TV Guide (June 18, 1955)

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In 1947, when very few people had ever heard of a night-club piano player named Liberace, a Chicago switchboard operator named Kitty Pastore paid him the supreme compli¬ ment. She asked his permission to organize the first Liberace Fan Club. Thanks to television, a recent count showed a total of 300 Liberace and brother George Liberace fan clubs in the United States and Canada—two of them with more than 3000 members each. Exactly how many card-carry¬ ing Liberace fans there are, not even Liberace will estimate. But, this is for sure: as a spawning ground for the plug-and-swoon societies, TV is rap¬ Idols: Liberace takes ti gift for char¬ ity from Ruth Forqueran, who built a fan club of 3,000. At right, Lu¬ cille Ball is flanked by Marion Or- ing, left, who is head of the Lucy —Desi Fan Club, and Marilyn Hill. < Faithful: Martha Raye with Vito Rug¬ giero, left, and Lindy Aden. Since 1938, they've headed her fan club. idly catching up with the movies. The presidents of 24 local and na¬ tional TV fan clubs are listed among the 65 dues-paying members of the International Fan Club League, one of a half-dozen organizations made up of the presidents of fan clubs of all types, from movie stars to wrestlers. T^he International Association of Fan Clubs, a similar but newer organiza¬ tion, numbers 12 TV stars’ fan clubs in its rapidly growing membership. Needless to say, few stars—or their press agents—are taking drastic steps to dam this flood. “Scratch a fan,” say veteran press agents, “and the box office bleeds.” Roy Rogers even hires a professional editor to put out an illustrated eight-page tabloid news¬ paper for the members of his fan club every two months. He has printed and mailed as many as 130,000 copies per issue—^perhaps the largest organ¬ ized fan following in the industry. A fan worth having, however, re¬ quires very little encouragement. He may be from six to 15 years old, like most members of Rogers’ loyal fol¬ lowing; a widow with a 12-year-old son, like Irene Jackson, the president of Hugh O’Brian’s fan club and a member of 20 other clubs; a 39-year- old window-trimmer like A1 Diller, a personal friend of James Brown (Lt. Rip Masters on Rin Tin Tin) ; a Kan¬ sas City lumbermen’s bookkeeper, like Vivian Hewitt, current head of the International Fan Club League; a publisher’s daughter like Marilyn Hill, founder and executive secretary of the International Association of Fan Clubs, or an 18-year-old high school senior, like Ruthie Forqueran, daugh¬ ter of a Westchester, Cal., meatcutter. Take Ruthie, for example. The sight of Liberace on TV in continued 5