Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What the f*ck is ROAR LIKE A DOVE?

If the 1964 production of ROAR LIKE A DOVE is remembered for anything today, it's for the shirttail presence of Jonathan Frid.

In the days following the debut as vampire Barnabas Collins on DARK SHADOWS, the public was clamoring to know about the actor behind the role. A photo of a bearded Frid was widely circulated at the time, and was credited to his appearance in ROAR LIKE A DOVE. Frid's association with the production was actually a lot less glamorous, though. In the playbill, his lead credit is as assistant stage manager.

ROAR was directed by Cyril Ritchard, best known for his turns on stage as Captain Hook in PETER PAN. The star of the show was Betsy Palmer,who would appear opposite David Selby in a 1976 production of THE ECCENTRICITIES OF A NIGHTINGALE.

Technically, Frid was a member of the cast, and was an understudy for three roles in the play. The press materials never bothered to mention which role the promotional photo depicted, but it didn't really matter by 1967. The production was shut down after just 20 performances, closing June 6, 1964. The short run probably gave Frid few opportunities to act. Charlie Ruggles, who provided the voice of Aesop for the "Aesop & Son" feature on THE ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE SHOW, was also there.

Jessie Royce Landis, Betsy Palmer and Charlie Ruggles in rehearsal for ROAR LIKE A DOVE, 1964.

The press was not kind to ROAR LIKE A DOVE. "The program of Leslie Storm's 'Roar Like a Dove' says that the comedy ran three years in London; it ran damn near that long this evening in the Booth Theatre," wrote John Chapman, a drama critic for the New York Daily News. History has continued to be unkind to the production, with Playbill Vault providing this hi-larious summary for the comedy: "A Scottish nobleman's American wife refuses to try to conceive a son with him after they have had six daughters." 

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