We Porros tend to be sensitive about house fires. For us, the most significant event in July 1969 was not the one-small-step-for-man moon landing, but a five-alarmer that destroyed the second story of our house.
Thankfully, no one was hurt. However, we lost many irreplaceable items including collections of near-priceless vintage baseball cards and comic books, our stockpile of Wiffle balls (in two sizes, no less), and Aurora Plastics classic models of Frankenstein’s monster, the Mummy, the Phantom of the Opera, Dr. Jekyll as Mr. Hyde, Dracula, and my favorite, John F. Kennedy from the Great American Presidents series. JFK sat in his rocking chair in the Oval Office. He wore my preferred color of socks: white. I took a lot of ribbing from my big brothers for my lack of presidential fashion sense. But if anyone other than me could rock white socks, it was JFK.
The fire also destroyed my acting debut in Michael J. Porro’s Super 8 epic film, Adam in the Garden of Eden. At eight years old I starred as Adam. I’d entered the set—our vestibule packed with every Eden-like plant in the house—buck naked except for a well-placed but not well-secured fig leaf. On the first take, my nerves got the best of me. The leaf tumbled and took with it my Hollywood dreams. Instead of going on with the show, I’d quit the business in shame. But we all know how Hollywood loves a comeback. Twenty-one years later, I made my triumphant return. As a proud new member of the Screen Actors Guild, I landed my first role on television as Assistant District Attorney Simmons on the Emmy-Award-winning series, Hill Street Blues. And many more acting jobs followed.