Ohio66 presents an in-depth look at the circumstances surrounding the departure of George Maharis from route 66 in the middle of the third season.
Young Stars Careers Are Stepping Stone to High Hopes
Leslye Hunter and Roger Mobley are on the way to making their “high apple pie in the sky hopes” come true.
Their careers as child stars are only springboards for future plans. Ten year old Leslye has fond dreams of being a great actress. Roger, 14, wants to be a minister.
Both children are currently appearing on the Route 66 episode which was filmed in Corpus Christi last week.
For three years Leslye has appeared in Broadway shows and on television.
“Leslye played Jaya in Christine, Baby Louise in Gypsy, Amaryllis in Music Man, Penny in Garden of Sweets and Timberlake in Gift of Time. All were on Broadway except Gypsy, which was staged in Las Vegas,” said Mrs. Jack Hunter, Lesyles mother.
In the television field, Leslye has been in “Lloyd Bridges,” “Ben Casey,” “Naked City” and “Westinghouse Presents” productions and has made several family classics.
“Leslye is happiest when she is on the stage. It all comes very naturally with her and she is never scared,” Mrs.Hunter said.
“The script is fun for me to learn. I usually read it three times. The first is to establish relationships between the characters, the second is to learn all about the character and the third is to take in the whole plot.” Leslye said.
Sometimes Leslye must know the lines of the play for the rehearsal, and sometimes the actors read the script first. She was called in a hurry for “Music Man.”
“I had a half hour to learn my dance, a half hour to learn my songs, and one hour to learn my lines. Then I went on stage. I really didnt have any rehearsal,” she said.
Leslyes start in the theater was what she calls a “big joke.”
“I enrolled in a dancing school when I was seven. It was just a little neighborhood dancing school. We hear Dave King was looking for a young dance and our teacher chose several of us to audition. I had two lessons and was just going for the experience. I won. Thats how I got started,” Leslye said.
Lesly is not the only star in the family. Her brother Mark, 12, is presently in the Broadway show “Stop the World, I Want to Get Off.” Mark has been in “Bye Bye Birdie,” and “Camelot.” Mark and Leslye played together in “Gypsy” in Las Vegas. He was also in the Broadway production of “Gypsy.”
In New York, Leslye attends a professional childrens school. When she leaves New York to work in another city, she does her school work by correspondence.
“Its not hard at all to leave school. I do my lessons in a car while I am waiting for my scene or at night in the motel or hotel.” Leslye said.
“Leslye is an A student. She has to, keep her grades up or she cant get a work permit. For each show, she must have a new work permit and health examination,” Mrs. Hunter said.
Mrs. Hunter travels with Leslye on all her jaunts around the country. Mr. Hunter is a manufacturer in New York City. “Leslye hopes to be a great actress someday.” Mrs. Hunter said.
Roger Mobley is using his career to earn money for college and the seminary. “He likes acting but will probably quit when he enters high school. He really wants to be a minister. I just hope he doesnt change his mind,” said Mrs. Lance Mobley, Rogers mother.
Roger has appeared in movies such as “Comancheros,” “Silent Call,” “Dogs Best Friend,” “Runaway” and “Jack the Giant Killer.”
“To me he is still Packy fighting the lion and bear on “Fury,” said one of Rogers fans.
Roger got his start in show business “purely by accident.”
“The Ted Mack Amateur Hour came to Whittier, Calif., our hometown and Roger sang in the show. An agent from Hollywood saw him and signed him up,” Mrs. Mobley said.
Roger started singing at age three years for church services when the family lived in Evansville, Ind.
“One night Joe and Sandy, two of my other children, were singing a duet and playing accordion and saxophone for church. Roger was sitting in the congregation. All of a sudden he jumped up, went and stood between his brother and sister and started singing too.”
“When he began, Sandy and Joe were so surprised, they quit singing and let him sing a solo. The song was It is No Secret. “From then on he did solo work in the church,” she said.
On weekends, Joe, Roger, and Sandy traveled to 11 states singing for clubs, schools and churches.
Since Roger and his family live in California now, Roger comes under California law. He must have a tutor with him. On this trip he was he was studying with Mrs. Nora Choate, the tutor with the “Route 66” company.
“Roger is an A student except in mathematics. He too must keep his grades up to get a work permit which is renewed every three months. A health exam goes with the permit,” Mrs. Mobley said.
“For most shows, Roger keeps his hair rather long ... he just trims it, never really cuts it,” said Mrs. Mobley.
“One time he had it cut, and he didnt get signed up for a single show until it grew out,” she said.
Mrs. Mobley travels with Roger also. The other six children are at home in Whittier.
“I have t hem all ages fro 22 to 1-1/2 years old.”
Corpus Christi Caller-Times - January 27, 1963