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“He Didn’t Try To Kiss Me Good Night”—Tab Hunter

The first date I had with Tab Hunter amazed me. He didn’t try to kiss me good-night. Tab is so tall and good-looking in a clean, outdoors, athletic sort of way, with his unruly blond hair, and that flash of interest and love of life in his blue eyes that I fully expected to be swept right off my feet!

I had slight misgivings for having accepted the date—and my mother and father seemed a little anxious as we left to drive off in Tab’s little coupe of ancient vintage. Father didn’t say it, but he was thinking, I could tell by the rise of his brow: “Drive carefully, son. Don’t let anything happen to our daughter.”

Tab seemed aware of Daddy’s thoughts, because he turned back after helping me in the car and said, “Don’t worry, Mr. Nelson, I’ll have Lori home early after the premiere—that is if you don’t mind if we stop for a sandwich.”

From that moment on, I have always looked forward to a date with Tab. My parents adore him, and I think he is one of the most interesting and most different boys I have ever met. I also think he has a certain code and such a wonderful set of values on life that he can’t miss being one of the big stars in this business.

On the way to the premiere that first night, Tab was talkative—with something worthwhile and interesting to talk about. There were none of those long pauses or attempts to make conversation. He is thoroughly relaxed and knows where he is going and what he wants out of life. He has a great depth of sincerity and a tremendous enthusiasm, coupled with faith in people and a certain humility that endears him to everyone. When the fans stopped him for autographs, he was still mindful of me and was not carried’ away with the attentions.

Later, we went to the Mocambo, and I presumed he was a regular patron. I learned later, however, that at that time for Tab to take a date to the Mocambo could mean he’d eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at home for the rest of the week to make up the difference. His earnings had to go for skating lessons and his horse, and sometimes his spending money ran out during long waits between pictures. He took me to the Mocambo because he thought I’d like to go. And when he deposited me on my doorstep, we still had so much to talk about that it didn’t seem possible the evening had ended.

Tab called the next day. “Hi! How are you? This is Tab. I hope I’m not calling too early,” he said. My watch had nine a.m. straight up. “I’ve been getting up at six every morning for so long, that it’s hard for me to wait for people to get up so I can make my calls,” he said half-apologetically. “How’s your father? Your mother? And how’s Ricky?” Ricky’s my Boston bull. Tab was really interested in his inquiries about my family. “Would you like to go out to an early dinner and show next week?” he asked. He was asking for a date a week in advance. I said yes, that I would love to. Tab replied, “Fine—good—I’ll call you later.” There was no honey-doll, baby-doll salutations, and his conversation was brief. But he seemed sincere.

Tab chose the Encore, a quiet little restaurant to dine. He ordered a wonderful dinner and we topped it with cheese cake.

We talked and forgot about the movie we had planned on seeing. “I never thought of a picture career,” he said in reply to my question. “My first love is skating. Some day, Lori, I hope to be a top skater. I’m working real hard at it. And I love horses. I want to make good in pictures—but I am still going along with skating.”

Three years and many dates later, Tab and I are still very good friends. We were dining again at the Encore. “This is where we first came,” he laughed. Now Tab is almost twenty-three and I am twenty-one. He had just finished “Battle Cry” for Warner Bros. and was starting “Track Of The Cat.” The day had been Tab’s red letter day: He had passed his fifth test in amateur skating. Also, a national poll had selected him as one of the top ten new stars headed for box-office popularity. Had this changed Tab or his ideals or his plans?

“People say they change—that Hollywood changes them,” Tab observed in a reflective mood. “People should only change for the better as they progress.

“Too much is made of the gossip and glamour of our business. You know, Lori, when some of these remarkable things happen to me in pictures, I always remember that I am still Art Gelien, amateur ice skater. I still love to work hard and play hard.”

In the three years I have known Tab, his moods move from high to low and bounce back when he has been between pictures too long. For a long while his chief concern was keeping his horse. “All my life I dreamed of a horse of my own,” he’d say. Finally the horse had to go when it didn’t seem another picture was in sight. Then presto! he was making another picture and he was happy again. He bought a new flamingo red Ford convertible. Tab was so excited. “I used to feel embarrassed,” he told me, “driving you up to a premiere in my other car when you were dressed so beautifully. This car does you justice.”

Tab and I were invited to a costume party on Hallowe’en. “If you are all dressed up with feathers and a Marie Antoinette wig, you can’t have fun,” Tab said. “Let’s just go as clowns and have a good time.”

Tab and I had more laughs getting ready for the party. We’d gone to Western Costume and rented big clown shoes, and oversize pants in which we had to stuff pillows. I obtained white and black and brown clown make-up from U-I, where I was making No one recognized us when we first arrived at the party.

Each time we go to a party or to some friend’s house to dinner, on the way home Tab will often say, “It would be wonderful to have your own home, your own . . .” then he’ll stop. “I can’t think about getting married for a long time,” he’ll sigh. “I’ve got to establish myself and get settled first.”

Tab’s mother had a difficult time when she was left with two small boys to raise alone. “My mother held down two jobs to feed my brother and me. I try to make it up to Mom today for all of the sacrifices she made.”

One day Tab was quite upset. That was the day he had moved out of the apartment he had always shared with his mother to “go out on-my own. I’m twenty-one, and it wasn’t fair of me to stay at home and take the best years of her life. She is so attractive and still young, and with me out of the way she’ll meet new people and maybe some day remarry and have all of the security and happiness she deserves.” Later, when his mother was ill, Tab, filled with remorse, moved back until her recovery. I so admire his consideration and real affection for his mother. He loves to pick out clothes for her and I know that when she recovered from her illness he had a new dress, gloves, hat and pearls to surprise her. He is very clothes-conscious and always comments on what I am wearing. He likes simple, smart clothes, and sometimes when we’re going to a premiere, he’ll bring an orchid.

The night before a recent premiere, I saw Tab on Peter Potter’s “Juke Box Jury” TV show on which guest stars decide whether as yet unreleased records will be hits or misses. Tab again was completely honest, giving his constructive criticism. There were only two out of six records he liked. “I guess I’m skate-happy,” he said apologetically, but sticking to his convictions.

We each had other dates for the premiere. At the theatre someone called to me. It was Tab. “Lori, you look beautiful,” he said, taking me in his arms and giving me an affectionate kiss. He told me he had been skating every morning for weeks and weeks for his tests. “I have to get on the ice from 5:30 to 8 in the morning, before it’s time to go to the studio,” he said. “By eight at night I’m home in bed.” I was so-pleased, so genuinely pleased that he had passed his test. Tab had offered to teach me to ice skate. “When you’re such an expert, how could you want to take time to teach me?” I asked. “I have a dream, Lori,” he said. “Some day I hope I can make the life story of Hans Brinker—of the silver skates. If you can skate too, maybe we could be together in the picture.”

The first few times Tab brought me home from a date, as I said, he didn’t try to kiss me good-night. But when he did, it was a nice, affectionate, sincere kiss. Not one of those just-kiss-kiss-kiss things which mean nothing and girls might expect, but with sincerity, and then, “Goodnight, Honey.”

Tab is the nicest boy I have ever met. I always have such fun and a wonderful time when I’m wit





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