(I began collecting autographs in 1964, when I was eight; this was not long after the death of President Kennedy. Over time I wrote to various politicians and government figures, and also certain baseball players, asking for signed photos. Adlai Stevenson sent me one, as did Richard Nixon; Nixon was, at the time, a lawyer. I also received pictures from several U.S. Senators—and from Sandy Koufax, Hank Aaron, Bob Feller, and Roy Campanella. This hobby lasted for several years.)
In 1965, The Mike Douglas Show came to Boston for a week, broadcast live from the city’s War Memorial Auditorium. The co-host for the week was actor Pat O’Brien. My parents were guests on one of the broadcasts.
They appeared on a number of Mike Douglas’s programs during the 1960s, beginning in 1962, when the show was seen only in Cleveland. In 1962, my father, an obstetrician and gynecologist, had co-written (with my aunt, who at the time was a journalist), a book about childbirth, and as a result was scheduled to appear on the program. When Douglas learned my father was to be a guest, he asked that my mother appear on the show as well; my mother and Douglas had both been featured singers on Kay Kyser’s NBC-TV show in 1949 and 1950, and had not seen one another since. After their 1962 Cleveland appearance, my parents then appeared on Douglas’s program periodically over the next several years.
In that the 1965 telecast at the War Memorial Auditorium took place not far from our suburban Boston home, I went to the show, with my brother and my maternal grandparents.
After the program ended, I was given autographs by Mike Douglas, Pat O’Brien, and singer Frankie Laine—though I do not recall meeting any of them. I do remember meeting Jayne Mansfield, another guest on the show that day, though the memory is a vague one. I simply recall standing next to her, and remember that she gave me a black and white photograph of herself.
The autograph she gave me can be seen above.