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Three for all
THREE FOR ALL - - East Chicago fans Marcia K. Goodan and Linda Savka frame fellow East Chicago native turned Broadway actress Betsy Palmer backstage at the Royale Theatre in New York City following a 1968 performance of David Merrick's "Cactus Flower" starring Palmer.

So many readers have their own great celebrity stories to share and I always appreciate hearing every one of them.

Earlier this week, after a column about Patty Andrews that mentioned her working with Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, I received some great telephone calls about the legendary comedy duo.

And ever since my third cookbook published in May featuring a chapter and recipes from East Chicago's own Betsy Palmer, I've been flooded with some wonderful recollections of this favorite local claim-to-fame lady.

So, I thought I'd share a couple stories today, along with some great retro photo images.

Marcia K. Goodan of Crown Point passed along the following:

"Hi Phil,

When I read your recent article in the Times about Betsy Palmer, I immediately thought about my first dream vacation with my high school girlfriend and fellow employee at Inland Steel in East Chicago, Ind. My dream since I was a little girl was to go to New York City, see the sights, go for a stroll on Broadway and see some plays.

Well, my friend Linda Savka and I got a week's vacation and made our plans. When our work foreman Jack Hrunek, from the No. 4 Pickle Line and No. 3 Cold Strip West, heard about our plans, he suggested we go see his sister in a play on Broadway.

When we asked who his sister was, he said: "'Betsy Palmer."

We said: "Oh my gosh Jack, you gotta be kidding!"

He said "No. I'm not"

So, when we got to New York City, we got tickets to go see Betsy Palmer in "Cactus Flower."

During intermission, we were giggling, and wrote a note and gave it to the usher to take backstage to Betsy. We said in the note "We work with your brother Jack Hrunek at Inland Steel and we would like to meet you."

Feeling very sure nothing would come of it, we were shocked when the usher came back and said: "'Miss Palmer would love to meet you girls. After the play is over, come to the back stage door and she will come out to see you."

Well, we did and she did!

Oh my gosh, it was awesome Phil. She talked to us and we had our picture taken with her. She was very nice. But, the real shocker was, she said: "'Today is my brother Jack's birthday. Would you please tell him I said Happy Birthday?"

And we were very happy to relay the message. We were so excited when we got back to work and told Jack his 'Happy Birthday from his sister.'

He just blushed, while we went on and on about what it must be like to have a movie star for a sister.

He said: "It's just like anybody else having a sister."

So, Phil, that is my story about Betsy Palmer. Please share it with Betsy and maybe she'll remember it! I hope you enjoy the photo too!"


Thank you for sharing this wonderful story Marcia and you can bet I'm going to clip out today's column and mail it off to Betsy. I particularly enjoyed your 1968 backstage snapshot with Betsy.

And to add to the fun, thanks to fellow reader Kristine Gadbois of Schererville, I have an autographed copy of the Playbill featuring Betsy in costume on the cover from this very play, the great David Merrick's "Cactus Flower." Kristine was kind enough to share it with me last month at my Teibel's birthday gathering tribute to Betsy, so I could include it on the table display featuring photos and items dedicated to Betsy's long career. Kristine waited to get her program signed by Betsy following an August 1968 performance at the Royale Theatre.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at or 219.852.4327.