By Levi Clancy for לוי on
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES BY MERVYN LEE "MICKEY" SINGER
I remember, as a boy growing up in Los Angeles, going out to the beach to spend a week or two of summer vacation with Eli and Itka. Grandpa Eli would take me out on the old Venice (California) pier to fish and, once, I caught a big flounder. I was about six or seven years old. Sometimes Uncle Lou and Uncle Harry Singer would come out to the beach on weekends and all the cousins would swim and play on the beach. Harry's two kids (Barbara and Richard Singer) and Lou's two (Donald and Elliott Singer) and all of the adults would go out on the pier for rides in the amusement park and for "eats". Then everybody would go back to the apartment upstairs over the back of a grocery store where Itka and Eli lived. The men played penny-ante poker in the dinette booth and the women talked and the kids played. It was great fun and I have wonderful pleasant memories of those times.
My father, Dave Singer, was drafted in 1945 at the age of 35. He was specially tained in hand-to-hand combat and was on a boat heading for the shore of Japan when the Atomic Bomb was dropped, ending the war. He ended up serving as head of a section to rebuild the Japanese railroad system to distribute food and materials to the army of occupation. When he returned from the service in 1947, we moved to Napa, California. At that time, I remember visiting with Aunt Malka and Uncle Lazar (Ann & Sam Lazarus) who seemed quite old at that time. Joe and May Lazarus were there and I remember Nathan giving me tennis lessons. My dad had bought a soda fountain and paid Nathan for my lessons with milkshakes.
I came down with some kind of a crazy pain in my legs and, just before my Bar Mitzvah, I was diagnosed as having polio. I spent most of a year going back and forth to Children's Hospital in San Francisco for therapy. Luckily, my muscles responded to treatment and, although I have one leg an inch shorter than the other, I was fortunate to be able to live a healthy life. I was also bar-mitzvahed in Santa Rosa, California at the age of 35.
After living for a short period in Napa, dad took a job in Palo Alto. We moved there in 1949. I went to Sequoia High School in Redwood City and, when they built Menlo-Atherton High School, I went there as we lived in Menlo Park. I was Senior Class President of the first graduating class in 1952. I went to San Jose State University and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration in 1956. I was in business a few years with my dad at "Peninsula Hardware Company" and when my dad (Dave Singer) had a heart attack, I took over the company and ran it a few years and, eventually, sold it. Dad and mom moved to Leisure World in Laguna Beach. I moved to Santa Rosa in 1964 with my then-wife, Wilma and our three kids: Mike, Dan and Val. I had a varied and successful business career and, in 1975, Wilma got liberated and went off to do her thing! We got divorced and the three kids came with me and grew up and went off to do their thing(s). The folks had moved back up to Santa Rosa and dad passed away from a heart attack on September 27, 1976 at the age of 66. Mom is doing fine and was 77 on November 13, 1988. We are looking forward to the family reunion next year.
I remarried an ex-ballet dancer and teacher, Marian, in 1979. So we have been married over nine years now. She retired from the dance world and I retired from business and, four years ago, we bought an unfinished home up on a hill in the middle of the wine country. Kenwood is about half-way between Santa Rosa and Sonoma-Napa. We have been remodeling for four years and now have a beautiful 3,500 square foot home with a magnificent view on 8.3 acres in God's Country, with a swimming pool, indoor spa, outdoor spa, 43' waterfool splashing down into the pool, etc., etc...
My hobby is playing poker which I enjoy very much. My mom, Lillian (Levine) Singer, comes for Sunday supper. Together we will try to provide the family with photos and documents.
MICHAEL LOUIS SINGER: I was born on August 26, 1956 to Wilma Zeva (Bloom) Singer and Mervyn Lee "Mickey" Singer, in Palo Alto, California. After a great Jewish upbringing, I took drumming as my profession and, with much travelling and enjoying musicians and entertainers, I believe I'm in a hard but satisfying business, and will continue to make people happy with my music. I miss my folks and family when I'm away but always visit when I'm home.
AUTOBIOGRAPHY: Daniel Alan Singer
I was born at 9:33 a.m. on the 8th of October, 1959, at the Stanford Hospital Center in Palo Alto, California, to Mervyn Lee Singer and Wilma Nae Singer (née Bloom). As a child I was quiet and shy, preferring to play alone indoors with crayons and Lego building blocks.
At age four my family (including my siblings Michael and Valerie) moved to Santa Rosa, California, where my father had bought a house in a rural area so that we could raise a variety of small animals. I did not enjoy living so far from town, and resented the time I had to spend on daily chores. I was told that our household budget was extremely tight, however, so I begrudgingly did my bit.
I was bright at school and always participated in little shows and presentations. I developed interests in art and magic, and spent my allowance on little magic tricks which I performed nervously for visiting grandparents. I also practiced ventriloquism with a cheap plastic dummy. The rest of my time was consumed with drawing, painting, and building little cardboard models, especially of Disneyland, of which I was an avid fan. I longed to escape my mundane life and go to work at Disneyland, where I would be surrounded by fantasy and beauty; but you had to be at least 18 to work at Disneyland, so I waited impatiently for the years to pass.
At fourteen my family moved into town, and a year later, my parents divorced. I enjoyed my newfound independence, free from family obligations and closer to local activities. I discovered drama as an interesting distraction that was well-suited to my talents and energies. By 17 I was an accomplished amateur actor, director, writer, stage manager and scenic artist.
After graduating from high school, I was encouraged to study art, but I believed my energy would better serve the theatrical profession. Feeling a strong magnetism to the city of London, I eventually moved there for two years, where I studied at various drama schools. Returnig to California at age 21, I found acting jobs hard to come by, and worked as a bookseller while performing on weekends at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire and Dickens Christmas Fairs.
These environmental festivals provided fine opportunities to study, perform, and improvise Elizabethan and Victorian characters. I created and performed a one-man show based on the works of Lewis Carroll, and in 1981 I adapted, directed and performed in a four-man, twenty-five minute parody of "Hamlet". Called the Reduced Shakespeare Company, we thought of ourselves as a scaled-down version of England's Royal Shakespeare Company, while taking our inspiration from Marx Brothers movies and Bugs Bunny cartoons. After a few cast changes we became a three-man team, and continued to develop and perform comedy shows based on classics, eventually expanding our repertoire to include the complete works of William Shakespeare.
My two partners and I were still pursuing other interests. I moved to Seattle for a brief attempt at gaining a formal education at the University of Washington. Feeling that I was wasting my time, I finally moved my home base to Los Angeles in 1985, determined to achieve success with the Reduced Shakespeare Company. As business manager, publicist, agent and accountant, I brought the company a small income by booking us at festivals and schools. In 1987 we went to Edinburgh, Scotland, where we performed our first full-length theatrical show, in which we attempted to perform all 38 of Shakespeare's plays in less than two hours. The show was one of the hits of the Festival Fringe and we played to sold-out houses for three weeks.
At preset, the Reduced Shakespeare Company is planning to tour major cities in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia over the next two years. During breaks between shows, I frequently take freelance art comissions. In 1988 my dream of someday working for Disneyland came true when I was hired as a consultant model-maker for the EuroDisneyland project.
I live in a small duplex in the Hollywood Hills with my life partner, Kent Elofson, who is also an artist and actor.