Aug. 2-5, 2007
The first time I saw David perform was at Thursday Night Dress
rehearsal. He had gotten permission for me to attend, for which I was
David was apparently getting dressed for rehearsal and was having a
costume issue. I spotted him right away. He was standing behind the
half parted side curtain into the artist’s area with his coat off and no
tie on yet. I stopped, taking in his beautiful snow white shirt and
sexy red suspenders. Linda saw me walk in, but where she was standing,
her back was to the curtain area. She walked over to welcome me and we
had a brief hello chat, until David called her over to “fix” whatever it
was he had come out of his dressing room for.
I moved down the left side of the first aisle and picked a seat about 1/3
of the way up and settled in as it was almost time to start. I listened
to the crew discuss changes – I heard the actors call - and then David
and Nancy came out in costume. He walked all the way over to her desk
with her, pulled out her chair and made sure she was seated properly.
He then went over to his desk, sat down and started to read.
It was lovely. I had never seen this particular play performed, but I
had seen the movie. I was told on Friday night seeing the movie didn’t
count. David’s voice was strong and clear and he did a magnificent
David looked fabulous in his dark navy suit and navy blue tie and he had
a very flattering hair cut. He was sitting at a very square wooden desk
that reflected the character he was playing. In, short, everything on
it was correct and “stuffy.” Nancy’s desk was gray metal and very open
- well-suited for her “artist” character.
Each of them had a bookstand in the center of their desks to hold their
“reading” scripts. This play – if you are not familiar with it – is a
fifty year series of letters between a man and woman who are friends,
and who marry others. They continue to keep in touch by letters,
because they fill a need in each other.
I was the only non-crew person at the rehearsal. David read it right
through without any hitches, but his voice started to go at the end of
the first act. I dug down in my bag and motioned Linda over during the
break. I handed her the bag of Ricola throat lozenges I had brought for
him, because I know this happens. Linda took them back and came out
empty-handed and said David said, Thank you. His voice was okay during
the second act.
Nancy Dussault – who David first met while making a Love Boat episode –
was also spot on. She was very nice and made a beautiful and witty
“lost princess of Oz.” Linda brought her over to meet me while David
was getting his notes from the director.
She said, so, this is Diane. This made me wonder what she had heard.
Linda told me later she had been telling her about Voyage fandom and
what I did in the fandom, but mostly that I had been doing publicity for
this play via David’s website.
David came down from the stage to greet me when the Director was done
giving him his notes. He managed to negotiate the steps after
complaining about his bifocals. His glasses looked new or least this
was the first time I had seen this particular gold frame. He made it
down to the relief of everyone.
I hugged him hello. He asked after John. David wanted to know where I’d
be sitting Friday night. Second row. Center. Seat 107. He told me
that was a horrible seat. I should be further back in the hall so I
wouldn’t have to look up at the stage. I told him I had chosen to be
close so he could see my reactions. David told me he couldn’t see
anything beyond the lights.
So much for that plan. Oh, well. I asked if not being able to see us in
the dark bothered him. David smiled and said no, that he would hear any
reaction he was looking for and/or received.
David was concerned
about something I had told him earlier. I didn’t like the play because
the two actors were not allowed to look at each other and that had to be
hard for him. He explained that they did react to the letters being
read, like he would laugh when she said something funny, like if he was
I explained I knew
David liked to connect with his co-star. It was one of the things about
his acting he did really well and I was “upset” he wouldn’t be able to
do it with this play. David smiled and said it would be okay. I told
him I trusted him.
I checked out my seat afterward and I was satisfied. I was not quite at
his feet, but I did have a great view of David and Nancy, right in
between them. If I look slightly left, I’ve got a good angle on David,
to the right, I could focus on Nancy.
It had been a very long day of rehearsing. I chatted with David a few
minutes about what I saw and what I thought were David’s best scenes,
then he was released to go. Linda came up and told him she needed his
clothes. David teased her, asking if she was going to sell them on
eBay. This had apparently been their running joke for a few days now.
Linda told him she wanted to wash his shirt. David said fine, he had his
notes and went off to change. He left very shortly after that with Ms.
