The 1980s was a great decade to land in New York City for TV work. That's what I did. I was hired by WPIX TV/Channel 11 to relocate from Milwaukee to Manhattan. I'd be doing entertainment features on local TV. Celebrity interviews and such. I'd be at WPIX for two years and then I'd get an offer to national exposure as a daily veejay and talk show host on VH1. Back in those days, you could pass a lot of celebrities on the streets of New York City. Or see them in a supermarket or hardware store or diner. If you interviewed them once -- and the interview was good -- they'd remember you if you were scheduled to interview them again for another project. For me, Jeff Goldblum was a celebrity who remembered me back then. I was flattered. If you're a Jeff Goldblum fan, he'll be profiled on CBS SUNDAY MORNING on November 4th.
This was the first time in my life I'd ever sat next to a celebrity on a flight. I knew that many stars prized their privacy, so I made sure not to get all giddy and be an interruption.
Well, Jeff Goldblum chatted like we were old high school buddies. He chatted about VH1. He chatted about the in-flight meal. He chatted about the groovy music he was listening to on his Walkman and he shared his earpieces so I could hear some of it. He'd been cast in a new upcoming Robert Altman feature. He was soon to start rehearsals and he had his script with him. So he asked me to run lines with him to prepare for Altman's BEYOND THERAPY.
Jeff Goldblum was one of the chattiest men I'd ever sat next to on a flight, a bus, a subway, or any other kind of mass transportation.
Remember the I LOVE LUCY episode where The Ricardos and The Mertzes are on the flight back from Europe to New York? Lucy Ricardo has a 25 pound piece of cheese wrapped in a baby blanket. She thinks kids fly free and she's trying to pass the cheese off as a baby so Ricky won't have to pay extra. Lucy's seatmate, a mom holding a real baby, keeps trying to engage Lucy in conversation and get a peek at her infant. After a few minutes, Lucy pretends to be asleep.
I did that same exact thing to Jeff Goldblum somewhere over Colorado.
When I was a kid, I dreamed of interviewing and being up close to movie stars. I never thought that one would talk my ears off while I was strapped in to my seat.
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