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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 Scott Paul on March 30, 2024 at 6:30am

A few years ago MikeP and I worked on a Redd Foxx signature study here on AML he had two different styles of check signing.  As far as the different styles that came out of TTM from Doris Day I am not sure what to think.  Certainly, is a very interesting topic. History For Sale does have some of her checks both the early ones signed Doris Day and the later signed as Doris Day Melchoir.  There is a difference in them.   Below are from History For Sale on the left is 1947 and right 1986.  The one at bottom is 1970 with her married name.  There are other exemplars on the site.

Comment by meggs on March 30, 2024 at 10:01am

My items were all obtained between 1994 and 2008. Over that time I sent her 10 requests and a total of 18 items. Off the top of my head, I probably sent to her more than anyone else ever. She always responded and returned my items signed. Response times varied between 9 days and just under 5 months. Four distinct styles of capital "D"s were received from these requests.

A ton of exemplars on the History For Sale site, thank you Scott for the heads up about this excellent site for research. I had heard of them but had no idea how much they have. 

Definitely high quality stuff, Eric...and priced accordingly. 

Comment by Scott Paul on March 31, 2024 at 3:32pm

Here is my Doris Day check signed with her married name in 1963.

Comment by meggs on March 31, 2024 at 7:58pm

Interesting, on the Melcher signed checks she compressed the Doris Day and also slanted it to the right.

Comment by Scott Paul on April 1, 2024 at 5:19am

I never studied Doris Day closely and bought the check on a whim many years ago.   I was going to get Rock Hudson, but prices were too high and my interest too low.  I believe a Doris Day signature study would be warranted in light of the many different styles.  There are numerous examples of her checks on eBay.   I no longer have Worthpoint but if anyone does a check of any John Verzi cards for her would be good.  I am certain Verzi would have gotten her in-person.   He often dated things.   There is one from the Jack Kuster collection on eBay.  

Comment by meggs on April 1, 2024 at 6:18am

You are a wealth of information, Scott! I'm assuming the two names you share were big IP collectors back in the day? 

Worthpoint would be nice, but I'm way too small time to pay that steep monthly fee. Might not be a bad idea to take advantage of their come on offer with a virtual credit card and look up Doris sales as well as some seldom seen items I'd like to put up for sale.

I never submitted any examples to JSA except version 1 because what I had researched on the Markes site and elsewhere led me to believe the consensus was that the other versions were not considered authentic and at $15 or $20 a pop secretarial submission failures can get expensive. And my conversation with the JSA authenticator confirmed their stance.

Comment by Scott Paul on April 1, 2024 at 7:14am

John Verzi was probably one of the largest mostly in-person collectors. Tom Kramer and his partner bought his collection of over 24,000 cards. Jack Kuster was another big collector in the 60s and 70s. The Harvey, Rhoda and Milton Kuflik collection much of it in-person is another huge recent one to come to market. There were quite a few big collectors from the 20s to 2000s that have had collections come up for sale in the past 20 years or so. Some were mostly in person like the Zane, Marshall and Gold collections. Others such as Harris, Hanson, Corriveau, Moorehouse, Perkins and Lures were primarily TTM. Those sometimes had secretarial/preprint especially with big names. On the plus side often TTM had ALS or TLS that are useful.

Comment by meggs on April 1, 2024 at 9:15am

Interesting. I've always wondered how JSA and PSA sourced all their exemplars.

Comment by Scott Paul on April 1, 2024 at 11:28am

I think the big three TPAs keep their exemplar files pretty secret. I suspect they contain both physical and digital exemplars. I find it hard to believe they have physical exemplars of every person they authenticate. I do not know if they still authenticate some well-known secretarial signatures like Charlton Heston, Andy Griffith, Jackie Gleason, Tony Curtis among others or not. All three at one time used to. One hopes they no longer do. Dr. Brucato's CEAD site with exemplars is now gone. It was a very good site.

Comment by meggs on April 1, 2024 at 12:24pm

The problem is that while the big three may have now corrected their errors in authenticating secretarials with the actors you mentioned, all the previous sec'ys they OK'd before they realized are still out there. Lots of secretarial Debbie Reynolds they've authenticated out there too, in fact when I looked a while back the majority of the her PSA items I saw listed online were secretarials.  

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