When I was 11 1/2 years old visiting my father in New York City, we went to a movie in Times Square starring at the time perhaps the world’s most famous sexual icon after Marilyn Monroe, Raquel Welch. The name of the movie was “Kansas City Bomber” about a very attractive roller derby queen. Being a huge fan of Ms. Welch, I sat in the front row while my father and brother sat more towards the middle of the theatre. On the same trip, I bought a poster of her wrapped in a red, white, and blue American flag.
I mention this because one Saturday afternoon, while on business at the Los Angeles Convention Center, I ran into a friend of mine from the East Coast attending the same event. She, Tina, asked if I was going on any of the sightseeing tours being offered to our group. Since I had been to the Los Angeles area many times, I wasn’t interested in a sightseeing tour, but she said “Mr. Andre (as she affectionately referred to me) you are not going to miss Raquel Welch getting her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.” I replied “Are you kidding? There’s a sightseeing tour going to Raquel Welch’s Walk of Fame ceremony!” She said she was sure of it. Well, being the big fan I had been my whole life, I rushed over to where the tours were departing and somehow got myself on this tour.
When we arrived in Hollywood, there were lots of fans in the street and an area roped off for VIPs for a pre-ceremony reception. Our tour included being able to attend the Hollywood starlet’s pre-event reception, so we were suddenly behind the ropes. Hollywood’s Honorary Mayor, Johnny Grant, spoke to us about his long history presiding over these Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremonies, and those of us on the tour were able to walk around, enjoy the snacks and refreshments available, and soak up the ambiance that surrounds these types of events.
I spotted Raquel Welch wearing a form-fitting beige pants suit, the same Raquel who I had sat in the front row to watch as a child. I thought she must starve herself because even though she now was moving past middle age, she had that same bombshell figure that I remembered. As I casually moved in her direction hoping to begin a conversation, I ended up making small talk with a friendly young man and another man. I had no idea who either of them were until a few minutes later when Raquel Welch walked up to join us.
One of the men I had been speaking with was Darren Star. Yes ladies, thee Darren Star who created your favorite show “Sex and the City” and who is current executive producer of the movie of the same name. Raquel was appearing in one of his prime time television series at the time called “Central Park West.” The other younger man was Raquel’s son. Once she walked over to us, suddenly I was in this small group of four which included Raquel Welch, her son (pictured with her at the ceremony), Darren Star, and myself. Since I had been talking with Mr. Star and also her son during the reception, I didn’t feel that out of place. That is until Raquel asked one of them who I was. Oh, oh… they didn’t know, but I was just a guy on a sightseeing tour! Rather than admit to that, I stayed cool and casually walked away.
Soon, we were out on the sidewalk in front of the Hollywood shopping and entertainment complex where Johnny Grant unveiled Raquel’s star to us and her adoring fans. What a thrill I thought as I remembered the time when I was 11 1/2 years old in New York City sitting in the front row of a Times Square movie theatre.