Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love Letters from Danny

Happy Valentines Day, Young Lovers!

Picking up from last time, I’ve reprinted some of the tender passages from Danny Kaye’s love letters of mid-1935, as he headed for one last summer at the White Roe summer camp, while girlfriend Holly Fine remained with the A.B. Marcus show traveling up the East Coast, headed for Canada and then Asia.

June 1, 1935
… Well, Holly dear, it’s as I expected. I find myself looking for you and wondering where you are. I miss you SO much. I hope the show doesn’t sail in July…

June 3
My Dearest Baby,
Please believe me, darling, when I say that whatever I told you was the truth. I was sincere when I told you I loved you. Holly, my darling, I miss you terribly, honestly I do. Not just because we’ve been together so long but because you’ve come to mean a hell of a lot to me.

Please don’t write that you’ll never understand me. You know me better than anyone does and you know it. I’m through with Jessie, so as far as that goes you don’t even have to think about it. Believe me, Holly, we were correponding, but I realize now that you are first with me and have been for a long, long time…

Why do you say that your vacation is wasted up? I want you here, Holly, and I’m looking forward very anxiously to your arrival. Please say you’ll come, please. I’m fighting like hell to keep from bawling, honest.

Holly dear, please write and tell me you undestand. I’m very unhappy here. It’s not the same as it was when I was there before. I’m going to make it just another job and wishing it was all through. I’ve felt like throwing it up, but I’ve got to try and make a go of it. Please say you will come up here and please say you love me.

I’ll be wraiting for a letter. Anything more about Japan? I hope it’s not true for a little while anyway…
Now you know how I feel about you being away from me. It’s awful.

Write me soon,
Love, Danny

June 8
My Dearest Baby,
I’m really walkin’ on air. Now if you just sit tight, I’ll explain the reason.

In the first place I was very blue when I left Charleston. When I got up here, it seemed as tho’ I had outgrown the place (White Roe) and that it was going to be a very long summer, which it probably will be. On top of that I received your wire saying the show was sailing in July, and when I read that, honestly, I felt like packing it all in and going back. Thinking of you so far away made me go to sleep about 9:30 and bawl like a baby. I really felt low. Then you wrote about Jessie and said you weren’t coming up and that didn’t help. In fact, it made matters a lot worse.

I went home and my brother asked me what I was so mopey about. I was going around in a fog. I received your wire at home and things brightened up. You said the show wasn’t going until Sept. and I knew I could finish the summer and catch up to you, if a job was still open for me. When I got up here and read your letters, boy oh boy! I was really sailin’. I did want you to believe me and you said you did and that was O.K. for me. Honestly, baby, you have no idea how happy I was. That takes me up to tonight and I really feel good now, thanks to your letters…

Well, my darling, now that I know you’re not going away and you believe me and love me, I’ll rest a lot easier. I’m going to take it easy and try to put on some weight...

I bought a nice suit and some shoes and shirts and etc. I’m going to lay in the sun every day and get nice and healthy looking. Maybe you’ll like me better when you see me looking healthy.

Write me soon.
Love and kisses, Your baby, Danny

June 11
Dearest Baby,
Received you last letter and I was glad to hear the show is going to play Atlantic City. You write and tell me where you’re going to play there and I’ll figure out if you can come up before then and then again when you play there. There’s a possible chance that I might drive down to see you on a Sat. night and spend Sun. with you. Would you like that? I know I would…

Gee, I think about you constantly, baby, and it seems so long since I’ve seen you. Does it to you, too? Well, honestly it looks like it won’t be long before I see you…

Meanwhile, be good and take care of yourself and think of me, darling, because I’m always thinking of you…

Well, darlin’, I gotta go eat now so I can get fat. Write soon and regards to all.
For you, baby, Danny

June 13
… Listen, darling, you are coming up here, aren’t you? I don’t want anything to change your plans, because I’m looking forward to seeing you. When we are rehearsing the play, it’s not so bad, but as soon as we stop, I start thinking and go nuts. I miss you llike the devil, honey, I really do…

Don’t worry, sweetheart, I haven’t changed my mind about what I said to you in one of my letters. In fact, I realize it much more now…

June 20
Dearest Baby,
Received you letter and your licorice, and the birthday booklet and I want to tell you that I think it was very sweet of you. I couldn’t imagine what that package was. At first I thought it was the hair oil, but when I opened it and found the licorice I was really surprised and I enjoyed every bit of it, too…

Well, baby doll, do you still miss me? I do, as much as ever and let me tell you it’s not a particularly good feeling…

June 24
... Please tell me you are not angry, sweetheart, because if you are I’ll feel terrible. You know how I feel about you, now. Wait till I see you. I’ve got a lot to tell you. I hope you are missing me as much as I miss you. If you do it’s plenty because I think of you all the time…

You know, Holly, it’s my job to be nice, but nobody interests me around here. I’m always wonderin what you’re doing and whether you’re thinking of me the same time I’m thinking of you. Do you ever do that?

