When we last left her, DAYS’s Louise Sorel (Vivian) had called her father, only to learn he expected her to give up pursuing an acting career in New York.
“I’m going to get an acting job, that’s why I’m here, remember?”
“How are you going to do that? You need an agent. They have to see your work, it’s not that easy. Why don’t you come home and we’ll talk about whether this makes any sense. Besides, without an agent you can’t do anything.”
More of this familiar attitude. He thinks I am helpless and just dreaming.
“Daddy, I know about agents. My friend Jessica just got one and maybe she can help me.” …silence… “You know what? I’ve got to go.”
Can’t take any more of this negativity.
“Just wanted to let you know what happened,” I say, “so anyway, bye.”
“Louise, wait,” his voice raised and a little anxious.
“What?” I say with as little frustration in my voice as I can muster.
“Look, this may not be of any help but…I’ll make a call to an old friend who owes me a favor.”
“That’s okay. Really. Just wanted to say hello.”
“No sweetheart, I’ll call this guy. He’s a big musical producer and he knows a lot of people. Call me back in an hour.”
“Well, yes, OK, thanks Daddy.” At least he’s hearing me. I hang up. I can see my father at his desk, looking every bit the Hollywood producer, every bit the Sam Goldwyn, Louis B. Mayer cut-out with his cigar smoke swirling over his head. He is still resisting my dreams, can’t embrace them. Maybe this time he will. Maybe in one hour something will happen.
I leave Mr. Bell and head back to the basement. An hour… I have a bowl of corn flakes, out of milk, oh well. I listen to the news, look at my scene studies from school, wash the dishes, Windex the bathroom mirror, forty minutes but who’s counting? One hour!
Hello, phone booth. Again I drop the dime in and hear the operator.
“Yes, please, I need to place a collect call to Mr. Albert J. Cohen at Universal International Pictures — Sunset 48739. His daughter is calling.”
This time I feel the palpitations in my heart and the heat seems to have increased.
“One moment please.”
More like an hour to me, and I hear the connection. I hear my father’s secretary. Click… silence… click.
“Hi baby,” says my father. He sounds kind of energized. “I spoke to Cy Feuer, the man I told you about and he’s waiting for your call.” I freeze.
This next dime could be worth its weight in gold.
“Great Daddy. Wait, I have to get out my pen and something to write on.”
Can’t believe I wasn’t ready. “OK, got it,” as I pull out a piece of wadded up paper from my jeans and squish it up against the window of the booth.
“It’s 874-7823. Don’t forget to tell him you’re my daughter.”
“I won’t, Daddy. Thanks, I’ll call him now.”
“Good luck, baby. Let me know what happens.”
Click… breathe… Oh my God… here I go. The dime drops. My finger is inserted into the eight, the seven, the four, the seven, the eight, the two, the three. Ring. And again.
“Feuer and Martin.”
“Yes, hello, this is Louise Sorel. My father just spoke to Mr. Feuer and he is expecting my call. Albert J. Cohen is my father.”
“Hold on please. Click…silence…voice.
“Hello Louise, this is Cy Feuer and young lady, I think you should come over to my office and we’ll meet and see what we can do. Your father spoke to me and told me how talented you are.” He did? I think to myself.
“So let’s make a date, how about tomorrow at 2:00 o’clock? We’re at 260 Park Avenue South.”
“Oh thank you so much, I’ll be there.” Gulp, swallow.
I feel like I’m flying. I’m loving you, inky black receiver. Wow, he was so direct. I thought it would be so hard. Just hello and come on over. This can’t be so easy, I’m thinking.
Next day. Morning. This is it. This is the day. Why? Do I think this is the person that is going to change my life? This stranger that is someone my father knows?
260 Park Avenue South…The smell of cigarettes permeates the lobby. The roster on the wall shows Feuer and Martin, 10th floor. The elevator is cloaked in shiny, mahogany and looks like it has just been polished. Tenth Floor. The secretary at the desk is a woman who looks a little motherly and protective. She has on a soft gray, conservative suit and is wearing rimless glasses and a bouffant hairdo. She gives me the “Hi, honey what have you got to offer” look. Then, “Yes, can I help you?”
“Mr. Feuer is expecting me. I’m Albert J. Cohen’s daughter, Louise.” She picks up the phone, buzzes and announces me with a monotone voice. I’m ushered into the very intimidating offices of Mr. Cy Feuer. He is surrounded by Broadway musical posters. How to Succeed In Business, Pajama Game, Guys and Dolls, and so many others. The smell of leather funnels up my nostrils. He is wearing a natty blue suit and has that self-satisfied smile that comes from success. He graciously puts an arm around my shoulder and I feel the touch of my father.
“Have a seat, young lady. So you want to be an actress. I hope you know how tough it is. Maybe you want to think about it some more. If I were you I’d get out now.”
Oh, no. I steady myself. This is my father’s voice again.
“Mr. Feuer, this is my dream, I’ve done nothing else for he last six years and I’m only twenty. Nothing else matters right now. I know it’s difficult but I have to do this.”
Mr. Feuer looks at me for a minute as though he is going to continue discouraging me. He gives me a very warm smile, throws up his hands, shrugs and says grudgingly, “Alright, you win. I’m going to send you to an agent. She’s very powerful, very honest and doesn’t waster her time. Her name is Phyllis Raab. She’s with the William Morris agency. Call her when you get home. My secretary will give you her number.”
“Oh, thank you so much, Mr. Feuer.” I shake his hand, smile and slip out before he changes his mind. I take the number and jet propel myself out the door.