The Name Dropper’s Theater |

The Name Dropper’s Theater

Barry Smith

ANNOUNCER: Welcome to Name Dropper’s Theater, the program which Sir Lawrence Olivier calls, “The Program that Sir Alec Guinness told me he likes to watch whenever Sir Mick Jagger pops by for a visit.” And now, please welcome your host, a man who has rubbed his elbows raw with everyone who is anyone, Mr. Alfred Durf.


ALFRED: Good evening ladies and gentlemen, I’m your host, Alfred, or, as Ed Sullivan used to call me, “Al,” Durf. Tonight our guest is a woman whom Lady Margaret Thatcher once described to me as, “The woman whom Charlton Heston tells me he most admires.” Miss Veronica Smithers. Welcome, Ronnie.

VERONICA: Good evening.

ALFRED: That’s a beautiful dress you’re wearing. It reminds me of the one Liz Taylor wore to the Oscars in ’83. I accidentally spilled some wine on it as I was reaching across the table for the olive tray. Dreadfully embarrassing. Fortunately Paul Newman patched things up between us.

VERONICA: Why, thank you Alfred. You know, I was just telling the story of the first time I was on your show with Stephen Hawking, back when Jim Carrey was your co-host, and Bob Hope in the Green Room when who should walk in but Sharon Stone and Michael Douglas on their way to see Bruce Springsteen? They asked me to join them later, but I’d already made plans with Barbara Streisand.

ALFRED: Really? Big kiss to Barbara from me. Tell us about your new film. I was playing foosball with Steve Martin and Robin Williams last week and they had nothing but praise for it. We were planning on going to see it later but Henry Rollins stopped by and I’m afraid the evening got a bit intense.

VERONICA: Yes, well the film features …

ALFRED: … Nicholas Cage, Drew Barrymore, Keanu Reeves, Tom Cruise and Kevin Costner, I believe. They all told me what a wonderful time they had filming with you.

VERONICA: Yes, well it’s hard not to have a splendid time when you are working with a director like …

ALFRED: … Steven Spielberg. Yes, he is a riot, isn’t he? I received an e-mail from him just this morning and the man is just a riot. Quite a warm human being, as well. He was present at the birth of my second child, you know.

VERONICA: Well, this is actually the second film I’ve done with Steve. The first one I co-starred with Gary Coleman, Rodney Allen Rippy, Emmanuel Lewis …

ALFRED: … William Shatner, Harrison Ford and a very young John Belushi, if memory serves correctly. Each of them has since spoken so highly of you, to me – personally.

VERONICA: How nice. I remember as a girl sitting on Uncle Al’s knee and him telling me how he thought kindness was such an important trait.

ALFRED: Uncle Al?

VERONICA: Oh I’m sorry, Alfred Hitchcock, of course. He insisted on my calling him Uncle Al. Sweet man.

ALFRED: Hitchcock, eh? Well tell me, what did he think of Sir Winston Churchill? I recall Winnie telling me on more than one rather festive occasion how “Psycho” was his favorite film. President Truman was always quick to agree, though he confided in me that the shower scene was quite unsettling.

VERONICA: Yes, Pablo Picasso felt the same way. Still, he was a bit tame. Nothing like Andy Warhol.

ALFRED: Or Albert Einstein, from my experience.

VERONICA: Or Amelia Earhart. She taught me origami.

ALFRED: Oh yeah? Well, Howard Hughes sent me fruit baskets at Christmas.

VERONICA: Teddy Roosevelt sent me Valentine’s cards.

ALFRED: I had brunch with Edward R. Murrow.

VERONICA: Tom Hanks was my prom date.

ALFRED: Groucho Marx was a reference on my resume!

VERONICA: Nelson Mandella gave me a back rub!

ALFRED: Jimi Hendrix showed me the chords to “Foxy Lady”!

VERONICA: Well … um … John Kennedy!

ALFRED: Mahatma Gandhi!

VERONICA: Leonard Bernstein!

ALFRED: Gilbert! AND Sullivan!

VERONICA: Alfred Hitchcock!

ALFRED: Nooo … you said him already!


ALFRED: Charlie Chaplin!

VERONICA: Igor Stravinsky!

ALFRED: Neil Armstrong!

VERONICA: Adolph Hitler!

ALFRED: We’ll be back after these messages …

Barry Smith’s column runs in The Aspen Times on Mondays. His e-mail address is, and his very own Web page is at