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Your Brush with Greatness.


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When I had three book shops in the Washington area, I had a fair number of "name" customers, but the only time I literally "brushed" with a household name was when I almost knocked over Barry Goldwater in the late 70's when I was jogging on a crowded sidewalk on Connecticut Avenue. 

 

 

(...sorry Andy, but of course I can't resist the following question here...)

 

Sooo, when you almost knocked over Senator Goldwater, he was about to fall to the right...RIGHT?!

 

(...hey, told ya I was sorry, didn't I?!!!)

 

;)

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Thank You Helen for starting this wonderful and fun post and Thanks for Liking my post :)

Hey Dargo you and I can have a mutual LIKE fest all day long with this one LOL

 

Nope, actually I can't, lavender.

 

'Cause ya know that little part-time gig I've got with that little Sedona to PHX A/P shuttle company, and which of course was at the insistence of my wife(somethin' about "gettin' out of her hair for a few hours a week, since we're both retired now"...perfectly understandable from her point of view, wouldn't ya say?!)...well..I've got a late afternoon run scheduled today, and so the idea of this whole "liking fest" goin' on "all day long" ain't gonna happen, I'm afraid!   ;)

 

(...and of course ALSO because the company kind'a frowns upon their drivers texting while on the road...and isn't it a shame that so many of the youts out there today don't realize what a VERY smart policy that would be for the general public???) ;)

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(...sorry Andy, but of course I can't resist the following question here...)

 

Sooo, when you almost knocked over Senator Goldwater, he was about to fall to the right...RIGHT?!

 

(...hey, told ya I was sorry, didn't I?!!!)

 

;)

 

Actually it would have been. since he was approaching from my right and my momentum would have knocked him in the direction I was heading.

 

And wait, there is a Hollywood connection there, now that I think about it.  Does anyone else remember that Barry G. once signed a contract with 19th Century Fox? B)

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Actually it would have been. since he was approaching from my right and my momentum would have knocked him in the direction I was heading.

 

And wait, there is a Hollywood connection there, now that I think about it.  Does anyone else remember that Barry G. once signed a contract with 19th Century Fox? B)

 

REALLY?  Didn't know that about Barry!

 

(...but as I said, I gotta leave now, and so I'll find out what you're talking about later here)

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I attended a concert which celebrated the 100th Birthday of George Gershwin.  Attending the concert was his sister Frances who was still alive then.  She sat in the row right behind me.  As the concert started I had the desire to turn my head and to have a look at her.  In the Lucille Ball ala William Holden fashion I turned and stared and she loudly said "What?"  I embarrassingly turned around and slunk down in my seat.

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My mother's family lived on the wrong side of the tracks. A poor family with 12 kids, living in dilapidated housing that would eventually be condemned by the township and torn down. The youngest child in the family was my youngest aunt - who was less than a year older than I - I being the first grandchild. My next youngest aunt was less than 2 years older than me, another less than 3. We all went to school together and Sharon - who failed once - ended up in the same class with me. My aunt.

 

Anyway, it was a tough family. The seven sons (uncles) were known throughout the town as formidable scrappers. There was some thieving as well. The cops were at the door regularly. One of those uncles - #6 - was not quite all there. A touch of cerebral palsy and severe rage issues if you pushed him.

 

Around the age of 8 or 9, a fellow started coming around my grandparents house - a friend of this uncle. This uncle didn't have a whole lot of friends, but for a while he had this guy named Mike. Mike always kind've looked like there was something a little bit wrong with him too. Weird face on him. I remember hearing his whole name a few times. "Mike Ironside's coming over","Bob - Mike Ironside's here". That sort of thing. Everyone thought he was as big a loser as Bob.

 

Eventually the relationship between Mike and Uncle Bob came to an end. The housing was torn down, we all moved on.

 

Then, in the early 80's, I'm watching a David Cronenberg movie on VHS called 'Scanners'. And there, at the start of the movie, big as life, is that strangely familiar weird face - and he's playing a very scary psychic who causes a man's head to explode into pieces.

 

When I looked at the credits, I got the confirmation. Mike Ironside from the wrong side of the tracks of west end Toronto had become Michael Ironside, actor.

