Harry B. Sanderford
The picture jumps then stops and before the heat from the bulb can burn through the image completely, Marlon Brando tells Rod Steiger, “It wasn’t him Charlie, it was you.” The film melts away altogether and the theater is bathed in bright light. The trailing edge of the film slaps loudly against the projector behind me. My fellow patrons are craning around in their seats annoyed with this interruption as I make my way down the aisle and hop up onto the stage.
“I’m ready for my close up Mr. Kazan,“ I announce to ticket holders twisting back around.
“Remember that night in the Garden you came down to my dressing room and you said, "Kid, this ain't your night. We're going for the price on Wilson. You remember that?” My audience isn’t quite sure yet but a few are digging back into their popcorn. "This ain't your night"! My night! I coulda taken Wilson apart! So what happens? He gets the title shot outdoors on the ballpark and what do I get? A one-way ticket to Palooka-ville!”
Palooka-ville, yeah that slays ‘em. They know what’s coming. It’s nobody here’s first time On The Waterfront.
“You was my brother, Charlie. you shoulda looked out for me a little bit. You shoulda taken care of me just a little bit so I wouldn't have to take them dives for the short-end money.” They’re with me now, hanging on every word and right on cue one audience member sets me up delivering Charlie’s line, “Oh I had some bets down for you. You saw some money.” A hundred more voices join in unison: “You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it. It was you, Charlie!”
I take my bow to thunderous applause. The projector rolls, and awash in hehehehehheh--Woody Woodpecker, I take my leave.
* all in itallics are taken directly from the movie On The Waterfront, written by screenwriter Budd Schulberg.