My name is Linda Joyce Miller and I’m a junior at Hauppauge High School. 5'4", green eyes, and long blond hair describes my appearance, and my hobbies are reading, classical and show music, art, and singing. During my teen years, I’ve been fortunate enough to have met many people in show business and have become friends with some of them. As many of you know, David Jones lived in New York before he went to Hollywood. And during that time I was lucky enough to become a friend of his. This is David Jones before…
I had first heard of David from a penpal 4 ½ years ago. I forgot about him for a while—until I saw him on TALENT SCOUTS in 1963 and then I decided that one way or another, I’d meet Mr. Jones.
At this time, David was appearing in “OLIVER!” on Broadway, so I sent away for tickets. In the meantime, I wrote David a few letters and he’d answered them. When I received my ticket, I once more wrote to David to ask if I could meet him—naturally, that was the one letter he didn’t answer. So, I decided to go to the stage door before the show. Thinking ahead works out, so they say, and it’s true. At 12:00 (2 ½ hours before the show) Linda Miller (that’s me) was planted in front of the stage door to meet one David Jones. While waiting I met Terry Morando, a friend of David’s, and became a friend of hers. Long about 2:00, a short, good-looking young man walked down the street. Taking hold of myself, (and thinking “this is it, baby”) I calmly (?) walked up to him. “May I have your autograph?” “Yeah, but let me sign in first or I’ll get kicked out of the show,” the young man replied and walked inside. “STUPID,” I thought to myself. “You just messed everything up ‘cos’ that was David.”
I guess I didn’t have much faith in “stars” and my high hopes kept falling as the minutes went by and no David appeared. A hysterical laugh made me turn around to see David coming out the door and walking towards me. He asked me my name and when I told him he really looked surprised. “You’re Linda Miller?” “Yes” (I gasped—what had he heard??) “I know you—I’ve written to you. I’m David Jones.” (NO!) “Would you like to see the sets?” (would I?) He talked it over with Ed Hastings, the stage manager, and told me to come back after the show. We talked a bit more and then he went inside.
After the show, (do I have to say it was fabulous?) I trotted around the corner in hopes of reaching the stage door before everyone else. Oh well, I tried… Hundreds and hundreds of girls were there—some chanting, “David, I love you,” some crying, some just screaming. WOW! Insanity-plus! I’d never been exposed to anything like that previously as David was the first star I’d met. He stuck his head out his dressing room window and yelled “Come on in!” As the crowd surged forward, a frightened look crossed his face and he called out “Not all of you—I’m sorry, just Linda Miller.” Mumblings of “Who is Linda—Let’s kill her!” ran through the crowd as I tried inconspicuously to go inside. But that’s a bit hard when you’re the only girl opening that big thick door. I escaped, luckily, but not before I’d been grabbed at.
Clomping cuban heels accompanied by a nasal voice singing “CONSIDER YOURSELF” came from the stairway, and as I looked up, David walked down. “Hi! Luv—come on.” We walked onto the stage and stood there for a minute just looking at each other—something was missing. “Lights” he said. “No lights! Hey Ed! Turn on the lights for me.” “Put them on yourself!” David, with a devilish grin retorted “I can’t reach the switch.”, so a laughing Ed put them on. We walked up, down, and around the sets to the other side of the stage where the props were kept. David picked up his spoon and started singing another song from the show, “I’D DO ANYTHING.”
As we were walking through a small hallway in the set, David pulled my head down with “Duck! You’re too tall, you might hurt yourself.” (The door was made for the boys in the show, average height 5’ and I was 5'3" tall. We stood there, looking at the seats, when this lady dragging two small children ran up to David gushing, “Oh! You were wonderful, fabulous, exciting—what a marvelous actor—may I have your autograph?” (I thought I was crazy…) David, amazed, signed her playbill as she went on and on about how great David was. Then, just as quickly, she ran out. I couldn’t help but laugh as it was so silly and David had the funniest look on his face. Muttering “Weird” to himself, he turned around, took one look at the expression on my face, and cracked up completely. O.K., here it comes… I had to ask him two questions (I promised a friend I would) that top the list of “sickies.” “David, do you always wear striped shirts?” After giving me one of those “you’ve got to be kidding” looks, he said, “Well, oh, yeah, you know, it makes me look taller…” If you think that was bad… “A friend of mine wanted to know how many lightbulbs you have around your dressing room mirror.” “Tell your friend,” he gasped between laughs, “That I never really bothered to count.” (and the tears rolled down his cheeks) I asked him a few more inane questions, and then said goodbye.
Ten minutes later, it dawned on me—I’d forgotten to give David a letter from a friend “(the one with the questions) so I ran back to the theatre. Unfortunately, David had gone out for tea, so using my quick thinking (and happening to spot a coffee shop across the streat [sic]) I walked into the Paramount Coffee Shop to see David sitting there. I went to him and handed him the letter explaining that I’d forgotten about it before.
Then I thanked him again and walked out. I was talking to some girls from the stage door when a big hand tapped me on the shoulder—it was my father asking if I’d like to have a soda. I said yes and into the Paramount I walked, dying because I felt so obvious—and dying even more when my father pushed me into the seat next to David. (It was the only seat left besides another one next to it, but I felt stupid just the same). I figured that things COULDN’T get worse… or could they?? so… “David? This is my father, daddy—this is David Jones.” “Pleased to meet you Mr. Miller.” David’s arm shot across me. “Same here, I’m sure, David.” Then… “So YOU’RE the young man Linda is always talking about!” “Daddy!!” I whispered, stricken and tried to kick him under the table. “Something wrong?” David asked. “I want to thank you for taking my daughter backstage, I know she enjoyed it.” “Daddy! PLEASE!” I choked. David had this big but understanding grin on his face and I was red. Then I remembered that I had forgotten to remember to ask him (?) about the letter, so I said, “David, who should she write to?” “Oh, um, (he scanned the letter once again) tell her to write to that girl.” “What girl?” “You know that girl.” “David, think! What girl?” This went on for a while until David finished triumphantly: “Oh, tell her to write to my manager—Mr. Sylvester.” and gave me the address. (Ward Sylvester is now associate producer of THE MONKEES.)
He asked me if I’d keep writing to him and said he hoped we’d meet again and I left. Funny, after a meeting like that, you wouldn’t think we’d become friends—but luckily, we did.