Monday, September 29, 2008

So here's a funny story ...

... I met Paul Newman once, for about 15 seconds.

I was studio manager and chief engineer at SoundWorks in Las Vegas. One day this older balding guy came in and booked a few late night sessions, he was obviously down on his luck but he had cash and charts and just wanted the 'dark' hours we could spare at a discount rate.

As the sessions went on we got to talking and over a week or two I put together that he was trying to make a comeback after losing his house, wife and career to alcoholism. The guy's music was good, a little dated, but pretty good and the sessions were going well.

He always showed up in a taxi and since the sessions started so late and went on so long, one night I offered him a ride home. He accepted and I drove my client to a street near downtown LV. We were leaving at the same time and it wasn't far out of my way. The first couple of times he wouldn't even let me drop him off at his apartment.

Then one evening when I was going to be driving to the studio to meet him, I gave him a call and asked if he needed a ride. He hesitated, then said sure and I said I'd be there in 20 minutes. By this time I knew where he lived but I'd never been up to his apartment. I arrived, walked up the inside ratty, carpeted steps to his crappy apartment in this crappy apartment building, (almost as crappy as the place I lived in), and knocked on the door.

Paul Newman opened it. He said something like 'Dick's running a little late, hi, I'm Paul.'
I don't remember what I said, I sure as hell hoped it wasn't "OMG! You're Paul Newman!" as I'm sure he already knew that.

Right then my client came out of the back room dressed for the studio, (he always wore suits, slightly threadbare, but suits, to the sessions, sans tie), and said (more or less) 'I see you guys have met, thanks for coming by Paul, I'm back in the studio.'

Mr. Newman said something like 'You're back, good luck.'

To be honest, it's been a lotta years and I'm not sure of the dialog. And even at the time I was a bit stunned. As we drove away my client asked me not to say anything to anyone about the encounter.

I've pretty much kept that promise. I've mentioned it in private to family and my GF, but this is the first time I've said it in public.

Now that they both have passed I'm OK with publishing my memories of the encounter.

We all know that Mr. Newman was a great actor and a great human being. What strikes me about this encounter, (with my 15 seconds of knowledge), he was a really good friend.



Cross posted at VidiotSpeak