The Naked Flame
Bewitched (TV Series) 1964
Peyton Place (TV Series) 1964
Ask Any Girl


The French Line
About Mrs. Leslie
Jamaica Run
Something to Live For 1952
Denver and Rio Grande 1952
My Favorite Spy
Here Comes the Groom 1951
A Place in the Sun
Strangers on a Train
The Mating Season
Silver City
When Worlds Collide
Girls' School
Paid in Full
Two Lost Worlds
Union Station
Samson and Delilah
Chicago Deadline
Special Agent
The File on Thelma Jordon 1949




She packed enough capable performances (and exciting times) into her acting life for two people, so perhaps it's appropriate that many movie buffs think that she IS two people: They know her as Laura Elliott, Paramount contractee of the early 1950s, and also as Kasey Rogers, prolific TV actress ( Peyton Place, Bewitched, scores of Westerns), and don't realize that the "two" are actually one and the same. She was menaced by dinosaurs in the low-cast fantasy epic Two Lost Worlds (1950) and stalked by psycho Robert Walker in Alfred Hitchcock's suspense masterpiece Strangers on a Train (1951), but she embarked on some of her favorite adventures between takes, tomboyishly scaling the masts of soundstage sailing ships and running with stuntmen along the top of a moving train. (And for "relaxation" between acting jobs, she took up motocross!)

Hailing from Morehouse, Missouri, she was born Imogene Rogers and moved with her family to California at age two-and-a-half. She got the nickname Casey when her neighborhood playmates discovered how well she handled a baseball bat ("I could hit a baseball farther than anybody in grammar school except Robert Lewis -- he and I were always the opposing captains of the sixth grade baseball teams!"); she later changed the C in Casey to a K. Twice-married and the mother of four (and a grandmother), Rogers has in recent years turned her talents to writing and development, including the proposed new TV series Son of a Witch.

TOM WEAVER: When did you get your start on the stage?

KASEY ROGERS: When I was about eight [laughs]! I started piano lessons at seven and accordion about 10, but in between there my mother paid to have me take what they then called elocution lessons -- enunciation and pronunciation -- and I did little monologues. I think my mother, God love her soul, was a frustrated actress all of her life. She never attempted anything, but I think that she just liked the glamour and that sort of thing. Maybe her influence pointed me in that direction, although it certainly didn't take much pointing because I loved every bit of it. I did little plays, and I always had the lead, even then! Then I did the lead in my junior high school play and the lead in my high school play. So I always loved acting, right from the beginning.

Q: At what point did you set your sights on getting into the movies?

KASEY: It sort of happened accidentally. I was 20 years old and had just gotten married -- I got married when I was 19, which was really dumb. It was a wartime thing. And at 20, an agent from MCA saw me in Beverly Hills or Hollywood or some place, and wanted to represent me.

Q: He saw you in a play?

KASEY: No. I can't say I was sitting on a drugstore fountain stool or anything like that [laughs] -- he just spotted me ... some place. Whether it was a restaurant or walking down the street or whatever, I don't remember the exact situation. And I was with my husband, and so it was okay that he approached me. In those days, you were very leery. I didn't know Hollywood, I didn't know anything about it.

I went over with my young husband because [laughs] -- because I was afraid to go to "a Hollywood agent's office!" And of course it was only the biggest agency in town. But then I discovered I was going to have a baby, so I didn't go back. After the baby was born, however, I thought, "Hmmm ... I wonder if they're still interested ..." I called the agent and he said, "Yes, by all means," so I went in. They took me to Paramount, and I auditioned in a scene there. They liked it, and so I did a screen test. And they liked that and signed me and I went into the lead in Special Agent [1949], like, the next week [laughs]! So I didn't have to go through the "struggling actress" bit.

Q: Do you remember what your screen test was?

KASEY: I used to know. It was with George Reeves, who was TV's Superman, of course. Oh! It was Voice of the Turtle, it was a scene from Voice of the Turtle. My God, I can still remember that [laughs]! I worked on that scene with the coach and with George. God, I thought I was not going to be able to remember that!

Q: I've talked to other actors and actresses who went through Paramount, and they all tell me horror stories about a room called "The Fishbowl."

KASEY: [Laughs] Oh, yes! Yes indeed! You're one of the few people who know about the Fishbowl, eh? What that was was a room that had couches and chairs and lamps and a piano and light switches, a totally furnished, lovely room. Except that one wall was double-glass, the entire wall, and you could not see through it. On the other side of that glass were two rows of seats and an intercom thing. That's where the coach would sit, that's where (if you were doing a class) the other students would sit, that's where the casting director would sit, or the producers, or the director ...! The only terribly intimidating thing was that you could not see through that glass -- and they were looking at you! It took some getting used to!

