The LA Celebrity Show

My day was already made when some wrestling fan came up to me and remarked how much I reminded him of Superstar Billy Graham. I told him at my age I consider that a compliment indeed.

If anyone would have had an opinion on the subject, it would have been Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, but I didn’t solicit it. The buzz at Musso and Frank Friday night was that there were wrestlers in the house.

I suspect they were talking about the Beefcake. A waiter who reminds you of a Mexican lothario comes over to our table and swears to the Beefcake he knows him from their times together in Texas. The Beefcake who’s signing today at Scotty Schwartz’s LA Celebrity Show, is acting real puzzled.

For being a wrestler and proficient in mayhem, the Beefcake’s a very sweet, gentle man, but for the life of him, he couldn’t figure out where he might know this guy.

On the other hand, The Beefcake has been friends with Scotty Schwartz since The Eighties when they met on the old NBC Saturday Night Main Event. Despite their size, I’ve known wrestlers to be reticent human beings. Like guard dogs, they need to sniff you out to make sure you’re okay.

When I began this journey with Scotty last summer, collaborating on his book, I honestly thought his stories were full of beans. Like, how can one human being, unless you’re Forrest Gump, fraternize with these many celebrities.

But the proof is at Loew’s Hollywood Hotel. When I see Loni Anderson and Barbara Eden walking down the hallway with their airport luggage carriers. I go, sonofabitch, Scotty is authentic.

And he’s no shrinking violet, either. Outside of Musso and Frank on Hollywood Boulevard, there’s a TV news crew covering a story connected to the Brazilian nightclub fire last weekend.

“Any of you guys into wrestling?” Scotty asks.

He gets a show of hands and begins introducing the Beefcake, pitching the autograph show at the hotel. Channel 7 News in LA had been there earlier in the day. In fact, so was Dr. X, aka Dominic Acera, from the adult industry. Acera and Zander Kane who writes pieces on the adult business from time to time, are like this Mutt & Jeff news team.

Dr. X is about the same size as Scotty [they’ve been roommates] whereas Kane’s a big guy, probably taller than the Beefcake who’s a good 6′ 4″, and has worked as a bouncer.

They score an interview with Billy Dee Williams but are told by another of the celebrities [I won’t say who] that she can’t because she’s being hounded by a stalker. Wow, just like porn. And, just like porn, the older female Hollywood stars all seem to have their suitcase pimps with dye jobs that remind you of 75 year-old versions of Robert Goulet.

Like wrestlers, even Hollywood celebrities have angles to keep themselves relevant. Barbara Eden promotes genie bottles which are specially designed for her.

My understanding is they go for $200 apiece. A woman has brought her family on Friday. Each of her four kids got one. Do the math.

Fans, I guess, are willing to shell out this kind of dough to rub elbows. Erin Murphy, Tabitha, from Bewitched, raises alpacas, and, from their shearings, makes hats which she sells for $60 a pop. The Beefcake was saying over dinner that he already made his nut for the show, that some fan came in with a whole bunch of memorabilia for him to sign.

When it comes to celebrity, I’m like a Mongol in a French restaurant. I don’t appreciate the cuisine as much, and I wouldn’t know most celebrities if I tripped over them at the Ralph’s check-out counter, which I’ve done.

When I first moved to California, I’d run into Gianni Russo just about every Sunday morning. He would nod in acquaintance, and I’m trying to figure out where I know this guy.

Finally, it dawned on me. He was Carlo from The Godfather.

I’ve stood in the same line behind Michael Parks who’s in just about every Quentin Tarantino movie there is, and I’ve literally rubbed elbows with Bruce Weitz, Belker, from Hillstreet Blues.

And that’s who the Soup Nazi reminds me of…Belker. The Soup Nazi arrives at Scotty’s show, but he’s not in character so I don’t recognize him. He’s clean shaven except for the mustache, and I thought for a moment it was Bruce Weitz.

Hence I wouldn’t make a good fan. Neither would I make a good Hollywood gigolo. That’s because most of these actresses are tiny, and my ideal woman is a towering Japanese volleyball player with titanic calves.

I know I’ve soiled myself to Erika Eleniak one time or another when she was wearing her red swimsuit on Baywatch, but I couldn’t get over how remarkably slender she is. Still, she strikes me as a nice lady. Similarly Barabara Eden flashes me a broad smile. She’s obviously mistaken me for a speculator in genie bottle art. Leslie Ann Warren also gives me a broad flash of her choppers. I know she wants my body but is probably too timid to ask.

Morgan Fairchild is extremely tiny in the way actor Michael Pare is extremely tall. Pare stars in one of my all time favorite films Streets of Fire. That movie came out in 1984, but Pare, like Dorian Gray, hasn’t appeared to have aged.

Some wizened wrangler in a cowboy hat who obviously has, leans over and says to me, “I’m not here today.”

“Witness protection?” I ask him. The wrangler proceeds to relate to anyone within hearing distance that “any actor who says he doesn’t like being recognized is full of shit.”

Not recognizing him, I ask Scotty who is this guy. While he’s not sure, Scotty suspects that the wrangler is a character actor from Fifties westerns which would make sense because he’s certainly giving off that impression.

The thought did occur to me, what if you’re some huge star from the Fifties and no one recognizes you at these conventions, or worse, avoids your table for autographs?

Thoughts like these veer me towards the idea of having a Reuben sandwich. Because he’s wearing a shirt that says “Security” I assume the security guy knows where the hotel restaurant is.

“I don’t know,” he says. “This is my first time here.”

“I guess you’re giving everyone a false sense of security,” I joke, but I don’t think he caught it.

On the mezzanine is this restaurant called Preston’s. I ask the waitress, who looks like Sarah Palin, if I might have a beer on tap. She returns apologetically to say the taps aren’t working.

“I know the problem,” I said as if I knew what I was talking about, and, she immediately mistakes me for being some beer connoisseur. Sarah Palin flashes me the same smile Barbara Eden and Leslie Ann Warren just flashed me, so I figured this Super Star Billy Graham mojo might be working.

Playing the usual game with my psychic impulses, I’m thinking about Michael Pare, and who walks in with a mini-entourage but Pare who’s immediately in some conversation about the film On The Waterfront.

Pare is baffled that someone at his table hasn’t seen the movie. I send another psychic impulse over to his table to see if he’ll pick up my check. I’m baffled that he doesn’t.

I was also hoping that Sarah Palin, seeing that I was taking notes at my table would mistake me for some restaurant critic and pick up the check. No such luck, either.

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