Author Taris Savell with 'The Waltons' star Richard Thomas. Photos courtesy Taris Savell.

Star style: Years of interviewing celebrities yield fashionable memories

Social media. Alexa. 5G. Uber. Words that were certainly not in fashion when inRegister’s predecessor, The Register, began publishing back in 1948. Hose, hula hoops, Western Union and gloves were more familiar parts of our vocabulary back then.

A lot of years have passed, and the present is made up of a number of past memories. In so many instances, those memories include the details of what we wore. This was often the case during the many interviews and encounters I had with celebrities while working as a journalist in Pensacola. Such as the time I interviewed Doris Day—I was lugging my heavy tape recorder to the Hollywood studio location at which she was shooting One Touch Of Mink. I made sure the seams on my hose were straight, but whoops! I had a run in one. Oh boo hoo, a rip in my stockings? No! But oh yes, that happened a lot back then. Quick—grab the hairspray so it doesn’t run any further.

Dressing for an interview with a famous celeb was easy—a turtleneck, a jacket with Joan Crawford shoulder pads, and a just-below-the-knee skirt and I was ready. When Bette Davis was in Baton Rouge filming Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte, a big hat was a necessity to protect against the heat—worn on the head, not on the side of the ear like today’s style.

There were always exceptions, though, and you just had to be ready. I remember an incident with Green Acres star Eva Gabor when a terrycloth robe was needed. I was her hostess for her three-day visit and it was mid-summer. Between appearances, she requested an hour to rest—in a terrycloth robe. I didn’t have one in the car, but there was one in my mother’s closet. Aha! It was the perfect size and she loved it. After her brief rest, she was back into more formal attire and ready to go. Mother never wore the robe again, so as not to diminish the aroma of Eva’s perfume. By the way, that cigarette in my hand was one of my last. “You smell like one,” Eva told me, and I quit. Nary a drag or a puff since the mid-’60s.

Your best friend may have given you a cold shoulder, but today the style is to wear one even when the weather is really Louisiana cold. Oh and let’s not forget ankle bracelets, a real favorite before tattoos around the ankle took their place.

There were times, though, when it was proper to wear matching styles, like golfing with Lawrence Welk or even Bob Hope—but no T-shirts with the Nike mark. Bob Hope’s quips brought laughter to all, and they never went out of style. Thanks for the memories!

Even Richard Thomas, famous for portraying John Boy on The Waltons, liked colorful outfits when being interviewed. But style didn’t begin and end with clothes. Take John Schneider’s hair for instance. The Dukes of Hazzard star and current Holden resident was considered “snazzy” at the time. Now he’s more well known for his role on The Haves and the Have Nots. No buzz cuts for the sexy male.

Remember Doc and Kitty of Gunsmoke? I loved actor Milburn Stone’s black shirt and told him so. He took it off with a smile and said, “I guess I can give you the shirt off my back.” He did and I still have it.

One of the best ways to keep up with the styles back then (other than The Register) was to watch Vanna White sashay onto the TV stage on Sajak’s arm. She’s still doing it! And so is the magazine.