Welcome back and thanks for spending Tuesday with Ted!
We found this video that seems to demonstrate this week’s topic pretty well … plus … it’s just plain FUN!
As the interview continues, this week we share Ted’s thoughts (and fantastic stories) about people who surprised him and why.
Padres360 – Okay … You’ve met so many people – but who was the biggest surprise person. Like when you met them, you were surprised by them … they were just maybe not what you expected them to be. And what was different than you really thought?
Ted – I was surprised one time, I’m doing a game for the Chicago Bulls. And I was down in the basement showing some kids, who I normally dress up in baby chicken suits, to follow me out onto the field, in this case the court. I’m rehearsing with them down backstage of the old Chicago Stadium. And while I’m rehearsing with them and the parents are standing there, the Chicago Bulls come out of their dressing room about 50 feet away. And in the old Chicago Stadium, you literally dressed down in the basement and had to walk upstairs to get to the playing surface. And the Bulls were waiting down there, waiting to be introduced. They had the big musical fanfare and everything. And while I’m teaching the kids and all the players are standing there, Michael Jordan comes over and shakes hands with these little tykes. Okay? And then he tells them, “Now, you do what the chicken tells you to do out there, okay?” I said that was very nice of this Mr. Superstar of the NBA to take a few moments to come over and shake the kids’ hands. The parents were flabbergasted, needless to say. And I certainly didn’t approach the players. They’re into their mindset for the game, I’m sure. But Michael Jordan walked over all on his own and I figured that was a pretty class act. I got to hand it to the man, you know? You could be for the Bulls or against the Bulls, but that sure was a nice gesture, to come over and just shake hands with the kids as he did. So, that kind of surprised me.
Padres360 – Any others come to mind?
Ted – Boy, there are so many. You got me on the spot, because I now have to review 40 years in my mind of surprises of people. Let me see. Let me see. Boy, oh boy, oh boy. I remember one time; I was at the Roxy Theater up in Los Angeles hosting a Halloween party, invited up there by some Hollywood producer. And it’s a Halloween party for kids at the Roxy Theater. I’m up on stage and I’m emceeing. The kids are coming out. Well, also coming out up on stage was Jack Nicholson in a pig’s mask, in a pig’s head mask, okay? And he starts goofing with me, like he’s one of the kids. And I found that kind of endearing and fun. But I did not know Jack Nicholson was in the audience there. But he came up with all the toddlers and got in line and goofed off. So, I thought that was kind of funny. But again, that took me by surprise. But it was nice to see, again, a superstar movie actor of our day just goof off like that. That was kind of funny. The audience which was all invited guests, Cher was there and a bunch of other Hollywood celebrities were there and a lot of kids or relatives of kids or that sort of thing. But that one moment when Nicholson came on and he has those regular clothes but he had a pig’s head mask on.That was [laughs]. Somebody whispered to me offstage, “Jack Nicholson, Jack Nicholson.” That’s how I knew it was Jack Nicholson. But that was kind of fun.
But let’s see. And oh, let’s see. And I guess a third moment, obviously. I think it’s in that book there, when I encountered Gerald Ford by surprise onstage. And I ran up and just how easygoing he was about the situation where I totally surprised him by running from my greeting line. And there he was introducing everybody down the line and finally gets to me and the audience goes nuts there in the parking lot of Grossmont. Yes, of Grossmont, the Grossmont shopping center. And I decided what the heck. I ran and bounced across the stage, gave him a big hug. And he was very easygoing about it. And he was so taken by all of that that later on, a New York Times political editor asked me for my chicken head as a gag. And I gave him my chicken head. He wore it to a foreign press conference and Ford got such a kick out of it that he asked for that head. And today, it’s sitting in his museum, in a library in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
It’s interesting that in ’78, you mentioned the all-star game. There, as I was cavorting on the field, I’m going by the front row box and there’s Bowie Kuhn and sitting right next to him was Gerry Ford. And I did not know he was there. And so, I shook hands with him and he caught me off guard. He says, “Ted, how you doing?” I think, “Oh, man! He knows my name, whoa.” I say, “I’m doing fine, Mr. President. Thank you very much.” It was between innings and I had to scoot off the field and let the game start again, but I was really taken aback by that moment.
Wow – can you imagine? What a life … and he has touched so many people … to make them smile … like us. Amazing!
Next week, our feathery friend will talk about his relationship with another famous Ted who wanted him to move down south as well as places where he hasn’t performed.
Wayne & Rebecca