When radio station KPRI announced a Van Morrison concert in L.A. that they’d be taking listeners to, I talked my way into joining afternoon DJ Oz in the limo to the show. We picked up the contest winners in Solana Beach and headed up.

Our seats at the Hollywood Bowl were two rows behind Dan Aykroyd, and I saw Robbie Robertson of the Band talking with someone I heard was the producer of Barney Miller and Night Court.

San Diego ticket broker Phil Cox was roaming around. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a concert where I didn’t see him.

We all enjoyed Van Morrison’s anniversary tribute to Astral Weeks and then picked up some wine for the trip back.

Other events I’ve crashed in L.A. proved to be more difficult.

One was for record producer George Martin, who is best known for his work with the Beatles. I have a Sgt. Pepper’s album cover signed by the entire band and wanted to get his signature. I thought this would be my best if not last chance, as Martin lives in the U.K. and is 90 years old.

The first event Martin would attend was on the USC campus, which provided two chances at meeting him — his arrival and departure.

I walked around the building and saw two security guards near the back, so I stood nearby pretending to read a magazine. I heard one of the guards on his walkie-talkie give the details of his arrival.

For 20 minutes, I watched as several autograph-seekers scouted out the area, trying to decide where to go.

Two black Lincoln Town Cars and a black SUV with tinted windows pulled up. It was as if the president was arriving. Three security guards stood by; one was pressing an earpiece to his head.

As Martin got out, people from the front of the building ran to get to him. They didn’t make it in time, which didn’t matter — four of us called his name from a few feet away, and he didn’t look at us. The guards had Martin ushered inside the building within seconds.

I noticed one guy had an Abbey Road album signed by guitarist George Harrison. Another person had a piece of paper with Paul McCartney’s signature on it.

As the autograph-seekers left, several saying they’d be back in a few hours, I went to crash the event.

I was wearing a tie and slacks, and as a group of well-dressed people approached the entrance to the party, I walked in with them. One of the women at the table was checking name tags, but none of us stopped. It worked perfectly.

I grabbed some white wine and saw music producer Jimmy Jam standing nearby. He looked spiffy in his bowler and pin-striped suit.

Once I got inside, I sat near the back. I saw guitarist Slash walk by — without his hat. When Jam sat down in the front row, I wondered if he’d take his off so others could see.

For two hours, Martin held our interest talking about the making of Sgt. Pepper’s while screening intermittent video segments.

As he was leaving the stage, one guy tossed an album up for him to sign. He glanced at it and kept walking.

Before Martin came out, one of the autograph-seekers said, “Instead of us all yelling and causing a ruckus, why don’t we all applaud? Maybe he’ll appreciate that more than just a bunch of Sharpies up in the air, with all the yelling.”

Martin came out and we applauded. He smiled, waved, and got into a black Jaguar. As the car drove off, he rolled the window down and thanked us. But he didn’t sign anything.

I still had the following day. My editor at Autograph Magazine put me up in a Marriott, so I checked into my room and crashed.

That weekend at the Marriott, there was an autograph show, like the one in the upstairs area of the convention center during Comic-Con. And, they have many of the same celebrities. What blew me away at this show was that it cost $30 to get in, and each celebrity would charge for his or her autograph, usually $25 an item.

Autograph Magazine got me free admission and a room, and I told my boss that I’d hang with him at the booth to help promote the magazine.

The woman at the door gave me a wristband, but when I got to the Autograph booth, a coworker said, “You should have a name tag, since you write for the magazine. Some people might want to meet you.” The thought that someone would want to meet me made me laugh. I mean, Lou Ferrigno, the Hulk, was sitting at the table across from us.

When I walked back over to the lady at the door, she got upset and yelled, “The wristband gets you in! I can’t just hand you a name tag!” I explained that I write for the magazine, and she said, “We don’t just have name tags laying around.” I glanced down and saw a pile of blank name tags. I said, “I can just take one of those and write my name in it.” She barked, “That would be unprofessional!”

After some wrangling, she gave in.

