The Role I Liked Best ...
MAYBE an embarrassed, all-knees-and-elbows portrayal of adolescence shouldn't be my favorite role. But to me the role of Stanley Owen in Holiday in Mexico was tops. I enjoyed it partly because it was a bright, fast-moving picture that came after I had played a lot of slower, serious roles. I liked it more because I was really playing myself, a teen-ager with his troubles showing.
      Stanley Owen and I could have been twins in experience in some of those scenes. I knew just how he must have felt, for example, when he blundered into a three-point landing at the bottom of the night-club steps. I had done the same thing myself at an important meeting of the Screen Actors Guild, and I made it worse by knocking down some ash trays as I turned to apologize. Another time, I picked up too many checks in a night club and put down too little money. The waiter seared my soul with the cold comment: "Come again ... and bigger."
      I liked the role, too, because George Sidney was such a fine director. He encouraged me to do the natural thing, and often he would ask, "Do you feel this is right?" At other times, when I laughed at a funny sequence, he would say, "If you live the part, you won't laugh." That always brought me down to earth.
      Right from the first the set was as gay as the title. We all started off, in the Pasternak tradition, by sipping some champagne, and after each take was finished Xavier Cugat would play a rumba.
      Walter Pidgeon was just as nice to me as he can be, and that means very nice indeed. Jane Powell was bubbling as that champagne we sipped the first day. And José Iturbi was just as pleasant in a quieter way, except when he had difficulty phrasing some thought clearly. That always worried him and surprised me, because if I could play the piano like Iturbi, I wouldn't worry about anything else.

The Saturday Evening Post   June 21, 1947

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