Now, this probably doesn’t seem odd, but I was in the middle of reading a scene, from Strike Up the Band, between George Spelvin and Horace J. Fletcher.
“What an odd coincidence,” I thought.
I began to do a little digging (not hard with Google and Wikipedia) and discovered what many of you may already know, but just in case you don’t….
George Spelvin is 125 years old. He has been in more plays than any other actor in history. Most importantly… he doesn’t exist.
It is a pseudonym used in the theatre (mostly American) for a number of reasons, but generally always to stand in for the name of an actor.
Spelvin has stood in for actors playing dual roles; union actors wishing to remain anonymous when performing in non-union theaters; and often when there is literally no actor at all. For instance, when the director doesn’t want the audience to know a character will not actually appear on stage, such as in a mystery or melodrama. I’m sure there has been a production or two of Harvey, where Harvey is played by George Spelvin.