Living with Kay and the baby in a tiny walkup on Second Avenue (rent $33.35 month!) was just not working out, and so I had rented a better, and separate, apartment for them in fashionable East 66th Street (rent $56 a month!).
The monthly bills were high, though, and so a night job was necessary if I was to keep my days free.
I found a job as a proofreader at Cahill Gordon Reindel & Ohl, a large law firm downtown on Pine Street. 5pm until 8a.m. most nights, and at weekends, if you really needed the money – and I did with a 2 year old baby to support and 2 apartment rents to pay – it was 30 hours non-stop. The pay was $1.50 an hour, and they called you a “boy”.
My plan to keep my days free had worked out. Late in the year, I got a job in a tiny part in “Hostile Witness” as a policeman.
This particular morning, I had just got off work from my night job, and had dashed over to the Cunard pier to see a girl I knew leaving for England on The Queen Elizabeth. A few sips of champagne, and just in time for a ten o’clock rehearsal call on stage at the Music Box.
Mr. Milland was practicing his long speech over and over from the witness box at the Old Bailey. It was my duty and role to stand behind him motionless throughout. He was interminable.
Suddenly, I passed out, fell in a heap from behind and pushed him over, almost into the orchestra pit. I came to, with the stage manager bent over me slapping me in the face, and the star at one side suggesting I should be fired on the spot. Thank goodness that the stage manager was a kindly person, who knew a bit about my life-style at that time, and told the star that it was a matter simply of the fact that I’d had no sleep.
And so I got to stay, got to know Ray quite well, heard his lines for him, and listened to his lengthy stories of how he got his name, having been born on mill land somewhere in Wales.