My First Brush with Fame Drove Bullitt!
Living in the Berkshires, having a brush with fame is always a possibility. I have heard so many stories about people bumping into famous actors or musicians in a restaurant, or even at the grocery store. Recently Mark Wahlberg was spotted at the Proprietors Lodge in Pittsfield and Elizabeth Banks, who is actually from the Berkshires, was spotted at King Kone. Even my mom, God rest her soul, had a run-in with Woody Harrelson in a local drug store several years ago. My point is that it's not uncommon.
I have bumped into a few here and there in the Berkshires myself, but the very first time that I found myself face to face with a famous actor, I was maybe 5 years old and living in Middletown, New York, about 2 ½ hours from the Berkshires.
One sunny day in Middletown, my mother decided to take me to Carrols for lunch. Carrols at the time was a fast-food restaurant chain that served Burgers and now the “Carrols Restaurant Group” owns and operates more than 1,000 Burger Kings, and around 55 Popeyes Restaurants in the U.S. (Those numbers are from Wikipedia). They started operating Burger Kings in 1976, and that is just about right with what I figured my age to be at the time.
So, anyway, there we were in line standing inside those red velvet ropes that you would see in movie theaters and fast-food restaurants to keep the heard of customers in line, and for some reason, I decided to start rocking one of the posts that hold up the ropes. All of a sudden I felt a hand on the top of my head, and then a voice that said something to the effect of “don’t do that son.” It sounded like a voice of authority, so I stopped doing it. I looked over at my mom and her jaw was hanging open. Next to her were other customers with their jaws hanging open. I guess I just figured parents were weirdos. My mom later explained to me that the man who placed his hand on my head was none other than Steve McQueen. Of course, at the time I had no idea who he was. Years later, of course, I became a fan of Steve McQueen and his movies. I mean, who didn’t want to take Bullitt (1968) for a spin?
Some of you younger readers may not know who Steve McQueen is (or was), but I assure you he was a very big deal at the time. So, there you go, my first encounter with one of the beautiful people.
Have you had a brush with fame?