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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 

Views: 666

Comment by Eric Keith Longo on April 2, 2024 at 12:06pm

I would be highly interested in seeing any exemplars that resemble that JSA signature and support any notion of authenticity. I've been collecting this particular signature since long before the Bacon book even came out and have never, ever seen anything like the JSA signature. 

Comment by Eddy on April 2, 2024 at 12:19pm

You probably know by now that I don't continue too respond when things begin to take this tone.  When I begin to see my words start to be quoted directly and orders start to be given that I need to justify my opinion, I know it's best to drop out.

Don't believe in it?  That's cool and I'll respect your right to that opinion.

Comment by Eric Keith Longo on April 2, 2024 at 12:41pm

So, I quoted you. Orders? Absurd. You made a claim and I am simply asking for evidence other than supposition or guesswork. You said you "think" it good, you said it was "plausible" too - but now you say this signature is authentic - please elaborate. Justifying an opinion in an autograph discussion forum should not come as a surprise or insult. I welcome it. It means people want to understand. Why should an opinion be accepted without justification? What good would any signature study be without copious exemplars, accompanying written information and so on? Are collectors supposed to accept unsubstantiated opinions regarding an autograph so very far from anything that could be considered normal? I showed and said what I could to establish my opinion. I was really looking forward to you doing the same. Otherwise, it is just words.

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

As I said above, I respect your right to your opinion and it's all good.   I find it insulting that you dismiss my thoughts as "just words" and an especially distasteful way to describe another member's input.  

That is my last word on this subject.  

Comment by Eric Keith Longo on April 2, 2024 at 1:44pm

I apologize for offending you by being interested in what you have to say (or not).

Comment by Eric Keith Longo on April 2, 2024 at 1:54pm

Without any justification at all what else is it but words - from anyone? I would expect the same for my opinion w/o any justification. I ask for clarification and you get offended. I always try to show and say what I think and why in this group - with autographs I think it essential, especially the visual aspect. If you have exemplars or data that puts this Gleason in some other light I would really love to see it. Without anything to see or read how can one know why it is authentic in your opinion? Is that not important - to be understood?

Comment by Scott Paul on April 2, 2024 at 4:01pm

Personally, I think the JSA authenticated Gleason looks wrong.  It is not something I would want.  With the JSA I am sure it would sell, but I would not be a buyer.  There was an Andy Griffith someone posted here a while back.  The "Andy" was unlike anything I have ever seen in either original, secretarial or forgery for that matter.   I and others believed it was likely genuine, but it was so atypical that I would not want it.  I would always been looking at it trying to explain it.  I do not like to have autographs that give me pause.  That is what makes opinions just that opinions and often they vary among good people.  

Comment by meggs on April 2, 2024 at 5:13pm

At least it's easy to find an authentic autograph from Gleason's partner in crime, the other great one, Art Carney. There was a movie I really enjoyed when it first came out back in the mid-80s called Izzy and Moe. Two old pros teaming up one last time, it was a hoot. 

Comment by Eric Keith Longo on April 2, 2024 at 5:44pm

Oh I love that film! "I came to this country when I was 10 years old..." Sure it is hokey, but it has those two. Tubi has or had a cleaned up full cut.

Here it is on YT:

Izzy and Moe

Comment by meggs on April 2, 2024 at 6:30pm

Thanks for posting the link, Eric. Going to be a captive audience somewhere I'd rather not be next week, I'll have to see if it's as good as I remembered.

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