I was composing a sentence for this post and I stood back for a second and looked at it and thought “Dear god, I’m living in the alternate universe of a 1970’s television set”.
The Sentence I was composing was this:
So I was talking to Linda Blair and noticed Greg Brady sneaking up behind her with an ice cube in his hand and an evil grin on his face.
Yeah Saturday was like that for me. Within the space of an hour or two I met and chatted with half of my T.V. childhood. I was at a Hollywood memorabilia show in Burbank. How ironic – a Hollywood memorabilia show and they can’t even hold it in Hollywood? Anyway, it was Lots and lots of famous and psuedo famous and formerly famous faces wandering around, chatting and signing autographs. I’ve never quite gotten the autograph thing. Lindsay Wagner offered me an autograph. I told her I wasn’t currently planning on forging her checks, but thanks anyway. I said it nicely, as a joke. She’s a doll, anyway.
Here are a few of the conversations I had. Maybe you’ll recognise a few of the names. I told Patty Duke that I only recently had the chance to see “The Miracle Worker”, the 1962 film which she, at age 12, won the best supporting Oscar for. If you haven t seen it, by all means rent it. Patty Duke Plays Helen Keller, struggling to make sense of a hostile world as a blind and deaf mute. Her performance simply blew me away, and I told her so. I said to her “Where does a 12 year old kid find such a performance? How did you, at that young of an age find the maturity to focus and control that?” She told me that it was twofold. One was that she had the amazing talent and help of Ann Bancroft to guide her. Another was her own childhood depression and rage that she was able to tap and channel into her performance. She said all that rage was real and it was her. I told her that audiences in 1962 must’ve had their jaws on the floor witnessing that performance for the first time. She said “Yes for a couple of years there I was definitely the fair haired child,let me tell you” What a neat, sweet lady she is. One of her sons was there with her, and he was almost identical to her other son, Sean Astin (“Samwise” in the “Lord of the Rings” films).
Patty Duke, Best supporting actor oscar winner for “The Miracle Worker”
As I was chatting with Patty Duke, I caught Lindsay Wagners eye. She smiled at me. She looks fantastic. No bionic ear, though. Anyway, I told her that when she took the spill out of the airplane and died in “The Six Million Dollar Man”, l cried for a week. I said it’s funny, but to a little kid, the distinction between what’s real and what’s just T.V. can blur so easily. She said that when she “died” in that episode, it was a one shot thing, that she wasn’t suppose to come back. But the enormous mail response from primarily teenage boys convinced the network (ABC) to sign her up for her own show Fast. She said it all happened within four months. In that time, she went from clipping coupons for groceries to starring in her own T.V. show.
I told William Schallert that it was strange because to me, I’ve known him all my life, and seeing him is like seeing an uncle, but to him, I’m just joe anonymous. You might recognize him from his picture here:
William Schallert. In virtually every T.V. series in the 1960’s
I also had an interesting conversation with Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood, the two Discovery astronauts from “2001:A Space Odessey”. Lockwood told me that the movie was hated at the Los Angeles and New York premieres. The audiences didn’t get it at all. I said that it was probably just because they weren’t high. They both laughed at that and it broke the ice for Lockwood to admit that by the time they got to the Washington D.C. premiere, they were all three kinds of stoned. It was full of congressmen and senators, all who most surely were going to hate it. So in the limo on the way to the theatre, all three of them, Dullea, Lockwood, and Stanley Kubrick, got as high as they could. Lockwood said when he got out of the limo, he couldn’t even see he was so baked. Keir Dullea said that it was awful to see the theatre floor littered by hundreds of color souvenier programs that audiences tossed away. They both estimated that maybe one in ten people didnt hate it. And people were openly hostile to them. Especially Kubrick. Amazing.
Garry Lockwood (left) and Keir Dullea in “2001: A Space Odessey”
I’ve Spoken to Barry Williams (Greg Brady on “The Brady Bunch”) Many times. I even have a picture somewhere of me and him and Chris Knight (Peter Brady) taken a few years ago. Anyway, I said that it’s strange for me to imagine what it must be like to be constantly treated as a familiar friend by every stranger on the street. I mean think about it. No matter what mood you’re in or how shitty your day might be, you always have people coming at you revealing stupid stories about their own youth and behaving as if you’re all best friends. I said “I don’t know you at all, really, nor you me. But I’ve known “Greg Brady” since i was a kid. How do you deal with that all the time?” He responded that that’s just part of the deal you make when you’re on a t.v. show. I countered that. I said “Oh come on, you were what? 10 years old? 12? How can a kid like that know or be prepared to make that kind of a lifelong bargain?” He sort of dropped the guard and admitted that there are many days when he just cant go out, because he just doesn’t want the bother. He also said that he does genuinely like people, and that it’s much more positive than negative. Most people he meets are cool about it. I said that he is one of the relatively few people in human history to experience a phenomena born in the 20th century. Namely, the instant, globally spread fame and recognition from sudden mass global exposure. Before the advent of modern media, this sort of full scale “instant fame” was impossible and unknown.
What’s that like? Think about it.
ah yes, the infamous photo. Taken in (i think) 2004