Watching the television commercials during the 2002 Winter Olympics was almost as entertaining as some of the competition.
You may have noticed in one commercial, actor Kevin Bacon tries to make a purchase with his credit card but has forgotten his identification. When he runs amok trying to get people to identify him for the clerk, it seems more like a bit from a Pink Panther movie than real life. Of course, that may happen to one of us ordinary folks but never to a celebrity. Well, that’s the reason they invented the saying “only in Las Vegas.”
One such episode happened to a well-known comedic actor at one of the celebrity-laden Alan King tennis tournaments at Caesars Palace.
Among those in the enclosed media/celebrity area of the stands were Diana Ross, Howard Cosell and Olympic track great Rafer Johnson.
In order to get into that area, you had to show a special pass, if you weren’t wearing it around your neck. There was a rather husky female security guard at the entrance to make sure you showed it.
One of the famous VIPs got up during the pre-match ceremonies to get some munchies and came back with his hands full of soda pop, hot dogs and other goodies. When he got to the security guard, she asked him for his identification pass.
Both hands full and his I.D. obviously in his pocket, he insisted that he belonged in that area ”” that he was already in and just went out to get food. The guard was not convinced.
He relentlessly insisted that he was who he said he was, but she said she couldn’t take his word and had to see his I.D.
The steam was coming out from under his beret as he continued to plead his case ”” that the pass was in his pocket and his hands were full. He even offered her the opportunity to go into his pocket for it. But, of course, she refused.
Just when it looked like he was going to give up and walk away ”” presumably to put down the food and get his I.D. card ”” he looked up and saw me, clicking away, capturing every humorous moment (though maybe only to me) on film. Eureka! He had found a form of I.D. similar to Kevin Bacon’s. “Hey, you, you with the camera,” he started shouting, “Who are you taking pictures of? Tell her, who you’re taking pictures of!”
It was a funny thought, that he actually expected his form of I.D. to be someone else the guard didn’t know, verifying he was who he said he was.
I put the camera aside and confirmed for the guard that the man indeed, was well-known TV personality, Carl Reiner! And he had, indeed, been seated inside before he went for some refreshments.
He finally got the okay, walked past me, looked at me with an I-can’t-believe-that-just-happened expression and went to his seat.
The guard looked at me one more time and said, admonishingly, “If he’s not who you said he was, it’s your neck.”
One wonders what she would have done if we had as many celebrity impersonators running around Las Vegas as we do today and he turned out to be someone who just looked like Carl Reiner. She was no skinny little counter clerk like the guy in Bacon’s credit card commercial!