HOLLYWOOD - (NEA) - "Which car will we take?" asked Bobby Darin. And, with him, it's not just a question of choosing between two.
Darin, Dave Gershenson (his press agent and friend), Robert Goulet and I had driven over from the Andy Williams rehearsal to the Darin house on Toluca Lake in Bobby's Cadillac convertible. The one with the dents in the side and the phone in the front. The bumming-around-in car, Bobby calls it.
And, we'd stopped off and bought eight hamburgers and driven on to the house and sat on the terrace and had hamburgers and beer and had the sights pointed out. The mansion across the lake, for example, belonged to a man who built his fortune on hamburger stands. And it looked as if he ordered the house and said he wanted one - with everything on it.
Now it was time to head back for the NBC studios in Burbank and more rehearsing for Darin and Goulet.
"Which car will we take?" Darin asked. "Sandy (his wife, Sandra Dee) has the Chevy. We could take the Mustang. Or the Lincoln. Or-hey, how about my baby?"
And he pointed to the newest one, the Rolls.
"No," he said, "nobody is allowed in that except they wear a tie. We better take the Caddy again."
So we piled into the Caddy and went back to NBC. Darin and Goulet were the guest stars on this Williams show, which will be seen probably sometime in December. It should be a good one, for all three of these men can sing and they get along with a good, light-hearted relationship.
While we had been having lunch, Darin and Goulet had begun a friendly argument about the relative merits of living in California and New York. Darin, of course, is pro-West and Goulet pro-East. And never the twain shall meet.
They'd also discussed the hard facts of life about being a celebrity, when it comes time for charity drives. Darin said he had to give between $10,000 and $12,000 annually to charities, because the charities expect large sums from stars.
"And," he said, "you'd be surprised how many of them get nasty if they don't think you've kicked in enough." They talked about the high cost of golf club memberships, too. And then we all talked about the peculiarity of names - how "Robert" fits Goulet but "Bobby" fits Darin. Everybody calls both of them Bob or Bobby, yet in billing it's always Robert Goulet and Bobby Darin.
"I tried to change my billing to 'Robert Darin' when I made my first picture," Bobby said. "But the producer wouldn't do it. What it boiled down to, of course, was that he agreed with me that I should change, but he didn't want his picture to be used for the experiment.
"I'm going to have to change it, though. I want to be acting when I'm 65, and I can't very well be a 65-year-ol 'Bobby.' One day soon, it will happen by itself."
And you know it will happen. For Darin is a determined sort. From a teen-age idol kind of singer, he's become an actor with an Oscar nomination under his belt, a performer of stature in every medium, and a genuinely nice guy.
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