me, tracy

One of the great qualities that I love about my friend Tracy is her spontaneity.  Her ability to say yes, especially at really wacky requests.  Like a few weeks ago.  I woke up and my husband asked me what I wanted to do,  and when I told him, he looked at me cockeyed so I let the whole idea go. Hours went by.  And, I had just about dropped it when Tracy called and I told her what it was I was thinking could be fun.  “Let’s do it,” she responded.  I didn’t even think I had verbalized what the plan was.  Before you know it, just twenty minutes later, we met at a convenient spot between our two homes.  I hopped in her car and we headed to visit our friends, the Billys at the autograph show.

It’s crazy going to these events unless you are the person signing the autograph.  But I know that sometimes the celebrities want their real friends to visit.   And anyway, I’m a bit of a freak and when someone on Facebook has as an outgoing status like, “Everyone come see me at the celebrity autograph show, ” I think they are talking to me.  I’m not really delusional but they wrote this and I feel like it would be so nice if I did actually show up.

Me, Bill Mumy, Tracy Brooks Swope

Me, Bill Mumy, Tracy Brooks Swope

Quick digression: Tracy called me from her car a few months ago when I had been contemplating going out alone to see this woman singer that I barely know.  I had been sent one of those massive (every one of her 800 friends) invites on Facebook—it was another TOTALLY random and spontaneous yes from Tracy.  Next thing you know, we were in this bar on Lincoln Boulevard.   Tracy kept asking me who we were there to see perform and I just kept saying, “I don’t know, she’s married to a friend of mine.  She won’t even know who I am.”  And she didn’t really know who I was.  I think I’m going to start ignoring those invites.  Anyway, I only entertain going if it’s on my side of town.  Geography is the deciding factor. Except in the case of last night’s adventure.  Still digressing; stay with me.  My friend Janet’s daughter Annabel had invited me to a play, very deep in Hollywood.   I might have avoided the invitation had it only been through Facebook,  but Annabel e-mailed and texted me personally about it.  She clearly wanted me there.  I love her (she’s gorgeous and talented) and had to go.  On the way,  while driving on Sunset near where Tracy lives, I called her at 5:48 PM.   I noted the time.  “Tracy, where are you?”  “Home, but have to go get something to eat and then a screening.”  “OH, great!!  Wanna share one of those amazing fried chicken sandwiches at Son of a Gun?  I’m headed to a play.”  Guess what the answer was.  By 7:00 we were done eating and headed in different directions.

Signed Dino, Desi and Billy pic!

Signed Dino, Desi and Billy pic!

Back to the autograph show.  Just as we pulled up to the Westin hotel, I warned Tracy we would not only have to pay to get in but also pay for parking.  She was adamant that this could not happen.  Tracy had just produced a film with an actress that was here signing autographs.   She did bring her some flowers so she told the parking guys that we just needed to drop something off with someone in the building.  They gave us Doris Day parking right in front of the hotel, which was great.  Next move Tracy had was to tell the people selling tickets that she was Tuesday Knight’s producer and just visiting for a moment.  Before we had to conjure up that story, we run into one of the Billys (Mumy) coming down an escalator and he escorts us in.  Another freebie.  Good going so far.  I see the other Billy (Hinsche) and he’s chatting it up with everyone there.  Since we don’t plan on staying long, I snap some quick photos of Tracy, each Billy and me.  Then we walk around the large room and I keep hearing people yell, “TRACY!”  At each booth, all these stars/ex stars are old friends of Tracy’s and want to see her.  It’s like walking the red carpet with a famous person.  At one of the booths, I recognize a name: Brooke Bundy.  When we are introduced,  I remind her my first job in the world was being a babysitter for her very small daughter.  What I don’t remind her of is that I was not in the least bit mature enough to take the job.  She would be working all day on a soap opera set and I, only 13 at the time, was in full charge.  I wasn’t even able to be alone in my own home I was such a fearful little thing and now I’m in charge of an infant.  She used to walk across the street from her apartment on Roxbury Drive and pluck young girls as babysitters.  I think I lasted a few days.  I was way out of my league.  However, I would continue babysitting jobs until at least 16 years old and never really matured enough for the responsibility.   Every single time I babysat at night, I called the police insisting someone was trying to break in.  I would hear noises and just freak myself out, thinking it was robbers, using the children as a human shield until the police arrived.

Tracy, Billy Hinsche and me at the autograph show

Tracy, Billy Hinsche and me at the autograph show

I was ready to leave the event but Tracy kept getting pulled in every direction by all her friends and fans.   Clearly Tracy needs her own booth at one of these events. Finally, we do leave and run into a HUGE line of fans, real ones.  And at the head of the long line is David Hasselhoff signing autographs.  He yells, “TRACY!” and here we go again.  I look WAY up at David; he’s extra tall.  I remind him that we knew each other long before his fame, when we both lived on Santa Monica Beach.

Tracy, in a room filled with once famous actors from the 70’s, and even earlier, said she felt she had just stepped into the gates of heaven and was being reunited with all her old performing buddies.  Yes, very surreal.

Meet Tracy Brooks Swope. Watch clip below!!!

Meet Billy Hinsche and the mullet he wore in the 80s when he was in the Beach Boys!!


Meet Bill Mumy.  Here is his new song and video, a tribute to JFK!!!

Food.  Try Son of a Gun on Third a bit east of Orlando in West Hollywood.  Go for their fried chicken sandwich.  Or try something healthier.  The food is spectacular.  Here is how I heard of it–the favorite friends of mine who work at my oh so favorite spot Hart and the Hunter told me this is where they go to eat on their days off.

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7 Responses to “Fangirls”

  1. Tracy Brooks Swope Avildsen says:

    So sweet of you to write this..
    What fun we always have at a moments notice…
    Always an adventure with YOU!!!
    Love reading all your blogs…
    What a surprise when it was ME
    you were writing about…Wow
    Better than a Eulogy …
    At least I am able to feel your love and give it right back to you
    Thank you so much my sweet BFF…
    I am completely honored by your feelings into words that you shared…

  2. kimberly clark says:

    Fredde! I love this one. I always called the police when I babysat too, finally I just gave up and thought doing commercials was easier!
    You and Tracy should have a show about your weird little excursions around town, I’d watch it! It would be a Huell Houser type of California Obscure Showbiz goings on.
    I love you both, your loyalty and devotion to friends is inspiring.
    xo Kim

  3. Mumy says:

    Wow! Finally, I’ve made the bigtime. Proud to be a part of this number. As always, you rock, Ms.Duke. (Tracy too!)

  4. libbie aroff-lane says:

    Fred, Hilarious! Love love your clever ways!!!!! Special shout out to the beautiful Tracey in that impressive clip! xxx

  5. Pauli says:

    Your ability to express the “now” against the nostalgic glimpses into the 70’s is really amazing, Fredde. You are truly the friend that everyone has always wanted, full of joie de vivre and kindness. Lovely tribute to Tracy who obviously should star in her own retro series – great clip!

  6. rex says:

    all of you – each one of you – rock and rock some more. happy to see you all and read this here. wonderful people…. best wishes.

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