TO SIT ON A HORSE by Al Morgan


Email this review


Morgan's sentimental novella about the last performance of an aged vaude-villian is the sort of story that appeals to hardboiled readers of tender heart. Jack Judson, 76, was once a bigger star in vaudeville than either Al Jolson or W. C. Fields. He juggled marvelously, joked, and tittered in a clown costume (he seems a bit like Ed Wynn). Then he came down with Parkinson's disease, which affects the nerves, and was forced to retire into a 36-room Hollywood mansion. His son, Porter, who directs monster and cowboy movies, is about to make his first A-picture, a Civil War epic. The old man begs his son to let him have a 15-second bit as Robert E. Lee, astride a horse, giving his sword to Grant at Appomattox. (D. W. Griffith, a stickler, shot that as an indoor tableau, didn't he?) When it becomes evident that the old man has had a cerebral blood clot and is too sick for the shot, Porter arranges his transfer to a convalescent home. But the old man accepts the offer of a TV ad agency to do a hair oil live commercial as a tearful clown (his last bow) who gets hit with a cream pie. The tragi-climax seems all too eagerly willed by the hand of Morgan, not the fingers of Melpomene.

Publisher: Marrow