Hair Dryers and Hollywood . . .

Two more days, but unfortunately, there’s a 50% chance of rain tomorrow and a 100% chance on Tuesday. But at least Wednesday when we move back to Columbus is supposed to be clear.



Last Minute Flash Update:

I will not be working both Monday and Tuesday. Monday night will be my last shift. My day shift counterpart, Art, and his wife Mollie, who works days on the inside gate, are already leaving tomorrow on vacation. So Todd just wants to replace all four guards in one fell swoop.

Although I will lose the day’s pay, it will make it a lot easier since I won’t have to get off work at 5:30am and then drive the rig to Columbus later in the day on just a few hours of sleep.

So YAY!

Following up on the whole Celebrity Six Degrees of Separation theme, I got this comment from my cousin Joy.

* * * * *

Taking a day off to recharge and read your blog. I cannot compare my own experiences to yours -since I have obviously been sheltered & a wall flower – but I did meet Dan Blocker in Six Gun Territory many years ago (should still have his signature somewhere), and, while working at Bank of America in Malibu, met countless stars – most notably was Roy Orbison, Martin Sheen (offered to help me with my car) and Brian Keith (a surprising horse’s ass).

So many others: Cindy Williams (not as cute or nice as on TV), Cheech & Chong (not at the same time), Henry Mancini’s mother (she was interesting), lots of character actors and support people (you see their names in the credits) like Dan Wallin (his wife was so sweet, very genuine person). It was an interesting time for me – just never knew who would come through the door next.

Oh, thanks for sharing the obit! Funny stuff. I would like to think he actually helped write it – which would be even funnier!

* * * * *

This kind of made me thing of a new game where you link yourself to another person you know through one or more celebrities.

For example, my friend Nick Russell and I have both met Johnny Cash, so we have a Bacon Number of 2 to each other.

And with my cousin Joy, she’s met Roy Orbison who knew Johnny Cash and then back to me. So we have a Bacon Number of 3. And I wouldn’t be surprised if she put some thought to it, Joy could come up with some more names that might get us down to a BN of 2. Because I actually have a bunch more too.

It’s fun to thing about.



Now since my friend Tricia spilled the beans on the whole Katherine Ross hair dryer thing and several people asked, here goes.

For the first several Shuttle launches, I was part of the NASA television crew that was set up on White Sand Missile Range at a location called Northrup Strip. Northrup Strip was designated as the backup landing site for the Shuttle.

STS-1 and STS-2 both landed on the dry lake bed at Dryden with no problems. But when STS-3 came along in March 1982, problems. Between the Shuttle launch on the 22nd and the landing scheduled on the 30th, heavy rains flooded the lake bed and made a landing impossible.

At this point the landing strip at Kennedy Space Center was still under construction, so White Sands it was. And when it was announced that the Shuttle would be landing there, it seemed like the entire world invaded the little New Mexico town of Alamogordo where we were staying.

There were only two nice motels there, a Best Western and a Holiday Inn. Located side by side, I think they may have both been owned by the same people, since they shared the same restaurant and the bar.

We probably only had 30 people staying at the hotels, but when pretty much every television crew and film crew in the world descended on the town, they found both motels already full. And that’s because, without a lot of publicity, they were filming part of a movie there. And the stars and the crew were taking up most of the other rooms.

The movie in question was “Wrong Is Right”, a dark comedy starring Sean Connery, Katherine Ross, Robert Conrad, Leslie Nielson, John Saxon, and others. There were other stars in the movie whose names you would recognize, but these are the ones concerned because they were staying at the hotels with us.

The sands of White Sands were standing in for sands of Saudi Arabia which is were part of the movie was supposed to be taking place. So they were here for a couple of weeks to get those shots.

Now before all the Shuttle Landing commotion, we had a nice tight little group, with both the movie and NASA people. We even had several astronauts with us, Anna and Bill Fisher, and Story Musgrave.

We all got along great, trading autographs for Shuttle patches, etc., getting drunk together in the bar, and sometimes some of us eating together in the restaurant. 

Sean Connery was full of great stories about shooting other movies on location, including the Bond films, while Robert Conrad and Leslie Nielson were constantly throwing jokes back and forth at each other. Katherine Ross didn’t say a lot, but seemed content to listen and laugh at the jokes, and she had a beautiful laugh.

Then one morning as I’m almost ready to leave my room to go down for breakfast and then leave for White Sands, there was a knock at the adjoining door to the next room. Not knowing who was staying next door, but figuring it was a NASA type, I opening it to find Katherine Ross standing there wearing a robe and with a towel wrap around her hair.

And she was holding up a hair dryer by the cord like it was a dead rat.

“You do electrical stuff, right. Can you fix my hair dryer? I’m already running late and it keeps going on and off every time I move.”

“Let me guess. You always unplug it by just yanking on the cord, right?”

“Well, yes.”

Now luckily for Katherine, I had a side business at the time. I soldered up computer boards for a couple of local computer stores in the Houston area. Back when I worked for the Department of Defense, they sent  me up to the NASA Certified Soldering School at MCAS Cherry Point, NC. so my boards looked like they were factory done.

The stores would give me the blank circuit boards and all of the individual parts, IC’s, transistors, resistors, caps, etc.. I would then populate them and solder them up. I got paid $10 a board and I could do 3 or 4 an hour. Good money for1982, especially since I was doing 100 at a time.

But what this all meant was that I had tools with me in my room since I always brought a bunch of boards with me on these trips. And I just happened to have a  replacement AC plug to boot.

So it only took me a couple of minutes to snip off the old one and install the new one, which garnered me a Thank You! and quick hug from Katherine Ross.



Now the next night the bar was kind of quiet, with only the NASA people and some of the film crew there, with the stars all off at some press thing. But things picked up when Katherine walked in, dressed to the nines. Like Academy Award night nines.

She walked up to the big round table where I sitting with 6 or 8 other guys and stopped in front of me.

“Thank you for what you did for me this morning. I really appreciate it.”

“No problem. I was glad I could help.”

Then she winked at me and walked off.

There was dead silence around the table, with all eyes on me. 

Well, at least after Katherine left the bar. 

And my reputation among my coworkers was greatly enhanced.


Thought for the Day:

When copy machines break down, 23% of the time it’s because people sat on them to photograph their butts.

Now you’ve got to wonder what the other 77% are copying to make them break down.

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One Response to Hair Dryers and Hollywood . . .

  1. Tricia says:

    Hey!  I just realized all the degrees of Kevin Bacon that I have gained through knowing you! Thankfully, I am closer to Katherine Ross than I am Hitler.

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