Special Birthday Tribute
January, 1924, Howard Carter found the sarcophagus of Tutankhamen, the 3rd
Dutch government was formed, Lenin was placed in a mausoleum in Red
Square and the first Winter Olympic Games opened in Chamonix,
France. Yankee Stadium had just been built in the Bronx and
there were over 2.4 million radios in American homes.
But as important as all of these events were, to me they cannot eclipse one of the other things that happened in January, 1924..... the birth of Armando Catalano (Guy Williams) in New York City, on January 14th.
Guy was born in a world that had just emerged from a war to end all wars and was feeling optimistic. This was the world of the speak-easies, flappers, this was the Roaring Twenties. Guy's parents were immigrants, ambitious and hard working, but Guy was a child of the United States. He grew up in Manhattan, in a neighborhood bustling with people feeling the same optimism. Undoubtedly Guy played baseball in the streets with his friends, while the Yankees and the Dodgers played nearby. He went to school, sometimes excelling, sometimes not, as he himself was wont to say. But this boy had a crackerjack mind and the streets of New York were his oyster. Did he sometimes go down to Broadway and wonder about the plays and those who made their living on the stages there? Did he dream of someday being part of that world? We can assume he did, since he played summer stock and studied acting when he was a young man.
Guy is the young man on the left.
Always did love men in uniforms
As he grew, though, he saw his world change. It changed from optimism to pessimism. The Depression was a part of his growing up years, but he was, thankfully, not as affected by it as were thousands of others. He worked in a soda shop, he was able to go to Peekskill Military school, he learned from his father how to fence, he learned all the old world graciousness and charm that came to be his trademark. Guy was an American, but he had inherited the best of his European roots. He wanted to act, but found the way to success was as a model and he was very busy in this profession as attested by the numerous ads that sport his handsome face and beautiful body. He worked, but had to still be thinking about acting.
Unable to go into the military, he continued working in the field he knew, while still looking for some kind of break in the movies. (Did we not all dream of being discovered and becoming famous?) Guy found a small role in a World War II docu-drama, playing the part of a bombardier. And he continued to work in his field, still dreaming. He married and had a child and still dreamed of acting.
I have felt the joy of service, of generous giving that I have seen in so many people. I would not be as enriched as I am today, even beyond the happy, semi-peaceful life that I have lived. I would still be cloistered in my small narrow world, pretty much untouched by the worldwide friendships that are out there, doing things on a fairly local basis. I can never thank Guy enough for the enduring, endearing, wonderful friendships I have gained by my rediscovering of this talented man. I can never thank him for enlarging my world, enlarging my family's world, for the joy I have felt.
of us know about the life of Guy Williams, especially his life on
film. This man was born to the role of Zorro, there is no doubt
about that. He did other things, he lived and worked for a time
after his tenure as the masked avenger, but why do I desire to wish a man
almost fourteen years dead a happy birthday?
It is because of what my discovery of this incredible man has done to my life. Yes, I would still be happy if I hadn't discovered Guy Williams, that wonderful, beautiful, enigmatic, handsome hunk of a man. I would still have a wonderful husband and beautiful children. I would be working toward retirement, enjoying my cats, going to church. But I would not have the wonderful network of friends that I have now. I would not have laughed and cried and hugged and ooohed and aaahed and rejoiced and sorrowed as I have in the past five years. I would not have gone to Florida, New York, Los Angeles.
Happy Birthday, Guy Williams!
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