The Pomona Mugger

"The Pomona Mugger," left, during his short stage career. "Green Fire," Little Theatre in Padua Hills, California, ca. 1932.

Robert Taylor recalls an audition while he was still in college: “The casting director was kindly. He gave me an audition. I read something from “Private Lives.” Later I realized that I had “mugged” all over the place–“mugging” being the worst form of overacting. I could see he was disappointed, although he did say I had a “Gablesque” quality of voice. There was no opening at the moment, but if I cared to see Oliver Hinsdell, dramatic coach, perhaps he could find a place for me in his school for newcomers, conducted on the lot. Mr. Hinsdell said I could come in twice a week and study with him. This lasted only three weeks. I was so bad I could see his interest waning and gave him up before he could give me up. I told him that going to his school and Pomona too was overdoing it, and I returned definitely to Pomona.”

Months later Taylor returned to MGM, and met with a casting director. “I asked him if he remembered me. He took a swift glance, laughed and said, ‘Oh, the Pomona Mugger!’ It hurt, but I tried to laugh and asked for another chance. ‘If Oliver Hinsdell wants to give it to you, it’s all right with me. See him.’

“I have no idea just why Mr. Hinsdell gave me another chance. I hope it was because he realized I was serious this time and willing to do everything necessary to make myself over. For I had learned just enough to know I would have to be made completely over.”

Taylor, Robert. “Anything Can Happen in Hollywood,” Ladies Home Journal, September 1936.

About giraffe44

I became a Robert Taylor fan at the age of 15 when his TV show, "The Detectives" premiered. My mother wanted to watch it because she remembered Mr. Taylor from the thirties. I took one look and that was it. I spent the rest of my high school career watching Robert Taylor movies on late night TV, buying photos of him, making scrapbooks and being a typical teenager. College, marriage and career intervened. I remember being sad when Mr. Taylor died. I mailed two huge scrapbooks to Ursula Thiess. I hope she got them. Time passed, retirement, moving to Florida. Then in 2012 my husband Fred pointed that there were two Robert Taylor movies that evening on Turner Classic Movies--"Ivanhoe" and "Quentin Durward." I watched both and it happened all over again. I started this blog both for fans and for people who didn't know about Robert Taylor. As the blog passes 200,000 views I'm delighted that so many people have come by and hope it will help preserve the legacy of this fine actor and equally good man.
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