“It’s a small world after all… It’s a small world after all… It’s a small world after all… It’s a small, small world.” — A song from one of the many Walt Disney flicks, I’m not sure which.
A memorial service will be held in Hastings Aug. 21 for the Rev. Steve Reid, a guy whom I got to know back in my troubled days at J-Ad Graphics. Dubbed “The Peoples’ Preacher” by a local attorney, Reid indeed was a likeable chap who got around and did a lot of Bible-based public performances, notably “Joseph, Stepfather of Jesus.”
He brought one of his programs to the United Church of Wayland about 30 years ago, posing as the Disciple Peter, and was well received, a lot because, as my wife remarked, “He has a winning personality.”
Reid was well known around town because he was the longtime director of Love Inc., a food, shelter and spiritual service for the less fortunate in Barry County. He also was able to gain a lot of publicity for arranging and promoting the Musicians Showcase programs every Thursday evening at the local Arby’s.
One of his shows was a grand, but bizarre experiment just before Christmas in which he had volunteer choir members singing on business rooftops downtown while he made a presentation on the grounds of the historic Barry County Courthouse.
I was taken in by Reid’s solid knowledge of old rock ‘n roll music from the 1960s and ‘70s. He was one of the very few people I met who knew who Vivian Stanshall was and he astonishingly correctly characterized the obscure group Uncle Bonsai as “a cross between Frank Zappa and Peter, Paul and Mary.”
But what connected me most to him was his revelation that his cousin, Patty Reid, was an actress. Her stage name was Kim Stanley.
I nearly fainted when he told of this because Kim Stanley for many years was, and still is, my very favorite actress. Though not particularly well known, she received two Academy Awards nominations, for best actress in “Séance on a Wet Afternoon” in 1964 and for best supporting actress in “Frances” in 1982. She won an Emmy for her work in a three-part series, “A Cardinal Act of Mercy,” on TV’s Ben Casey and she was the narrator of the beloved film “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
It was her stunning performance in “The Goddess,” her tour de force as a Marilyn Monroe-style character that eerily predicted the Blonde Bombshell’s demise five years before Marilyn’s famous suicide in 1962. The story by the great Paddy Chayefsky was about a lonely and troubled woman who somehow struck it big in motion pictures.
Stanley was nothing short of awesome in a film that featured Lloyd Bridges and Steven Hill as her husbands and it was Patty Duke’s first movie appearance.
Steve Reid asked for, and received on loan, the VHS I had of “The Goddess” and he managed to pick up “Séance” for rent. He wanted to show it to his father, Don, who was nearing his end and wanted to see his niece in her arena of expertise.
I confess to mixed emotions about Steve Reid. I questioned his sincerity at times and thought him to be a bit of a hustler, but have to admit to his kind and gentle disposition whenever I saw him.
He died last January of Parkinson’s Disease. He was 69.
RIP, Rev. Reid. We both had good taste in quality actresses.