Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Even a Phone's an Audience for Cummings

Cleveland Press December 10, 1965

Even on the phone Bob Cummings sounds a though he's smiling.

He talks about acting and talks at a rapid rate and if it isn't about acting it's about some of his other loves -- family, flying and natural foods.

Cummings will be at the Hanna next week in a New York- bound comedy caller "The Wayward Stork."

The last time he was in a Broadway show was 14 years ago, an affair called "Faithfully Yours" with Ann Sothern.

"That show ran five months on our names alone," he recalled. "I get back on the stage every year, in theaters in California and Arizona.

"lT'S VERY BAD to get stuck on film or tape exclusively. You lose contact with the audience and you may be off your timing.

"On this play we've had a snowstorm of changes. Fortunately, we have a profile author, Harry Turgend. He used to write the Fred Allen shows. He also turned out a lot of the stuff for the early 'Road' pictures with Crosby and Hope."

Cummings, a licensed flier, admits that he will probably come to Cleveland on a bus. His plane was in New Jersey being repaired and he hopes to have someone fly it here for him while he is at the Hanna.

CUMMINGS also is famous for his use and advocacy of natural foods. I asked him about the problems of finding natural foods while traveling.

"Thank you for saying natural foods and not pills. Everybody asks about the pills.

"I just don't eat in restaurants very much when I m on the road. I have a refrigerator in the hotel suite. I don't cook much and I eat mostly foods that don't need cooking. I buy meat, but even then I'll have something like steak tartar.

"I got this way from my father. He was a doctor and in those days doctors weren't supposed to talk about food. Dad was almost tossed out of the American Medical Assn. But he practiced preventive medicine. He didn't think a person should get sick before a doctor would do anything.

"DAD HELPED push through the pure food laws, but he was against using that word pure. People got the idea that everything had to be white. White bread and white flour and white everything. And then pretty soon they put you in a white box with a white lily."

The perpetually youthful looking (born 1910) actor contributes to several foundations that study nutrition. Apparently, he can afford it, says that his first TV series is still playing and has grossed $40,000,000 by now.

Home is in Beverly Hills with his wife Mary, and children Robert, 19, Melinda, 17, Patricia. 14, Laurel Ann, 10, and Tony, 8.

"Pat and Melinda are studying to be actresses," he said. "God knows why."

Maybe it's the money.