University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Ray Walston:

A Preliminary Inventory of His Papers at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Descriptive Summary

Creator Walston, Ray, 1914-
Title Ray Walston Papers
Dates: 1938-1995
Abstract: This collection contains productions and career-related papers and memorabilia from this noted American actor.
Extent 10 boxes, 6 oversize boxes, 1 oversize flat file folder (7.9 linear feet)
Language English.
Repository: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin

Scope and Contents

This collection of papers and memorabilia of actor Ray Walston reflects his sixty years on stage, screen, and television, appearing with actors such as Imogene Coca, Bing Crosby, Shelley Duval, Clint Eastwood, Maurice Evans, Jane Fonda, Mitzi Gaynor, Cary Grant, Van Johnson, Janet Leigh, Jack Lemmon, Jerry Lewis, Bela Lugosi, Shirley MacLaine, John Malkovich, Jayne Mansfield, Mary Martin, Lee Marvin, Agnes Moorehead, Sean Penn, Anthony Perkins, Debbie Reynolds, Jean Seberg, Gwen Verdon, Robert Wagner, Robin Williams, and Shelley Winters. While Walston directed some plays in the course of his career, his acting was guided by directors such as George Abbott ( Damn Yankees and Me and Juliet), Robert Altman ( Popeye), Joshua Logan ( South Pacific and Paint Your Wagon), and Billy Wilder ( Kiss Me, Stupid). The papers are arranged in two series: Productions and Career-Related Material.

In the first and largest series, Productions, most of Walston's acting appearances are represented, arranged alphabetically by production. This material includes mostly publicity clippings, but also some correspondence, telegrams, scores, playbills, programs, contracts, photographs, and scripts, especially from the Picket Fences television series. During the early years of his career (ca. 1938-53), Walston maintained scrapbooks that document his appearances in plays and musicals. After that time, clippings were collected, but not arranged in scrapbooks. Walston's roles vary from star performances to cameo appearances as his career moved from the early days with Margo Jones in Houston to the Cleveland Play House to Broadway, London, and beyond, ending with his role in Picket Fences. His two most popular musicals, South Pacific and Damn Yankees are particularly well represented. Clippings of a general nature, not associated with a particular production, are foldered by decade at the end of the chronological series.

Career-related material in Series II include clippings, photographs, and programs regarding Walston's awards: the 1949 Clarence Derwent Award for the best non-featured performance in Summer and Smoke, the 1956 Tony Award for his role in Damn Yankees, the 1989 Saturn Life Career Award, and 1994 Emmy nomination for Picket Fences. Civic awards and certificates are also included. A small amount of biographical material exists, as well as a few travel receipts, holograph notes, menus, real estate multiple listings, and an issue of Linotype's Shining Lines, reminiscent of Walston's early career as a linotypist and reporter. The correspondence includes fan mail, personal notes, postcards, and telegrams of a general nature from 1943-1988. Correspondents include director Josh Logan. Of special interest is a telegram from Princess Margaret at the time of her father's death in February 1952. The King accompanied the royal family to a performance of South Pacific at Drury Lane the week before his death.

Clippings regarding Walton's wife Ruth and daughter Katharine Ann ("Kate"), along with a small amount of Kate's school-related material, are found in this series. Informal and publicity photographs are also present, in addition to the stills and production photographs included in Series I. Walston collected a sizeable number of programs and playbills from London performances during his 1951-52 South Pacific engagement, as well as smaller amount of domestic programs and tributes to personalities such as Helen Hayes and Joshua Logan. Scores not included in Series I are present here, especially songs from Mary Poppins which Walston recorded in 1964.

The collection is in good condition except for tape damage and some brittle scrapbook material. Two items received with the papers have been transferred to HRHRC's personal effects collection: Walston's brass name plate from his dressing room door at London's Theatre Royal, Drury Lane and the 1992-93 Viewers For Quality Television award for "Best Specialty Player, Quality TV Series" ( Picket Fences). VHS videos of numerous Picket Fences episodes, My Favorite Martian episodes, a 1994 TNT "Happy Birthday Ray Walston" tribute, plus Damn Yankees, The Sting, and Stephen King's The Stand were transferred to HRHRC's Film Collection. Issues of magazines such as Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, and TV Guide have been transferred to the HRHRC book collection, along with copies of My Favorite Martian comic books. Caricatures drawn for Damn Yankees, a watercolor sketch of Walston as "Luther Billis," and a pen and ink drawing of Walston have been transferred to the HRHRC Art Collection.



