It was the mid-1980s and I was working in a movie theater in the San Fernando Valley. Some Disney movie had just been re-released – I think it was Snow White, or Pinocchio. It was a slow summer weekday afternoon when he came in, with two bodyguards, to see it. (The man-child thing was a theme even then.) Few people were in the theater at the time, but naturally his presence caused a bit of a stir among those who were – this was just post-Thriller.
We had two encounters. (No cheap jokes, please; besides, I was all grown up by then, so...) First, when he came out of the restroom before the movie started, I happened to be putting up a rope line, within the theater, in preparation for some later movie. He nearly walked right into me and exclaimed, in startled falsetto, “Which way do I go?” Stifling a laugh, I pointed him in the right direction.
In those days, before the movie started, they used to show a promo for the Will Rogers Institute, asking for donations. The lights would come up, one of us ushers would go from row to row with a can collecting whatever people felt like giving, and then the regular trailers would resume. On duty that day, I had the honor of taking his donation. As I recall, he peered up over his sunglasses and, once again in falsetto, asked “Is this for Will Rogers?” as he handed it to me. I think it was all of a dollar. (Did I mention this was post-Thriller?)
And that was it, folks. If you’ve read this far, I’m sorry I can’t give you the last minute of your life back.
By the by, if you take a ride in Doc Brown’s time machine back to circa 1984 and pop into Mann Valley West so as to witness my historic meeting with the King of Pop, do NOT eat the nachos. One of my co-workers was, shall we say, something of a prankster. ‘Nuff said.
Next in this exciting series: I see John Larroquette at a gas station in Studio City!