So Brian calls me and tells me that he is giving me an early birthday present but that it is a surprise. I hate surprises. The only saving grace is that I know Brian won't do me wrong so I blindly step into the Saturn when he pulls up at my house.
First stop, Hollywood Boulevard. Brian explains that we still have a couple of hours before the surprise, and I begin to get a little nervous, seeing that we are in Hollywood and Brian has a twisted sense of humor. We kill time going into various stores that include the Hollywood Poster, Costume, and Magic Shops. We wander into a souvenir store where Brian was stopped in his tracks when he tried to try on some shirts. His spirits were quickly raised, however, when we looked through various postcards for sale, so it all evened out. Soon, we made our way into a sex shop in an attempt to learn the meaning of a strange contraption in the window. I snapped an unaware Brian as he was perusing various paraphernalia, vibrating nipple clips in this instance. After trying on some fresh and funky shades I proceeded to take a break on a freaky, kinky chair. After dueling with some 18 inch dildos it was time to go.
Next it was time to eat so we made a stop at Carney's overlooking the Sunset Strip. I took a picture of Brian through the railroad car's window. We fueled up on chili burgers, fries, and lemonade. I was ready for whatever Brian had in mind.
As we headed back down Sunset, Brian pointed out our final destination: the Museum of Television and Radio. As we entered the building I saw that we were attending the
William S. Paley Television Festival . This festival "offers the industry and general pubic a look at how the television of the past challenges and speaks to the television of today." Tonight's show: Columbo! Hell yeah! So I'm pretty jazzed that Peter Falk is going to be there, but there is this nagging feeling, as if all is not aligned, something I can't quite put my finger on. Suddenly it comes to me and I understand, but I don't want to say anything to Brian because I don't want to seem like an ingrate for all the thought and trouble he went through for me. But to show how cool he is Brian busts out with, "I hope Shatner is here." Unfortunately, the MTR program handed to us only listed Falk, Ed Begley Jr., Dabney Coleman, and a few others. Now seriously, besides Columbo himself, *ho hum*.
So we took our seats close to the front and middle and thumbed through our programs. 'Ello, 'ello, what do I spy? An insert. Now normally an insert informs the audience of a change, usually that a star will be replaced for the show by an understudy. As I scanned the revised list of those appearing in person, hardly daring for a miracle, my eyes stopped on the two magic words: William Shatner!! Booyaa, baaaabyyyyyy! High fives were exchanged and we settled in for the show to begin.
The introductions were made and out walked - nay, strutted - Bill Shatner. OK, so the middle has expanded a bit and the rug is getting less believable but this was Captain Freakin' Kirk beaming down not more than twenty feet from me. Sweet. Now, if there was any crazy talk saying that Cappy's mojo has faded, the dude sat his ass right next to Peter Falk's hot-ass wife, Shera Danese, forcing Columbo himself, the star of the show, to sit in an end chair. Still the man, Bill, still the man.
After the show I bum-rushed the stage to get a picture with Bill, but there was way too much security blocking the way, and Bill was quickly exiting, stage right, mumbling something about this being "Peter's thing." Fack! Now, I was respectful this evening, laughing roundly at the jokes and refraining from the intense urge to sneak a picture with my digital camera, but come on, every obsessed fan has his limits. Then, Brian and I are inspired. We saw George "Nooorrrmm!" Wendt leave right after Bill and we booked out of the theater just in time to see him exit through a back door that was watched by security. Brian noticed a restroom that was situated behind the guards so we walked in and then quickly out and slipped through the door used by the aforementioned stars. Once outside there was no one to be seen so we continued down some steps that took us to the exit of a parking structure. Again, nobody, but logic dictated that Bill must have gone this way in order to retrieve his car. So, what to do? Now, at this point, most people would admit the futility of the situation and give up the chase. Yeah, well, Brian and Eric are not most people. We ran to the Saturn and returned to set up camp at the parking structure exit. Well, to make a long story longer, like the stalkers we had become we waited and watched every car that left for 45 minutes.
What did we accomplish? Nothing, nada, zip, zilch, nil, squat. Yep, the Starship Enterprise left without us and I missed possibly my only opportunity to meet The Legend. I still can't help but feel like those poor fools from the various planets who were chasing the Captain so many times but were left watching him dematerialize as Scotty beamed him up.