Thirty-two years later, the classic 1980 comedy Airplane! still follows actor Robert Hays wherever he goes. And surely, he must be fine with that.

The movie was front and center in a recent Hays profile piece in The Desert Sun and again last night when the actor was introduced at EEK! at the Greek by event maestro Arthur B. Rubinstein. Hays was there, post-Intermission, to read Edgar Allen Poe’s short story “The Tell-Tale Heart” to original, musical accompaniment.

And what a great job the actor did, with a full moon shining above center stage. Beamed out on the Greek Theatre’s stage-flanking giant screens in spooky black and white, Hays put the full force of his dramatic training into Poe’s first-person narrative about a man whose guilt over a murder leads him to upset a carefully conceived plan. Earlier in the evening’s program, actress Anne-Marie Johnson (In The Heat of the Night, That’s So Raven) applied an equally sonorous spin to the Mary Howitt poem “The Spider and the Fly.”

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