… Well, my baby, I have to eat now. but will write again tonight. So long, my baby.
Your baby, Danny

June 25
How are you, my darlin’?
It won’t be long before I see you. Gee, I’m all excited about your coming up. Are you?

… Well, sweetheart, I’ll close for now, but I’ll write again very soon. I don’t want you to think I’m forgetting you. I’m not, baby, I want you to believe me. You do, don’t you? I miss you and want you.
Love, Your baby, Danny

June 16
… Well, darling, it sure made me happy to see you, and blue when I left. But it’s only a matter of a couple of days now. I’ll be seein’ ya’ Fri. nite.

So long my baby and lots of love, Danny

August 9
… Baby darlin’, you know I’ll be good. I’d feel very small if I wasn’t…

Well, it won’t be long now. The summer is practically over.
Remember what I told you on the phone? Well, I do.

Your baby, Danny

August 10
It’s only been a couple of days since you left, but it seems like such a long time. It won’t be long tho’ before I see you…

Everybody here tells me what a nice girl they thought you were. They thought you were very pretty and charming and very quiet and refined. Dat’s sompin, ain’t it?

… Give my regards to the gang and my love for yourself That’s cute, ain’t it?

Be good and think of me.
Your baby, Danny

August 16
… Listen, my darlin’, whatever happens always remember what I’ve told you is true. You mean a lot to me and even tho’ I don’t show it sometimes, I feel it…

August 19
Gee, Baby, I sure do miss you. In fact, I miss you more than  before and dat’s a hell of a lot. Honestly, honey, I’m wacky about you and no matter what Cathleene says, I’m still being very good. “Cross my heart and hope to die if not”…

Well, darlin’, remember that you and no one else is my baby and I hope I’m yours always, too.
Gotta go eat and get fat now. Think of me.
Your baby, Davey

August 24
… Baby, I miss you terribly and if you miss me as much as I miss you, it’s tough on you too.
I don’t make much of a fuss, but I’m really serious when I say anything to you, baby. I want you to believe that.

… Don’t worry, baby, I’m not feeling badly about what Dave (Harvey) said (about Danny’s chances for returning to the Marcus show in the fall). The only thing that would make me feel badly would be if you wrote and told me that you didn’t love me no more. That would really make me feel badly…

August 27
… It seems a long time since I’ve seen you, baby, and I miss you more than anyting in the world. Write me soon, my darlin’, and let me know what’s what.
Love, always yours, Danny

August 29
… Well, my baby, so long for now and remember I love you very much, too.
Yours faithfully, too,

September 5
… Well, baby mine, I love you and miss you terribly and I hope it won’t be long before I see you, if only for a visit. I’m tryng to get Phil (Goldfarb) to take a trip to Montreal (where Holly and the Marcus show were). If I can talk it into him we’ll take a trip up to Montreal.

… Well, my little “wife,” I’ve been thinking of you and wanting you and I do miss you terribly…

Your own, Love, Danny

September 9
My Dearest Baby,
From now on, baby, I’ll write regularly…

I’ll try to go home Tues. or Wed. Anyway becaue I’m pretty well tired of it altho’ even when I look back at it, the nicest time and the best part of the summer was when you were here, baby.

Everybody here has admired my behavior this summer and thought it was very sweet that I should stay true to one girl. That’s the way I am, my darlin’, and I want you know that I was happy doin’ it. I love you, baby, and I know that you were and are on the up and up with me. For that and every other reason I love you, darlin’, and I hope you love me as much as ever…

I tried my darndest to get a car to go to Montreal and I couldn’t get one. I was very disappointed in not being able to come, but I’ll see you in Syracuse or one of those towns you wrote about. I’ll take a bus up from the city. I want to see you, baby and I’ll come up when you play there…

Well, baby, that’s all for a while. Keep writin’ me here until you hear from me.

