It was in November of 1965. I was 14 years old but a late bloomer and immature for my age. I loved Disney movies and in particular anything with Hayley Mills. I had seen her previous films as often as possible. Then I heard that she was to attend the premier of “That Darn Cat” in Detroit at the now gone Ford Auditorium.
I wanted to go more than anything I had ever wanted. I saved money from my paper route to pay for the ticket. Now I needed someone to go with me. I was hopeful but my request was a tall order. For whatever reason Mom was not interested. But Tom said he would do it. I was thrilled. For weeks I fantasized about meeting Hayley Mills. Of course that was never going to happen but I was a 14 year old with an imagination. I had my camera ready and that special Friday night arrived.
It was November 12th 1965. I dressed up and Tom and I headed downtown. It was very kind of him to do this as it was more than a little chore. We parked after some time and walked to the entrance. There were crowds of people and Klieg lights. I waited in the line with our money as Tom stood to one side. I approached the window stunned to find out that it was a benefit, there was a surcharge of $5 per ticket. I was crushed. The tickets price was only a couple of dollars so I knew it was not going to happen.
Tom must have seen that I was crestfallen. He stepped up and pulled out his wallet and paid the extra $10. Ten dollars was a lot of money in those days. I never had to ask and he never even suggested any expectation of repayment. I have never forgotten his amazing act of kindness. Plus he didn’t lay any guilt trip on me at all. We went in and although we were quite a distance back we could clearly see Hayley Mills when she came out before the movie. He laughed heartily even though it was kind of a lame movie. I know he wanted me to enjoy myself.
This was as close to Hollywood as I had ever gotten and it would not have happened were it not for Tom and his kind heart and generosity. It is funny the things we remember. It was an act of kindness to me that still brings me to tears. I hope I thanked you enough Tom. I love you.
Below is a blurb from the local press on Nov. 18th 1966.