Back in 1991 I happened to snag a couple passes to the 30th anniversary special screening of the recently restored classic film that Martin Scorsese labeled as "one of the greatest epic films ever made," El Cid.
I had only ever viewed the flick before on tv, as a crappy telecine'd print that wasn't even panned-and-scanned, so I was excited to see the newly restored print, in all it's widescreen Dolby sound glory.
Since I was attending the screening as a replacement for the nice lady at the non-profit independent film organization where I often volunteered, I kept a low profile and hid the pre-printed name badge under my sport coat, lest someone mistake me for "Lynette Mathis."
The film was spectacular, the soundtrack immense, and not a single person laughed out loud at the final image of the stuffed, stiff, and very deceased "El Cid" riding down the beach to lead his army to victory. Even the requisite falsetto mingling/wine in plastic cups/bacon-wrapped chicken nuggets post-screening affair was non-heinous.
Before leaving I excused myself to the little boys room and sooner than you can say, "Soylent Green is people," I found myself urinating next to El Cid / Moses / Ben Hur / Colonel "take your stinking paws off me you damn dirty ape" Taylor / and the former NRA President himself, Charlton Heston.
We didn't speak. He finished before I did, zipped up, washed his hands, did a quick check in the mirror and was out before I had a chance to collect my thoughts and finish the business that I went into the bathroom to do.
Missed opportunity? Perhaps.
Brush with greatness? Maybe
Half way decent story to blog the man off to his maker? I think so.
Charlton Heston was one of the movie icons of my youth and his passing yesterday reminded me of how much "Heston" and his masculine on-screen antics my Dad, Brother and I shared and bonded over in the days of my youth.
Enjoy your eternal rest, Chuck, and we'll continue to enjoy your flickers.