Christ, I live in North Dakota, a celebrity wasteland, so I got nothing on any of you. All of my celebrity “encounters” were done via email, or, as in the case of the following story, via telephone. Just go ahead and skip this entirely if you’re anticipating something really cool.
Back in the 1970’s, I was a huge fan of the band Starz. Link to “Cherry Baby”, their only Top 40 hit. I believe it hit number 39 IIRC.
Anyway, about two decades later, I was a member of the fan club’s mailing list, so once in a while I’d get a mailing with all of the current items for sale, mostly stuff like shirts and re-released “bootleg” CD’s. From somewhere in New Jersey I think.
I ordered a whole bunch of stuff over the years from there without incident. But when a certain specific CD was announced, I just had to have it, and mailed a check immediately.
The CD did not come. I waited like two weeks, and then finally called the phone number on one of the mailings to see what went wrong. I got an answering machine, and left a detailed message. Then we left on vacation for a few days.
When we returned, I checked my answering machine for messages. There was one. Some guy stating he was from Collector’s Items Incorporated, and telling me to return his call. I then also checked the Caller ID, which was a brand new thing at the time. The name that popped up was R. Ranno. Richie Ranno is lead guitarist for the band Starz. Apparently the message was left by him. I called the girlfriend over to the Caller ID unit. “Hey, check this out!” It was a big deal to me.
Naturally, I called him back, even though it was late evening. But he answered.
“Hi,” I said. “I’m returning your call in regard to…” etc.
“Oh, uh, yes,” he replied. “I just wanted to let you know that I did receive your payment, but that I have not yet gotten the shipment of CD’s into my offices, but I expect them by next week.”
I could hold back no longer. “Is this Richie?”
“Is this Richie Ranno?”
“Uh…yes, in fact.”
I then went on about what a big fan I was, and asked if he remembered anything about when they played in Bismarck, North Dakota back in 1978.
Amazingly, he did. “Bismarck…Yeah, I remember looking out the windows of the bus and seeing nothing as far as the eye could see in any direction…until we hit Bismarck.” Then he asked, “Did you enjoy the show?”
“I didn’t go,” I said.
“Why not? You just said you were a big fan.”
“The tickets were $8, and I didn’t have $8.”
The conversation kind of dwindled from there.