resale value on eBay)? Does it prove some kind of relationship with stardom? When I was a kid, my mom got me an autograph book, and trotted me to various events, without my necessarily knowing who the person was. I guess it was easier to have a kid ask than to be a middle-aged woman asking. (Later in life, she would go to Knicks training camp, etc., despite not having any kids in tow).
As you can see above, I was not always gung-ho. Richard Benjamin was in my hometown
with Cloris Leachman shooting The Steagle, a movie noone remembers. (According to IMDB, the director, Paul Sylbert, lost final cut and wrote a whole book about the experience). He was already a big deal from Goodbye, Columbus (which had also shot a few scenes in my hometown) -- not a movie I would have seen at age nine.
But eventually I became a nutty fan myself. I kept scrapbooks about sports teams and the TV season.
When I went slightly bonkers for Monty Python, I waited on line in Manhattan for their movie premieres. At the premiere of Jabberwocky, Michael Palin signed a potato (you have to see the movie to understand why). Of course it eventually grew roots and turned moldy, so I had to throw it out. Annoyed, I wrote him a crazy letter as if I were in a loony bin -- and he wrote back.
When my friend Steve Millman's dad opened a restaurant, Pastrami 'n' Things, in 30 Rock the year Saturday Night Live began, we got to work the cash register on Saturdays when Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd ate there (and we got their signatures, though Aykroyd anarchically wrote his in all-caps). We also delivered sandwiches upstairs to the then-unknowns. We were too young to go to actual shows, but we went to many dress rehearsals. I remember being jealous that my peer Jodie Foster got to host.
Emboldened by my Palin experience, I wrote to John Belushi. A lot. Finally, he sent me a photo of himself. It's an Instamatic black-and-white, taken by the side of the road, with his shirt off. He inscribed it, "LEAVE ME ALONE. JOHN BELUSHI."
In the years after college, I was able to channel my fandom into becoming a celebrity journalist. Immediately it became uncool to ask anyone for their autograph. Or even a photo.
[ADDENDUM: I do have this one souvenir from 1989 -- a visit with Winona Ryder on the set of Mojo Nixon's video for "Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant With My Two-Headed Love Child." Thanks, Kevin Mazur.]
Albert Maysles' "Scrapbook" because he was appearing in person and I wanted to pay some kind of tribute to his career. But I don't quite know what to do with the book.
Still, since my daughters grew old enough to stand outside stage doors, I have dutifully chaperoned them, able to converse with the celebrities they were too shy to speak with, and, like my mom, letting my kids be the fans.