Hey You GUYS!!!!!

May 17, 2008

I can’t tell you how excited I was to learn that the Electric Company was coming back to television!  When I was a kid back in the 70’s I loved my psychedelic dose of Electric Company almost as much as I loved my hour spent with Charlie and those sassy Angels.  It was a show that had a formidable impact on my life, and let me just explain why…

When I was in High School, my father decided to dabble in producing plays on and off Broadway.  The play that he was producing off Broadway won an award called an OBIE, which is like a Tony Award for off Broadway plays.  Well, it was such an honor for me to accompany him to this awards ceremony, but I was still a teenager and still completely embarassed by my father and his assertive antics around famous people.  For some reason, ever since I was a wee one, if I noticed a famous person in the room, my father would go out of his way to embarssingly bring attention to my oggling of this random “star”.  He would typically approach this person, I would turn the color of a pomegranate and do my best to pretend that I was attached to another family.  “That crazy man making a spectacle of himself was in no way related to me, uh uh!”  I would do my best to try and be “cool” acting like seeing a movie star wasn’t the absolute highlight of my year.  I would attempt to be nonchalant and avoid the advances that my father was clearly making on my behalf.  Most of the time he didn’t even know who he was approaching, which made the whole altercation that much more embarassing especially when he misprounounced the name of the said “star” he was stalking just for me.

So, lead in to the OBIE awards.  I can’t remember the whole experience,  but I do remember standing around during some sort of cocktail hour, and there he was…Morgan Freeman.  I was in awe.  All of those psychedelic memories of his Afro and soul patch came rushing back and I guess a smile of excitement streamed across my face because my Dad suddenly became aware that it was time to stalk and embarrass.  He asked me who that was, and I said, “Dad, he’s the guy from the Electric Company!”  Needless to say, Morgan Freeman had just finished a Tony award winning performance in a play called FENCES and I think he had already starred in his comeback film, Driving Miss Daisy, but all I remembered him for was the HUGE and GIANT impact he made on me playing a wacky and memorable character on my beloved Electric Company.  My father walked over and interrupted Morgan Freeman and told him that, “his daughter was a huge fan!”  Well, with this, Morgan Freeman was thrilled and looked up to see me, an embarrassed teenager who was doing her best to pretend that she was the adopted daughter of the Asian couple standing in the corner.  My Dad signaled for me to come over and reluctantly, I finally gave in.  I came over and shook Morgan Freeman’s hand and said, “I loved you in Electric Company.”  Apparently, unbeknownst to me, that was a very dark period in Morgan Freeman’s life filled with drugs, booze and I think, a failed marriage.  He doesn’t look back on that period of his life fondly, and once I said this, his face contorted with what I can only describe as absolute and complete disgust.  He shook my hand kindly and said, “have you seen any of my other work?”  I sadly had to inform him that, no I hadn’t.  He then said, “well that was a very dark time in my life and I don’t remember much of it.”  Then, SILENCE.  Now, what is a teenage girl supposed to do at a moment like this?  I was mortified beyond understanding, and had no idea that my love of his zany antics on a 70’s kid show would create such an uncomfortable moment.  I thought maybe a tap dance to clear the air?  A joke, “knock, knock?”  Maybe, I could break out into my rendition of “The Sun will come out Tomorrow?”  I had to do something!  Instead, I just thanked him and walked away.  I spent the rest of the evening avoiding eye contact with Morgan Freeman and sat like a shrinking violet, without speaking to my father for the rest of the night.

Now, this embarrassing story might make you think that I’d turn my back on Electric Company forever, but NO!  To this day, I still hold the show in the “70’s compartment” of my brain with sheer and utter fondness.  It was part of my childhood and an angry Morgan Freeman can’t change that.  So kick up your heels in celebration, the show of my youth wil be back on PBS to entertain millions of children and Morgan Freeman can go SUCK IT!





3 Responses to “Hey You GUYS!!!!!”

  1. deb Says:

    Morgan Freeman is an ass-seriously.

  2. Lisa Says:

    Well, I’m glad you pointed out he was having personal problems — the way Greg told me that story, it just sounded like Freeman was just taking himself too seriously. But maybe he was. I mean, he’s America’s favorite Magical Negro now. (How many times has he played God — or someone like Him — at this point?)

    I just want Electric Company to come back so I can yell “Hey you guys!” at the tv screen again.

  3. Greg Says:

    Now the thing Stacie neglects to mention is that we were at the after-party for a premiere on the West End in London, back in 1997, and Rita Moreno was there. And *she* is the one who actually yelled “Hey You Guys!”

    Stacie seems to forget that one because our dad didn’t try to embarrass her that time.

    Of course, at that same party, this beautiful woman walks up to me and says: “You look familiar. Are you famous?”

    I replied “only in print.” She said “oh,” and walked away.

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