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Historical Meet-Ups

Unlikely encounters between famous people

Suggestions? Corrections? historicalmeetups@yahoo.com
May 16 '12
Feb 12 '12
Jerry GarciaAquarian rocker
meets
Strom ThurmondNonagenarian senator
Not since Elvis visited Richard Nixon at the White House had Washington D.C. rocked quite so hard as on July 18, 1994, when Vermont senator and Grateful Dead superfan Patrick Leahy introduced his 91-year-old colleague Strom Thurmond to the psychedelic jam band’s hirsute frontman, Jerry Garcia. 
Two days prior, Leahy and his wife Marcelle had attended a Dead concert at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium. As one of the D.C. establishment’s most prominent Deadheads, Leahy got to sit on stage with the band as it plowed through chestnuts like “Loose Lucy,” “Crazy Fingers,” and “One More Saturday Night.” After the show, a blissed-out Leahy approached Garcia and invited him and the band to join him for lunch on Capitol Hill that coming Monday. “Great idea!” Garcia enthused, although he balked at having to wear a tie for the occasion.
On Monday, Dead mainstays Garcia, guitarist Bob Weir, bass player Phil Lesh, and drummer Mickey Hart gathered around a large round lunch table in the Senate Dining Room. Joining them were Leahy, Senator Barbara Boxer of California, and actor Woody Harrelson, a friend of the band. The unusual assemblage quickly attracted a crowd of gawkers. “Senate staff members don’t always recognize foreign dignitaries, but they certainly recognized the Dead,” noted Joe Jamele, Leahy’s press secretary. Senator David Pryor of Arkansas dropped by to shake hands with Garcia. But it was the unexpected apparition of Thurmond, the one-time bastion of segregation, that would have tongues clucking all over the nation’s capital. “Strom must’ve thought we were a death cult or something,” Hart later remembered. “’Grateful Dead’ wasn’t on the tip of his tongue.” Neither was Garcia’s name, apparently. The ancient South Carolinian sidled up to the “Uncle John’s Band” composer and greeted him in grandiose Dixie style.
“I understand you’re the leadah of this heah organization!” Thurmond bellowed, while Leahy looked on and cackled maniacally. That’s depending on whose account you believe. Others reported the salutation as “Boy, I understand you’re a rock star!” 
According to Leahy’s own recollection of the encounter, which he related to an interviewer in 2007, Thurmond then repeatedly buffeted Garcia about the shoulders with good-natured blows while regaling him with boasts about his institutional longevity.
“I’m the oldest member of the United States Senate, you hear me, boy?” Thurmond bragged. “Now when you go back to Texas—”
“California, sir,” Garcia interrupted.
“Wherever!” Thurmond thundered. “When you git home, you tell ‘em you met the oldest member of the United States Senate, you hear me, boy! Because they’ll want to know that, see? Oldest member of the U.S. Senate, see? You git me, boy?”
After what seemed like an eternity, Thurmond at last let go of Garcia’s person long enough for the stunned rock god to recover.
“Jerry! Do you know who that was?” Hart asked.
 “Oh yeah, I do,” Garcia replied. After a pause, he summed up the encounter with Thurmond: “You know, I never had an experience anywhere like that, even when I used to drop acid.”

Jerry Garcia
Aquarian rocker

meets

Strom Thurmond
Nonagenarian senator

Not since Elvis visited Richard Nixon at the White House had Washington D.C. rocked quite so hard as on July 18, 1994, when Vermont senator and Grateful Dead superfan Patrick Leahy introduced his 91-year-old colleague Strom Thurmond to the psychedelic jam band’s hirsute frontman, Jerry Garcia. 

Two days prior, Leahy and his wife Marcelle had attended a Dead concert at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium. As one of the D.C. establishment’s most prominent Deadheads, Leahy got to sit on stage with the band as it plowed through chestnuts like “Loose Lucy,” “Crazy Fingers,” and “One More Saturday Night.” After the show, a blissed-out Leahy approached Garcia and invited him and the band to join him for lunch on Capitol Hill that coming Monday. “Great idea!” Garcia enthused, although he balked at having to wear a tie for the occasion.