Dussault and her husband Valentine Meyer. Val had apparently been cast
in the role of chauffeur for the week, since Nancy and David (and Val)
were all in the same hotel.
Linda very graciously introduced me to the stage crew and the director.
John Burke – who everyone calls Jack - was all over the theatre,
listening to the reading. He gave good notes to both David and Nancy
before he released them. There were a few last minute adjustments, the
stage manager wanted a coaster for each desk and David wanted a more
macho looking water glass, something completely different from Nancy’s.
He got the new water glass the next night. It was different. Nancy had
a single red rose on her desk and since Andy sends her red roses twice
in the play, I thought that was a nice touch. David also now had a red
and gold tie on, which did look better than the blue one the night
before and he kept that red tie for the entire run.
Linda invited me to go to the Ink Well coffee shop with her and the
Director afterward and she told me about all the events of the week,
when David arrived and what they did and where they went. Jack wanted
to know a bit about my work, including my books. It was very pleasant
out there on the patio under the stars.
Friday night we all started congregating about 7:30 PM. Jane was there
when I walked in and Elizabeth (Betty) Dickie, her daughter Laura and
her husband Greg came in right before I did. I said hi to Betty and we
chatted briefly. I was standing near the door, when Hildy looked at me
and said: Don’t I know you. I shook my head and told her I wasn’t
local. No, she said, I’ve definitely seen you before. Taking a guess,
I said, well, I run David Hedison’s web site and my picture is posted up
That was it! She absolutely loved the website and visited it often. I
thanked her and was happy she was enjoying all “the gorgeous pictures” I
had up of David on the site. The Voyage theme song starts playing.
Hildy’s going what the… I hear music. It’s the Voyage theme!
I admit it’s my cell phone. I dig in my black bag for my black case and
flip open the phone, figuring it’s something important and you know
what, it’s a sales recording. It was worth it, however, to see
everyone’s reaction. I said I couldn’t take credit. Downloading the
Voyage ring tone was John’s idea. He thought it was apropos since I
work for David Hedison.
The doors opened and we took our seats. Hildy ended up sitting beside me
and Betty sat in front of me. I believe Janis was on the other side,
behind Hildy. Janis and I had met at a Chiller in 2004 and it was good
to see her again. Betty was at the Nostalgia con in Aberdeen.
The water glasses came out, the lights went down. David and Nancy walked
out to vigorous applause. He seated her, then himself, and began to
read. The audience started laughing. And we were whisked off to
Connecticut – otherwise known as the Land of Oz.
Friday after the play they asked us all to leave so they could take some
official photos of David and Nancy on stage in their costumes. I stood
outside the door and looked in, watching David have his picture taken.
He looked good sitting at his desk reading, and then laughing and joking
came to the lobby first. I think she had fewer clothes to change out
of. David came strolling out a few minutes later. I had the camera up
and ready and snapped his entrance.
He made a beeline for me and asked how he did. I told him he did fine,
which was true. He was even better tonight, added more inflections and
gestures and got loads of laughs. He told me he had felt very
comfortable and had enjoyed performing. He was wearing a powder blue
Cuban shirt and tan linen pants.
He started talking to all the other people waiting to meet him and he
signed their playbills with a green sharpie. We had a good group
waiting for him. David probably signed ten playbills and chatted with
everyone: Linda, Jane, Caitlin, Janis Gianforte and her husband Bruce;
Elizabeth Dickie, her husband Greg and daughter Laura; Hildy and her
friend from Philadelphia; plus at least five other people I did not
know. Everyone took pictures, including me.
David asked Linda specifically if she had gotten me in one of the
pictures. Linda assured him she had. I don’t particularly like having
my picture taken and David gets after me not to be like that. I made
sure I smiled when she was taking it. We’ll see how I turn out, when
Linda sends it to me to put up on this site.
Everyone was teasing David about looking so good. Hildy wanted to know
where the Fountain of Youth was he was drinking from. I quipped that he
still won’t tell us where the picture is. The group laughed. Elizabeth
said it was at the bottom of the sea. David laughed and said it could
Several folks told David he made them cry when he read the final letter.
He really did a great job, interpreting and giving life to the words in
all those letters. One of the couples mentioned Voyage and how long it
has lasted and how amazing it was that he was still remembered for that
after all these years.
