We pick up our story as the newlyweds, Steve and Sandra, board a flight out of Los Angeles Monday night, after their wedding reception, and head for New York. The plane arrived early Tuesday morning. It was Sandra's first time in the "Big Apple" and she marveled at the sights as they were driven to their apartment in Manhattan.
Steve's friend, Ken Hopewell, had worked over the weekend putting the final touches on the apartment for the couple. The apartment was leased to Steve's friend, James Garner. As he was leaving for Hollywood to do some film work, he offered it to Steve, an offer Steve was only too glad to accept.
Their second night back, Steve's vocal coach, George Griffin, invited them over for dinner. Steve recalls that Griffin told them that two of his students had just left for Hollywood. George said, "I want you to remember these names, they're going to make something of themselves. One is Shelly North and the other is the really talented Shirley MacLaine."
The quiet dinner at George's was the start of a social whirl for the new couple, as everyone wanted to meet the new Mrs. Steve Reeves. As well, Steve's show business connections meant there were higher profile parties to attend as well. On one such occasion, Steve and Sandra stepped into the elevator at the Ritz and were standing with Tyrone Powers. They all got off at the same floor - it seems that everyone was heading to the same party. It was a "who's who in show biz" at the gathering.
THE DREAM RANCH
Steve and Sandra had big plans for the future and dreamed about someday building a ranch in Montana. They both loved the great outdoors and wanted to raise horses and have lots of other animals around them, as they were both animal lovers. Occasionally they would go to pet shops to admire and cuddle the puppies, but they knew they'd have to move before getting a pet.
Part of their dream included balancing ranch life with two months a year in New York to eat at all the finest restaurants, dress to the hilt and see all the finest plays in town, and attend all the parties. But it remained only a dream for the young couple.
HITTING THE ROAD
After six months the play "Kismet" went into rehearsals again and was preparing to go on the road around the first part of June. It was scheduled to run for four months and continue through September and then end.
Both Steve and Sandra went on the road with the show and traveled from town to town across the United States for the next four months, having the time of their life. All of the new places to see and experience! The complement of sixty cast and crew became one huge extended family. During that time many of the single people paired off and were married.
The play went into rehearsals, and after a few weeks it hit the road. It opened in New Haven, Connecticut, continuing on to Detroit, Michigan and Washington D.C.
Even at the very first performances, "The Vamp" was having some major problems. So they called in one of the top directors on Broadway, Josh Logan, to help fix the troubled production. He had such hits as "South Pacific" on Broadway.
Another problem they had was with the name of the play itself. In some towns it was called "Delilah" and in other towns it was "The Vamp." This only confused the public and the publicity surrounding it.
After returning to New York with the play, Steve and Sandra stayed at the Bryant Hotel on Broadway for a few weeks before receiving some dreaded news. Steve and Sandra were sitting in a restaurant eating with some of the other cast members when one of the actors walked in with some very bad news: he heard the show had been cancelled. What a great way to start off the New Year, with your play being cancelled and putting all of them out of work. Everyone was taken by surprise over the news but as they say, "That's show bizl" Carol Channing, who invested heavily into the show, lost all her money and her husband over it.
HEADING SOUTH FOR THE WINTER
Now unemployed, Steve and Sandra started making plans for their future beyond Broadway lights. With nothing to tie them to New York, they decided to escape the cold in New York and move south to a warmer climate.
Steve read a magazine article on what a great place Florida was. He was also impressed with the beautiful photos in the magazine that showed Fort Lauderdale with all its sand and palm trees. He thought that there could be some really good opportunities there.
Knowing that in show business you could be eating one day but not the next, Steve always planned and saved for the lean times. He socked away enough money to start a new future for himself outside of show business.
So the Reeves decided to make the move! After buying a new 1956 Chevy station wagon for their big move, they packed it full and away they went!
Upon arriving in Fort Lauderdale, the couple stayed with friends of Steve who owned a gym there. Sandra was still quite young and somewhat insecure with their circumstances, while Steve was confident and always thinking about what was ahead for him to accomplish. So after talking it over, both agreed it would be a good idea for Sandra to return to her parents home in California for a while while Steve found his feet.
THE STEVE REEVES ATHLETIC CLUB
While checking out Fort Lauderdale, Steve was contacted by a young weightlifter. He told Steve that he was attending law school and was thinking about selling the gym he owned in Miami.
A deal was made and Steve was now the owner of the Steve Reeves Athletic Club of Miami, Florida. Steve soon moved to Miami and found an apartment a couple blocks away from the gym. One of Steve's students, Delmar Pickle, (no kidding) won the Mr. Florida contest under Steve's training at his new gym.
Steve experienced many changes from the time he and Sandra came to New York and then to Florida. We'll explore more of Steve's life in Florida, his relationship with Sandra and Steve's ultimate return to show business next time.
Dr. Joe Vitale is a friend and supporter of SRIS. Click on the ad and get your FREE copy of "Attract Money Now"