I saw Ed Begley Jr. by the front door. He had copies of his movies on his table, and he was working on his laptop. I asked how much he was charging for his autograph, and he said $10. His was the cheapest autograph there, and he told me that a portion of the money goes to green charities. I ran to my car to get a Spinal Tap CD from my trunk and handed him my credit card. I told him that I was the guy in the Spinal Tap shirt when he came down to Del Mar for the fair a few years back and that we had talked about his movie The In-Laws. He said, “Oh, yeah. I remember that conversation. You’re Josh.” I said, “Wow. You are the coolest celebrity ever, remembering my name.” He replied, “Well, it was an interesting conversation about the history of comedic films.”

We talked briefly as he ran my card. It seemed weird having Begley put in all the numbers of my Visa. It’s a lot of work for $10. I felt bad. When he asked me to sign the receipt, I said, “Cool, I can tell people that Ed Begley asked for my autograph.” He laughed and said, “Yeah, but I have a confession to make. I didn’t remember you from the fair. I glanced at your name tag.”

Next week, more L.A. stories: arm-wrestling the Hulk and a brawl...almost.

More from SDReader

Comments

SurfPuppy619 Sept. 30, 2009 @ 3:45 p.m.

The "Hulk" is an idiot.

Big Lou is surviving these days by selling autographed pics at comic conventions, and he is not very well liked in BBing or the comic communities.

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Josh Board Sept. 30, 2009 @ 4:44 p.m.

Ya know...it's really odd. I have no problem with these guys making money. It's the fact that they charge $25 for a signature. That guy who played Jaws (Richard Kiel), charging $25. He was in Longest Yard and some Bond films.

Now, watching old-time baseball players and negro league players making money at card shows...I love seeing that. These guys didn't make the huge money the players now make. And Joe DiMaggio once said, he made more money doing the card shows then he ever did as a player. And, they're making the items they sign (baseballs, bats, head shots) worth a lot more.

But, actors should price accordingly. Jaws should be charging $5 an autograph. And giving them to kids for free.

A-Rod or an A-list actor, can charge $25.

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nellsonic Oct. 1, 2009 @ 9:34 a.m.

"We all enjoyed Van Morrison’s anniversary tribute to Astral Weeks and then picked up some wine for the ride home."

That's all you've got to say about this historic concert?

The rest is about the scene.

You are the kind of hoser that should just buy the DVD and put it unopened on display somewhere. Concerts are for music fans who are there for the music and care about it.

You do write pretty well though.

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Josh Board Oct. 1, 2009 @ 10:32 a.m.

Thanks for the back-handed compliment. I'll take it!

Okay, I'm going to probably tick you off with this, but here goes it. Astral Weeks, to me, has always been the most overrated record of all-time by the critics. Seriously. Moondance is so much better. It's a blend of poetry, jazz, and rock. It's a thing of beauty.

Sure, Astral has its moments. And, it reminds me of when Love was doing their Forever Changes album in its entirety (a great record, but also overrated by the critics).

When I think of all the amazing Van Morrison songs...Into the Mystic, Moondance, Mystic Eyes, Tupelo Honey, Blue Money, Domino, Wild Nights, TB Sheets...none of them are on Astral!

Believe me, I hate the people that just go to the big concerts for the event. I even say that in one of the Daily Crasher blogs, regarding Stones and Eagles concerts.

And I especially hate when I go to see some legend at the Belly Up (James Cotton comes to mind), and people are talking, not appreciating the fact that some of us want to hear the show, and see this legendary musician.

Peace.

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Josh Board Oct. 1, 2009 @ 10:42 a.m.

Nell...one more thing. The story on this LA trip ended up being over 8,000 words, and each column is about 1,200 words. So, I already had to make it in parts. And that didn't give me a lot of time to talk about Morrison and the specifics of the concert.

Here's a link to the blog I was referring to, where people don't appreciate music:

http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/daily-crasher/2009/sep/30/stop-and-smell-the-rosesand-leave-a-tip-for-joshua/#comments

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SurfPuppy619 Oct. 3, 2009 @ 12:39 p.m.

That guy who played Jaws (Richard Kiel), charging $25. He was in Longest Yard and some Bond films.

But, actors should price accordingly. Jaws should be charging $5 an autograph. And giving them to kids for free.