Q: Your side of the glass -- was it a mirror, or just dark?

KASEY: Just dark -- a mirror would have been too distracting for the scene. I do think it served the purpose of making you learn to concentrate on what you were doing, like you would in front of a camera. You had to get rid of your consciousness of self and learn to be natural in a very unnatural environment.

Q: Did you object when Paramount changed your name to Laura Elliott?

KASEY: Oh, no, I thought it was very glamorous and "very Hollywood" and all that sort of thing! But then after five years I got tired of it and I went back to my own name. So almost all of my films are Laura Elliott, and all of my television is Kasey Rogers. It's like two different actresses, and very very few people in this entire world associate the two.

Q: Do you have any anecdotes that go along with your tiny part in Samson and Delilah [1949]?

KASEY: Just [Cecil B.] DeMille -- he was wonderful. I had, I think, only two lines, but they were in big closeup, gorgeous big closeups, me and an actor. DeMille took, like, half a day to shoot those two lines -- he was on this big boom, the big arm that goes up and down with the camera. He was clear up in the air and we were up on the second level of the Coliseum -- oh, it was such a production to get those two lines! Incredible! But I knew Mr. DeMille quite well at Paramount. He was intimidating to many people, but he was always very kind to me. So I liked him very much.

Q: How did you know him? Just from seeing him around the lot?

KASEY: Yes. In fact, I had auditioned for a different role, I auditioned for the role of Miriam in Samson and Delilah. I actually did a screen test, but he told me later, "You're too pretty and you're too young." [Olive Deering played Miriam in the movie.]

Q: Well, if you had to lose out on the role, that's an explanation you could live with!

KASEY: Yep ... but I would rather have done the role [laughs]! But that was good of him. I'd see him around, and you could go up and talk to him on the lot or in the commissary, or whatever. He always had an entourage around, and he had on the leather riding boots and the jodhpurs and the crop -- he cut quite a figure!

Q: If you can remember that your screen test was Voice of the Turtle, I'll bet you can remember your line from Samson and Delilah.

KASEY: Um ... okay, let's see ... I turned to this fellow and said, referring to Delilah, something like, "Why don't you look at me like that?" And he said, "Because she's Delilah." And I pouted and turned away [laughs]! That's as near as I remember! And I had a long-stemmed rose in hand.

Q: What is it like to work at a studio where you can have the lead in a movie one day and the next day you're an uncredited bit player in a different movie?

KASEY: Sometimes it was frustrating. It was especially frustrating after Strangers on a Train. That was on loanout to Warner Brothers, and there I worked with Hitchcock in this wonderful film. And I had writeups which said ... I'm not bragging, but one of' em, Variety or somebody, said, "brilliant performance." And I go back to Paramount, and the next thing they had me doing was color tests, holding up swatches of material for the camera crew to test their new film with! And I'd think, "Jeez, was it for nothing?" [laughs] -- it was very frustrating. But then I did get some other pictures at Paramount, and so it worked out okay.

Q: On loanout from Paramount you got top billing in an adventure-fantasy called Two Lost Worlds.

KASEY: It was a loanout, and it was my third film. Interestingly enough, that was James Arness' first film -- it was my understanding, when we were shooting it, that that was his first film. Of course, I was "the old pro," 'cause that was my third film [laughs]! [Two Lost Worlds was Arness' first starring role, but not his first film.] That film ultimately became quite a cult-type film, which I didn't know for years -- I thought, "Oh, who would ever remember that?" But then I had various friends saying, "Are you kidding? That's a cult film!" Think about it -- we had the dinosaurs, we had the volcanoes erupting, we had the big-masted ships firing in battles at sea, we had everything!

Q: It may have all been stock footage, but you had it all!

KASEY: We had it all. The volcanoes and dinosaurs were from One Million B.C. [1940]. It was fun -- well, it was sorta fun. We worked in Red Rock Canyon out here in California, it's on the way to the desert, and Red Rock Canyon is solid rock. And the floor is sharp little rocks, like a half-an-inch, triangular-type, sharp rock. In this one sequence, I had to run to a pool of water -- we were dying of thirst and then we saw the water, so we ran and got down on our knees and drank the water. Talk about pain! It hurt! I was barefooted. They tried taping the bottoms of my feet, but it wouldn't stay on. So you just had to go through with it, just do it. It was uncomfortable, to say the least!