On Monday, Dead mainstays Garcia, guitarist Bob Weir, bass player Phil Lesh, and drummer Mickey Hart gathered around a large round lunch table in the Senate Dining Room. Joining them were Leahy, Senator Barbara Boxer of California, and actor Woody Harrelson, a friend of the band. The unusual assemblage quickly attracted a crowd of gawkers. “Senate staff members don’t always recognize foreign dignitaries, but they certainly recognized the Dead,” noted Joe Jamele, Leahy’s press secretary. Senator David Pryor of Arkansas dropped by to shake hands with Garcia. But it was the unexpected apparition of Thurmond, the one-time bastion of segregation, that would have tongues clucking all over the nation’s capital. “Strom must’ve thought we were a death cult or something,” Hart later remembered. “’Grateful Dead’ wasn’t on the tip of his tongue.” Neither was Garcia’s name, apparently. The ancient South Carolinian sidled up to the “Uncle John’s Band” composer and greeted him in grandiose Dixie style.

“I understand you’re the leadah of this heah organization!” Thurmond bellowed, while Leahy looked on and cackled maniacally. That’s depending on whose account you believe. Others reported the salutation as “Boy, I understand you’re a rock star!”

According to Leahy’s own recollection of the encounter, which he related to an interviewer in 2007, Thurmond then repeatedly buffeted Garcia about the shoulders with good-natured blows while regaling him with boasts about his institutional longevity.

“I’m the oldest member of the United States Senate, you hear me, boy?” Thurmond bragged. “Now when you go back to Texas—”

“California, sir,” Garcia interrupted.

“Wherever!” Thurmond thundered. “When you git home, you tell ‘em you met the oldest member of the United States Senate, you hear me, boy! Because they’ll want to know that, see? Oldest member of the U.S. Senate, see? You git me, boy?”

After what seemed like an eternity, Thurmond at last let go of Garcia’s person long enough for the stunned rock god to recover.

“Jerry! Do you know who that was?” Hart asked.

 “Oh yeah, I do,” Garcia replied. After a pause, he summed up the encounter with Thurmond: “You know, I never had an experience anywhere like that, even when I used to drop acid.”

Jan 30 '12
Lana Turner Sultry big-screen siren
 meets
Joseph A. WapnerCranky small-screen jurist
The dyspeptic presiding officer of The People’s Court, Joseph Wapner, didn’t always want to be a judge. As a student at Hollywood High in the 1930’s, he dreamed of becoming an actor. Then one of his theater teachers told him he had no talent. Jettisoned from the senior play, Wapner put aside his dreams of stardom and pursued a legal career instead. 
Long before he started arbitrating picayune disputes on television, however, Wapner did get a taste of Old Hollywood glamor in the form of two dates with a young classmate named Julia “Judy” Turner—better known to the world as Lana. In true Hollywood fashion, the two “met cute.” Wapner was knocking about the school library with one of his buddies one Friday afternoon when the beautiful sixteen-year-old Turner—the future star of such classics as The Bad and the Beautiful and The Postman Always Rings Twice—walked in. Immediately appraising her as “the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen,” Wapner was too timid to ask her out himself, so his wingman handled the approach.  
“That’s Joe Wapner over there and he’d like to meet you,” the friend told Turner, using a line that one imagines became a pick-up staple for the curmudgeonly TV judge in decades to come.
 “My name is Judy Turner,” replied the aspiring starlet. And with that, a flimsy urban legend that the pair had once been “lovers” was born.
In truth, Wapner and Turner would go on only two dates. They reconnected again a few days later, when Turner blew off a gaggle of leering schoolboys to renew her acquaintance with Wapner. He asked her out, and when class let out that afternoon, they headed across the street to the Top Hat Café on Sunset Boulevard—the same café where Turner would be discovered by a Hollywood talent scout just a few months later. They drank some Cokes and got to know each other, but when the bill came Wapner found himself strapped for cash. Turner was forced to pick up the tab. The following Saturday, she gave him another chance, agreeing to a double date at a school dance. But their love was not to be and Turner—perhaps still stung by the café check debacle—pulled the plug on their budding romance.
“She dropped me,” Wapner later told the New Yorker. They never saw each other again.

