I’ve had many fan clubs during my “Hollywood” years. They were very important to me and a lot of fun. I personally answered each letter….sometimes in the hundreds, each week. Whether it was because of my frequent TV exposure, locally and nationally….or the USO Shows that I had been doing since I was three….or just because of a large group of sailor-fans from various ships….I was never sure….But I was honored for the day on the USS Wasp, an aircraft carrier. The Navy brought it into Long Beach to celebrate “Hollywood” and its contribution to the Armed Services. There was a huge sign with my name, welcoming the Wasp to Hollywood….Bob Hope was the Emcee. We did a show of comedy routines and music. There were hundreds and hundreds of the best Sailors the Navy had to offer….cheering for me (I was a voluptuous 14 year old, cheating as 16) on that magnificent ship!! It totally went to my heart. What a thrill!
But my favorite fan “happening”, at that time, was closer to home. It was a Daily Parade from my school to my home….about 5 blocks. I went to an 8 year parochial school in LA, which was next to the all boys’ Loyola High School. On days that I wasn’t filming, I was met after school by about 25 boys on foot, skates or bikes…and another 10 or 12 in cars from the high school (including Bing Crosby’s boys, David and Lindsay)! The “anointed” ones would carry my books and, with all the rest, escort me home in the most outrageous Daily Parade in the history of my neighborhood…or so they told me. I lived in a big Victorian house with a huge front lawn…and everybody would hang until my dad would come home and good naturedly “chase them all away!” It was a lot of crazy fun and of course…..I was very flattered. Is it any wonder why I am the way I am, today?