Daily thoughts by a guy that doesn't like to think deeply too often!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Shoot for the Stars

..........I guess I got my "celebrity fascination" from my Uncle Andrew. He was a lot like me- he loved being surrounded by greatness, and having his picture taken with any celebrity that he happened to encounter. It all started when he was living in New York City. He was working in a diner as a busboy in 1959. One day, the cast of "Pillow Talk" came in to eat. Of course, Andrew recognized them and his heart skipped a beat! He happened to have his camera with him, and within the hour he had his picture taken with Rock Hudson, Doris Day and Tony Randall. You would've thought that he had met God himself! Andrew had the photo reproduced (actually mass-produced!). He mailed copies of the picture to everyone he knew. He also framed a copy and hung it on the wall of his Brooklyn apartment. He didn't know it, but he had been bitten by the bug!
Years later, he happened to come across Anita Bryant in that very same diner! He had his picture taken with Ms. Bryant and in the photo she was holding a glass of Florida Orange Juice- her claim to fame at the time. Little did Uncle Andrew know- the woman that he was pictured with would later be the founder and spokesperson for the anti-gay crusade entitled "Save Our Children". Later in life, he'd show the picture and when people asked "Isn't she the one that hates gays?", he'd reply "She doesn't hate gays, she just wants to stop them from recruiting children". He always defended her, because after having his picture taken with her he felt like they were friends. The picture was framed and hung on the wall next to the cast of "Pillow Talk".
Uncle Andrew also met Charles Wagenheim in the early 1970's. You might not recognize the name-- I'll give you a hint: "A Streetcar Named Desire". He is credited in the movie as "passerby #7", and appeared in the background of the famous scene where Marlon Brando yells: "Stella". He only appeared in the scene for about 1/2 of a second, but Andrew didn't care. He glady posed for a picture next to Mr. Wagenheim at a Tupperware Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mr. Wagenheim even autographed a Tupperware catalog for him, which he framed and hung on his "Wall of Fame", next to the photo and the other celebrity photos that he was amassing.
Years went by, and Uncle Andrew had not crossed paths with any celebrities of note. He did meet a lady that introduced herself as Jessica Lange's hairdresser's neighbor's best friend at an Amway "SA8 Detergent" demo in the food court of Green Tree Mall in Fargo, ND. He wasn't impressed enough to have his picture taken with her.
A few more years went buy and there were no more photos. Of course, we always asked him if he'd run into any celebrities lately. One time he told us that he had met the guy that played Mr. Whipple in the Charmin commercials, but he didn't have his camera with him so he didn't get a picture. The same thing happend when he ran into Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Green Jeans in a St. Paul bowling alley. He learned to keep his camera with him at all times and thus he was able to capture his image with a Ronald McDonald clown, a Shoney's Big Boy statue, and the Atlanta Brave's Indian mascot, Cheif Knockahoma.
In an effort to redeem his "friend of the celebrities" status, he took a week-long vacation in LA in 1984. Armed with a Polaroid camera and a strong desire to meet celebrities, he apparently struck gold there! He came home with pictures of himself with Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin, Clarke Gable and Elvis Presley. All of these pictures were framed and hung. Some were even autographed. We didn't have the heart to tell him that none of these celebrities were alive in 1984. I'm not sure that he knew. All we could figure was that he was at a wax museum or a celebrity look-alike convention and he didn't realize that they weren't the real thing. He didn't seem to care- he framed their photos and hung them with the rest. How sad. He lived his life thinking that being photographed with greatness would make him great. Can you imagine how pathetic that must be?
I wish Uncle Andrew was still alive. I'd love to show him my framed photos of me with Wayne Newton, Leslie Jordan, Mary & Carol Higgins-Clarke, Chef G. Garvin and the one of me with those two guys that had bit parts in a show that I never heard of. These are true celebrites! He'd be so envious........


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you mean Wayne Newton? Gotta know their names if they're your celebrity "friends"!!!

5:07 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

there's this guy i share an office with and i don't have a picture of us together. but that's ok. i know when i talk about him people must think i am a fool or am making him up. but he works really hard and doesn't get paid enough. and he has the best laugh. not to mention a very dry and sly sense of humor. we commiserate and plot together all the time. he takes in wandering chefs simply because he has a very hard time saying no to someone in need. he is a sympathetic ear and sarcastic mouth, the best 2 body parts anyone could ask for in a friend. and no one looks better in a dress and heels than he does. but he has this fascination with celebrities, talks about a "brush with greatness". everytime he brushes his own damn teeth he is exhibiting a brush with greatness. and greatness is everywhere he turns: have you seen his ass, too? anyway, just look in the mirror, bri guy. "celebrity" is looking back. it is all any of us think of you.

7:55 AM

Blogger =^..^= Kitty =^..^= said...

I've had "brushes" with greatness in my past. I'd tell you their names, but you wouldn't believe me!!! One of them was, to me, one of the greatest world leaders of the 20th century (a handsome foreign guy). I used to do some work for him when he was in Atlanta. When my work was over, he gave me a 10.5 carat diamond bracelet as a thank you gift. I can't find it, so mother probably sold it at one of her yard sales for $1. I have my memories and so life goes.

12:53 PM


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