Sunday, July 8, 2007

True Story .. just ask Warren Moon

I was asked in church this morning about my appearance a few weeks ago on CNN to talk about the Jessie Davis case on Larry King. The appearance went well, but the truth is, I met Larry King a few years ago in Florida and there's a funny sidebar to it all.

I was attending the Childrens Miracle Network gathering at Disney in Orlando. It's an entire week of "work" getting interviews and ideas for the local telethons that benefit our area hospitals. At that time, Tim Daugherty (WONE) and I were co-hosts of the annual event for Childrens Hospital here in Akron. One of the perks of our roles was the annual trip to Disney to network with other CMN groups and take part in the national CMN events.

Larry King was one of the celebrity presenters that year and held a session one afternoon to take general questions. It was a great experience. The two stories that stand out in my mind included one where he bragged about fathering a child in his 70's without Viagra. The other was about a strange woman calling him at a radio station in the middle of the night for a rendezvous. This was 50 years ago. He claims he put on a long album and ran out to meet her, but in the throws of passion, he heard the record start to skip on the air, so he had to leave and run back quickly. King also shared a story about his interview style. For example, when there's a major fire, King says that Ted Koppel will ask the fire chief, "how much damage has there been?" and "what kind of injuries have there been?" King, on the other hand, would ask the chief, "what makes a perfectly healthy man want to go inside a building while it's on fire?"

Anyway, the funny part came on the night when King was supposed to present one of the CMN awards at a black-tie dinner. Daugherty and I had our tickets (and our tuxes) to attend the dinner as one of the 1,000+ CMN participants. While we were gathering in the lobby, we saw LK in the distance heading out to a private patio. TD and I decided to wander over and take a look at the VIP gathering. We could see a handful of celebrities (TV, Film, sports figures, etc.) all having drinks and chatting with a lot of the "real-money" civilian types. TD and I kind of looked at each other and thought, why couldn't we be out there too? I told Tim, if we walk out there and stare at the celebs, we'll get tossed out for sure. But if we just talk to each other in confident conversation, I'll bet we can fool em into thinking we belong there. So we decided to give it a shot and crash the event.

We wandered in making conversation about the stock market, and heading straight for a waiter who bought the 007 roles we were playing and handed us champagne. TD and I then sauntered over towards the food tables and got a plate of shrimp that were as big as my head. As we drank and chatted, we whispered about all the folks we were seeing up close and personal. Merlin Olson. Larry King of course. Delilah from the national radio show. We were really pulling it off like a couple of big shots. That's when I bumped into someone who came up behind me. "Warren Moon!" I yelled without thinking. The Hall of Fame quarterback just looked at me. Then at Tim. Then kept walking away. Unfortunately, I said it loud enough that plenty of the VIPs heard me and it was obvious that our secret agent identities were out in the open. At that point, I locked eyes with Larry King who seemed to have a light bulb go off that signaled, "aren't those the two guys from Akron who were in the front row of my talk?"

Tim and I made a quick exit to the lobby again and rejoined the masses where we belonged. Fortunately, none of the security folks followed us. We vowed never to speak of it again, but something tells me that if I ever come eye-to-eye with Larry King again, he'll remember it. If he does, I'll be quick to fess up that it was Tim's idea :)

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