"Well, hello, Mr. Fancypants!" and Other Things Not To Say to B-Movie Celebrities


Ah, here at Cabbages, we have not been without our brushes with fame...

Like when my friend Squeaky swore she saw Richard Gere's entire elbow as he got into a limo during The Mothman Prophecies filming....

Or when my friend Weasel got trod on by Mario LeMieux during a Pens game because she wasn't walking in his stratosphere.

Oh yes, my friends and I have, indeed, known greatness.

And what's my story, you ask? Well, my story involves a life-changing quest, a magical book, a series of obstacles designed to test the bonds of man... Oh, and B-movie actor Bruce Campbell of the Evil Dead movies.

Ever since college, my friends and I have had fond associations with Bruce Campbell and his Army of Darkness film. Our first exposure to it was as a welcome respite during senior year finals, where we sat on the furry, sticky purple couches of the King's Court theater in Oakland and watched the heavy burdens of our workload drain away through zombies, chainsaws, questionable special effects, and a few needed laughs.

So it was little surprise a few years later when my friend Scoobie hinted to her inner circle that she'd like a copy of ol' Brucie's autobiography for Christmas. Yes, indeed, that girl went on a several-week campaign of nuances so subtle only her very closest friends could possibly discern her desires.

Phrases like, “If someone were to get me a copy of Bruce Campbell’s autobiography, I probably wouldn’t mind...”

We picked up on it. We’re clever that way.

But when we heard that Bruce Campbell would actually be in town to have a signing for that very book-- and coinciding when Scoobie was far, far away on vacation, no less!-- well, we suddenly knew what we must do to enable the Very Best Gift Ever.

My partner-in-crime, Austin, and I found our way to the DeStinta Theater. And the moment we stepped through those shiny glass doors it became clear we had entered the Fanzone.

What I'd thought would be just a tidy little group of dedicated viewers, was actually a sea of people of all ages, and from all walks of life-- though, admittedly, most of us were wearing black and enjoying haircolors not generally found in nature (mine, I believe, was sort of a misguided fuchsia-burgundy at the time).

"Oh boy," breathed Austin, taking in the ocean of humanity before us. It was a testament to his resolve and friendship that he didn't turn rapidly on his heel and simply disappear into the night...

Only, I think I was the one with the car keys.

Anyway, soon we discovered there were lines to get movie tickets. There were lines to buy books. There were even lines to get tickets to get in line. And all of it unmarked, banking on the overly-broad assumption that each of us had special psychic powers we'd like to test out.

So after some detectivework and with Tickets To Get In Line firmly in hand, we stepped behind a guy with a homemade "Shop Smart, Shop S-Mart" shirt and waited for our moment with The Man Himself...

And we waited... And edged up.... And shifted feet... And examined our shoes... And counted the repeat patterns on the theater carpeting... And waited some more.

I guess it was somewhere into the second hour of the Bruce Campbell Queue of Tested Patience that I realized that if we ever made it to the front of the line, I would probably have to actually talk to the fellow.

And heck, what would I say that someone else hadn't already said a million times before? I mean, I know these folks are just people, too. And I’m not the type to want to be anything less than sensible in the proximity to semi-fame.

So would I tell him that the night I saw Army of Darkness was one of my favorite college memories?

Would I share that after two days of stressing out over a tedious final paper on Russian history, my friends had kidnapped me for a late night viewing?

Would I describe how we sat on the questionable sofas of that gummy, goth theater and took in one of the funniest horror flicks I’d ever set bloodshot eyes upon?

Would I tell him how, years later, his film had become inextricably intertwined with a brief, shining moment of much needed escapism?

Would I say how I’d rented the rest of the series? That I enjoyed how he didn't take himself too seriously? That I was genuinely pleased to meet him?

No, because he headed us off. "So what do you do for a living?" he asked.

And I blanked. What did I do for a living? I'd been standing in line so long, I didn't even remember my life anymore beyond the theater walls.