Right before Nancy Dussault told David to get ready to go and after she
had him talk to her limo driver, I took him off to the side to do some
business. The Casino Caper Audio book had arrived at my house the day
before I left and I figured David hadn’t seen one yet. He hadn’t.
David wanted to know how he sounded on it and I told him terrific,
particularly on John’s five speaker surround sound system. The Denver
con wanted some things done and we agreed on what I should send him to
David said Bridget was bringing me his interview for our 50th
anniversary Fly book with her the next day. Did I have another chapter
ready for him to go over? It was back at the hotel. He wanted me to
bring it to him. I promised I would. I hugged him again and told him
yes when he asked if I would be in the audience again tomorrow.
Nancy Dussault told him to come on. Val was there with the car. They
Janis took Hildy back to her hotel and I waited until they drove off.
Linda and the director, Jack, decided to come out and have their late
night snack at the Applebee’s across from my hotel, so Linda called me
on my cell to come join their group.
I teased Jack when I sat down that we had to stop eating like this, this
being my second night out with them. Linda mentioned David told her to
make sure that I was invited as he was concerned for me, because I was
there all alone. John had passed on coming with me. It would have
been too much for him. It gets way too hot in August for him to travel
and he doesn’t like to fly, either. I was not happy it was that hot,
either, but I managed.
Saturday during the day Linda hosted a pot luck party for all the fans
who had come in to see David. We had crab cakes and dip and pie and
submarine sandwiches. Linda showed us a clip tape from various
episodes that had been set to music – they do this for conventions. It
was really funny. We all noshed and visited and watched an episode of
Voyage (Fatal Cargo) until it was time to go and get ready for the
At 3:00 PM Linda said she had a special surprise for the group. She had
been talking with Robert Dowdell, the actor who played Chip Morton on
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and Robert had agreed to take a group
cell phone call from our party.
Linda dialed him, put him on speakerphone and said, everyone say hello.
So we all yelled hello and bowled him over with our volume.
She then passed the cell phone around the room so each one of us could
say a few words to him. I was given the honor of going first, after
Linda told him I ran David’s web site.
Robert’s voice was very strong and quite deep. I welcomed him into the
fandom and told him I had followed his career for years and mentioned
two roles of his I had particularly liked. Then I passed him on. We
had to encourage a few of the more shy ones to take the phone, but in
the end everyone talked to Robert and he seemed to really enjoy it.
We posed for a group picture before we all scattered to leave for the
play. We’ll see which one turns out the best to be posted on the site.
Instead of cheese, they told us to say submarine. I hope that worked.
Let’s see, it was me, Linda Delaney, Jane Daffron, Kathy Agel, and Wendy
Rosenkrantz – who brought her husband George – Janis Gianforte, Kim
Quire, Lin Whinney, Sue Kite, and Pat Crumpler. The party also included
Linda’s Mom, her daughter Caitlin, her son Conor and two of his
friends. A good time was had by all. Caitlin took the picture – she
was doing that all weekend. So there should more pictures up here later
The Road trip crew (Lin, Kim, Pat, Sue) came back to my hotel to get
ready – it was closer than theirs – and I piled everyone in my van to
take them to the theater. We had quite a crowd by the time the doors
opened. I was pleased that there would lots of reaction for David to
hear. That always helps the actors.
Bridget was at the play on Saturday night, as was Serena, but I never was
able to spot them. I had Lin, Sue, Pat and Kim with me, so I might have
been a bit distracted. Alan Prigge waved hello and I waved back. Lin
was given an ADA device to help her hear and she was very pleased that
she was finally able to hear David speak. She told me he had a very
The crowd was amazing on Saturday, they laughed at everything. I thought
the Voyage fan contingent was going to bust a gut when Andy wrote he had
joined the Navy! They got even more hysterical when he ended up on an
Admiral’s staff! I don’t think A. R. Gurney planned for that happening
when he wrote this!
I could see both Nancy and David responding to all this hilarity. They
blossomed. Everything got bigger and broader. The audience loved it
and laughed all the louder, until it was time to cry. Trust me, David
made everyone cry with his reading of the final letter. They both got
thunderous applause, which was well deserved.
