A Valentine Birthday Tale
In 2010 I was cast by my good pal producer Paul Bernard in the feature film “Venus & Vegas,” a really fun romp about three twenty-something kids ripping off the mob. I played Florence (Mrs. Brady) Henderson’s boyfriend, and we had nice enough chemistry in the scenes we shot at Santa Anita racetrack that they expanded my role so that I had to fly to Las Vegas for a few more scenes at the Palms Casino.
After I had alerted everyone I knew to the big news I was doing a movie with Mrs. Brady, I got an e-mail from Larry Wickett, who’d been lead guitar in my college band The Pillowcayse and was still a good pal.
He wrote, “That’s pretty wild that you’re in a movie with Florence Henderson, Martling, seeing as you have the same birthday, Valentine’s Day.”
I wrote back, “Jeez, Wick, bad enough you know my birthday, you weirdo, but how do you know her birthday?”
He wrote, “Every year you made such a big deal about your birthday so you could get extra drunk .. how could any of us forget it? And then one day I was watching Mike Douglas and Florence Henderson was on and said her birthday was Valentine’s Day, and my mind clicked, ‘Oh, same as Martling.’"
I looked on the Google and sure enough, Florence & I were both Valentine babies, a mere fourteen years apart. So I was armed with that tidbit of information should I ever want to spring it.
Months go by and here we are at the Palms Casino, about to shoot a scene at the craps table. I was a main person in Florence’s onscreen entourage, as was actress Eileen Ryan, who’s Sean Penn’s mother. The three of us were to shoot some close-ups, so we were shown to a back room so they could touch-up our hair and make-up.
We were in three high-top director’s chairs, me in the center, Florence to my left, Eileen to my right, and as we were waiting for the make-up folks to start their magic, there was a slight lull in the conversation …
So I turn to my left and offer, “You know, Florence, we have the same birthday.”
She says, “Oh, really? You were born on Valentine’s Day?”
I say, “Yep.”
Eileen leans over and says, “Sean was born on the same day as Robert DeNiro.”
Florence says, “Oh? How is Bobby?”
I turn to Eileen and say, “Yeah, how is Bobby?”
(funny, I had never done it before, so I just checked the Google to make sure the story rings true ... and sure enough, Sean and Bobby were both born on a very otherwise non-special day, August 17th)
"Venus & Vegas" is a fun movie, packed with recognizable folks .. me (!), Florence Henderson, Eileen Ryan, Joe Rogan (!), Donald Faison, Molly Simms, Jaime Pressly, Abraham Benrubi, Jon Polito .. it's on Amazon Prime .. click away! have a look!