Tuesday, February 9, 2010

William Shatner: Kicking & Rolling

While surfing the TV channels the other night, Bill came across William Shatner. He was interviewing Larry Flynt on his talk show, Raw Nerve.
"Shatner's face is red," Bill laughed, "You think he's been drinking?"
"I wouldn't doubt it," I said, "I once saw him when he was feeling no pain."
It was in the late eighties, and Victoria, a good friend of mine and a lover of horses, wanted me to accompany her to a Hollywood charity horse show.
"It'll be fun, Brenda," she said, "Go with me!"
I finally agreed, but I almost backed out when she told me the admission was one hundred and twenty dollars, payable in advance.
"That's a lot of money, just for a horse show," I said, "Besides, I might not even go. I want to see the sights."
"But that includes the private reception," she said, "Not just anyone can get in!"
A couple of weeks later we were flying to L.A.
As soon as we checked into the hotel, Victoria headed to the horse show. I spent the day touring Universal Studios, strolling down Rodeo Drive, checking out the Hollywood Walk of Fame and other places I had read about in the movie magazines I so coveted as I was growing up. After a while, though, I got tired of roaming the city alone. So I decided to go to the horse show.
I was shocked when I arrived. It didn't take me long to realize this was not just any horse show. Riders sat ramrod straight in their English saddles, guiding sleek, high-stepping horses over three-foot fences. They rode with grace and style, rising and falling in their saddles as though they and their horses were one. Next came stoic gentlemen in two-wheeled carts, followed by women in four-wheeled carriages, trotting gracefully around the arena. Both horses and women had attitudes, and they were dressed to the nines, diamonds glittering from fingers, necks, and ears.
"Well, look who's here!" Victoria said.
A horse was trotting out of the shadows, William Shatner in the saddle.
He was an excellent horseman and his horse performed well. But his best performance would come that evening. At the Hollywood reception.
We dressed carefully for the event. I wore a pant suit (borrowed from Victoria's mom, who gave me free reign to her extensive collection of formal wear). It was black silk, with huge shoulder pads. So huge, in fact, that my shoulders looked as wide as John Goodman's. (I was in style, though; it was the-bigger-the-better eighties)! I slipped my feet into black spike heels (hoping I wouldn't trip) and clipped on my huge gold earrings. Victoria looked like a star herself in her little black dress and black hose, many gold chains draped around her neck.
We were met by crowds of people upon our arrival, flash bulbs popping, scents of expensive perfumes drifting through the air. A doorman stood at the entrance, checking the list before removing the chain and allowing guests to enter, and limos as far as the eye could see were depositing impeccably dressed women and their handsome escorts at the curb. One was Miss America. I remembered seeing her on TV, tears rolling down her cheeks as they placed the crown on her head.
Behind us in line were Patrick Duffy and his wife.
"Where are you ladies from?" said Patrick. (He must have heard our accents!)
"Paducah, Kentucky."
"Oh! I've been there!" Mrs. Duffy said, "I performed there when I was in a ballerina troupe."
"Wish we had brought our cameras," Victoria whispered as the doorman checked our names off the list.
Inside, champagne flowed from a gigantic fountain, chocolate from another. Tables were loaded with lobster, crab, shrimp, black caviar, white truffles, hot and cold hor derves, salads and vegetables of all descriptions. Chefs hovered nearby, grilling steaks and slicing standing rib roasts.
I was overwhelmed. "The buffet alone is worth that hundred and twenty dollars!"
"Nothing but the best for the beautiful people!" said Victoria.
As we were being shown to our table, we passed model/actress Christina Ferrare and her Greek billionaire husband, Tony Thomopoulos. "Hi," he said, "How are ya?" Christina smiled and nodded.
Victoria and I looked at each other. "They act like we're one of them," she said.

In a corner, I spotted Frank Loggia, who played the mafia boss in Scarface. He was obviously being interviewed; the man with him was taking notes. I considered stopping by and telling him how great his performance was in Scarface, but I didn't want to appear to be a star-struck fan (even if I was; the man was very sexy!).
The band was cranking up as we finished eating, so we moved to a table near the dance floor. Christina and Tony were nearby; her plate was piled high and she was eating with great gusto. "Honey, bring me another plate!" she called as he headed to the buffet.
There was a big crowd at the next table, one of whom was a tall, slim man in a tuxedo. He seemed familiar, and when I looked closer I realized the man was Lyle Waggoner from the old Carol Burnett show. He looked at me and grinned. I smiled back, just being friendly, when all of a sudden he began moving his eyebrows up and down, his grin becoming lavicious.
Oh, my god, Brenda, he's trying to flirt with you!" Victoria said, "With his wife right there!"
Victoria was soon having problems of her own. A David Niven look-alike and his beautiful young date had joined us at our table. He pulled his chair closer to Victoria, staring at her with goo-goo eyes.
His young companion scowled and turned to me. "I've just about had it with him," she said, fondling a diamond necklace lying between a pair of the largest silicone breasts I had ever seen, "He does this every time we go out!"
The band began playing Bob Seger's Old Time Rock & Roll, and beautiful people from all over the room jumped up and headed to the dance floor. William Shatner and his wife were already there, she swaying like a graceful swan, he standing at attention, a surprised look on his face.
Across the room, I watched Patrick Duffy and his wife leave, his hand at her elbow; Tony Thomopoulos was heading toward the door, motioning to Christina, who was still eating like a starving trucker. She grabbed a couple of shrimp and stuffed them into her mouth before catching up with her husband. Lyle Waggoner, his back to his wife, sat staring off into space, as was Miss America, who was sitting all alone. Frank Loggia had apparently left the premises.
"Brenda!" Victoria said, stifling a laugh, "Look at William Shatner!"
He was pressing his body to his wife's, pelvis moving up and down, from side to side. He let go of her and backed up, gyrating and spinning, dropping to his knees, ending up flat on his back, feet in the air, body rolling back and forth. His wife began clapping and dancing around him as he lay on the floor, the beautiful people joining in, clapping and swaying, moving backward to give him more room as he kicked and kicked and rolled around and around.


Suzanne said...

GREAT post! Still not sure we're at the end of your brushes with fame (fortunately :) Frank Loggia's Scarface philosphy for drug dealers: "Lesson #1 Never underestimate the other guy's greed; Lesson #2 Don't get high on your own supply"

Rhonda Hartis Smith said...

Love your story Brenda. I loved the big padded shoulders--hope I'm still alive when they're in style again (LOL).

Sahara said...

lol! Thanks Brenda!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Fabulous story Brenda! I would have been more star struck by the food that was at the party. :-)
Was this the same Shatner wife who drowned in their swimming pool? That was sad.

Brenda said...

Thanks, y'all!

Pat: Yes, she's the wife who died in their swimming pool. Very sad.

All words and pictures © 2008 Brenda G. Wooley