Rock Idols Then & Now (Volume 1) - 1973
For once there wasn't any smog in Los Angeles, and Bobby Sherman was really digging it. He was cruising the town in his baby-blue Rolls Royce, humming a tune and grooving on the day. He couldn't believe it - clear air in L.A. "Must be some sort of occasion," he thought.
Actually, it was an occasion, but Bobby didn't know it yet. He thought he was going home to flop on his couch and take a nap. That's exactly what he was doing, in fact, when the telephone rang.
"Oh, Bobby, I'm so glad you're home. The plumbing is leaking again and Mr. Finch is out of town. Can you come right down?"
It was Shelley, the girl who had the apartment below his. She was an actress, but like most actresses she was usually out of work, and so she worried a lot about things like the plumbing. When Bobby walked into Shelley's apartment, he realized that he would worry about the plumbing too, especially if the shower was making the sink overflow like Shelley's.
He messed around a little without any tools, and was about to give up in favor of calling a plumber when Shelley's girl friend, a tall, gorgeous girl with dimpled cheeks and the most beautiful hair he'd ever seen, appeared around the corner.
"Excuse me, I'm a mess," she said in a voice that turned his knees to water and made him wish he could take a swim in a Coca-Cola or something crazy like that.
"Gee, you look beautiful," he blurted out. "You look great. You have nice hair." Bobby had the sinking feeling that he was making a complete fool of himself.
"But my hair is all wet - I was just taking a shower," she answered him, looking to see if he wasn't just a bit touched in the head, he imagined.
"Oh, yes, so you have," he replied, trying to regain his cool. "Uh, Shelley...I'll be right back with some tools," he called, and rushed to the garage.
Back in Shelley's apartment, loaded down with pliers, wrenches, and assorted tools, Bobby was a plumbing whiz. He couldn't drag himself away from Shelley's fantastic friend until he'd fixed every faucet in sight and was weighing the idea of installing indoor sprinklers just to stick around.
"Gee, I hope I get to see you again," he told the gorgeous girl. "How about tomorrow?"
Bobby felt like dancing on air when she accepted, and when she accepted again for the next day, he couldn't believe it.
The girl, of course, was Patti Carnel - now Bobby Sherman's wife. After a whirlwind courtship and a lot of soul-searching, they married secretly and kept their secret from the public for over a year. But Bobby and Patti's marriage wouldn't have been a secret without the help of a lot of sympathetic people - most of them in the position to blow the Shermans' secret at a moment's notice.
When Bobby and Patti first fell in love, it was obvious to everyone who knew them at all. Patti almost glowed in the dark, she was so happy, and Bobby seemed to grow more sure of himself at every step. Though he went to great pains to keep his romance out of the newspapers and magazines, he was more casual around town. More than one person was startled to see Bobby walking down Hollywood Boulevard with Patti or standing in line at the bank. Usually, that just isn't done.
At first, Bobby attempted to tell press people that it was all a rumor, that he wasn't dating Patti Carnel. "We're just friends," he told reporters. "That's all, just friends. I date lots of other girls."
But the truth of the matter was that Bobby didn't date lots of other girls. Other girls didn't interest him; he wanted to be with Patti every minute of the day. He thought he might like to be with her every minute of his life, but it was too soon to mention that out loud. He shouldn't even think such thoughts.
Bobby and Patti's growing romance was making both sets of parents exceedingly happy. They'd get together in the evening and have family parties. During the daytime, Patti and Bobby would be recording together at Bobby's parents' house.
Eventually the time came when reporters - some of whom were Bobby's very best friends - insisted on knowing the truth. Was Bobby dating Patti steadily? Were they planning to be engaged or married?
Both Bobby and Patti were terribly upset at this. On the one hand, Bobby didn't want to continue to fib to his friends. It wasn't fair to his public to hide the news of his and Patti's happiness, but on the other hand, announcements by stars of their engagement or marriage usually precipitate lots of gloomy letters and threats of suicide from heartbroken girl fans who can't accept that their idol has finally found a girl to love him. Bobby didn't think he could face the rigors of a recording and performing career doubled with a television show all topped off by a huge public outburst at his announcement that he was in love with Patti.
So Patti took matters in her own hands. "Bobby, we've got to break up," she told him one afternoon.
