Check out this list. Pity the poor fools who bought tickets to The Shawshank Redemption. We ran into a couple of problems of our own that I will get to in a moment, but at least our movie wasn't canceled.
I met up with Brian and his house only to be confronted by this freaky-looking thing hanging on his porch.
Pulling up to Wayne Busick's house we admired his landscaping project a year in the planning (by planning I mean procrastinating).
As soon as the door opens Wayne is already complaining that he has to be up at 4:30 a.m. the next morning to work on his front yard (concrete was coming at 7). Brian and I knew that there was a deeper reason for his seeming reluctance to go out to see the greatest gladiator movie ever made, but more on that later.
Now for the first problem I alluded to do earlier: When Brian initially ordered the tickets on the AFI website, their server was a bit buggy and Brian ended up ordering two sets of three tickets. An AFI representative actually called Brian to clear up the misunderstanding so all seemed well... that is until Brian called the Arclight the next day to confirm his order. He was told that there was no order under his name in the computer. Brian responded that there was indeed an order placed and they better figure out to get his tickets. After speaking to a couple of different supervisors it was finally discovered that our tickets had been printed out and would be waiting for us at the Arclight on the night of the screening. Just to be sure Brian called back the next night and was then told that his tickets had been picked up already. Brian, of course, was beside himself, and asked how this could happen without someone showing his credit card. After speaking with another supervisor he was told that a new set of tickets would be printed out and that they would be waiting for him at the AFI kiosk in the courtyard. So what you see above is Brian claiming the tickets, while we held our collective breaths.
With tickets in hand we roamed about.
We walked past the press waiting along the red carpet for the arrival of the stars.
I was forced to take this picture of the lobby from outside because cameras were strictly verboten, and there were several signs making this clear.
A better shot of the lobby, courtesy of Getty Images.
As we headed back to the car I captured the courtyard from the second story of the parking garage.
Now for the reason for Wayne's lack of enthusiasm: Yes, gladiator costumes. Wayne's look is classic.
And now for the second problem we ran into in putting this night together: Brian ordered three gladiator costumes from Target.com (they were only sold online) the week before and patiently waited for their arrival. On Monday afternoon a package arrived, containing one costume... and the movie was on Wednesday. Brian struggled with Target's customer service in between teaching classes on Tuesday, and eventually spoke to the guy in charge of shipping. Just as a solution seemed to be found the phone went dead! Then Brian's next class started so he couldn't call back at that moment. When he finally did he couldn't get a hold of the same guy. So, I made a couple of calls and found that Halloween Club in Santa Fe Springs had two of the same costumes, so I jetted down after school and made the purchase.
They who are about to make fools of themselves salute you.
Sexy gladiator legs.
Once inside the lobby we floated around waiting for the stars to arrive. When Dirty Harry arrived and made his way through the lobby Brian yelled out, "I am Clint Eastwood!" Then I followed with, "I am Clint Eastwood!" And Wayne finished it off with, "I am Clint Eastwood!" (If you don't understand you need to see Spartacus.) There were a few laughs from the assembled crowd but the high plains drifter ignored us. I was able to take a quick picture (above) in the lobby because I smuggled my camera in by hiding it behind my sword when we were checked by security at the door.
Brian found some photos on the Getty Images website. Can you find Waldo Maximus?
There he is!
Also from Getty Images, you can see my camera in my left hand. Oops.
They finally ushered us into the theater where we availed ourselves of free popcorn and drinks (courtesy of Getty Images).
If you look closely you can see us sitting in our gladiator costumes (courtesy of Getty Images).
We were kept waiting for a while because the stars were busy schmoozing on the red carpet, so eventually I needed to see a man about a chariot horse. I used the restroom mirror for a self-portrait.
Finally Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa introduced Kirk Douglas (courtesy of Getty Images).
Then the man himself talked for a couple of minutes and introduced the movie (courtesy of Getty Images).
More than three hours later we found ourselves on Sunset Blvd. having seen a kick ass movie. We ran into Hal Eisner of Channel 13 News who had interviewed us earlier that night. Clearly I was not told that it was time for the "happy gladiator" pose. Eisner told us that they had spliced our interview with one he did with Kirk Douglas and directed us to the news van.
The production guy was cool enough to show us the piece that was going to run that night. Evidently Hal Eisner told Kirk Douglas about our costumes so that the legend himself is actually talking about us in his interview.
And here it is.
Here's a screen shot of an article on the event on the Los Angeles Times website.
Here is a close-up of the section on Spartacus. Check the last paragraph.
Back in the minivan we headed home.
Wayne suddenly remembers he'll be pouring concrete in just a few hours.
A parting shot of the theater.
Brian still wore his gladiator skirt.
Good night Wayne and sweet dreams.