Q: Any memories of the people who made Two Lost Worlds? Producer Boris Petroff?

KASEY: His little girl [Gloria Petroff] played my little sister in the movie. And there was a funny story which I was told, that when James Arness met Boris Petroff for the first time, Arness' agents told him, "Now sit down -- and don't stand up! No matter what you do, don't stand up!" Because he would have towered over Petroff -- and sometimes, if you're too tall, that's not good. So he sat through the whole entire interview, and he got the role. I also remember that I used to love to go climb the riggings of the ships on the soundstage -- at lunchtime, I'd climb up the riggings and see what it felt like up there. That was fun.

Q: How high were they?

KASEY: High [laughs]!

Q: Were you still in costume?

KASEY: No, no, you'd take the costumes off for lunch, and then get back in 'em later. Another thing I remember which is kinda funny: There was a certain period of time when it was extremely hot on the soundstage -- so hot! And I had this one scene leaning over the railing of the ship. I had my costume on top and my shorts from the waist down, because it was so hot [laughs]! But you couldn't see that, 'cause that was behind the railing.

Q: My interviewees tell me they feel that James Arness was never comfortable being an actor. Did you see any of that, did you find him at all "different" from the average actor?

KASEY: I didn't think so. I thought he was a very nice man -- just very, very tall! I'm five-five and he was six-six. I remember at the end of the movie there's a shot of two people standing with their backs to the camera, and I thought, "Who's that little girl?" And it was me standing beside him [laughs]!

Q: You also had love scenes with Arness. Is it tough to do romantic scenes with people you've perhaps just met?

KASEY: Yes and no. You learn to look at it very professionally. I did a love scene with Charlton Heston in some of his first tests, and I hardly knew him except through rehearsals. But I remember the crew saying, "Wow, that was really a hot love scene!" -- implying, like, "What's going on here??" Well ... nothing. Hel-lo! [Laughs] We were working, is all. Especially if you're with a professional actor, you know you're both doing a job. And you can finish kissing and say, "Oh. Thank you. What's next? Where's my lunch?" -- whatever [ laughs]!

Q: There was a romantic triangle in that movie -- you and James Arness and an actor named Bill Kennedy.

KASEY: He was always trying to upstage me [laughs]! Oh, dear, I hope he doesn't read this! One time he had his arm around me as we were watching the volcano or something, and he tried to bury my face into his shoulder! There were a couple of situations like that, and that's all I remember of him. That's where I learned about upstaging -- and how to protect yourself.

Q: Back at Paramount, you had just the tiniest little part in When Worlds Collide.

KASEY: At that time at Paramount, there was a thing called the Golden Circle -- a dozen contract people, all of us very young, who Paramount was, quote, grooming for stardom. A whole bunch of the Golden Circle group was in When Worlds Collide [Barbara Rush, Peter Hanson, Judith Ames et al.] but while they were shooting, I was in Sonora, doing the second lead in Silver City [1951]. We got off location and came back to the studio, for just the last two or three days of filming on When Worlds Collide, and I was just kind of thrown in. I think the only thing I did was walk down some airplane steps [playing a stewardess] -- that's all I can remember doing! But [producer] George Pal was very lovely -- he gave all of the kids, all of us, beautiful gold charms with an inscription about the film. I got one, too, even though -- you know, what did I do? Nothing. There was another member of the Golden Circle in Silver City, Michael Moore, a nice-looking guy who played the heavy, and he and I just got in on the last two days of When Worlds Collide. The Golden Circle was very interesting. Actually, it was the second Golden Circle -- there was a Golden Circle probably a dozen years before, and from that came a number of well-known stars. The year before Paramount revived the Golden Circle, I was the only young actress under contract to Paramount. So they decided [to re-start the Golden Circle] and they signed the others. It was a neat thing, because now we had all these guys and girls to do scenes with and become friends with, we did a lot of promotions and we all worked together in A Place in the Sun [1951]. Again, I don't think I had a line to say and I don't remember what we did [laughs] -- we were all at this resort, around a swimming pool. But we got to work in movies with George Stevens and Frank Capra and C.B. DeMille -- you name 'em! It was an incredible training ground.

Q: When Paramount finally did give you a few more co-starring roles, they were in Westerns like Silver City and Denver and Rio Grande [1952].

