The Great Photo Album Adventure (Part 11C): Linda Hoffman & Bobby Rydell

(Continued from Thursday,  May 26.   Click here to see Part 1,  or here to see Part 2….)

It was 1964,  and still-shy Linda Ferrino  (now Linda Hoffman)  had just been appointed Bobby Rydell’s National Fan Club President.

16_05_31 1 Bobby Rydell Linda Hoffman 2014(Linda Ferrino Hoffman and Bobby Rydell in 2014)

So when Bobby was invited to appear on the nationally syndicated Mike Douglas Show,  she did what any responsible chief executive would do:  She had her mom call school and say she’d be out sick that day.

FIND  YOURSELF  SOMEBODY….

“I’m in the audience,  it’s live,  and Mike and Bobby are singing,”  Linda recalls.

Then Bobby pointed to her,  and Mike led her to a stool next to Bobby while they sang,  “You’re Nobody ’Til Somebody Loves You” to her.

16_05_31 2 Bobby Rydell Mike Douglas(Shock tactics:  The president of Bobby’s Detroit fan club – who probably also skipped school – took this photo from her TV screen – the only image Linda has from that day.)

“I still remember seeing my face on the TV monitor while I looked around in shock.   The audience was in stitches.”

From there she moved to a seat onstage where Mike introduced and interviewed her.

And,  yes,  Bobby later confessed that he kept it a secret so she wouldn’t panic in advance,  but it didn’t help when he mentioned on-screen that she’d cut school to be there….

OOPS….

As any Catholic school kid can tell you,  the Discipline Office is the last place you want to be called,  and Linda predictably received an invitation the next day,  where she found three nuns waiting for her.

And,  yes,  they had questions.

“Is Bobby Rydell as nice as he seems?”

“I taught him at Epiphany parish.   Does he remember me?”

“Can we get some autographed photos?”

16_05_31 3 Bobby Rydell Mike Douglas(A more composed Linda with Bobby on the Mike Douglas set in 1966.)

SNAIL  MAIL  TO  SOCIAL  MEDIA

Linda eventually married Jake Hoffman,  and Bobby married his South Philadelphia high school sweetheart,  Camille Quattrone.   The two families remained close,  but the fan club fell away.

16_05_31 4 Bobby Rydell Linda Ferrino Latin Casino(All grown up at the Latin Casino in 1969.)

Then Camille called Linda in the 1990s:   Bobby was performing as one of the Golden Boys with friends Frankie Avalon and Fabian.   His career was flourishing.   Would Linda write material for a new Bobby Rydell website?

The answer was yes.

TAKE  ME  TO  BOBBY  RYDELL  BOULEVARD

In 1995,  Linda had an inspired idea,  one that required getting every homeowner in his old neighborhood to sign a petition and testifying before the city council:   As South Philadelphia’s longest and most enthusiastic ambassador around the world,  why not name a stretch of 11th Street near Moyamensing Avenue after him?

16_05_31 5 Bobby Rydell Boulevard

With Camille’s blessing,  Linda mobilized his fan club membership and got the unanimous support of the neighbors – and the council.

When the TV and radio stations started calling his house,  Bobby was on the golf course with Frankie Avalon,  totally unaware of Linda’s secret campaign.

16_05_31 6 Bobby Rydell Blvd Dedication(Bobby addresses the crowd at the dedication of Bobby Rydell Boulevard,  following a parade down 11th Street and speeches by Mayor Ed Rendell and others.)

WHICH  BRINGS  US  TO…..

So,  when Bobby’s marriage to Linda Hoffman was announced in January,  2009  (Camille had passed away in 2003), the Philadelphia Inquirer naturally reported that he had married his fan club president.

“Not so fast…!”   they protested.

16_05_31 7 Bobby Rydell Wedding (Bobby Rydell on his wedding day with wife Linda Hoffman,  right,  and longtime friend Linda Hoffman,  left.)

The two Linda Hoffmans lived in the same town,  had the same doctors and dentists,  and shopped in many of the same stores.   Each knew of the other’s existence but they had never met,  even though now-wife-Linda would mistakenly receive phone calls meant for Bobby’s fan club.

Then,  in 2007,  a mutual friend introduced Bobby and the second Linda Hoffman,  and the rest – as they say – was major confusion…

16_05_31 8 Bobby Rydell Linda Hoffman(The two Linda Hoffmans in 2011 with husbands Bobby and Jake.)

Today,  Linda Ferrino Hoffman is still Bobby’s assistant,  managing his website and social media,  and accompanying him at local signings of his new book,  Bobby Rydell: Teen Idol on the Rocks: A Tale of Second Chances.

Sometimes,  I guess,  you really have to listen to mom.

16_05_31 9 Linda Ferrino Hoffman(Linda with her mom Gloria Ferrino and daughter Jenna Hoffman)

KEEPING   UP   WITH   UNEXPECTED  PHILA.

Interested in keeping up with our blog by email?   Just click on the black  “Follow”  button at right (near the top of the blog)  after typing in your email address there, and you’ll receive a notice every time we post an entry.

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Click here to see more great 1960s photos from Art Tavani’s South Philadelphia photo album on our website,  and here to see all our blog posts about the adventures it inspired….

Enjoy!

 

 

4 thoughts on “The Great Photo Album Adventure (Part 11C): Linda Hoffman & Bobby Rydell

    • Hi, Mary Ellen —

      I just tried to email back to you, but that failed, too — I’m not sure what’s going on because other messages are getting through. If you’re trying to sign up for the blog, please be sure to type your email address in the space above the black “Follow” button *before* you hit the button. In the meantime, I’ll try emailing you from another address… Kate

      Like

  1. What an amazing South Philly, Bobby Rydell and Linda Ferrino Hoffman story. She’s gotta be the best fan club president ever! Great job capturing it all in such a delightful way! Ann Keech

    Like

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