Driftwood Players

"Love Rides the Rails " July 1963

By Morland Carey, Directed by Richard Lane

The first summer theater was held at Cohasset Beach near Grayland in 1960. The theater pictured was originally built around 1910 as a carriage house for the Essex Hotel, located across the highway. In 1934, the barn was converted into a house. In 1960, Mrs. Hogan, the current owner allowed the Players to use it as a Playhouse.

THE MAID IS FEARFUL: "Oh, Sir!" exclaims Prudence Hopewell as she is accosted by the villain, Simon Darkway. Darkway is played by Richard Robson and Prudence by Pamela Turk. AID FOR OUR HERO: "I have come to set you free!" Carlotta Cortez informs Truman Pendennis. Truman is played by Larry White and Carlotta by Vickie Webber.
LOVE NEEDS A CHAPERONE: As Truman Pendennis (Larry White) avows his affection for Prudence Hopewell (Theresa Murray), Harold Stanfast (Richard Giron) provides the proper chaperonage. END OF THE LINE: The two sinister villains reach the end of the line. Shown are Richard Robson and Donald Webber as the base villains.
Picture captions are from the Aberdeen Daily World 1963.
HERO IS TRICKED: "Coffee from Brazil?" asks the hero as he is served by three hostesses from the notorious Paradise Cafe. From left are Saundra Jakola, Larry White, Jill Sowards and Mary Robson.
Pictures by
Leslie's Studio

From The Aberdeen Daily World, July 8, 1963

Driftwood Players To Ride The Rails

    The Driftwood Players will open their fourth season of summer theater when the curtain goes up Saturday night at the Community Building in the Westport City Park on "Love Rides the Rails -- or -- Will the Mail Train Run Tonight?"

    Once again the play for summer theater is an old fashioned melodrama. Regular patrons of the group's summer fare have grown accustomed to cheering the hero, booing the villain and offering occasional advice to the players. The entire performance is geared for fun, and the participation of the audience helps make the show complete.

    "Love Rides the Rails" is appropriately timed with the pending nation-wide railroad strike. In the play, two rival railroad companies, the Wynooche Valley-Bear Gulch and Westport line and the Ocean Shores Railroad and development Corporation, are vying for the right-of-way through the sand dunes to gain access to Grayland.


    The widow Hopewell, who owns the franchise through the dunes, has a mortgage on her home, held by Simon Darkway of the Ocean Shores Railroad. The battle of the franchise not only affects the noble workers of the railroad and its superintendent, Truman Pendennis (the hero), but also results in a rocky roadbed for the romance of Prudence Hopewell, the widow's lovely daughter.

    The Driftwood Players began their summer productions with "The Drunkard" played at a Cohasset Beach location in 1960. The following year, "Lily, the Felon's Daughter," was played at the same location. Last year, "The Drunkard" was revived and presented at the Ocean Shores Convention Hall and at the Driftwood Playhouse in Cosmopolis.


    Selection of Westport City Park for this year's production provides the group with a location that lends itself well to the desired atmosphere of the play.

    The park, located immediately below the tall, yellow Westport water tower, is in a natural setting of evergreens near the sand dunes. Adequate parking space is provided near camping and picnic facilities.

    The play will be presented every Wednesday and Saturday night until Labor Day with curtain time at 8:30. Tickets are available at the door before show time.

From The Aberdeen Daily World, July 24, 1963

Robson Continues Role As Villain For Fourth Season With Driftwood


    Villainy is nothing new to Richard Robson, who dons a black cape and silk topper for his portrayal of the vile Simon Darkway in the Driftwood Players' summer production of "Love Rides the Rails."

    This is the fourth consecutive season in which Robson has portrayed the villain in local summer melodramas. When "The Drunkard" was presented at Cohassett Beach in 1960, Robson was on stage to twirl the long black mustache of the wicked Squire Cribbs. In the summer of 1961 the Cohassett Beach theater was setting for "Lily, the Felon's Daughter" and the part of Craven Sinclair, the sneering covetous landowner, fell to Robson. When "The Drunkard" was revived last year it seemed only natural that Robson should don the "uniform" of Squire Cribbs.

    This year, instead of wearing a false mustache, Robson had only to darken the upper lip adornment he had raised for the Aberdeen Diamond Jubilee.


    So Accustomed is Robson to playing the villain that the characterization seems to come naturally. An impressed member of Saturday night's audience asked him backstage if he had ever considered playing such a part professionally. Actually, professional villainy is a far throw from his regular job which is director of the Grays Harbor County Medical Service Bureau.

    This veteran of villainous roles is not the only member of the Robson family involved in local theater activity. His wife, Lois, played Mad Agnes in "The Drunkard" and this season entertains between acts with her popular renditions of such heart-rendering ballads as "Heaven Will Protect the Working Girl" and "Don't Go in the Lion's Cage Tonight."

    Daughter Mary, a student at Ocosta High School, has been a faithful and diligent worker backstage since the Driftwood productions began. She is making her first appearance in front of the footlights for the group in "Love Rides the Rails," as Beulah Belle, hostess at the notorious Paradise Cafe.

    The play continues every Wednesday and Saturday night at the Westport City Park with curtain time at 8:30.

From The Aberdeen Daily World, August 21, 1963

'Love Rides The Rails' Through Pandemonium

    WESTPORT -- Shrieks and shouts of merriment greeted Driftwood Players Saturday night at Westport City Park when they were caught with their curtain down.

    "Love Rides the Rails; or, Will the Mail Train Run Tonight?" ran true to the gaslight era, and at the end the audience could not tell (and did not care) whether the earnest actors were beset with accidents common to the gay 90's theater or weather a master mind had purposely misdirected the hilarious comedy.

    After a rousing first scene "things" began to happen: The tree wasn't there for the villain to hide behind, the widow lost her letter, the curtain hid the head of the handsome hero during a most impassioned speech. the stage manager dashed through the audience to get a chair from the back of the theater and dashed back again to return it. And the curtain stuck and finally stayed down.


    The vicious villain and his horrid henchman (Richard Robson and Richard Lane) were equal to that occasion, however. They brought the show out into the auditorium while the technicians tinkered and the audience hissed and booed in proper melodrama fashion.

    After several false starts, the curtain rose, the villains retreated to the platform and the show played on.

    The audience had no choice. They were hooked and responded generously. During one of the few lulls in the laughter, a man was heard to say, "I haven't had so much fun since I grew up."

    The curtain is scheduled to rise again on "Love Rides the Rails" at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at the Driftwood Summer Theater in the Westport City Park, under the yellow water tower.

Home            Driftwood Players Inc.            Webmaster Larry Tingwall