When I worked on, “Your Big Break” the show was shot at NBC in Burbank. We were in Johnny Carson’s old studio. Jay’s Tonight Show studio was across the hall. You never knew who you would meet in that hallway. I tried not to be the kid from Kansas and get all wide eyed with celebrities. But when I heard Harrison Ford was going to be on the Tonight Show, I decided to hang around the area to see him. Most stars show up for the Tonight Show with a manager, agent, assistant, something. Not Ford, he walked in by himself. It was a cool moment. I just wanted to see my childhood idol. We made eye contact, I smiled, he smiled back. I approached and said, “I’ve been a fan of yours since the first Star Wars, and just wanted to say hi.” He stuck his hand out and said, “thanks kid, that’s been awhile.” He gave me a firm handshake, another smile, and turned to walk away. It was an awesome interaction.
Right behind Harrison was the other guest on the show, Rip Taylor. Another cool celeb. I smiled, he just stared at me and walked by. Which was fine. I was told, “if you see a celebrity, smile, if they smile back, approach them and say hi. IF they don’t smile back, walk away and you can tell your friends ‘so and so blew me off one day.’” She also told me never to interrupt a celeb while they are eating. That’s just rude.
A little later I was walking down the hall along the dressing rooms. Harrison was just sitting there reading a magazine. Rip Taylor is yelling at some poor producer because he was the star, and how dare them give Harrison Ford a bigger dressing room. And he was really going off on the guy. I walked off thinking, not as fun as he appears on tv. Also, Ford saved us from the Empire, the Nazis, and the Russians… you throw confetti and make bad innuendo jokes. I think Mr. Ford deserves the bigger dressing room.
So, since I brought up Jay Leno. I will say I saw him regularly and he always said hi. His parking spot was literally right next to his studio. Everyday he drove a different car to work, trucks, motorcycles, jeeps, and stuff I couldn’t even describe to you. He pulled in as I was walking from my parking spot (across the street). He was driving a sportscar of some type with doors that opened like a DeLorean. I said, “That is an awesome car.” He smiled and said, “Thanks, you like it, take a look,” I approached, he started talking about the engine and some other technical stuff. I didn’t have a clue. I think he zeroed in on that quickly and said, “and it looks cool, right?” I was like yeah, it is cool. Then he said to have a good day and walked into the building.