This morning I intended to post something completely different, but then my Dad turned up with an autographed photo of David Tennant that he had acquired for my son, who is a huge Dr Who fan and it reminded me of a very amusing family story that I have decided to tell instead.
My brother and I grew up in the Seventies when celebrities were far less approachable than they are today. There were no selfies or social media pages to contact people and celebrities were revered and respected a great deal. My brother and I loved Roger Moore. He was James Bond at the time and my brother also loved The Persuaders; a show about an English aristocrat and an American millionaire who come together to tackle crime – usually in some glamorous location on the Riviera. We decided to write Roger Moore a letter and tell him how much we admired him. I was about four and my brother, six. Every day we would seek out our postman to see if he had a reply for us.
A few weeks later, we received the most amazing response. It was a huge, life-size, signed poster of Roger Moore in his double denim attire for the film ‘Live and Let Die.’ We were astounded by this. Not only had Roger replied, but he had sent us this monumental signed poster, ‘To Sean and Elisabeth, Thank you for your lovely letter. Love from Roger Moore.’ We put it up pride of place in my brother’s bedroom and we would show it off to visitors and friends. People were very impressed. For a brief time, we almost basked in Roger’s celebrity, as we became known on our street as ‘That Family with a Roger Moore signed poster.’ However, after a couple of years, the poster started to look a little worn and thus we decided to take it down and store it away in the attic, so that it could be kept as a valuable souvenir.
Over the years, I frequently thought about that Roger Moore Poster. I once went to an autograph store in London and told the owner about my very valuable signed item. He advised me to hold onto it, as it would one day be worth a great deal. He claimed that it was rare for such a personalised response from Roger Moore. I knew it was safe in the attic and I intended it to stay there to protect it. I was looking forward to showing it to my children and eventually my grandchildren. Whenever ‘Live and Let Die’ came on television, I would take pride telling my children about the prized possession.
One day, many years later when I was all of about forty-five, I attended a family gathering and overheard my Dad talking to someone. He was chatting quite nonchalantly and happened by chance to mention the Roger Moore poster. I couldn’t quite believe my ears, when he happened to let slip, that the Roger Moore poster had been signed not by the great James Bond legend himself, but by a certain Mister J. Straw of Nottingham. Also known as my Dad. I was shocked.
“You mean all those years you let me believe that it was the Roger Moore who had signed that and it was you!’ I remarked in utter disbelief.
My Dad’s reply says a lot about him and really what a great parent he was,
“ I didn’t want to see you let-down.” He replied, “ There was no way that Roger Moore, the great Hollywood actor was going to reply to two little children in Nottingham. I wanted to make you happy and think that he had written back.”
As if to prove my Dad wrong, I wrote to Roger Moore directly through his agent. I related my story and I begged him to take pity on me and send a signed photograph. I waited and waited and waited some more.
Sadly, I never did get a response.
And thus, when my Dad turned up this morning with a signed photograph of David Tennant, there was only one thing I could say,
“This had better not be another Roger Moore!”