Sounding his barbaric yawp

Mr. J made his final appearance as an actor at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival in 1991 when a group of unwitting comedians picked him out of the audience to participate in their comedy sketch. If they were hoping for someone's easygoing grandpa who wouldn't upstage them, they picked the wrong 70-year-old. Details fade, but Mrs. J reports that the comedy troupe was staging a fairy tale and Dwain was conscripted to play the king. His only line was supposed to be a bombastic yell.

Really? A loud yell? From Mr. J? Gosh, do you think he could do it? (See the "Louder!" segment of the STORIES page.)

As the picture reveals, Mr. J's barbaric yawp shook the set and blew audience and troupe away. He easily stole the show. Sadly, he was, for reasons unknown, rather uncomfortable and displeased with the experience. Pity, because the audience adored him.

  NOTE:   Dwain wasn't the only Johnson family member to be vastly underestimated by actors at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. A few years later, Mrs. J was waylaid by a quixotic young actor who thought he could get away with falling to his knee in front of her and passing off Brian Hooker's entire balcony speech as his own improvised inspiration. After he kissed her hand, she mildly and graciously replied, "Thank you, Cyrano" upon which the chagrined thespian grew quite red and bid a hasty retreat. She laughed like hell.