Sunday, September 10, 2017

GREGORY PECK takes me under his wing!

(My granddaughter Faye is enamored with many TV and Film stars and I'm always embarrassed when I have to admit to her that I have no idea who they are… so this is my payback to her. Have you ever heard of this guy, Faye?)
In 1955, after 4 yrs. in college and working in a Radio Station and an advertising agency, I decided to leave the East Coast and went to California in search of a job. I was very lucky to be hired as head of the Publicity Dept. for KEYT…a small television station in Santa Barbara.
I was barely 23 and in on the ground floor of the burgeoning TV era…but I was a complete novice as to the workings of a publicity department. I couldn’t believe it when my boss told me that the MGM movie “Moby Dick” was going to premier in Santa Barbara and that our TV station was hosting it and my job was to act as liaison between the stars of the movie and the press.
The big day arrived and I went down to meet the train that would bring everyone to Santa Barbara. Of course the place was packed and it was all I could do to stay at the front of the line to welcome the cast and crew. Then all of a sudden there he was, stepping off the train… Gregory Peck …he seemed bigger than life to me and I felt my legs quake and I was afraid I was going to faint. I pulled myself together and managed to get his attention. In a very quivering voice I introduced myself and explained that I was brand new at KEYT and had no idea how to proceed.
I will never forget what happened next. He put his arm around me and started walking with me into the crowd of reporters. Of course they started to bombard him with questions but his only answer was, “Sorry, you’ll have to clear that through Virginia. We are guests of KEYT and she will arrange it all for you.” This was not technically true but it certainly worked like magic for me….and he was true to his word. I don’t know about the rest of the cast, but no one talked to “Captain Ahab” without clearing it first with me!

Moby Dick” is a John Huston film classic that is often replayed today. Gregory Peck’s masterful portrayal of the crusty Captain Ahab is spellbinding…but nothing compared to the actual man. He truly was, and is, my only filmdom hero.



Blogger Marie Smith said...

He sounds as wonderful as was his acting, Ginnie. Great memory!

4:21 PM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

(once again I hit the wrong button and deleted AC's comment. it is)

Boy oh boy, those kind of things would never happen today in our highly scripted world. Another fine memory, Ginnie.

7:23 PM  
Blogger possum said...

Great post Ginnie, great memory! Sounds like a great guy!
Mostly I remember him from To Kill A Mockingbird. So I ordered Moby Dick since you seem to appreciate it so much. As you know, I seldom watch movies and not much TV. I have stacks of movies here that I just don't seem to find the time to watch.
As for Faye, I wonder what she thinks would make someone like an orca. Sounds like an interesting concept, an interesting girl.

5:08 AM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

Just love hearing that someone that handsome, talented and famous was also a really neat guy. He was one of my favorite actors. Lucky you to have met such a winner.

1:15 PM  
Blogger NCmountainwoman said...

What a fascinating life you have led, Ginnie. I recently watched a bio of Gregory Peck. He was indeed a fine person by all accounts.

6:33 AM  
Blogger joared said...

Always nice to hear stories about famous people who behave in a generous manner as he did to your honesty instead of throwing a tantrum as some might do. I expect it simplified matters for him to make clear everyone must go through one person and you learned how to handle such situations. Don't you love it when you're thrust into work situations and have to "fly by the seat of your pants"! My first weeks on the job in TV were the weirdest I'd ever experienced -- crazy business in those early days and may still be.

12:07 AM  
Blogger troutbirder said...

What a wonderful memory! I'm sure I always thought of him as a clean cut All American type guy. And when my mom named my younger brother Gregory it had to be true. And how you just verified it....:)

4:34 PM  
Blogger Big John said...

Did you know that 'Gregory Peck' means 'Neck' in Cockney rhyming slang, as in " Gerrit darn yer Gregory" ... meaning "eat it" ?

7:03 AM  

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