George Reeves stabbed
radio actor and announcer Harry Bartell!
It's all true!
Here's what happened.
Back in George's Pasadena Playhouse years, when his name was still George Bessolo,
he became friends with Harry Bartell.
Harry would later ride a major wave during the 'Golden Age' of radio.
One day George was driving him to dinner and suggested that they stop at a bar for a quick drink.
George had a triple scotch and followed that with a double.
They then drove to a restaurant for their dinner.
Harry says, "We had ordered and were talking quietly when the rolls and butter arrived.
George had picked up a pat of butter and was holding his knife when I reached for a roll.
He said, Hey! I had my eye on that one!
(Obviously George was just making a joke).
But he made a chopping gesture with the knife and underestimated the distance."
Harry's hand, between his thumb and forefinger, was bleeding.
Of course, it was an accident.
George rushed him to the emergency room at the hospital for some repair work.
I don't know what kind of knife George was using to butter a roll
but it's possible that his drinking earlier was the reason for the accident.
Certainly, he felt terrible about hurting Harry.
Harry Bartell went on to a very successful career doing voice work, mainly in radio and television.
He did some acting in films but it was his youthful sounding voice that kept him very busy during the 1940's and 50's.
He was a very good announcer but his acting skills got him jobs in numerous radio dramas.
One night George and others were partying at the apartment of Harry's girlfriend (future wife).
Also showing up was Victor Mature, who was one of the most successful of all the Pasadena Playhouse actors.
Victor was soaking wet. His marriage had come apart and he had been walking in the rain.
George drove Harry home, but to George's house.
"If you think I'm going home alone and
face my mother at this time of the morning you're crazy."
They were in George's ground floor bedroom. His mother stormed down the stairs
to confront George about returning home so late.
She sees Harry.
"Oh, hello, Harry. Would you boys like something to eat?"
This is the Pasadena house that George and his mother lived in.
The home is still very much there and in a very nice neighborhood.
Harry said that one night George drove
the Colorado Street Bridge at 80mph.
This is a concrete arch bridge spanning the Arroyo Seco (a dry seasonal river) in Pasadena, California.
(It was never wooden, as Harry mistakenly wrote in an article).
The Colorado Street Bridge was built in 1913. It's listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Unfortunately, the bridge has the well deserved nickname of 'the suicide bridge'.
This is not because it's dangerous but because so many people have jumped off it to commit suicide.
In more recent times a barrier was installed to make it harder for people to jump off.
George had always enjoyed alcohol.
I suspect that he had driven intoxicated and recklessly many times.
In a number of interviews, friends always said that they had never seen him drunk.
I believe he was an alcoholic.
I believe he had been drinking when he drove across the bridge at 80mph.
George would continue to drink heavily for his entire life.
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