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Are the days of Autographs gone?

Are the days of Autographs gone?

Theatrefanboy1
#1Are the days of Autographs gone?
Posted: 7/25/22 at 8:45pm

I was curiously discussing with a colleague today as they were looking over my office walls which have hundreds of signed window cards or signed photos from shows I’ve seen or people I’ve worked with, shows I’ve done or stars that I’ve met.  
She had mentioned how autograph collecting used to be of such interest and now that autograph hunters have kind of destroyed it and made it feel gross and dirty to meet someone people have become more interested in get a selfie with said celebrity.  I’m curious if others have noticed the same.  It also seems to be a generational thing that young media people don’t sign yet the older ones still welcome the request.  I remember meeting James earl jones years ago and he was more than happy to sign and chat.  
Also, are there any living people that you would like to get their autograph?   For me from the theatre world. Cheyenne Jackson, Lea Michele, Johnathan Groff and Maggie Smith are definitely on there. 
 

curious to hear others observations on the topic

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EDSOSLO858
#2Are the days of Autographs gone?
Posted: 7/25/22 at 9:02pm

Answering the question posed in the title, not completely.
 

Even if less and less actors decide to sign autographs at stage door in the future, there will pretty much always be signed Playbills and posters that people can purchase off eBay, as well as signed materials auctioned off for BC/EFA. 
 


Oh look, a bibu!

Zeppie2022
#3Are the days of Autographs gone?
Posted: 7/25/22 at 10:23pm

I don't have many signed "Playbills" but the ones I have it is hard to recognized who signed them. I understand why the signatures look very scribbled because that is what happens when you are signing so many things. To me the autograph loses meaning if I can tell who signed it a couple of years later.

Sports stars autographs disappeared a while ago for the most part because there were too many people who would take the autographed ball and sell it for money. The athletes got tired of this and now if you want autographed ball, you will pay lots of money.

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Patti LuPone FANatic
#4Are the days of Autographs gone?
Posted: 7/25/22 at 10:53pm

In the early 90's, I sent Lillian Gish a fan letter.  She responded with this lovely index card.  It's a good thing I managed to scan it before I lost the original.  

Are the days of Autographs gone?

 


"Noel [Coward] and I were in Paris once. Adjoining rooms, of course. One night, I felt mischievous, so I knocked on Noel's door, and he asked, 'Who is it?' I lowered my voice and said 'Hotel detective. Have you got a gentleman in your room?' He answered, 'Just a minute, I'll ask him.'" (Beatrice Lillie)

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veronicamae
#5Are the days of Autographs gone?
Posted: 7/26/22 at 1:04am

Yes, people who swarm stars just to have them sign an irrelevant piece of merchandise from another project have really suffocated the autograph collection. It is freshest in my memory - even though it was 2014 - how I was repeatedly hit in the head by paparazzi-adjacent people shoving Frozen toys and printed photos through the crowd of people who'd actually seen If/Then to get Idina to sign it. Sometimes she did, sometimes she didn't. Whether or not it retained any value? I'm pretty sure there's been the same Frozen toy microphone listed on eBay nonstop since 2014 for like $800. There are also hundreds of other autographs available much cheaper. As such, "anyone can get an autograph." Additionally, with the rise of social media, it is EXTREMELY easy to find the celebrity you want to meet - either a fan posts about it or they themselves say where they're having dinner, etc. There's not really a ~challenge to most autographs these days - with an exception of A-list actors who try to hide, have security with them, pretend they don't see you, etc.

On the other hand, an autograph's value is what the owner places on it. I wouldn't care about an autograph I bought off eBay, but I would care about one I obtained in person because of the associated experience and memory. Whether others care is another matter, and they probably don't - though they may be interested in hearing how you met the person.

I'm not sure about the "gross and dirty" part, but I know people - even people here - think that stage dooring is both creepy and pointless (hopefully this doesn't turn into thread # 9158151 about that topic).

I can't wager much of a guess about your observation of younger vs older performers not signing vs signing, though it could have to do with how they themselves consume media (i.e. most young people would rather have a selfie than an autograph).

