The People You Bump Into Here In L.A.

   You bump into some interesting people here in Los Angeles.   Years ago, it was Jerry Garcia of The Greatful Dead, looking over canned goods at the old Westward Ho supermarket in Sherman Oaks.  He was wearing sandals.  Spotted Eric Estrada, in a Rolls convertible in the parking lot of that same market one night.  Just hanging out, I guess.  Probably waiting for someone to finish their shopping and return to the car.  And there was DeForest Kelley, the guy who played  “Bones” on Star Trek.  I was in line waiting to buy tickets to a movie here in the Valley.  I turned around and there he was.  I was eye-to-eye with Bones.  Didn’t know what to say, so neither of us said anything at all.  Beam me up Scotty.   Other supermarket sightings include Jane Leeves, who plays Daphne on “Frasier” (who was trying to tear open a package with her teeth), Wilt Chamberlin and Steve Allen.  Also bumped into Steve’s wife, Jayne Meadows, at the pharmacy.  Eventually, the three of us grew to be friends.

There was a late-night encounter with Mickey Rourke.  He held the door open for me as I exited a carry out with my arms full on Sepulveda Boulevard.  Pretty sure it was Mickey.  He was driving a Corvette with a very nice looking young lady in the passenger’s seat.   Good for you, Mickey.

Or out at the Oak Tree Gun Club for an afternoon of of trap shooting, when my buddy Bobby Holt and I found ourselves next to country western star Dub Taylor.  Bobby, asked Dub if he’d pose for a picture with us.  He was happy to do it.  I’ve still got the photo.   A few years earlier, we were covering a May Day demonstration at a local park.  An LAPD motorcycle cop pulled up.  It was none other than Ken Osmond, also known as Eddie Haskell of “Leave It to Beaver” fame.  Nice guy. Nothing like the smarmy character he played for so many years.  Got a photo on that one too.

Years later I bumped into an L.A. County deputy sheriff out in the Malibu area.   A guy by the name of Shaun Mathers.  It was just too coincidental, so I asked, and yes, he was Beaver Cleaver’s (Jerry Mathers) younger brother.

Can’t forget Annette Funicello, one of the original  Mouseketeers that drove all the little boys crazy.  There she was, in line at the post office.  A temporary post office, actually, before they built the new one in Sherman Oaks.  She was driving a Cadillac, with a silver horse for a  hood ornament.   I remember thinking it was odd that someone so famous should have to wait in line with the rest of us common folk.  But there she was.

“M-i-c…..see you real soon!…….k-e-y….why? Because we like you!….M-o-u-s-e.”   Some things stay with you for a lifetime.   Annette, was hot.  Walt Disney, was nobody’s fool.

A couple of years ago I had an interesting encounter after pulling into a parking spot at my gym.  Workouts, have become a sort of religion for me.  As much a devotion as my Jaguar XJ8.  I’d been having one terrible time trying to find a mechanic I was happy with, and with a Jag, you need a Jag mechanic.  Not a Chevy mechanic or some guy down on the corner — no, you need somebody who knows Jaguar cars.  So there I am in the parking lot at my gym, and this beautiful classic Jag pulls in.  The car was spotless.  “This” I thought, “is someone who can point me at a mechanic.”   The driver exited the car.   I approached and asked if he could recommend a good mechanic for my Jag.  He thought about it for a minute and directed me to a shop on Melrose.  A bit out of the way for me, but I really did appreciate his thoughtful concern.

The man looked somewhat familiar, and today I realized why.  I could be wrong, but I think it was Nick Ashford, from the legendary Motown songwriting duo of Ashford & Simpson.  Like I said, you bump into some interesting people here in Los Angeles.  Thanks for the help Nick.  And for all the music.  God bless and may you rest in peace.

I love L.A.  Which brings another celebrity sighting to mind.  A few years ago we were having lunch at the top of a hotel in Santa Monica, and there was Randy Newman.  Celebrities have to eat too, you know.  What a town.

Ken Osmond - photo: workingreporter.com                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Bobby Holt                 Ron Olsen            Ken Osmond  (circa 1983)

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