The Record from Hackensack, New Jersey on October 5, 1969 · 140
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The Record from Hackensack, New Jersey · 140

Hackensack, New Jersey
Issue Date:
Sunday, October 5, 1969
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She Had To Be Better SOMEHOW, a Golonka sounds like the clunk from a clout on the head. One doesn't really expect a Golonka to be a pretty, 5-foot -5, 112 pound, somewhat kooky blonde actress verging on stardom. I can remember a number of years ago when an old friend, comedian Phil Foster, called me one afternoon and, in his dulcet tones demanded: "You wanna interview a gal who' gonna be a great big star? Then you'd better interview Arlene Golonka," Arlene Golonka? Nobody could be a star with a name like that. But I followed the dictates of friend Foster and went over to the Playhouse on the Mall in Paramus, where indeed 1 found Arlene Golonka, in a supporting role to Foster in a play whose title now escapes me and since this pre-Broadway tryout ended in Paramus, it's just as well. I also met two other supporting players in show, one humorous little guy with glasses named Arte Johnson, and another tall, handsome young man named James Farentino. To repeat an immortal phrase, that's all ver-r-ry interesting, since Arte Johnson, on "Laugh-In" and James Farentino, going into "The Bold Ones", and Arlene Golonka are all starred on TV this season. Arlene plays Millie Swan-son, the girlfriend, on "May-berry R.F.D.", opposite Ken Berry. The show had a big opening season and shrilly-voiced Arlene, the happy blonde from Chicago, is ecstatic about its success and the prospects of the new season. Foster turns out to be quite a seer, too, in the light of Arlene's success. . By J Dan JtJ Lewis I iA V Arlene Golonka found that producers were delighted to find that an actress named Arlene Golonka could have any talent at all. But when I met with Arlene again in Hollywood recently here, I couldn't help but wonder why she never changed her name. Whoever heard of a star named Golonka? "I'm always asked the question," replied Arlene. "And I tell them I once considered changing it to Sam Golonka." There is, of course, a better reason. Arlene explained: "I began to get recognition in the days when we had stars with names like Marlon Brando, Tab Hunter, Rory Calhoun, Rip Torn, and Rock Hudson. I just thought it would be nice to have an Arlene Golonka in there." Preservation of her name was not an ulterior motive, either. She found its awkward sound an asset, in a way one wouldn't suspect: "When I would go into an au-d i t i o n, and write my name down," said Arlene, "the director would call out, 'Arlene Golonka ! ' and he would expect to see a big, heavy gal. Then I would step up and I bad to be better than anything they expected." Arlene exudes excitement over her television success. "It was the loveliest year of my life last year. I love doing television because it goes so quickly. I found movies very dull boring. There's always so much waiting around." In reality, though, she recognizes the importance of making movies. "The ideal situation, my Utopia," she claimed, "would be a television series, 3 months in an important play, and one movie a year. Maybe go to Europe to make the movie." A r 1 e n e 's career has been marked by continued progress after her first flop. She came to New York from Chicago, and worked as a waitress in the Gaslight Club until she got her first stage role. It was in a play called "Night Circus". The play costarred Ben Gaz-zara and his wife Janice Rule. "They her fellow employes gave me a party at the Gaslight," Arlene said. "They also gave me presents. Then the show played one week in Detroit, Boston, Philadelphia, and New Haven. Then a week on New York, and it closed. I went back to the Gaslight Club. It was so embarrassing. I didn't know whether to give back the presents." Things got much better after that. She appeared in six more shows, including "Take Me Along" with Jackie G 1 e a s o n, and then was summoned to Hollywood for her first movie, "Penelope", with Natalie Wood. Arlene, who married handsome, 6-foot-2 Larry Deianey, a publicist-turned-actor (he has one guest appearance on "May-berry" early in the season), has a 5-year-contract for the show and isn't the least bit concerned about the prospect of being tied up that long. "I've had other offers now, as a result of the 'Mayberry' show," she confided, "but this is a funny time for me. I've got to stop doing the little parts. I did four cute vignettes in films but I know I must be more choosey." To what does she attribute the show's success? "We're not part of recognized show business," she answered. "But we're not really corn. We're really human." October 5, 1969 3 THE SUNDAY RECORD CALL

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