This same thought had occurred to Bobby, but he'd quickly put it aside. He couldn't break up with the girl of his dreams - he just couldn't, that was all, and he told Patti that.
"Patti, we both love each other more than anyone else in the world, and we can't throw this away. If necessary, I'll throw my career away to marry you - I mean it, I will," he told her.
The two talked all afternoon and late into the evening. They investigated every possible direction their love could take - even to the point of Patti moving to another town and Bobby flying there on weekends or between concerts. But both their families were in L.A. And Bobby and Patti knew they'd be heartbroken at this arrangement. There had to be another way.
Bobby had never felt so trapped in his whole life. Even as an unsuccessful singer trying to make a comeback after his role on Shindig, he hadn't been so depressed or felt so alone. He was saddled with a career that seemed to demand that he be single, available to every girl in her fantasies. His record company, his television company, his manager, didn't want to even hear the words "girl friend." One mention and they started talking about how his sales would drop. Bobby was sick of it all. He wanted to take Patti off to a small town and live like simple people. One afternoon he wildly suggested this to Patti. "We'll run away - get jobs where we find them" he said excitedly. "We'll be free."
Luckily, Patti was able to think about the situation with a level head (something she's noted for). "No, we can't do that. We'd always regret running away," she told Bobby. "There's got to be another way. It will just take patience and time."
So Bobby, fortified by Patti's wonderful understanding, began to look for another way.
First off, he and Patti had to cool it in public. It was still O.K. to be seen together
in the afternoons, he decided, but evenings were out, and so were formal occasions. Patti agreed wholeheartedly, but still, the night that Bobby went to the Grammy Awards without her, she cried herself to sleep.
That had been a particularly difficult event. The Grammies are well attended by everyone in Hollywood, and they're televised, too. Bobby wanted to take Patti and show her off to the world, but he knew that one more appearance with Patti might touch off all kinds of fireworks with fans, companies and managers.
He thought that perhaps Patti could wear a wig and different style clothes, but he realized after he'd had Patti try them on that this wouldn't do. She was too beautiful not to be recognized.
At first, Bobby considered inviting a girl friend of Patti's to accompany him to the Grammies. But the more he thought about this, the more he didn't like the idea. Patti was willing to go along with whatever he suggested, but he knew how bad she'd feel if her girl friend got to go out partying and getting photographed and everything while she stayed at home. Though Patti urged him to take Shelley along, Bobby firmly insisted he wouldn't. Instead, he'd do the most non-involving thing he could think of. He called Rent-A-Date.
Now Rent-A-Date isn't really called that, but almost. The company specializes in arranging dates for people just like Bobby - guys who for one reason or another wind up without a date to an important function.
The girls who hire out as rented dates are good-looking but never beautiful. They try to see that their escort has a good time, but they're never the type of girls who are just barrels of fun, because when you get right down to it, a rented date just usually isn't much fun. There's always that business deal in the way.
So Bobby met his date to the Grammies just exactly a half hour before the photographers began taking pictures of them, photographs that would later appear with captions reading, "Bobby Sherman with his new girl friend, Sheila Jones."
Nevertheless, "Miss Jones," as Bobby called her, posed for all the pictures and smiled and nodded her head perfectly so that not even the most expert Sherman-watcher would think that she was a Rent-A-Date. But though in her fantasies Patti might have assumed that Bobby was having a smashing time, dancing around town with his date, this was far from the case. Inside, Bobby was bleeding. He missed Patti so much that when dinner was over and the awards were finally concluding, he practically dragged his poor Rent-A-Date out of the building and back to his car. He broke all the speed limits getting her home. He wanted to get back to his apartment and phone Patti. He had something to tell her.
It was after midnight, but Patti was still awake. Who could sleep if their one true love was out partying with another girl?
Patti snatched the phone up from the receiver only halfway through the first ring. She'd been praying that Bobby would call, and she said right away, "Bobby - where are you?"
Actually, it was a dumb thing to say, she thought later. Bobby was home at his apartment, naturally. But she'd half feared that he'd be calling from the Century Plaza Hotel saying for her to forget their romance, it was over.
But that was simply a bad dream. Bobby was really saying words Patti was almost afraid to hear. "I love you, I love you more than anything in the world," He was saying. "I can't go through any more of this without you. I have to put you and me before everything - even before my fans. After all, they have their boyfriends and families. But without you, I have nothing!"
