By Tom Morrow
Some 35 years ago, when I was the public relations director for the Hotel del Coronado, I had an unexpected experience with a major personality – Patti Andrews of the famed World War II-era Andrew Sisters.
Part of my duties at “The Del,” was taking care of PR for the renowned Racquet Club of Palm Strings of which hotel ownership included.
On the 50th anniversary of its founding, I invited as many celebrities I could find that were still or were at one-time members of the club. The party was packed. (Never invite a one-time celebrity to a party that has free food and booze – they’ll show up).
The evening was a virtual “Who Was Who” of Hollywood. It included Joan Caulfield, Joseph Cotten, his wife-actress Patricia Medina, Patrick Macnee (John Steed of the “Avengers” series, and too many more that 35 years have erased from my memory.
Game show host Dennis James and Jeff Edwards were up on stage, pointing out everyone by name. It took them close to an hour to do the job. People were standing shoulder-to-shoulder (no room for tables and chairs. While we thought we had everyone recognized, the club manager came up and told me Patti Andrews is in the back of the room, fuming that she wasn’t recognized.
My trustee assistant, Cecil Scaglione, a master of PR in his own right, and I proceeded to the back room where she was sitting at the only table in the room. While the salutes to everyone was being made, she sat, hidden by everyone, so naturally she wasn’t seen. The dark glasses she was wearing didn’t help – even I had to look twice to see that it was her.
We talked and apologized until we were exhausted. She wouldn’t calm down. Finally, Cecil had an idea. “What if we do a TV interview with you?” KGTV’s John Beatty had been taping interviews of various celebs all evening. I went over to where he was finishing up and asked him if he would do the interview of Andrews.
“Tom, I don’t have any tape left.” I grinned and replied, “She doesn’t know that does she?”
We did the (mock) interview; she was happy and treated everyone to a few songs later in the evening.
I finally figured out how Hollywood flaks are successful – it’s with smoke and mirrors – and empty video cameras.
SCAG’S TAGS – “You know you’re getting old when your list of dead friends is longer than the ones still living.” – Cecil Scaglione
TAKE THAT! —- In 1945, when the Marx Brothers were planning to film “A Night In Casablanca,” Warner Brothers hinted they might sue because the title was too close to their earlier film, “Casablanca.” Groucho Marx replied: “If they do, I’ll sue them (Warner Brothers) for using the word ‘Brothers.'”
HOW MUCH? —- A man was sitting in a cafe next to a woman engrossed in her newspaper, which held a headline blaring: “12 Brazilian Soldiers Killed.” The woman shook her head, then turned to the man and asked, “How many is a Brazilian?”
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