His ride was late.

The smog was especially heavy, and the wind had picked up, causing the young actor’s eyes to tear as he stood on the street corner awaiting his ride. Passers-by thought he was crying and possibly mentally disturbed, and steered clear of him. He didn’t really care, as he checked the time, that people were purposely avoiding him. He was only concerned that his ride hadn’t arrived.

“I can’t be late,” he thought. “The nation is waiting for my debut as an actor.”

But here he was, standing on a Los Angeles street corner, holding the box that contained the costume for his date with destiny. He turned, facing into the wind as he searched the traffic for his ride that would whisk him from the reality of his everyday world, into the fantasy world of his dreams.

He pulled his baseball cap down over his tearing eyes, hiding them from the looks of the passers-by.

As he continued to wait, he asked himself, “Why me? There were other actors Mr. Boone could have chosen from The Actors Workshop. Why me?”

He was a decent student, one of the top writers and actors in his graduating class. He was also one of the top fund-raisers in the school’s fundraising drives. He never caused trouble at school and was liked by the teaching staff and his classmates.

His stuttering problem was finally overcome with the help of his music and drama teachers. He finally began attracting the girls in his junior year and had to work especially hard to keep up with his studies.

He liked Elvis, but who didn’t? He and Ricky Nelson became friends when he met Ricky walking his dog by his aunt’s house in Hollywood Hills. The relationship resulted in Allen becoming an extra on the “Ozzie and Harriet Show.”

He loved to sing, too. He often imagined himself in a recording studio cutting a number one song for the Hit Parade. After getting an opportunity to join the Youth for Christ Choral and sing on KTTV, Channel 5, he thought his career in music was a sure thing. However, it wasn’t until he attempted to do solo parts that he realized he was more of a choir singer than a soloist.

He did a double take when his ride pulled up to the curb. He scrambled into the seat and the car sped away.

By the time the car pulled into the studio and drove him to the building where the show was being filmed, he was in nervous anticipation. He glanced at the large building with the lettering, “Studio B” on it. He allowed himself a smile. He was almost there.

He hurried from the car, walking beside his new friend who had been an extra on the show for a couple of years. It was then he heard someone call out his name.

“Hey, Allen!”

His joy was evident as he turned and saw Mr. Boone approaching in a studio golf cart.

“How’s it going, Allen? Oh, and thanks for picking up Allen, Tony.”

Allen was beaming as he reached out his hand to shake hands with Mr. Boone.

Mr. Boone pushed open the big green door to the studio and escorted Allen and Tony to the set.

“Nice to see you, Allen. Welcome to the show,” said the director.

Allen caught his breath and stepped onto the set where some of the actors had already gathered, including Christy Boone, Mr. Boone’s niece and Allen’s high school classmate.

“I thought you’d never make it,” Christy remarked as she walked toward Allen and gave him a welcome hug. “I’m so glad Uncle Richard asked you to be part of the show. Here’s your copy of the script.”

As Allen and Christy followed Mr. Boone to the dressing and make-up rooms, he squeezed Christy’s hand, and smiling said, “I feel like I’m almost home.”

However, after two years in Hollywood, Allen realized this was not his home and that he was just passing through.

— Contact Allen Stark at amsstark@msn.com.

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