Monday, May 28, 2007

Match Game

Gene Rayburn: Dumb Dora said... Charles Nelson Reilly is... blank?

Brett Somers: Hi Gene! (something we should all practice). I said (pulls out card)....Dead!

(audience burst out in canned laughter)

It's true. I read today that actor/Match Game panelist, Charles Nelson Reilly passed away Friday at the age of 76. Hearing this news brought back memories of my brother Brian and I, watching Match Game '76 and yelling out double-entendre answers to Gene Rayburn's dubious questions.

It was an innocent time.

I never had a chance to meet Charles, but I did meet Rayburn (Match Game emcee) several times. He used to ride my train to and from Pelham Station in Westchester County. The first time I saw him (about 12 years ago), I was shocked by how old he looked. His face hadn't changed much from his television heyday, but his back was now hunched over and he shuffled when he walked.
The last time I saw him, I told him that Brett Somers (one of the celebrity panelist) frequently rode my train. He complained that Brett never called him, and if he didn't make the effort to call her, he would never hear from her. I offered to tell Brett to call him. "You do that," he said. Gene passed away a few months later. I haven't seen Brett since.

I once had occasional panelist/actress Anita Gillette on my train. She was returning to New York after attending her son's graduation from Yale. I remembered her name after racking my brain for several minutes. She was impressed that I remembered. So was I.

Doesn't it seem that celebrities are dropping like flies lately?

Maybe I'm just getting old.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Leisure Suit Larry Rides Again

My 13-year-old daughter ‘C’ has put a lot of effort in to mastering the lyrics to the song “Sweet Escape,” by Gwen Stefani. This is not an easy song to sing, since the bridge is sung rapidly, as if one single word:


When I was a kid, I used to be pretty good at the old McDonald’s jingle: “Twoallbeefpattiesspecialsaucelettucecheesepicklesonionsona
so I thought it would be fun to learn the words to “Sweet Escape.” With the help of my daughter, I pretty much got it down.

A few weeks back, I was chauffeuring ‘C’ and her two friends around, when “Sweet Escape” came on the radio. I seized the opportunity to showcase just how hip and happenin’ I was.

I sang:


I looked in the rear view mirror, expecting to see the look of amazement on three teenage faces. My own reflection, however, sent me back in time, kind of like "Alice Through the Looking Glass."

Summer, 1974.

My 16-year old sister Maureen and I, (age 12,) are seated in the back seat of a brown, 1974 GTO. ‘Larry,’ the man whose child we just babysat for, is in the driver’s seat, twisting the car’s radio dials, looking for just the right song to impress my sister and me. The radio’s red needle stops on 1300AM-WAVZ. He knows he’s found the perfect song… “My Eyes Adored You” by Frankie Valle and The Four Seasons.

He turns the volume up and croons along:

My J’eyes J’a J’ored J’ou
Though I never laid a hand on you
My J’eyes J’a J’ored J’ou

The blue dashboard lights reflect in Larry’s black, plastic-rimmed glasses, matching his powder blue leisure suit perfectly. His pencil neck is lost in his silk shirt's over sized collar.

Like a million miles away from me
You couldn’t see how I
J’a J’ored J’ou

He is intentionally bastardizing the lyrics, almost as if to say, “I’m not only hip...I’m funny too.” My sister and I roll our eyes and try to stifle our laughter.

So close
So close
And yet so far

What a dork!

This is what the girls in the backseat are thinking; I can see it on their faces. One of the girls leans over and whispers in my daughter’s ear, “You poor thing…you must really be embarrassed.” It was then I knew... I am “Leisure Suit Larry.”

Monday, May 07, 2007

Watch 'The Gap!'

About a year ago, my friend "Ron"(not his real name) left the conductor ranks and switched over to the cushy life of an engineer. After spending a year in class, he recently graduated, qualified and became an official big "E." I bumped into him the other night and asked how he liked his new occupation."

"Oh, it's great," he said, "I love it."

"I bet you don't miss dealing with the passengers?" I asked.

"Oh I'm still dealing with them," he said. "Wait till you hear this one..." .

Ron went on to to tell me about a drunk woman that was on his train the previous evening. He said that she spent the better part of the ride pacing, barefoot, up and down the aisle of the head car and talking to herself. When the train pulled into New Haven (the last stop) she staggered up to the head end of the train and pounded on the the engineer's cab door.


Ron opened the door...


"Are you the conductor or the engineer?"

"I'm the engineer."

"Well then...Why didn't you stop the train on the platform?"

"M'am, we have a 10 car train tonight, and this is an eight car platform. If you had listened to the announcements, you would have known that you have to walk back two cars to exit."

"Oh yeah!"

Now the woman seemed stumped, not sure of what to complain about next....

"Why is the floor on this train so filthy?"

"Well m'am, It's late in the day and the car cleaners haven't had a chance to mop the floors in a while. And besides... it isn't very sanitary for you to walk these floors barefoot."

Ron walked off the train and down the platform, but the woman was right on his heels.

"Hey, who taught you how to drive?"

When Ron turned around, the woman was pointing to the gap between the train and the platform.

"Look how far the train is from the curb!...I'm going to write a letter to the railroad and complain about this!"

Somehow Ron kept his compusure...

"You do that m'am, and, whatever you do, don't forget the part about the train being too far from the curb."

Friday, May 04, 2007

Sarah Comments

Back on New Years Day of this year, I wrote a post called Sarah Smiles, about my chance encounter with "Animal House/Caddyshack" actress Sarah Holcomb, some 18 years ago. My memory had been jogged by a recent article (Dec. 29, 2006) I had read in the "New York Post" which said that after "Caddyshack," the young actress fell into a world of drugs and mental illness and ..."wound up, sort-of erased from life."

It seems the rumors of Sarah's demise are greatly exaggerated.

While searching through my "archives"tonight, I found this recent comment on the "Sarah Smiles" post. I can't be 100% certain that Sarah is its author, but my gut tells me she is:

1:03 AM, April 21, 2007

Bob- i remember your gesture of kindness and giving me that ride. I am amazed people still wonder what happened to me. i am doing fine and raising my 2 children. The path that hollywood put me on was a most destructive one. I wanted to let you know i am doing well and have found ways of dealing with my personal issues that are not self-destructive. Take care and god bless!

That's great news! God bless you too.