INTERVIEW WITH ART METRANO
Pathos, joy, all that comes
in between... We all experience the crescendos and diminuendos of the
song of life with varying heart and rhythm--but it is all the same background
music. Art Metrano joins his audience in his tears, their tears, his fears,
their fears, his laughter and theirs in his poignant "Accidental
Comedy," a one man act playing at the Odyssey Theater in Los Angeles.
For years, Art Metrano entertained us with
television and motion picture performances and his own unique comedic/magic
act. Metrano's entire portfolio-to-date is impressive and varied. We saw
Art Metrano in such films as Breathless, the Police Academy comedy movies,
the Choirboys, They Shoot Horses Don't They? and such television shows
as The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson where he performed his "Amazing
Metrano," the Catskills warm-up Magician whose gimmick was pretending
ordinary finger skills and gestures were fabulous tricks. We saw Metrano
on such shows as The Merv Griffin Show and Laugh-In. We've seen him on
many of our favorite contemporary shows as Chicago Hope, Silk Stalkings,
L.A. Law, Hill Street Blues, WKRP In Cincinnati, Benson, Starsky &
Hutch, Barney Miller, Charlie's Angels, The Incredible Hulk, Kojak, Ironside,
Mission Impossible, All in the Family and so on.
In "Accidental Comedy," a creative
and moving saga, Metrano brings a profound empathy to the hardest act
of all--the story of his own life. "Accidental Comedy" includes
a portrayal of Metrano's Childhood, events shaping his character, and
his recovery from a life-altering, freak household accident. In 1989 Metrano
broke his first, second and seventh vertebrae in a head-first fall from
a high ladder. It was initially a quadriplegic injury. Through rehabilitation
and what Metrano calls "God's infinite wisdom," the injury was
a "blessing of adversity." At the end of the one man show, Metrano
gets out of his wheelchair and walks, haltingly, with two crutches. The
audience, with deepest emotion, shares Metrano's humble gratitude for
In the play, we go through Metrano's ordeal
with horror as he describes the moment he heard his neck snap and cried
out for help in a voice that was not his own. Yet when the paramedics
arrived and put Metrano in a neck brace on a wooden board, asking if he
was comfortable. Metrano replied, "Well...I make a living!"
Indeed, one of Metrano's gifts is in the humor he can render in the most
serious of moments. A "silver lining" that Metrano points out
from his accident is that it has allowed him to spend more time with one
of his most precious assets, his family. Metrano has also been able to
raise more than $75,000 for Project Support for Spinal Cord Injury to
help buy crutches, wheelchairs and other supplies.
ABILITY was able to visit with Art Metrano
one afternoon at his home after viewing his "Accidental Comedy."
Chet Cooper shares his visit.
CC: When did you...
CC: OK then.. (laughs)
AM: And that's it...we are done? (laughs)
CC: When did you have your accident?
AM: Almost 11 years ago. September 17, 1989.
It was Sunday before noon, around 11:30.
CC: Your remember the date and the time?
AM: Vividly. It's something that will stay
with me until the day I die...
in ABILITY Magazine
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More stories from Art Metrano issue: 1999
Max Gail: Running LAPs Part II
Interview With Art Metrano
Harris Wofford: A Leader In Community Service
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