My boss, his wife, my ex, and I were in LA a couple of days early for a bank conference. We rode around the Hollywood Hills getting looks at interesting homes, some occupied by celebrities. As we went around a curve, Russ' wife, Margie, noticed a man in a suit and a loosened tie rolling his garbage cans down to the end of his driveway. When she realized who it was, Margie shrieked, "It's Bob Barker!" The volume and pitch of her exclamation alarmed Russ, who reacted by hitting the brakes and causing the tires to squeal. Since our position in the curve had us pointed directly at the game show icon, he was the next person to be alarmed. Mild fear was on his face as we passed and waved.
We had left the hills and were riding down a divided boulevard when we decided to pull over and take a look at our map. As we did, a red Mercedes passed us on the left. When it was directly across from us, Margie resumed the performance of her duties as our announcer and slightly less alarmingly said, “It’s Walter Matthau!” Sure enough, when the red car was completely in front of us, we could see the license plate, which read, “Waltz.”
We decided to follow him to his destination to see him get out of his car to give us a full view of his starriness. This was not stalking, rather more like bird watching with the hope seeing a hump-shouldered Oscar Madison in his natural habitat. He finally pulled into the driveway at a house, the front yard of which was abound with signage wishing a happy fiftieth anniversary to the honorees of a party celebrating their remarkable marital achievement. I mean, this is Hollywood. How often are fiftieths observed here?
The star exited his car, opened his backdoor, removed and put on his plaid sport jacket, picked up a gift-wrapped package, closed the car, and proceeded to walk up the driveway. We had been so intent in our Walter watching that we had not noticed that the corner house was on a short spur of dead-end road. This necessitated that we pull into the driveway, back out, and head back the other way. As we did, Mr. Matthau turned to see if we were an acquaintance of his also arriving for the party. We waved as we pulled away, and ever the gentleman, one half of an odd couple raised his package to us in salute.