Maria and I lived in Orlando in 1991 and half of ’92. We made a lot of new friends there, mostly Disney employees, and most from the Adventurers Club on Pleasure Island.
The Adventurers Club, sadly, is closed now, devoid of improv, comedy, special effects and songs, except when private banquets rent the place out (which I hear will cease some time this year). Our friends, however still exist. We keep in touch with two very good ones, Darin DePaul, a Broadway actor, and Mike Speller, a writer and actor in Chicago, both of whom I’ve blogged and bragged about. They are two of the nicest and most talented guys I know — and the last of the true gentlemen.
We lost contact with Paula Pell, a wonderful comic actress and voice talent when we knew her. She was the first actor at the Club to talk about how she loved it in Orlando and that we should move from Virginia. Then she left Disney and somehow found her way to New York, where she currently writes for Saturday Night Live. She pops up occasionally on the show, as Lorne’s wife or, usually, as a member of the studio audience. Not a bad gig.
I was downstairs in the kitchen tonight, my fingers oily from rubbing skin medicine onto my cocker spaniel’s nose, when I heard Maria scream incoherently shortly before 11:00.
I yelled upstairs, “You all right?”
Silence. Then, real fast: “GETUPHERE!“
I smeared the meds on a paper towel and took the steps three at a time. Maria was grinning as she pointed at her TV. There was Genie Francis, getting married to Ted McGinley in the final scene of some ubiquitous Hallmark cable tv chick flick.
And there, in the center, officiating at their wedding, was another alumnus from the Adventurers Club, and our friend, Kristian Truelsen.
It was great to see his smiling face on the screen, if only for a few seconds. We usually only exchange Christmas cards nowadays, and that’s a shame, because Kris is a fine and dedicated actor, a hell of a comic talent and improv artist, and a great conversationalist. He turned me on to lateral thinking puzzles, for which I will NEVER forgive him, on the same day he, Mike, Darin and I attended a Clinton-Gore rally in Orlando in 1992. Then we had lunch at the best restaurant in Orlando at the time, Pebbles (now just a distant memory).
Please visit Kris at his blog or at his professional website, and please go to his post on IMDB to check what movies or tv shows you may have seen him in. And if you drop him a line, tell him Rusty sent you…and that Maria and I miss him!