Red Skelton a chance meeting one day on an elevator! 1982
So in 1982 I was interning at radio station 98 rock in Baltimore Maryland. At that time I was going to school at The Broadcasting Institute of Maryland and jumped at the chance to work at a rock radio station. I was 20 years old and was psyched ! What a fun time I thought was in my future.
First day Interning at 98 Rock
I got to this 3 story building, got buzzed in, talked with the women at the front desk, who had to call up-stairs for someone to come down to get me.
There were a lot of people wearing in what back in the day we called ,"monkey suites" and I arrived wearing jeans and a tee shirt. We got a quick tour of the studio which was small compared to the rows and rows of desk filled with workers on the same floor.
I ended up in a small room with a conference table and there were hundreds of envelopes that needed to be stuffed with a letter and something called 98 wings pin. They were very sought after and so you had to write to the station and I would fill the envelopes with the pins. ( You can see I am wearing one of those pins in the photo.)
Wow, so this is rock and roll. Three times a week I would go there for about 4 hours doing mostly this simple task. Needless to say this can get boring.
98 Rock was located inside of a 3 story building and upstairs ( or downstairs, I dont remember now) was WBAL TV station. Every day at noon , I would go down the elevator and walk in where they were doing live the news. There was a small bleacher a few feet behind the cameras which is where I would sit and watch. There was never anyone there. Just the camera men, on air talent a tel-promoter guy and maybe a stage manager and that was it. I got permission being from broadcasting school to go and watch as long as I was super quiet.
Red Skelton and me 1982
Just another day... so I thought.,
I had been interning for a month or so and got into the routine. It was about 11:45 and I left my desk and headed for the elevator to go up and watch them broadcasting live at noon. I walk up to the elevator and so does just another man wearing a suit. He asked me where I was going and I told him, "up to watch the news." Then he asked me if he could go with me? I said sure, I had no idea who he was.
The elevator opened and the two of us got in. For the 15 second ride, I thought somehow this guy is going to get me in trouble. He was loud in the elevator and looking back, funny but at the time I thought , this guy is strange.
He had a very nice cane with looked like a gold top that I commented on how I thought the cane was very cool. I can not remember what he said, but I do remember the feeling that something was funny and I started laughing as the doors opened and we got off. The door to the studio was only a few feet away and I got real serious and told him he must be super quiet and that we can not even whisper to each other.
He agreed and we went in the studio...
We got to the bleachers behind the cameras and sat next to each other. The news was on live at that time and were about half way thru the broadcast.
The man kept leaning over to me and whispering funny things to me about the news. It was so funny that I was trying to hold in my laughter and made a quick chirp from my nose trying to hold back from laughing.
I for sure I was going to lose my internship for bringing this guy into the studio. I put my index finger up to my lips as to say shhhhhhhhhhh. I was truly worried at this moment. I had no idea it was about to get worse!
Hey... Stop, Wait , No....
He leaned over to me and said, "watch this". O I knew I was going to get in so much trouble for bringing this man in the studio during a live broadcast. There was no such thing as a 10 second delay back then.
That is all he said as he stood up from the bleacher, grabbed his cane and started to head towards the front of the camera. I tried to stop him by pulling on his jacket like a little kid would do. He gave me that funny look and all I felt was my stomach in my shoes and my broadcasting career was about to be over.
O' nooooooo...., he just walked in FRONT of the Cameras
and started talking with the news people. I could not believe what was going on. I was in shock that this guy would just walk in on the news cast like that.
It took me a few moments, sitting there sick to my stomach when I looked up at the TV monitor that I could see and the camera was on him and I was not listing to what he was saying because I was to scared what was happening and was sure I was in trouble.
Then I looked up again and at the bottom of the screen it said his name, "RED SKELTON" I was in a moment of disbelief. All I could think is, as a kid some people called me Red Skelton because I had red hair and here I am with him.
I settled back and finished watching the news.
As soon as he was done, swarms of people were outside the studio waiting to meet him. After everyone left., I got back on the elevator with him and told him how I felt and I had no idea who he was. He was so funny and nice. I had a camera with 1 photo left on the film in my car and asked him to walk outside with me. I am so happy to have this fun memory. We took the photo, we talked for a few minutes more and then I excused myself to get back to work. Nice guy... I got to meet a true master of art, magic, comedy, and clowning.