Patti felt her whole body flood with warm, wonderful feelings for Bobby. At the same time, her stomach was tightening up with fear. A public romance with Bobby Sherman would be pure hell, she knew. She'd already talked to girls who had been linked romantically with stars.
Samantha Dolenz, who'd married Micky Dolenz when the Monkees were still a big act, had been treated terribly by Micky's fans. In England, she'd had her hair pulled and all her clothes torn off. In America, she received hundreds of frightful, nasty letters each week, some from obviously sick people who said that if they ever saw her in person, they'd do her bodily harm.
Linda Jones, who had kept her marriage to Davey Jones, another Monkee, a secret for almost two years, had told Patti the same thing. For a long time, she was afraid to even go to the supermarket without someone along for protection.
So Patti's mind was reeling when she and Bobby kissed each other good-bye over the telephone and hung up. Patti's mother came from the bedroom to check on why the lights were still on, and found Patti in the kitchen, staring out into space.
Patti and her mother have always been close, so in a few minutes Patti was telling her mom the entire story, and asking her advice on what she should do.
"Patti, I know you love Bobby," her mother began, and for an instant Patti's heart sank, fearing she'd hear something like, "You're too young for Bobby" or "He has his career to think of" or "Why do you love a rock and roll star?" But her mother was kind and more understanding than Patti had ever known she could be. "Patti, I think you and Bobby should be brave about this. It will be terribly hard on you," her mother continued, "but if you stick by him now, you'll build a foundation for a relationship that will last the rest of your life.
"Even if this means you have to hide from his fans, you should stay by his side - in spirit if you can't be there in person. Let Bobby know how much you love him, if he doesn't know already, and let him lead the way. You have faith in him, and everything will turn out all right."
Patti slept easier that night, knowing that she'd heard true words of wisdom from her mother. She knew that with the support of Bobby and her parents, she could pull through whatever might come. Little did Patti know how terribly difficult things could be.
Everyone knows now that Bobby and Patti hid their marriage for over a year, but few people know how many people and how many publications helped them conceal the truth for as long as they did. During this time, Bobby carried the heavy burden of lying to his fans on his soul, but he knew he had to for the sake of all. Actually, it wasn't his fans he really had to worry about, he knew, because they were his friends. But those who called themselves fans but were really jealous, vicious people - enemies, in fact, and not really fans - could make life unbearable.
Bobby and Patti were married late at night in a ceremony in Encino conducted by a Catholic priest. He and Patti had driven to Ventura earlier in the week for a marriage license. Bobby prayed that he and Patti wouldn't be recognized there - they wore disguises just in case.
Their romance was now a year and a half old. It had reached the point where not to marry would have been the worst thing they could do. Relationships blossom all the time, but when one begins to mature, it's crossing up Mother Nature not to carry it through, and for that reason, Bobby asked Patti to marry him.
Their romance had smoothed itself out in public. Patti seldom attended concerts with Bobby, and if she did, she hid backstage or sat in a very front seat so that few people would know she was there. She never never - absolutely never! - visited Bobby on the set. He had an entire television cast to think about, and her presence could cause stories in the papers, and might potentially blow the whole show. Then hundreds of people would lose their jobs just because of her. She couldn't even bear the thought!
So she stayed in the background, seldom coming out in public except to do very private things, like walk on the beach or drive to the mountains - activities where not many people would be around to recognize Bobby and her.
Bobby and Patti began to stay indoors so much, in fact, that Bobby bought a new house, a large one with lots of rooms and a huge yard with a high fence where he and Patti could wander around and talk. He even had a theater screen installed and turned one room into a small movie house, so the two of them could see films without having to risk public exposure.
Of course, he and Patti couldn't keep everything entirely a secret. Bobby had many good friends in the magazine field, and the editors of Tiger Beat and Face began to suspect that something very strange was going on. Bobby said one thing in public and appeared to be doing something entirely different in private. What could be going on?
At first, Bobby was too frightened to be straight with the editors. "I don't have anything to say," he told them. "Patti Carnel is just a good friend." So the editors, fearing that Bobby was slipping for the worst, printed that Bobby might be engaged. This brought him around.
