Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Buddy Ebsen puts money with ideals

Cleveland Press February 15, 1971

Buddy Ebsen, star of television's Beverly Hillbillies, is coming to the Hanna Theater Feb. 22 in the play 'The Apple of His Eye."

Ebsen is not only the leading man in the play, he also is the show's financial backer. The man has put his money where his ideals are.

"I FIGURED there ought to be something more wholesome than the entertainment that is on the boards right now," Ebsen explained in a phone interview from Detroit.

"Much of what is going on is fine," he added, "but a l lot of it is embarrassing.

"This one seemed like a good vehicle for me. We have a happy comedy and everybody who has seen it seems to have enjoyed it. It's a love story about a man of my years and a young girl."

EBSEN IS touring the show during a 12 week break between filming episodes in his television series.

He says that he first did the show in Wichita last summer. It had been suggested to him as a possible television production.

"Louis Freedman who produced 'The Andersonville Trial' for educational television handed me a copy of the script while we were rehearsing that production," he explained.

"He suggested that if I liked it I might do it for his series. I figured that instead of playing it cold I would try it out first in front of an audience. It was a smash in Wichita so then I had the notion of taking in on the road.

EBSEN SPEAKS softly and slowly, seemingly measuring and weighing his words carefully. In spite of his television success he appears frequently in summer theater saying that getting back on the stage regularly sharpens an actor.

"I've never been on the road with a play like this, he said. "Once when I replaced Elliot Nugent in 'The Male Animal' in New York we took it out to Chicago and Pittsburgh: Of course, back when I was dancing with my sister toured regularly."

Those dancing days will be recalled for audiences who see "The Apple of His Eye," though not as part of the play.

"I do a little afterpiece,' he explained. "I dance after the play is over. it's kind of a nostalgic touch."