Thursday, May 11, 2006

Celebrity Sighting Number One

When I wrote about standing on a motel balcony with Mick Fleetwood, who was clad in his tighty-whities, Ryan left a comment that my celebrity stories make him "giddy." He used the word "giddy." It's still in the comments. This from a man who is fighting a personal "is he gay?" rumour.

So, in the interest of making Ryan giddy all over again, I am going all the way back to my first ever, bona fide celebrity meeting.

I was twelve. My parents had shelled out the money for me to attend Notre Dame Hockey Camp on that esteemed University's campus in South Bend, Indiana for a week in the summer. We spent a week learning to skate better and shoot better and work out better and all that stuff. We even ran the steps of the legendary Notre Dame football stadium, with Touchdown Jesus keeping an eye on us for protection. On the last day we played a scrimmage for the sake of our parents, who were there to pick us up after a blessed week of not having their 12-year-old punk at home.

Notre Dame's hockey rink is in one dome of a two-domed convocation center. The time for our game was later in the afternoon, so three of us snuck off into the other side. We were just running around the empty halls of the venue, when we rounded a corner and came to a screeching halt. Standing right in front of us was Red Skelton, who was there for a comedy concert that evening. We all got to shake his hand and talk to him for a minute. I still remember he was chomping on an unlit cigar, and he said he was trying to quit, but he liked cigars so much he just didn't light them anymore.

The reason that encounter was so memorable was the night before we sat in the lobby of the dorm we were staying in and watched the 1956 classic "Around the World in Eighty Days" on TV starring, you guessed it, Red Skelton.

There you go, Ryan. You may not even be old enough to know who Red Skelton is. But when I met him, I was positively giddy.

9 Comments:

At 6:40 PM , Blogger Short and Fat said...

Frankly, of the Reds, Skelton falls to the rear of my entertaiment food chain. I prefer Redd Foxx, then Red Buttons, before Red Skelton.

In fact the mere inference that Skelton is possibly on par with the others makes me see...you know.

 
At 10:20 PM , Blogger newscoma said...

My first celebrity sighting was the Oak Ridge Boys at Nashville Airport. There was a woman there who kept throwing her toddler at the frizzy-headed one and the mountain guy.
I was roughly 10 and I think "Elvira" was a big hit then.
The frizzy-headed one kept going to the bathroom on the plane. My mother told me he was brushing his teeth.
He must have had a sinus infection or something because he was awful sneezy. (disclaimer ... not implying just observing.)
A friend of mine saw George "Goober" Lindsey at Cool Springs Mall when she was covering a TSSAA basketball tournament as a writer.
She said the crowd she was in went wild. She, on the other hand, was appalled that seeing Goober in his natural habitat was a frenzied mess of parents who knew who he was while the players on the bus continued to listen to Nirvana and snark a bit.
Story over. Sorry it was so long. You inspired me Knuck.
I guess I got all giddy or something.

 
At 12:41 AM , Blogger Ryan said...

My celebrity sightings include James Brown, John Prine, John Hiatt, Tom Keifer, Craig Stadler, Kim Carnes, Tommy Lasorda, Jimmy Connors, Richard Simmons, Johnny Miller...that's probably it. Oh yeah, a member of Vandenberg when they opened for Ozzy Osbourne in 1982. (I also had a telephone conversation in Jupiter, FL with Barbara Nicklaus, wife of the Golden Bear, and also sat in the backseat of a patrol car previously occupied by OJ Simpson in Augusta). I am so fucking cool, it's frightening.

I was trying to figure out how to defend/distance myself from the ill-placed "giddy" comment when I got to the Red Skelton part of your post. Then I got giddy all over again. I LOVED Red Skelton as a kid (and, yeah, now too). If Red Skelton and Victor Borge had a lovechild as a result of Richard Pryor, Lenny Bruce, Cheech Marin, Gene Tracy, George Carlin, Steve Martin, and Bill Murray sharing their collective seeds, that lovechild would be me. Man, it is great to be me.

Alright, I have to go jerk off to a picture of Mandy Patinkin now. I'll catch up with you soon.

Best,
Ryan

 
At 3:13 AM , Blogger Kat Coble said...

I have to go jerk off to a picture of Mandy Patinkin now.

Me first.

I loves me some Mandy Patinkin

 
At 7:54 AM , Blogger Can I B Frank said...

My best celebrity encounter was the night I took Rob Schneider out to Tootsie's. He was in town shooting a music video that a friend of mine was directing. When asked if I wanted to go out drinking with Deuce Bigelow, I figured it would be pretty low key but a good time nonetheless. Turns out that the drunken masses of lower Broadway absolutely LOVE Rob Schneider. For three straight hours, I sat at a table with him while a steady stream of star struck beauties came over to chat. Rob handled it amazingly well and I got to enjoy being the second coolest person in the bar since I was literally at the table with him. He told me about being a pallbearer at Rodney Dangerfield's funeral, about hanging out with his buddy Adam Sandler and about his recently finalized nasty divorce. He even got up on stage and did an Elvis bit, which was pretty damn good. I told my kids about it and now every time they see him on TV, I hear my 8 year old screaming "Daddy! There's your best friend Rob Schneider!"

 
At 9:46 AM , Blogger saraclark said...

I used to be part of an informal lunch Group at Noshville on Fridays that included John Prine, a couple of other big songwriters, little Jimmy Dickens, Brad Schmidt and me. It was strange but cool. Once when they were out of black and white cookies and I had to leave to go back to work, John Prine delivered one to me.
I got to meet Robert Plant recently and I almost flipped out like those girls in the Beatles footage. I was way beyond giddy.

 
At 7:21 PM , Blogger Lee said...

You met little Jimmy Dickens? Sweet.

My one is the night after Derby last year I was downtown when I saw a young trashy blonde with horrible roots being escorted by two cops. What made her stand out was her out of place white designer dress. I got a good look at her and it was Tara Reid. Yes, she was drunk.

 
At 7:58 PM , Blogger SistaSmiff said...

Because of the work my dad did, celebrity sightings were part of normal life, however, looking back into my storehouse of memries, the first time I can recollect hanging around a famous person, and I couldn't have been more than 3 or 4 (I have a freakish memory) but Slim Whitman came to the house for supper. Dad was producing him at the time and he brought my sister and me Woody Woodpecker stuffed toys. (Uh, oh..I said "Pecker" and the Knucklehead will have some great retort fer that!) The first Non country/Hollywood type I saw...I did meet Glenn Scarpelli at Mae Axton's house...he was the boy on One Day At A Time....heh.

 
At 12:27 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was working at Toys R Us at Hickory Hollow one summer and one Christmas in high school. I remember getting asked by this scraggly guy where the "He-Man" toys were. My co-worker friend said to me afterwards, "Dude, that was Waylon Jennings!" (I'm not a country music fan, duh!)

And then one time Roseanne Cash came in after Christmas to return several cartloads of toys.

My favorite brush-with-celebrity though was sitting next to Adrian Zmed (TJ Hooker and Grease II fame) on the plane.

 

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