A Night With Shooter McGavin

Posted: September 6, 2011 by Keith Stone in ridiculous, Shooter McGavin

My buddy sent this to me a while back but it’s pretty funny. He may have had one or eight drinks beforehand:

Earlier tonight, me and my friend Dave met the man known the world over as, quite simply, the greatest actor of his generation.  Nay, all time.  The one, the only: Shooter McGavin.

So here’s what happened.  We went to see Lombardi since we figured that a play that has the NFL logo on its advertisements is the only kind that’s okay to go to with another dude.  We were in our seats, waiting for the curtain to raise (there was actually no curtain but just go with me on this one), and were in the midst of a riveting discussion about the finer points of the 1989 blockbuster No Holds Barred (which, of course, was the immortal Hulk Hogan’s triumphant return to the big screen following a seven or so year hiatus, after his unforgettable performance as Thunderlips in Rocky III).

That’s when an announcement was made: after the show the actors will hold a raffle, where one lucky audience member will win two tickets to Sunday’s Super Bowl.  Naturally, we went to sign up before the show began, and when we got back to our seats, who was sitting next to us — attending the show on his own — that’s right, none other than the legend of the silver screen himself, immaculately dressed with fedora in hand.

Now, I’ve often wondered what it must have been like for Gehrig or Ruth to watch other, mere mortal players, take the field.  Watching Shooter watch the play gave me an answer.  He laughed, he grimaced, he clapped and he cheered, but, all the while, he was zen-like; he was simply operating on another level….and he knew it.  The man should get a Tony just for attending the show.

After the play was over (and the guy who brilliantly played Lombardi — better known as Fred Savage’s dad from The Wonder Years — announced that someone else had won the raffle), we finally made our move.  Not only did Shooter want to pose for a picture (“This happens all the time,” he said) but he insisted that we go to the lobby because it had better lighting, yucking it up on the way.

He explained that the actress who played Lombardi’s wife — better known as the mom and on-again-off-again love interest of the great Tony Macelli (nee Danza) from Who’s the Boss, was an old friend, and he was there to support her.  (No doubt they were more than mere “friends” once upon a time, but that conversation is better left for another day).

When we got to the lobby, a lady approached, “I am a HUGE fan,” she said.  Aren’t we all?  Then the big moment, the Kodak moment.  The only negative was that he left his gold Tour Championship winner’s jacket at home (“I believe that belongs to Mr. Gilmore”).  I told him that winning the Super Bowl tickets wouldn’t compare to having this photo, and he seemed to agree.  In life, as in his greatest masterpiece on film, this was Shooter’s Tour.  We thanked the great man and then parted ways.

Or so we thought.

A short while later, while having some desert across the street at the Palm, I felt the cold chill — the unmistakable presence of charisma entering the room.  Could it be?  It was.  Shooter strutted in and — I shit you not — gave me the McGavin finger point.  “Hello again,” he said.  Awesome!  After making the rounds, he decided to join us for a brief yet everlasting moment, and, unprovoked, made the declaration that “this cheesecake is the best in New York.”  He didn’t have to taste it; he just knew.

There we were: glasses of Jamison’s in hand, cheesecake and key lime pie on our plates, and the greatest of the trinity of 20th Century acting legends (along with Lou Brown and John Krease) at our side.  Talk about a higher plane of existence.

As Shooter was walking out, a man wearing a Georgia Bulldogs (or possibly Grambling) winter cap (toque for you Canadians), who was three sheets to the wind, cornered the great man and started asking him a series of nonsensical questions.  A true class act, Shooter treated him with the utmost respect and — undoubtedly — made his year (perhaps life).  It would have been a perfect time to unleash his classic line, “Go back to your shanty town” but, the perfect gentleman, he didn’t.

Seriously though, a truly nice guy.

Post script: We were all set to leave a few minutes later, when two cougars walked up to the table and awkwardly asked which desert was better.  “Shooter likes the cheesecake,” I replied.  Enough said.

Lombardi: 5 stars (even better than the namesake pizza parlour, and, undoubtedly better than a play about Eric Mangini would have been).  Catch it while you can.

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