Sunday, March 22, 2009

Brush with Fame - the Ugly Side of Meeting a Celebrity

HIGHWAY TO HELL: A 1970's Encounter with Michael Landon:
In the 60's and 70's just about all of America was glued to their 600 lb black and white TV sets to watch a Western called "Bonanza". My older sister was no exception. She loved Bonanza, mostly because of the hot young actor who played "Little Joe" -  the 'John Stamos' of his time: Michael Landon.  I've never been a fan of westerns, and was way too young to catch onto the Bonanza craze but my sister Lisa was obsessed with Little Joe's dark curly hair, blue eyes and ten-gallon hat. Personally I probably would have gone for the chubby and maybe semi-retarded older brother Hoss, who was probably the "funny one", but I digress. And although Bonanza ended it's 14-year run in 1973, when Lisa was only 8 or 9, she kept that fire burning for Little Joe for years to come.

Cut to 1976 - the Annual Tucson Celebrity Tennis Tournament (imagine Wimbledon - but in the desert, and instead of real athletes like Traci Austin and Arthur Ash we got  Sherman Hemsley, Joyce Dewitt and Linda Lavin. The headliner, however was most certainly Michael Landon, who after playing sex-hunk but virtuous cowboy "Little Joe" went on to play "Pa Ingalls" on another long running classic series "Little House on The Prairie." We attended this celeb-studded event every year, and this time my sister came prepared with her Holly Hobbie autograph book, determined to get Michael Landon's signature. I was about 7 so my memory is hazy but I do remember wearing my best summer outfit - a yellow terry cloth short-short halter top jump suit and my best pair of cork-wedge sandals from Kinney's shoe store (total pedophile bait). I'm sure Lisa was just as decked out and probably had a gallon of Bonnie Bell lip gloss on in order to woo Mr. Landon with her 12-year old sensuality. 

We sat in the 113-degree sun for several hours bored to tears by the match between Robert Blake and Fred Grandy when it happened. Michael Landon was making his way through the crowd and heading towards us! Lisa grabbed her Holly Hobby autograph book and made a bee line for Michael. "Mr. Landon could I please have your autograph" she shyly asked. He ignored her and continued walking. "MR. LANDON, MR. LANDON PLEASE" she shouted chasing after him as fast as her little limbs could go. Clearly Mr. Landon was in no mood to be bothered and meandered his way through the crowd faster than OJ Simpson at the airport in a Samsonite commercial (or on the 405, fleeing a murder arrest). She repeatedly called out "MR. LANDON PLEASE" and there might have even been a tear trickling down her left cheek, but Mr. Landon was having none of it. In his defense, it was the 1970's, for all we know, he could have been jonesing for a line of coke or maybe he had a wicked case of diarrhea and there was no time for an autograph. But I'd like to think instead, that Michael Landon was just being an a-hole. I don't know if my sister ever forgave him after his major brush off, but I know I haven't. To prove it I made a point to NEVER watch his highly-rated late 1980's series "Highway to Heaven" - because really, what kind of devil like that can honestly portray an "angel" with a straight face? 

PS - It just occurred to me that with the invention of EBay and Craigslist, I might just be able to get that autographed pic of Mr. Landon after all (for a price). Or I could just print the above picture on some glossy paper and send it to her wrapped in some western-style birthday wrapping paper. Lisa is going to have the best birthday ever this year. 

JACK-ASS BLACK: Have Another Taquito While You Continue to Ignore Me, Fat Ass!
I was lucky enough to attend the Will and Grace wrap party with my network executive sis a few years ago. Jack Black was very big at the time with "Orange County" and "School of Rock", basically a lot of great movies before he started making one piece of shit after another. It was an intimate crowd and I was thrilled to see him because I thought he was beyond funny, plus I looked very cool in my Donatella Versace t-shirt with her face emblazoned on it. So I approached him (again it wasn't like I was on Hollywood Blvd. with my 12 kids wearing a fanny pack) and proceeded to have major verbal diarrhea and went on and on about how funny and great he was.

First of all, he was at least 5 inches shorter than me and much, much wider, with a scraggly beard. As I continued to verbally kiss his ass, he started off into space like a serial killer while simultaneously shoving hors d'ourve sized taquitos in his mouth. As I continued,  it started getting really uncomfortable because he wasn't responding to me whatsoever and just kept that same non-blinking expression on his face. Finally I was like "Oh well, talk to you later" and he still didn't say a word and basically treated me like I was some virus looming over him.

Jack Black was indeed a "Jack Ass" and I continue to wish him nothing buy box office disasters. All was not lost however, because although my sister and husband were very embarrassed with me, when we left we got a killer Nuetrogena Swag Bag (I even sent the  'Wolfgang Puck's Hot Chocolate in a Can' to Val, which exploded in her microwave). 

Daddy Warbucks and I saw him again a few  weeks later at Mr. Chow in NY (is it me or Nicky Hilton?). Anyhoo,  I wanted to go up to him and tell him he was an asshole but DW controlled me. To this day, I will never approach a celeb (with the exception of the Spago party).


PS: As a side note I would just like to tell our readers to never eat at Mr. Chow in LA because unless you are Kim Kardasian or Nicolette Sheridan, they will treat you like shit. Besides the food is just so-so and really a rip off. I would, however like to give a shout out to Joan's on Third, which I love and they have no 'Tude there.

1 comment:

Felicia said...

I met Michael Landon in 1989 when he filmed an episode of Highway to Heaven on our block. We were so excited to see Pa Ingalls and made our way across the street to fetch an autograph after they yelled WRAP. Not only did he NOT give us the autograph, but was a major DUH-HICK about it and said he wasn't signing anything and if we would be so kind as to leave him alone and NOT knock on his trailer. I was very disappointed to say the leats and after he passed away I chalked it up to him going through cancer and who wouldn't be a dick with that much pain going on. Now that I have read this I'm convinced he was a dick all his life. Thanks for the confirm. lol