Monday, September 13, 2010

Been There, Done That: Mr. T

Last week I wrote about my unfavorable encounter with Bill Cosby. At least two of those who commented told about their own negative experiences with Mr. T. Since I too had a brief encounter with Mr. T, I thought I’d write about him this week.

As you may know, Mr. T hails from Chicago, Illinois, and that is where I had my first not-so-close encounter with the supposed tough guy actor who made his fame on the 1980s television series, The A-Team.

Because of all my adventures along the Osmond trail, I happened to be hanging out with Anita Lang when the entire Osmond family was performing in Chicago. Alan had decided he wanted to have Mr. T as part of the talent for an upcoming 4th of July at the Stadium of Fire in Provo, Utah.

However, Mr. T was having any of it, so Alan came up with a great idea. “Let’s give him some tickets to the concert tonight. Once he sees our show, maybe he will feel better about talking to me and we can get him to buy in to coming to Utah to perform.”

Before we knew what was happening, Anita had an envelope with complementary tickets to the Osmond show to be held that night at the Rosemont Theater, and we were on our way for a double-header assignment downtown (I’ll tell about the other part on Wednesday’s blog)

Mr. T and his people knew we were coming, and once our first errand was done, we headed toward his penthouse apartment, ready to deliver his tickets and the message inside from Alan Osmond. We had been given specific instructions to deliver the envelope directly into the hands of Mr. T.

There was only one problem, something we found out from his personal assistant who answered the door for us. Mr. T would no come to the door because Mr. T is afraid of people.

What? That’s what the man told us. Legendary tough-guy, Mr. T was afraid of two young women and groups of people in general. How would he ever make it coming to a concert? And Stadium of Fire? Fifty-thousand people would obviously be more than he could stand.

With no other choice but to leave the tickets with his assistant, Anita and I hurried back to the Rosemont, ready to deliver the news. Would Mr. T come? What would he do if anyone recognized him? What would Alan do if he didn’t?

A few hours later, Anita was backstage with Marie. I was comfortable in my seat down near the stage, and the opening music for the show had just begun. The lights flashed around the theater, a drum roll, and Donny and Marie were on-stage. The show had begun, with a no show for the seats reserved for Mr. T.

But wait, a few minutes later something in the balcony caught my attention and I glanced up. There he was—Mr. T—along with a bodyguard, moving along the back row of seats clear up in the balcony. Then he disappeared for a minute. When I saw him again, I realized he had slipped into the glass-encased sound booth. All the better to protect him from the possibility of meeting an adoring fan.

The show went on. Donny and Marie performed. Alan and the Osmond Brothers, too. Somehow during the show, Alan got a minute of time to speak to the elusive star and arrangements were made. Mr. T would come to perform at Stadium of Fire, but somehow they would need to keep all the people away.

I don’t know how they did it, but it seemed when he came to Provo, Mr. T got exactly what he wanted. As I recall, he was even distant with the Osmond Boys, and they shared the stage!

So, the next time you see a tough guy or think a celebrity is just not very nice, maybe you can think about Mr. T and realize, maybe, in reality, that person is more afraid of you than rude. After all, giving him the benefit of the doubt is at least worth a try.

1 comment:

Annette Lyon said...

I think this is one of my favorite celebrity stories--it shows how no matter how famous someone is, they're still PEOPLE with fears and insecurities.

Never in a million years would have guessed this of Mr. T!