Gabrielle Ray

'Gabrielle Ray said, 'I am always dancing; I love it! When I don't dance, I sing. What else is there to do?'

Autograph Hunters – The Era – 1909 / 1934

Twenty-Five Years Ago

October 23, 1909

Chatting with an interviewer, Miss Gabrielle Ray describes the attentions which the implacable autograph-hunters devote to her. She says: “By every post and every foreign mail there flows in a stream of postcards, to which one’s autograph is required, until one wonders where it is going to end. I do not believe a day ever passes without at least fifty cards reaching me with requests for my signature.”

“The Era’s” suggestion then, in order to cope with the autograph nuisance, was to advise the victims to demand a fee of one shilling to be paid to the Autograph Tax Fund connected with the Actors’ Benevolent Fund. This paper’s attitude on the matter has not altered with the passing years, as witness our leading article on the subject, printed in our issue of September 26 last.

The Era, Wednesday 24th October 1934

Autograph Pests – Make Them Pay

Most occasions on which stars of stage and screen become accessible to the public are increasingly marred by the presence and practice of the autograph hunter, whose curious vanity is indulged to an excess that might fairly be described as a nuisance. Any journalist who has tried to interview a visiting or departing star will agree that the autograph hunter has made the job practically impossible, as the star is usually mobbed by a herd of frantic females and ditto males anxious to secure a signature at all costs of insistence. Essentially, it is a form of flattery to be asked for one’s signature, and that, coupled with the natural desire of a public celebrity to avoid giving offence by refusing, accounts for the tolerance shown to the autograph pest. The plague however, has reached a point which, in our opinion, ceases to be flattery, and has become a mere craze for collection, in which it is impossible to distinguish the genuine “fan” from the person who collects signatures with the sole object of amassing a total that will enable him or her to score off other collectors.

It is a practice among the more hardy collectors to send their autograph books by post to celebrities and ask the victim to pass the book round among other celebrities, than which surely impudence could go no further. The scope of the nuisance is indicated in the statement that one American film star, during a recent two months holiday, wrote his autograph 10,000 times.

It is difficult to suggest how the craze might be checked, because it is next to impossible to distinguish between the genuine “fan,” whom the celebrity is usually willing to oblige, and the mere collector of signatures.

We think, however, that ways and means could be found of organising this traffic with a view to making the autograph hunter pay for his cheek and his collection, and handing over the proceeds to entertainment charities. We do not suggest that there should be a scale of charges based on the market values of different celebrities, though the possibility is not wholly remote. But it should not be impossible to establish a system, possibly a central bureau, which would enable the collector to obtain for a small fee the signature that he requires. That would not discourage the genuine “fan,” and when the bureau became generally known, it would enable the celebrity to refer the collecting pest to the proper channel without risk of appearing churlish by refusal. The suggestion is recommended to the consideration of the energetic organisers of our entertainment charities.

The Era, Wednesday 26th September 1934



June 3, 2016 - Posted by | Actress, Autograph, Biography, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Era, Uncategorized | , , , , , , ,


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