I think for each of us there have always been a few famous people we wish we could have met at some point or another before they died. Whether they were actors, musicians, presidents or athletes, there have always been people who’ve influenced us that we always wished we had rubbed elbows with but never got the chance. And I myself am no different.
So what I’ve done is compiled my own list of the top five people I wish I would have gotten the chance to meet before they went off to the great beyond. But rather than just put together a list of people you’d most likely expect to see (like say Jesus, Beethoven or Abe Lincoln) some of the people on my list come with a little twist. You see, a few of the people on my list I would have liked to have met in person and for some others, the character that they portrayed. Confused? Don’t worry, you’ll see what I mean soon enough. Enjoy!
#5. The Mad Painter: Was there ever a child who grew up in the 1970’s and watched Sesame Street that didn’t want to hang out with the guy who went around painting numbers on things without fear of retribution?
The Mad Painter was always one of my favorite shorts from the show. I didn’t care that his real intent was to actually teach me how to draw numbers properly. I just loved watching him use his old school graffiti talent and go around painting numbers on things. The world was his canvas and as an artist, what could possibly be better than that?
Who could forget the time a young Stockard Channing (who would go on to play Rizzo in the movie Grease) was having a picnic by herself while the Mad Painter used condiments to paint “3”‘s on her sandwich? Check it out here.
The Mad Painter was portrayed by Paul Benedict (1938-2008) who most people know as Harry Bentley, the neighbor of George and Weezie on “The Jeffersons”. You remember, the dude who always got the door slammed in his face by George.
#4. Mr Rogers: I don’t know about you, but I used to love watching this show too. There was something about rushing home from elementary school and watching Mr. R take off his work jacket, put on a cardigan sweater and sneakers and hang out for a while.
At one point I used to pretend to be Mr. Rogers and do his show live from the studio inside my bedroom. And I would have given up a weeks allowance to take a ride on the Trolly. As an adult now, I think I’d get a big kick out of listening to him tell stories about the show while we listened to Smooth Jazz.
Sadly, Fred Rogers passed away in 2003.
#3. Curly From The Three Stooges: They tried three times to replace him and each time failed. Nothing compared to the fun of watching Curly do his thing. The Three Stooges were a staple in my home on Sunday mornings.
I used to, and quite frankly still do, get pissed when the intro would come on and that damn Shemp’s picture was there with my boys Moe and Larry. And if Joe was in the short well, it was definitely bathroom break time.
To me, there was no better Stooge than Curly Howard (1903-1952). Whether he was making dog barking noises or getting punished by Moe that guy just had a knack for making me laugh.
#2. Dr. Seuss: Ok, now we’re starting to get to the heavy hitters. I could have spent years talking to this man about everything from Yertle The Turtle right up to the Grinch. I would want to know every detail about how he came up with such wonderful stories and characters.
I don’t think there’s ever been an author who has written children’s books in quite the same manner or continues to fascinate them more than Dr. Seuss, even twenty years after his death. I mean, this is a guy that tackled such things as the true meaning of Christmas (Grinch), prejudice/discrimination (The Sneetches) and even environmental issues (The Lorax) way before anyone else.
And finally….drum roll please…..
#1. Bob Ross: Without a doubt this is the one person that I regret not meeting most of all. All throughout the 80’s this man was a big part of my life. I used to love coming home from high school at 2:45pm just in time to watch Bob with my grandmother when his show came on the local PBS station at 3.
When I caught his show for the first time I thought there was absolutely no way anyone could paint a picture like that in 30 minutes. And yet, he took a plain white canvas and turned it into a masterpiece in less than half an hour.
He was the one who made me start picking up my own brush and palette and I’d spend countless hours reading his instructional books and painting the pictures he did.
As a teenager filled with all the emotional rage and feelings that teenage boys often carry, his “happy tree” demeanor always made me believe that anything was possible.
I’d look at my own finished work and say: “Wow, if I can paint like this, what else can I do?”
Take a peek at the master at work here.
I wish I would have gotten the chance to meet him before he died in 1995. If for nothing more than just to say… “Thanks!”
Now it’s your turn. Share some of the people you’ve always wanted to meet but never got the chance to.