"I'm like a sponge, I pick up the accent of wherever I live," he said.
Good trait to have as an actor.
Scales was born in London during the World War II "Blitz." In his mid-20s he traveled around Europe and met a woman in Greece who was from Oregon. They married and relocated in 1970 to the States, back to Oregon, where she and Scales got into theater.
"She dragged me to an acting class, and I fell in love with it right away. I decided I knew what I wanted to do."
He took every class and workshop he could find and soon became part of the Portland theater scene. His specialty was Shakespeare, which he performed in city parks.
He soon branched out, however.
"I started as an actor because I loved it, but I also love literature and ran really good plays. I started directing to get to make some decisions."
Scales acted in more than 200 plays and directed more than 100. From 1993 to 2009 he served as artistic director of the Classic Greek Theatre of Oregon and developed English versions of 16 ancient Greek plays. These were produced on the campus of Reed College in Portland, at a 600-seat outdoor theater.
Scales had been lecturing on the Chautauqua circuit in little towns in Oregon and Washington. He had published a novella, The Cloverleaf Development, and was writing short stories about an imaginary small town called Overlook. He won a competition for that, and it was published in England.
Scales received several awards and fellowships, including being a finalist for the Oregon Literary Arts Award for Drama. Several fellowships allowed him to study theatre in Kyoto, Japan, Ireland, England and France. He was named by the state newspaper, the Oregonian, "the theatre artist who made the most significant contribution to theatre in Oregon in the decade."
But being a creative director began to have its downside.
"An artistic director is a bureaucrat," Scales said. "I wrote grants, did fund-raising, and found I was spending more time behind a desk."
Eventually he felt like he was spinning his wheels in Portland. That, along with the gloomy, rainy weather of Portland -- 350 days of clouds and 60 days of sunshine. He and his love of 20 years, Rebecca Becker, decided to look for someplace with the opposite weather and to "try something new." Eureka Springs was on the short list.
In 2009 he and Becker moved to Eureka Springs. They had bought the Amussen house on Prospect Street "sight unseen" over the internet and continued the restoration work on it begun by the Amussen family. A year later they opened The Prospect Gallery in their home, but not before having to jump through numerous hoops with the city.
"City Council meetings: a cross between the Mad Hatter's tea party and the Spanish Inquisition!" Scales joked.
Nevertheless, after Scales first set foot in the town, within 48 hours he was serving on two boards: Main Stage Creative Community Center and the Outdoor Shakespeare Festival.
Both are currently in limbo, with the Main Stage restoration held up because of unreleased grant funds by the federal government and Shakespeare because it has been difficult to get funding and to find actors who can commit to a necessary rigorous rehearsal schedule "when everyone is working four jobs."
Scales became one of the Ghost Tour guides across the street at the Crescent Hotel.
"We were given a script, including (cancer clinic owner) Norman Baker, the urban legend," Scales said. "People started asking me questions, like why no relatives came in search of all these people who had died, and did he really carry bodies through a tunnel? We realized we didn't really know anything about him."
Scales began researching Baker and asked hotel manager Jack Moyer if he could develop a theatre piece based on the man.
"I only wanted to do it if it was based on respectable research," Scales said. "I didn't want to sensationalize him."
Scales found four books about Baker, one of which was commissioned by Baker "and probably 90 percent dictated by him." Scales also did extensive research and traveled to Muscatine, Iowa, where Baker was born and had run his hospital until he was run out of town. Baker also ran a radio station, advertising his hospital and ranting against the American Medical Association until he was shut down and forced to move his station across the border to Mexico.
Scales copied hundreds of pages of information about Baker at the Muscatine library, where the staff was extremely helpful to him, he said.
"You can hear his voice throughout," Scales said of the ghost-written biography, "but the one thing I've never been able to find is an actual voice recording. You'd think with all those radio broadcasts, there would be something. I'm hoping someone in Eureka Springs will come forward with more information or resources handed down in their family."
Scales' performance of "The Morgue of the Mastermind: Norman Baker Speaks" portrays a careful balance between Baker the sophist and Baker the showman, executed with such skill that the theatre-goer is never quite sure whether Baker was a true crusader or a con artist.
Scales' Baker show is performed Sunday and Monday at 7 p.m.
He has launched a new play, which he directs, "Not Really A Door," also performed at the Crescent on Friday and Saturday at 10:30 p.m., starring Becker and Laurel Owen-Scutari.
Billing it as "back from the dead -- with baggage," Scales calls the play "a one hour, jam-packed, keep 'em guessing, supernatural comedy murder mystery." It begins with two women, "each claiming that she is in her own house and the other is a ghost. Then things get complicated...."
Another enterprise of Scales' is the continuation of a series of conferences begun last year with the "ESP Weekend" at the Crescent. That was all about ghosts, but the next conference: "Parallel Universes: Where Science Meets the Supernatural" is all about science, Scales said.
It will be held Aug. 24-26 and will feature speakers, discussions and hands-on experiments in near-death and out-of-body experiences, telepathy, clairvoyance and premonition, etc.
Another event, "Eureka Springs Paranormal," will be held Jan. 4-6, 2013, giving paranormal investigators "24-7 access to active areas."
Scales says he loves it here and doesn't regret moving to Eureka Springs "one bit."
"It's very inspiring. There are a powerful cast of characters here."
He said he is very grateful to the Crescent Hotel, Jack Moyer and Elise Roenigk for allowing him to develop a theatre program.
He enjoys the many activities in Eureka Springs and wants to continue supporting cultural events.