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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Brushes with the Famous and Kinda Famous

After yesterday's post, I feel that I should share the rest of my brushes with B, C, D and maybe even Z list celebrities (if there is such a thing).  My first brush with fame came when I was just a wee lad at the Contemporary Resort at Disney World, Florida.  We were by the pool and who was there but Chubby Checker himself.  I wasn't too sure who he was because this was before my time, even in the mid 1970's.  He actually helped my mom out of the pool.  Sorry, I have no pictures of this as I am not sure cameras had been invented yet. :)

Many years later, I met and shook the hand of "American Pie" singer Don McLean at the Decatur, IL Celebration in the early 1990's.  I did not have one shrapnel of paper to get an autograph on so I dug a paper plate out of the garbage and used that.  It must have had an elephant ear on it because the marker didn't stick too well to the powdered sugar and thus, the autograph has not survived.  That weird trapezoidal looking thing is where it used to be.  It wound up that shape because I had to cut around the grease stains from the elephant ear.

It was in the mid 1990's when I met Barry Williams (Greg from the Brady Bunch).  He was signing autographs at Eastland Mall in Bloomington, IL to promote his new book "Growing Up Brady".  I can't believe I am telling this but I actually tried to sneak a pee in the parking lot (it was night) before we went in only to get in there and see that the wind had blown it on the front of my jeans.  I tied my coat around my waist and it was all good, kinda.  I have to say that he wasn't the friendliest fellow but maybe it was because I smelled like pee.

John Kay was the only original member of Steppenwolf left when I saw them at the Macon County Fair in Illinois in the mid 1990's.  That's okay, though, because I always say that everyone else in the band can be changed and they still sound the same.  However, if you lose the lead singer, you might as well just call it a new band.  It was awesome hearing him sing "Magic Carpet Ride" and "Born To Be Wild" from 5 feet away.  They were actually playing in a beer tent with about 20 people in it, whom 12 of them were my friends.  INCREDIBLE.  I got to shake his hand when they were done.

TK Wendel's was a bar/softball complex out in the country of Champaign, IL that would set up stages in the outfields.  Also, in the mid 1990's, they would host previous popular bands from my day there.  A couple that I saw were Cheap Trick and Kansas.  They were the original bands.  I was so close at Cheap Trick that my arm was resting on the stage.  I met and shook hands with Kansas.  The downer of the night was that I was in line for the porta potty when Kansas played "Dust in the Wind".

Bloomington, IL used to host an Old House Fair at the David Davis mansion back in the late 1990's.  I was working carpentry at that time and one of my heroes, Norm Abram, was going to speak there.  He gave a nice speech, took questions from the crowd, and then signed autographs.  I was in awe to be next to the master craftsmen.

Finally, I got a text one night that the guy from American Pickers was at the Clinton, IL Eagles.  I thought that this was possible because he had been spotted around Bloomington a few times.  My son Callahan confirmed this by saying that he had seen him at McDonald's earlier.  Andi and I headed up there and sure enough, there he was.  Another chap with him that wasn't the friendliest took the picture for me and then they confiscated my beer after the picture was over.  I guess they didn't want beer in the picture since he represents a network, but then why go to a bar?  It was too late so they just gave it back, but I will crop it out of the photo to be nice.

Well, I think that's it for my brushes with famous people.  On my next blog, I would like to show you famous places I went to when we were in California.  Leave me comments telling me about your run-ins with the famous.  I would love to read them.


  1. I will post but you already know all of mine . . . Jamie Lee Curtis (at the Apple and Pork Festival), met the band Trixter at Hardees in Springfield, Il., the drummer from Warrant who gave me his drum stick during the concert (R.I.P Janie Lane), Pauly Shore who signed the back of my National Honor Society card (what an oxymoron that is!), Pat Summitt (extremely honored NCAA Women's basketball coach from Tennesee), Coach K (extremely honored Duke men's basketball coach), and I shook Kenny Chesney's hand after his concert in St. Louis. Oh, and what about the soccer dude who was checking our daughter out right in front of us in the elevator in Mexico? Does he count? We don't know who he is but we know he was a celebrity since we were told he plays on the pro-Mexico Olympic team!

  2. Oh and speaking of Olympians, you forgot one . . . Didn't you meet Bonnie Blair? Oh, and I interviewed and wrote that story about the Olympic Luge girl, too. Does she count? I didn't meet here in person but exchanged multiple emails and talked to her on the phone for about an hour . . . :)

  3. I didn't meet Bonnie Blair. My dad met her at a Farm Expo in Champaign. That is where that autograph came from. I forgot you met all of those people and yes, they all count. That is what I meant by possibly "z" list celebrities. HA HA.

  4. What on earth were you doing at a farm expo? ha ha

  5. I said MY DAD was at the Farm Expo, not me. I am a city slicker. Clinton, Illinois-Southside. Representin'.

  6. I am MORE than a LITTLE behind on this but here are my brushes with the famous

    Ron Santo (will cherish FOREVER)
    Many Cubs players (current and former)
    Howie Long @ State Farm - AWESOME day there!
    Tim McGraw
    Peter Steele (Type O Negative lead singer; R.I.P.)
    Josh Thompson (country singer)
    Corey Case - yes, you're famous in my world!