While in college I joined the Thespian Society and loved performing on stage and acting. We occasional was asked to join actors for bit parts when Hollywood was producing a motion pictures in the area.

One of two movies I volunteered for was a movie starring John Wayne in Blood Alley, filmed at China Camp Beach near San Rafael. I and other college Thespians were hired as "Chinese Coolies". The movie also starred Lauren Bacall. One interesting incident was one of the hired film workers kept making passes at Lauren Becall. Her husband was Humphrey Bogart. He told Wayne if the passes did not stop with Lauren he would pull her out of the movie. Wayne approached the worker and told him to cease or he would be ejected from the movie.

The passes continued and one scene shot was on a dock that the steamboat in the movie was parked. Lauren was standing on the dock speaking with Wayne and the jerk intentionally passed by Lauren and brushed against her. Lauren slapped the guy on the shoulder and then Wayne grabbed him and punched him into the water. The guy swam away and did not return. I and my bit part actors were standing on the dock and could not believe what we saw. Wayne told everyone to 'forget what happened and get back to work'!

A funny incident occurred after the movie was completed. There was a cast party after the completion of the movie at a restaurant near the beach in San Rafael. We were all invited and the party was on the coming Friday afternoon. This was a Wednesday and I was attending Santa Rosa Jr. College in Santa Rosa. I was very interested in a pretty gal student but could not get her to go out on a date with me. The upcoming party with John Wayne being there would cinch a date with her so I asked her and she accepted with big smile. Her name was Betty and she was my age.

When Friday came Betty and I left early from college and drove to San Rafale. We parked and went into the restaurant where the place was packed with the entire movie team. I could not wait until I saw John Wayne to introduce Betty to him. On the set there were a couple of get togethers where me and my thespian students chatted with John and he was very friendly. We also met Lauren Bacall.

I finally saw John Wayne getting some water from the bar by himself and I grabbed Betty and she jumped by my side to meet John. We walked up to John and he greeted me and shook my hand. Then he grabbed Betty's hand and he said "who is this pretty lady"?. I had a mental block from excitement and could not remember her name and told John her name was Gertrude! He shook her hand and walked away. Betty looked at me with a lot of scorn and told me to take a walk. Never saw her again except at college and she totally ignored me. Sorry Betty, or whoever you were!

I did not know that in a few years I would be asked to meet a girl on a blind date in Hollywood who was Wayne's daughter! One meet, one dinner and that was it, did not know who she was until after we all left. In those days "Don't Mess With Hoppy"!