Lana Turner
Sultry big-screen siren

 meets

Joseph A. Wapner
Cranky small-screen jurist

The dyspeptic presiding officer of The People’s Court, Joseph Wapner, didn’t always want to be a judge. As a student at Hollywood High in the 1930’s, he dreamed of becoming an actor. Then one of his theater teachers told him he had no talent. Jettisoned from the senior play, Wapner put aside his dreams of stardom and pursued a legal career instead.

Long before he started arbitrating picayune disputes on television, however, Wapner did get a taste of Old Hollywood glamor in the form of two dates with a young classmate named Julia “Judy” Turner—better known to the world as Lana. In true Hollywood fashion, the two “met cute.” Wapner was knocking about the school library with one of his buddies one Friday afternoon when the beautiful sixteen-year-old Turner—the future star of such classics as The Bad and the Beautiful and The Postman Always Rings Twice—walked in. Immediately appraising her as “the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen,” Wapner was too timid to ask her out himself, so his wingman handled the approach.  

“That’s Joe Wapner over there and he’d like to meet you,” the friend told Turner, using a line that one imagines became a pick-up staple for the curmudgeonly TV judge in decades to come.

 “My name is Judy Turner,” replied the aspiring starlet. And with that, a flimsy urban legend that the pair had once been “lovers” was born.

In truth, Wapner and Turner would go on only two dates. They reconnected again a few days later, when Turner blew off a gaggle of leering schoolboys to renew her acquaintance with Wapner. He asked her out, and when class let out that afternoon, they headed across the street to the Top Hat Café on Sunset Boulevard—the same café where Turner would be discovered by a Hollywood talent scout just a few months later. They drank some Cokes and got to know each other, but when the bill came Wapner found himself strapped for cash. Turner was forced to pick up the tab. The following Saturday, she gave him another chance, agreeing to a double date at a school dance. But their love was not to be and Turner—perhaps still stung by the café check debacle—pulled the plug on their budding romance.

“She dropped me,” Wapner later told the New Yorker. They never saw each other again.

Jan 25 '12
 
Raymond ChandlerCreator of Philip Marlowe
meets 
Dashiell HammettCreator of Sam Spade
On January 11, 1936, a banquet was held in Los Angeles for writers connected with Black Mask, a pulp crime magazine specializing in hard-boiled detective fiction. It was the first-ever west coast gathering for the group, whose leading lights Hammett and Chandler were the acknowledged masters of the genre. Oddly enough, although they both lived and worked in Hollywood at the time, Chandler and Hammett had never met before that night. By all accounts, they never met again. Joining them for the festivities were authors Raymond Jae Moffatt, Herbert Stinson, Dwight Babcock, Eric Taylor, Arthur Barnes, John K. Butler, Todhunter Ballard, Norbert Davis, and Horace McCoy. After dinner, a group photograph was taken, which the ten writers then signed and had mounted on the linen tablecloth for presentation to Captain Joseph T. Shaw, the longtime editor of Black Mask. The original is currently housed with Shaw’s personal papers at the UCLA Library.Judging from the photograph, Chandler and Hammett don’t appear to have bonded over the turtle soup, Veal Prince Orloff, and sand dabs that in all likelihood were served. They stand on opposite sides of the grouping, sullen and unsmiling. The pipe-puffing Chandler glowers at nothing in particular, looking every inch the “volcanically tortured snob” a biographer once dubbed him. A haggard-looking Hammett appears to be trying to keep himself upright long enough for the picture to be snapped. No one knows whether the two mean talked, or what they thought of each other. Writing to a friend years after the encounter, Chandler did speak fondly of Hammett’s distinguished mien. “Very nice-looking, tall, quiet, gray-haired,” he remarked. “Seemed quite unspoiled to me.” Unspoiled, or perhaps just pickled. Chandler also recalled that The Maltese Falcon author possessed a “fearful capacity for Scotch.”

