January 1945

Love can hit you like a blockbuster, or it can sneak up on you gradually. With Dana Andrews, it sneaked. Oh sure, he knew this Mary Todd. They'd been cast in a play together at the Pasadena Playhouse where they were both students. They said "Hi" when they met backstage and smiled politely. But did Dana's heart go into double action when he saw her coming? Did he say to himself, "This is it. This is the girl for me"? Nothing of the kind. Idly, he thought she had pretty blonde hair and a nice smile. But the Playhouse was full of young actresses, and Dana wasn't interested in any of them.

Maybe you think that Mary fell for him and was carrying a secret torch. Boy, would you be wrong! Dana was a great big handsome guy with dark curly hair and a breezy way about him. But Mary was going in for eccentric geniuses at this point. You know -- dark intense characters who sit around biting on smelly pipes and talking about Stanislavsky and the future of the theatah. Flamboyant, brooding. Orson Welles-ish types with violent ideas on practically everything. Dana wasn't like that at all. He was far too normal, too everyday. Why, you'd hardly even think he was an actor!

So nothing seemed to happen for a year or so. Then Mary went to play in stock at Martha's Vineyard. When she got back, Dana found that when the gang got together these nights after rehearsal he always sat with Mary. She was fun to talk to and she knew so much about the theater she made him dizzy.

Someone would mention a play produced back in 1902, and Mary could reel off the entire cast and tell you what they'd been doing ever since. Dana found himself looking forward more and more to these evening rendezvous. In fact, on the occasions when Mary didn't show up, everything was very dull indeed.

Love had sneaked up on him and it was too late to do anything about it. Except find out if it had sneaked up on Mary, too.

About this time, Destiny, in the shape of the Playhouse director, cast them together in a play called "First Lady." Dana was a handsome young Senator, and Mary was a coy, moonlight-and-magnolia creature from the Deep South. In the play the two become engaged. And it seemed to Dana a very fine idea to carry it over into real life. He thought he'd convinced her that eccentric geniuses were all very well in their way, but for a steady diet there was nothing like a normal he-guy.
Or had he? Dana decided he'd better find out. That night he cornered her backstage and they sat down on a couple of boxes.  Dana cleared his throat loudly. "You know it's funny," he said, plunging in, "the way these plays go. Uh, I mean, you're cast with someone and you like 'em a lot. Then the play's over, and maybe they go away or something. I think it's too bad." His dark eyes said a lot more. They said, "I'm crazy about you."

Mary sat and made absent-minded doodles with a pencil.
"I wouldn't want us not to see each other any more," he said positively.
"Uh-uh! Me neither." Mary looked up at him, her blue eyes serious.
"I've been wanting to kiss you for a long time," Dana told her. He leaned over and did it. Thoroughly. Thrills chased themselves up and down Mary's spine. The day of the eccentric geniuses was definitely over!

After that, somehow they got engaged. Dana hadn't formally proposed, but they both knew they were going to get married. Everyone around the Playhouse knew it too, and approved. Only there were complications. That old saying about the course of true love never running smooth was altogether too accurate, Dana thought gloomily.

For one thing, there was David, although he turned out not to be a complication after all. David was Dana's son by his first wife who died soon after the boy's birth. Maybe, Dana worried, Mary wouldn't like the idea of a ready-made family. But Mary thought it was wonderful. She met David and they adored each other. Dana let out a long sigh of relief.   That was one hurdle cleared.

continue



 
home  |  articles menu