Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Gregory Peck saves the day...1956

I am a North-easterner by birth and disposition but at one time I actually worked and played in Santa Barbara, California. It wasn’t for long...little more than a year; but, it was there that I had one of my all-time favorite memories.

I had graduated from College (Boston University) in 1954 and, after a short stint at an Advertising Agency I spent a little over a year at WWNY radio station in Watertown, NY, where I wrote advertising commercials...some even set to jingles.

Lots of fun but time to move on. I had a sister & family living in Ventura, California and I decided to head that way and try my luck at finding work. I was very lucky indeed since I was hired as head of the Publicity Dept. for KEYT...a small television station in Santa Barbara.

I was barely 23 and in on the ground floor of the burgeoning TV era, but I was a complete novice as to the workings of a publicity department. I couldn’t believe it when my boss told me that the MGM movie “Moby Dick” was going to premier in Santa Barbara and it was my job to act as liaison between the stars of the movie and the press.

The big day arrived and I went down to meet the train that would bring everyone to Santa Barbara. Of course the place was packed and it was all I could do to stay at the front of the line to welcome the cast and crew.

Then all of a sudden there he was, stepping off the train...Gregory Peck He seemed bigger than life to me and I felt my legs quake and I was afraid I was going to faint. I pulled myself together and managed to get his attention. In a very quivering voice I introduced myself and explained that I was brand new at KEYT and had no idea how to proceed.

I will never forget what happened next. He put his arm around me and started walking with me into the crowd of reporters. Of course they started to bombard him with questions but his only answer was, “Sorry, you’ll have to clear that through Virginia. We are guests of KEYT and she will arrange it all for you.” This was not technically true but it certainly worked like magic for me...and he was true to his word. I don’t know about the rest of the cast, but no one talked to “Captain Ahab” without clearing it first with me!

“Moby Dick” is a John Huston film classic that is often replayed today. Gregory Peck’s masterful portrayal of the crusty Captain Ahab is spellbinding, but nothing compared to the actual man. He truly was, and is, my only filmdom hero.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

They sure don't make film stars like they used to.

BTW. In cockney rhyming slang Gregory Peck unusually has two meanings. One being 'cheque' as in "I'll pay by Gregory" and the other being 'neck' as in "Get it down yer Gregory" when being offered a drink.

7:14 AM  
Blogger KGMom said...

Oh Ginnie--Gregory Peck has always been at the top of my personal list too.
WOW! You got to meet him. Double wow--he put his arm around your shoulder.
Yet another famous person whom Ginnie has met. What a life!

8:21 AM  
Blogger kenju said...

WOW! I am impressed. He is one of my very favorites!

I met Cliff Robertson here in Raleigh when he came to be an ambassador for the Am. Cancer Society (and I did flowers for their fund-raising gala). He didn't put his arm around me, but we shook hands and he mentioned the flowers and my earrings. He was gorgeous in person, but shorter than I am. Sort of bursts my bubble when they are short...LOL

10:12 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

You have led life and met and known very interesting people.

1:49 PM  
Blogger robin ann mcintosh said...

are you kidding?? you are my hero :) what a life you have led... you must be proud.

<3 have a wonderful weekend.

7:29 PM  
Blogger Bud said...

I'm impressed Ginnie...but much too young to remember him.

2:48 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

Wow! Gregory Peck... swoon... one of my favorite actors. Not just because of his talent but because of who he was. And you MET him. You have had THE most interesting life, Ginnie, I love reading your stories.

8:20 AM  
Blogger Chancy said...

Thanks for sharing this wonderful story with us.

8:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh wow....what an experience for a 23 year old!
Talk about a gentleman, huh? He certainly was that and what an impression he made for you to vividly recall that experience all these years later. Nice story about a very nice human being.

6:22 AM  

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