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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Helen Thomas, I found your book. RIP

Helen Thomas, who passed away today, held the kind of career most news journalist’s dream of – front row in the White House press briefing room. In front of all the other representatives of the print and electronic media, she had the opportunity to ask the first question and often the hardest question of a president, press secretary or other official who took the podium.

I purchased her autobiography at an estate sale a while back and it was only because I was prompted to. Inside, Helen Thomas, the author, had signed it. Even better was to whom it had been signed, Joy Hodges.

Her name may seem unfamiliar, but then so are the names of all the people who are there when someone comes along and needs to be guided or assisted to their place in history. Joy Hodges had run into Ronald Reagan once before and he had clearly made an impression on her as someone who could act. Let’s go with communicate – for Reagan’s sake - he was a good actor, but probably a better communicator.

Helen Thomas autograph
Reagan, on his way to cover a sporting even in California, stops in Hollywood to see Joy Hodges. She convinces him that this is where he needs to be and eventually gets him a meeting with her agent’s boss who brokers a deal with Warner. Ronald Reagan the actor is born. Which leads to his experience as president of the screen actors’ guild, there’s some movie with a monkey named “Bonzo” and then it’s on to Governorship, and finally presidency, though not that quickly.

Helen Thomas' note to her friend points out that which is fairly well known, but re-affirms it nicely in this personal inscription.You can read Joy's obituary from 2003 here


  1. What an excellent find..all the context and the history makes it an amazing story...GREAT JOB!!!!!!

  2. Wonderful story.....What a great find. All the accompanying notes,
    the story and the you tube video..I really enjoyed being a lucky beneficiary of your great detective work!!!


  3. I just found one of those, too - Her "watchdogs of Democracy" book signed to Reza Aslan. Why would that be a library book sale in Centerville VA? I am skeptical, but on the other hand, why would you fake something like this?


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