“Our Day Together At Work”
In no uncertain terms, I became the stage manager for all and everything taking place during the recording of “A Troll in Central Park”. Even Don Bluth and Gary Goldman acknowledged my work as being the best they had ever experienced. To this day, it remains a strange happening—or should I say, even though they paid me well, Harvey Kalmenson’s name never appeared on anything emanating from the Sullivan Bluth organization. That’s not to say either Don or Gary had anything to do with the supposed oversight. They had both been extremely cordial during my stay with them.
1974 Cloris and friends:
Never a dull moment. She was always working with the best performers Hollywood had to offer. For me, it was once again “hog’s heaven” time.
As planned, the limo carrying Cloris arrived at the studio right on time, and as planned da harv was there right on time as well. “I’m Harvey Kalmenson”, I offered. Cloris placed her arm in mine. “Oh, I know who you are,” she said as we moved away from a large crowd of people who had gathered in anticipation of her arrival. It was all business for both of us.
My young assistant was introduced to Cloris, and he instantly reported to me. He had checked out the back seat of the limo, as well as guaranteed the phone number of the driver, and acknowledged he would be in the vicinity of the recording studio in order to pick Cloris up at our request.
At my instruction, it was to be the same driver who would be picking her up at the end of the session. The driver was to remain with Cloris until she was securely home or at the location of her choice (in Los Angeles). Cloris Leachman would be receiving the star celebrity treatment she had earned, never demanded.
Inside the building, Cloris was introduced by me to Don Bluth. At that point, it was his job as the director to intro anyone he chose to intro. Everything was supposedly now in his hands. Cloris and I recognized, simultaneously, that the actor and director etiquette wasn’t Don Bluth’s forte. It went quickly along with her sly wink to me and me alone.
She was prepared to receive and nod her head “yes” while her performance didn’t quite resemble what Don was asking her to do. She was marvelous from the beginning and all through the day. Everything Don required was there for him at his beck and call. I functioned for him as the invisible man.
Don had turned away from the booth and began talking to people in his entourage, before telling me—or anyone else for that matter—what was going on. “Shall we take a bathroom break?”, I asked. “Okay, everyone, take a break”, Don said to no one in particular. “Should we release Cloris?” I asked. Don waved to me signaling it was okay.
Cloris had come around and into the control area. I had put my head down, resting for a moment on my hands. Cloris deliberately ignored everybody in the control area and moved over to where I was resting while she began to rub the back of my neck. It was then, that the one and only Cloris Leachman said in a very polite voice for all to hear, “Thank you for your help, Harvey”.
My goodness, “A Troll In Central Park”, was about forty-nine years ago. The best part of this business for me isn’t the money or the acclaim. It was the genuine graciousness of the very one and only: