Well, Sarah asked me to write this story of my trip where I met Patty Duke, so here it is. I'll try to keep
it relatively short.
Back in 1991-ish, I just couldn't sleep at night. I started watching the Patty Duke Show every night on
Nick At Nite, and it slowly but
surely got way, way out of control. Before I knew it I was collecting
everything Patty. Videos, posters, pictures, books, records(!), + odd ball items like the board game,
paper dolls, etc.
Flash forward a few years and I'm working on a play at school. The director is a serious jerk and I end up
being a props guy/stage hand. I basically had to wait for hours to hand people props off stage during the
show. All those hours and nothing to do. I decided to kill time by photocopying some of my Patty pix +
articles and compile them into a little fanzine. It really started off as kind of a joke 'cause of the boredom,
but now has turned into a really
great excuse to ask some of my fave bands to cover Patty songs!
OK, now it's 1999 and the guy who does the best Patty Duke web page
(http://members.aol.com/Duke80/index1.html) sends out emails about the latest Patty happenings.
I find out that in March she's going
to be in a play, The Glass Menagerie, in Spokane, Washington. I flip.
A couple of months before the play opened, I called the theater to see if I could get tix, and was told I'd have
to wait until they went on sale for everybody. They went on sale, and I kept calling ALL DAY LONG from
work, but the line was busy each time. I started to freak thinking I wouldn't get tix. I go home and keep
trying, and by the time I got through, there were only 15 minutes 'till closing time. It turns out that for the
last two performances, there was only
1 ticket left for each nite. I barely made it!
So now the play is running and I stumble upon a review from the local paper. I wrote the writer of the
article to see if he could give me
the contact info to try to get an interview with Patty for my radio
show. He's wondering why a college station in Detroit would send someone all the way to Spokane to cover
the story, and I explain to him that it's not a station sponsored event - I just happen to have a show, am a big
fan of Patty's, and was hoping she'd
do a promo for my show.
He sends me the info for the theater and I think no more of it. I call the theater but don't have much luck
setting something up. I leave a lot of messages though! I plan a big two-week spring break trip to see the
play plus visit friends in Seattle & San Francisco. (The big bonus about San Francisco was that BUCK was
playing my very last nite there! What
March finally arrives and I'm off to Spokane. I fly and get a taxi at the airport. During the ride the guy asks
me the usual taxi driver stuff, and it turns out he's from Michigan too, so that's a little wacky. When he
finds out I'm there for the play, he comments that the play is a big deal and there are people flying in from
all around the country to see it.
I get to my hotel, which is just a few blocks from the theater, and give them a call still hoping to hook up a
little interview. When I tell the
lady on the phone that I had called a while back from
Detroit trying to set up the interview, she gets all excited and says, "NO YOU'RE NOT, REALLY?!? We
had bets in the office to see if you'd really come out here or not!" So I think this is pretty odd, wondering
why they'd care at all. Then she says that she read about me in the paper! I'm like , "WHAT?!?" I find out
that the guy who did the play review did a little story in the Spotlight section about me coming to Spokane.
I didn't even know! Then it hits me that the cab driver must have read that same story, and he was
referring to me! WACKY!
So now I'm a local celebrity 'cause I'd been in the paper and feel all cool. I go to the theater about three
hours early hoping to set something up. I name drop the lady on the phone's name, and the door person lets
me in. I'm hanging out in the lobby and meet the director, the producer, and an actor or two in the play.
They relay my request to Patty, and
I'm told she'll see me the next nite, after the final run.
I hang out in the lobby with no where better to go, and people start showing up. It's so weird 'cause I've
seen Patty's husband and adopted son in magazines + on tv specials and talk shows, and recognize them as
they walk up to the theater. It's show time and I'm just in awe. I'm in a row kinda up close to the front and
right there on the stage is PATTY! OH MY GOD! I could go on and on about just that in itself, but this
story is gonna be way to long anyway,
so onto intermission.
During the break, everyone is yappin' away, talkin' about the play, Patty, + other local stuff. I hear a guy's
voice and it sounds familiar. I'm wondering who the hell I'd know in Spokane, and when I turn around its
Sean Astin! He was there with his wife, just checking out his mom's play. He was really chatty, so I didn't
get a chance to talk to him. I did, however, overhear that Mack couldn't be there 'cause he was auditioning
for some production that Speilberg
was doing and Speilberg himself requested for Mack to audition. Not that
I would have had the guts to actually do it, but I kept making myself laugh (almost out loud, all by myself in
a large crowd mind you) thinking
about going up to Sean and saying, "DUUUUDE, your MOMMMMM!"
That was the exciting stuff the first nite. The second nite though.
I went early again just 'cause and talked with the producer again. She was very nice. This time I was seated
in the back of the theater. While waiting, on my left there was a grandma, granddaughter, and the mom.
I hear the grandma say that she read that someone came all the way from Detroit to see the play. I
SERIOUSLY can't believe the hype. I couldn't resist mentioning something, so I told her that that guy was
me. She was like, "oh no it's not", then BOOM! I bust out my Patty Duke picture book of over 150 Patty
pix to prove it and me, grandma,
granddaughter + mom are chillin' with the Patty pix until they play starts.
So I see the play a second time and now I'm really nervous 'cause I'm gonna meet Patty at the end of it.
When it's over, She is saying her thank you's and talking to people afterwards. I'm waiting patiently on the
other side of the theater and the producer spots me. She can tell that I'm way nervous and helps me out by
pulling me over there and introducing me to Anna (Patty's real name). At first I was totally speechless. I
was a total goob! I could barely talk! Someone saved me by calling her over and that gave me a minute to
compose myself. By the time she came back, the crew had begun striking the set, so she led me to the lobby
where it was a bit quieter. She
needed a smoke break so we stood outside and chatted. She was so cool
and down to earth! When we went back inside, she looked through my picture book and was amazed at all
the pix I had. Many of them she had
never seen before and some things that I had she hadn't seen in a
long time because they were destroyed in a fire. She hung out with me for about an hour and a half looking
at those pictures + telling me little stories about a lot of them. To be honest, I don't remember most of
what she said 'cause I was so
star-struck to be sitting there with PATTY DUKE!
After looking through the pix and talking a bit, she signed a few things, did a promo for my show, and took
a few photos (including the awesome one of her with the original Patty Duke Fanzine!), gave me a flower
+ a kiss on the cheek and sent me on
When it was all done, I walked back to my hotel, totally geeked beyond what words can describe. It was
a TOTAL party.
A Patty Party.