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Pancho Rodriguez and Tennessee Williams poetry. However, the piece de resistance is a scene from Streetcar \(nearly two years before its Broadway openWilliams’ Blanche. My mantra suddenly took new life. Both Windham and Williams’ biographer Lyle Leverich claimed that Streetcar’s most famous line, “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers,” originated with Pancho. According to Johnny, the Mexican street vendor in Streetcar who hawks “ji ores para los muertos” was based on their mother. Others, including Gore Vidal, recall that Williams would use Rodriguez to create situations that he would later incorporate into his plays and short stories. Johnny’s estate contained a treasure trove of materials: photographs of Williams and Pancho as young men and as middle-aged gentlemen; letters from Pancho to Johnny, written during trips with Williams to Hollywood and New York; and correspondence from Streetcar producer Irene Mayer Selznick, literary agent Audrey Wood, and from Williams himself. The diaries of their trip to Rancho Pancho and of their final visit shortly before Williams’ death proved invaluable. Recently, I found two other Rodriguez sisters willing to speak about their brother, who had remained a muse for Williams until the very end. During one of their last visits, Williams informed Pancho that he had selected Anthony Quinn and Katy Jurado to star in The Red Devil Battery Sign, set on the Texas border in Eagle Pass. Apparently, the news had moved Pancho to tears. Decades earlier, he had argued that the lead character of Stanley in Streetcar should have been Mexican American and not Polish, since there were more Latinos than Poles in New Orleans. Moreover, he pointed to the wrought-iron balconies and grand courtyards as a legacy of 40 years of Spanish rule. \(Scholars say Williams photo from the estate of Johnny Rodriguez named the character after a friend in the part should go to a Latino because Marlon Brando was unknown. The particular Latino he had in mind: Mexican American actor Anthony Quinn \(who, indeed, was cast as Stanley Kowalski on Broadway when Brando left to do the In one of his letters from Hollywood, Pancho had urged Johnny not to abandon New Orleans. “Don’t come to California,” he warned. ” [H] ere in Los Angeles, we are considered peons like we were in Texas. In New Orleans, we live in an international city, and we are treated with respect and good jobs. Both Tenn and I can’t wait to get back to work, to be back home.” Gregg Barrios is a playwright and journalist who lives in San Antonio. His play Rancho Pancho will premiere later this year. He is also completing a biography of the life and times of Pancho Rodriguez. JANUARY 13, 2006 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 39