The year was 1963, and Davy Jones was everybody's favorite teen dream in New York, starring as the Artful Dodger in the original Broadway production of the musical, Oliver, based upon the novel Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens.
It also happened to be the year my father had his favorite Thoroughbred racehorse, a stake winning filly at the track at Belmont Park, in New York. Her name was Miss Twist. This was no ordinary horse; she won a famous race at Santa Anita and took home a big purse. For my Dad, it was like winning the lottery. When his prize filly returned home, she was running at the track at the same time Oliverwas playing on Broadway. This was a winning year, for my Dad, Davy Jones and Miss Twist, which had some breeding, and ties to the name Oliver Twist.
My dad was also a big theater buff and occasionally invested in Off-Off Broadway shows. (That's another story). After seeing Oliver on Broadway, he read that Davy Jones was also an apprentice to becoming a jockey before he became an actor. Miss Twist was running in another big race at Belmont Park, and my dad thought it would be fun to have Davy come and join us in the winner's circle (assuming the horse was going to win again). Somehow, my artful Dad got in touch with Davy and invited him to come to the track, to watch the horse race and invited the main star, Georgia Brown to join us. (This was before Jones was in the Monkees)
As a pudgy faced pre-teen, I was beyond words with excitement and also mortified. I was going to spend the day with teen idol, Davy Jones and my father. As the days rolled by before the big event, I decided to invite one of my best friends along, so we could enjoy it together. Suffice it to say that I was also very, very shy and my Dad was proud, yet a bit pushy with guys and me.
The big day came and when we met we were eye to eye; Davy was about my height, so he seemed like a pint-sized teen (he would turn 18 that December). I was spellbound and speechless, like most teenaged girls in those days, blushing and giggling with my girlfriend in our box seats at the racetrack.
I don't think I said more than one word to the guy, but my dad seemed to be having the most fun. There we were, my Dad, Davy Jones, Georgia Brown, (I can't even remember my mom in this scenario). We all went down to the paddock to meet the jockey, and watch the horse saddle up. Davy had never been to Belmont Park Race Track and he was thrilled to meet our jockey who was quite famous at the time. (Can't remember his name, maybe Manuel Baeza).
As luck would have it, Miss Twist won the race and we all ran down to the winner's circle for the traditional photos. It was a thrilling day for all and we had the photos published in our hometown news, with me standing next to Davy in the winner's circle.
About a year later, February 9, 1964, Jones appeared with the Broadway cast of Oliver! on The Ed Sullivan Show, the same episode on which The Beatles made their first appearance. Jones says of that night, "I watched the Beatles from the side of the stage, I saw the girls going crazy, and I said to myself, this is it, I want a piece of that." (Wikipedia) Then his big break came when he was chosen as one of the stars of the Monkees, and the rest is history.
Around 20 years later, after moving to Los Angeles, I was walking down the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica (one of the only walking streets in LA) and noticed this really cute short guy with a tall gorgeous lady on his arm. As I got closer, I realized it was Davy Jones, all grown up (as I was too). As I passed by, I found the courage to stop and say hello and reminded him of that day in 1963. He was quite polite and said he remembered the day, and especially my high-spirited dad.
It is now all a blur, but since that day in 1963 Davy Jones has always had a special place in my heart.
Good-bye, Davy and thanks for reminding me that dreams can come true and are still making this grown up little girl blush again!
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