KASEY: Denver and Rio Grande was filmed outside of Durango, Colorado. We stayed in Durango, then took those little narrow gauge track trains for an hour every day up into the mountains. I told you I was a tomboy: At night, coming in after work, I'd get up on top of the train cars with the stuntmen and run along and jump the cars. Oh, [producer] Nat Holt would have killed me if he'd seen me up there!

Q: Who were a few of the stuntmen?

KASEY: A fellow who Yvonne DeCarlo ultimately married, Bob Morgan; Leo McMahon, Harvey Parry ... they were all just great.

Q: And who was the instigator? Did they get you up there, or did they follow you?

KASEY: No, they did it. And so, if they did it, then I had to do it. I said to myself, "Okay. I can do that" -- and did! We pulled another terrible joke on Nat Holt: We were back here at the studio and I was not working one day. They were going to have a great big barroom brawl that day, all the stuntmen and [stars] Eddie O'Brien and Sterling Hayden and all the guys. So I came in very early in the morning and I had the makeup guys make me up like a guy. They put this brown makeup on, and whiskers, and my long blond hair was all tucked up under a cowboy hat. And I've got on men's cowboy clothes and things.

I set this up with Bob Morgan: I went onto the saloon set and sat down at one of the tables. (You never realize how small you are as a woman until you put on men's clothing. Then, all of a sudden, they're all towering over you [laughs]!) We waited 'til the dress rehearsal. Eddie O'Brien came in the one door and Sterling Hayden came in the other, and they started talking and yelling back and forth. Finally I stood up and I said something like, "You can't say that to him!" Bob Morgan hauled off and threw a punch, and I threw a punch back at him, and he did a flip back over a table. I started to run around, and then two stuntmen jumped up and they held me back -- everybody in the room, their jaws were dropping, like, "What's happening? What's happening?" They were holding me back, holding onto this wild man, and my hat fell off and all the blond hair fell down. I think it took 30 seconds before anybody finally realized what was going on, and then they started laughing. Nat Holt was one of the people whose chin dropped -- he was like, "What is this going on on my set?" [Laughs] We created this whole fight sequence which didn't hurt [the studio], it didn't cost them very much money, and they didn't get too mad at me. And it was funny!

Q: How many people were in on it?

KASEY: Probably a half a dozen of the stuntmen is all. The two guys that had to grab my arms and Bob and maybe one or two others. But we had a whole saloon full of people and crew and Eddie and Sterling Hayden who didn't know what was happening!

Q: Denver and Rio Grande also had a tremendous head-on train wreck. Were you around for that?

KASEY: I was. It was very spectacular. They brought 150 members of the press up there to photograph and witness it, but the day the press people were there, the weather did not permit filming. So a number of them had to leave, and the scene was filmed the next day. We were all many hundreds of feet back from the actual impact. The thing I remember are the engineers -- some of these little guys with white hair had driven those trains for 50 years! They started the two trains on the same track, coming toward each other, far apart. The trains got up to six or ten miles an hour and the engineers had the controls locked down, and then they would jump out. The trains picked up speed, picked up speed, until they crashed into each other. And they had rigged it with some dynamite and stuff, to make it really explode. Those little engineers had tears rolling down their cheeks -- oh, it was so sad to see them, they were so emotional. They were holding it in, but the tears were there. The impact threw pieces, huge pieces of metal as far away as we were, hundreds of feet. And when the smoke finally cleared, here were these two engines still standing. Still standing, just like, "We won."

Q: Strangers on a Train. Even though you don't have the biggest part in the world, that's the first thing all my friends thought of when I said I'd be interviewing you.

KASEY: Strangers on a Train -- oh, my favorite, of course [laughs]. Yes, it wasn't the biggest role, but it was certainly memorable, and that's what counts. I had heard about the role from another actress, months before. The actress was Jean Ruth, a young contract player at Paramount -- she came from musical comedy. She said, oh!, it was perfect for her, and she'd auditioned for it. And I thought, "Well, she and I are such different types that there's no way it would be right for me," so I didn't think anything more about the role. She and I looked nothing alike, our personalities were nothing alike, so I thought, "If it's right for her, it's not right for me!"

I guess they were searching, searching, searching [for the right actress], and my agent called one day -- this is like three or four months later. He said, "Laura, you have an interview over at Warner Brothers on this Hitchcock picture." I said, "Well ... I don't think I'm right for that," and he said, "Go. Just go to the interview." So I went over there and I read the scene and I thought, "Oh, my God, it's wonderful!" [Laughs]

Q: Was it the scene in the record store?

