Friday, December 11, 2009

The Rain In Spain Falls Mainly on "Da Plane! Da Plane!"

We called our comedy troupe "Three And A Half ". David Arkin, Betty Thomas, Herve Villechaise and me.
We created a improvisational sketch comedy show and performed on weekends at The Hollywood Canteen on Melrose Ave back in the 1970's.
One of our sketches opened with a dark stage. The announcer says "And now, another episode of
Little House On The Prairie". The lights came up. On the stage was a small toy cabin.

That always got a laugh. But when Herve Villachaise walked onto the stage in a western outfit, standing 3 feet tall in cowboy boots,  the laughs got bigger.

Our show was well received and we continued our run at the Canteen for several months. Some great opportunities were born from the show. Herve was cast in Fantasy Island

 I landed the role of Adam Stephens in Tabitha

and Betty went on to work on Hill Street Blues.

David Arkin did several films with the legendary director Robert Altman.

Most remember Herve for his role of  Tatu on Fantasy Island.

I remember him for his friendship, sense of humor, his passion for the arts. He was a true romantic. A small man with a big heart. And he loved his French Wine, Women and Coq Au Vin!

One evening he showed up at my house with a wild bird and a bottle of Burgundy. He said he was going to cook up a french dish.  He proceeded to light a fire in the stone fireplace and when he felt it was ready he tossed in the bird. Sometime later, Voila! We dined on the most delicious Coq Au Vin.

Years later when I read about Herve's suicide, it broke my heart.

Not long after that I attended David Arkin's funeral. He died too young as well.

Two very talented actors, wonderful human beings and good friends. They are missed. I am so grateful our paths crossed for that moment in time.

Betty is now a successful film director.

Me... I'm a talent agent. Much like Eugene Levy's character in "For Your Consideration". Morely Orfkin.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

I always liked Herve Villechaise on Fantasy Island. He and Ricardo Montalban were the best things about that show.

Matty said...

I would have loved to see your comedy performances. That is one heck of a cast.

rxBambi said...

Ok here is your 6 degrees of separation. When I was 19 years old I spent a week with Madam Villachaise in Toulon. Her upstairs neighbors, the Baltauxs, were my host family a few years before when I spent the summer there as an exchange student. I never got to meet Herve, but he did send me an autograph and letter. Madam Villachaise also told me that she had 3 or 4 other sons that were well over 6ft tall.
After staying with her I always felt a sense of connection with them, and was truly saddened by his death.

David said...


I feel the same way. They were both very special. I wonder who they would cast in the sequel...??

David said...


Yes. I wish you could have seen our show. We had a lot of fun. I learned a lot about improvisational comedy from those talented artists...

David said...


Wow! Small world indeed. Thank you for sharing that.

Ellen said...

Hi there! Came across your blog as I was doing an internet search for an old friend of mine David Arkin! Reading your story brought back memories of him and his days in Montreal. I was in a show he cast here and visited him as well in LA. Miss him to this day!

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