Monday, June 5, 2017

That Time I Almost Met Debbie Reynolds

It's no secret I love old Hollywood musicals. I even like bad musicals that have elements of Old Hollywood in them (Looking at YOU, Xanadu!).

I've been enamored of old movies since I was a kid. My dad and I would watch them all the time. I don't remember the first time I saw Singin' In the Rain, but I remember it was in our first house, so I was less than seven.

I watched it again in high school and almost died laughing. I learned the songs, fell in love with Gene Kelly (though I hear he was a jerky perfectionist in his professional life), and thought getting started in Hollywood was as easy as popping out of a cake.


Who knows? I might have been in the 20's.

There's a reason it's one of the top musicals ever made. It's just so dang funny and timeless. Is there a better villain than the squeaky-voiced Lina LaMont? Is there a funnier number than Fit As a Fiddle or Make 'em Laugh?

Back in 2010, FilmStreams in Omaha had a showing at the Joslyn Art Musem, and Debbie Reynolds was to speak beforehand. Because my dad is amazing, he bought us tickets.

I got dressed up. If I was going to meet Debbie Reynolds, I wanted to look awesome. I don't remember many specifics about the outfit, but I did remember the shoes I wore. they were fuschia platform peep toe booties with a huge bow on the side. Difficult to walk in, but they looked so cute, who cared?

Before the show started, I went down to the basement, where the bathrooms were. I wasn't going to miss my chance to see this amazing film on the big screen.

As I was coming back upstairs, I heard a loud commotion, and as I reached the landing, a crowd of museum or Film Streams employees was ushering in a short woman with permed blonde hair.

It was Debbie! And she was right in front of me!

Hoping to meet her for a quick second, I took the final step...and missed it. I fell off my shoes, crashing to the floor with a little shriek.

The crowd stopped, and in almost slow motion, they looked down at me.

I stared right at Debbie. She stared back at me.

And just like that, it was over. They ushered her into the theatre while I picked myself up, and hurried to my seat to exclaim to my dad, "I tripped in front of Debbie Reynolds!"

Unfortunately, I didn't get to meet her. I was a night waitress and I had to get to work, but that's still one of my favorite celebrity encounters of all time.

I was very sad when Debbie Reynolds passed away following her daughter, Carrie Fisher. The world lost two immense talents. I always wanted to meet Debbie for real, but that didn't happen. At least I can say she looked right at me.

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