Bob Hope Wasn't The Only One Who Used Idiot CardsWritten by Stephen Schochet
When Bob Hope moved into television, he lost opportunity to hold his script in his hand , something he had gotten used to working in radio. The presentation would look too stiff to his audience. He tried to memorize his monologues, but that proved to be too cumbersome of a task and it took away from his golf game. The solution was cue cards, or idiot cards as they are known in industry. This worked well for performer, but was hazardous for others. On one of Hope's early NBC broadcasts a well meaning assistant director held up cards so his star could read them, then tossed them back over his shoulder almost decapitating several members of studio audience.
Idiot cards are a way for performers to lose respect of their co-stars. James Caan, Robert Duvall and rest of cast of 1972 classic, The Godfather , were thrilled to meet star of movie Marlon Brando. Actor Lenny Montana, who played thuggish character Luca Brasi was so in awe of Brando he kept fumbling his lines when they both shared same scenes. Director Francis Ford Coppola made it work by having character of Luca nervously rehearse what he was going to say prior to meeting Don, making situation appear seamless. But if Montana was willing, if unable to learn his lines, Brando was not. In his scenes there were cue cards everywhere, causing Duvall to yell at him," Marlon, why don't you learn your lines you fat #*^%*@!"
Can I Have Your Autograph?Written by Stephen Schochet
Can I Have Your Autograph?
By Stephen Schochet
Being a celebrity means dealing with fan demands for autographs, ranging from polite and appropriate to rude and overbearing. One time Katherine Hepburn was performing on Broadway and tried to exit backstage through a crowd of jostling autograph hounds. Bodyguards helped her to her limo and once safely inside very private star rolled down window and shouted," Run em down! We'll clean up blood later!" The crowd scattered and limousine sped away, pausing long enough for Hepburn to roll down window and wave goodbye to her fans, accompanied by an evil laugh. Strangely enough, when she lived in Beverly Hills seclusion loving Hepburn developed habit of sneaking into her neighbor's houses as a hobby. She became expert at climbing trees, avoiding alarms and dogs, and revealing herself just before her nervous neighbors called police.
Walt Disney had strange experience in 1930s of having his name famous around world when his face was not. Often he would forget his identification and that combined with his casual attire sometimes kept him out of fancy restaurants. Later in 50's he became a recognized figure because of his television hosting duties. The lack of anonymity made it increasingly difficult for him to walk through Disneyland without being badgered for autographs. Disney struggled not to be brusque while explaining he didn't have time, he was trying to make park a better place. In 60's when company was trying to purchase Florida marshland for a second amusement park, he was warned by his advisors to stay away from state, real estate prices would go up once identity of buyer was known. But Disney couldn't resist. Eating in a Orlando diner Walt was approached by a curious waitress,"Pardon me. Aren't you Walt Disney?" Walt who was known for being brutally honest, replied," Hell no! And if I see that sob, I'll give him a piece of my mind."
Stars making movies at Universal Studios often try to avoid tour guides leading autograph hounds. One particular fellow became ingenious at tracking down Michael Caine, who toyed with idea of having young man fired, then decided, "What hell, I'll just sign" and was gracious. It turned out to be a good move, tour guide was Mike Ovitz who later became most powerful talent agent in Hollywood.