Many of my friends are surprised to learn that my most memorable movie theater experience was not Star Wars in 1977 at the age of seven, but Scarface in 1983 at the age of 13.  It was on that day that I discovered Al Pacino.  He has been my favorite actor ever since.

The 92nd Academy Awards will present another opportunity for my favorite actor to win an Oscar for his performance in Martin Scorsese’s film, The Irishman.  It was also a pleasure to see him last year in Quentin Tarantino’s film, Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood.  I also look forward to seeing him in Hunters on the 21st of this month.  My purpose, however, is not to promote Al Pacino's most recent work.  It is to comment on his autographs.

Al Pacino’s autographs, like many other celebrities, can be categorized into three different styles.  The three different styles are his vintage autograph, his street autograph and his sit-down autograph.  The first is a full signature.  The second is a scribble that resembles a circle and a dot.  The third is a neat and abbreviated signature.

I missed an opportunity to purchase a vintage Al Pacino autograph recently.  It is the closest thing to a full signature that a collector will ever own.  It was on a Serpico photo, and I waited too long to purchase it.  I own one Al Pacino street autograph.  It is too sloppy to ever be displayed.  The remainder of my Al Pacino autograph collection are PSA/DNA In-the-Presence autographs.  I am willing to pay more for a nicer style of my favorite actor’s autograph.

A PSA/DNA In-the-Presence Al Pacino autograph that I was very happy to add to my collection.  As you can see, it is a neat and abbreviated style of his autograph.

Is it worth the extra money to own a more legible autograph of our favorite celebrity?  I believe that it is.  I am also holding a Serpico original press photo that I would like for Al Pacino to sign one day.  I am hoping for an opportunity to send it to a private signing.  I prefer not to risk his scribbling on it on the street.  It would be better left unsigned.

Collecting autographs presents us with many decisions.  Some of our decisions work out in our favor, and some do not.  The goal, however, is to be content with what we have in our collections, and to not regret the missed opportunities.  There is no need to settle for the scribbles that are achieved on the mean streets of the world.  Unless, of course, they present us with our only opportunities.  Patience is a virtue.  Happy collecting!

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Comment by Paul on February 9, 2020 at 4:41pm

The reason I like older autographs is because the person may have signed a lovely inscription on a photo or page. Compared to the street racker wanting his 20 guitar gaurds signed.

Comment by Mike Shepherd on February 9, 2020 at 5:57pm

I agree completely, Paul.  I once saw footage of George Lucas signing pickguards.  He appeared to be very confused.

Comment by John Michael on February 14, 2020 at 10:10pm

I feel your pain. Pacino can be very gracious with autographs, but his in person is less than desirable. The first time I met him I had recently acquired an original Playbill from one of his earliest plays, “The Indian Wants The Bronx” which is notable because his future “Godfather” co-star John Cazale also appeared in the play before they became famous. 

Pacino was in one of his wild signing modes signing whatever was in front of him by rushing to move from item to item after a Q&A. I put out my playbill thinking he would pause and get a kick out of it as it was not Godfather or Scarface related. He did pause, but not until after he signed it and realized “he ruined” a vintage piece of memorabilia. He actually looked at me and mouthed “I’m sorry” with genuine authenticity before signing stuff for others. At that moment I learned, unless you’re at an organized signing be prepared that you can get a rushed autograph even if it’s fairly calm situation and a unique item.

Comment by Mike Shepherd on February 15, 2020 at 2:06pm

That is a great story, John.  Many thanks for sharing it.  I am particularly impressed that he realized what he did, and apologized for it.  He gives every indication of being a very nice person.

Comment by John Michael on February 15, 2020 at 2:16pm

Thanks! Yeah it was a tough pill to swallow as I got a second autograph on “Angels in America” DVD which was drastically different despite being signed moments apart.

Pacino is great but trying to get a quality autograph is tough. It’s just funny how some of the biggest stars have bad graphs like George Clooney and Brad Pitt too despite being so darn friendly!

Comment by Mike Shepherd on February 15, 2020 at 2:24pm

I think it’s great that you had him sign an Angels in America DVD.  Did he react to it at all, or did he just keep signing down the line?  He is incredibly versatile as an actor.  It actually bothers me that he is typically remembered for his gangster roles.

Comment by John Michael on February 15, 2020 at 2:42pm

My reasoning sometimes is to bring a lesser known project, almost always something I prefer an entertainer for to start a conversation, which almost always gets them to open up. In the case of Al he was just in signing mode and trying to accommodate as many people as possible. In the case of Pacino, he’s such an icon even a brief moment and being in his presence is unbelievable. Still, not many people of his status still sign autographs and he is one of the few that has been doing it for 50years like Travolta.

Comment by Paul on February 15, 2020 at 2:54pm

Someone asked Gene simmons for a graph on the street, the autograph guy said to Gene im a collector and I wont sell it, Gene replied, yeah I promise I will pull out!

Comment by Mike Shepherd on February 15, 2020 at 3:07pm

I agree, John.  Thanks again for sharing.

Comment by Mike Shepherd on February 15, 2020 at 3:11pm

Gene Simmons sounds like a person who should realize that he is at a time in his life when many more people have no idea who he is than actually know who he is.  Thanks for sharing, Paul.


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