March 30, 2011 § Leave a comment
At 18-years-old, I tried to figure out a clever way I could somehow inveigle, insinuate, and worm my way into Tom Jones’ world. I began to build my relationship with the president of Tom’s Boosters Fan Club, and also began a long-term correspondence with an older woman living south of San Diego. Being 6’2” and growing up with older sisters, I could sometimes fake looking and sounding mature and could talk fairly easily with older women. These two women would play a huge role in my TJ connection. One on the fan side, and one on the groupie side, but I am getting ahead of myself…
Thinking I am going to major in Communications with a focus in Public Relations and Advertising, I began wracking my brain as to how I can utilize my growing, bookish PR knowledge.
And then it hit me, while I was watching Rona Barrett, a local LA precursor version of Mary Hart, (who was probably still in junior high school), on our local Channel 11 news, showing some actor getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Of course! This is it! Tom Jones needs a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!
I immediately wrote the president of Tom’s Boosters, who immediately wrote the gentleman who managed the Tom Jones National Fan Club, operated by Jones’ management. They said, go for it. I immediately wrote Johnny Grant, who was at that time, in charge of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which operated under the Chamber of Commerce. I wrote of letter of inquiry requesting the requirements for nominating an entertainer into the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was quite simple: You nominate, and if they accept the nomination, you pay the money. Ba-da-bing, ba-da-boom – it was so simple.
If memory serves me correctly, in late 1971, when Tom’s Boosters nominated Tom Jones to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the fee for “maintenance” of the star was $2500. We had absolutely no doubt that we could come up with the funds, given the legions of fans in southern California alone. And we knew if we needed help from our “sister” chapter fan clubs, they would jump on in throughout the states, and beyond. That’s what hard-core fans do – they support in body, heart, and soul… and dollars, pounds, francs, and yen.
We were giddy with excitement. We had the Tom Jones National Fan Club blessing, and we knew we could come up with the cash. I moved forward with the appropriate nomination paperwork and sent it off with a kiss. Remember, I was emotionally attached to the singer. I could do things related to Tom Jones that I could not do just for myself. And, if I’m going to make Tom Jones fall in love with me, wouldn’t it be nice to start with a star on the Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of Fame?
We waited until we finally got the letter from Johnny Grant. I was so excited. This was my letter of entry into Tom Jones’ world. The letter stated that the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce representing the Hollywood Walk of Fame “regrets to inform you,” that the nomination of Tom Jones was not accepted, due the fact that Mr. Jones was a relatively new performer, who had not yet withstood the “test of time.” It was a bitter pill to take 40 years ago. Nowadays, it seems like young pop stars find themselves “starred” and “waxed” (Madame Tussaud’s, I mean) before they even hit their prime, let alone withstand the test of time. Looking back, however, I do believe that in earlier years they did strive harder for singers/actors/entertainers to have a large body of work behind them in order to earn and deserve their star.
My parents tried to rescue me from the sobbing, heaving, “ugly cry,” as Oprah calls it. They tried to comfort me, saying “It’s OK. A star was a brilliant idea. It will happen. Just not now. You did all you could do to make it happen.” What they didn’t know or understand (although I think my mother had a little motherly intuition) was the real, secret goal of my teenage fantasy: MEET TOM JONES. They didn’t know my secret motivating mantra: “If I’m going to get Tom Jones to fall in love with me, I have to…” They didn’t know that I believed that if Tom Jones connected with me, then I would have value and worth and everything would be all right in my world.
It took until 1989 for Jones to get his long overdue star. I heard about it over the news. It is reported that his star was nominated and funded by his fans, which is reportedly the only time a star has been funded by fans. No surprise there – his hard-core fans love him as much now as then. You can find the star at 6608 Hollywood Boulevard, just outside of Frederick’s of Hollywood. No surprise there, either.
The Voice would not only withstand the test of time, but would triumph in his 70th year by producing one of his most highly acclaimed CDs, Praise and Blame. The Voice that sang to millions. The Voice that sold millions. The Voice that earned a star for… the singer who saved me.