One afternoon in late fall, Bobby telephoned the office and asked to have a meeting with the editors. All he said was that he had something to tell.
Later that day, Bobby came in and laid his story down for the first time. He told them all about his romance with Patti and how much the two of them meant to each other.
The editors were very sympathetic. After all, they'd seen other singing stars hurt by vicious people and they wanted to do everything they could to help Bobby and Patti stay together. The editors knew that there's nothing more pathetic than a guy who's a huge success in public and a private, personal failure. Sure, they'd keep the secret. It was the least they could do.
But when Bobby and Patti exchanged vows at a little church in Encino, the editors weren't invited. They didn't even know. Bobby and Patti had kept their marriage such a secret that they didn't tell any friends or even Bobby's manager. Only their parents knew, and Bobby and Patti both feared that one of them would slip someday and say, "My son-in-law" or "my daughter-in-law" and blow their cover. Still, they couldn't get married without telling their parents, nor would they want to, but taking the risk made them feel like they were getting gray hairs.
A honeymoon was out for the newlyweds, so Bobby took Patti back to his house - now their house - and the two celebrated a private honeymoon by vowing that the first time they could, they'd take a long trip together.
Marriage was beautiful; both Bobby and Patti agreed it couldn't be better, even though their first three months together were filled with some unhappiness when one of their dogs was run over, and another time when the dogs wandered out of the yard and down the street after schoolchildren left their gate open.
And it felt like heaven was shining on them when Bobby came home one day to find Patti curled up on the couch, knitting tiny booties.
"Hi, honey, I didn't know you knew how to knit," Bobby greeted her, kissing her lightly on the cheek.
"I didn't know how until this afternoon," Patti answered happily, kissing Bobby back. "But now I've got to learn."
"Why do you have to learn?" Bobby wondered innocently. "What are you making?"
"Booties!" Patti cried, flinging herself around Bobby's neck and holding on with all her might. "You, Bobby Sherman, are going to be a father!"
Bobby couldn't believe it. The weight of Patti's statement made him fall back on the couch in practically a faint. Patti felt like a character in a comedy, slapping Bobby's cheeks and saying, "Hey, come to! It's true! You're going to be a daddy."
Bobby's face had turned snow-white; surprises sometimes do that to him, and this certainly had to be his biggest surprise to date. A father! Wow! Only three months before, he'd been able to believe he was finally a husband. But a father! Oh, wow! Outasite!
Bobby was so happy that he began dancing Patti around the room in an old-fashioned polka. Then, thinking better of his actions - after all, how did one treat mothers-to-be? - he stopped and made Patti sit down on the couch.
Patti was bubbling over with ideas. First they'd paint the spare bedroom - blue for boys, of course - and then they'd look for antique baby furniture to decorate the room.
But Bobby's face had begun to cloud over. His burden of guilt was heavy as a husband. But as a father! It would be unbearable! What could he do?
Bobby hadn't noticed that Patti had stopped talking. She'd stopped talking almost four minutes ago, to be exact, and now her beautiful face was pale white, and her eyes were filling with tears.
"Why hadn't I thought of this? she was asking herself. "How could this be happening? I was so happy. I just didn't think. Maybe I shouldn't have told him. Maybe I should have just left him and gone away. How could I know that he wouldn't want to be a father?"
Patti was fast slipping into despondency. Tears had begun to stream down her face and soak through her sweater. She could feel her whole face falling into sags and wrinkles from this incredible sadness. Even her heart seemed to sink two inches inside her body. Slowly and quietly, so as not to disturb Bobby, she slipped out of the room.
Outside Patti staggered over to the side of the small stream that ran through their property. She knew she was staggering - she just couldn't help it. The awful sensation of carrying a baby that Bobby didn't want was too much for her. She imagined herself slipping off the side and into the water, and letting it carry her down, away, out from their property and into the sea. Of course, the stream was barely deep enough to float a water lily, but in her mind, Patti could only think of darkness and death. She couldn't know now - the pain had blotted out all else.
Patti was completely unaware that Bobby was now standing behind her. She wasn't even sure she felt his strong hands on her shoulders or heard his voice in her ears. "Baby, what's wrong? Why are you crying?" Bobby was asking.
For a long while, Patti couldn't speak. How could she tell this man, her husband who now felt like a total stranger, that she wanted to die that minute, that she didn't feel like breathing another breath.