Open for research

Administrative Information


Gift no. 10741

Processed by

Liz Murray, 1997

Ray Walston Papers--Folder List

Series I. Productions

box folder
1 1 "Agatha Sue, I Love You," play, 1966
2 "Anything Goes," musical, 1983
3* The Apartment, film, 1960
[*poster removed to oversize flat file]
4 Canterbury Tales, musical, 1969-70
5 Script
6 "Catch Me If You Can," play, 1974
7 "Come Blow Your Horn," play, 1977
8 Convicts 4 also titled Reprieve, film, 1962-63
Damn Yankees, musical
9 Schubert Theatre, April 1955
10-11 46th Street Theatre, May 1955-57
box folder
2 1 Road shows with Devra Korwin, 1957
2 Film, 1958
3 Various performances, 1964-82
4 "The Drunkard," play, 1975
5 Fast Times at Ridgemont High, film, 1982
6 From the Hip, film, 1987
7 "The Front Page," play, 1973
8 Hello, Dolly!, musical, 1971
9 House of Flowers, 1954-55
10-11* Kiss Me, Stupid, film, 1965
[*posters removed to oversize, Box 11]
box folder
3 1 Kiss Me, Stupid, cont'd
2 Kiss Them for Me, film, 1957
3 The Last Meeting of the Knights of the White Magnolia, play, 1976
4 The Learned Ladies, play, 1977
5-6* Me and Juliet, musical, 1953
[*poster removed to oversize flat file and scrapbook removed to oversize, Box 11]
7 "The Mind with the Dirty Man," play, 1976
8-9* My Favorite Martian, television, 1963-66
[*publicity removed to oversize, Box 11; oversize photographs removed to Box 12]
box folder
4 1-4 My Favorite Martian, cont'd
5 "My Three Angels," play, 1978
6 "The Odd Couple," play, 1967-68
7 Of Mice and Men, film, 1992
8 Oliver!, musical, 1969
9* Paint Your Wagon, film, 1969
[*production stills removed to oversize, Box 11]
Picket Fences, television series
10 Clippings, 1992-95
Scripts for specific episodes
11 "Away in the Manger,"Oct. 1994
box folder
5 1 "Changing of the Guards,"Feb. 1995
2 "Elective Conduct,"Aug. 1994
3 "Episode #14,"Dec. 1994
4 "Final Judgement,"March 1995
5 "For Whom the Wind Blows,"Oct. 1994
6 "Frosted Flakes,"March 1994
7 "Heroes and Villains,"Jan. 1995
8 "Howard's End,"March 1994
9 "Mr. Seed Goes to Town,"Dec. 1994
10 "Saint Zack,"March 1995
11 "System Down,"Feb. 1994
box folder
6 1 "Upbringings,"March-April 1995
2 "When in Rome,"Jan. 1995
3 Popeye, film, 1980
4 Private School, film, 1983
Reprieve see Convicts 4
5 "The Rivals, "play, 1972
6 "Say One for Me, "film, 1959
7 Showboat, musical, 1973
South Pacific, musical
8* Chicago and London, 1949-52
[*poster signed by the London cast removed to oversize flat file and photographs removed to oversize, Box 11]
9* Film version, 1958
[*posters removed to oversize flat file]
10 Production stills
11 Conductor's score
12 St. Louis (1969) and San Diego (1983)
13 Script, RW's director's copy for St. Louis Municipal Opera production
box folder
7 1 The Sting, film, 1973
2 "The Student Prince," play, 1973
3 Tall Story, film, 1960
4 "Teahouse of the August Moon," play, 1966
5* Television, various appearances, 1953-85
[*photographs removed to oversize, Box 11]
6 "The Temptation of Maggy Haggerty," play, 1952
7-8 "Who Was that Lady I Saw You With," play, 1958
9 Who's Minding the Store, film, 1963
10 "Wish You Were Here," play, 1952
11 Wives and Lovers, film, 1963
12 "You Know I Can't Hear You when the Water's Running," play, 1969-79
* Scrapbooks
Scrapbook, 1938-1943
[*removed to oversize, Box 13]
box folder
8 1* Cleveland Play House and Chautauqua Repertory Theater, 1943-1945
[*photograph removed to oversize, Box 11]
Scrapbook, New York theaters, 1945-May 1949
[*removed to oversize, Box 14]
Scrapbook, New York cont'd, and National Company tour of South Pacific, June 1949-Sept. 1950
[*removed to oversize, Box 15]
Scrapbook, National Company tour, Oct. 1950-Aug. 1951
[*removed to oversize, box 16]
2-5 Nov. 1951-Feb. 1952, London production of South Pacific with Mary Martin
Loose clippings
box folder
9 1 1950s
2-3 1960s
4 1970s
5 1980s-1990

Series II. Career-related Material

box folder
9 6* Awards and certificates
[*Seattle Zoological Society certificate; photographs related to 1956 Tony Award removed to oversize, Box 11]
7* Biographical and miscellaneous personal material
Caricatures, various artists
[*removed to oversize flat file]
box folder
10 1 Correspondence, 1943-1988
2 Family publicity and ephemera
3* Photographs, informal and publicity
[*oversize photographs removed to Boxes 11 and 12, including RW to Angus McBean]
4-5 Playbills and programs of London performances during Walston's 1951-52 South Pacific engagement
6 Playbills and programs, various titles
7 Scores and holograph sheet music
11-17 Oversize material