You never call…

Today I was talking to a group of people and I mentioned that my favorite melody was Somewhere Over the Rainbow. I then told them that when I was a child I used to love the fact that the great Harold Arlen (who composed the melody to Y.P. Harburg’s beautiful lyrics) was still listed in the Manhattan phone book under “Song Writers”. Presumably you could just call him up, should ever you need to hire someone to write you a song.

I never did call his number when I was a child, although I was tempted. Simply knowing that the great man was just a phone call away dazzled my young mind. And now of course it is far too late – he has gone somewhere over the rainbow, way up high.

I asked the group of people I was talking to whether anybody else had ever looked up the number of a famous person in the phone book when they were a kid. Nobody admitted it (I suspect some of them were holding out on me) except for one woman who said that when she was a child she had looked up Janet Jackson’s phone number, and sure enough there it had been, right there in the phone book. She said that she never actually called Janet up, but it was just great to know that she could, if she ever ireally needed to.

Has anybody else ever looked up the number of a famous person in the phone book and actually found it? And have you ever been tempted to call them up?

3 Responses to “You never call…”

  1. Zabador says:

    Somewhere over the rainbow is also one of my favorites :-). About the phone book, no, it absolutely never came to my mind to search for some famous folk. I suppose it’s because as far as I can recall, it was always clear to me that actors where acting and not ‘real persons’ and I have never been a fan of anybody for this reason. I suppose I wasn’t too much into music then. But even now, I do not really make a difference between people and famous people. They are just regular persons to me…. so unless I need to contact them, I won’t look up for their phone number.

  2. Bernadette says:

    Once when studying with Stella Adler, I was tempted to ask for Marlon Brando’s number but I never got up the nerve to do it. Looking back, I should have because she would have shared it with me…But I remember thinking, “What would I ask him?” The fear of being in front of one of the world’s greatest actors stopped me at such a young impressionable age…Now I would not give it a second thought.

  3. admin says:

    Yes, I agree. I’m pretty sure I understood that distinction when I was a kid – actors are real people with private lives, and not the characters they play.

    In the case of Harold Arlen, when I stumbled on his phone book listing, my child mind was thinking that you could call him up not because he was a famous person, but as a working song writer, and you could pay him to write you a song. I figured that was why he was listed in the phone book, under “Song Writer”, and I just thought it was incredibly cool that such a giant – the man who actually wrote the music to “The Wizard of Oz” – lived among us, right in my home town, as a regular working person.

    Thinking about it now, I realize that I don’t remember having ever proactively looked up any famous people in the phone book. In that case, I had just stumbled upon Harold Arlen’s name, and had been surprised to see it there. I guess I’m just not cut out for life as a stalker. :-)

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