Wednesday, September 01, 2021

EP240: Name Dropping Theater

Ken drops names and tells stories about various celebrities he has encountered. Along with some tips for those who come to LA hoping to spot stars.

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Brian Phillips said...

I've seen Weird Al Yankovic eating at a Greek restaurant on Sunset Blvd.

In Tower Records on Sunset, a fellow asked me where Peter Townshend's records were. I told him I didn't work there, but I could show him. He demurred. As we drove away, by Sister-in-Law wanted to know what Armand Assante wanted.

I stood behind the enormous and chiseled Joe Piscopo at the same Tower. The clerk was all smiles, his wife had a look on her face that indicated that she REALLY wanted to leave.

I temped at a Savings and Loan. I say "Savings and Loan" because the boss kept insisting it WASN'T a bank. Every so often, we'd get a call from ____ ________. When he came in one day, it turned out to be Sean Penn. I have no stories about him, I never helped him.

At the same IT'S-NOT-A-BANK, Joe Regalbuto came in and he was always very nice. MUCH nicer than the not-famous-at-all guy who had a lot of money in the bank, as he liked to let all of us know.

When I worked at the (you're not gonna believe me) Tower Records in Washington, DC, I was on the phone and a fellow asked me a question. I told him I could help him as soon as was off the phone. A little while later, one of the other clerks asked me, "What did Paul Young want?" I would have said, "Armand Assante!", but only one of us would have laughed.

During an in-store, Bobby McFerrin and Kathleen Battle shared a table. He was pleasant, she had on, what Lucy Van Pelt called a "Total Warfare Face". During the second playing of "Spontaneous Inventions", McFerrin's current release, someone yelled in a high voice, "Would you turn that down, please!" It was McFerrin.

At the bank (yes, a bank, not a...) I worked for, I met two adult film stars, Lois Ayres, who was in the biz primarily (very nice person) and another, who did some non-adult work and the latter part of his career was adult. He said, "I'm a actor", when he came up to my window, by means of introduction. He was thinner than I remembered him and I mentioned one of his roles (one of his earlier ones!) and he smiled. It turns out he was quite ill and he died not long after I met him.

At the same bank, I met Mike Connors, who was not rude in the least, but all business. Peter Marshall was roughly the same and had a gigantic, could-fill-the-room voice. One of my favorite celebrity depositors was Pat Corley. The first time he came in, he was rather quiet. When I finished the transaction, I leaned forward and softly said, "I enjoy your work on the [Murphy Brown] show", handed him the receipt and he left. The next time he came in, he came to my window, handed me his transaction and from that day forward, he was all smiles, and he even joked with me a couple of times.

Ted Lange was always nice and I found out we both liked Bugs Bunny cartoons. He even knew that Bugs was inspired, in part, by Groucho Marx.

The only time I got caught in a serious "HEY, LOOK IT'S...!"-gawk was Rhea Perlman. She parked in our lot and almost all of us had our faces pressed against the window as she walked by with her children. She smiled and waved and all of us went, "Awwwwww!" as if one of the Beatles look directly at us.

If you ever do any banking business with Sam Donaldson, HE NEEDS NEW BILLS. You're welcome.

Alan Christensen said...

I live in Seattle. The one show business run-in I've had was at LAX with Ben Stein. We had a nice chat. This was when his game show "Win Ben Stein's Money" was on, the conceit being you're trying to win his money. I told him our family had spent the week at Disneyland. "Oh, that's so expensive!" which gave me the sense he's tight with his money in real life.

Since Ken mentioned Telly Savalas, I remember a story I heard about him. He called his mother to tell her he'd been cast in "The Greatest Story Ever Told." She said, "Oh, son, you'll make a wonderful Jesus!" He didn't have the heart to tell her he was playing Pilate.

Michael said...

Barry Livingston, who was Ernie on My Three Sons, says when William Frawley was on the show, they would go to Nickodells for lunch breaks and Frawley would drink the entire time and not want to go back to set. The producers would make him and his brother Stanley who played Chip coax him back.

DwWashburn said...

I wouldn't be too hard on Sally Field (my pre-teen and even current crush) for not being the life of the party at a gym. This is why you see so many people with earbuds and other personal listening devices when you go there. If you talk to everyone around you eventually find a guy who's trying to sell you insurance and drawing attention to his emu.

Dave Creek said...

Here in Muhammad Ali's hometown of Louisville, there's hardly anyone who hasn't had a sighting. He would pick up hitchhikers and give them inspirational talks. He would show up at local schools and suggest having an immediate assembly. Of course, most principals would drop everything and call that assembly.

He loved performing little slight-of-hand tricks for children and always had a positive message. Of course, he had his detractors, mostly idiots who would call him a "draft dodger," for his stance on Vietnam, that kind of thing. But most people had really positive reactions.

It was sad to see his health deteriorate so much. Not long before he died, he appeared at the Muhammad Ali Center downtown, sitting in a chair and posing for pictures. I was appalled that some families seemed to use him as a prop, not speaking to him or acknowledging him as a human being. My family took a picture with him, but we made sure to thank him for the opportunity. He didn't react, but I'm glad we at least made the attempt. I have to hope he heard our acknowledgement of him as a person, even if he couldn't respond.

Mike Barer said...

That was a real fun episode. Coincidentally, the same day I listened to that, I ran into two celebrities.