Apr 4, 2007

Serendipity

I think you could think of serendipity as "...the art of finding something while looking for something else."

I had one of those moments today and it simply blew my mind. Today at work we got to talking about gameshows. It first started out with The 10,000 Dollar Pyramid and moved on to the death of a recent gameshow host Peter Tomarken from Press Your Luck. This gameshow was like Wheel of Fortune because contestants moved around a lighted square board trying to win cash, prizes and gifts while avoiding a cartoon character known as The Whammy who could take all their winnings.

I was half paying attention until I heard Andrew speak up that his high school buddy was the person who animated The Whammy. He went on to say that this friend was now doing children's shows, but used to write/direct movies back in the 80's. He must have said something specific that clicked in my head because all of a sudden I jumped up and nearly shouted, "Savage Steve Holland??"

Indeed, Andrew was good friends back in the day with one of my favorite writer/directors of all time. I couldn't believe it. I was dumb-struck and nearly speechless.I think I just kept saying over and over again, "You've got to be kidding me? You're serious? I can't believe this! " I'm not ashamed to say that I've actually done research on Savage Steve Holland and posted to various message boards asking whatever happened to him because it seemed like he just disappeared in the mid 80's. He was the twisted version of John Hughes for me.

You're probably wondering who the heck he is, right? Savage Steve Holland wrote/directed two of my favorite 80's movies: Better Off Dead (1985) and One Crazy Summer (1986) starring John Cusack.

Better Off Dead is one of those classic teen angst comedies about a depressed teen who loses his girlfriend Beth to a hotshot skier and tries to win her back while dealing with his crazy family. But I think one of the most memorable characters in the movie is the persistent paperboy Johnny who chases after Lane Myer throughout the movie trying in vain to collect his two dollars.

Here's a classic example of verbal sparring:

Lane: Sorry Johnny, I don't have a dime.
Johnny: Didn't ask for a dime. Two dollars.

Lane: My little brother got his arm stuck in the microwave. So my mom had to take him to the hospital. My grandma dropped acid this morning, and she freaked out. She hijacked a busload of penguins. So it's sort of a family crisis. Bye!

It's one of my all-time favorite movies. My husband and I have watched it countless times and I was so pleased when it was finally released on DVD. So to randomly hear from Andrew that he was good friends with Steve Holland was just about too much to absorb today. He drove the shock home even further by telling me about the time he broke his leg and how Steve drew pictures on his cast. (A sick part of me was wondering if he still had the cast, but of course he didn't!)

Now here is the freaky part. Later on in the day Teri (another woman that I work with) was having her computer serviced and the technician's cell phone rang. But it wasn't an ordinary jingle. The ringtone was a few sentences of a man talking and when she asked about the unique ringtone, the technician told her it was a film quote from one of his favorite movies (wait for it)...Better Off Dead!

By days end, Terri and I were still marveling at what a coincidence it was that the technician had that specific ringtone. We got to talking about movies again and she told me that in Texas it's so hot that people will just go to movies to get out of the heat and into the A/C so there's little movies that she's ever walked out of. She did however tell me of two movies that she did leave midway through. One of them was Xanadu! Yea, that was it for me. Anyone that knows me really well knows of my love for this roller-disco treasure.I had all the coincidences of the day that I could handle. I packed my bags and went home. It was simply too much.

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