Bobby, scared at Patti's lack of recognition, was practically shouting now, "Patti, what's wrong? Tell me what's wrong!"
The words were forming on Patti's lips but she couldn't find the sounds to make them heard. Slowly, weakly, she finally got them out. "You...you...you don't want...you don't want our baby!" she finally blurted out, collapsing into sobs at hearing the statement out loud in the fresh afternoon air. She felt dizzy at the reality. What would she do?
Bobby looked at her as though he'd been hit by lightning. She seemed stunned beyond words. She found herself wondering what this stranger, this man she'd loved until a few minutes ago, was going to say.
"Patti..." Bobby began, but his words seemed to keep disappearing. "Patti...nothing could be further from the truth!"
Patti turned her head to the side at this statement. She knew she wasn't quite possessed of all her senses yet. She still couldn't understand what he was saying.
Bobby was repeating himself, saying over and over again, "Nothing could be further from the truth." He sat down beside her and laid her head on his shoulder. The two of them sat there for a moment or two, trying to bring back the reality that had so quickly escaped them.
Slowly, surely, Bobby began to speak, and as he did, Patti could feel the love flooding back into her, the warmth returning.
"Patti, honey...how can you feel this way? What did I do to make you think I don't want our baby? What gave you this idea? You have to tell me this first, before I can explain any more. I have to know. Tell me, please."
Patti replied in a low, soft voice, "You sat there so quiet...you wouldn't talk to me...I was afraid you were wishing I'd go away. Were you?"
"Oh, no! I love you so much...and I love you more now. Patti, I was sitting so quietly because I felt absolutely frozen with guilt. Here we are, married, and not even our best friends know the truth! I want everyone to know! I want to paint a sign and hang it over the house - 'Bobby and Patti are married!' I want to hire a billboard and write, 'Hello, World, we're a twosome now - Bobby and Patti!' "
"You mean you really do want our baby?" Patti asked, knowing that she'd have to ask again and again to make sure she could believe the truth.
"Oh, Patti" Bobby answered. "More than anything!"
Patti wiped away a forgotten tear and smiled. Of course, this was Bobby, not the stranger she'd feared she saw as though in a bad dream.
Patti snuggled up against her man and listened to what he was saying. Bobby was telling her how they'd have to give up their secret, how they'd have to brave whatever came and tell the world the truth about themselves.
"Truthfully, Patti, I'm relieved," Bobby confessed. "I'm so tired of having to hide our private life. I want to be able to go to the store again without worrying about being mobbed. I want to stay home weekends with you, not go flying all over the country giving concerts. I'm not so sure I even want to be a star anymore. I think I'd like to grow a moustache and become a serious actor."
Bobby and Patti watched the sun set out there in the backyard, and the next day, Bobby vowed, they'd tell the world.
Patti wasn't so sure that this was the right move, she thought as she prepare dinner that night. Maybe it would mean the end of Bobby's career, and what would that mean? she wondered. But her mother's words rang in her ears: "Just let Bobby lead the way and everything will be all right."
That night Patti and Bobby fell asleep in each other's arms, wondering how it would feel to be parents.
Bobby spent the next morning making plans. First, he'd call his friends at the magazines and tell them the news. He'd ask their advice about what he should do, but he thought they'd probably say he should hold a press conference, and he even called a few hotels to inquire about their prices for renting a room for the event.
Patti had gone out to the market to shop for dinner when the telephone rang.
"Is this Bobby Sherman?" asked a cultivated voice on the other end of the line.
"Yes," Bobby answered. "Who's calling?"
"This is Patti's doctor," the voice answered, "and I'd like you to come to my office as soon as possible."
"I'll be there right away!" Bobby said, and leaving Patti a note that he'd gone out to look at some new instruments, he drove through the valley streets to the doctor's office.
Inside, he was met by a kindly man who looked as though he should be a doctor, Bobby thought. Invited to sit down, Bobby did so, and soon he and the doctor were in heavy discussion about Patti and her delicate condition. Her condition, it seemed, was even more delicate than he had supposed.
"Patti must take it very carefully," the doctor warned Bobby. "She should be sheltered from any kind of shock or trouble if she's to deliver this baby successfully. You'll have to walk a tight rope for a while, Mr. Sherman. I'll give you all the help I can."