Raymond Chandler
Creator of Philip Marlowe

meets
 
Dashiell Hammett
Creator of Sam Spade
On January 11, 1936, a banquet was held in Los Angeles for writers connected with Black Mask, a pulp crime magazine specializing in hard-boiled detective fiction. It was the first-ever west coast gathering for the group, whose leading lights Hammett and Chandler were the acknowledged masters of the genre. Oddly enough, although they both lived and worked in Hollywood at the time, Chandler and Hammett had never met before that night. By all accounts, they never met again. 

Joining them for the festivities were authors Raymond Jae Moffatt, Herbert Stinson, Dwight Babcock, Eric Taylor, Arthur Barnes, John K. Butler, Todhunter Ballard, Norbert Davis, and Horace McCoy. After dinner, a group photograph was taken, which the ten writers then signed and had mounted on the linen tablecloth for presentation to Captain Joseph T. Shaw, the longtime editor of Black Mask. The original is currently housed with Shaw’s personal papers at the UCLA Library.

Judging from the photograph, Chandler and Hammett don’t appear to have bonded over the turtle soup, Veal Prince Orloff, and sand dabs that in all likelihood were served. They stand on opposite sides of the grouping, sullen and unsmiling. The pipe-puffing Chandler glowers at nothing in particular, looking every inch the “volcanically tortured snob” a biographer once dubbed him. A haggard-looking Hammett appears to be trying to keep himself upright long enough for the picture to be snapped. 

No one knows whether the two mean talked, or what they thought of each other. Writing to a friend years after the encounter, Chandler did speak fondly of Hammett’s distinguished mien. “Very nice-looking, tall, quiet, gray-haired,” he remarked. “Seemed quite unspoiled to me.” Unspoiled, or perhaps just pickled. Chandler also recalled that The Maltese Falcon author possessed a “fearful capacity for Scotch.”
Jan 17 '12
Shaquille O’Neal Freakishly tall rim rocker
meetsMarilyn Manson Freakishly pale shock rockerOn Saturday, January 6, 1996, a massive blizzard struck the east coast of the United States, stranding airline travelers up and down the Atlantic seaboard. Among those rerouted were Shaquille O’Neal, Penny Hardaway, and the other members of the NBA’s Orlando Magic, who were en route to a game in Philadelphia but instead found themselves marooned in a hotel in Allentown, Pennsylvania for the duration of the weekend. As fate would have it, fright-wigged industrial rock frontman Marilyn Manson and his eponymous band were stuck in the same hotel, having wrapped up a gig in an Allentown club just hours before the storm hit. Also stranded were a Polish wedding party, NFL Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas’ niece, and the traveling cast of Sesame Street Live. The entire motley assemblage soon convened in the hotel sports bar, Trophies—a scene that O’Neal’s backup Jon Koncak likened to the cantina sequence in Star Wars. “It was the Twilight Zone, man,” marveled Koncak, who somehow mistook Manson and his crew for the much more interesting band Nine Inch Nails. “A bunch of basketball players, Sesame Street, and some guy with green hair dressed like the grim reaper, chain-smoking. You needed a video camera to believe it. I’m still trying to deal with it.” Not everyone was quite so captivated. “I’m pretty sure this is Hell,” Magic assistant coach Richie Adubato declared of the sojourn, upon sighting one of the Goth-attired Manson bandmates in a hotel hallway. While his Magic teammates whiled away the hours eating cheeseburgers, playing darts, and shooting pool, the 7’2” O’Neal quickly became the life of the party, signing autographs for a steady parade of local gawkers and astonished hotel guests. At one point, egged on by the Sesame Street Live cast, Shaq began singing the show’s theme song over and over again. Only the wintry weather seemed to harsh Shaq’s mellow. “The people are nice,” he remarked of Pennsylvania’s industrial heartland. “But I’m a tropical black man.”Of all the bonds he forged that weekend, however, none was more meaningful than the one he shared with Marilyn Manson. “He was a nice guy,” the budding NBA superstar later recalled, and surprisingly “normal” in polite conversation. While the details of their colloquy weren’t revealed, O’Neal did promise to tell all one day in the form of a book-length reminiscence entitled Trapped in Allentown. Manson has never spoken publicly about the encounter, which took place just nine months before the release of the band’s breakthrough album Antichrist Superstar. But he evidently had a premonition of future success. When it came time to part company, Manson sidled up to Shaq with a prescient exhortation. “Remember my name,” he told The Diesel. “I’m gonna be famous.”

