Wow. All of you guys have connections. So far we have heard from people who have met/seen or who are somehow connected to everyone from Johnny Cash to Elvis to Harrison Ford. (Good old Han was involved in an ice-cream-dumping incident, no less!)
My biggest celebrity encounter, as my sister has already described, was with Dean Butler, the actor who played Almanzo on Little House on the Prairie. Oh, yes. Manly:
My sister and I spent several hours standing in line at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Festival in Walnut Grove, Minn., in 2002 hoping to get his autograph. The line consisted mostly of 30-something-year-old women, and one festive middle-aged man who enthusiastically acted out the episode where the blind school burns down. (“… and then Mary said, ‘My baby! My baby!’”) Long story short: Almanzo had to leave before we got to the front of the line, which nearly shattered all of our hopes and dreams. We successfully stalked him for a day and a half – and were possibly responsible for causing him to run out of a hot-dog supper at a local church after we approached him at the mustard table – and we eventually got autographs. He was a good sport about it, even though we took paparazzi-type photos of him from the back window of my sister’s car.
Here’s the rest of my list:
In high school, I stood in line with two friends for several hours at the “World of Wheels” show in Omaha, Neb., so we could meet the actor who played Zack on Saved by the Bell. The line wound under and behind the stage, where we had an excellent view of his sneakers, and we took photos of them. I still have the photos in a scrapbook.
In college, I stood in line with my friend Brian at Sears in Sioux City, Iowa to meet the actor who played Lucas on Days of Our Lives. This was a few years before my frightening (and brief) Days addiction, so I wasn't excited. I remember everyone in the line was talking about “who killed Curtis”, and I nearly got thrown out when I admitted I had no idea who that was. A Sears employee dressed as Winnie the Pooh entertained all of us in line, and I found him to be the more interesting celebrity.
A little while later in college, I went to a student journalism conference in New York City, where some friends and I spotted Woody Allen and his – cough – wife Soon-Yi buying dolls at FAO Schwarz. We tried to act inconspicuous and took photos of them from behind a Barbie display. Miraculously, we were not arrested.
I saw the cat from the remake of That Darn Cat in an animal show at Universal Studios. Yeah, that’s a lame one – even for me.
Jay once got his photo taken with Charles Kuralt. I was there, too, but I’m not in the photo. It sort of looks like he’s standing next to a cardboard cutout, but it is really Charles, I swear.
And as long as we’re counting Jay’s celebrity encounters, he’s met a few Star Trek alien-type people.
I saw one of the Sioux City weather guys at the Sioux City Applebee’s.
Jay and I got our photo taken with billionaire Warren Buffett. We used to have a cat named after him, but we didn't tell him that.
I could have met Barry Williams, who played Greg on The Brady Bunch, but my sister “forgot” to tell me he was coming to town. She got her photo taken with him and it was on display at my parents' house for a really long time. Not that I am bitter.
Jay and I once took a wrong turn at a Minnesota Timberwolves game, ended up in a restricted area, and nearly ran right into then-governor Jesse Ventura and his entourage. Once we got back to our seats, we realized we had an excellent view of Jesse’s seat. We spent the rest of the game watching his giant, bald, cigar-smoking head.
Once we were driving through downtown St. Paul, Minn., and Senator Norm Coleman ran right in front of our car. Later my friend DeAnna said, “And you didn't run him over? It’s like I don’t know you at all.”
I angered a group of the original Munchkins at the 2000 Judy Garland Festival in Grand Rapids, Minn. I didn't know fans were supposed to purchase a photo from each Munchkin, so I only bought one and asked them all to sign it. The guy from the Lollipop Guild was downright surly toward me. The Munchkin Coroner agreed to take a photo with me, though, and he touched my hand. Sigh.
OK, everybody keep sending in your celebrity encounters. If you don’t have any (or even if you do), who would you like to meet and why? I’d like to meet Tom Cruise so I can talk some sense into him.