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The 3 Faces of Doris - Will the Real Doris Day Please Stand Up

I'm a big Doris Day fan. Love her voice and thought she was an underrated actress. Not a big fan of those iconic movies with Rock Hudson and Tony Randall, but I enjoyed a lot of her earlier musicals and her few dramatic roles: Midnight Lace, Julie, Hitchcock's second version of The Man Who Knew To Much and her terrific turn as Ruth Etting in Love Me Or Leave Me. In those few roles she really got to show her dramatic chops.

The point of all this is because I am a big fan (and having access to a large amount of easily obtained material) from the early Nineties to the late Aughts I sent for her TTM many times. For myself multiple times and also sending to other names and addresses.  

Looking back, while I was organized enough to keep records of who I sent for as well as when and how many I sent and received, unfortunately what I did not do was record what specific items I sent each time. While I can get a good idea of what items were from when with someone I may have requested two or three times, someone like Doris whom I sent for 10 times over the years is an impossible call.

What I do remember is noticing that I would get different styles of signatures from Ms. Day on different occasions. And it wasn't in any specific order. Versions 1,2 and 3 would alternate at various times.

When JSA was in town several months back I had a few items I wanted to get authenticated and while I was there I had a chance to geek out a bit with one of their senior entertainment authenticators. We talked about Ms. Day and he indicated that, as expected,  JSA considers the Version 1 to be her authentic signature. It's hard to argue with that call, and I never want to be that collector wearing rose-coloured glasses when it comes to secretarial signatures. But while I'll concede the commonly held view is a logical scenario, there are a few things that keep me from being completely convinced.

The discrepancy that means the least to me is Ms. Day's claims that she always responded to all her mail herself. Humans lie. And it's logical that someone who uses a secretarial response in an effort to please fans with a response doesn't want to admit the deception. So while Ms. Day was said to be a lovely person who appreciated her fans and I'd like to think she was being honest, her claim doesn't mean much.

She was said to be a fairly reclusive person by the time I started mailing to her. What would make a recluse sometimes sign and sometimes pass the items received to others for signing?

TCM often airs little fillers between movies called Word Of Mouth with inside stories from those who were involved in making the movies. Doris did a very touching one about her beloved close friend and co-star Rock Hudson. At the end of those Word Of Mouth segments they close with the person speaking their name while signing their name over their picture. Doris signed with version 2. I've got to wonder: would she really use a secretarial signature in a segment about someone she cared for so much?

Doris Day had a lot of personal tragedy and was particularly bad at picking husbands. A lot of physical abuse. A later one stole all her millions and left her broke and deeply in debt to the IRS. The death of her only child that she was extremely close to, legendary music producer Terry Melcher, left her deeply despondent for the rest of her life. Her life was far from the sunny public image she projected.    

Now look at the signatures themselves.  While there are immediately obvious differences, there are also some notable similarities when you get past those capital "D"s.  

It may seem a bit far-fetched, but is it possible Doris Day had Dissociative Identity Disorder aka Multiple Personality Disorder? Hopefully we can get some thoughts from Professors Zarelli, Longo and some of the other excellent authentication minds on this forum.   

The photos above are Version 1, the version commonly believed to be be authentic.

The montage photo and vintage cards above are version 2. There are enough differences here beyond the capital "D"s that these could be considered two different versions. A lot of odd cross pollination between the versions.

The Good Housekeeping magazine cover above is version 3 

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Comment by Eric Keith Longo on April 1, 2024 at 1:22pm

The bad Gleason still get by - both secretarials and absurdist forgeries like that shown below:

Comment by Scott Paul on April 1, 2024 at 2:42pm

Sadly, that happens and there are times no doubt they reject a good one.  

Comment by Eric Keith Longo on April 1, 2024 at 3:02pm

I must assume  so. 

Comment by Eddy on April 1, 2024 at 3:08pm

Knowing a bit about that JSA'd signed copy of HOW SWEET IT IS, I think it's a quick in person example.  Not something I would necessarily want...but it is what it is.

Comment by meggs on April 1, 2024 at 3:41pm

When I had JSA authenticate hundreds of my items in bulk, they failed about 25 of them.

Upon further research, I agreed with them on most but not all. When they were in town I brought 5 items I felt strongly about and the second time around they passed 4 out of 5. 

I think they are pretty good and I fully believe in their integrity, but they ain't perfect. Especially frustrating to have two genuine Jenny McCarthy items that she signed right after she became a Playboy Playmate but before she was famous rejected because they obviously didn't have early exemplars of her lovely early signature which was totally different than the chicken scratch autograph she adopted when she became more popular. 

Comment by Eddy on April 1, 2024 at 3:56pm

I would agree they're pretty good.  As you say, no service will be hitting 100% all of the time.  They've actually been very good with some autographs I've had in the past that were more rushed.  The Gleason above would have been a tougher one to authenticate simply because it's not what we're used to seeing but looks quite plausible.

Comment by Eric Keith Longo on April 2, 2024 at 9:28am

What do you know about that signed book, Eddy? That signature looks nothing like any Gleason from the late 70's, and there are precious few examples after that. What I have seen sent from him or supposedly signed by him in the 1980's, apart from the single signature below and a very few slabbed album pages (I think Scott has a later slabbed felt tip Gleason), is always secretarial (or forgery). The few authentic examples do not make much attempt to get past the first few letters if that, and never that much ink or those large double ending flourishes. The very few SP's from this period also do not look anything like this book signature. The baseline is problematic, the very small "a", the non-articulated "k" and the the ending of the first name is unlike anything I've seen. The "crazy 8" "G" from the 50's is sometimes employed, but I have never seen it formed quite this way. The baseline with the start of the "l" coming in fancifully like that is something I've not seen, and the last name is not seen more abbreviated than the first. That would be new, as would all of this. So I am very curious what you know about this signed book.

Below is a signature from a very rare 1970's "Bus" SP, a 1977 golf program and a 1980's signature.

Below are two very rare SP's from Smokey and the Bandit 2 (1980), one with the inscription "How sweet it is!"

Comment by Eddy on April 2, 2024 at 11:33am

It's not an optimal signature, granted.   It's late, rushed and extremely sloppy.

It would be awkward to hold back the cover of a cheap paperback while you are trying to sign the first page.  They just don't lay as flat as hardback books when opened.  Add on that it's also an ink absorbing, pulpy paper stock which is not great for writing on and a thick, imprecise fiber tip pen is being used. 

Bacon's book first came out in 1985 and this paperback came out the following year.  Gleason died the next year.  This book would have been extended for signing in person to an elderly man with multiple health issues and it's not hard to imagine the result is what we see here.

Comment by Eric Keith Longo on April 2, 2024 at 11:59am

You said "Knowing a bit about that JSA'd signed copy of HOW SWEET IT IS, I think it's a quick in person example."

You know what I do, apparently. This signature is in no way authentic. Show how it could be and I'll be all eyes. 

Comment by Eric Keith Longo on April 2, 2024 at 12:02pm

"...looks quite plausible..." is not enough for me anyway. I'm not posting every Gleason I have access to here but none of them approach that JSA signature. Terrier and Mike would be good to hear from, Scott too.

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