By Robert McGuiness, Coma News
One Coma resident is dead and two injured after a 1967 Cadillac de Ville crashed into the Coma Community Players Gang-Up Improv and Comedy Sportz Arena in the 600 block of South Pine Blvd.
The sole fatality is 88-year-old Coma native and World War II vet George Karl Sieghard. Best known for his portrayal of the beloved character Uncle Peppers on the children’s show Uncle Peppers’ Secret Cellar, which ran on local television station WKMMA Channel 12 from 1975 to 1983. He was crushed to death by the steering column of the lime-green, late-1960s model Cadillac sedan.
“We were rehearsing Death of a Salesman,” reports 30-year-old single mother and actress Christine Buttram. “I think that would probably be in bad taste now. He wasn’t a salesman, but still.”
The driver, 36-year-old Hollywood, California, screenwriter Sharne Wilhelm Darvis reportedly lost control of the vehicle while attempting to steer with his knees so he could mix Drambuie into his chocolate milkshake.
In a twist of fate that could have come from the pages of a Hollywood blockbuster, Third Circuit Court judge Armin Rieden-Schultz has sentenced Darvis to six weeks community service as the creative director of the Coma Community Players Gang-Up Improv and Comedy Sportz Arena, which has been renamed the George K. Sieghard Memorial Community Theatre and Yoga Studio.
The theatre’s previous creative director, 39-year-old art school graduate Michael Mason McMiller, suffered a broken pelvis when Darvish’ Cadillac careened into the theatre. McMiller’s Yorkshire Terrier Andre also suffered an allergic reaction to the vanilla-scented air freshener in Darvis’ automobile.
“As a big city screenwriter from Hollywood, I certainly reached my lowest point when I crashed the cherry-condition classic car that I restored with my dad into the community theatre,” Darvis told the judge. “I guess you could say that was the inciting incident for my current arc towards redemption.”
At Darvis’ sentencing, Judge Rieden-Schultz stated, “I think you’ll learn a thing or two about the meaning of life and love here in our small town. And you just might have the opportunity to resolve some of those lingering issues about your father.” Rieden-Schultz added, “You killed Uncle Peppers, you son of a bitch.”
The unlikely verdict will find Darvis taking over the rag-tag community theatre just in time for their Winter stage event.
“I don’t expect much out of this rag-tag bunch, but I can direct anything,” Darvis told reporters outside the courthouse. “Anything but a musical.”
The Coma Community Players, under the creative direction of Sharne Darvis wish to invite the residents of Coma to the Coma-premiere of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s timeless musical Cats. Previews 03/22 and 03/23 at 8 PM. Opening night Friday 03/24. Playing Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 8 PM at the George K. Sieghard Memorial Theatre and Yoga Studio. 632 S Pine Blvd. Street parking available after 7 PM