About Us . . .
Meet the folks at www.wellcat.com. They are Ruth and Tom Roy, and they are the creators of more than seventy copyrighted holidays, as published on their web site and in the annual Chases Calendar Of Events (McGraw-Hill).
The Roys are interview guests and the subject of
feature-length newspaper and magazine articles throughout the US and other countries,
including Australia, Canada and Great Britain. They receive hundreds of such requests
annually. Past interviews and stories about Ruth and Tom and their holidays have appeared
on the front page of the Los Angeles Times (11/19/96
by Senior Correspondent Rick Meyer, front page, 65 column inches), in USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Sydney Morning
Herald, The Washington Post, Nickelodeon Magazine, Modern Maturity, Redbook,
McCalls, on the BBC, Australia
Network-10, ABC, ABC radio network, Paul Harvey News And Comment, and in thousands of
local newspapers around the world.
One of their holidays,
Northern Hemisphere Hoodie-Hoo Day, is actually celebrated every February 20th
by citizens in Europe and America. There are parties near Brady, Texas, town-square
festivals in seven municipalities in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, radio station remote
broadcasts from county seats everywhere, elementary school parades and much more. Other
holidays, such as Eat What You Want Day, have brought out large advertising
firms, as in the case of Entenmanns Bakeries, which contracted with the Roys for
exclusive rights for a one-month period to introduce their newest line of snacks during an
ongoing national campaign, including handing out the goodies at New Yorks Grand
Central Station. Meanwhile, the folks at Days Inns grabbed up the temporary rights
to Be Bald And Be Free Day, so that Willard Scott could refer to it during a
TV commercial for the motel chain.
Tom and Ruth are delightful guests, as well: articulate, affable, and full of wit. Their backgrounds, of course, are a perfect match, not only for each other, but for creating and nurturing the mirth and goodwill of their zany Wellcat Holidays.
Ruths career path has run from touring actress, to college administrator, to radio talk show hostess and morning show personality, to mom, to proprietor of a web-based herb business with an actual herb garden and apothecary shoppe at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire.
Toms 22 years as a
radio news director, talk show host, and morning man make him the perfect
guest on any show. Hes a member of the Screen Actors Guild and the
American Federation Of Television And Radio Artists, and his television and screen credits
include the wild-eyed street evangelist in Terry Gilliams 12
Monkeys, Lou Pucci's alcoholic
dad in The Answer Man with Jeff Daniels and Lauren Graham, Old Man Harrison in
Night Catches Us starring Anthony Mackie of The Hurt Locker, two separate
gigs on Saturday Night Live, a co-starring guest
shot on Nickelodeons Pete n Pete, and much more. His
full-time occupation is that of Associate Producer of the annual Pennsylvania Renaissance
Faire, where he also acts, directs, and teaches the art of improvisation.
Tom and Ruth are nearly
always available for on-air interviews. Feel free to contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-279-0184, and be sure to
visit www.wellcat.com for Healthy Herbs and
Scroll down to see more photos & interview notes from the movie Twelve Monkeys.
Thomas Roy with Vanessa Webb as Fortunato and Montressor in Edgar Allan Poe's Cask of Amontillado.
Tom was the first to create
Wellcats wacky holidays. Back in the late 80s he came up with Northern Hemisphere Hoodie-Hoo Day as he was doing show prep for his next
days morning show on WIOV-FM in the Lancaster-Reading area of central Pennsylvania.
One of his constant sources of material was, of course, Chases Calendar of Events, now published annually by
McGraw-Hill. As he flipped through the book he came upon a form at the back that allowed
for the submission of new holidays. It
was then he knew he was in for some creative mirth, never expecting his creation would be
When the next years edition of Chases came out, TR turned to the entry for
February 20th, and, sure enough, there it was. This was pleasant enough, but
when the 20th of February actually arrived, he was even more surprised to learn
that it was also picked up by USA
Today as well as by national broadcast pioneer Paul Harvey. That was the day that
Serial Holiday Creator Tom Roy was born.
