Leturgey Musings and Goings On

These are some of my writings...from events going on in the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance and elsewhere, to observations from the rest of my decidely unformulaic life.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Caveat To Myself In 1976: Meeting Lindsay Wagner

A Caveat To Myself In 1977: Meeting Lindsay Wagner

When I was a young lad, my life revolved around The Six Million Dollar Man (the original Steve Austin), The Incredible Hulk, and a litany of "Bigfoot" documentaries that were seemingly released every summer. Add to that Superman, Spiderman, and Andre the Giant. For that I believe I was a fairly average pre-teen.
Then in 1976, Deirdra Hall was ElectraWoman and Lindsay Wagner was The Bionic Woman. While my life would still revolve around those other interests until this very, so would--well--an athletic member of the fairer gender.
I was able to finally meet Lou Ferrigno at the Steel City Con a few years ago and would still love to meet Lee Majors. Sadly, Andre has been wrestling in heaven for quite a while now. But not long ago I opened my email to see that Lindsay Wagner was coming to the Steel City Con, which is now held in Monroeville.
Now I'm not really an "autograph" kinda guy. I will get a book autographed at a signing if I feel compelled, but my signed Styrofoam plate (from George Plimpton) and tattered 1989 California Times newspaper (from Adam West) are long gone. I couldn't tell you where my Dusty Rhodes or John Waters Polaroids are, and I pass on Virgil's scribbles every time I see him.
My favorite autograph story isn't even for me. My Step Dad Bob idolized Baltimore Orioles Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson (it probably started because they share the same surname) and I had the opportunity to get the Third Baseman's signature about 16 years ago on a brand new baseball. I still remember watching Bob's face when he looked at the prize that read: "To Bob, Keep Swinging. Brooks Robinson."
However, I do enjoy meeting various celebs and Lindsay harkened back to my 9-year-old self. So I made the sojourn to the concrete mess that is Monroeville.
The parking lot at the Monroeville Convention Center was full but I somehow lucked into a prime spot. A guy was screaming at a car that was pulling out of the spot because the driver apparently didn't see him. In an over-exaggerated huff, the guy immediately walked right in front of my rental. I had to laugh.
Once inside people in Star Wars robes wandered through table upon table of niche memorabilia. There were even some folks who had tables straight out of a flea market. My kind of place. There was only one appropriately-clad girl dressed as a superhero. The tall 50-something guy quickly snapped a photo from her behind. I told him he was the smartest guy in the room. He laughed.
Former WWE Diva Torrie Wilson was the first celebrity I noticed along the wall of B-and-C talent. The teacher from "Saved by the Bell" and the afro-ed neighbor on "That 70's Show" were inking photos and had a good time. Later, everyone would ask how Torrie looked, as if the one-time fitness and beauty contestant winner would have devolved into something heinous at 36. While there weren't air-brush artists in Monroeville, Wilson remains staggering in her beauty. Plus as I watched (I wasn't going to pay $40 just to say hello), she appeared to be friendly and jovial with everyone who approached. At one point we made eye contact. She wasn't repulsed. I felt good about myself. lol
Then I saw Wagner. Prior research would reveal that she is now 62 and she looks age appropriate. The brownish-blond hair is now blond and--shall I expose--gray? She signed autographs and took pictures for a small fee. According to press material, she doesn't do many of these and her appearance was made in part because two guys paid the tab. There was a small line and I debated with myself whether I should part with the stipend to get a picture. My cell phone doesn't take the most awesome pictures, especially when someone besides me is pointing the silly lens.
I decided to walk around some more. When I returned a short time later, at noon, her seat was empty. Presumably even the Bionic Woman needs to grab a quick bite. Close by, Bob Pinciotti continued to sign away.
Meanwhile, a few rows over, no one stopped to talk with Virgil.
When Lindsay returned and after I took a picture of someone dressed as Chewbacca, I decided to give it a go. I'm often weary that a celebrity might be a dink in real life, plus I feel that plunking down picture money is superfluous so I am always antsy about it.
Then I thought of my 1976 counterpart, who idolized the tall, powerful girl with flowing locks.
I introduced myself and asked how her visit to Pittsburgh was. In a voice that I've always found unique and memorable, she said she was having a good time. I also told her I recently watched a "Bionic Woman" YouTube video of her and Pittsburgh-native Ted Cassidy as Bigfoot. She chuckled. Believe you me, I'm not the first to remind her of that cinematic gold.
Not as tall as I originally surmised, whisper-thin and wearing open-toed sandals and a white sun dress that easily reflects her current life as a "Quiet The Mind and Open The Heart" workshop hostess, she seems 100 years passed The Bionic Woman. She removes her dark-rimmed glasses for every picture (I should have told her to keep them on), and smiles politely. I placed my left hand on her shoulder, her right hand wrapped around my back. Like Wilson, she didn't recoil in horror.
Then my phone started acting up. The assistant who assisted with such things couldn't figure out my camera. She was patient as we tried again. I was embarrassed. I should have done the Charles Nelson Reilly collar tug.
I asked if she'd ever been in Pittsburgh before. She said "maybe for the Paper Chase, but I'm not sure." That 1973 film pre-dated the TV series and it was also produced before she ever flipped her hair back to expose that bionic ear. I don't think it was filmed here, so perhaps she did some publicity.
The picture was finally taken after a couple of awkward moments and I parted with another query (heck, I was going to take as much time as I could and I was, at least momentarily, the last person in line and I did pry open my wallet). "Where you ever asked to be a part of the re-booted "Bionic Woman" that laid a huge egg on NBC a couple of seasons ago now. "No," was her answer. "They didn't want anything at all from the previous show." She seemed disappointed. I know I was. It's impossible to think that the "new" Jaime Sommers couldn't walk into a room and see Lindsay Wagner in some role, sitting in a chair. You wonder why the "geniuses" in Hollywood can't see what their market wants.
That was it. She sat back down and greeted a new fan, who sauntered her way over. And that was it for me at Steel City Con. It was time to get back to Keystone State Wrestling Alliance business. It was a Saturday in July for Andre's sake.



Post a Comment

<< Home