Those who played along at home with Match Game will fondly recall Charles Nelson Reilly, the small screen’s swishiest stealth weapon. Performing his one-man show for the camera in 2004, CNR (who died last May) boasts of acting classes with Uta Hagen and his 90-plus appearances on The Tonight Show—neither accomplishment, however, matches the significance of Reilly’s getting the lead in the fourth-grade production of Columbus the Man at P.S. 53. Much of the monologue is shouted; HARTFORD!, we learn, is where he and his mother relocated after his father’s nervous breakdown. Maybe the volume wouldn’t grate so much if Reilly were still wearing his captain’s hat and cravat.
Barry Poltermann, Frank Anderson
Paul Linke, Charles Nelson Reilly