All right reserved (c) Anthony Dawson
....That last evening in New York was
supposed to be my farewell, but when I got back to my apartment
and called my telephone answering service, the girl on the
line was all excited. 'Ho Mr. Dawson! Mr. Hitchcock called you
five times, from the coast!'
Wow! I knew what that must mean. It started my brain racing, and I didn't get to sleep easily that night. With the time change in California I had to cool my heels till midday before I could return his call. When I finally got him on the line, I will never forget his words. I had never met Hitchcock before, and yet he was about to do me the most fantastic good turn I could imagine. In that wonderful fat man's cockney voice, he said, slowly, drooping every word separately, as though he had all day: 'Tony, I just called to let you know that I want you for this picture, so you're quite safe to make yourself a nice deal.' What could I say? I mumbled my thanks and put the phone down, feeling rather dazed, electrified, stunned; all of these. The full impact of this call from Hitch was very soon to come home to me. That afternoon I had a call from Warner Bros. New York office: would I call in to see them? I went along next morning. It was quite a comedy. There was a big man sitting besides a huge desk, with two smoothly suited henchmen standing on either side, all set up for maximum effect. The big guy behind the desk stood up and shook hands and motioned me to a chair. He fiddled with some papers in front of him. 'Mr. Dawson, we've asked you to come into the office because there's a slight chance that we may want to fly you out to the coast for as test'. A muscle in my cheek twitched. I managed to keep a straight face, and said nothing. He went on, 'This is only just an idea, so I wouldn't read too much into it. We shoot hundreds of tests all the time, and only very few of them lead to anything.' He went on, 'But just on the off chance that something might come of, we'd just like to discuss the sort of money you might be thinking of.' He paused and looked at me. I had trouble keeping my voice level. 'Well, you'll need to talk with my agent,' I said. He assumed a pained expression as though someone had given him a nasty poke in the solar plexus. 'Mr. Dawson, I don't think we need agents coming in at this point. We'd just like to have some idea in case anything should come of this.' The muscle in my cheek twitched some more, but I managed to appear casual. 'I'm sorry but you'll have to talk to my agent. I can't discuss money.' I stood up and held out my hand. ' Thank you very much for asking me to come in. Ill be ready to fly to the coast any time I hear from you. I'll tell my agent to expect your call'.
Two days later I was on a plane
for Los Angeles. If it had not been for that call from Hitchcock
they could have had me for peanuts!