Autograph Hounds Rate the Rich, Famous and Approachable
THE NEW MEXICAN Santa Fe. N.M.,
Friday, November 18. 1988
By SUZANNE BOYNTON
SANTA ROSA, Calif. - Clint Eastwood
and Sylvester Stallone are surprisingly
Barbara Stanwyck is reported to have
walked off a set recently, but her fans find
her friendly and accommodating.
Nobody has an unkind word about
Robert Wagner or Jimmy Stewart.
Jerry Lewis is great with "his kids," but
fans seeking autographs are more likely
to get verbal abuse.
These are the findings of the readers of
Autograph Collectors' Magazine, founded
by Joe Kraus of Stockton a couple of
years ago when the newspaper he had
been editing folded. He says the magazine
has a circulation of 10,000 worldwide
and believes there are at least that
many more active collectors.
"All autograph collectors have complained
about how bad celebrities treat
them," said Kraus.
Last year, he invited readers to send in
their votes for the 10-best and 10-worst
stars from the autograph hound's point of
"Madonna and Sean Penn almost made
it as a husband-and-wife team last year,
but Madonna lost out to somebody else
by a point or two. She may make this
year's list, though," he said.
The voting isn't yet complete for this
year's lists, which will be published in the
Kraus said a pattern has emerged: the
biggest, oldest stars treat fans be,st, while
the neophytes are worst.
"Clint Eastwood you'd think would be
hard to approach. He's not. He's great.
Sylvester Stallone — no problem. Molly
Ringwald is the worst thing that ever
came along for autograph collectors."
Paul Newman says he quit signing
autographs when a hound followed him
into a public restroom stall, said Kraus.
"He hasn't signed a single autograph in
public since that we know of," Kraus said.
Kraus doesn't condone this level of
persistence, and says he would not do
"All you're trying to do is get a
signature," he said, with less intensity
than many collectors apparently feel. But
' he says the reluctance of many stars to
sign has "forced" autograph hunters to
use subterfuge and even to resort to an
occasional illegal entry.
"Autograph collectors would be great
candidates for the Secret Service or
Mission Impossible," he added. "They
really know how to get in where other
Celebrity golf tournaments are great
places to collect autographs without
having to sneak, said Kraus.
"Take the Bob Hope Desert Classic.
There may be as many as 50 celebrities
from all walks of life."
The same goes for the Dinah Shore and
Bing Crosby tournaments, and the John
Denver Ski Classic at Tahoe.
"Put these annual things 'on your
calendar," he suggests to serious collectors.
The Academy Awards may be the
biggest single gathering of heavenly
bodies under one roof, but that's the
problem — too big, says Kraus. "Some do
real well there, but I steer away from it."
Although he's collected' autographs
since he was 12 (he admits to being in his
late 40s now), Kraus has never had to
climb a fence or hang out in a hotel lobby
to get one. His work as a newspaperman
before starting the magazine also gives
him an entree with visiting dignitaries.
"Celebrities as well as collectors will
tell you this: East Coast collectors and
East Coast stars are a problem. Back
there, collectors seem to go out of their
ways to do bad things to stars, and stars
treat the fans terribly," he said.
Some celebrities won't deal with autograph
hunters at all as a result, he said.
On the West Coast, by contrast, said
Kraus, "fans are courteous and say thank
you, and West Coast celebrities tend to
feel autograph hunters are not a problem.