Friday, November 21, 2014

Mike Nichols 1931 -- 2014

In the pre-Beatles era, these guys were my rock stars.

Seriously -- I memorized every single word of that album. I can still probably do huge chunks of it, if pressed.

A true story (all dialogue guaranteed verbatim):

In December of 1975, I was invited -- along with the rest of the New York rock press -- to a screening at the Ziegfeld Theater of Stanley Kubrick's new film Barry Lyndon (the reason being, of course, that there was a concurrent soundtrack LP featuring music by The Chieftains). For whatever reason, I was in no mood to run into anybody I knew that night, and so I deliberately sat myself as far back in the vastness of the Ziegfeld as possible, i.e. there was nobody within thirty or forty rows of me.

Until just a few minutes before the lights dimmed, when -- you guessed it -- Mike Nichols (and a young blonde woman who I now realize must have been Diane Sawyer) -- sat down in my row a couple of seats to my right.

I was kind of jazzed by this, but more to the point, there was a rumor around in those days (the truth of which I have no idea) that Nichols suffered from some weird illness that rendered him completely hairless, and that any hair on his head, including the eyebrows, was artificial. So, unobtrusively as possible, I kept shooting glances his way, and eventually I guessed he noticed.

The following conversation ensued.

NICHOLS: That hot dog you're eating looks very good.

ME: It is.

NICHOLS: Where did you get it?

ME: At the snack bar.

NICHOLS: Where's that?

ME (pointing): Down those stairs and to your right.

NICHOLS: Thanks.

Okay -- how's THAT for an encounter with greatness?


Billy B. said...

heh. You shoulda asked him to bring you back a soda.

Gummo said...

steve, the man was complimenting your hot dog. Your HOT DOG. Your long, steaming, tubular hot dog. Then he made sure you knew where he was going and got up and left.

Geez, does a come on have to be displayed in giant neon letters for you!??

Anonymous said...

Hello, please remain seated,

Snack Bar? How do you spell "snack? That's s-n-a-c-k...."k" as in knife.


(steve will get it, I trust)

steve simels said...

Newel post, my friend. Newel post.

Mark said...

Sounds fairly ordinary, respectful and star-struck to me.

I remember how surprised I was when one of my friends mentioned to me, after seeing The Graduate, in early 1968, that the Mike Nichols who directed the film was the same Mike Nichols as the Mike Nichols of Mike Nichols and Elaine May, both of whom were literate, cool and funny, and somehow seemed to be in control of what they did,

I couldn't believe it at the time.

M_Sharp said...

Don't leave me hanging, Steve- did he go get a hot dog, or what??