There weren’t any pictures taken or autographs after the play. David was
not feeling well and Bridget took him home. About ten of us went out
to the Applebee’s (again) for a great post play party. We gave the road
trip crew a raucous send-off.
Linda brought me over to the theater early on Sunday – to visit with her
until it was time for her to set everything up in the dressing room for
David’s arrival and his last performance.
She said I could park (for now) in the artist parking, with the
understanding I would have to move my minivan when the real talent
started showing up. My rental was a little big for the spot, so I
wasn’t quite straight, but I figured I’d be moving it before it mattered
She asked if I would be all right sitting alone in the lobby while she
worked. I said I’d be fine. I did offer to help, but she said she didn’t
need any. I had brought something with me, knowing I’d have time to
kill, so I worked on that until George and Wendy came in. Wendy wanted
to talk, so we did that until Linda came back out and told me it was now
time to move my car.
David had arrived early and was pretending to be mad there was a crooked
car messing up his parking – pacing up and down with large gestures and
being overly dramatic. I think David knew it could be mine. He was
aware I had a rental and the van in question had Connecticut plates – a
dead giveaway – plus it was one he hadn’t seen back there before. After
a week – David knew which cars (with New Jersey plates) belonged back
David declared he would not go on stage unless this offending car was
moved immediately! I told Linda to go tell him I was moving the car.
God forbid I be the cause of a riot because he refused to perform! I
told her be sure to tell him there would be a riot if he didn’t perform!
That’s how I found out David had come in on Sunday. At least he now knew
I was there as well.
I really didn’t notice Bridget had taken a seat on the floor until Dori
Martin said to me oh, there’s Alexandra. Alexandra would stand out in
any crowd, so I swiveled around. The three of them were sitting about
three rows behind me on the right side of the center section. I had no
idea what Serena looked like these days – the picture I have is fifteen
years old – but once I saw her sitting on the other side of Bridget, I
There was about fifteen minutes until the play started, so I rose and
moved to the right end of my row and walked up to them. Bridget looked
at me and I stuck out my hand. Hi. I thought I should introduce
myself. I’m Diane Kachmar.
I shook Bridget’s hand. She started to introduce me to her daughters. I
extended my hand to Alexandra and said, “Alexandra.” She took it. I
turned to Bridget’s other side and said, “This must be Serena,” and
shook her hand when Serena leaned forward to give it to me.
Bridget and I discussed some of the work I had done with David in the
past four years and she thanked me again for taking good care of him on
the road. She apparently finds it very amusing that I bring her husband
“treats.” She mentioned the cans of almonds.
I couldn’t resist teasing her. I mentioned I had cookies in my bag, if
David wanted them after the show. This exchange amused both daughters.
Alexandra said she had to do something and got up. I stepped back and
apologized if I had been leaning over her to talk to Bridget, but she
said, no, I was all right.
Right before I left, I said to Bridget: We met before. About 11 years
ago. You were running around in David’s white shirt. (This was at
That had to be Nebraska, she said immediately. That time they lost my
She looked up at me. I don’t remember you.
That’s perfectly understandable, I replied, I was one of a group of six.
I had met Bridget before that, but it was in 1993, so I decided to only
talk about the most recent one. I went back to my seat.
Linda came out a few minutes later, with my Fly book chapter in a grey
folder and said, “David said to give this to you.”
I thanked her and put it in my bag, telling her I knew what it was and
was expecting it. I asked Linda if David wanted me to send the envelope
he had asked for back with her. She said David didn’t say, but I could
take it back with me after the play. David wanted to see me after the
show. I was to sit tight until she came for me. I told her I would.
It was a smaller audience on Sunday, but David and Nancy were still
magical together and the lines that got laughs on Friday still had them
cracking on up Sunday. I think the fights (by letter) were some of the
funniest lines, but a few Christmas notes came in a close second.
Melissa loved to puncture Andy anytime he got pompous, what with him
becoming a lawyer and then a senator.
After the play, we let everyone clear out, except for the other people
Linda had also told they could go backstage. I let them go first. Dori
had five year old Megan. Megan gets a little impatient at times, which
is understandable. Wendy and George were next and I brought up the
As I left my seat to move over by Dori, Megan announced to the whole
theatre, Hi, Diane!