Shaquille O’Neal
Freakishly tall rim rocker

meets

Marilyn Manson
Freakishly pale shock rocker

On Saturday, January 6, 1996, a massive blizzard struck the east coast of the United States, stranding airline travelers up and down the Atlantic seaboard. Among those rerouted were Shaquille O’Neal, Penny Hardaway, and the other members of the NBA’s Orlando Magic, who were en route to a game in Philadelphia but instead found themselves marooned in a hotel in Allentown, Pennsylvania for the duration of the weekend. As fate would have it, fright-wigged industrial rock frontman Marilyn Manson and his eponymous band were stuck in the same hotel, having wrapped up a gig in an Allentown club just hours before the storm hit. Also stranded were a Polish wedding party, NFL Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas’ niece, and the traveling cast of Sesame Street Live. The entire motley assemblage soon convened in the hotel sports bar, Trophies—a scene that O’Neal’s backup Jon Koncak likened to the cantina sequence in Star Wars. “It was the Twilight Zone, man,” marveled Koncak, who somehow mistook Manson and his crew for the much more interesting band Nine Inch Nails. “A bunch of basketball players, Sesame Street, and some guy with green hair dressed like the grim reaper, chain-smoking. You needed a video camera to believe it. I’m still trying to deal with it.” Not everyone was quite so captivated. “I’m pretty sure this is Hell,” Magic assistant coach Richie Adubato declared of the sojourn, upon sighting one of the Goth-attired Manson bandmates in a hotel hallway. While his Magic teammates whiled away the hours eating cheeseburgers, playing darts, and shooting pool, the 7’2” O’Neal quickly became the life of the party, signing autographs for a steady parade of local gawkers and astonished hotel guests. At one point, egged on by the Sesame Street Live cast, Shaq began singing the show’s theme song over and over again. Only the wintry weather seemed to harsh Shaq’s mellow. “The people are nice,” he remarked of Pennsylvania’s industrial heartland. “But I’m a tropical black man.”

Of all the bonds he forged that weekend, however, none was more meaningful than the one he shared with Marilyn Manson. “He was a nice guy,” the budding NBA superstar later recalled, and surprisingly “normal” in polite conversation. While the details of their colloquy weren’t revealed, O’Neal did promise to tell all one day in the form of a book-length reminiscence entitled Trapped in Allentown. Manson has never spoken publicly about the encounter, which took place just nine months before the release of the band’s breakthrough album Antichrist Superstar. But he evidently had a premonition of future success. When it came time to part company, Manson sidled up to Shaq with a prescient exhortation. “Remember my name,” he told The Diesel. “I’m gonna be famous.”


