I thought Bonnie was a great secretary.
We probably graduated in the same class. She was definitely from Sun Valley, but I grew up on the West Side and so it would’ve been colder at my mother’s house. This was before they built the 134 freeway so it would’ve been difficult for me to get to her house anyways.
The 134 freeway is called the Ventura freeway. Lot’s of people who can’t pronounce their T’s say “Venchura”, lots of people who are from Venchura say Venchura, and lots of people who read the sign for Port Hueneme can’t pronounce that either.
I was working on a Western — I can’t remember which one, it must’ve been Buddy Cass, which (by the way) was a real classic at the time. The studio placed an order for two sequels — they weren’t really called sequels then — and instantly found that there was a shortage of folks who could ride horses.
I learned how to ride a horse in Palos Verdes. This was after they built the 110 freeway. The 110 freeway is called the Harbor freeway because it will take you to the end of the city. My uncle had a scrapyard. I knew how to ride a horse and I was “featured background”, so they got me in every shot. It made me feel good for a few minutes at a time.
One day, when we were shooting a real dusty scene, I scraped my knee and they sent me to medical services. I found it quite the novelty then to walk around in spurs — clinking, clinkling. I always loved going to medical services on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays because that’s when Bonnie worked.
This was during the summertime when the air in Burbank was so dry that each breath made me feel simultaneously dead and alive all at once. My esophagus felt like it dried up with each breath, the same way that smoking cigarettes makes me cough instantly — coughing, coughing.
Medical Services was above the metal shop so I got to smell all sorts of things, turpentine, paint thinner, solvents, veneers, adhesives.
I thought Bonnie was real good at her job. She answered all of my questions, gave me a bandage (she wasn’t allowed to do any real medical advising, but this was good enough for me), and got me water with ice in it.
But Bonnie was just a secretary.
So sometimes I’d take a real long time to put on a bandage or get more water so I could talk to her after she hung up the phone. Then we would get to talking, and then it would ring again. And then we’d get to talking and I’d tell her that it was 10 degrees cooler on the west side and I’d say she should come to the beach sometimes.
But that always made me nervous.
Bonnie was a real good secretary.