Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Burt Mustin - Personally Signed Photo, Personally Delivered

Burt Mustin was one of my favorite character actors, who made many appearances on tv shows throughout the 1960s and 1970s (actually, he started his movie/tv career in the early 1950s, but it was during the late 1960s when I became familiar with his "characters" on tv shows).

In 1974-1975, I was living in North Hollywood, California. One day, in early 1975, I browsed through the local telephone directory just to see if there were any familiar names listed, and I came upon Burt Mustin's number. He, too, lived in North Hollywood, just a few blocks away from me. But I wasn't sure if the listing actually belonged to the actor, so I called, and Mr. Mustin answered the phone and confirmed he was the actor. We talked for a few minutes, with me telling him I always enjoyed seeing his appearances in movies and tv shows. I asked if I could have an autographed photo, and he asked for my address. He told me he'd get it to me soon. I expected it to arrive in the mail some day.

Two days later, there was a knocking at my apartment door, I opened it and there was an elderly man waiting. He asked, "Are you Bill Cappello?", to which I replied "Yes." He then handed me the photograph he was holding, and said "I was just passing by and thought I'd drop this off myself rather than send it by mail." Then he turned and began to walk away. I looked at the picture and realized that the old man was Burt Mustin! I hadn't immediately recognized him because I wasn't expecting anybody to visit, and the knock at the door took me by surprise.

I said, "Hey, Mr. Mustin! This is a pleasant surprise. I didn't expect you to come over." I asked him if he'd like to come in for some coffee, as I had just brewed a fresh pot of instant. But he said he had things to do, thanked me anyway, and continued on his way.

At the time he signed and delivered the photo, he was 91. The photo, which he inscribed as "Hi, Bill! - Burt Mustin 'Boy Actor?'", can be viewed here.


Peter said...

Great story Bill! I didn't know the name, but I recognized him instantly when I saw the picture.

I'm looking forward to some more stories when you have time to share them!

catsafterme said...

Amazing! I guess 'Gus the Fireman' really was a kind old sage!

Todd Carver said...

Mr. Cappello,

Happy New Year.

Here is an appearance of Mr. Mustin on "My Three Sons" and here is one of him on "Run, Buddy, Run."


Wishing you and your family Health and Happiness in 2010,


Todd Carver said...

Mr. Cappello,

I just found this interview with Burt Mustin on "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson" from 1976 when he was 92 years old. It's brief, but I hope you enjoy it.