As I noted before, I'd found out about the possible appearance late Thursday night. The travel arrangements were made about 11:30 PM Central. I headed out for the airport about 5:30 AM. As before, the drive was unremarkable, and I had no troubles at security. This time, I was able to upgrade to first class for the flight, so I did.
I was, once again, met at the escalator to baggage claim. This time, instead of a stretch limo, I had to settle for a regular Town Car. Boo hoo. (The car from the hotel to the airport last time was an S-class Mercedes.) I've come to the conclusion that a stretch limo is overkill for one passenger, especially if the driver is talkative.
The hotel was extremely busy, and didn't have a room for me when I arrived about 2 PM. To make matters worse, I managed to leave my cellphone in the car, and needed to call the producer to make arrangements. I finally got the talent coordinator to call the limo company and get my phone back. She told me that I would definitely be on the show, the first time I'd heard that. I got the room at 3 PM, two doors down from the room I had last time. Same great view.
When I got out of the shower, the phone was ringing. The producer told me about the plans for the evening. We talked about why I thought people should see TRON instead of Troy. (Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner vs. Brad Pitt? Get real.) They wanted me at the studio at 4 for a rehearsal.
I finished repacking my suitcase with just the costume and related supplies, and my complete collection of cough drops, and went down the block. I spent a couple of minutes talking to Jimmy's uncle Frank. (Yes, he really is Jimmy's uncle.) Other folks came by to say hi and shake my hand. I guess I really made an impression on them last time.
I got wired up with two little boxes, this time: a wireless mike, as before, and an IFB receiver so I could hear the program as it was going on. For the rehearsal, I wasn't in costume, so it was easy. They didn't want to put the mike transmitter inside my unitard, like we did last time, because they'd had some problems receiving at times. We talked about it a bit, then went across the street to do the rehearsal.
The rehearsal went fairly well, they thought; I wasn't that happy with it. I spent more time than I wanted to getting words out of my brain and into my mouth. The technical parts of it went well, however, so we came back. The producer I was working with discussed how we'd approach the actual show, and then I went off to get dinner, with a promise to be back at 6:15.
I actually came back to the studio about 6. I'd decided that a good brushing of teeth was called for before I inflicted myself on the unsuspecting masses, and took the time for that. I then put on the costume and waited for the sound guys. And waited, and waited. A meeting had come up that I didn't know about. Finally, we got that out of the way; the IFB receiver went inside the unitard on the dance belt, and the mike transmitter hung from a safety pin through the zipper at the bottom. They used black tape over it to make the silver box not stand out as much. I cut a couple of stitches so the mike cord could run inside the unitard.
I asked the sound guy how often he'd had to zip up a guy's tights. He said that he'd had to do lots of things in the course of his job. I decided that I wasn't going to ask about specifics.
We went outside about 7:30. I wasn't hearing anything on the IFB, so the sound guy took me off behind a sign, unzipped the unitard, and fiddled; it started working, and he zipped me back up. The show started on time. I was on the air in just about every segment, if only a short bumper shot at either end. I talked a lot. It's a good thing my voice was back to normal; if it wasn't, I don't think I'd have lasted the evening. Whenever I wasn't on camera, I was sipping at a bottle of water to try to keep the cough down; it worked most of the time, and I didn't have any major coughing fits on the air.
The bit where we walked across the street in the middle of traffic was unexpected, to say the least. It turns out that they were running short on time. They did have someone stop traffic, and it's not like I wasn't visible...
The one segment where I was doing the talking without prompting didn't go as well as I wanted. I felt like I was floundering for something to say. It wasn't as bad as it had been during the rehearsal, but it could have been better. The other parts, where they were feeding me lines, worked quite well. I guess I can't think quite as well on my feet as I thought I could, although everyone I've spoken to since pointed out that that's not exactly like anything I'd ever done before.
The show ended just before 9 PM. I got back across the street, had the sound gear removed, and decided to leave the costume on while I went to see the movie: after all, that was part of the point of the whole trip. I threw stuff in the suitcase and walked out to the theater, bought a ticket (Disney? Buy?! You must be joking. Even the guy at the ticket booth said that.), turned off the lights, took off the helmet, and went inside.
The movie is as impressive now in the theater as it was when it was first released, especially in 70mm on a big screen with a good sound system. I was disappointed in the audience, which laughed at a lot of stuff that wasn't supposed to be funny. They did give it a round of applause at the end, though.
After the movie, I put the helmet back on (easiest way to carry it) and went to look at the exhibits. I became one myself, of course; several folks wanted pictures with me, which I obliged happily. I did get a good look at the costumes they had on display: one for Yori from a deleted scene in the film (they originally shot a love scene, which can be seen on the collector's edition DVD; I can see why it was deleted, as it just didn't fit), Dumont's robe with what looked like a bodysuit underneath it (only one leg was visible, but it had painted lines on it), and a bunch of props, posters, and the like. There was one original helmet on display; it looked like they'd done some customization beyond simply painting lines on the hockey helmet they used: pieces were filled in, for example.
By this time, it was 10:45, and I was getting pretty tired. I walked back down Hollywood Boulevard to the hotel. Several folks stopped to say that they'd seen my website, and nobody said anything bad. I got back feeling pretty good, though tired. Since it was late already, I decided, once again, to stay up and watch.
The show was entertaining to watch, so I guess we did what we set out to. The bits that made it to air were funny. One guest felt compelled to comment on my (lack of) ass, but that doesn't bother me much either. On the whole, I'll take it. If I find myself doing something like it again, though, I'm going to have to work on my ability to think on my feet.
I'm still in Hollywood, and will be here through tomorrow morning. I've spent the day playing tourist, and will spend the afternoon and evening with co-workers. Once again, the car for the airport leaves at 10 AM, and I'll get home late tomorrow evening. I don't know of any plans anyone else has for me, so my 15 minutes are about up. If someone calls, though, I'll be ready...