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                                Jeanne Cantor

My roles in the Junior and Senior High School plays were responsible for giving me the "taste of the grease paint".  After High School I worked full time for an exclusive Drama School in Philadelphia, and was given night classes in drama and theatre with free tuition. After two years, I was given a children's Saturday class to teach, and ultimately a night class teaching drama to the returning veterans on the G.I. bill.  Most of my nights were full of rehearsals for the plays I was in with the community theatres.
 
            I was hired by the Philadelphia Dairy Council where I became a member of their troupe of puppeteers performing in schools. Starting from scratch, I had to learn how to drive, learn puppetry, working the puppets with your hands, and playing the music with your feet, memorize 2 full puppet shows, learn how to assemble and disassemble the puppet stage and equipment…all in three weeks. I had to drive from Philadelphia to Delaware for my first show…and my first trip on a turnpike.  In my last year, I wrote and designed a puppet show which the Council accepted. I never got to do the show, since I left the Council and moved to New York before the puppets were completed. I heard from my supervisor a year later that the show turned out beautifully.
 
            I moved to New York City in 1954, and a got a job the 3rd day at a television production company.  I was on the production staff of "Winky Dink and You", "Dough Re Me" "Tic Tac Dough" and "Twenty One". Promoted to "Production Coordinator" for the "Concentration" show with Hugh Downs, I was the only woman among ten men at the studio, and was off-camera assistant to Hugh Downs. "Concentration" was on the air for 15 yrs. at NBC-TV.
 
            During this time, my boss generously allowed me a hiatus for 10 weeks when I was accepted into Summer Stock, for 4 years in a row.  I apprenticed in Irvine, Penna., did 2 years in Clinton, Conn.,and 1 year in Asbury Park, NJ at the music tent in the round.  During the day you painted flats, assisted the carpenter, learned the lighting board, and ran into the theatre to do your lines, if you were lucky enough to get one or two.  At night you worked backstage on props, wardrobe and set changes.  After the show on Sunday, you helped strike the set, and mounted the new set for the next show.  You were lucky to get to bed by 3 AM.
 
            When "Concentration" went off the air, I joined my husband Bill Cantor in his own company, "The Cantor Concern" as Treasurer and Vice President of Administration for 32 years.   In 1996 we decided to retire and moved to Las Vegas in 1997.  Bill and I have made time to travel the world, and at last count we have traveled to 68 countries.
 
            As soon as the dust settled from our move, I joined the Sun City Dance Co., tap dancing and doing specialty numbers in their spectacular shows.  I also joined The Silvertones, singing in the harmony section and doing specialty bits with my "partner in crime", Elaine Ruda.  Joining the Drama Ministry at our church I was an actress, stage manager, and Asst. to the Director, Cassie McGuire.  We did "Sound of Music", "Annie Get Your Gun ", "Hello, Dolly", "Music Man", "Fiddler On The Roof". and "Arsenic and Old Lace", just to mention a few.
 
            Since joining the Sun City Community Theatre six years ago, I have performed as an actress, was stage manager for the director and writer of many of the shows. The multi-talented Martha Olson and I have directed two of their semi-annual shows.
 
            It's scary to think that out of my 86 years, I have done "theatre" for about 50 of them. But, I loved every minute of it, and have lovely memories of wonderful times.
 

 

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