He raced to his IBM Selectric
typewriter (machines with keys one would tap so that words came out onto paper) and
created Pet Owners Independence Day (April 18th),
Stay Home Because Youre Well Day (November 30th), Humbug Day (December 21st), Take Your Houseplants For A Walk Day (July 27th), Panic
Day (March 9th), Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your
Neighbors Back Porch Night (August 8th) and a few
more. In a world hungry for mirth, he supposes that he shouldnt have been surprised
that all of those holidays also ended up being published in the next edition
Now, these many years later, he and Ruth and their son, Michael, have created and copyrighted close to seventy days with more always on the horizon. Many e-card sites also use Wellcats holidays as inspiration for e-greetings, and, indeed, it is the Wellcat holidays that seem to generate the most interest.
About This Weirdo Should We Know?
A left-handed Sagittarius, TR was born
on November 30, 1944, in Philadelphia. He grew up with a very high IQ and very low grades
until he fell in love with his 11th grade English teacher, Peggy McCurdy. She
announced during the first week of school that the class was going to study
Coleridges Rhyme Of The Ancient Mariner and that Tom is going to read
all of it
to us. She walked down the aisle and handed him the anthology
and, neath golden curls, batted her eyes at him. He was a new man, and the fact that
she became Mrs. Metz over the following summer didnt deter him. The mere fact that
she was now married had nothing to do with his undying love for her, his need to please
her. He began to write. He began to think.
He thought a lot about blonds, but he also thought a lot about writing. He
Soon teachers actually liked him. He started to act in plays, and
those teacher-directors brought in directors from
even Community Theater! Off he
went to West Chester to study English, with a minor in blonds.
A war in Southeast Asia came along and he joined the Navy and was
sent to Florida for three years. Following his honorable discharge, he sold his boat and
moved back to PA to teach English, the only highlight of which was a blond student teacher
Luckily there was a radio station in
the same town, so he drove over one day and got a part-time job there. It was love right
off. And, luckily, a full-time guy quit shortly thereafter, so TR got a full-time gig as
the morning newsman. Another guy quit, so he became news Director (same money) and the station Talk Show Host. Giving Tom a talk show was, of
course, the equivalent of giving Bill Clinton a crate full of cigars in a gym full of
interns. It was an addicts heaven, a heaven that lasted for the next 15 or so
until the station was sold.
The new manager told the staff that the AM station would be sold off,
and that the new company would keep the FM station and its Country Music format. TR would
stay with the FM station.
A month went by, and it was decided
that the news wasnt enough for TR, so they made him the Morning Man. TR said he
hated Country Music, but the station manager said, So? Youre an actor,
arent you? Ive seen you act. So act like you like Country
Music. So TR acted like he liked Country Music for several years until some
banker/politician who owned a radio station made him an offer he couldnt refuse:
lots more money
as a talk show host.
The first day on the job he was
introduced to Ruth, a blond
with green eyes
and multiple degrees in English. And
she knew all about the Rhyme Of The Ancient Mariner. He never actually asked her about
this, but he was sure she knew all about Coleridge. No, instead he asked her out for
lunch, and within about a year they were married, working diligently on making a Michael.
Heaven agreed, and Michael arrived. There was more blah, blah, blah
work in radio, and finally his big break arrived. A manager of actors sent him
to NYC for an audition. Pretty soon there were so many auditions that he and Ruth and
Michael had to move to NYC, for he was working
as an actor! His acting work included
a couple of stints on Law And Order, Saturday Night Live,
Pete n Pete, soap operas, and a nifty little featured role as the
wild-eyed street evangelist in Terry Gilliams 12 Monkeys. Ask him to
tell you, when you have a half hour, his favorite Terry Gilliam is a helluva great
More stars crossed, and
suddenly the Roys were back in Pennsylvania, all three heavily involved, deeply committed,
to the annual Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, where TR is now the Associate Producer.
For his leisure, he sits by the pool and sips iced tea and lemonade.
He and Ruth take Michael to fencing and karate. He reads a lot. He teaches Improv
regularly. He does a lot
of newspaper, TV and radio interviews. And all
the while, all the time, seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day, a little voice inside
his head is asking what holidays might be created today.
