It was 42 years ago when Army stopped by our table at Paramount to ask a question of my lunch guest. “What,” he asked, “brings you here, Mr. Allen?””Hunger,” Fred Allen replied.
Army chuckled, then rephrased the question. The comedian was writing his autobiography and had come from New York to check facts with old friends like Jack Haley, Clifton Webb and some veteran vaudevillians.
“Thanks for the item,” Army said and moved on to other tables. Fred asked, “Who was that unmasked man?”
“He’s Harrison Carroll’s leg man,” I said.
“Harrison Carroll’s leg man!” Fred sighed and sadly shook his head. “In two days, I’ve met Hedda Hopper’s leg man, Louella Parson’s foot man, Sheila Graham’s right hand man and now this. How long will it take me to meet a whole columnist?”
Two years later, when Fred returned to Hollywood, Army was established in the niche he was born to fill and finally Mr. Allen met Mr. Archerd, truly, in every sense, a whole columnist.