By Alfred Thomas Catalfo
Michael Walsh and I found ourselves sitting at the back of a packed screening room, both filled with trepidation.
We were about to watch THE NORMAN ROCKWELL CODE, a 35-minute spoof of THE DA VINCI CODE I wrote and directed with Michael in the lead role of symbologist Langford Fife – the son of Don Knotts’ high-strung Deputy Sheriff Barney Fife from the old Andy Griffith Show. The reason for our apprehension was that we were about to watch our film with the staff of the real Norman Rockwell Museum (NRM) in Stockbridge, MA.
What would they think as they saw Michael Walsh lick and burn (with a crème brulee torch, no less) Norman Rockwell paintings in “their” museum? The NRM staff took one look at Michael’s astounding, spot-on performance as Langford Fife and roared with laughter from beginning to end. His performance in the shoestring-budget film launched a juggernaut that had more than one million online views in 90 days and made The Must List (“Ten Things We Love This Week”) in Entertainment Weekly.
From its inception, I could never imagine anyone other than Michael Walsh in the lead role. His talent has amazed me since I saw him perform eleven different roles – both male and female – onstage in A Tuna Christmas, and my high opinion only increased when I had the pleasure of directing him in various dramatic roles on film.
His acting is wonderfully nuanced, blending emotional depth and range with pathos and, when called for, perfect comedic timing. He makes everyone around him better through his talent, work ethic and his warm and gracious support of everyone on set. Michael continues to be seen in studio and independent feature films, TV shows and national commercials. A graduate of the University of New Hampshire with a B.A. in drama, Michael is a member of SAG, a U.S. Army Veteran, an accomplished singer and guitarist, and a licensed massage therapist.
As Langford Fife might say, “His whole body’s a weapon!”
Alfred Thomas Catalfo is a member of SAG, an award-winning screenwriter and director, and a trial attorney who has acted in numerous films. His website is www.catalfo.com. Michael Walsh can be reached at [email protected].