• Bryon, nicknamed “Brynie,” was the eldest of the Seven Little Foys, whose real last name was Fitzgerald. When he met John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the President told him, “You know, Brynie, all we Fitzgeralds are related.” Bryon asked, “What about Ella?”
• When Darci Kistler, a ballerina for the New York City Ballet, was growing up, her nickname was “Crash.” The nickname was the result of her learning to ride a small motorcycle — a Honda Yamaha 80 — and crashing into a tree.
• The parents of stand-up comedian Carrie Snow are supportive of her choice of careers. In fact, her mother tells her, “Please make it soon. I hate those award ceremonies where people look up to the sky and say, ‘Mom, if you’re watching ….’” Ms. Snow inherited her sense of humor from her parents, who once placed this ad in a Jewish newspaper: “Our movie star daughter is too busy to look for a husband, so we’ll look for her.” Her mother even showed up at a pre-arranged meeting spot, wearing a carnation.
• Paul Draper tap danced to classical music. However, before he was famous he became stranded without money in the South of France. He wired his parents for money and received the reply, “You’ve sown wild oats for long enough. Will send fare. Come home. Undertake some respectable profession.” Mr. Draper gladly accepted the money and came home, but he went right on tap dancing to classical music.
• Following her gold-medal-winning performance in the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany, Soviet gymnast Olga Korbut toured the United States. Before she left home to go on tour, her parents gave her this advice: “Be careful, be first, be joyful.”
• Metropolitan Opera tenor Richard Tucker and his family strictly observed the Jewish holidays, even while traveling in areas where Jews were rare. While in a restaurant in a Western city during Passover, they asked for the unleavened bread called matzos — but the waitress brought them matches.
• Children’s book author Gary Paulsen owned a dog named Columbia that had a sense of humor. Mr. Paulsen’s dogs have separate houses and are chained — the chains keep them separated so that they can’t fight each other. Every other day or so, each dog gets a big bone with some meat on it. Columbia took his bone and pushed it very close to the area that belonged to a dog named Olaf. The bone was so close that Olaf could lunge at the bone and touch it, but the bone was not so close that Olaf could get the bone and chew it. Columbia watched Olaf try to get the bone for several minutes, and then, according to Mr. Paulsen, Columbia laughed. The realization that a dog could plan a practical joke like that, carry it out, and get enjoyment from it made Mr. Paulsen realize that dogs and other animals are more intelligent than they are often given credit for, and he stopped killing animals, even those animals he had been using for food.
• While in high school, Stephen Wozniak created a ticking device which he placed in a gym bag. The principal heard the device, thought it was a bomb, grabbed the gym bag and took it outside the school. (Don’t do this. Stephen got in trouble because of his practical joke.)
• After actors Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith became a couple, they were plagued by the paparazzi, who followed them constantly during a visit to Spain, even when the couple wanted to be alone. Therefore, Mr. Banderas struck a deal with the paparazzi — if they would allow him and Ms. Griffith to be alone on Tuesdays and Thursdays, they would agree to be photographed the other days of the week.
• When four-year-old Ekaterina Gordeeva, the future winner of two Olympic gold medals in pairs skating with Sergei Grinkov, started skating, even the smallest skates were too big for her feet. Her mother and grandmother solved the problem of little Ekaterina’s feet slipping out of her skating boots by knitting several pairs of socks for her to wear while skating.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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