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What’s It Like To Be A Fabian?

To be a Fabian is to have a mother, a father, a brother Bobby, a brother Tommy and a little white mongrel named Honey. To be a Fabian is to hate getting up in the morning (“Those 7:30 calls are murder!”) , to wear an old flannel bathrobe left over from junior high, to use “Canoe” cologne and love peperoni sausages washed down with a glass of milk.

There’s an old quip which says you never know a person until you live like one. So with this in mind I went with pencil and pad to Fabian’s for the weekend. It wasn’t so arbitrary, I mean my going. You see, I had an invitation. So off I went in my search to discover what it’s like to be an 18-year-old Fabian. To be a Fabian or not to be is all an attitude of mind and money. Otherwise, he’s pretty much like you or me. This is what I found out:

To be a Fabian is to cringe for the first few minutes when you see yourself on the screen, to admire John Wayne and to flip over Marilyn Monroe. It’s missing your family when you’re away from home, it’s to be considerate and loving (“I bought Mom and Dad a new home in Haddonfield, New Jersey. I wanted them to have the best.”) and to envy Frankie Avalon who can eat and eat and eat without gaining weight. It’s to love playing practical jokes on your friends and manager, Bob Marcucci; to use toothpaste instead of powder and to sleep in a large bed watched over by two tigers (stuffed). To be a Fabian is to hide the way your really feel—like the way you hid your disappointment at not being able to graduate in January as you had planned—and to always do your best to make others happy. A Fabian always brings gifts whenever he goes home—like the last time you were in town for a visit and arrived loaded down with boxes. An espresso coffeepot for Mom. And for Pop—an electric shoeshiner! To be a Fabian certainly must be to have a sixth sense about things—like knowing how angry your mom got when your father ran around the house using the new kitchen towels or anything else he could find to shine his shoes!

To be a Fabian is to shift your weight from one foot to the other whenever you feel uncomfortable about meeting someone new; it’s to stay up late at night watching TV or reading parts of the encyclopedia: and it’s sleeping under piles and piles of blankets when you finally do get into bed.

To be a Fabian is to love sweaters, steaming-hot showers and your new car. It’s going to class on the set, dating pretty girls and loving dogs—especially mongrels. To be a Fabian is to have thick brown hair that gets combed first thing every morning and a funny habit of crossing your legs and scratching the bottom of one foot when you’re sitting down in a big, comfortable chair.

To be a Fabian is to make strangers feel right at home when they come to visit—just the way you made me feel welcome when I came to visit you and your family on your eighteenth birthday. And not only were you extra-friendly so I wouldn’t feel strange among all your friends and relatives, but you didn’t even object to my snooping around taking notes everywhere you went! I guess to be a Fabian is to be kind to reporters, too! But now that I think of it, you’re even nice to people you’ve never even met—like that Saturday morning of the weekend I was visiting.

Aren’t you Fabian?”

You had gone outside to polish your pride and joy, your turquoise Pontiac convertible, when you heard the spin of tires in the snow and the smell of burning rubber. You went back into the house, put on your big heavy snowboots and went to see what you could do to help. Sure enough, the owner of the car was putting sand under the front wheels—and getting nowhere. After you quietly suggested that he put the sand under the back wheels instead, he had no trouble getting the car out of the snowdrift at the side of the road. The man looked at you for a few seconds, then went over and whispered something to his wife who was sitting in the car. Suddenly he turned and asked, “Say, aren’t you Fabian?”

“Yes, sir, I am,” you answered politely.

Well, I’ll be danged! How do you like that? Would you be kind enough to give me your autograph? My daughter listens to your records all the time.”

“I’d be happy to, sir. Thank you.”

“I’m the one to thank you, son.”

“Well, sir,” you said, “it’s an honor to have someone ask for your autograph, and I appreciate it very much.”

It was right that very minute I decided that to be a Fabian is to be a very levelheaded young man—a big star who’s also a big person. That’s when I liked you the most, when I was sure that to be a Fabian didn’t mean that you couldn’t still be just as helpful and good-natured as any kid on the block.

And you really are good-natured. To be a Fabian is to be able to take the ribbing about your diet without complaint. I remember after you’d finished helping that man with his car, you headed inside—all set for a small snack like half an apple pie and two glasses of milk. But Bob Marcucci was right there in the kitchen with your mom, so it was more lean hamburger and tea with lemon! To be a Fabian is to have parents that love you very much and a mom who would love to cook all the things you like to eat. I think she felt almost as disappointed as you did when Bob put a fast finish to your apple pie. Of course, to be a real reporter. I should tell all the facts—like how you didn’t give up without a struggle, and how it was your mom’s quick eye that saved Bob from having two big, fat, freezing ice cubes slipped down the back of his neck! But, after all, I said that to be a Fabian is to love to play practical jokes and to love surprises.

Three surprises

That whole weekend had been a surprise. Your flying home to spend your eighteenth birthday with your family was the first surprise. They never dreamed that you’d fly home just for the weekend. But to be a Fabian is to understand how much your being home at that time would mean to them, it’s to think of others before you think of yourself. The second surprise was my being invited to spend that weekend in Haddonfield. which was great, and the third surprise. . . . Well, for a change, this time the surprise was on you! Your father, with the help of a few relatives, had converted half of the garage into a studio room just for you. And the look on your face must have been more than worth all the work they put into building it.

Your big blue-green eyes almost popped. Yup, to be a Fabian is to have that “Tiger Look”! And to be a Fabian is to be a softie, even though you’d almost choke before you’d let anyone see you shed a tear—that is, when you saw your studio room complete with hi-fi, recording equipment, a TV set, shelves for your books and mementos, executive-type leather furniture and your plaques and awards lining the walls. You knew it was a place where you could be all alone to listen to music, to practice singing or acting and a place to be alone with your thoughts—a room where you could be a Fabian to your heart’s content!



Fabian’s in “Love in a Goldfish Bowl” for Par. and records on the Chancellor label.