KASEY: Yeah. Well, that's the only big dialogue scene there was. I just lovvvved the scene, so I auditioned and the casting directors loved it. So, after they'd interviewed girls for months, they finally screen-tested six of us girls in one day. I had not even met Hitchcock, had no direction from him, so what we brought to the role that day, each of us, was what we brought to the role, you know? I tested, and I got the role. Just as simple as that! I was thrilled.

Q: Was Farley Granger in the test with you?

KASEY: No. I've forgotten who was in the test. Forgotten totally!

Q: And when you finally did work with Hitchcock ... ?

KASEY: I must say Hitchcock really didn't give me a lot of directorial stuff about the character, just ... "Play it as you played it" and "Walk here" and "Go there." That was pretty much it.

Q: In the movie, Pat Hitchcock reminds Robert Walker of you. Besides the glasses, was anything done to make the two of you look a bit more alike?

KASEY: No, I don't think we were made-up to look like each other at all, the only similarity, basically, was the glasses. There were six pair that were made up -- two pair had clear lenses, two pair had medium prescriptions in them, and two pair were so thick that I literally could not see the blur of my hand passing in front of my eyes. I could not see through them. If you can imagine this, all I could see was just a little bit out of the sides, on either side. And that was the pair Hitchcock wanted me to wear, because in reverse, they made the eyes look very small -- very "pig-eyed," as he called it. Therefore, I did the entire film without being able to see. I could not see Farley Granger's face when I looked at him; I could not see the merry-go-round when I was trying to jump on [laughs] -- I could not see! And Hitchcock insisted that I wear those glasses even in the long, long shots, out of doors. Which was pretty strange!

Q: Any idea why he insisted on that?

KASEY: There could have been the possibility that somebody could forget and I'd be wearing the clear glass when we went to closeup -- if that had happened, then suddenly I'd have a different look entirely. Look at the picture again: In the record store, when I'm ringing up the cash register sale, I can't see the cash register. When I'm running after Farley as he's leaving the store, when I'm saying, "You can't toss me aside like that," I could not see him. Watch for my hand running along the counter -- the reason I did that is because when my hand came to the end of the counter, I knew I had hit my mark, and that's where I stopped. In my scenes with my two young boyfriends [Tommy Farrell, Rolland Morris], you'll see they'll always offer their hands, or I'll take their hands. Up and down the bus steps, on and off the carousel -- because I couldn't see anything.

Q: So you had them helping you.

KASEY: Yes, and Bob Walker. Bob Walker was wonderful because in real life he wore thick lenses like that -- but he didn't in the film. So he always said, "It's the blind leading the blind!" [Laughs]

Q: Did you like Hitchcock?

KASEY: Oh, yes. He had a wry sense of humor, and you never wanted to cross him or to be a smart-ass, 'cause he could just cut you down. So you were pretty respectful of Mr. Hitchcock!

Q: That was his rep, or you saw him do that?

KASEY: He could do it with a smile. And his wit was just rapier-sharp. He was brilliant -- he did some wonderful, wonderful things. I'm just so thrilled that I was lucky enough to be in one of his films.

Remember when Miriam is choked and her glasses fall to the ground? The camera shoots into one of the lenses and you see the strangulation taking place and she's sinking lower, lower, lower, and then Bob Walker stands back up -- all in the reflection. Well, of course, we shot the exterior things out at the park, but then one day they had me come in, onto an empty soundstage. Hitchcock had this big round, like two-and-a-half, three-foot diameter, concave-type mirror sitting on the concrete floor of the soundstage. The camera was on one side, shooting down at the mirror, and Hitchcock said, "Now go to the other side of it and turn your back." I did, and my reflection was now in the mirror. He said, "Now, Laura, I want you to float to the floor. Float backwards to the floor." Like I was doing the limbo, bending backwards under a stick. He said, "Float to the floor" and I said, "Yes, Mr. Hitchcock."

"Okay, roll 'em," he said, and I started leaning back and back and back. But you can only get so far until, suddenly, THUNK -- you drop two feet to this concrete floor! He'd say, "Cut! Laura ... fllloat to the floor." [In a despairing voice:] "Yes, Mr. Hitchcock." And we'd do it again and I'd get just-so-far, and go THUNK on the cement floor. Seven takes -- but on the seventh take, I literally fllloated all the way to the floor. And he said [imitating Hitchcock], "Cut. Next shot." [Laughs] That was it! I don't know how I did it, and I've never tried it since! But it shows what you can do when somebody insists -- you can do things that you had no idea you could do.

