Town Hall Party!
For a brief time, unmentioned here in this official biography on wikipedia
, sometime around 1953-1954 perhaps, Dorothy Fay ran a small modeling or charm school designed for the children of actors in Hollywood. My sister had for a time attended that fine institution, and there were times I would wait in the outer office while young and pass the time reading magazines with young John Ritter. My sister had likely learned of this establishment in some way through Polly Bergen, whose parents lived near us near Amantha in Compton. Polly would beg her parents never to tell anyone they were related as news would get back to Hollywood and they there might think she was a "hillbilly". But she'd asked them in a very nice way.
You see, my mother was quite sincere in her attempt to groom us with good manners, and while much of the money and attention was spent on my sister, to learn how to walk, sit correctly, pose in modeling poses for the camera, how to sit properly in a skirt for television or job interviews, blah blah blah, I learned something, too, and decided in my youth that the real essence of good manners is consideration for other people. Bearing is another matter completely.
Now, perhaps, based on all that we know about the careful cultivation of refined manners at the dining table learned about plus bought and paid for at a Hollywood charm school, when I say that I noticed that Frank early on had rather elegant table manners, you might believe me. He did. Though he would have to be reminded sometimes, to sit up a bit straighter in his chair.
He seemed to have a natural muscle memory. I watched him as my sister, in our living room, tried to teach him to tango in a modern style. She was taking a class in modern dance somewhere in the area. And he held himself properly and could get the top half of himself very correctly aligned. He could get that stunningly correct merely from watching people tango on television, and from magazine photos we had assembled as visual "prompts" to aid in the lesson. Had he been more athletically inclined, he would have made a great physical actor. There was a natural fluidity about him, something that coursed through him, but it was more of a mathematical and musical bent (nerds can't really dance, can they?) and it was like he could assemble all the joints and parts moving together correctly but as if drawing all the information from an anatomy textbook.
I also watched him dance at the Rainbow Ballroom in Pomona when Ike & Tina came to town to perform there. That was an exciting show, Tina was remarkable! And a performance I will always carry in my heart.