Be good, my little–
Yours, Danny

September 12
My Dearest Baby,
Received your letters and was so happy to hear from you as you were to hear from me, and from what you say, dat’s sompin.

No, baby, your dream wasn’t quite true. I had your picture out all the time and I told my Dad that was the girl I was going with for two years. He thought your picture was pretty. I showed him the tie clasp you gave me and he thought it was very nice, so you see your dream was just a dream.

Don’t be sillly about writing to my home. Write just as often as you write now. It’s perfectly all right…

You ask me if I’m blue for you, too. You know I am, baby, bluer than I ever thought I’d be for anybody. After all we were together for a long time…

Baby, you want to know sompin? I weigh 160 pounds. Nat Lichtman and I are having a race who can put more weight on. I hope I stay like that when I get back to the city…

September 13
… Well, how is my little darlin’ today? I hope she is all right and thinking of me all the time just as I’m thinking of her.

You know, baby, as I’m writing this letter I feel good because in a coule of weeks I’ll be seein’ you. By the time I get my things all straightened out and get some things I need it will be time to come up and see you. Happy? Boy, I am and when I see you, oh boy!

I don’t ever get tired reading your letters and if they came twice as often I’d enjoy reading them over and over as I do now.

Do you read my letters over and over? I almost know your letters by heart, I read them so often…
I’m getting a nice tan and I hope I can keep the weight I’ve gained until I see you…

September 27
… You see, I’m in a fog. The days seem to be draggin’ by. I can’t wait until you get to Boston…
Be good, baby, and keep writing. You know, I felt funny because there wasn’t any mail this morning…


  1. David, these letters are fascinating.. sounds like he and Holly had a nice relationship and she did reciprocate.
    -Is there any more info in them ? Including stuff about his performances or travels or other mundane details ? Would be good to read those, too, just to get a sense of where Danny was when he wrote them (in New York City, upstate?) and what he was doing at that time.
    -Could you post a picture of one of the letters so we can see what they actually looked like ? Also, a picture of Holly ? Is one available?
    -This is valuable historical research...

  2. Yes, these are just excerpts from longer letters. I pulled out some of the lovey-dovey stuff, but most contain details about how his day went, life at White Roe, etc. As stated, these letters were written at White Roe Resort in the Catskills. The collection contains many more letters than these.
    Photos of Holly and the letters themselves are property of University of Michigan.

  3. Feels kind of like going through somebody's underwear drawer, but -- or rather, therefore -- completely fascinating! I wonder if these were the letters that at one point were offered on Ebay? I have a copy of the Ebay offering -- I think it was $4000.00 or so -- I'll have to look it up in my collection. If so, I'm glad they ended up in a University collection rather than in private hands. Thanks so much for sharing!!!

  4. Lisa, I would love it if you could reprint that eBay listing!
    The University said Holly's heirs did sell several letters before donating the bulk of them.
    In about 2005, Cohasco auctioned off one of the letters.
    The listing from Catalogue 53:
    "21-3. Danny Kaye. View Image Entertainer, in films and on stage, comedian "par excellance." A.L.S., Apr. 19 (no year, but original accompanying envelope dated Apr. 19, 1937), 2 pp. Written to girlfriend Holly Fine (later his wife), at the start of his spectacular career, about the difficulties in sending the letter by Clipper. Envelope bears nine rubber stampings including "First Flight," "San Francisco," "Hong Kong," Auckland, N.Z." "This is the first Clipper going all the way to Australia by Air...I never felt so alone in my life. I realize more than ever how much a part of me you are...." A long letter, written in a small, neat hand, signed "Danny," about saving his money to buy material, working in the clubs in winter. "I know I can do good if I have good material to back me up." About fine. Envelope with some wear, but stampings are clear. Mailed from New York City's City Hall Station to Auckland, via San Francisco, Hong Kong, and Sydney. Unusual. $250-450 (2 pcs.)
    Cohasco told me the letter "sold for hammer price $330 to a collector."

  5. I will definitely find my copies of the listings and email to you as soon as I can! BTW, I *LOVE* your book and am devouring it between the constant stream of visitors we are getting down here in Florida during winter! :-)

  6. Thank you so much, Lisa. That's very gratifying to hear.