Q: And that seventh take is what we see in the reflection in the glasses in the movie?

KASEY: That's what you see. And furthermore, Robert Walker was not there; the tree branches were not there; all of that stuff you see surrounding me wasn't there. That shot is studied at UCLA and USC, in their film schools, to this day, and I don't have an explanation for how he did it. I should go to school and find out how it was shot [laughs]!

Q: What memories of Robert Walker and Farley Granger?

KASEY: I adored Robert Walker. He was very quiet, very much a gentleman, and verrry talented. He was just brilliant. Farley Granger was ... handsome. He was the 8x10 glossy, you know what I mean [laughs]? But he did fine. He was in a couple of Hitchcock films -- you can't be all bad and be in a Hitchcock film, you know. Robert Walker and Farley Granger and the two actors who played my boyfriends -- those were the only people I really worked with in the whole movie.

Q: Strangers on a Train didn't do your career any immediate good ...

KASEY: No, and that was rather a shame. I had the feeling that no one at Paramount watched the film [laughs]. It would have been nice if somebody had been a little bit impressed, or something! But I just think they didn't even see the film. Therefore, you have nobody "pushing" you publicity-wise or putting blurbs in the trades or anything of that sort.

One thing was kind of fun: When it was in release, I went on a junket full of stars. We traveled on this big bus and we were raising money, or we were doing something like that. We were going through Oklahoma and various places and, of course, at the various places everybody is introduced to the audience by an emcee. Well, they would introduce Laura Elliott and everybody would give me a very polite little who-the-heck-is-she? round of applause. Finally one time I said to the emcee, "You know, I've got a picture out right now." He said, "Oh? What is it? Let me announce it." I told him, and he said, "Oh my God!" So the next time he announced me, he said, "This is Laura Elliott, who in Strangers on a Train was...Miriam." And everybody [Rogers gasps ] -- big gasp! They all recognized the character, and they'd look at me with these wide eyes, like, "Oh! You horrible girl!" [Laughs] And then great applause, a wonderful reaction! It was funny.

Oh, you've got me going on this now: My little niece Harlene, she was turning 16 and she was taking a bunch of her girlfriends to see her auntie in this film, Strangers on a Train ...

Q: This is when the picture was new?

KASEY: Yes, when it was just out. They're all sitting there in the dark theater watching the movie and I come on, being the "sweet" person I was in that picture. And they were all asking Harlene, "Is that your aunt? Is that your aunt?" But Harlene told 'em [stuttering], "No -- no -- I -- I -- I don't know that woman! I've never seen her before!" She would not admit to it!

Q: And you enjoyed playing a meanie? You certainly excelled at it!

KASEY: Oh! Love it! Are you kidding!

Q: After you left Paramount, you changed your name back to Kasey Rogers. Did that create problems? Was it like starting from scratch again?

KASEY: In retrospect it sounds really dumb, but it didn't seem to hurt because I went right into television. In those days, people kinda looked down their noses at television, but I had a young son to support and I was a divorced single parent, so I did television. It was a fairly smooth transition.

Q: You acted in lots of TV Westerns -- including one where you were almost hanged.

KASEY: I don't remember which TV series that was, but it was a half-hour series, and I was in a Western girl's costume, and I was going to be hanged. You know how you go up stairs and you're about six feet high on a platform? They ran a big plank out from the platform and balanced it on barrels at the far end, and had a scaffolding up above with three nooses hanging down.

There were two older bit player-types and me waiting to be hanged. We walked out there, the one guy and then I'm in the middle and then the next guy, and they placed the nooses around our necks. Now, milling about are cowboys on horses -- one kick of that barrel and down we'd all come! We're standing there ready to shoot when suddenly the gentleman next to me -- his eyes got big as saucers. I asked, "What is it? What's the matter?" His hands were tied so he motioned with a movement of his head, a "look behind you"-type movement. I turned around to look and I saw guys tying and nailing down the far ends of each of the noose ropes. The nooses were already around our necks, and our hands were tied behind us. If a horse had kicked over a barrel, they'd have had three hung actors -- there's nothing we could have done. The other two actors were afraid to say anything, so I spoke up -- I said, "Please! Undo that!" They did, and then it was okay. So they weren't exactly thinking -- sometimes you have to watch out for yourself.

Q: In addition to all the chances you took in your movies and TV shows, you were also a real-life motorcyclist.