Feb 6 '11
William BennettConservative icon, U.S. drug czar
meets
Janis JoplinHippie icon, U.S. drug casualty
It was the summer of love, 1967. Bill Bennett was a swingin’, Vietnam War-protesting graduate student in philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin—a far cry from the moralizing Reagan Administration Secretary of Education he would become. Known to his frat brothers as “Ram” (after a legendary incident in which he battered down a locked door with his head to get at an angry girlfriend), the future author of The Book of Virtues played electric guitar in a garage band called Plato and the Guardians. It was that outlaw rock ‘n’ roll rep that convinced mutual friends to set him up on a blind date with an up-and-coming blues wailer from Port Arthur, Texas named Janis Joplin. After enjoying some barbecue, the pair spent the rest of their evening together staring up at the Texas sky, talking, and drinking beer. Alas, the couple lacked a certain chemistry. Afterwards, Bennett’s brother Bob asked him how it went. “Let me put it this way,” Bennett replied. “We were both disappointed.” In subsequent interviews, Bill Bennett was even more dismissive of his brush with rock royalty. “That date lasted two hours, and I’ve spent 200 hours talking about it,” he groused. 

William Bennett
Conservative icon, U.S. drug czar

meets

Janis Joplin
Hippie icon, U.S. drug casualty

It was the summer of love, 1967. Bill Bennett was a swingin’, Vietnam War-protesting graduate student in philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin—a far cry from the moralizing Reagan Administration Secretary of Education he would become. Known to his frat brothers as “Ram” (after a legendary incident in which he battered down a locked door with his head to get at an angry girlfriend), the future author of The Book of Virtues played electric guitar in a garage band called Plato and the Guardians. It was that outlaw rock ‘n’ roll rep that convinced mutual friends to set him up on a blind date with an up-and-coming blues wailer from Port Arthur, Texas named Janis Joplin. After enjoying some barbecue, the pair spent the rest of their evening together staring up at the Texas sky, talking, and drinking beer. Alas, the couple lacked a certain chemistry. Afterwards, Bennett’s brother Bob asked him how it went. “Let me put it this way,” Bennett replied. “We were both disappointed.” In subsequent interviews, Bill Bennett was even more dismissive of his brush with rock royalty. “That date lasted two hours, and I’ve spent 200 hours talking about it,” he groused. 

Jan 28 '11
Rosalynn Carter Demure First Lady
meets 
John Wayne Gacy Deranged serial killer
History remembers John Wayne Gacy as the demented “Killer Clown” who lured 33 young men and boys to their deaths, burying many of them in a crawlspace underneath his Chicago home. He was executed for his crimes in 1994. Prior to his arrest, however, John Wayne Gacy was known as a beloved children’s party entertainer, respected businessman, three-time Jaycee Man of the Year, and Democratic Party precinct captain. It was in this latter capacity that he finagled a meeting with First Lady Rosalynn Carter on May 6, 1978. The First Lady was in Chicago attending the Polish Constitution Day Parade, an annual event celebrating the advent of democratic government in Poland. Gacy was serving as its director for the third straight year. Just two months earlier, a 27-year-old man had complained to police that Gacy had invited him into his car to smoke pot, chloroformed him senseless, raped and tortured him repeatedly. No charges were filed due to lack of evidence. Nevertheless, Gacy, wearing an “S” lapel pin—indicating he had been vetted by the Secret Service and was cleared to interact with the First Lady—made his way to the reviewing stand for the traditional VIP “grip-and-grin” photo op. Mrs. Carter was even kind enough to sign the photo for him: To John GacyBest WishesRosalynn Carter Gacy later proudly displayed the photograph on the wall of his home, where it was discovered by police searching the premises for corpses. At the time of the Carter assignation, Gacy already had several bodies interred beneath his house. In a surreal coda, Gacy’s attorneys later included the First Lady on a list of character witnesses at his 1980 trial. To the immense relief of the beleaguered Carter White House, she was never called to testify.

Rosalynn Carter
Demure First Lady

meets

John Wayne Gacy
Deranged serial killer

History remembers John Wayne Gacy as the demented “Killer Clown” who lured 33 young men and boys to their deaths, burying many of them in a crawlspace underneath his Chicago home. He was executed for his crimes in 1994.
 
Prior to his arrest, however, John Wayne Gacy was known as a beloved children’s party entertainer, respected businessman, three-time Jaycee Man of the Year, and Democratic Party precinct captain. It was in this latter capacity that he finagled a meeting with First Lady Rosalynn Carter on May 6, 1978.
 
