Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Oh, say, can you see? I remember you, Norman.

It's a long time since I was in high school, and I think that it's changed quite a bit since I was there. Some say it's better, most say it's worse, but that is not my subject today.

In the school of my youth, we occasionally had guests who would show up at "assembly". I saw Billy Graham at one of our school assemblies, when I was in high school.

On a fine spring day, we had a group of touring "movie stars" stop by. None of you will remember any of these stars probably, but they were quite prominent in their day. The two I remember from this group of about five, were Vera Ellen and Chill Wills.

I was sitting with my friends Norman and Taylor about half-way between the "front" and the "back" of the gym, in the bleachers. When the principle asked if there was anything that any of us would like to ask the stars, Norman spoke up with, "I wish I could see you". Anyone could have heard a pin drop in that gym!

Chill Wills came strolling back in his signature swaggering fashion, thrust his face forward toward Norman, and, appearing so much like the drawling character we loved from such movies as "Giant", said, "What's wrooong, son?" Norman had been to have his eyes examined that morning, and his eyes were dilated. He accompanied the actor back up to the group of movie stars, spoke to them "up close and personal", and danced a few steps with Vera Ellen while the rest of us looked on enviously.

The last time I had my eyes dilated, I drove myself home from Cedar Park, about twenty-five miles away. Today, I had my eyes dilated, and my wife drove me home, although I don't suppose it was actually necessary.

I'm convinced that my old friend Norman was pulling a scam that day. For a while today, it hurt to look at the computer monitor, but otherwise, I had no trouble seeing.


Bruce said...

Sweet story. You're right - sounds like a scam. But who better to scam than a star named "Chill".

Willie C said...

Good point, Bruce! One of the best of my memories of Chill was as the voice of 'Francis, the Talking Mule", as well as some of his WWII movies.

Then there was "Giant" (1956), which led me to believe that Chill was probably the only member of the production who'd ever been to Texas.