Mickey Rooney, Cookie Brown, & Me, In Thongs
Do you remember the Brown Derby Restaurant in Hollywood? There was one
in Las Vegas in later years, but as a California “transplant” who loved Hollywood
I remember the original, Brown Derby on Hollywood & Vine. In Hollywood
this was the place to see and be seen. A place where “stars” were discovered and
where people went to dream about being “discovered.”
Once many years ago, over 40 years ago now, my friend Cookie Brown and
I made our way from the Redondo Beach area of Los Angeles to Hollywood, to see
who we could see...and what better place to spot someone famous than the well
known Brown Derby? Not being at a stage in life when things were well planned,
we were both dressed to go shopping, California style, very casual. I was wearing
a red dress, my absolutely worst color, and red patent leather thongs...no nylons of
course. Cookie’s attire was similar, casual dress and sandals. After a long debate
we decided to go in anyway. My husband Bernie, always told me that as long as
you had the money to pay your bill you would be welcomed, and I repeated this to
Cookie to reassure her that we were making the right move. “ Besides”, I told
her, “we won’t see anyone we know anyway, so it doesn’t matter.”
In we went and were seated in a booth with pictures of the STARS all over
the walls of the room. A couple of booths from us sat Donald O’Connor with some
men, having lunch. In another booth sat Mickey Rooney and we knew if we kept
looking, we’d soon see more of the “rich and famous.”
Backtracking a bit: I was working at the time for the Hilton Credit
Corporation (parent company of Carte Blanche Credit Card Company). A
man came to work for our company named Joe X. Price, whose talent was in
writing (he actually wrote the Redd Foxx biography titled “Redd Fox, B.S.”
Before Sanford) but at this particular time he was working as an executive with
Capitol Records. Today he had chosen the Brown Derby as his place to lunch. I
hadn’t seen him for several months. When I saw him I knew he would spot me,
so I tried, as best I could, to hide my nearly naked feet in any way I could, short
of sitting on them. But I was not to get away so easily. Joe came to our table,
pulled me out of the booth, and gave me a big hug. He said, “ Eve I want you to
meet someone”, And over we went to join his luncheon companion...Mr. David
Rose, orchestra leader, composer, movie maker, and at the time, I believe, Judy
Garland’s husband. So much for anonymity, and so much for hiding my naked
feet. This is not the most embarrassing moment in my life, (you don’t want to
know) but it would run a close second.
If those of you who are reading this short story of my life, have an
embarrassing moment that this helps you recall, perhaps you’ll tell YOUR moment
to your dinner companions tonight and we can add some humor to life , on the
lighter side while looking at our ‘human’ side...

With our life’s trips “Down
Memory Lane.”
My other Mickey Rooney story
Short Story-Big Man-Mickey Rooney
I have had several opportunities, through my years as a columnist to meet Mickey
Rooney. At a trade show in Las Vegas, I was introduced to Mickey by a man I
much admire, whose name was Mike Corda. Sadly the world lost Mike Corda just
recently. Mike was a talented composer who has written many hits for singing
stars, including Robert Goulet, and the one that I love best, though it did not
become the hit that many of Mike’s songs have become. It is called; “Lover Of
The Simple Things” and Mickey Rooney’s rendition of it is awesome. I wish it
could be “discovered” by someone in a position to re-release it and give it the
gentle push it would need, to become a mega-hit for both Mickey & Mike.
I saw Mickey once before at the Brown Derby Restaurant in Hollywood, in
about 1960, but this time only at a distance, the story that started this column. My first “in person” sighting of this star.
Now it is May 1990, the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, was presenting
a unique show for the Las Vegas Strip. There was a superstar of the show, like the
other strip shows then, but this show switched stars frequently, yet the cast
remained the same. It’s featured regulars were the Sid & Marty Kroft Puppets. It
was a fun filled satirical. For two weeks of this show, it featured as its’ superstar,
Mickey Rooney...and he was hilarious. On the evening I attended, Mickey turned
serious in a moment on the stage with Marty Kroft and told this story.
Mickey was born Joe Yule, Jr. In Brooklyn, New York. He made his first
stage appearance at age 15 months in his parent’s vaudeville act. Before long he
became an indispensable part of the family act. He made his film debut at age 6,
playing a midget in the film Short titled, “Not To Be Trusted”, in 1926. Between
1927 and 1933 he starred in some 50 two-reel series, in which he portrayed a
popular comic strip character. He legally changed his name to that of the character
he was portraying, Mickey McGuire. He did not become Mickey Rooney until
1932. During his Mickey McGuire days, he was playing on the Hollywood studio
lot when he spied a big barn-like building with the door invitingly open. Like most
youngsters, he was curious and entered the building. There he saw a man at a
drawing board, busy at his work. The man looked up as Mickey entered and asked
the question, “What is your name young man?” “Mickey McGuire” replied
Mickey. “Well, my name is Walt Disney and I’d like you to look at what I’m
drawing. See? it’s a mouse. What do you think of him?” Mickey looked excitedly
at the drawing and said, “He’s wonderful, Mr. Disney. What’s his name?” “Well,
the name he has had is not to my liking, so I’m looking for a new name. What did
you say your name was?” “Mickey McGuire, Sir”, Mickey replied. “Well,
Mickey McGuire, I think I’ll name him after you, and call him Mickey Mouse”.
This is the true story of how Mickey Mouse got his name...and when we
sing, M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E, we’ll know that though he gets no royalties,
Mickey Rooney is somewhere remembering and enjoying our song!