Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ringo tired of being a Starr?

Ringo Starr posted a bizarre rant indicating he’s done signing autographs in, gadzooks, four days. “I won’t be signing anything mailed after October 20,” he says. “Don’t send it. It’s going to be tossed. I’m warning you with peace and love, I have too much to do. So no more fan mail!”

I saw this in the news and immediately had two thoughts: Ringo Starr’s busy? And he still has fans?

If a Starr like Ringo’s busy it must mean the Hollywood Squares is back on the air. He’s devolved into that kind of celebrity. And he’s not even center square worthy. Save that for someone like Ashton Kutcher or Danny Bonaduce.

Has anyone thought of asking Pete Best what he thought about poor Ringo?

Best was behind the drum kit for two years before Ringo took over. He lost out to Ringo on one of history’s most golden tickets. He could have been a Beatle. In fact, he was a Beatle. But Ringo snaked his way in doing what Ringo did best -- and I don’t mean keeping a tidy beat.

No, he was glib and charming, enough so that John, Paul and George invited him to tag along on their magical mystery tour to fabulous fame and fortune. And poor Pete went on to be the answer to a Trivial Pursuit question.

Too busy? I know he doesn’t golf, the time-consuming pastime that I’d devote my entire time to if I was wealthy and the last significant piece of work -- if you can call swinging the drumsticks work -- I’d done had been in 1969.

He may not golf, but I know a rich and famous guy who does. He’s Arnold Palmer. You want his autograph? Just ask. Ever since he became famous -- about 10 years before Richard Starkey became Ringo Starr -- he’s felt a gentlemanly obligation to devote about an hour every day to carefully signing autographs.

If you or someone you know wants his autographed picture, just send a note requesting one to him at PO Box 52, Youngstown, Pa. 15696. He’ll even pay for the return postage. Or if that’s too much trouble, just e-mail me and I’ll forward your note. Really, you ought to do it for a friend or loved one this Christmas. They’ll get a real kick out of it. The man’s a classic.

I asked Doc Giffin, Palmer’s affable assistant for 40 years, if Mr. Palmer, the CEO of an enormous business empire, is too busy to sign autographs. “Not at all. He still gets about 20 to 25 requests every day and he signs and returns every one of them.”

Palmer considers it a privilege to sign autographs for the people who’ve so ardently supported him for more than 50 years of fame that rivals and in many cases exceeds Ringo’s. And check it out ( It’s immaculate. Surgeons who leave scars on supermodels aren’t as careful with scalpels as he is with a pen.

Palmer’s bragged that his name is nearly worthless on eBay because of the glut of autographs and pieces of memorabilia he’s signed.

I’m guessing Ringo Starr doesn’t have a Doc Giffin working for him. If he did, he would have told him something like, “Look, you’re a Beatle, but you’ll never be more than the fourth most popular Beatle out of four -- and that includes the two who’ve already died. In fact, most people consider you like the Beatle mascot. They want to meet the others. You, they’d like to dangle from their rearview mirrors.

“You’re lucky you’re rich and famous because, let’s face it, you never had the talent to make it on your own. Now, it’s not going to kill you to take maybe two hours a week to sign your name for people who’ve given you your magnificent homes around the world, your lavish lifestyle and your still-georgous Bond-girl wife.

“Now go back to your tanning bed, your cricket matches or whatever the hell else it is you do in your supposedly busy life. And here, sign this: it’s my bill for $5,000. Consider it a bargain for all the ridicule I’m saving you for not putting up that silly message.”

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