I Trailed Doris Day
Mr. David Myers
Modern Screen Magazine
Dear Mr. Myers:
My favorite movie star is Doris Day. That’s who this letter is about. Of course, it’s about me too. My name is Sally Mazzella and I’m fifteen and I come from Brooklyn. I say come from because I’m in San Diego, California, right now with my folks and my little brother, Jasper. We’re paying a visit to my Father’s sister, Stella. But no sense telling you all about them because this letter is about Doris Day and me—and about what happened to us yesterday, July 22, 1957.
At seven o’clock yesterday morning my Father put me on the bus at the San Diego bus terminal. The bus ticket, round trip, and five dollars spending money were my birthday present from my folks. It so happens my birthday isn’t till next December. But the reason I got my present so far in advance was that my folks knew I loved Doris Day so much and that I’d be so happy if I could go up to Hollywood and try to see her while we were in California. At first my folks said this was ridiculous, that movie stars have enough to do without seeing anybody who just happens to pop out of the clear blue sky. Besides, they said, how in the world was I going to find her. “It isn’t like this was Brooklyn,” my Mom said, “and she lived on the third floor of the apartment house on the corner and all you had to do was go and ring the doorbell.” But after a lot of begging on my part, they agreed to let me go. “But,” said my Father, “no matter what happens, you’ve got to be on that 5:30 p.m. bus out of Hollywood and back here at 8:30 tonight—Doris Day or no Doris Day!”
I got to Hollywood at exactly 10:30 in the morning. The bus driver let me and a few other people out at the famous corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. I saw a lot of people walking and driving around, but I certainly didn’t see any movie stars—and I certainly didn’t see Doris Day. That’s when I began to get a little nervous, when I realized that I didn’t have any idea of what I was going to do, where I was going to go. There was a policeman standing in the middle of the street directing traffic. I felt like going up to him and asking him if he knew where Doris Day lived. I thought it over for a minute. And then I decided to do just that.
“Doris Day?” the policeman said, looking at me as if I were crazy. He shook his head. “No,” he said, “it’s been a long time since I’ve been up to her house for a beer.”
I guess he liked the fact that I thought this was funny and laughed. And I guess he felt a little sorry for me when I told him about my birthday present because before I knew it he wasn’t looking at me as if I was so crazy anymore. “I can’t tell you where she lives,” he said, “but try PARAMOUNT STUDIOS.”
I was at the big front gate of PARAMOUNT thirty minutes and two bus rides later. The gateman smiled when I told him who I wanted to see. “Everybody wants to see Miss Day,” he said. And then he told me about the day they had a party in honor of the baseball player Jimmy Piersall and when Mr. Piersall arrived for the party he asked the gateman if he knew whether Doris Day was going to be there that day and said that she was the only person in Hollywood he really wanted to see. “Isn’t that a nice story?” the gateman asked me.
I told him I thought it was very nice, and that I would like very much to see Doris Day more than anybody else in Hollywood, too.
A few minutes later I was talking to a publicity man for PARAMOUNT.
A big surprise for Dodo
“I had lunch with Dodo just yesterday,” he said, “and I thought I’d give her a surprise. For the past two weeks she’s been on a Tootsie-Roll kick. So I arranged with the waitress to give her a dessert which I invented and which was nothing more than a big plate of ice cream with a dozen Tootsie-Rolls sticking out all over the place. I thought she’d break up when she saw it. And you know what she did? She ate three of the Tootsie-Rolls right then and there and wrapped the others in a napkin and brought them back to the set.” He told me how she wasn’t the least bit stuckup or selfish. “I remember once,” he said, “she wanted a glass of water. Instead of asking me or one of my assistants for one, she just said, ‘Excuse me for a minute,’ and got it herself. And,” he said, “the nicest thing about her is that Ive never seen her mad. No matter what time we have to start working in the morning, and it’s usually pretty early, she bounces in here like gangbusters and says, ‘Well . . . here we go again!’ ”
It was nearly 12 o’clock when we got to the publicity man’s office and he called Miss Day’s home to find out where she was. A maid there told him she thought she was probably out shopping with Miss Edith Head, the famous fashion. Designer.
We both raced down the hall together to Miss Head’s office. I was very disappointed to see that she was there—and without Doris Day. “No,” she said, “Dodo and I went shopping for accessories yesterday. And what a day!” She explained to me that most of the stars have the big stores deliver things to the studio where they look them over and pick the one they like best. “But Dodo,” she said, “likes to get out with people and go to the stores herself. And I never knew anyone could be so popular. At least twenty people came up to her to say hello while she was buying shoes, at least thirty while she was deciding on a purse and at least fifty while she was picking out a belt! Even the elevator boy at BULLOCKS-WILSHIRE, a nice looking Mexican boy, stopped his elevator mid-way to tell her, ‘Miss Day, I like you all my life. Even in Mexico I buy your record when I do not even know English and know what you sing about!’ ”
“Edith,” the publicity man asked, “you have no idea where she is today?”
Miss Head said no. Then she clicked her fingers and looked at me and said, “Except I know she was going to go back to BULLOCKS sometime today to pick up a belt she’d decided on. Why don’t you take a run over to the store? She may be there.”