 

And a prolific actor at that - who's been in some pretty major productions.

 

Wonder if he remembers those times in my grandmother's house - me staring at his weird head.

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My mother's family lived on the wrong side of the tracks. A poor family with 12 kids, living in dilapidated housing that would eventually be condemned by the township and torn down.

 

 

Dang, boy..... you belonged in the South USA.

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Dang, boy..... you belonged in the South USA.

 

Catholics, ay. Irish on the maternal grandmother's side to boot. She actually had 14 kids but 2 didn't survive birth. My mother was the 3rd born.

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 ...She actually had 14 kids but 2 didn't survive birth. My mother was the 3rd born.....

 

 

..... Then, in the early 80's, I'm watching a David Cronenberg movie on VHS called 'Scanners'. And there, at the start of the movie, big as life, is that strangely familiar weird face - and he's playing a very scary psychic who causes a man's head to explode into pieces.

 

When I looked at the credits, I got the confirmation. Mike Ironside from the wrong side of the tracks of west end Toronto had become Michael Ironside, actor.

 

And a prolific actor at that - who's been in some pretty major productions.

 

Wonder if he remembers those times in my grandmother's house - me staring at his weird head.

That's a Great story (edit) sorry, I meant Darkblue!

Reminds me of my mom and grandparents simple rural background.

 

And hilariously interesting.

 

I had to google "Michael Ironside, actor" just so I could get a fix on this guys head. And yeah, I've seen him in several movies... including SCANNERS, TOTAL RECALL, and of course, STARSHIP TROOPERS.

 

Such humble beginnings don't have to limit a person.

 

How does the saying go? "From little acorns mighty oaks will grow"...

 

edit:

 

Scot-Irish and French ancestry on my mother's side (that I am aware)

My family was poor white trash from rural Missouri. A small farming community.

My Grandma had 11 kids that survived. Lost two shortly after birth.

My mom was the 3rd borne, with one older sister and half brother ahead of her.

I was the first grandson. Had an uncle about a year older, and another not quite 2 years older.

My mom left me with my grandparents when I was a baby while she went to California looking for work (a better life).

My grandma was still breastfeeding my youngest uncle, and I'm told she had me on the other teat.

The house was very small with no foundation. Literally sinking into the ground. No running water.

Good well with a hand pump in the yard. Outhouse, woodstove.

Hot water heated in buckets on the stove for a weekly bath in water we all shared. No privacy.

Bathed in a washtub in the kitchen. Bathed according to age, with the youngest getting the cleanest water first.

Drinking bucket with a dipper near the kitchen door. Anyone (family or neighbors) coming in or leaving was free to share the dipper.

At night all manner of daybeds were layed out. With a full house it was literally head-to-foot bodies, wall-to-wall.

My grandparents lived in that house until the early 1970's when my mother and I bought them a newer, better house on the corner. Without anybody living in the old home place it literally fell to the ground within 10 years.

 

When I was a little kid living with my grandparents I wasn't aware that we thought of ourselves as poor. But most of the community wasn't much better off than we were. There was a neighbor up the road that had a modern house with an indoor toilet and a telephone. Actually it was more like a community phone because they'd send someone down to my grandma and tell her my mom was calling long distance from California.

We thought we ate well, though the pantry also held considerable government rations.

My grandpa and eldset uncle served in WW2.

My two youngest uncles and myself served much later.  

I was the first grandchild to attend college, courtesy of the GI bill.

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:lol:

 

I'd like to thank Stephan for posting his autobiography, and wish it much success on the New York Times' "bestseller's" list!

 

Well written, and I hope he takes this reply in the "good natured" way it was intended.

 

 

Sepiatone

Taken "good naturedly" :)

 

Well Sepia,

Everyone has a story to tell.

But I'd have lived a very short and unadventurous life if that is all I could manage for an autobiography.

Just a few snipits from memory lane stimulated by this thread and it's posters.

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Stephan, as a fellow L.A. South Bay boy and of the same "vintage" as you, just wanna say here that I loved reading your remembrances of that time and place, and the famous you encountered during that time.

