Tuesday, January 16, 2018

What Is Your Favorite Encounter With A Celebrity?

Answering the questions people have
asked (or I have asked myself) about
my past, present, or future.
Number one on the list would be meeting Drew Carey on The Price Is Right just a few weeks after began his hosting job. He was real where he didn't need to be, and honest in ways that surprised me. He's going to have a long run on the show, and with good reason.

Second on my list is a chance encounter I had at 2005 at the Palms casino in Las Vegas. I had gone up there for a long weekend, and the Palms was my first stop because it had a reputation for loose slots. After several hours on the road, I ended up pulling slot handles around 11am.

Gaming companies are continuously coming out with new variants of computerized one-armed bandits, ones with multiple reels and paylines and bonus rounds. They're more like arcade games than gambling games. One such slot was themed around the classic TV game show Password. I sat down at one and gave it a try. It felt eerie to hear Allen Ludden's voice come through that machine, knowing he's been gone for 20 years at that point.

Password, as you will recall, featured numerous celebrity players -- Betty White (who later became Ludden's wife), Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball, Elizabeth Montgomery, Jamie Farr, Marty Allen, and scores of others.

A young lady comes over to me while I'm playing and says, "You remember Marty Allen from Password? Well here he is!"

Well, Hello 'Dere!

Sure enough, it was him, older and a little wrinkled, but proudly wearing a 9/11 tribute cap. I only had a faint memory of him, but it didn't matter -- I was excited to meet a celebrity in Vegas. He was happy to find somebody who could explain a slot machine based on a game he'd played but never seen in a slot version.

So for the next 45 minutes, I’m helped Marty understand video slots. He got three of himself on the reels his first play and four of himself in a little while. But he still had trouble understanding the paylines -- and the concept.

"I thought Password was about words," he puzzled.

In the end, he let me keep $4 on the machine he didn’t play. I never thought to ask him about his time on Password. I was just glad to meet a star.

Happily, Marty is still with us, and he's still making people laugh.

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