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Wick3
#6Are the days of Autographs gone?
Posted: 7/26/22 at 1:05am

Theatrefanboy1 said: "I was curiously discussing with a colleague today as they were looking over my office walls which have hundreds of signed window cards or signed photos from shows I’ve seen or people I’ve worked with, shows I’ve done or stars that I’ve met.
She had mentioned how autograph collecting used to be of such interest and now that autograph hunters have kind of destroyed it and made it feel gross and dirty to meet someone people have become more interested in get a selfie with said celebrity. I’m curious if others have noticed the same. It also seems to be a generational thing that young media people don’t sign yet the older ones still welcome the request. I remember meeting James earl jones years ago and he was more than happy to sign and chat.
Also, are there any living people that you would like to get their autograph? For me from the theatre world. Cheyenne Jackson, Lea Michele, Johnathan Groff and Maggie Smith are definitely on there.


curious to hear others observations on the topic
"

I recall back in 2017 when Bette Midler starred in HELLO DOLLY, she didn't do autographs at stage door.

Nowadays, I think the selfie or cameo is what people tend to do nowadays rather than getting autographs.

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quizking101
#7Are the days of Autographs gone?
Posted: 7/26/22 at 8:08am

Honestly, I don’t think the days of it are gone per se. Like many had cited, it’s now the era of the selfie for sure. If anything, I do venture to agree that, for bigger stars, the autograph hounds for eBay certainly made it less pleasant. 

An example I have is when I had the good fortune to meet Patti LaBelle after “After Midnight”. She came out and was the sweetest-as-pie (pun intended) person you could imagine. However, there was an autograph hunter looking to get some of his records of hers signed. You could tell she was not pleased because she could tell. So she half-assedly signed the records and moved to the next person who actually did see the show. (Bonus: I had my own Sharpie and when she moved down the line, she asked if someone had one she could use - I let her borrow mine, and when she was done, she came back and said “Thank you, baby” and kissed me of the cheek)

I always prefer the autograph because, when I display it in my apartment, there’s always a story to tell. The selfies are nice for sure, but they’re more of an “immediate gratification”    thing (like I could get dozens of reactions on social media from when I leave the show until when I get home)


Check out my eBay page for sales on Playbills!! www.ebay.com/usr/missvirginiahamm

spicemonkey
#8Are the days of Autographs gone?
Posted: 7/26/22 at 8:53am

i recently started to collect autographs for my own collections of books / cds / vinyls, etc

 

I agree that fewer ppl are doing so nowadays.

Bettyboy72 Profile Photo
Bettyboy72
#9Are the days of Autographs gone?
Posted: 7/26/22 at 9:32am

There will always be fans interested in autographs. However, the state of the marketplace is definitely hurting it. I think that many celebrities (stage, screen, TV) are very happy to sign for earnest fans. They are usually savvy enough to tell the difference between them and a dealer. However, the dealers have ruined the arena. Celebs can monetize their presence and sell video clips, texts and voice messages. They can even monetize a video portal that they can share with a few moments with a fan. There are also services now where fans can send in items and have them signed by a certain celeb. I can see why they would avoid doing it in public now. 

Back in the day people had autograph books, where stars would simply sign their name after the fan paid a compliment. Very civil. Also people were content with simply seeing a star in person. The star didn't have to deal with a million cameras pointed at them and people tugging at them. That evolved as we moved more into the "selfie" culture where everyone is trying to increase their likes and be perceived in a certain way. The "look at me" culture. 

Another thing that has hurt the market is the mass market selling of autographed items (CDs, books, posters.) This floods the market (often with auto-pen fakes) and hurts the value of autographs. Many autopens being certified as real in recent years also hurts the industry. There are many sellers of fake autographs on ebay. This has also turned people off. 


"The sexual energy between the mother and son really concerns me!"-random woman behind me at Next to Normal "I want to meet him after and bang him!"-random woman who exposed her breasts at Rock of Ages, referring to James Carpinello

Dylan Smith4 Profile Photo
Dylan Smith4
#10Are the days of Autographs gone?
Posted: 7/26/22 at 10:32am

They need to put up signs that the actors will only sign something from the show. Whether it's a playbill, a poster, etc. I can recall watching a video of autograph hunters surrounding Glenda Jackson when she was in Three Tall Women, and they wanted her to sign like a dozen photos of herself. I think it was before the show, so they were taking away time from her. I just think they need to have strict rules in place for autograph signing at stage door. 


