Mal Sharpe

Mal Sharpe

Coyle & Sharpe

When I was fifteen years old, way back in 1951, I worked as an usher in a summer theater on Cape Cod. It was one of those round tents, and sometimes I would find myself standing outside with an actor before he ran down the aisle and onto the stage. There was one character actor, John Pauletti, who did what I thought was the coolest thing. Before going on stage, he would take a large drag on a cigarette, hold the smoke in his mouth, drop the cigarette, and then walk onstage to meet the leading actress. Before speaking his first line, he would look her in the eye and then blow a big puff of smoke in her face. She would have to fight hard not to cough or crack up. I thought this was very hip.

So, a few nights later, I had a date with Debbie Howe. My friend, Marvin Kaplan drove me over to her house. Before going up to her door, I took a big drag on a cigarette and filled my mouth with smoke. I rang the bell and got ready to get a great reaction. It took a while for Debbie to get to the door. I didn’t realize it but the smoke was causing me to salivate. When Debbie, in a tight cotton sweater, finally opened the door, I blew a big cloud of smoke in her face and also, to my horror — I drooled on her breast.

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