I think adventure was what drew most of us to Paramount and the Page Program. I mean, I’m guessing we all had Hollywood aspirations and dream-factory dreams. I remember telling Linda about my fantasies of making it in Hollywood before I got there. One involved working for Randal Kleiser, mostly because I thought he was good looking. So, we bonded over Randal Kleiser and John Travolta and Grease. Grease was Linda’s favorite movie. I suspect it was what drew her to Paramount. She’d been to so many screenings and revivals and re-releases she had met Randal on many occasions. Not only him; but the entire cast. In fact, the last time I spoke to her (about a year ago) she had just gone to yet another Grease screening. There was always a story. At that screening, I guess they were displaying costumes from the film and the actress who played Patty Simcox was apprehended after trying to steal her cheerleader outfit by changing into it in the bathroom and then attempting an escape. You can’t make stuff like this up. And there was Linda, right in the middle of it! She was like the lady Zelig of Hollywood. She was constantly on the go, doing things, attending events, crashing red carpets, casually chatting up celebrities… I think she should’ve been Paramount Studio’s Ambassador of Good Will instead of A.C. Lyles. Oh yes, she knew him too!
I remember one time myself, my now husband, Louis Gonzalez and Linda all went to Disneyland. She was eager to visit the Haunted Mansion. “Do you scream when the lights go out at the bottom of the elevator?” she asked. “Uh, no…not that I’ve been to the Haunted Mansion enough times to know that it was a thing. Is it a thing?” “Oh,” she assured us, “it’s a thing…” So, we go on the ride and the room begins to descend. “Are you going to scream?” I asked. She just had a sheepish grin. The elevator descended, the lights went out, the lightning flashed and the body in the rafters was swinging. Silence. Then Linda let out one of the loudest, most blood-curdling screams I’d ever heard. And then, of course, she laughed. My husband still talks about it. On Space Mountain she got us all to scream. I realize now they were primal screams of joy.
She had absolutely no qualms about breaking on to movie sets; which was supposedly the worst thing an unauthorized employee could do. One night, after some event, it was decided that we should go visit the Brady house, as they were making the movie sequel at the time. I’m certain it was Linda’s idea. So, a small “bunch” of us commandeered a golf cart, drove to the soundstage and just walked right in. Pictures were taken on the famous stairway (if anyone has copies of those, please post!). We hung out in the girls’ bedroom. There was a bulletin board on the wall. Somebody decided we needed to draw a happy face and pin it up (I’m pretty certain it was Linda). A sticky note was found. A happy face was drawn and pinned to the board. And it made it into the final cut of the movie! I remember her at the screening nudging me, laughing and pointing it out. So, if you watch A Very Brady Sequel, look for the happy face and think of Linda.
I think my very favorite (and the ultimate) Linda memory is the TV Land launch party on the New York Street backlot. The channel was premiering and Paramount threw a huge, lavish party on the backlot for all the studio execs. Invitation only. Underlings like Linda and myself (no longer pages but certainly not executives!) were decidedly not invited. This was towards the end of my tenure at the studio. I was in the midst of my own frustration and nervous breakdown; so, I kind of didn’t care anymore. We were going to that effin’ party!
I illegally parked my car on the lot and met up with Linda. We staked out the party. The backlot was cordoned off with only one means of entrance and exit. Security was everywhere. But we figured out a plan. One of the buildings on the lot had its back wall facing the New York street and was covered with a façade. I think it was a generator building or something. So, you could enter that building from the lot side and then come out through the façade onto the street like you were walking onto a yacht. We noticed a lot of party-goers had I.D. tags, so we secured dummy ones. We rounded up some friends and then we did it. We just moseyed out into the party like we belonged there (and we did). The celebrities present were mostly old-school TV stars, like Ruth Buzzi and Dr. Bombay from Bewitched. Kind of Z list; but for me and Linda it was a thrill! We’d grown up watching these people on Prime Time and then in endless reruns.
The musical guests performing live that night were K.C. and the Sunshine band. Their heyday had been in the 70’s. Now it was twenty years on and the audience was decidedly snotty. Some people were doing little to hide their derision. They took it as a joke and an insult: why is the entertainment a bunch of has-beens? Then they started to play and they were amazing. I turned to Linda. “Why are people just standing here, throwing shade?” I asked her. “This band is amazing!” She looked at me, sensing the snobby injustice of it all. “Let’s dance,” she said, “I bet if we start dancing, everybody else will too!” So, we did. And then everyone else started dancing. Soon, we were leading a Conga line around the dance floor. We, the uninvited, made that party happen. That was the kind of magic she was able to conjure.
Someone once asked me if I thought Linda was “uptight”; as in prudish. I mean, she certainly did have that “good girl” persona—a lot like Sandy from Grease. She was kind of unbelievably good. She was undeniably saintly; but never holier-than-though. However, she was very private. There were certain things we just didn’t talk about. “Uptight?” I replied. “Uhh, no. I mean she loves Quentin Tarantino movies. How could she be uptight?” In fact, the last thing she sent me was an LP of Marilyn Monroe singing. It’s a vinyl picture disk. The image is of Marilyn’s famous fully-topless calendar shot. I’m sure Linda will meet Marilyn (another favorite) somewhere and the two will hang-out together. And I’m sure Linda will kindly offer Marilyn a robe…
My Hollywood fantasies remain. I’m going to sell the rights to my novel to Paramount and they’re going to give me a three-picture deal. I’m going to have my own production offices right where Robert Evans’ were. We’re going to do a reboot of Love Story. Working title: Love Means Never Having to Say Goodbye. And Linda Correa is going to be my Head of Production. But now that last part isn’t going to happen.
That last part that would’ve been the best part.