KASEY: I love motorcycles -- I raced 'em for eight years or something.

Q: How in the world did that start?

KASEY: My little son Mike was nine years old and he came home one day and he said he wanted to motorcycle. "You want to what?!" [laughs] -- what did I know about motorcycles? Nothing. Anyway, I got him a little mini-bike, a mini-motorcycle -- those things are powerful as can be, you just don't realize. I got on a 50 cc and immediately ran into a chain link fence! At any rate, Mike learned to ride in the Encino hills and became very good. (I didn't even know he should have a helmet -- I was very uninformed!) He wanted to race minicycles, and it fell to me to take him out to Indian Dunes to race. I remember the first time I went out to Indian Dunes, about a 600-acre motorcycle park. I thought, "Oh, my God, it's dirty, it's loud, it's muddy, it's dusty" -- and then I learned to love it [laughs]! At first, we went every Sunday to ride, and it didn't take very long before I was unhappy sitting and watching. So I got a racing bike too. Then I learned to ride on the regular motocross tracks with all the teenage boys. They had a Friday night race for the minicycles also, so we would go Friday night and Saturday night. And that's how I got into motorcycles, because Mike wanted to race and he happened to be very, very good -- he became one of the top five or six minicycle racers in the United States. We ultimately raced in Texas and Florida and Missouri and all over the United States.

Q: How old was he at this point?

KASEY: Nine or 10. They have all different categories, from beginning to expert. My son used to race with Jeff Ward -- Jeff rode for Honda when he was a youngster, but he turned pro when he was 17 or 18 and at some point became what they call a "factory rider" for Kawasaki. My son raced him, and they would dice it out all the time. Sometimes Mike would win, sometimes Jeff would win. But that's how I got into it -- and then, of course, found that I loved it. I learned to ride motocross sitting on the start line with all the teenage boys. You rev on the line, dump a clutch and grab a handful!

Q: [Laughs] You're going to have to translate some of that for me!

KASEY: You rev on the line -- in other words, you're revving your bike, getting the RPMs up. "Dump your clutch" means you put it into gear. And when you "grab a handful," you twist the accelerator on the right handle. Then you haul ass, trying to get the hole shot in the first corner!

Q: I read in one of your earlier interviews that you used to see Steve McQueen at the track.

KASEY: Steve McQueen was a wonderful rider. He raced the six-day international trials in Europe, and they pick only about six or eight riders to go over there and compete in that. You don't get picked because you're Steve McQueen, you get picked because you're good. He raced a lot and his two children [son Chad and daughter Terry] raced minicycles with my son. Terry passed away a few years ago, unfortunately. We knew each other on the track, and -- it was funny -- one day Steve walked up to me and his TV series Wanted: Dead or Alive came up. I said, "Yeah, Steve, I did a couple of those with you." He looked at me and he said, "You're an actress? You did shows with me?" "Yes, Steve, I did!"

One day, I was riding the track, practicing, and I had on white leathers and a white racing jersey and white helmet and black boots. But in those days, we didn't even have chest protectors or shoulder protectors or anything.

I was out there play-riding, practicing, and I heard this big bike come up behind me. When you hear that and you know they're coming fast, you just "hold the line" -- that means, you just go straight ahead and let 'em go around any way they want to. So this big bike went around me, and then the rider gassed it, he twisted the throttle. The tires are called knobbies 'cause they have big thick one-inch tread for traction -- and they also pick up every rock, and shoot 'em back [at the rider behind]. I was just showered with all these rocks hitting me -- they're peltin' your chest, because (as I said) there were no chest protectors in those days. At any rate, I finished that lap and I pulled off because I thought I'd like to catch my breath. Steve came up and said, "Oh, my God, Kasey, I'm so sorry! I didn't know it was a girl! I didn't know it was you!" [Laughs]

Q: What kind of bike did you have?

KASEY: Usually a 125 cc Honda. Loved, just loved racing. I ultimately put on the International Women's Motorcycle Championship for four years. I was the entrepreneur, I organized it and presented it. I had a race director who ran the races, but I was the one who did the advertising and the publicity and got the prizes to be given to the winners and all of that sort of thing. We had two hard days of racing -- we had the Grand Prix one day and motocross the next. The Grand Prix is a very long race -- I've run hundred-mile Grand Prixs -- and motocross is tighter and harder, but shorter loops. They really had to ride hard and, boy, those girls were wonderful. We'd have 300 girls from all over the United States come. Very family-oriented, all of this -- no Hell's Angels stuff. I wrote the motorcycling column for the [Los Angeles] Herald Examiner for four years, and a lot of feature stories for motorcycling magazines.

