While most of you got a visual of your heroes from books, I got mine, at an early age, through movies and TV. Perhaps thatâ€™s the reason I wanted to work for a studio in the first place. I wanted to meet my heroes in person or at least the actors who portrayed them, hoping Iâ€™d find a trace of the characters that they had played. Most of the time I wasnâ€™t disappointed, if anything, it was just the opposite. There was always some special thing they would do or say to make our meeting memorable. Like the time I met Paul Newman and the only thing he had to say to me was, â€œSorry, Maâ€™am, I donâ€™t give out autographs.â€ Okay, thatâ€™s not the memorable thing I was hoping for–nor was I thrilled to be called â€œMaâ€™amâ€, when I was barely sixteen years oldâ€¦but at least I got to look into those magnificent, electrifying blue eyes of his. Oh, y-e-a-h, they were something to behold.
There once was a mini series on television called â€œThe Gangster Chroniclesâ€ which was based on real life gangsters of the thirties and forties. And just like they do with all shows, they embellished on both the storyline and characters. Playing the lead was actor Michael Nouri, who went on to play â€œNick Hurleyâ€, the hunky blue-collar boyfriend of Jennifer Beal in â€œFlashdanceâ€.
In much the same way this year, as I was drawn to Johnny Deppâ€™s characterization of â€œJohn Dillinger,â€–back then, I was drawn to Michael Nouriâ€™s depiction of â€œLucky Lucianoâ€ in â€œThe Gangster Chroniclesâ€. Supposedly, Lucky didnâ€™t believe in violence, disliked drug trafficking, was loyal to his friends and above all, respectful of women. Who couldnâ€™t like a guy like this? Apparently I wasnâ€™t alone in my feelings, because the network got tons of fan mail praising the likeability of Michael and his two co-stars ( Joe Penny and Brian Benben). Not exactly the reaction the studio was looking for, since they wanted to show the downside of crime and not the making of the next American idols.
After â€œChroniclesâ€, Michael went on to appear in numerous movies and TV shows. Eventually, he ended up landing himself another series called â€œBay City Bluesâ€. As luck would have it, the filming of the show was done at Studio Center, CBSâ€™s sister studio, which was over the hill from where I worked at Television City.
When I walked on the set, I was hit with a double whammy. Not only had the shooting schedule been delayed by hours, but Michaelâ€™s call time had been pushed back until much later in the day. As much as I wanted to stay, it was impossible. I was needed back at my office. So reluctantly, I headed for the parking lot. The one pleasant thing about my visit was the warm welcome I got from all of the crew members. A few even asked me if I was going to the wrap party that night–okay, not even the best of crews are this friendly.
It wasnâ€™t until I was stopped by the Stage Manager, did I realized why all the cheerful hellos. Looking over his schedule, he confessed to not knowing Iâ€™d had a call for that day. He became doubly embarrassed when he realized I wasnâ€™t the person he thought I was. As it turns out, I bore a strong resemblance to the actress who occasionally played Michael Nouriâ€™s ex-wife on the show. To this day I donâ€™t know who the actress was, nor do I care to find out. I like to think she was some beautiful, thin and talented actress. And Iâ€™m sticking with that thought.
To say my visit was a disappointment would be putting it mildly. This was the final taping of the season and the ratings were low. Which could only add up to one thing. The show most likely would be canceled, which meant Iâ€™d never get another opportunity like this again. But just as I was about to cross the road for my car, a brand new shiny black Porsche passed in front of me. Sitting behind the wheel, wearing a pair of dark sunglasses and looking every bit the part of the proverbial hunk, was Michael Nouri.
As soon as he got out of his car, I greeted him with a handshake and introduced myself. I think what surprised him the most, wasnâ€™t that he was being stopped by a fan, but that someone who was in the â€œbusinessâ€ was complimenting him on his work.
â€œIâ€™m so flattered you came here to see me,â€ he said several times. But more than his words, it was the sincerity I saw on his face that made me believe he meant it. Alright, I was a little distracted by his big black olive eyes, and his full sensual lipsâ€¦but I did believe him.
We talked about â€œThe Gangster Chroniclesâ€, his present show and then somehow he started to talk about his family and his grandfather. Being a fan, I whipped out my camera and asked if I could have a picture taken with him. Of course, wouldnâ€™t you know it, there was no one around to be found. I can be at home in my pajamas and run five feet to the trash bin and twelve neighbors and their friends will come out of nowhere and spot me. But now when I was looking for someone to snap our picture, there was nobody.
At the end, I took a picture of him standing alone, next to his Porsche. As I was about to leave, I mumbled something about this being the best birthday treat I could have given myself. He asked when my birthday was and I told him that it was in a few days. And then he asked if he could give me a birthday kiss. Like I was going to say no? He pulled me near and gave me a full kiss on the lips. Itâ€™s hard to remember what I said after thatâ€¦I vaguely remember trying to be coy and saying something like, â€œOh, that was nice.â€ (Probably a line I remembered from some old movie).
After getting inside my car which was only steps away from his, I started the engine. He waited for me to drive away, and as I passed him, we waved good-bye to each other.
Outwardly I seemed to be cool and in controlâ€¦inwardly I was falling apart. My heart was pounding and my legs were wobbly. Once I was out of sight , I parked my car in an isolated area on the studio lot. With no one around to see me, I punched the steering wheel with my fists, as I let out a loud girlie shrill. Which confirms what I have feared all alongâ€¦deep down inside of me Iâ€™m a little bit of a groupie. Da ya think?
Glad you enjoy my stories. I don't think I would have had as much fun working for a bank or an insurance company and the scenery was a lot better. 🙂
on September 16, 2009
Bobbie, your stories are such a treat! I think it is so cool that you went after a job in the industry, and have met so many people! Keep writing about your adventures!
on September 14, 2009
Your right, what works in the movies doesn't necessary work in books and vice versa. But meeting some of the guys I've seen on screen in person, sure made my heart go pitter pater when I saw them. It was also a great inspiration when it came to writing my own romances. Thanks for the comment on my blog.
on September 14, 2009
I also get most of my inspiration from movies – maybe because I grew up in Orange County and the movie industry influenced me. But I've also learned that what works in a movie may not work in a book – and vice versa. 🙂
on September 14, 2009
Thank you, Connie, only my friends would know how normal I really am. And know "they" started the kiss…I just kissed them back. What else could a self respecting groupie do?
on September 13, 2009
Hi, Bobbie: You and your stories are such fun. You really should publish these as memoirs. And, yeah, you're a bit of a groupie. I'll bet most personalities today would appreciate your type of groupie-ness. Quiet, respectful, kiss'em and leave with a memory.