Monday, May 27, 2013

My Liberace story

I just watched the HBO movie starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon (two thumbs up, btw).

It reminded me of my one and only true-life Liberace story.

In the spring of 1984 I was a college intern at "Late Night With David Letterman." One of the highlights was Bob Dylan's appearance on the show.

Normally the interns could watch the show from the make-up room, but on this afternoon it was packed with staffers and NBC execs and their friends and colleagues--all to see Dylan.

So one of the researchers and I went backstage. Dylan played a song, and when it was over, Letterman wasn't sure if Dylan was going to come sit down. (Dylan was apparently too important to provide any advance guidance.) So Letterman walked over to him, and Dylan backed away. It was awkward. Letterman cut to a commercial.

Dylan did two more songs, then left to wild applause and walked backstage. As he passed us, my colleague said, "Great show, Bob!" Dylan said nothing and kept walking.

The next guest was Liberace--who in 1984 was, as far as I could tell, basically a gag guest, one rung above Larry Bud Mellman.

Liberace came on and sat down next to Letterman. Letterman said something to the effect of, "So what do you think of Bob Dylan?"

I thought, "Uh-oh."

Liberace immediately gushed about what a legend Dylan was, what an important mark he'd made on American music.

Nothing against Dylan, but from that day forward I liked Liberace better.

And that's my Liberace story.

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