Where to begin with a blog? Well, naturally, I should begin at the beginning. Not to worry, I have no intention of recounting my childhood (which was fine) or my stint in the US Army (which was enlightening) or my years in college (which were… boy, I can’t remember!). Nope, I’d like to start with my first step toward a professional career in acting: moving to Los Angeles.
Some things never change. I was just another in a long line of other aspiring actors who arrived in this sprawling metropolis, eyes wide and jaw agape. First off, Los Angeles is a sea of concrete: freeways, buildings and sidewalks. Coming from the lush rolling hills of Pennsylvania, I was stunned by the sheer breadth of the city. Strange how quickly I would come to love it.
I drove out to LA in 1990 with an old friend named Steve who was in between jobs and game for an adventure. I had $600, no car and no job. Fortunately, I had another friend who had an apartment in Torrance, in the South Bay area of LA. Unfortunately his new girlfriend had just moved in and my time in Torrance would be, of necessity, short. I had to find work and a new place to live. To do both I had to find a car!
Try to buy a car with no job, no permanent address and not enough money. (Get used to overcoming seemingly impossible odds if you want to move to LA and work as an actor!) After a few days of test driving cheap cars (my favorite was the Ford with the rear view mirror that fell off after I closed the door), I ended up driving a brown sedan when I noticed a curious thing: the odometer reading was several thousand miles less than the odometer figure noted on the paperwork I found in the trunk. It had been rolled back. I couldn’t afford this car anyway but I decided to try to trade my newly discovered information of illegal
activity for a substantial discount. The car dealer quickly made a phone call and said he had a different car for me at next to nothing. He sent me down the street to another car lot where I was told to ask for Snubby.
Snubby showed me the silver 1979 Mazda and told me it was mine. It was so inexpensive that Steve was able (and graciously willing) to put the purchase on his credit card until I could find a job. However, this particular car lot couldn’t process credit cards. Then Snubby had an idea. He took us to a nearby Pet Store who could process the card. My pal walked out of there with a receipt for pet supplies he never bought while I got the title to a car. How Snubby and his boss got reimbursed was lost on me.
So my first LA car (and LA is very car-centric) was sold to me by a man named Snubby, purchased at a Pet Store with a paint job so fresh that I was cautioned not to wash it for a few days…
I was beginning to like this Hollywood adventure until the transmission dropped out three months later. The repair bill was as much as the car!
I’m just saying…