Dad got this one wrong.
In November of 1976 I was invited to a professional meeting in New York. I would be working during the day and my expenses would be covered, but we decided it would be a good time to splurge and bring the family at our own expense. My wife and I had traveled here together, but it would be the first time for our two daughters, age thirteen and eleven, to see the City.
On Thursday morning the TV was on in the hotel room while I was dressing, and the girls were planning a day of shopping. Our hotel was at 59th and 5th Avenues and there would be lots for them to do within walking distance. We were dividing our attention between our plans for the day and an interview that was on the TV. The host was heaping praise on a dark-haired young man saying the movie that had premiered last night had been wonderful. It was sure to be a big hit and the young man who was the star of the movie would be famous. The girls said, “maybe we should see it”, but nothing further was said about it.
That evening we had tickets to see the musical “Wiz”, with an all-black cast performing “The Wizard of Oz”. Dianna Ross, lead singer of the Supremes and from Detroit where I grew up, was the star. The theater was across the street from Sardis’s, the famous Broadway restaurant where we would have dinner before the performance.
We sat at a table in the front room which at that early pre-theater hour was nearly empty. About halfway through our dinner we heard an overhead page for the telephone. A young man in a light blue suit advanced to the phone that was in clear sight, and our daughters in unison said, “that’s the fellow from the TV this morning. He must be famous. We should get his autograph”.
“Nonsense”, I said. “He probably had the call staged so he could have his name announced and be noticed. Look around at all the drawings, caricatures, on the wall. This is a place for both the famous and the wannabes”. That statement ended the conversation.
I don’t recall how long it took, not long I suppose, before we learned who that fellow was, Sylvester Stallone! The movie that was being praised was Rocky, a film that became an icon in cinema history spawning seven sequels grossing more than 1.5 billion dollars worldwide. The original “Rocky” grossed 225 million on a production cost of 1 million! Sylvester Stallone continued a four-decade career as a Hollywood star starring in more than a dozen movies including Rambo and is said to have a current net worth of 400 million.
Our daughters might have been among the first ever to seek the autograph of this “unknown” who would become so rich and famous. Who knows, they might have become good friends.
So much for me as a talent scout.
By Savvy Senior
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