Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Toy Car Charges Joe Walsh
For a (Thankfully) brief period back in 1989 I worked at the Radio Shack store on Ventura Blvd. in Studio city, just east of Whitsett Blvd. This part of Studio City is a celebrity seekers paradise because quite a few celebrities lived in the area, and because the CBS Radford Studios runs parallel to Ventura one block north. One of the music celebrities who lived in the hills above Ventura was Joe Walsh.
One night during the Christmas season I was standing at the counter when in walked Joe Walsh, as I found out just arrived back in the states from a visit to Japan. Precisely at the moment Joe crossed the threshold and before I could return his smile one of the many radio control cars we had on the floor for display started to move, on its own, toward Joe. He stopped in his tracks and let out a humorous "Whoa!". He asked how I did that since both hands were visible and I was not holding a remote control. I told him I did nothing. Once in awhile the cars just take off from some mysterious signal on the same frequency as the remote control. He was amazed and began to look around at what we had. Our standard policy was to acknowledge a celebrity if we made eye contact but not to engage them unless they approached you with a question. Joe however quickly started asking me questions about a variety of products. We ended up at the glass counter where he asked me about a small portable Tandy word processor we had on display. I took it out and he played with it a bit which was a relief because I knew very little about it at the time. I was not sure if he knew much about it but he decided he wanted one. So I went in back and got him a new one in the box.
At that time Radio Shack pestered customers for their names and addresses for direct mailing purposes. With stars I would always ask for a business address for the record. Most gave it, some didn't which I understood, I never game them my information when I was a customer. Anyway I started to enter the information when Joe asked if we had a bathroom he could use. i pointed the way and finished the transaction. While Joe was in the bathroom his driver came in looking for him. We spoke for a minute or so while we waited and it was then that he told me Joe just got off an airplane from Japan. Joe came back and I handed him his word processor and he thanked me and I thanked him. Being an admirer of his work I was glad he seemed like a happy and nice man.
I ran into Joe once again a few years later at the Ralph's Supermarket on the corner of Ventura and Coldwater Canyon. He was ahead of us in the check out line. I said nothing as I knew he probably did not remember that night. But to this day I remember his face when that remote control car charged at him.