December of 1994 I was playing the role of Ebenezer Scrooge in "A Christmas
Carol," at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, when I received a Tuesday phone call
from Mike Lemon Casting in Philadelphia to attend an audition for a film called "12
Monkeys," to be directed by Terry Gilliam. The audition was slated for the following
Tuesday, and, fortunately, it was a day we were not doing a show, so everything was set.
Then, on Wednesday, I noticed that my left eye was acting strangely; it was as though a
curtain were being drawn over it.
the grace of the universe, a doctor friend of mine happened to drop by, and when I told
him about my eye, he took a look and picked up the phone. It turns out my retina was
detaching. Next morning I was undergoing re-attachment surgery, which was successful, and
I was sent home. I was able to perform Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but it was a horrid
experience, whacked out on pain killers and decongestants to keep the swelling down,
eye-patched, disoriented, but a "trouper" nevertheless.
time for the trip to Philadelphia for the audition, and friends were having doubts as to
the sanity of that act. But actors do not operate on sanity, so, of course, I went. I
entered the casting office, and was taken in to see Mike Lemon and meet Terry Gilliam. I
had been called to audition for the part of one of the scientists on the panel who talks
it must have been the painkillers, coupled with the months of doing various English
accents at the Faire (a Renaissance-era Bishop, the British actor Edmund Kean during our
Poe production, as well as Scrooge), so that when I opened my mouth to answer his
"How are you, Tom," it was with a definite British response: "Oh,
well...I'm quite alright, but my eye, you see, is giving me a bit of a problem. The
retina, you see, has detached itself, and I've just had it corrected, and now my entire
skull, including nerve endings and muscles, are quite pissed about it. Not to mention the
painkillers." He looked at me for a second, then asked, "How long have been over
here (in America), Tom?" Mike Lemon laughed, and Terry said, "What's
funny?" Mike said, "He's from Philly. He's just been doing so many English
characters that it just rolls out."
said Terry, "you fooled me; I had you pegged for a middle-class Londoner who learned
his upper class dialect at university. Tell you what, I have another part that might be
better suited for you. Go outside and get the script for the Street Preacher. Take a look,
and come back in when you're ready." So I did, and I got the part, more, I think,
because of my eye than my talents. But wait! There's more!
was in December. Move forward to late February, and the newly-established "12
Monkeys" Production Offices set up at the old Philadelphia Armory. I'd been called
down there for a beard-sideburns-and-eyebrow fitting, and, as I'm walking from the
check-in office to the make-up trailer, I see Terry coming the other way. Certain that
he'll not remember me, I prepare to say nothing. He sees me, and with a big smile and a
wave of his hand, says, "Hi, Tom, and how's your eye?" I was astounded. Here's a
BIG director, with hundreds of people and thousands of things and millions of dollars on
his mind, and he not only remembers a little actor, but the actor's formerly ill EYE as
well! That is the mark of a consummate professional, not to mention a gracious and kind
a couple more weeks go by, and it's time to film my scenes. I arrive at the Met, on North
Broad Street, Philadelphia, and I'm sent to my trailer to wait. A few minutes go by, and
there's a knock on the door. It's Terry, holding a paper cup in his hand. "Hi, Tom,
with the line changes?"
line changes?" say I.
didn't get the line changes. Oh, dear. You'd think, wouldn't you, that in a multi-million
dollar operation like this, where there's one person whose sole job it is to make sure
actors get line changes, that the actor would actually GET the line changes. Wouldn't
one might assume that, but I've been an actor for a lot of years, so nothing surprises
the spirit. Look here, I'll go and get the line changes and be right back. Do you need
there any espresso about?"
looks at his paper cup and says, "It's half gone, but here you go. I'll bring some
fresh." With that he was gone, and I drank from the cup, remembering for some reason
Robert Heinlein's "Stranger In A Strange Land," and thinking that now Terry
Gilliam and I were "water-brothers," although it was espresso that we shared.
minutes later he arrived with fresh espresso and showed me the script changes. "You
going to be alright, Tom?"
