I Have A Fan!
Somewhere in North Carolina I have a fan. A full on, buy the paperback not the e-book fan. I mean, I have lots of readers, even a few scattered paperback purchasers, but only the one who has purchases consistently, out of the blue, not in response to any ads or promos.
The magic of attraction, in this case to a storytelling voice, a set of characters and their life adventures is a mystery worth examining. Why do we find ourselves fans of a singer, an actor, a genre? What is it about the posture of Cary Grant, the twinkle in William Powell’s eye, the drape of Veronica Lake’s hair, the fit of Ann Sheridan’s sweater – oh never mind, forget that one. There was always, is always some barely definable thing that draws a diverse group together in admiration of a talent (Elvis’s voice and his hip action) that cause us to buy tickets, indeed to stand in long lines to buy tickets.
It has been the talent to make us laugh, to make us care, to make us think “if only my husband looked like that” that caused women to swoon over Errol Flynn or Tyrone Power. It was Marilyn Monroe’s talents that got us into the theater seat and laughing our heads off at The Seven Year Itch and Some Like it Hot. Fans bought tickets to Spartacus because Kirk Douglas had blue eyes and a cleft chin and really cute knees, never mind that he was a fine actor, that was a bonus. The fact that the film had a great story, we found out after the credits rolled.
Marlon Brando had a slow smile and eyes you could dive into. Marlene Dietrich had attitude. Myrna Loy had big eyes and a fascinating break in her voice. John Wayne looked like a Greek statue and walked like a girl and we loved him, even when he looked like a worn mountain he still walked like a girl and we still loved him. Roland Coleman’s voice enthralled. Katherine Hepburn required our admiration and got it. Shirley Temple rolled her eyes and the world signed on to The Good Ship Lollypop. Sean Connery said, “Bond, James Bond,” and we were bonded for life.
The magic that makes us a fan of a talent; an actor, or story teller, a Picasso or a Pavarotti is beyond definition. It is a tie, a spark that flashes between the drinker and the wine. For the teller of a tale, the actor, the painter, the singer, the maker of the feast, the fan is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. A pot that gets bigger and deeper as the years roll by long after the talent has ceased to be.