Frankly Speaking, January 11, 2016

The Golden Globe Awards:
My big embarrassment

Every year about this time, for the past 50 years, I get to laugh at myself all over again. And, thinking you might get a chuckle out of it too, I’ll share the following story with you from my memoirs:

I assume you’ve seen the glitz and glitter of the Academy Awards on TV. They start with the arrival of movie stars and fat cats in the movie industry. It’s the same every year: Long, sleek limos pull up to a cordoned off red carpet in front of the host theatre and discharge their celebrity passengers, much to the feverish delight of movie fans straining in the crowd for a glimpse of their favorite movie stars—especially of the female stars who are attired in expensive and fashionable styles of dress.

FalconNow, imagine seeing a star arriving at the curb and the red carpet, not in a flashy limo, but a small and dusty little red Ford Falcon. Well, that’s my story. It took place in the spring of 1965, shortly after I graduated from Denver University and started working in the Publicity Department at the Walt Disney Studio.



Mary Poppins

Dick McKay, the Disney Publicity Director, assigned me to take Karen Dotrice and her family to the Golden Globe Awards in Hollywood. Karen was the young girl who starred in Disney’s blockbuster movie, Mary Poppins, and the film was nominated in several Golden Globe Awards categories by the members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Obviously, it was a big affair for Walt Disney Productions and Karen Dotrice and her family.

The evening of the Golden Globes arrived and I picked up Karen, her little sister, her mother, and her grandmother at their house. It was all I could do to squeeze them into my two-door falcon (it was so crowded that purses had to go in the trunk). Though my passengers were very gracious about the whole thing, I had a strange feeling I had somehow dropped the ball.

The rest of the evening came off without a hitch—the nominees and clips from their pictures, the winners, the thank-you speeches, and the press conference afterwards.

The next morning Dick McKay called me to his office. The strange feeling I had the night before returned—big time! Dick let me know that Mrs. Dotrice had called to thank him for sending me over to escort them to the Golden Globes and that they had “a marvelous evening.” And Dick added (stifling a smile), “Next time call transportation and arrange for a limo ... and for something like this, rent a tux; it’s reimbursable, of course.”

I’ve always hoped that the Dotrices didn’t have big expectations that fateful night of making a grand appearance like other movie stars did.

People in Hollywood just didn’t drive little Ford Falcons, so I eventually traded mine in for a new 1966 Mustang. Really sporty for its time. Even so, whenever I needed to travel with a celebrity, I always heeded Dick McKay’s advice and called transportation to arrange for a chauffeured limo.

That 1966 Mustang was long ago towed to a bone yard. Today [2016] I drive a much newer Mustang—a 1977 Ghia. Let’s see...that makes it about 38 years old. No matter; it gets me from the ranch to town and back. I suppose if I ever need to, I could hire a fancy limo.—Frank Allnutt


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Frank Allnutt