That Time with Me, John Travolta and a Diet Coke
Updated: Aug 14, 2021
At one point when I was working in the film business in Boston, I got a call to do a cool sounding job on location up in Maine. Now that’s what I’m talking about! Multi-day, hotel living, on location jobs were always super duper fun. It immediately took the grind out of the occasion and instantly placed it into the “I am steps away from my bed after drinking all night at the hotel bar” category. This gig was a video that was being shot to run under the credits of the VHS release (remember those?) of “Look Who’s Talking Too”, starring the one and only John Travolta and Kirstie Alley. Apparently they both had houses on some fancy island off the coast of Maine, they were both there and the easiest thing to do was to fly everyone else out from L.A. for the utmost convenience of the stars. In situations like these, they usually filled out the roster with some locals. Lucky me!
So we head up to Maine to some equally fancy house on the mainland and start preparing for the shoot. Soon after, the stars arrived. The set was abuzz and these were definitely the biggest movie stars I had ever worked with. Per usual, there weren’t a whole lot of women on the set and because of this I was awarded the task of being Kirstie Alley’s stand in. The director took a liking to me because hey, I was young and cute and he had no idea he was barking up the wrong tree and I definitely remember Kirstie Alley being quite catty about it all. Puh-lease Kirstie Alley, I’m just trying to make a living. That however is not the story, that’s just some inside baseball that reveals the tiniest sliver of the kind of bullshit that PAs put up with on film sets. The real story began when I wasn’t needed to light the scene anymore and was simply standing by on set, at the ready as always. And that’s when it happened. I was in the hallway, outside of the bedroom they were shooting in when out of another bedroom pops John f***ing Travolta. Thank God he spoke first because I don’t think I could have even uttered “Hello.” He asked me how I was and I warbled I was fine and asked him if he needed anything. Yes, I got that much out. He asked me if I would be so kind as to get him a Diet Coke. Absolutely I would! I headed off on my mission and at the literal first nanosecond I was alone on the stairs I exulted to myself, HOLY SHIT I JUST MET VINNIE BARBARINO!!!!!
Now I don’t know about you, but if you are any where near my age “Welcome Back Kotter” was it. The Sweathogs! Horshack’s laugh. Up your nose with a rubber hose. Notes from Epstein’s Mother. I had the t-shirt and everything!! So many memories of sitting with my sister and my parents in the 70’s watching that show. Everything was so different back then. It felt slower. Cooler. More pure and less frantic somehow. I don’t know if that’s because I was safely ensconced in childhood, living a sheltered life or if it really was that way. No need to theorize any further on it. After a brutal 15 months of taking punch after punch, my memories feel like a soft cosy blanket on a cool night and that’s the way I’m going to keep them. Anyway, I digress. Thank God craft service had Diet Coke. Vinnie Barbarino was waiting!