Honest Scrap Award answers. As a recipient of this award I was supposed reveal ten honest things about myself. I don't know that the things I revealed particularly revealed much about my character, but some of you requested more details about some of the things I did reveal and in doing so I guess I will be revealing something more about who I am and who I have been.
One of the things that I revealed in that post was the following:
5. In 1978 in Huntington, WV, I ate dinner with Rudy Vallee
Today's post will look at the incident to which I referred.
In 1978, my wife at that time and I had joined up with a touring theater production. We were traveling with our young son who had been born the year before. It was a busy schedule playing one night engagements with shows scheduled almost daily. We were young and a bit crazy on tour with others of similar age and craziness. We all took our job on the show seriously, but always looked forward to some partying back at the hotel after the work was done. Most days had a similar schedule: travel in the morning, some down time in the afternoon, start setting up the show around four o'clock with the show at about seven, and afterwards it was party time.
After the first couple of months on the road, the tour was set up so that we were scheduled to meet up with the show's owner, a well known entertainer and businessman, at Huntington, WV, where he was producing a show at an old vaudeville era theatre that had been restored. He had assembled some top notch variety acts and had booked Rudy Vallee as the headliner. The cast members of our show where to assist in the production in various ways.
This break in our touring schedule was not particularly welcome to me as I enjoyed the routine of our show, but we were obligated to be there since it was our boss that ordered us to be there. The man who owned the show had known me from an earlier time when I had worked in my family's juggling act and usually invited me to accompany him on special occasions since he considered me to be part of his "inner circle". After the show in Huntington, he invited my wife and I, along with our tour managers, to accompany him to dinner with Rudy Vallee. Once again, I did not feel like his invitation was one that I could turn down--I felt like it was part of my job and I had to go. Reluctantly we joined them while our friends from the show were back at the room partying and we could hardly wait to get back there with them.
I had certainly known who Rudy Vallee was because I had grown up hearing his name. He was a iconic figure who was often imitated on TV and in cartoons. I had seen him on television shows and in old movies. But at this time I could have cared less because he didn't mean that much to me. I was not a fan and he just seemed like some old man who was essentially a has been. Now, after the fact, I regret my attitude at that time. Rudy Vallee is a legendary figure of twentieth century entertainment.
Having grown up in the entertainment business I often was around many people who had varying degrees of fame. I really didn't think about them because I was preoccupied with being a kid and wasn't that interested in older people I didn't know. The concept of famous people really didn't impress me because I guess I felt like I was famous in my own endeavors or at least on the road to fame. Legend, schmegend is the way I looked at things in the self-centeredness of my youth.
Now I wish I had been more attentive to Mr. Vallee. The man had once been a huge star and an idol of millions. He actually seemed like a very nice man and probably had a wealth of wonderful stories to tell. I know now my boss was treating us to a unique situation of which we did not recognize the value at the time. I wish I would asked Rudy Vallee questions about some of his experiences in show business and about some of the famous people he had known, and listened to some his anecdotes.
Sometimes when we are younger, we are so wrapped up in the here and now that we don't take advantage of the circumstances that can be treasures in our future. A smug know-it-all attitude is a hindrance to learning. I have learned this over the years, but unfortunately too late in regard to some of the rich opportunities that I have had. As is often said, "If only I knew then what I know now". This is such a true aphorism that is invariably spoken with wistfulness.
Next Wednesday I'll talk about some similar situations that I have had, so I hope you'll check back for that. Have you had a brush with fame that you wished you had taken more advantage of? Are you impressed by meeting famous people? Who is somebody that you wish you could have dinner with?
Here's an addendum to my post: On her blog, Corra McFeydon is addressing a question to the women (although I guess men could answer as well). This is in response to my earlier protest to her review of BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY-- you might want to go over and add your opinion.