Saturday, September 20, 2014

Brush With Greatness

I was at the grocery store today and the guy in front of me in line looked just like Brother Theodore. You don't remember Brother Theodore? I don't know how to describe the guy, so you'll have to read his Wikipedia article. He was a frequent guest of Letterman back when Letterman was funny and on NBC.

Anyway, it reminded me of the Letterman bit called "Brush With Greatness". You always hear about Stupid Pet Tricks, the Top Ten List, and Larry "Bud" Melman, but nobody ever remembers "Brush With Greatness".  In this bit, audience members would relate stories of chance encounters with celebrities, like someone was working as a parking valet and parked Don Rickles's car once. Then they'd add "writers' embellishments," like the person found a membership card for a Satanic cult in Rickles's glove compartment.

(By the way in the 1987 video I linked to, someone who looks very much like the actor Mike Myers can be seen at 4:06 in the audience. He was already a professional comic actor but not by any means famous yet.)

Isn't that Mike Myers in the lower right?
I didn't have a brush with greatness today, because Brother Theodore has been dead for over a decade. However, I have seen a number of celebrities. Here is a partial list. I don't include anyone I had to pay to see. Yes, I saw Reggie Jackson, but I had to pay $3.50 to watch him hit home runs off Wayne Garland at the old Cleveland Stadium. I also don't count aerospace big shots (unless they're really big). I did meet some people high up in the Shuttle program who you might recognize, but I'm more thinking of chance encounters here.

Sidney Poitier - saw him getting off a plane in the LA Airport. He had a baseball cap on.

Bill Nye the Science Guy - saw him talking on a pay phone in the San Jose airport. Yes, he was wearing a bowtie.

Joe Montana - saw him walking into the Stanford Shopping Center, talking on a cell phone

Blythe Danner - saw her eating lunch in Rosine's Restaurant in Monterey, California. I think her much more famous daughter may have been with her, but she wasn't facing me and I didn't want to snoop.

Chuck Yeager - saw him sitting on the wing of a P-51 at the Edwards AFB Air Show. (I don't remember having to pay to get in.)

Scott Carpenter - giving a speech at NASA Glenn Research Center

John Glenn - giving a speech at Cleveland State University. AND, I saw the actor who played him in The Right Stuff, Ed Harris, getting a drink from a drinking fountain at the LA Airport.

Tony Curtis - saw him at the Concours D'Elegance in Monterey. He was a celebrity judge. But when we saw him, he was just walking back to his hotel room or wherever. He walked right past us, not an arm's length away, but I didn't yell out or anything. He spent some time chained to Sidney Poitier (see above) in a movie I've never been interested in watching.

Dennis Kucinich, the Boy Mayor of Cleveland and the member of Congress least influenced by outside money - walked right past him on a Cleveland street.

Jeff Immelt - Chairman of GE and occasional guest star on 30 Rock. I don't know whether to count this, because it was work-related.

Al Gore and Bill Clinton - giving a campaign speech at Ohio State in 1996. I didn't have to pay, but I did have to walk through a metal detector.

George H.W. Bush - giving a campaign speech at Ohio State in 1988. No metal detector.

David Schwimmer - saw him walking up the steps at 30 Rockefeller Center, carrying a backpack. This was not more than a few weeks after he became a star for being on Friends.

Greg Lashutka (former mayor of Columbus). Saw him buying meat at the North Market.

Celebrities. Is there anything they can't do?