A couple weeks ago an email popped up in my inbox from a Vernon Gravely. He had cited BerksNostalgia.com as a source in a book he had recently published that was a biography of a Reading-born man named Robert “Bobby” Morawczynski, later known under stage name “Robert Morris”. Robert lived a short but interesting life and Vernon was nice enough to provide me with a copy of his work, so I dove right in and told him I would publish a review when I finished it.
Vernon did a fantastic job of compiling information and interviews from countless people from Robert’s life. Starting from his birth in 1935, Promise Unfulfilled covers Robert’s upbringing as the youngest of four in a Polish-American Catholic family from the 800 block of Bingaman Street in south Reading. Robert attended Reading High School and was a successful left halfback for the Red Knights, though overshadowed by classmate and future hall-of-famer Lenny Moore at right halfback.
After graduating from Reading High in 1952, Robert eventually got involved with the Green Hills Theatre, which was once a popular venue off Route 10 in Robeson Township. Famous actors and actresses would come for the summer season to put on various shows on a weekly basis while their Broadway careers were on break. It was there Robert landed his first roles; a segue into a semi-successful career as an actor that would take him to New York City, Connecticut, and finally briefly to California where he met his untimely demise. Vernon takes us on a journey through Robert’s body building career, his experiences in the risque thespian scene of the 1950s, and much, much more. South Reading kid, Football star, body building champion, thespian, family man; these were all hats that Robert Morris wore over the course of his short 2.5 decades on this earth. We can only imagine what he would have done had he been given more time. Berks Nostalgia highly recommends this read.