REMEMBERING ADRIAN BOOTH

By DUANE "SGT. KING" FULK

So sad to see that Adrian Booth has passed away.

I met her in 2005 at the Charlotte Western Film Festival. She asked me if I would do her a favor and take a photo of she and her dear friend Frank Capra, Jr.

She gave me her phone number, address and business card and asked me not to share them with anyone.

I sent her 2 copies of the photo with a short letter. A month later I answered the phone and heard, “Hi Duane. This is Adrian Booth. Do you remember me?”

I said, “Are you kidding? Of course I remember you!”

She wanted more copies of the photo. I sent them along with a note.

I got a thank you letter, a few autographed 8X10’s, a photo of her late husband David Brian and some poems and thoughts he had written. We only corresponded via letters or telephone as she had no interest in computers or e-mail.

A few months passed and I called her and asked if she would consider a guest appearance at “Serial Fest” in Pennsylvania? She asked questions about it. With her permission, I shared her info and possible interest with Eric Stedman. All the arrangements came together and she was the guest of honor at the May 2006 Serial Fest in Newtown, PA. When she saw me at Serial Fest she yelled my name, motioned me over and gave me a hug and kiss. The people waiting in line for her autograph were dumbfounded. 

She and her caretaker were treated like royalty. We all watched Adrian in a few movies but the most fun was watching Perils of Nyoka with Vultura herself! A perfect and fun weekend.

I sent her some photos of Serial Fest and of David Brian that she did not have. She asked to help her acquire a DVD copy of his movie No Place To Hide (Allied Artists, 1956). She went with her husband to the Philippines for its filming and enjoyed it very much. Whenever we talked she always inquired – but I never could find her a copy of that movie. We talked on the phone and exchanged letters about 1 or 2 times a year.

In 2009 after college, my son Bryan wanted to move to Los Angeles for work. So in August he and I spent a week driving out from Ohio. Adrian Booth Brian (the name she preferred) invited us over to her home for a visit. I took along a rare photo I framed of David Brian standing with the cast of a movie to gift her. She loved it.

She lived on a narrow, winding street in Sherman Oaks. Her average size house, a classic deco-style from the 1940’s, was not elaborate. She and David bought it in the early 1950’s. Adrian was in a robe, we sit in her living room along with her female caretaker, had some cool soft drinks and visited for about 1 hour. I noticed several movie and serial books on her bookshelf.

We talked about our trip out, Bryan’s college, him staying in L.A., her movie days, etc. She said to Bryan, “Good luck and call me once in a while and let me know how you’re doing.”

She didn’t mind my taking photos of the outside of her home, living room, swimming pool, etc. She mentioned her 2006 Serial Fest weekend and enjoyed it and the people the most of any festival. She had an appearance coming the next week for Cinecon at The Egyptian Theatre and didn’t really feel like going;

She had fallen outside, cut herself and said to me, “Look at this . . . here, feel this darn cut.” I reached over and touched the (healed) gash on her leg.

Some info I learned from Adrian Booth Brian:

*  She was “Miss Grand Rapids” and “Miss Michigan” both in 1936;

*  Her first movie break was Adventure In Sahara (1938) and said Paul Kelly was an excellent actor. (I’ve never seen this movie – will try to find a copy);

* She loved filming Gallant Legion (1948) and when it wrapped she invited cast and crew for supper at a restaurant but Bill Elliott and director Joe Kane tricked her and paid for the whole thing. Said Bill Elliott was a real gentleman;

*  Before she was hired for Red River Range (1938) a Republic producer asked if she could ride a horse. She lied and said, “Yes.”

*  On the Stooges short Three Sappy People (1939) director Jules White told prop men to really hit her with a lot of the cream puff pies. She got so much in her mouth that she really choked. Of course all the Stooges were normal and serious when not on camera;

*  She was very proud of her scene in Spoilers Of The North (1947) when she kills Paul Kelly with a knife to his throat and the camera holds on her eyes as he dies;

*  In the serial Deadwood Dick serial (1940) a cattle stampede got out of hand wrecking a platform she was on or under. She was scared and thought she was going to die;

*  Captain America serial (1944) – said it was just a 4 week job and doesn’t remember anything about star Dick Purcell. She signed my Mathis escape pictorial “Lorna Gray”;

*  Favorite co-star: Forrest Tucker. Smart helpful guy. Always her very good friend;

*  Least favorite co-star: Lloyd Bridges. I won’t share her reason on this public forum. She then stated, “I don’t want to think about him”;

*  She kept going back to two of her favorite subjects: her marriage to David Brian and religion;

*  She was best friends with Jane Russell and they worked together for years with “International Adoption Of Children” foundation.

As Bryan and I was walking to the car he said, “Geez Dad – you felt up Vultura’s left calf!” My site character Sgt. King of the Royal Mounted would have sternly answered, “That’s not at all an appropriate way to think of that.” But as Duane/Dad, I answered, “Oh yea I sure did!!!!” Will never see her lovely form on posters without thinking of that surreal moment.

This visit with such a caring and classy lady was a very memorable.

Respectfully for Adrian Booth Brian . . . may you rest in peace.