For all I knew, we would come out of that theater and see the city of Pittsburgh had, in our absence, fallen to atomic war, or some other post-apocalyptic cliche.

We'd exit to discover everyone we knew was dead, my apartment was just rubble, my car burnt out, and our system of government being overrun by punk road warriors proclaiming themselves king.

"I'm a marketing writer," I said, finally remembering something about ads and scripts and their general relationship to me.

Bruce Campbell turned to Austin. "And you?"

"I'm unemployed!" Austin announced with a broad, confident smile.

"All riiiight!" Bruce Campbell cheered.

So that, my friends, was my moment of interaction with b-movie acting greatness. Four hours in line, sore feet, hair which ended up smelling like hot buttered popcorn even after a serious shampoo, one thoroughly signed autobiography, and Bruce Campbell rooting on my jobless friend.

On our way out, I turned to see the slack-jawed never-ending hoarde, groaning, shuffling and moaning in queue. We were free, but poor Bruce, he had a long dark night ahead of him.

We walked into the cool night air to see the world hadn't, in fact, changed while we were gone. And I drove off thinking it couldn't be such an easy life when it's not just the zombies who want a piece of you.

The signed book, by the way, was quite a hit.

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Vote for this post at Humor-blogs. Or not. You know, it's the thought that counts.

26 comments:

Sebastyne said...

I will vote for you at the Humor-blogs, but since I could, I had to award you with the Kick Ass Blogger award. Sorry for the inconvenience.
http://www.sebastyne.net/blog/2008/08/kick-ass-blogger-award/

Jenn Thorson said...

Sebastyne- Aw, thank you-- I left you a note of thanks on your blog. Honestly, finding out I've made folks laugh (and with me, no less, not just AT me!) is THE BEST.

It makes it totally worth blogging.

Meg said...

Dang! I guess I'd better start rehearsing stuff about myself in case a similar thing happens to me when I go stalking at the Toronto Film Festival this September.

Greg said...

Okay, I must admit, I was laughing AT your inability to remember what you did for a living. Him asking the question, yah, I can see where that'd throw you for a loop...

I remember my brain spinning around, trying to come up with just the right thing to say to David Cassidy when we met (you know, something that wasn't..."oh, my god, you're so much shorter than I expected, which just makes you more adorable").

I'm happy to say I was much less stalky/gushy with both Sigourney and Kitty Carlisle Hart, as those were professional acquaintances. Memorably, I did get to enjoy a lovely waltz with Ms. Hart, tho!

Jenn Thorson said...

Meg- Best of luck with that. Hopefully you enjoy some good stalking moments.

Greg- Yeah, yeah, yeah... Nobody expects the sign-ee to ask the sign-or about their job. :)

So David Cassidy was really really short? I had no idea.

Tiggy said...

Once I met lovely Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne. I'd practised my little speech, thanking him for the great performance that night, what a pleasure it was to meet him etc etc.

When I finally met the man, I was so nervous all I could blurt out was "Heeeey...." He smiled at me and moved on. He proably thought I was a bit retarded or something.

Jenn Thorson said...

Tiggy- Well, I guess we should just be grateful you didn't shriek at him like Yoshimi in a battle cry moment.

Or tell him, "Do You Realize... You Have the Most Beautiful Face?" :)

chyna said...

And here I would have made some mention of Xena, Warrior Princess. LOL He was hilarious in that series!

Jenn Thorson said...

Chyna- Heh, I should have expected you would know just who I was talking about. :) I wasn't a big Xena watcher, though. I did enjoy him in the short-lived "Adventures of Brisco County Junior."

Jay said...

He sounds like a nice guy! I like hearing about celebrities who are nice guys.

And I bet the book was a hit! LOL! Was she really surprised?

Jenn Thorson said...

Jay- He was a nice guy-- took time with everybody who came individually.

And yes, the book was an enormous hit-- she wasn't surprised she received the book itself, because she'd made more than sure we knew her interest in having a copy. But the inscription made specifically to her... well, that had her fairly floored.

