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I'll never forget the first time a movie star talked to me. At the end of his television show, Roy Rogers looked right into the camera and sang to me, "Happy trails to you, until we meet again." A similar thing happened to my children when Mister Rogers smiled into the camera and reassured them, "I like you just the way you are."

These moments stand out in our memory because it is so odd-even jarring when an actor or a storyteller steps outside the world of the story, as it were, and enters our own. Sometimes it becomes clear that there are actually three worlds involved: the world of the viewer, the world of the story and the world of the actor. This becomes apparent whenever actors look into the camera and take off their wigs, revealing the distance between themselves and the story.


Originally published in Bible Review 15:5 (October, 1999) 34-45, 54-55.

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