I don't know what exactly reminded me of this story... but I was glad it popped into my memory so I can share with all of you.
When I was in Jr High School, my sister Monica talked me into playing hookie and driving out with her to Hollywood to watch the Arsenio Hall show live. She was sure that I could pass for a 16 year old! The good ol' she left her license at home story was sure to work with her charm.
So that morning we get on the road and stand in line to get our tickets and then we had the whole day to kill until tape time.
Monica took me to Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and we even picked up one of those "Map to the Stars" (I think this is where her love of celebrities begun). Anyways, it was a fabulous day! The time came to stand in line for the taping and I remember having little butterflies in my stomach. Just because I knew I was about to lie to the nice people their at Paramount, and that never made me feel good.
Well, we get to the front and they ask me for my I.D. So I go into the whole "i left it at home" story and even Monica starts her petition to let me in. Well they were not having it. Naturally, I start to walk away and realize I am walking alone. Monica stayed there in line looking at me with this puppy dog face. At this point, I am just in disbelief because she is really insinuating that it is okay for her to go to the Arsenio Show without me. The clock was ticking and like I had a choice.... she already had one foot in the door and shouts to me to stay close by.
I remember standing there wide eyed with my mouth open in total shock. I start to look around and wonder what the heck I was going to do for two hours. I notice that right next to Paramount Studios is a cemetery. It was not very large, just covered about an entire city block. It had all of the old fashioned head stones. I figured I could kill time and check out some plots. Maybe I would find someone famous buried there. So I go from tomb to tomb, admiring the detail on some of the statues getting real excited when I saw a very old tomb. After awhile I was so into it that I forgot that my sister had totally deserted me earlier.
Totally engulfed I lost track of time and proceeded back towards the Gower St gate to return to Paramount Studio 29. When I arrive I notice that the gate had been locked, so I don't panic, I just think of maybe trying another exit, since it had to been close to closing hours. Well I start trekking over to the Santa Monica Blvd exit and to my dismay the gate was locked too!!! I don't know at what second it hit me that it was getting dark and I was locked in a cemetery, but I started to freak out! I was screaming and crying and reaching my arms through the wrought iron gate asking for help. Of coarse.. your typical Hollywood schmoes just walk on by and ignore my cries. Looking back, I realize how it must of looked to the people on the outside of the gate. They were probably more scared of me then I was being locked in a cemetery.
Realizing it was hopeless I turn around and slide my back down the gate to sit and I just cried. Monica had to be out by now and would be looking for me. She would never come looking for me here. I just sat there and weeped. I was really believing that I would have to spend the night in a cemetery.
As I sat there, feeling cold i was hugging my knees sobbing when eventually I heard the sound of keys jingling. As I look up, I am not sure who I am looking at... it could be the ghost of Don Knotts.... but he was not dead at the time. All I knew was this very dirty, old, toothless man was looking down at me and speaks, "You should not be here."
I am too scared to speak. He starts to open the gate and I did not even say a word I just ran out the gate. I was on Santa Monica Blvd... still a good block distance to Gower Street and another good leg to the Studio but I ran as fast as I could.
As I reached the Studio I see Monica standing there all ticked off at me... I don't remember exactly what I said, I just know it was a quiet ride home.
The lesson here is to not play hookie!