Q: How did you land your role as the wife of Mr. Tate [David White] on Bewitched?

KASEY: Again, very easy. (I've had such incredible luck!) First of all, Bewitched and Peyton Place started the very same year, and I started on Peyton Place, playing Julie Anderson, Barbara Parkins' mother. It was a great experience. We were shooting two and three episodes a week, and I left the show on episode 252. We did that all in, like, a little over two years. And Peyton Place was in the top 10, if not No. 1 -- I've forgotten the exact ratings, but it was just a hot show and great recognition. I left the show and, I think within the month, I met with the people on Bewitched and I was hired. And that was that! I didn't have to read, I didn't have to do anything. I think it was all because of the Peyton Place exposure.

Q: You took over from an actress named Irene Vernon. Do you happen to know why she left the show?

KASEY: I don't know the exact reason, but I know that she was gone and I was just lucky enough to get the role. (We were very different types.) I did talk to her on the phone in recent years, and it was cute: I called her one day and I asked, "Is this Louise Tate?" She said, "Well ... uh ... yess s..." I said, "Well, this is Louise Tate ..." [Laughs] And so we had a cute conversation -- she appreciated that. She has since passed away.

Q: A question I'm sure Bewitched fans have frequently asked you -- which of the two Dicks did you like best?

KASEY: No, no, no, you didn't phrase that properly. You're supposed to say, "Which of the two Darrins did you like best?"

Q: [Pause] Okay ... which of the two Darrins did you like best?

KASEY: Dick. [Laughs] See, if you don't set it up right, I can't say it! I adored Dick York, he was just brilliant, great comedic timing and a rubber face and a lovely person. Unfortunately, his health and back and things caused him to have to leave the show. And Dick Sargent came in, a totally different type of Darrin, brought different qualities to it and was a lovely person. But I can't play favorites. And Elizabeth Montgomery was a great pro, just a professional girl, great sense of humor. She should have won an Emmy -- she was nominated various times and didn't win it, but she should have, she deserved it. And of course a great dramatic actress as well. She had done dramatic things before, and then after.

Q: What is Kasey Rogers doing these days?

KASEY: Kasey Rogers these days has a writing partner, a young man from Atlanta named Mark Wood. At one point I said to him, "If you come to California, to Hollywood, I'll put you up for a coupla weeks." He's been here eight years [l aughs] -- talk about the Man Who Came to Dinner! We've just become the best of friends, he's like my "youngest child," and we write together. We had tried very hard to get a spinoff of Bewitched on, called Bewitched Again. Columbia Sony wants to do a feature film, they've wanted to for 10 years and they don't have a script yet. But they won't let anybody do a series. If we had Elizabeth, we'd have a series, but she didn't want to ... and she's gone now. So we said, "Okay. Goodbye," and we wrote our own series, called Son of a Witch [laughs]. It's the same genre as Bewitched but it is not Bewitched, we own it, we created it, and there are people interested in purchasing it at this point. We hope to do either a movie-of-the-week or a film, and then have it go to series. That's one of the projects that's near and dear to our hearts, and one that we hope goes. We've written other things together and, of course, we're pushing those as well. So I've been doing a lot of writing, as you can see.

Q: What if anything would you change about the way your acting career panned out?

KASEY: I wouldn't change it. The only thing that was frustrating was, between jobs you think you'll never work again. Or you know you'll never work again, that no one will remember you! But I think, especially for a woman, it was an incredible career. My second marriage [to a public relations man] was a wonderful marriage; I had four wonderful children (still have them, thank God), grown now, and grandchildren. I got to travel the world with my husband, I worked with him, I did writing with him. I had time for all this. See, if you're the lead in a TV series, the time demands are very extreme. But when you're not the lead, when you're supporting -- my God, most of my time was spent at home with my kids and entertaining and doing things with my husband. And when I got to go to work, it was like a vacation. So it was a wonderful career for a woman, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I've enjoyed the creative aspects and the creative people who you meet and work with.

Bewitched fans wishing to read more about the series can check out the Kasey Rogers interview on The Bewitched and Elizabeth Montgomery Web Site.

Tom Weaver is the author of John Carradine: The Films, Science Fiction and Fantasy Film Flashbacks, Attack of the Monster Movie Makers and many others available from McFarland & Co..

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