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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

A Margot Kidder Story

None of the stories today about the death of actress Margot Kidder mention the Western TV series that she starred in back in 1971-72 with James Garner. It was called "Nichols" and ran for 24 episodes and was about the dying of the Old West. They painted the dirt streets of the Western Town backlot sets to look like asphalt, put up some telephone poles, brought in old cars and a motorcycle for Garner, and called it 1914.

I was then a computer programmer at Warner Brothers in Burbank and one of the privileges was walking around the backlot during lunch hour and other times. We got to watch grips and actors working there or on the sound stages, a real education in film making.

Margot came off as a bit wild. Actor David Carradine was filming a different TV series at Warners, the one where the old Oriental called him 'Grasshopper'. He drove around in a baby blue 1950s Packard convertible. He and Margot became pals; I think the thing that they most had in common was that they both loved running around barefoot. You'd see them from time to time playing among the various backlot sets, acting like children. (It was the Seventies, so 'weed' may have been involved. Who knows?)

One day, they came back to Margot's dressing room - just as I was passing by - and discovered that she had locked herself out. What followed was a crackup. Both were in costume; Margot - wearing the big skirts of a Western barmaid - was helped thru the window of her dressing room by Carradine, with whooping and laughter. The event was like a Laurel & Hardy or Buster Keaton skit, or maybe something with Carol Burnett.

Memories are wispy things, as are the lives of individuals. The news stories today mentioned "Superman" and the many tragic events in Margot's life. But what I remember is that she was a great laugher.
Copyright 2018 by G.E. Nordell, all rights reserved

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