Spradlin: In search of Ann Landers’ typewriter

 

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

I joined the board of directors at the Richmond Community Theatre in September. I had lots of ideas, and had even more after a visit to the Sunrise Theatre in Southern Pines.

From the start, longtime members probably wondered what this not-so-young whippersnapper was doing by questioning the status quo and generally making it a point that perhaps the theater wasn’t doing all it could. The answer is simple: I had no idea what I was doing.

I showed up for my first meeting. In the six months since, I have realized there is a lot of work that goes into a single theater production — and still I don’t even know the half of it. It’s all done by a paid director and an all-volunteer board, along with various volunteer friends along the way.

Only from the time I’ve sat in on meetings, attending an audition or rehearsal, helped for a partial session of taking down a set and another instance of putting one up — and that’s just the basics, and not getting every fine detail just so — I’ve learned there is an awful lot that goes on behind the scenes and between each show at the theater.

Photo courtesy of Richmond Community Theatre Ann Landers sitting at her desk, hands at the ready of her IBM Selectric electric typewriter for the next advice column.

Photo courtesy of Richmond Community Theatre
Ann Landers sitting at her desk, hands at the ready of her IBM Selectric electric typewriter for the next advice column.

Which leads me to my next issue. We are in search of a vintage IBM Selectric election typewriter. The next show is “Lady With All the Answers,” featuring Kimberly Harrington and Vickie Cox. The two will take turns starring in the one-woman show that opens April 16. As much as the syndicated columnist who at one point had 70 million readers is known for her advice, Landers also was rarely photographed without her IBM Selectric electric typewriter.

We need one for the play. There’s one catch. It has to work. That is, Kimberly and Vickie will be tasked with using the typewriter with Landers’ non-copyrighted hunt-and-peck style of composition to produce a real letter.

Of course, we don’t the actual typewriter Ann used. In fact, that’s probably out of the question, seeing as how Seattle sex columnist Dan Savage bought the real deal in 2002 for $200 (and another $175 for her desk).

That’s alright. We don’t need the original. But it sure would be nice to have the set on stage be fully complete with a vintage duplicate. Kimberly and Vickie are putting an awful lot of work into the 35-page, 65-minute play. The typewriter would help the good be great.

As a new board member, I’ll keep doing the best to fulfill my role. I’m not sure exactly what that means just yet, but I’m willing to learn. One of many things I have learned from the theater: I can type faster than Ann Landers ever could.

Kevin Spradlin lives, works and plays in Richmond County with his wife and four children. He promises never to infringe on others’ right to enjoy a play at Richmond Community Theatre by auditioning for a role — especially one that includes singing or dancing or (gulp!) both.

Filed in: Arts & Entertainment, Featured News, Latest Headlines, Opinion

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