When you are a struggling actor/musician/variety artist in New York City, you sometimes take gigs that are kind of, well, strange. An agent that I did the occasional magic job for in Manhattan heard that I was also an actor, dancer, and mime. So naturally she asked if I would be interested in dressing as a gorilla and crashing a party out on Long Island. (Pronounce the Long with a hard G and say the two words like one). She allayed my fears and artistic sensibilities by informing me that it was a “first class, movie quality” gorilla suit, and that I and the costume would be picked up in Manhattan in a limo by the client’s chauffer. All they wanted me to do was burst into a Halloween costume party and “kidnap” the clients’ wife. You see, the client was dressed as Tarzan and his wife was dressed as Jane. I was to burst in, make a big ruckus, pick up the wife and take her screaming and kicking out of the house. I told the agent that I was a serious and discerning performing artist, with a bright future. And then I gave her my measurements and asked where and what time I should be waiting for the limo.
After a 2 1/2 hour drive I arrived at the client’s rather palatial home and was whisked away to a spare room to change into the costume. (I must admit that it really was an excellent and extremely realistic costume). They told me they would come fetch me when the moment was right. What they didn’t tell me was that the wife wasn’t in on the gag, and that there was going to be a rented, live chimpanzee at the party. I made my dramatic entrance, complete with realistic gorilla sounds and gorilla motions, and the chimp went BERSERK! He also thought the costume was very realistic and my acting probably helped a little too. So, the chimp is screaming and tugging on his leash, and the wife is screaming and struggling as I tried to pick her up to make my exit. Somehow I got her out of there without being bitten by either. What I am saying is that it was a roaring success!
Now what does all this have to do with me almost getting mugged on a NY Subway? I will tell you that next week in Part 2!