 

So, you were on the "Dating Game" too, eh?! Yep, so was I back in 1971, but in my case the "the lovely bachelorette" DID pick me and we were sent to "beautiful" Ensenada Mexico. Woo-WEE!!!

 

In 1980 I was a contestant on another game/quiz show Jim Lange hosted...the syndicated Barry-Enright produced "Bullseye", and which was somewhat patterned after their successful "Tic-Tac-Dough".  Won $10Grand on that one, and then immediately went out and blew it all on a new motorcycle, a used water-ski boat and a new stereo system.

 

(...well anyway, thanks again for this walk down SoCal memory lane)

Hah, Dargo

I bet you and I could share some familiar tales. :D

 

Yep, I was "bachelor #3" and she choose #2. But she really meant to pick me as when Lange asked her what it was that made her make her decision, she said that we "all sounded so great," but it was the answer to one question that swayed her. And that was my answer, that she had mistakenly attributed to #2.

We both looked at each other with surprize when she said that and shrugged our shoulders.

She must have been confused, and Jim Lange even mentioned that it was bachelor #3 who said that, but #2 went on the date anyway.

Oh well, I missed out on a terrific trip to far-off and exotic Ensenada (the Dating Game wasn't known for it's big expenditures). :wub:

 

So were you able to ditch the chaperone?

 

BTW, she did give me a call, and we hooked up after her "date" with #2.

We spent a very enjoyable weekend camping at Pirates Cove, near Avila. But that, my friend, is another off-topic story....  ;)

 

While I'm on the subject of beaches. There's another "Pirates Cove" that you're probably familiar.

It's a secluded part of Zuma beach near Malibu, at Point Dume.

The beach is kind of shallow and pretty isolated by large rocky outcroppings extending to the water, with a steep cliff at its back.

A bunch of us found out about it in early HS, and it was a treat to visit.

Anyway, in the summer of 1967, we went up there and that whole section of Point Dume was cordoned off.

Because the way it's situated it's easy to isolate that beach and there have been commercials and such filmed there. But this time they were filming the Statue of Liberty scene for The Planet Of The Apes.

We usually brought some cheap binoculars with us  whenever we went to Zuma, and this time they paid off with dividends.

Even though we were'nt allowed down there, there was a camera crew and a bunch of locals up on the bluff looking down at the action, and we could still see well enough to make out Chuck, Nova, and a support gang down below.

Had to wait almost a year to see the movie, but when it came out, we recognized the beach scene, though there was no Statue Of Liberty mock-up when we saw the actual filming. That must have been filled in later during special effects editing.

 

Along this same light, I was fortunate to see some of the filming of the D-Day landing scene from The Americanization Of Emily that was filmed on Mandalay Beach in Oxnard, in 1964.

My mom had some friends in Oxnard who said they were making a movie there and invited us up to see.

Though at that time I didn't have any binoculars and wasn't close enough to make out James Garner on the beach, the simulated combat action and fireworks were still pretty impressive at the time.

And of course, I had the bragging rights that I'd been there. :P

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Oh - one more I just remembered. I was really young - like 6.

 

They were shooting an episode of 'Last of the Mohicans' locally - in an area called Mimico Creek. I was with my other grandmother (my Dad's mom) and we saw Lon Chaney Jr. dressed up like Chingichcook.

 

Very exciting for Nanny. For the rest of her life she'd tell people about seeing the real live Long Chaney. Yes, she thought his name was "Long".

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I wouldn't consider them royalty, but I have met Mexican pop princess Thalia, and her sister Laura Zapata. Both parlayed roles in telenovelas into singing careers, except that Talia became a huge star, and her sister went back to soaps. Thalia has done little since.marry music megalominiac mogul Tommy Mottola, previously married to Mariah Carey.

 

Anyway, I.met them.many years ago in Mexico City,.through one of my best friends. She is a cousin to them.

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Another brush with celebs happened when I worked in the rental dept. of jewelry at the place I worked my summer jobs for 6 years. Each summer depending on what was needed, I would work in different departments.

