Mark A. Marple

Theatricum Botanicum

When I first moved out to Los Angeles, I had the opportunity to meet Will Geer, Grandpa on "The Waltons". I ended up working at his theatre and moved into a small cottage at 1332 North Stanley Ave. in West Hollywood, next door to him. Will became my mentor, teacher and friend. One morning when I was doing scene work in the garden with Joan Trossman, a fellow actor at American Theatre Arts, Will came out and gave me a book "The Acts of King Arthur and his Noble Knights" by his friend John Steinbeck. Will wanted me to read the part of Sir Ewain, the nephew to King Arthur. I did and became enamored with the character. Two weeks later I had a play written called "King Arthur's Nephew". Will loved it and gave it to his daughter Ellen who ended up directing it with me in the leading role. Thad Geer also appeared in the show as one of the two twin knights I had to fight (one right handed, one left handed).

Me with Ellen Geer in "King Arthur's Nephew"

I took two years of broadsword training with Lanny Broyles.

These were all railroad ties when I was there!

Will Geer (although I don't ever remember him in a tie, only bow tie).

Will gave me this picture of him and Richard Thomas. When my grandfather died and I flew back to Ohio for the funeral, Will sent an aloe plant
to the funeral home from "Grandpa of the Waltons".
He never believed in sending cut flowers but only live plants.

Will would get up early and water his plants around the cottages before going to Burbank Studios. Occasionally, if I hadn't been out late the night before,
I would come out with a cup of coffee and help him.

The ever beautiful and gifted Ellen Geer!

Thad and Ellen Geer today!

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