Bridget gives me a look.
I smile, say Hi, Megan, and explain out loud that she’s met me before.
Third time in fact. Megan loves watch David on TV with Grandma. Megan
was our youngest; the only other young person who attended was 10 year
old Laura Dickie on Friday. David took the time to say hello to both of
Linda told us to go through the back door and we stopped and waited for
someone to come take us down the corridor. It was Caitlin. Linda met
us half way. We stopped in a line about 6 feet from a black curtain,
behind which I could hear David talking.
Serena came through the side entrance in front of us and went behind the
curtain, exclaiming Daddy! There was much hugging and kissing. She
told him quite exuberantly that he made her cry! You could hear the
pride in her voice. It was a first for me to hear him being called
Daddy. Several times.
I heard David say, he had to go say hello to some people. The curtain
parted and it was the man himself, dapper in a navy Hawaiian shirt and
brown linen pants.
He went to Dori and Megan first for their play reactions. Then he went
to Wendy and George. Wendy blurted he was her first crush. David
laughed and said your second and third and fourth and fifth. Wendy
caught on and pointed to George and said twelfth!
Then he came over to me. I stepped up and hugged him. I told David he
had really pulled out all the stops that night and brought the
performance up to a new level. It was the best of the four I had seen!
He informed me that was what he was supposed to do. I told him he had
done it so well, that he made me cry, too, and I’m not a weeper.
David was duly impressed. He wanted to know where his new Fly book
chapter was. I handed it to him from the bag at my feet. He said he
would read it on the plane going home to Los Angeles. Did I get the one
he sent out to me? Yes. He hoped I’d be able to make sense of what he
added in. It was a bit of mess. I assured him not to worry, I was used
to him and I’d figure it out.
This got a laugh from the group. Not quite sure why.
Before he turned away, I asked David for a kiss and he obliged me. I
bussed him back. David thanked me so much for coming. I told him I
wouldn’t have missed it for the world. He was so good, and brought so
much to each of his individual performances, that I thoroughly enjoyed
watching all four of them.
The lines never got old and I loved watching David work the material and
see the evolution of all that work come out in his performances. He
really knows his craft. It was such a treat to be there and watch David
perform this play.
He carried my envelope back behind the curtain and that was the last I
saw of him.
Nancy Dussault came out to meet some folks the director had brought
back. One of them was the dean of the theater.
I stepped up and hugged Nancy after she was done with her guests, telling
her she was my favorite “lost Princess of Oz” and that I really had
enjoyed watching her evolve through the run as well.
She knew I had been there since Thursday. I told Nancy how much my
husband loved her in the Peter Falk version of The In-Laws. My
one and only film, she said. And a cult one, at that!
John replied when I told him, if you are only going to make one film,
that was the one to pick, because it is hysterically funny and she plays
her part (Alan Arkin’s wife) – to perfection. Go rent it, if you
haven’t seen it.
After that, we wandered out to the lobby to wait for Linda, so we could
get her something to eat after. Alexandra and Serena came out and went
in two different directions. Naturally, a minute or two later, Bridget
comes out into the lobby looking for both her daughters.
I asked her which one she wanted. We decided Alexandra had walked
farther away and Bridget went after her. While Bridget was getting
Alexandra back, Serena came back into the lobby from the side wing. I
told her to go out and find her mother. The three of them came walking
back past me to leave. Bridget asked if I had seen David.
I said yes. He had given me a hug and kiss and I was very happy.
Bridget smiled and said goodbye.
When Linda came out with Caitlin, we all decided to go have a bite with
Wendy and George and the Lighting Designer – George Hensel, once again
at the Applebee’s! It was either there or the 24 hour White Castle.
There was another place on the way – I think they sold chicken wings -
called CLUCK U – I told Linda I didn’t want to know!
That was the play. I got up at oh dark thirty on Monday, drove the
rented minivan back to Newark Airport and took my two flights home
through Atlanta. I was only delayed an hour in Atlanta, which I
understand, given the way flights have been this summer, that I was
extremely lucky it was only an hour.
As I told David, I wouldn’t have missed it. He was so good. It was a
treat to see him perform on stage again.
August 10, 2007