History of the Caitlin Clarke Page


I fell for Caitlin Clarke in 1982 when I was a student at Ball State. As a student stacker at its Bracken Library, I knew where I could go to find material on Caitlin Clarke. I have compiled copies of reviews of the plays, in which she had roles.

I turned to other sources when the Bracken Library started running dry in the mid-1980's. I visited the public library in Indianapolis, which had a full set of the series Guernsey's Best Plays (now simply Best Plays). I visited Purdue during my job-hunting trips; here I found the Ed Blank article and when into shock with the discovery of Ms. Clarke's marriage. :-o

After buying my first computer in 1989, one of the first things I did with it was to type up a summary of Ms. Clarke's career, which included a bibliography of all those review copies. I kept this current from time to time.


Then came 1995, when I gained my own phone line, a modem, a Web browser (Mosaic), and the know-how to write Web pages. I wrote the original Caitlin Clarke Page in 1996 for my own use. I did not at first publish it on the Web because I didn't have the nerve.

Then in 1998 I discovered About Caitlin Clarke…, a site by Jer Silva. And I thought, If he can do it, then I can, too!, and the Caitlin Clarke Page was published as part of my own site.

For two years my page and Silva's were the only two Caitlin Clarke sites on the Web. Each complimented the other. Jer Silva is a fine graphic artist, and his site — complete with an image gallery — was a lot better-looking than mine. I, on the other hand, preferred concentrating on displaying her credits. Apart from updates and a link to the home page for the play Titanic: The New Musical (where Ms. Clarke played Charlotte Cardoza), the Caitlin Clarke Page had changed little since I first compiled it.

(I should add at this point that Ms. Clarke was informed about the two Web sites (or at least mine) during her performances in Titanic.)

Then, sometime in the summer of 2000, Jer Silva's site vanished from the Web. I lost his e-mail address during my own struggles with my computer (the new motherboard I installed turned out to be a total loss), so I could not reach him. After waiting two months, I concluded that About Caitlin Clarke… would probably not return, so I added my own image gallery to make up for the loss. I also redesigned the credits pages. And I changed the color scheme, from black text with a marbled background to hues of red on white, based on one of Ms. Clarke's favorite colors.

Hit with a scripting fad at that time, I converted the pages of the Caitlin Clarke Page from the web page language HTML to the script language PHP. This sated my programming urges, but after awhile I found the site was no easier to maintain, and was slower during busy times. So I changed the site back to HTML on XMas 2000, and added a site map page to make navigation easier.


During 2001 the Caitlin Clarke Page grew in size (lots of images) and visibility (a presence on AltaVista, Lycos and the newly emergent Google). Since then the site has been getting a lot of visits, especially after showings of Dragonslayer on various cable channels.

I decided on a major upgrade in 2002 in light of the large size of the Caitlin Clarke Page. The changes are mostly unseen (from HTML to XHTML). In 2003 came more changes:

During late 2003 and early 2004 the site had attracted a steady stream of e-mail (one or so a month) from visitors. Most of the messages were from fans of Dragonslayer, with a few from Ms. Clarke's friends and colleagues. Ms. Clarke did a cabaret in Sewickley, her home town, and I added the preview article from the local paper when it disappeared from the web.

Then, on 9 September 2004, Caitlin Clarke died at home of ovarian cancer.

A flood of e-mail messages came, expressing both sadness for our loss and about what a charming and energetic woman Katie was. I set up a splash screen in her memory and added links to the obituaries that appeared in the next week. My work somehow screwed up the feedback form, but fans and friends managed to get their messages through nonetheless.

In October I decided to put the credits, the gallery and the articles into their own folders; to break up the component themes of the How & Why page into separate pages; and put those pages into their own folder, with its own contents page.

The Dragonslayer images came off of a VHS tape captured with a program/dongle combo called Snappy; if you remember when Snappy was popular in the late 1990's, you'd also remember Kiki, its vivacious red-haired spokesperson. Anyway, the images were a little crufty, as I was reminded at least once. So I created a new set of Dragonslayer images off my DVD.

I also removed the cc_ prefixes from all page, style and image files. This makes the site more independent of the Dysmey Post site as a whole. It also saves visitors from typing the name of the home page. Now the site address is just http://www.dysmey.org/cc/.

The year 2007 saw a flood of new material, including images from Ms. Clarke's college years; a group picture from her work on the test print of the film Impromptu; and new images from the newly-released Mayflower Madam, Moonlighting and Northern Explosure DVDs. Also, I did extensive cleanup of the underlying tags to make site more standards-compliant: Actually, it was so that Firefox users can better navigate some of the pages using the Document Map add-on. Before the end of the year I added a mini-Google engine to the site.

In March 2008 I moved the Caitlin Clarke Page, along with the rest of my Web site, to andywest.org. In November I had redone the Dragonslayer images.


In early 2011 fear of losing my Web site due to copyright infringement compelled me to redesign the Caitlin Clarke Page to remove almost all of its images, and all newspaper articles, and all other material that can be considered copyrighted. The pages have been rewritten to conform to the structure tags of HTML5.

I have found a 2012 article about Lewis Black that included the story of Black's relationship with Ms. Clarke, and the play that came of their breakup. The quote should fall under fair use.

Copyright © 2008 by Andy West. Last updated 18 April 2013.