Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Tim Works for Free in Old Home Town

Cleveland Press April 5, 1965

While other TV personalities will be playing the summer theaters for big, fat fees, Tim Conway of TV's McHale's Navy will be doing a play for no salary at all.

There's a catch. Conway, a Chagrin Falls boy who made good, will be appearing in "Mr. Roberts" at the Chagrin Valley Playhouse late in May.

"They came to me last year and asked me if I would do a play for nothing," Conway explained by phone from Universal Studios on the West Coast. Conway returns to Chagrin Falls every summer after shooting on the series is over.

Conway agreed, suggested the play in which he will play Ensign Pulvar. He is Ensign Parker in the popular television series.

THIS WILL BE Conway's first stage work.

"I've never done anything legitimate before. What I mean is -- well you know what I mean."

"I was in a play at Chagrin Falls High School once. I had three lines and forgot two of them."

But what about those lucrative offers most TV actors get to do summer stock?

"I HAD SOME OFFERS last year and again this year but I turned them down. I don't have a desire to do stage work. This stuff about a live audience -- well it just doesn't appeal to me. If you're good it may be for only one night. On film your best show is permanent.

"I'd rather do this play and have fun than get paid for it and have people scream about the performance.

"Besides, if I'm going to die, I'd rather do it among friends."

WHEN I TALKED to him he had just finished his second feature movie, "McHale's Navy Joins the Air Force." This one is without Ernest Borgnine, star of the TV series. It's reported that Conway and Joe Flynn, a Youngstown native who also is in the series, have fatter parts in it.

They had spent all of 16 days making the movie, and between now and Apr. 28 there are four more TV episodes to film for the current series.

CONWAY, HIS WIFE and three youngsters will be in Chagrin Falls a day or so later. Aside from the play he plans just to relax, do some restoring on his parents' 170-year-old home, maybe make a personal appearance or two for the movie.

"I guess they'll be releasing the movie in June or July. I hear they have it booked in at a couple of drive - ins and Sears - Roebuck," he said.

"Mr. Roberts" will have a run of nine or 10 days straight instead of the usual two or three weekends. The theater is not accepting any reservations now.

Conway will return to Hollywood in July when his TV series starts shooting episodes for its fourth season.