From "The Memoirs, Chapter Eight":
Then we were back in
San Francisco in the fall and Ed Weingold says Bill, the Columbus
Day Parade is coming up and did we want to go in with the Julian
Theater on another float? And so we said sure!
The Julian got
another grape trailer and we talked to the Nickelettes and did they
want to be in it with us. So that brought along the head Nickelette,
Denise Larson, and she brought along her boyfriend, Vince Stanich, a
great guy, sort of older and wiser than us but who always liked us a
lot and happened to be the manager of the Mitchell Brothers’
O’Farrell Theater, who happened to get a hold of a swanky Cadillac
convertible to pull us.
We used the same idea
of a ramp on the float facing forward for good visibility, this time
the ramp extending up to Queen Isabella’s throne, in front of a
cardboard castle rising behind.
We built it on the street in front of our apartment on Vicksburg
Street, the Saturday before the big parade on Sunday.
We would work on the float late into the night.
Marge Rooney got to play Queen
Isabella and a new actor we had met named Michael Ferringo, a true
Italian, would play Columbus prostrate in front of her, thanking her
for her jewels. He was a big, curly-haired, gay guy who lived in
the Mission and had been acting around town. He had a big nose and
a wild guffaw of a laugh. We loved him immediately.
Vince got to drive the convertible, of course,
with me in front with him in my white dinner jacket and, riding high
in the back seat, waving and blowing kisses, two more hangers-on in
some Mickey Mouse and Snoopy costumes Vince had managed to acquire.
Walking along beside, Dale
and Kevin got to reprise their favorite roles of drooling hunchback
and sadistic torturer.
Dale was always great in his roles as deranged
My puppet, Freckles,
sat on Marge’s lap dressed as the Crown Prince of Spain and Marge
kept him laughing all the way through the parade.
All around the edges of the float were gaudily
wrapped trunks of jewels, containing the spangle-covered Nickelettes,
popping up and down.
Head Nickelette Denise Larsen, below, always
looked particularly fetching.
Behind her throne
stood a serious and seriously ridiculous Freaky Ralph Eno with a
tufted baby-blue toilet cover on his head and a mop-like scepter, as
With the crazy antics of Marge, Michael, the stoic Ralph, the lovely
Nickelettes, and the cartoon Mickey and Snoopy, our “Queen Isabella
Gives her Jewels to Columbus” was an enormous hit and proudly won the first
of our many third-place ribbons.
* * *
...NEXT: THE FILMING OF "ROCKET TO MARS"