Donovan didn't mind, because playing in the NFL had gotten to be serious fun. When a team made its West Coast swing—to play the Rams and the San Francisco 49ers—it was a fiscal imperative that the team stay out there for the entire two weeks. Airfare was a killer.
"Oh, man, a paid vacation," says Donovan of those early travel schedules. "One time, five of us rented a car and got a map of Hollywood, all the stars' homes. We're driving around, and I can't believe my eyes: I think I see Alan Ladd washing his car."
It was Alan Ladd (this was after Shane), and the NFL being just on the cusp of public awareness, the actor looked up, startled to recognize so much semifamous muscle in a rental car. "He says, 'I know who you guys are, you're the Baltimore Colts.' ...Anyway, he invites us in."
It had been about a decade since Donovan had first visited California, to little purpose, but things were changing. Anything could happen now. Was it really possible that football players, in that short time, had become celebrities? Ladd, the famous movie star, went off to get the boys a case of beer, and they all had a grand time that afternoon in Hollywood.