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Visitor Stories - Page 48
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Posted: Jan. 24, 2008 Send this page to a friend   

  • George Beverly Shea - I was a student at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and also had the privilege of doing some part-time announcer work at WMBI radio. One evening close to Christmas, the Moody Network broadcast an hour or so of Christmas carols by request. The featured soloist was none other than George Beverly Shea, long associated with evangelist Billy Graham. I was really into Christian rock at the time but Mr. Shea had such a warm sincerity, he taught me to love the old time hymns, too. I approached him before the broadcast and asked if he would kindly sign a record album cover or two. One would be for me, and one for my sister. Mr. Shea could have blown me off (as so many Christian "superstars" did in those days) but he took my hand, smiled and chatted with me for about ten minutes. He signed my records and talked about the old days when he, like me, was a WMBI announcer. I told him the difference was, no one ever wanted me to sing! Mr. Shea, then no spring chicken, proceeded to give a thrilling "concert" in front of the microphone, with simple piano and organ accompaniement. The listeners were elated and we were deluged with requests. When he was done, he stepped back into the booth I worked in (preparing some news clips for the next morning) and said, "It was nice meeting you, Jim. The Lord bless you." Bev Shea is now (at the time of this writing) 98 years old and still my favorite. And yeah -- I like almost every kind of music, secular or religious. But I've never experienced such kindness and gentlemanly courtesy. - J.S.

  • Ted Kennedy - I was in Paris at the turn of the century visiting my girlfriend who lived there at the time. One day, while taking a walk around the corner from the Champs-Elysées, we bumped into Ted Kennedy and what might have been an assistant. He was wearing sweat pants. I was surprised to see how short he is. My girlfriend asked for a photo and she got next to him to be in the frame. Unfortunately, my camera ran out of power so I didn't get the shot. To this he said, "Well, maybe next time." I thought how nice it was for him to actually take the time for us, especially since he wasn't exactly dressed for a photo! - M.W.R.

  • Tiny Tim - Waiting for my flight at MCI Airport in Kansas City, Missouri, I saw Tiny Tim sitting by himself. I walked up and asked if he would autogragh my ticket jacket. He was a gentlemen and said, "Of course." After he finished, he thanked ME for asking. I thought that was very special. - Bill & Eva

  • Lou Costello - A man I worked with some years ago was raised in Patterson, New Jersey, birthplace of Lou Costello. During WWII he was in the Navy, stationed in San Diego. One day, while talking to a fellow sailor he had grown up with, he impulsively suggested, "Let's go see Mr. Costello." They arrived at his front door in uniform and were greeted by the butler, when a familiar voice from inside asked "Who is it?" My future co-worker yelled, "We're from Patterson!" The comedian then invited them for lunch and they spent the afternoon sharing childhood stories.

  • Sam Jaffe - While walking home from work in San Francisco in the sixties I saw a familiar face coming toward me. It was Sam Jaffe, known to TV fans as Dr. Zorba, but also a great character actor from the movies. I was so shocked to see him I blanked on his name and he gently whispered, "Jaffe?" He was on his way to a restaurant where the waiters sang operatic tunes but he graciously stopped to chat and introduced me to his wife who was walking beside him. He was kind and generous and I'll never forget him.

  • William Shatner - I was working as a clerk at a stable in Muncie, Indiana and one day a customer walked up and asked to see the owner. I told him that she would be back in a few minutes and asked if I could help him. He said that he had an appointment and that he would just stay and look around until she returned. I kept looking at him, thinking I had seen him before. It drove me nuts for about five minutes and then it hit me. He looked like Captain Kirk! I thought to myself there was no way it was him. What would he be doing at a stable in Muncie? About that time the owner came back and I told her that there was a man there to see her and that he looked like Captain Kirk from "Star Trek". She then said, "Oh my god, you didn't tell him that, did you?" I said, "No, what would he be doing in Muncie?" The owner had me go out with her to meet him. The man walked over and gave her a hug and said it had been a long time since they had seen each other. Then the owner looked over at me and said, "Go ahead. Tell him what you told me." I was a little embarrassed but I said, "Has anyone ever told you that you look like Captain Kirk?" He shook his head and laughed and said, "Yes, I get that all the time." I said, "OK," not thinking much about it, and headed toward the back room where my office was. The owner then looked at him and said, "Stop messing with her. Tell her who you are." He then said, "I am Captain Kirk." I said, "Yeah right, buddy, and I'm Stevie Nicks. Nice to meet you." He then took out his wallet and handed me his driver's license and it said William Shatner . It was a California driver's license. I looked at it and said, "How does this prove you are Captain Kirk?" As soon as I said it, a light bulb went off in my head. William Shatner was his real name, not Captain Kirk . I felt so stupid. He just looked at me and laughed. I found out that he is very into horses and that he buys stuff from the stable all the time and had for years. I saw him several times after that. He would come in and buy things when he was in town or he would call in an order over the phone. Each time he would say, "Hi Stevie, this is Captain Kirk," and I knew exactly who I was talking to. - Danielle

  • Ernest Borgnine - I was part of a security detachment (crowd control) at the Blue Angel Marathon at NAS Pensacola, FL. Honorary Blue Angel Ernest Borgnine was the starter of the race and emcee. After the race started, he came by to meet with us. I found a piece of paper for him to sign an autograph. While I was waiting my turn, I was trying to think of something witty to say to him. When he turned to me, I was completely tongue-tied and couldn't say a word. All I could do was hand him the paper in my hand. He laughed, slapped me on the arm and said, "First time meeting a big star, eh?" - AC

  • John Carradine - In the late '70s I was a busboy in a French restaurant. It was a weeknight and the last customer of the evening was John Carradine. Wow. Aaron from "The Ten Commandments". But besides this there was one thing I wanted to share with him and that was that he was in my favorite episode of Rod Serling's "Night Gallery". I told him about it and he shared with me the fact that when he had filmed that episode he had recently lost his wife in a fire. He explained how you had to continue on when you were an actor. I felt bad to have brought up such a sad memory for him, but he was still very gracious and personable. - Mark

  • Nanette Fabray - While working in San Francisco as a young man I was sent to the bank one afternoon. Feeling rather bored and depressed, I looked up to see a yellow cab round the corner. Hanging out of the front window, grinning and waving, was someone I recognized from both TV and the movies. It was Nanette Fabray! That small gesture to her fans put a smile on my face for rest of the week!

  • Kelsey Grammer - In 1994, after attending the Frank Sinatra charity golf gala event in Palm Desert, my fiancée and I were having drinks in the Marriott Desert Springs lobby bar when Kelsey Grammer arrived at the bar with two friends in tow. My financée, being the crazed fan, sent me over to ask Kelsey if she could pose for a picture with him. He graciously agreed, putting his arm around her for the picture and then thanked her for being such a great fan. She babbled on for several minutes and he smiled the whole time. He was just a really sweet, regular guy. Of course, he has been Saint Kelsey in our house ever since. - BNWitt


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