Travolta answered the door and my partner said, “Hey John, how’s it going?”
We were standing outside his mobile trailer dressing room, TRAVOLTA and a star on the door. It was one of two trailers with stars that had been parked outside Men’s Central Jail for at least a week. The other had CURTIS on its door.
They were filming the 1985 movie Perfect, some yarn about fitness clubs being the singles bars of the eighties, places where many of the attendees were more focused on hookups than physical fitness.
Apparently, Travolta’s character gets locked up in the pokey, and Curtis is there for him when he’s released from the Los Angeles County jail.
And that single scene took a week or so to film.
On the Hunt
My partner and I were only a year or so out of the academy, and still quite full of ourselves.
Young and single and always on the hunt, we decided it would be a good idea to barge into the private dressing room of Jamie Lee Curtis to meet the famed vixen.
This dark and handsome partner of mine, a long-legged Mack Daddy in his own right, was certain she would welcome the intrusion. I harbored some doubt, and truthfully, my interest was minimal. “Who in hell is Jamie Lee Curtis?”
My partner seemed surprised that I didn’t know her. He went on to tell me how “hot” she was and that we had to meet her.
We were both in uniform, having slipped away from our assignments for the sole purpose of meeting Curtis, and now we stood at the threshold of Travolta’s trailer with all of the command presence one could muster.
Travolta, leaning halfway out, returned the greeting. “Hey guys, how’s it going?”
My partner forwent the pleasantries. “Is Jamie around?”
Like we knew her.
Travolta’s toothy grin faded as he craned his neck to look at the trailer next to his. “Uh, I’m not sure. That’s her trailer right there. Did you check it?”
“We did, but there was no answer,” my partner said. Then he grinned and said, “We thought maybe she was in here with you.”
Travolta nodded, slowly, the smile on his famous face dissolving before us.
Never Really a Fan
I was no stranger to being in the company of celebrities, as I have written about before. There was the encounter with Ali, a middle-of-the-night rendezvous with Priscilla Presley, several encounters with a few of Charlie’s Angels, and others.
I always treated the stars just as I would treat anyone else, though maybe—if I had to be honest about it—a touch cooler. I never wanted any of them to think I idolized them for their fame, because I didn’t. So my play during this whole ordeal was to remain silent and look cool in my pressed uniform and highly shined boots.
Famous but Friendly
Travolta had been surprisingly friendly, greeting us with a big grin and saying, “Hey guys,” as if we were welcome to be there. Truthfully, I was shocked that he had answered his door. And he never did seem peeved by our presence, even once he figured out that we weren’t there on official business.
I almost felt bad that my partner was so dismissive of him, narrowly focused on Curtis instead. But then again, it wasn’t like either of us wanted his autograph.
An awkward moment of silence passed between us before Travolta said, “Maybe she’s gone for the day. We’re done filming.”
“Okay, cool,” my sidekick said, staring toward the unoccupied trailer next door, the focal point of the entire operation. “Well, we were just hoping to catch up with her. Take it easy.”
And with that, the rooster turned on his heel and strutted back toward the coop.
I offered Travolta a smile and said, “Thanks, John,” and followed suit.
A Perfect Miss
The next day the trailers were gone, and the stars had all moved on. We were back to tending the ten thousand inmates who were crammed into every corner of the drab concrete fortress that had originally been designed to hold half that many.
As far as the babes went, there were none left to be found. If it were the company of the fairer sex we sought—and oh boy, did we ever—we would have to pursue them at the various nightclubs and bars after our shifts were completed.
Alternatively, I suppose, we could’ve hit the local gyms the next morning. That would have been Perfect.
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