Our zebra print Christmas tree, Zip, went to Los Angeles to break ethnic boundaries in film. Here’s an old letter from his early Hollywood days.
Boy, was it ever my lucky day when you named me Zip A Dee Do Dah! Yep, your boy is fine out here in Hollywood. Not even out here a month and I land my first two parts! Well, the first one is as an extra in that Jimmy Stewart movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”. I play “4th Tree”, and they gave me $10!
The second role I just got today, and it’s a big one. I was walking around Lot C, and someone was bashing on a piano and mumbling to himself. He writes songs for Disney, and said he was having trouble thinking of the words for a tune. He played the tune, and I said, “Oh! My Ma sings that all the time!”
My oh my what a wonderful day
Plenty of sunshine headed my way
Mister blue birds on my shoulder
It's the truth
Everything is satisfactual
I didn’t tell him that you sing it to me in the morning to wake me up, Ma, that’s just for you and me.
Anyway, I get to SING in the MOVIE! I get to wear a straw hat, walk down a path, and sing to hummingbirds, bees, and a bluebird. Ma, do you know how important this is?! It’s the first time a black and white Christmas tree is in a movie. It’s what I came to Hollywood for – to break barriers!
And the director says that he’s casting a safari film next, and he might have a role for me. “You’re seven feet tall,” he says, “and you got no lights. Don’t matter, kid. With those exotic looks, I’ll make you a star.” A star!!! I’m gonna meet Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, hang out at the Polo Lounge, meet Mary Poppins. She’s cute.
Aren’t you proud of me, Ma? Your little zebra-striped Christmas tree is gonna be a big film star!