Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Godzilla vs. Monster Zero

I've had to be a bit brief these last few days as my daughter had an appendix scare, so it's been in and out of the hospital the last few days. Seems to have abated for now. Who knows when the other shoe might drop, though.

I wanted to post about my Letterman year, 1987, when I put up that picture Monday. I got to thinking about it when I met these teenagers at Scary Camp in Dayton a week or two ago, and found out one was born that very year.

Way back then I worked on several drafts longhand, then typed the whole 135 page beast on an electric typewriter (actually a step up from the manual I used in high school), and I remember staying up almost all night the night before adding stuff, and working all day on the due date, then getting on my bicycle and pedaling over to the department office just minutes before the deadline.

This may seem arcane to young blog readers today, much the same way that a box of old love letters my wife found in her mother's attic last weekend prompted our daughter to wonder why anyone would write actual letters on paper and put stamps on them and use the post office to send them, forgetting that this was done in the cold, barren frontier days before the Internet and ibooks and digital cable and the like.

I was the first person to win a scholarship with a script, and now scripts win regularly, so I'd like to think I blazed the trail, though it would have eventually gotten blazed anyway. Back then the scholarship awards was its own program (not it is part of the annual Telecommunications banquet), and with much pomp and circumstance they showed clips from each entry. When they got to my entry the moderator held up my script and said, "And here's a script entry from John Dalton," and dropped it on the podium with an unceremonious thump, and I slunk down in my chair as all eyes turned on me with some disbelief (or so it appeared to my 20-year-old eyes). So I got to have that moment of abject embarrassment and those stabbing pangs of regret, and hopefully for those after me the feelings were less sharp.

When other winners were announced they got up and gave long speeches thanking their casts, crews, etc., but I got up and thanked the Smith-Corona typewriter company and the makers of White-Out and sat down rather abruptly. I guess I was a little shit even back then.

The really cool part was back then you also got tickets to the Letterman show, and that spring break my wife and brother and a girl he picked up around that time and myself all drove to New York and had many adventures. It is so far lost in time that the guests on David Letterman that night included Isiah Thomas, when he played for the Pistons, and Terrence Trent D'Arby; and Chris Elliot popped out of a hatch in the audience.

My most memorable Letterman moment: seeing a huge line snaking down the hall at NBC and proudly marching to the front and asking where the VIP line was, only to have your stereotypically world-weary New Yorker tell me that it WAS the VIP line.

Letterman Scholarship in the spring, China and Korea that summer, married in the fall; 'twas my favorite year.

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