It made it well-worth the hours of waiting, certainly!

Da Old Man said...

I'm glad your encounter with the glitteratti went so smoothly. I've met quite a few in my day, and even a couple who were not all the way up to B level. I wonder where Uncle Floyd comes on the list? D? Does it go lower than D?

Jenn Thorson said...

Da Old Man- Oh hm, I don't know if it does dip below "D"-- Uncle Floyd's a good one, though.

Come to think of it, as a kid I met Carole and Paula of The Magic Garden (another Jersey TV institution). That might constitute your "D" level celebs, as well. :)

Alice said...

Isn't it sad how a mind can blank out in the presence of someone even remotely famous? Kind of what my mind does in interviews too. Gah.

Anonymous said...

When I was in college I spent a summer working at a mall pet store (North Jersey and those damn malls). While holding a mini dachshund pup a very attractive...not to mention incredibly tall (to my puny 5 foot nothingness) young woman came up to pet the cute little guy. Took me a moment to figure out why all my co-workers were suddenly staring at me with mouths agape...the lady in question was Brooke Shields (During her Calvin days). I had a great conversation with her...she was very down to earth and friendly...and then her mother walked in. Ugh! What a nightmare...I felt so sorry for her. It was just after she was rushed out of our store (with a disdainful sniff from her mom) that I realized I had forgotten to ask for an autograph.

Sue

Jenn Thorson said...

Alice- I think it wasn't the semi-fame so much as my not expecting the question. It had been so many hours, and you know, we were there to see him, not him to get a run down on what it's like being a marketing writer. So it was just really befuddling.

Sue- Oh, I'd heard generally how nice Brooke is, so I'm not really surprised. What a neat experience!

unfinishedrambling said...

I think the closest I've come to meeting a celebrity was Tom Ridge when he was governor of Pennsylvania. Does that count? I was working for a newspaper at the time, and had to interview him. ;)

As for Army of Darkness, The Wife and I watched it one Halloween at a party in Jersey with a Wiccan witch. Don't remember much about it. Must have been either the alcohol or the spell she had us under.

Jenn Thorson said...

Unfinished- I suspect politicians trump b-movie celebs on the scale. Unless the politician WAS a b-movie celeb, in which case, then you get double-points. :)

Regarding your Army of Darkness experience, well, ten-to-one it was probably the, er, pumpkin juice.

unfinishedrambling said...

Like Jesse the Body Ventura? Not that I've met him or anything. I'm just sayin'.

Jenn Thorson said...

Unfinished- Absolutely-- good call! Also the guy who played Gopher from "Love Boat" whose name currently eludes me... :)

unfinishedrambling said...

Fred something...sorry, I'm too lazy to Google right now. Fred...oh, darn it...I can't think of it. I remember Gavin McLeod, the captain, but Gopher, no, I can't get it.

Jenn Thorson said...

Grandy! Totally right on the "Fred," Unfinished. Fred Grandy.

unfinishedperson said...

Fred Grandy on Wikipedia

Did you know he was a U.S. Congressman? Gopher? Oh, my. Anyway, off to catch up on other posts by you, and warning, will be sending another one of those silly meme awards your way, because my sister sent one to me, and if there's any humor blogger out there that deserves more props, it's you. Okay, I'll leave you alone now and let you enjoy your afternoon uninterrupted.

Jenn Thorson said...

Unfinished- Yup, I did know he was in politics, but couldn't remember what position he held until you mentioned it. (Then again, I'd also forgotten his name.)

Thank you for the heads-up, er, award in advance. :) Incidentally, I'm still chuckling over your sister's response to those photos of her former teenaged room. That was pretty priceless.

Dan LaFollette said...

Listen up you bunch of primitive screw heads, this is my BOOMSTICK!!!

Bruce Campbell is King!!!

Jenn Thorson said...

Dan- Why am I not surprised you're a fan, too? It seems the proportion of people I know online to Bruce Campbell fans skews strangely high.