February 25, 2010

I Never See Anyone Famous

My cube neighbor and I were talking the other day at work, and somehow the subject of celebrity sightings came into the conversation.  She had been in a classroom in the Lake Forest high school where Robert Redford was shooting a few scenes from the movie "Ordinary People".  Bobby was taking a break and walked into her classroom and sat down for a few minutes, disrupting the teacher's lecture.  Fucking Hollywood assholes anyway ...

So, after gushing about that for a few minutes, she realized she was making a fool out of herself and asked me, ever so politely, if I had ever had any candid celebrity encounters.  And of course, leading the sheltered boring life I have, I couldn't think of any. Later, I made a conscious effort to remember if I actually had seen anyone famous in an everyday setting, but could only come up with a handful, with fingers to spare.

There were three.  Not a lot, but of course there are very interesting stories behind each one of these encounters, so prepare to be entertained.

Leslie, You Silver- White Maned Devil!

Leslie Nielsen.  I spied Leslie in a departure lounge at the Pittsburgh International Airport in the early 80's. He was an imposing figure with a fine mop of silver hair.  I nonchalantly breezed by him several times to make sure it was him, but didn't speak because he was surrounded by his goons.  He was wearing a silver Members Only jacket with "Naked Gun" embroidered on the back.  I was so impressed that I immediately ran to a pay phone to call Jan, who responded "That's nice dear ..."  I'm sure she was seething with jealousy though.

Mr. Cholesterol a.k.a. Jack Eagle.  Jack was the evil Mr. Cholesterol in the Fleischman Margarine commercials for all of you heathens who don't remember.  One day I was walking down the Allegheny Airlines concourse at the Pittsburgh International Airport (yes, I spent a lot of time at that fucking place for a few years) and spotted Mr. C walking toward me.  He effortlessly glided past me and I turned around to watch him waddle into the distance.  I immediately ran to a pay phone to call Jan, who responded "Who?"  I'm sure she was peeing her panties with envy though.

This Was As Close As I Could Get To A Picture Of Jack

Noreen.  Okay, so this one is a real stretch, I'll admit.  I grew up in the early days of television, and in my hometown of Springfield, Missouri, no one was a bigger celebrity on "the TV" than Noreen ... owner and spokesperson for the Plaza Shoe Store.  She was the epitome of style and class throughout the Ozarks, in fact anywhere within the broadcast range of KYTV.  Do you honestly think Cher was the first one to be known by only her first name?  Hell no!  It was Noreen.

Noreen And Her Famous Wolfman 'Do!

My mom and I traveled to the Plaza Shoe Store one day to get me a pair of Sunday Go To Meetin' shoes, when there behind the counter I spied Noreen herself!  I melted as she looked at my seven year old self and said in that twangy hillbilly voice "Hi y'all".  I immediately ran to a pay phone to call Jan, but suddenly remembered that I would not meet her for another 14 years.  But I imagine she would have been figuratively eaten alive by resentment if she had known.

A few notes on Noreen.  My Mom hated her for some reason and became particularly spiteful as the years went by and Noreen proved that you can't stay young forever, no matter if you are the Shoe Queen of the Ozarks.

Noreen ... Looking A Little Shopworn With The Latest Styles From 1967

You have to give her credit though, she was still rockin' the Larry Talbot look, even in her waning years.  As for me, I always liked her, especially at the tail end of her commercials when she would point at you out there in TVLand and say ...

Y'all come see me, y'hear?

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