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The Ann Sothern Show -- "The Lucy Story" (FULL!)


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Mary (the cousin) knew Ann's sisters Bonnie and Marion more than she knew Ann.  Before the benefit, she had gone down to see her in LA.  She's thinks that between then and the event, she had had some cosmetic work done.  I remember she had a pair of  small round scars on each side of her mouth that she tried vainly to cover with make-up.  

In 2014 dollars, the gala was $100 (buffet dinner and dancing to a small band included).  The acting workshop: $150 per day.  The tea was $60, so things were a bit steep.

The hospice was located in Sandy, Oregon a good 45 min-to-one hour drive from Portland, all highway, no freeway.   All of the events took place in Portland, except for the workshops at a community college about midway between the two cities.  So the Sandy locals were less likely to attend en masse.  As stated early, it wasn't really advertized the way it should have been.  The name "Maisie" wasn't a big draw.  Ann's name was in smaller print with a current (VERY airbrushed) small picture in the ad, which was no more than 2" by 2".   Don't know how many times it ran.

They ended up not selling many tickets.  I think they were giving away the acting workshop tickets, so nobody complained when Ann didn't show up the first day.  I'm sure those that actually paid got their money back.

The first event, the afternoon "Tea", was the worst.  This was a restaurant with many 60 round tables that held 8 people each.  Only 5 or 6 were filled.  Nobody had told Ann.  I have her on video rounding the corner as her music intro played and people applauding.  Ann's smile cracked ever so slightly when she saw the size of the crowd.  Started her talk with "My cousin tells me I'm still popular in Portland......(long pause and she surveys the room)....but somehow I doubt it."  The film was shown at this event too.

It didn't help that the weather was absolutely miserable the whole time she was here.  Cold and pouring down rain. 

Ann and Mary (who was about Ann's daughter's age) parted on good enough terms here that Ann invited her and her husband to Hawaii to stay at a condo loaned to Ann by a friend.  The condo turned out to be in a high rise in downtown Honolulu.  Ann and Mary (cousin) had a falling out.  They had been locking horns over little things.  Mary was no shrinking violet either.  But the camel back-breaking straw was, as Mary tells it: "I was fixing Ann some toast and asked if she wanted it buttered.  Ann said, 'That's a STUPID thing to ask'" and Mary had had ENOUGH and said "Ann Sothern! You have met your match!" .  Ann did not want to do any touring and Mary and husband did not want to be stuck in this condo--especially with HER--, which could have been anywhere, no ocean view, so they toured without her.  The good bye's were a bit stilted.  Mary said as they left, Ann stood at the door.  As they got on the elevator Mary looked back and Ann dramatically and slowly closed the door.

BUT there was a post script, Mary received a letter from Ann's maid, suggesting that "MISS Sothern's FAVORITE pair of panty hose" was missing and Mary may have "accidentally" packed them away in her suitcase, although the subtext was clear: she thought Mary took them (the gals were about the same size).   Mary didn't, and was outraged.  I was so amused by this letter that Mary gave it to me and I think I still have it somewhere.  And that ended Mary's relationship with Ann.  I received a Christmas card from Ann that year, so hastily sent one back to her, as I did the next year but never received another.

One more thing: seeing Ann with lashes and then without was the first time I realized how much they change a woman's appearance. 

My God Neil, get these stories in print somewhere, maybe a Lucy book?

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