Don't You Know Who I Am?Written by Stephen Schochet
One dilemma that super famous face is balancing needs of privacy and recognition. One time in New York an unnoticed Marilyn Monroe was walking down Madison Avenue accompanied by Eli Wallach. " My God, don't these people know who you are?" Wallach asked her. Marilyn, whose application of make-up took nearly as long Boris Karloff''s Frankenstein Monster, grinned at him. "I'm only recognized when I want to be. Watch this." She began to swing her hips and walk in a way that was familiar to movie goers and was eventually mobbed by adoring fans.
For some stars privacy is an overrated commodity. In 1919, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford went on their European honeymoon. The two international icons had divorced their previous spouses and were concerned about how they would be greeted. They needn't have worried. In London their limousine was surrounded by admiring women who pulled Mary out of car to shake her hand, still grateful after two year for her efforts selling war bonds. In Paris they couldn't get any sleep with crowds gathering below their hotel room to serenade them. In Amsterdam they attended a party and were mobbed by other guests who wanted to get close to them. The acrobatic Fairbanks placed his wife on her shoulder and escaped through window. Finally, they found privacy in Hamburg, because of World War I their movies were not shown there. For an hour famous newlyweds walked streets unnoticed until bored Mary turned to her husband and said,"Doug I'm sick of this. Let's go back to one of those countries were they mob us."
Joan Crawford had similar sentiments. Once in 1930s she was staying in New York getting over her breakup with Clark Gable. Tired of moping around her hotel she told her entourage they should go out and get some fresh air. The sycophants who had trouble keeping up with star's brisk pace, were startled when she took a detour. "Oh my God. She's going into Grand Central Station!" Someone shouted," Look it's Joan Crawford!" and she was mobbed, it took thirty minutes to escape crowd and get back to their hotel suite. Her hair disheveled, her dress torn and her face scratched, Crawford leaned against door out of breath. "Oh. . .oh my. That was wonderful. Lets do it again!"
Strange Encounters With Hollywood LegendsWritten by Stephen Schochet
Meeting famous people is often a surreal experience for both parties. In 1956 when Elvis Presley arrived in Hollywood he and his entourage stayed at Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. One day he got into elevator. "What floor?" asked operator. "Tenth please." The operator looked at him with disdain. "You can't go up to tenth floor. Elvis is staying there. No one is allowed there." A bemused Presley said," I know. I'm Elvis." The hotel employee stared at him for a long moment then said," Well I don't care who you are, you can't go to tenth floor." The amiable singer agreed to go to eleventh floor and walked down stairs to tenth.
Some entertainment organizations are so vast that employees don't always recognize people at top. Walt Disney who often was harsh with those who worked for him, had no patience for anyone at Disneyland who was rude to customers or as he put it, guests. One time when an unfriendly security guard prevented he and his wife Lillian from getting on a ride, Walt fired him reasoning man would be unpleasant with others. But if someone was doing their job they had nothing to fear from boss. Once, when Walt was on hand for a demonstration of a new ride a young girl working there chided him for lighting up a cigarette, it wasn't allowed. Disney, who eventually died of lung cancer, asked, "Whose idea was that?" "Walt Disney's." Walt stubbed out cigarette. "That's good enough for me."
Sometimes famous have a difficult time not being center of attention. Once at a party at Louis B. Mayer's house, mogul was expressing his admiration for a female," The red hair, legs, I have never seen such beauty. She walks so regally like a queen". Greer Garson new queen of MGM lot was standing nearby. She walked up to Mayer's circle and said," Why thank you Mr. Mayer." It turned out LB was talking about his new horse.
It's hard sometimes for stars to remember that not everyone cares about who they are or what they are doing. One time Laurel and Hardy were filming a strange scene in Venice Beach that required boys to run down a narrow alleyway with their wives chasing them. The women would shoot at them causing innocent men to run out of their nearby apartment buildings in their undergarments and run away, with Stan and Ollie doing double takes. Before shooting scene Laurel gathered extras around," Listen fellas, it's costing us a fortune to rent out these apartments so I want to get it right first time. Now when you hear shots and run out into alley, don't linger. We only want you in scene for about ten seconds." After director shouted "ACTION!" boys ran down alley, their wives fired their guns, men in their undergarments ran out and disappeared quickly following Stan's instructions to letter. All except one guy who was about thirty seconds late, ran wrong way, and bumped into Laurel, ruining his close-up."You bloody fool. You ruined shot!" shouted Laurel. "I'm not in movie," replied runner."