 

 One morning Diana Ross showed up to rent jewelry for the Supremes upcoming appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. She showed up a few times while I was there. Mostly long dangly earrings for the group. She was lovely to work with, She did not behave in a prima donna way with me. She was friendly and thoughtful about how to coordinate the jewelry with the outfits that were also rented that they used for their tv appearances.

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Hah, Dargo

I bet you and I could share some familiar tales. :D

 

Yep, I was "bachelor #3" and she choose #2. But she really meant to pick me as when Lange asked her what it was that made her make her decision, she said that we "all sounded so great," but it was the answer to one question that swayed her. And that was my answer, that she had mistakenly attributed to #2.

We both looked at each other with surprize when she said that and shrugged our shoulders.

She must have been confused, and Jim Lange even mentioned that it was bachelor #3 who said that, but #2 went on the date anyway.

Oh well, I missed out on a terrific trip to far-off and exotic Ensenada (the Dating Game wasn't known for it's big expenditures). :wub:

 

So were you able to ditch the chaperone?

 

BTW, she did give me a call, and we hooked up after her "date" with #2.

We spent a very enjoyable weekend camping at Pirates Cove, near Avila. But that, my friend, is another off-topic story....  ;)

 

While I'm on the subject of beaches. There's another "Pirates Cove" that you're probably familiar.

It's a secluded part of Zuma beach near Malibu, at Point Dume.

The beach is kind of shallow and pretty isolated by large rocky outcroppings extending to the water, with a steep cliff at its back.

A bunch of us found out about it in early HS, and it was a treat to visit.

Anyway, in the summer of 1967, we went up there and that whole section of Point Dume was cordoned off.

Because the way it's situated it's easy to isolate that beach and there have been commercials and such filmed there. But this time they were filming the Statue of Liberty scene for The Planet Of The Apes.

We usually brought some cheap binoculars with us  whenever we went to Zuma, and this time they paid off with dividends.

Even though we were'nt allowed down there, there was a camera crew and a bunch of locals up on the bluff looking down at the action, and we could still see well enough to make out Chuck, Nova, and a support gang down below.

Had to wait almost a year to see the movie, but when it came out, we recognized the beach scene, though there was no Statue Of Liberty mock-up when we saw the actual filming. That must have been filled in later during special effects editing.

 

Along this same light, I was fortunate to see some of the filming of the D-Day landing scene from The Americanization Of Emily that was filmed on Mandalay Beach in Oxnard, in 1964.

My mom had some friends in Oxnard who said they were making a movie there and invited us up to see.

Though at that time I didn't have any binoculars and wasn't close enough to make out James Garner on the beach, the simulated combat action and fireworks were still pretty impressive at the time.

And of course, I had the bragging rights that I'd been there. :P

I've seen lots of films being shot, but the most memorable was when I happened to be walking near the Plaza Hotel in NYC circa 1972, and I stumbled upon Streisand and Redford who were shooting the final scene of THE WAY WE WERE, a film that I had not yet heard of.

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Many years ago, E. G. Marshall was going out to law schools, I believe as part of some American Bar Association initiative, and the Student Bar Assn. here was having a reception for him (nothing lavish, basically tea and cookies.) One of the students, knowing I'm a huge movie fan, came to get me, and I went through the reception, found him, and shook his hand.  And knowing that I'd never get the chance to meet a real star again, and feeling that I had to say something, I told him that there was a movie trivia contest ongoing in one of the Chicago papers (which I only read for the movie reviews) and one of the questions was: who was the last juror to hold out for conviction in 12 Angry Men?

 

E.G. Marshall then stood there and began to set up the scene for me, quote the dialogue, and remind me of how it ended. He also told me that he was getting a satellite dish so that he could find more movies on TV, and asked me about other movies I liked. It was a beautiful moment (even though I missed out on the cookies!)

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Another brush with celebs happened when I worked in the rental dept. of jewelry at the place I worked my summer jobs for 6 years. Each summer depending on what was needed, I would work in different departments.

 

One morning Diana Ross showed up to rent jewelry for the Supremes upcoming appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. She showed up a few times while I was there. Mostly long dangly earrings for the group. She was lovely to work with, She did not behave in a prima donna way with me. She was friendly and thoughtful about how to coordinate the jewelry with the outfits that were also rented that they used for their tv appearances.

