July 18, 2000
If you and the family plan to see the new hit movie, "Rocky and Bullwinkle," try not to blink because you might thereby miss the appearance of former Perryan Myrna Niles Hamann. Yes, she appears in one scene but she wants me to caution you that it's a very quick cut and she almost missed seeing herself at a special screening for the cast and crew.
"I have a TINY little role in it," Myrna says. "In fact, if I hadn't known where I was sitting in that scene, I would have missed seeing myself! But when the credits rolled in the 'crawl' after the movie ended I have to admit it was quite a thrill seeing 'Average Grandmother -Myrna Niles' up on that huge big screen! The scene is SO short and goes by very quickly, so it would be easy to miss seeing me. I'm in the middle of the people on the couch. We all say the six words at the same time, 'We will vote for fearless leader,' but, I have to tell you, that when the crawl came up at the end of the movie it was such a thrill that I actually got goosebumps.
"There was a moment during the film that I thought they had cut our scene, and my heart just dropped clear out of my body. They showed a bunch of people in a bar saying the same lines the five of us say in our scene, 'We will vote for fearless leader,' and I thought they had cut our scene and decided to use a bar scene instead. But, the one I'm in came on in just a few seconds. It was quite an experience. I had no idea I would be so affected by seeing my name up there on that big screen, but I really was. It is SO VERY difficult to even get an audition for a small role in a movie, let alone actually get the role, so it felt sort of as if it was another affirmation of my acting, and it felt really good."
As you know, Myrna has had numerous small roles in some major network TV productions and she has had some Los Angeles stage roles since moving to the West Coast. I pass this information along because I know many folks in our community take special delight in Myrna's acting career. It's a timely subject right now on a couple of levels. For starters, the movie is an innovative new offering from filmmakers using new techniques that combine live action with animation, and of course the Rocky and Bullwinkle characters are familiar because of their television popularity a few years ago. Most of us remember Myrna as one of the charter members of Stagecoach Community Theatre and the shining star of their second musical production, "Mame." That part was tailor-made for her and vice versa. The movie version, starring Lucille Ball in the title role, and the Broadway production, starring Angela Lansbury as the indomitable Mame, were high-powered, successful productions, but I believe neither of those two mega-stars outshone Myrna in her portrayal. And with Stagecoach about to celebrate its 25th anniversary with a revival of their first musical, "Oklahoma!", this news about Myrna is most interesting.
So, if you see the new movie, watch for her scene. In the meantime, get your tickets for the "Oklahoma!" production coming up from our own Stagecoach Community Theatre.