The First Lady was in Chicago attending the Polish Constitution Day Parade, an annual event celebrating the advent of democratic government in Poland. Gacy was serving as its director for the third straight year. Just two months earlier, a 27-year-old man had complained to police that Gacy had invited him into his car to smoke pot, chloroformed him senseless, raped and tortured him repeatedly. No charges were filed due to lack of evidence. Nevertheless, Gacy, wearing an “S” lapel pin—indicating he had been vetted by the Secret Service and was cleared to interact with the First Lady—made his way to the reviewing stand for the traditional VIP “grip-and-grin” photo op.
 
Mrs. Carter was even kind enough to sign the photo for him:
 
To John Gacy
Best Wishes
Rosalynn Carter
 
Gacy later proudly displayed the photograph on the wall of his home, where it was discovered by police searching the premises for corpses. At the time of the Carter assignation, Gacy already had several bodies interred beneath his house. In a surreal coda, Gacy’s attorneys later included the First Lady on a list of character witnesses at his 1980 trial. To the immense relief of the beleaguered Carter White House, she was never called to testify.


Jan 25 '11
Albert EinsteinReluctant father of the atomic age
meets
Wavy GravyUnofficial president of Woodstock Nation 
Born Hugh Nanton Romney, the tie-dyed jackanapes who would rechristen himself Wavy Gravy (at the suggestion of B.B. King, of all people) spent his formative years in Princeton, New Jersey. There one of his neighbors was an eccentric professor at the Institute for Advanced Study named Albert Einstein. Five-year-old Hugh was playing in the yard one day when the 62-year-old Einstein asked the boy’s mother if he could take him for a walk around the block. It soon became a daily ritual. Together they would head out in the early mornings for a fortifying constitutional around their leafy suburban neighborhood. If there was conversation, it has vanished into the mists of memory. Einstein¹s distinctive odor, on the other hand, left more of an impression. “He had a peculiar smell,” Gravy recalled years later. “I can¹t wait for the day when I can tell someone, ‘Hey, you smell like Albert Einstein.’”

Albert Einstein
Reluctant father of the atomic age

meets

Wavy Gravy
Unofficial president of Woodstock Nation 

Born Hugh Nanton Romney, the tie-dyed jackanapes who would rechristen himself Wavy Gravy (at the suggestion of B.B. King, of all people) spent his formative years in Princeton, New Jersey. There one of his neighbors was an eccentric professor at the Institute for Advanced Study named Albert Einstein. Five-year-old Hugh was playing in the yard one day when the 62-year-old Einstein asked the boy’s mother if he could take him for a walk around the block. It soon became a daily ritual. Together they would head out in the early mornings for a fortifying constitutional around their leafy suburban neighborhood. If there was conversation, it has vanished into the mists of memory. Einstein¹s distinctive odor, on the other hand, left more of an impression. “He had a peculiar smell,” Gravy recalled years later. “I can¹t wait for the day when I can tell someone, ‘Hey, you smell like Albert Einstein.’”

Dec 7 '10
John LennonEx-Beatle and erstwhile 1960s icon
meets
Ronald ReaganEx-actor and future 1980s icon
The outgoing former Mop Top met the outgoing California governor on December 9, 1974 during halftime of a Monday Night Football game between the Washington Redskins and the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Lennon was in town to promote his recently released album, Walls and Bridges, while Reagan was about to turn over the keys to the mansion to Governor-elect Jerry Brown after eight years in Sacramento. Play-by-play man Frank Gifford invited Reagan—an old friend from his movie days—to drop by the Monday Night Football booth, and was pleasantly surprised when Lennon accepted an invitation for the same night. Both men were slated for halftime interviews. “Gifford, you take the governor and I’ll take the Beatle,” acerbic commentator Howard Cosell informed Gifford shortly before the end of the second quarter. While the two guests waited to go on the air, Reagan put an arm around Lennon and attempted to explain the rules of American football. Lennon must have been a quick study, because in the ensuing on-air exchange with Cosell he showed a keen grasp of the differences between the U.S. game and English rugby. The evening’s only loser—besides the Rams, who were throttled by the Redskins 23-17—was color commentator Alex Karras, who complained to Cosell that he had been pushed out of the booth and into the men’s room to make room for Lennon and Reagan. Eerily enough, it was six years later—almost to the day—that Cosell would report Lennon’s murder to the nation live on another Monday Night Football telecast. Ronald Regan went on to become president of the United States and survive his own assassination attempt in March of 1981.

