Dear Richard Denning

When I was in the 8th grade I started collecting autographs. I don’t know why. I just did. I would write letters to celebrities and ask them for an autographed picture. Sometimes they would be long heartfelt letters about how much I enjoyed their work or accomplishments. Other times they would just be

Dear Celebrity,
I am a big fan. May I please have an autographed picture?
Sincerely Yours,

Sometimes I would get a picture and sometimes I wouldn’t. I would write to actors, musicians, astronauts, politicians, famous scientists… everybody.
Sometimes I would write to older celebrities that I thought would die soon. I figured that I might as well try to get their autograph before they died.

Sometimes the signed photos would be personalized. Other times they would just be those facsimile photos. Sometimes they were signed by their secretaries. A few times they were those stamped autographs; e.g. Walter Cronkite and Carol Burnett.

Occasionally I would get a letter from them; Marsha Warfield, Dave Thomas, Leona Helmsley (to this day I have no clue why I wrote to her). Sometimes they would ask for me to send money for the signed picture; Jonathan Harris.

One of my favorite responses was from Bobby (Boris) Pickett of Monster Mash fame.
First of all, he had to try 3 different pens before he found one that worked. And second, I got the autograph anyway.

As far as the address, I got it out of one of those celebrity address books that I had ordered from the back of one of those entertainment magazines.

Anyway, he sounded kinda paranoid so I never wrote back. I felt kind of bad about it since I was his pal and all. I wonder how long it was before he stopped waiting to here from me?

He died in 2007 due to complications from leukemia. Well that’s depressing.

target earth poster

One of my favorite movies is Target Earth. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen it, but it’s a lot. One of the actors in the movie is Richard Denning. In addition to science fiction and noir movies, he played the governor of Hawaii on the original Hawaii Five-0.

I came across his address in one of the celebrity address books that I had, so I decided to write to him.

denning 1

A while later I got this letter.
You can click on it to make it easier to read.


I was so depressed after I read it. Especially the PS. He was all excited and then, BAM…no, it’s not a letter from a long lost friend who was best man at my wedding, but some stupid fan asking for an autograph.

Not to mention the part about all of the strength it took just to accomplish the basic tasks of living.


After that, I never wrote another letter to a celebrity asking for an autograph.


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