I've just last year performed the role of Undershaft in 'Major Barbara,' so I'm UNASHAMED,
besides, I'm getting too old to be afraid."
boy, Tom. Look, someone will take you to make up and wardrobe, so you'll have time to look
over the lines some before we go out to the set. See you later."
left, and about five minutes passed until a production assistant came for me to take me to
make-up. I sat down and was no sooner getting my beard applied when first Madeline Stowe
and then Bruce Willis arrived. And what do actors talk about just before a shoot on a
major motion picture? Stuff! Real stuff, just like anybody else at work anywhere. We
talked about cats. We talked about Madeline's horses out west and how she was worried that
something was wrong with their drinking water or maybe their feed. We talked about kids.
We NEVER talked about acting or other things that people assume gets talked about,
because, for most professional actors, our acting is a craft, much like carpentry or
masonry. It is for inside ourselves, not outside.
make-up and wardrobe done, we were driven, one block, to the North Broad Street site of
the Met, a now-ramshackle enormous former pentecostal temple. Willis and Stowe are
spirited away to deck chairs under a large umbrella, as the skies are dripping cold rain,
and because all the lines in this scene are mine. They only have to cross behind me at the
right time. I am ushered over to the sidewalk and to Terry.
shows me two little sets of railroad track running perpendicular to each other down the
sidewalk, and says, "Here you go, Tom. We're going to strap you to this dolly and
wheel you down the track while you say your lines, and the camera will follow you on the
other track, and you see those barrels behind and in front? They're filled with propane,
and we'll be sending ten foot high flames into the air in front and in back of you while
anyone tell you about this? You'd think in a multi-million dollar production like
this...oh...well...are you quite alright, Tom?"
I said, Terry, I'm getting too old to be afraid of anything. Gary Gilmore said, 'Let's do
it' when he was about to be executed, so let's do it."
he said. "We're UNASHAMED, aren't we?"
shot the scene twice to get Willis' and Stowe's cross to my lines timed right, and Terry
came up and asked, "Tell you what, Tom. This is my favorite shot in the script,
so...do you remember still the lines you had ORIGINALLY learned? I'd like now to combine
them with the lines we're now using and make the scene twice as long."
raining. It's cold. I'm strapped onto a dolly on a railroad track, and there are ten-foot
high flames front and back. I'm wearing medieval garb, bearded and dirty, with a crucifix
in my hand, and homeless people are shouting 'Amen!' to my script rantings, and he asks if
I mind doubling my scene. Does a bear live in the woods?
'neath an umbrella, Gilliam, Willis and I stand with the script supervisor and hand-write
the new lines which we then go back and film, twice, and I am done. Terry tells me he
might need me in a couple of months to do some voice-looping to be heard before I actually
appear on screen, and I drive back home to Lebanon PA.
April I get the call to go to Baltimore for voice-looping, so I drive to a ramshackle set
there and am escorted inside to wait. Coffee in hand, I sit outside a room where they're
filming an enormous fight 'twixt Willis and some villain, when I hear Terry yell
"Cut," and the whole crew takes a break to re-set lights. Willis comes out to
make room for their work, and I notice he heads for a young woman in jeans, sweatshirt,
and baseball cap I hadn't noticed standing off in a corner. He hugs and kisses her, and I
realize it's Demi Moore. But they're not being movie stars; they're just a husband and
wife having real time together, just like the rest of us.
comes out and says, "Hi, Tom, how's your eye? I have the voice loop lines for you, so
I'll have one of the guys take you to my trailer to record them." We go to his
trailer, and the sound guy holds a Sony cassette recorder mic in front of me, and I record
my lines. No big sound studio. No little sound studio. Just a Sony cassette recorder.
You'd think in a multi-million dollar project like this....oh, never mind.
York casting director Toni Roberts once told me, "You know, Tom, you're a kind and
generous guy. And kind and generous rises to the top in this business. Sure, there are
always a few schmucks who make it, but 99% of the folks at the top are real people, kind
people, gracious people. Always remember that."
And I have always remembered that. And Terry Gilliam proves over and over that it's true, one film after another. People want to work with him again and again, not just because of his unique talent and vision, but more I think, because he is a joy as a person, a gracious and kind person who'll ask you about your eye. I know I want to work with him again, and yes, a lot of that is because it'd be work in film, but, and I swear this is true, I felt that I'd made a friend in Terry Gilliam, and I miss him.
~ End ~