It must have taken me an hour to get to the Buttocks department store. When I got there I rushed right up to the belt counter and asked a pretty blonde sales-girl if Doris Day had been there yet.
“Gee, you missed her by about half an hour,” the salesgirl told me. When she saw how sad I looked, she said, “But maybe you can catch her at BIFF’S.”
“At BIFF’S?” I asked. I thought it was another department store.
“It’s where she likes to eat when she goes shopping,” the salesgirl said. She told me how to get there. “And if you haven’t had your lunch yet,” she said, “grab a bite there. You’ll like it.”
Where the stars eat
That was the first time that day I realized I hadn’t had lunch yet, even though it was way after 1 o’clock already. I headed for the restaurant.
You can’t imagine how surprised I was when I got to BIFF’S. It’s a very lovely place, don’t get me wrong. But it’s not fancy like I imagined it would be. I felt very comfortable walking in.
“Can I help you?” the man at the counter asked me.
I told him I was looking for Doris Day.
“She was here just a little while ago.”
“Oh, no,” I groaned, and then I told him my story about trying to find her.
He was so nice, just like everyone else had been that day. He asked me if I’d had any lunch yet. When I said no, he pointed out a stool right at the counter and told me that was where Doris Day had had her lunch that afternoon and why didn’t I sit there.
“Can I have the same thing for lunch that she had?” I asked him.
He smiled at me. First, he gave me a cold glass of tomato juice with a little lemon on the side. Then he gave me a very thick cheeseburger and a chocolate malted. I was about to start eating the cheeseburger when the counterman stopped me.
“If you want to eat it like Doris Day,” he said, “you put a little mayonnaise on one side . . . like this, a little mustard on the other . . . like this, and here on top some onion . . . like this.” He put on an awful lot of onion, I must admit. “And don’t go cutting it in half,” he said, “like some women do. Pick it up whole the way Miss Day does and really dig in and enjoy it.”
And did I enjoy it. In fact, I was almost ready to ask for another one when I suddenly realized that it was 3 o’clock and that I’d better call back the publicity man at PARAMOUNT STUDIOS to find out whether he had heard from Miss Day yet.
He said he hadn’t. But he said, too, that he wanted me to call him back every half hour until it was time for me to leave, just in case.
At 3:30 on the dot, I called back.
Then at 4 o’clock.
Then at 4:30.
All those times it was the same thing: “I’m sorry, Sally, but nobody can seem to locate her.”
By the time 5 o’clock came around, and I spoke to the publicity man on the fourth call I expected him to say the same thing he’d said before. But instead this time his voice was real excited.
“Where are you now?” he asked me.
I told him.
“And you say you have to catch that bus at 5:30?” he asked.
I said yes.
Don’t make a move . . .
“Well,” he said, “get to the bus station as quick as you can and stand at the entrance. And Sally,” he said, “what’s the color of the dress you’re wearing again?”
At the bus terminal, I could hear a man calling out buses over the microphone.
I was all right up until about 5:20. But then I began to get very nervous. At 5:25, the man with the microphone made the announcement I’d been knowing would come: “San Diego bus—boarding now—all aboard!”
I decided I’d wait just one more minute.
And that’s when it all happened—exactly a minute later.
“Sally Mazzella?” I heard a woman’s voice call out.
I looked into a big car which had just pulled up in front of me. A woman was poking her head out, smiling at me.
“Hello, Miss Day,” I said, smiling back.
And then I realized who it was. “Doris Day!!” I screamed.
“I heard from the studio that you’ve spent all your birthday money to see me,” Miss Day said. “I’m very flattered.” Then she told me how she’d been shopping all day, how she’d phoned home just a little while earlier and how they’d told her to call the studio so the publicity man could tell her about me. She said, too, how glad she was that she was able to catch me in time.
I was too caught up in the throat to be able to say anything back. But finally I managed to say, “Miss Day, you look so pretty.”
“Thank you, Sally,” she said to me.
Then I said, “Miss Day, could you please wait here for just a minute?”
She said of course she could. And then I turned and scooted into the bus station. A minute later I was back.
Just for being so nice
“Miss Day,” I said, “I know how much you like these and I just wanted to give you something for being so nice and coming to see me.” And I handed her the two Tootsie-Rolls I’d just bought.
As she took them from me she laughed and winked and said, “How did you know about these, Sally?”
But before I could answer the man on the microphone said: “San Diego—last call!”
I had to go now.
“I’m sorry we haven’t got a little more time,” Miss Day said.
“I am, too,” I said and stared at her wonderful face for a moment and then took her hand and shook it. Then I turned around and ran through the bus terminal and to the bus. I caught it just in time.
When I got back to San Diego that night, my folks knew right away that I’d gotten to see Doris Day.
When I asked my Mother how she knew she said, “Because your eyes are all red and you’re smiling.”
Wasn’t that a wonderful birthday present, Mr. Myers?
(Miss) Sally Mazzella
Doris can now be seen in Warner Bros.’ PAJAMA GAME. Watch for her in Paramount’s TEACHER’S PET.
It is a quote. MODERN SCREEN MAGAZINE NOVEMBER 1957