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Will Paige 1938
Will in 1938
Will Paige 2007
Will in 2007
Will Paige
Portrayed by Jonathan Scarfe (1938)
Peter Haskell (2007)
Episode World's End
Status Alive

Will Paige was a regular patron at the Palomar Ballroom in 1938. An attraction would form between him and a taxi dancer named Audrey Metz, though any chance of relationship ended when she disappeared on October 30: the night of Orson Welles' infamous War of the Worlds radio broadcast.

History[]

Will was a successful inventor, already retired by 1938, and was spared many of the the struggles others faced during the Great Depression. An alcoholic, Will had three charges for drunk and disorderly conduct at the time and even sent a man to the hospital after beating him a drunken brawl, before finally giving up drinking. Despite staying sober, he didn't shake his reputation for being dangerous, with some people like Penny Centavo believing he killed the man he'd brawled with.

Will's wife was institutionalized for three years, suffering from bipolar disorder, a disease not well understood, stigmatized at the time, and described as "mood swings". Doctors attempted to treat her condition with a lobotomy, which only destroyed her mind. Devastated, Will would later say he sat in the dark for three years until a chance encounter at the Palomar Ballroom changed things: He noticed another taxi dancer named Audrey Metz being harassed by an unruly sailor. Will stood up for her, telling the man to back off. The sailor was ready to start a fight until one of his shipmates told him of Will's reputation, which caused the sailor to leave.

Each night after that, Will would buy up all of Audrey's dance tickets so she wouldn't have to dance. Instead, they sat and talked. Will learned that Audrey had a husband, Felton, and a son, Robert aka "Dobber". The Depression and Felton being out of work for three years had put great strain on his and Audrey's marriage, along with his stubborn pride. Will, in turn, told Audrey a select few details about his wife's illness before Felton walked in and took her out of the dance hall, not seeing Will.

While Audrey eventually calmed Felton down at home, her friend and fellow dancer Penny, who was being abused by her fiancé Crick, grew envious of what Audrey and Will had, so she told Audrey a secret she'd learned: Will's wife was in fact alive albeit hospitalized, though it's unclear how much Penny knew. When Will saw Audrey again, he offered her a dance ticket that said "ALWAYS" and told her he wanted to start a new life with her. Audrey, however, was angry that Will had apparently deceived her so she tore up the ticket and walked off. Will could do nothing but bitterly buy a drink - something he swore he'd never do again.

A twist of fate would later occur on October 30. Orson Welles made his famous radio broadcast of the story "War of the Worlds", leading many to believe a real Martian invasion was coming. Thinking the end of the world was near, Audrey impulsively left her home and rushed to the dance hall where Will was sitting alone. The two reconciled and finally had a dance, sharing a kiss before Audrey had to hurry home.

Unfortunately, Will would never see Audrey again. Not having a radio in his car, he didn't even learn the "invasion" was a hoax until the following morning. Audrey's whereabouts would remain a mystery for decades afterwards.

In 2007, Will was questioned by Detectives Lilly Rush and Nick Vera after Audrey's remains were found at the bottom of a well. The detectives had previously questioned Penny and learned of his reputation and the incident with the sailor. Will in turn told them of his conversations with Audrey and how Felton had found her there.

After learning from Penny about his and Audrey's falling out, Vera, but this time with Detective Scotty Valens, again questioned Will. Half of the ticket Will had offered Audrey was found on her remains and the detectives suggested he had "killed her to keep her." Will denied this and revealed how Audrey had found him again that night at the dance hall. He described it as the end of the world, because "it was as if nothing else existed but her." Will's recounting of the night unwittingly gave the detectives a clue that Felton was Audrey's killer and even inspired Vera to make an effort to rekindle his relationship with Toni Halstead.

After the case was closed, Will visited the old dance hall once more with Rush, where he reminisced about the woman he'd loved. He met Audrey's ghost and they pieced together the ripped ticket before sharing a final dance.

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