Playwrights, Composers, Lyricists and Authors
Robert Neil Porter
As a sailor in World War II, Porter continued to study his playwriting craft by taking a correspondence course from the University of Minnesota, sending back his assignments from active duty in the South Pacific.
Before Porter began to write full-time, he was stage manager for Turnabout Theater for seven years. One of the performing actresses was Elsa Lanchester. Halfway through the performances the seats were reversed (as on a streetcar) and the audience watched a puppet show performed by famous European puppeteers. He learned about presentation and audiences.
Porter took a leave of absence and was stage manger several months for Constance Bennett (world famous actress) shows to the European theater entertaining the American troops.
Before Porter became a successful playwright he wrote an original story of a boy talking to a fish. Universal studio paid Porter a thousand dollars and shelved the manuscript. They said no one would watch a film of a boy talking to a fish. Later it evolved into the popular Flipper series.
In Los Angeles, he met and studied singing with Jack Perry. They began to collaborate in writing and producing musicals at the well known Trooper's Club in Hollywood, where all their shows were presented before publication.
Porter wrote the book, performed, sang and directed. He proved that the old adage — "Playwrights shouldn't direct themselves in their own shows," — was wrong. Bob learned from experience that if you do a certain thing long enough, you will discover its discipline.
Porter and Perry wrote musical comedies, revues, melodramas, light operas and fairy tales. Their fairy tales are known for charming traditional values. They don't take a story out of its time and place and create a hodge-podge of current expressions. Many young actors, before becoming famous, learned their craft while performing Porter’s plays.
Porter was handsome, gifted with stage presence and worked in both film and commercials. He passed away in August 2005. A lifelong writer, he was working on another script up until his last weeks of life.