One.time, back in the late 80s, I was with a friend at a boutique on Melrose, where my friend was.trying on outfits. In come Latoya and Janet Jackson, who proceeded to do the same. Well, it seemed that Latoya was craving some recognition,.while Janet just rummaged through the racks. Being a fan of the various Jackson family members, but mostly Janet, I walked up to them and said how much I loved their music, and how beautiful they looked, etc. I got both their autographs, and was able to talk a bit with Latoya, who was eating it up. Janet just mostly smiled.
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Many years ago, E. G. Marshall was going out to law schools, I believe as part of some American Bar Association initiative, and the Student Bar Assn. here was having a reception for him (nothing lavish, basically tea and cookies.) One of the students, knowing I'm a huge movie fan, came to get me, and I went through the reception, found him, and shook his hand.  And knowing that I'd never get the chance to meet a real star again, and feeling that I had to say something, I told him that there was a movie trivia contest ongoing in one of the Chicago papers (which I only read for the movie reviews) and one of the questions was: who was the last juror to hold out for conviction in 12 Angry Men?

 

E.G. Marshall then stood there and began to set up the scene for me, quote the dialogue, and remind me of how it ended. He also told me that he was getting a satellite dish so that he could find more movies on TV, and asked me about other movies I liked. It was a beautiful moment (even though I missed out on the cookies!)

"I'm not a lawyer, but I play one on TV".

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The most beautiful woman I have ever seen in person was Claudia Cardinale.  She was seated at a table next to ours in a Montreal restaurant in 1983.

 

Sergio Leone was in town at that point shooting Once Upon a Time In America and the Montreal Film Festival was also going.  I believe Claudia was there for the festival.

 

Not long after that I think I saw Jacqueline Bissett in Acapulco.  I was with a friend watching the cliff divers and saw this incredibly beautiful woman standing slightly apart from the crowd.  She seemed interested in my friend too.  I thought, it can't be ....  Then later of course, I found out she was in Mexico for Under the Volcano, so who knows?

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The most beautiful woman I have ever seen in person was Claudia Cardinale.  She was seated at a table next to ours in a Montreal restaurant in 1983.

 

Sergio Leone was in town at that point shooting Once Upon a Time In America and the Montreal Film Festival was also going.  I believe Claudia was there for the festival.

 

Not long after that I think I saw Jacqueline Bissett in Acapulco.  I was with a friend watching the cliff divers and saw this incredibly beautiful woman standing slightly apart from the crowd.  She seemed interested in my friend too.  I thought, it can't be ....  Then later of course, I found out she was in Mexico for Under the Volcano, so who knows?

 

Great stories.   If I was there I would have wished I was the volcano.

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Great stories.   If I was there I would have wished I was the volcano.

Hey, aren't you an LA dude, James?  The City of Angels is swarming with celebs.

 

Though, that said when I was a young man and went to LA for the very first time I expected to trip over celebs.  But the only person I spotted when I was there was Jo Anne Worley!

 

Much later I lived in LA for about a year and it was a different story.

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Hah, Dargo

I bet you and I could share some familiar tales. :D

 

Oh yeah. I'll bet we could, alright!

 

From your earlier (first) posting it sounds as if you went to the now gone Aviation High School, right?! 

 

And re your great "Zuma/Oxnard Beach" stories and seeing Heston and Garner filming their scenes in their respective movies...TCM occasionally shows a short (an old promo, actually) about the filming of "The Americanization of Emily" and spotlighting that particular D-Day reenactment with Garner emerging from the beach.  Perhaps you've seen it.

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Oh - one more I just remembered. I was really young - like 6.

 

They were shooting an episode of 'Last of the Mohicans' locally - in an area called Mimico Creek. I was with my other grandmother (my Dad's mom) and we saw Lon Chaney Jr. dressed up like Chingichcook.

 

Very exciting for Nanny. For the rest of her life she'd tell people about seeing the real live Long Chaney. Yes, she thought his name was "Long".

 

Hmmmm...ya know dark, ironically I believe back in the '70s there WAS a porno actor who once went that name! ;)

 

(...not that your Nanny would have ever known that, of course) 

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