Now with the forecast tonight, our new weatherman — Tennessee Williams!

True story: In an attempt to stir up interest in Small Craft Warnings, one of his best late plays, in the l970's Tennessee Williams not only resorted to playing a character on stage, but made appearances around the New York, to attract attention and spread the word. 

This didn't always go well. 

[From Dotson Rader's deeply loving Tennessee: Cry of the Heart]:

[Williams] had taken the role of Doc in Small Craft Warnings. He had taken on the part because the box office had slumped and he thought people who wouldn’t come to see the play would come to see him. He was right. It was also during the run of Small Craft Warnings that he did a stint as a local television weatherman as a way to drum up publicity for the play. It was one of the most humiliating of his public appearances. On the news he was introduced as the station’s new weatherman. He stood, looking furious, beside a weather chart with its temperatures, storm fronts, and the rest. Holding a long pointed in his hand, he proceeded to read the weather forecast. However, he couldn’t see the cue cards, was blinded by the studio lights, and so spent a minute or two trying to fake the weather report, banging the pointer at the chart in a futile attempt to demonstrate professional authority. Finally, he said to hell with this, and declared that he was an artist and not a performing seal! He then tried to walk off the set with as much dignity as possible only to get his feet tanglied in the floor cables and nearly topple on his face, his humiliation bring peals of laughter from the television anchor people and crew.


It was not a happy time for him. 

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

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