Phil’s blog reminded me of a story that A.C. Lyles told at a function I attended once. A. C. Lyles is a producer and unofficial ambassador for Paramount Studios. He is 91 and sharp as a tack. Having been in the business for 78 years, he has a lot of stories to tell. One of them was about Paul Newman’s tuna casserole. It went something along the lines of this:
Paul Newman was entertaining some bigwig producers. He called his wife to ask if there was anything she could whip up at home for dinner. His wife tells him that she only has ingredients to make tuna casserole. He tells her to go ahead and make the casserole.
Paul brings back the bigwigs and his wife has prepared the casserole, but she pulls Paul into the kitchen and tells him that the cat has gotten into the casserole. They don’t know what to do as there’s nothing else she can prepare and the producers are out there waiting. Paul makes the decision that they will never know, so they decide to serve the casserole anyway. The dinner goes well and the producers even comment on the delicious casserole.
But then after dinner, Paul’s wife pulls him out again, horrified and pale as a ghost. She shows him where the cat now lies dead on the porch. The only thing the cat ate before it died was the casserole! Panicking, now Paul has to run in and tell the producers what has happened. He tells them he is so sorry, but they have to get to the hospital and get their stomachs pumped immediately! The dinner from hell ends up with all of them at the hospital.
After the ordeal is over, Paul and his wife return home. The next morning, their neighbor appears and tells them “Sorry about your cat. I feel so bad.” They tell her it wasn’t her fault. But she tells them. “I didn’t see your cat in the dark when he ran into my driveway and I hit him with my car. It seemed like you were having a very important dinner at the time, so I didn’t want to disturb you and I left the cat on your porch!”