The idea is to work and to experiment. Some things will be creatively successful, some things will succeed at the box office, and some things will only - which is the biggest only - teach you things that see the future. And they're probably as valuable as any of your successes. -Harold Prince

spicemonkey
#11Are the days of Autographs gone?
Posted: 7/26/22 at 11:08am

Dylan Smith4 said: "They need to put up signs that the actors will only sign something from the show. Whether it's a playbill, a poster, etc. I can recall watching a video of autograph hunters surrounding Glenda Jackson when she was in Three Tall Women, and they wanted her to sign like a dozen photos of herself. I think it was before the show, so they were taking away time from her. I just think they need to have strict rules in place for autograph signing at stage door."

agreed - when I met Audra at SD after a performance of Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune - the staff clearly said that only items from the show will be signed. 

 

Meanwhile, looking at my bookshelf with the CDs and stuff, I do sometimes wish they could sign some of them for me (If they agreed to). I never sold anything on eBay, but I may look like an autograph hunter if I do that. LOL 

Updated On: 7/26/22 at 11:08 AM

Dylan Smith4 Profile Photo
Dylan Smith4
#12Are the days of Autographs gone?
Posted: 7/26/22 at 11:19am

I think we all have those moments of wishing for what we could have had signed LOL! 


The idea is to work and to experiment. Some things will be creatively successful, some things will succeed at the box office, and some things will only - which is the biggest only - teach you things that see the future. And they're probably as valuable as any of your successes. -Harold Prince

Bettyboy72 Profile Photo
Bettyboy72
#13Are the days of Autographs gone?
Posted: 7/26/22 at 11:25am

“Meanwhile, looking at my bookshelf with the CDs and stuff, I do sometimes wish they could sign some of them for me (If they agreed to). I never sold anything on eBay, but I may look like an autograph hunter if I do that. LOL"

I think celebs are good at reading who is a fan and happy to indulge them. I’ve brought older items (past Playbills, CD booklets, etc) to concerts of Broadway folks (Bernadette, Betty, SJB, Sutton, and a few others) and they were happy to sign multiple things with lovely signatures.

Also there is little to no street value in a poor/illegible signature if the artist is known for having a certain signature. Therefore artists can thwart resellers in that way too. When I met SJB she signed a few things for me with her full lovely signature and personalized. There was a dude there were several Cher show vinyls. She did a scratch that wasn’t even her often used “SJB” signature. He won’t make a dime off those. I’ve seen Idina do essentially a slash on dealers items and sign her name on Playbills.

 

 


"The sexual energy between the mother and son really concerns me!"-random woman behind me at Next to Normal "I want to meet him after and bang him!"-random woman who exposed her breasts at Rock of Ages, referring to James Carpinello

kaykordeath
#14Are the days of Autographs gone?
Posted: 7/26/22 at 3:34pm

Autographs, to an extent, represent a moment in time when the fan had a brush with a celebrity, that the fan wanted to hold onto A keepsake or proof of the memory. These days, selfies take a lot of the same role.

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PennClassic
#15Are the days of Autographs gone?
Posted: 7/26/22 at 7:48pm

I saw the 2018 revival of CAROUSEL and very much wanted Renee Fleming's autograph on my Playbill.  Instead of going to the Stage Door after the show and getting a rushed signature, I mailed the Playbill to her (with a self-addressed, stamped envelope) at the theatre and asked if she wouldn't mind signing it and personalizing it to me.  She did and I received it in less than a week.  I was delighted and it's a nice keepsake.

Updated On: 5/4/23 at 07:48 PM

Dollypop
#16Are the days of Autographs gone?
Posted: 7/26/22 at 9:01pm

It'll be interesting to see if there's an autigraph table or photo booth at this year's Flea Market.


"Long live God!" (GODSPELL)

BroadwayRox3588 Profile Photo
BroadwayRox3588
#17Are the days of Autographs gone?
Posted: 7/26/22 at 11:08pm

I think it definitely depends on how the autograph is obtained.

Example: Last Christmas, my dad got me an autographed football. Not to throw around or anything, just to put on a mantle. To this day, neither of us has any idea who autographed it. Now of course I still appreciate and hold the ball of great importance. But that's mainly because it's from my dad, not because of the autograph.

For autographs that are given while the person is right in front of you, however, different story. I've loved Annaleigh Ashford since elementary school, and the first time I met her, I did get an autograph from her. I also got a photo and a hug, but an autograph was included as well. To this day, looking at that signature means a lot to me, because of the circumstances behind it.

There are many ways to obtain an autograph; some more meaningful than others.


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