A.P.: That’s a familiar role for you.
O.P.: The greatest scoundrel I ever played was Russell Tupper, in the old Showtime series Huff. Tupper made Nathan Detroit look like a tame suburban punter. Anyway, I’ve been reading a lot of Damon Runyon. I had no idea how influential Runyon was in creating the classic caricature of what it meant to be a New Yorker. It’s pretty remarkable, considering Runyon was from Kansas.
A.P.: Both of our parents are New Yorkers, so we actually have a lot of relatives who came from that world. They didn’t roll dice, or hang out at the track, but they grew up in Depression Manhattan.
O.P.: They were influenced by the classic Damon Runyon patois, and they didn’t even know it. Our grandfather had this lilting, nasal delivery you don’t hear anymore. He used to say to me, “Hello, Olivah, I’m ya grandfatha!” It was a kind of street poetry. He talked Runyonese!
A.P.: So when can I get my ticket to the show?
O.P.: It’s too early for the critics!
A.P.: I’m not a critic.
O.P.: You can’t fool me, Mr. Platt.
A.P.: What do you think of critics, at least the ones who aren’t related to you?
O.P.: Why don’t you tell me what you think about critics, given that you are one?
A.P.: Critics are upstanding gentlemen and ladies of the press who deserve to be treated with utmost respect, and who are generally correct in their assessments, whether it be of a movie, a play, or a really lousy restaurant dinner.
O.P.: Let’s leave it right there, Mr. Platt. I’m not touching that question with a ten-foot bamboo pole.