Back in his car, Bobby was so stunned he couldn't drive. Patti must be kept sheltered from shock or trouble! And telling his fans that he was married and a father-to-be would surely cause all kinds of trouble. There would be phone calls in the middle of the night and knocks on the door at odd times of day, not to mention all the terrible, horrible letters that would be sent to Patti through the mail.
He'd have to tell Patti the truth as lightly as he could, and he'd have to cancel all his plans to "come clean." The next months would be perhaps the most trying period of his life.
And so they were. Patti took the news about her precarious health with her typical light humor, but Bobby knew that deep down, Patti was seriously worried about her unborn baby's health. She took every precaution with her own health, and together she and Bobby would visit natural-food stores each week to buy yeast, iron, B vitamins, and organic vegetables. Patti even learned to eat liver, which she'd hated before she was pregnant.
But the time was complicated by reporters getting closer and closer to the real truth. One columnist even hinted that the two were already married, and upon hearing this, Patti became so upset Bobby drove her to the doctor immediately.
The Shermans had quit visiting their closest friends once Patti's condition began to show, and they sorely missed their company. To top it off, most of their friends thought they were mad at them for some unexplained reason, and both Patti and Bobby regretted this immensely. How they wished they could tell everyone the truth!
Both Patti and Bobby were also depressed by a final complication - if they weren't even supposed to be married, then they couldn't possibly be having a child, and if they were, then the child must be illegitimate. That's how they knew most gossips would reason, and the thought that they might have to someday explain those ugly headlines to their child was the final straw. They vowed that as soon as the baby was born, they'd tell the truth to the world.
Patti's health became so delicate in her last few months of pregnancy that Bobby ceased to perform almost totally. He devoted his time to his wife as best he could, carrying heavy packages, fixing little things around the house like leaky faucets and squeaky doors. Keeping part of his vow at least, Bobby let his hair grow and grew a moustache. He took several two- and three-day parts as a "serious" actor on television drama, but he was forced to let plans for a feature movie fall through in order to protect Patti's health.
At last the day came! Patti felt the pains early in the morning, and before noon, the Shermans were the proud parents of a baby boy!
All the in-laws were at the hospital when the baby arrived. Bobby was bursting with joy, and he didn't mind signing autographs for anyone. He even made a special trip to the children's wing. He didn't care who found out he was a father! He was on top of the world!
Later that week, Bobby brought Patti and the baby home. Everything was in order. The house was neat and clean, the baby's room had been fixed up with blue everything - Patti's intuition had been proved right!
Everything was so perfectly in shape that Bobby knew it was time to tell the world about his happy family. And he was not a minute too soon!
Early in December, an enterprising reporter, irked at Bobby's manager for his lack of cooperation, decided that all this secrecy had to end. She marched down to the Los Angeles Marriage License Bureau and tallied up all the licenses filed there in the past seven years. Not a single one listed Bobby Sherman and Patti Carnel.
Most reporters would have stopped there, but this one decided correctly that the Shermans' license must be somewhere. She knew Patti was too devout a Catholic to live with a guy before they were married, and if the rumors about Patti being pregnant were true, then they had to have a marriage filed somewhere in the state.
The next county, Ventura, seemed a likely bet for a marriage license, and after a full morning in a drafty records building, she produced a copy of the very document. Patti's age was listed as eighteen; Bobby's was listed as twenty-nine.
The reporter arranged for the story to break in her publication in early January - just days before the Shermans hired a suite at the Sheraton-Universal Hotel for a major press conference.
The reporter and the Shermans were suddenly thrust into a race. Which one could get the news out first?
Bobby quickly hired a small staff to handle the arrangement; Patti hired a nurse to help with the baby so that when the time came, she'd be strong enough to meet the press.
The day before the conference, the reporter broke the Shermans' marriage to an international wire service. The next morning, Bobby convened the gathering and explained the situation completely. For the finale, Bobby invited the reporter to follow him into the bedroom. There, in the middle of a king-sized bed, was Patti, looking beautiful in a blue nightie. In her arms was tiny Christopher Noel Sherman. He was born just a few days before Christmas and both Bobby and Patti agreed that he was the best Christmas present of their lives. What does Christopher say about this? He just gives a healthy cry - and that, to Bobby, is music to his ears!