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My 15-Second Brushes with Fame
 
I met then-Vice President Gerald Ford about two weeks before he was to become President. 

At the time the photo was taken, the Watergate crisis had reached such proportions that there was no doubt that Ford would very soon be elevated to the highest office in the nation. However, despite the fact that I knew he was going to be the next President, he was such a nice guy that I found myself completely comfortable chatting with him. 

That's me with the late Jackie Gleason ... a true gentleman. He was very nice and down-to-earth. 

I always regretted not sending the picture to him to have it autographed (he gave me the address, but I didn't follow through on my intentions until it was too late and Mr. Gleason had died).

This picture was taken the same day the above one was made ... and I *was* able to get it autographed, because while Jackie Gleason was only in town for the day, the young lady with me in this one was around all week. I developed the print the night this was made and she signed it for me the next day.

You probably don't know who she is, because even if you are old enough to have been a fan of the LPGA in the late 1970s, Laura Baugh (who later played professionally as Laura Baugh-Dent and later then again as Laura Baugh) never set the world on fire as a pro golfer. But she was a pert and pretty young woman who also was featured in an Ultra-Brite toothpaste commercial that was running at the time. 

A couple of more politicians, and then on to some celebrities I was fortunate enough to get photographed with as a teenager. Only the older of you will probably know the celebrities!

This picture was taken in the spring of either 1974 or 1975 at National Airport in Washington, D.C. I am not a tall person (5'8"), so you can tell the gentleman with me was of limited physical stature but, at the time of the picture, his political stature was as big as his physical stature was small. He is the late Carl Albert, who was the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.  (House Speakers are like Presidents, when it comes to me. I've met three of 'em -- Albert, Tip O'Neill and Tom Foley, but only have a picture of myself with one.)

This one is of me and a former U.S. Senator who would have liked to have been President. 

Howard Baker of Tennessee did make a brief unsuccessful run for the Presidency a few months after this photo was taken in the summer of 1979.

But enough with the politicians, already!

I believe I was 15 years old when this one was taken. I grew up about an hour from Darlington International Raceway and wrangled my way into a job in the press department of the race track during race weeks during my teenage years. 

Ken Curtis (left) and Milburn Stone played the "Festus" and 
"Doc" characters on the popular 1960s TV series Gunsmoke. They were the visiting celebrities for one of the races held during the time I worked at the race track, and this was taken at one of the many parties held during race week.

This photo also was taken at a race party, although it was a different year and different race from the one above. Even fewer of you are going to know this guy's identity than knew the folks in the previous picture!  I think I was 16 here...

He is the late Dizzy Dean, who was a major league baseball player whose playing days were over long before I was born (and, remember, I'm 51 years old!).  He was a pitcher and I think his heyday years were with the St. Louis Cardinals. When I was a young boy in the late 50s and early 60s, he and another former major leaguer, Pee Wee Reese, were about the only (or at least certainly the most popular) commentators on network baseball broadcasts. They made a pretty good team of broadcasters. No singer he, Mississippi native Dizzy Dean used to inflict upon his weekly TV baseball audience a hearty rendition of "Wabash Cannonball." Not a pretty sound! But Mr. Dean, like the others pictured here, was very nice.

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This page was created on June 14, 1997
and modified on March 19, 2000
(to correct my current age as listed beside the photo of Dizzy Dean and me!)