Saturday, February 22, 2014

Degrees of Seperation - Part two of Three - Katherine Hepburn

Our storyteller continued.

"It was the final day of the conference and my magazine was hosting a cocktail party at the Waldorf" referring to the legendary, world famous New York hotel.

A doctor approached him. He explained that he had written a paper and did not have the opportunity to present it at the conference. He wondered if the magazine would consider it for publication. Our storyteller agreed to take a look at it. The doctor said that he was staying with a friend just a couple of blocks away. Would he mind coming with him so he could give him a copy of it. They left the hotel and made their way to the home where the doctor was staying.

They entered through the kitchen, which, like many houses in New York, was several steps below sidewalk level. The doctor's wife and a maid were in the kitchen setting up trays for a party which would be taking place there. They doctor led our storyteller into a hallway containing a staircase and gestured to a room off to one side. He asked him to wait there while he went upstairs to get a copy of the paper.

Our storyteller admitted that hind sight can be 20/20 but he distinctly remembers the room having a certain feeling about it which made him wonder whose home he was in. In the room were two tables, each of which held a book with a silver foil cover. One cover read "To Kate, From Her Crew, The Philadelphia Story". He told us that he thought perhaps the homeowner had written a story about Philadelphia. Turning his gaze to the other book the cover read "To Kate, From Her Crew, As You Like It." Looking back at the first book he saw, on the cover, the signature of actor Van Heflin. Returning to the second book he gingerly lifted the cover. On the first page was a well known studio portrait from Katherine Hepburn's famous Broadway production of the Shakespeare comedy.

He heard a noise in the hallway and moved to the door. The stage and screen legend was descending the stairs. Ms. Hepburn was notoriously frightened and suspicious of the public. He, being unknown to her, caused Ms. Hepburn to stop and retreat back a couple of steps. He quickly stammered that he was with the doctor who would be coming down with a paper he had written for him to review. She relaxed and asked him if he knew where the doctor's wife was. After informing her that she was in the kitchen she thanked him and swept past him into the kitchen.

The doctor returned with the paper and began to point out what he felt were the most important areas of his study. Our storyteller, stunned,  didn't hear a word of what the poor hapless man was saying.

They returned to the kitchen to leave. As they passed through the room the doctor introduced our storyteller to Hepburn saying "He's the editor of "The Cancer Review".

Hepburn's father and brother were both doctors.

"The Cancer Review", she replied. "Yes, I know it."

He explained, still stammering, that he had to return to the party he was hosting at the Waldorf.

Hepburn said "Why don't you stay for our party."

He politely declined, explaining that he was the host of the fete at the hotel and was obligated to return as soon as possible bidding the group farewell.

The group In our kitchen sat in absolute, rapt silence. Finally my roommate found his voice. From his lips came two words.



  1. I know all her lines from "The Lion in Winter" - I think that makes me no degrees of separation.

  2. That's not the way it works dude. I can recite, word for word, "All About Eve" but that doesn't make me Bette Davis!

  3. You are correct. You are Bette Davis but knowing the lines to All About Eve is not what makes it so.

    I'd have stayed for the party and I am not very assertive in situations such as this.