A-Rod or an A-list actor, can charge $25.

By JoshBoard

Richard Keil was in "Happy Gilmore" with Adam Sandler!

I can't see someone paying $25 for his autograph.

Lou charges $20 a pop, same goes if you wanted to get a pic with him. Lou is not even a third rate actor-he is in a lower range than Jaws is.

Plus Lou is a very unlikeable guy-he is always grouchy, always complaining-constantly, and as a general rule is not very happy. He has an over inflated ego of his actual worth and place in life.

If you want a good idea about what Lou is like, and his thinking-read his book- he wrote it about his Dad, Matt. He wrote an entire book about how he hates his Dad. Oh, and don't forget that he SUED his brother and sister in law (who was going through cancer treatment at the time of the lawsuit) because they had been running a gym equipment copmany named "Ferrigno's" in Brooklynn NY.

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Josh Board Oct. 3, 2009 @ 2:31 p.m.

Interesting. He does always appear crouchy.

But, I'm guessing Lou Ferrigno autographs are worth more than Kiels. Here's why.

Ferrigno on Incredible Hulk merchandise. That, right there.

Also, Ferrigno had a big role in the latest Paul Rudd movie "I Love You, Man." (although, yeah, Kiel has done more films).

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SurfPuppy619 Oct. 3, 2009 @ 3:36 p.m.

Back in the late 70's when Lou got the Hulk role, Arnold was also trying to get that role-before Arnold made it big in Conan in 82 and really big in terminator in 84.

My feeling is if Arnold had gotten that role I think his movie career would have been over, because he would have never gotten a real acting job after the cartoon Hulk character, just as Lou hasn't made it as an actor.

Like I said-Lou's primary source of inomce these days is signing autographs at comic book shows and BBing shows-and there are just a handful of those every year. Pretty sad I think.

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Josh Board Oct. 4, 2009 @ 1:30 a.m.

Hey...that's a real interesting point. I often think about actors and how things like that could've happened.

The only problem with those two examples is this. Lou might not have gotten acting roles, because of his being deaf and not speaking very well. Sure, Ah-nold can barely speak English (still), but enough that he can talk like a robotic terminator.

Also...I don't think Arnold playing the Hulk would've hurt him, as him playing Conan didn't type cast him or anything.

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SurfPuppy619 Oct. 4, 2009 @ 9:35 a.m.

The only problem with those two examples is this. Lou might not have gotten acting roles, because of his being deaf and not speaking very well. Sure, Ah-nold can barely speak English (still), but enough that he can talk like a robotic terminator.

Also...I don't think Arnold playing the Hulk would've hurt him, as him playing Conan didn't type cast him or anything.

By JoshBoard

LOL....if you EVER saw Lou's version of "Hercules" you would not even think for a second that his hearing was the problem-I swear you need to see this show for the laughfest of the year.

As for Arnold not being hurt or type cast if he would have gotten the Hulk, I disagree completely. The Hulk was a small screen TV show where Lou had no lines whatsoever-all he did was grunt-that is not acting, that is comedy. Conan was a well done, MAJOR big budget film and cannot in any way shape or form be compared to the Hulk. I still have a hard time believing Arnold wasa hired for Conan with his extremely limted acting up until that point in time. Arnold was super lucky when he got that shot, no doubt about it,

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cold666pack Oct. 24, 2009 @ 5:34 p.m.

"Days like this" is an Awesome Van Morrison album, check out "Ancient Highway" it has the most amazing organ solo you've ever heard. The album "Enlightenment" is also incredible. And Lou Ferigno is a cool guy, even though he charges for his autograph he does do A LOT of charity stuff in LA.

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cold666pack Oct. 24, 2009 @ 5:42 p.m.

hmmmm I didnt know about the lawsuit surfpuppy mentions. thats poopy.

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SurfPuppy619 Oct. 24, 2009 @ 6:21 p.m.

And Lou Ferigno is a cool guy, even though he charges for his autograph he does do A LOT of charity stuff in LA.

By cold666pack

Name one thing Lou hs done for charity (the reserve sheriff gig doesn't count).

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