John Lennon
Ex-Beatle and erstwhile 1960s icon

meets

Ronald Reagan
Ex-actor and future 1980s icon

The outgoing former Mop Top met the outgoing California governor on December 9, 1974 during halftime of a Monday Night Football game between the Washington Redskins and the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Lennon was in town to promote his recently released album, Walls and Bridges, while Reagan was about to turn over the keys to the mansion to Governor-elect Jerry Brown after eight years in Sacramento. Play-by-play man Frank Gifford invited Reagan—an old friend from his movie days—to drop by the Monday Night Football booth, and was pleasantly surprised when Lennon accepted an invitation for the same night. Both men were slated for halftime interviews. “Gifford, you take the governor and I’ll take the Beatle,” acerbic commentator Howard Cosell informed Gifford shortly before the end of the second quarter. While the two guests waited to go on the air, Reagan put an arm around Lennon and attempted to explain the rules of American football. Lennon must have been a quick study, because in the ensuing on-air exchange with Cosell he showed a keen grasp of the differences between the U.S. game and English rugby. The evening’s only loser—besides the Rams, who were throttled by the Redskins 23-17—was color commentator Alex Karras, who complained to Cosell that he had been pushed out of the booth and into the men’s room to make room for Lennon and Reagan. Eerily enough, it was six years later—almost to the day—that Cosell would report Lennon’s murder to the nation live on another Monday Night Football telecast. Ronald Regan went on to become president of the United States and survive his own assassination attempt in March of 1981.

Dec 4 '10
Alexander KerenskySuccessor to the Russian Czar
meets
Ted DansonTender of a sitcom bar
In November of 1917, Bolshevik forces led by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin overthrew the provisional government of liberal socialist Alexander Kerensky. In November of 1999, former Cheers star Ted Danson received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. At some point in the intervening 82 years, their paths crossed. Danson and Kerensky first bumped into each other on the campus at Stanford University in the late 1960s. Danson was a young student just beginning to cultivate a passion for theater. Kerensky was a seventysomething visiting professor, living in exile and teaching a weekly seminar on the Russian Revolution. They would come together in the cafeteria, or on one of the benches that dotted the tree-lined campus, where Kerensky would feed the pigeons and opine in his thick Yiddish accent about space exploration and his distaste for hippies. At the time, Danson had no idea who the old man was—or why he seemed curiously unwilling to talk about his past life. Only later did he learn that the genial altercocker who chewed his ear off every day on the quad was in fact the man who had deposed the Czar.

Alexander Kerensky
Successor to the Russian Czar

meets

Ted Danson
Tender of a sitcom bar

In November of 1917, Bolshevik forces led by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin overthrew the provisional government of liberal socialist Alexander Kerensky. In November of 1999, former Cheers star Ted Danson received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. At some point in the intervening 82 years, their paths crossed. Danson and Kerensky first bumped into each other on the campus at Stanford University in the late 1960s. Danson was a young student just beginning to cultivate a passion for theater. Kerensky was a seventysomething visiting professor, living in exile and teaching a weekly seminar on the Russian Revolution. They would come together in the cafeteria, or on one of the benches that dotted the tree-lined campus, where Kerensky would feed the pigeons and opine in his thick Yiddish accent about space exploration and his distaste for hippies. At the time, Danson had no idea who the old man was—or why he seemed curiously unwilling to talk about his past life. Only later did he learn that the genial altercocker who chewed his ear off every day on the quad was in fact the man who had deposed the Czar.