Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part series on readers’ brushes with famous entertainers and artists. The next part will be published Nov. 14.UsherMy wife and I lived for a year in the town of Karlsruhe, in southwestern Germany, during 2003 and 2004.
Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part series on readers’ brushes with famous entertainers and artists. The next part will be published Nov. 14.UsherMy wife and I lived for a year in the town of Karlsruhe, in southwestern Germany, during 2003 and 2004.When my wife's whole Krehbiel family came to visit in June 2004, we went to pick them up at the Stuttgart airport. While waiting for their plane to unload, I noticed a small black man walking past us, followed by several very large and imposing black men pushing luggage carts heaped with bags.“That guy looked like Usher,” I said to my wife.A minute later, our family streamed off the plane.“Guess who was sitting in first class on our plane,” my wife's cousin, Tanya, exclaimed, “Usher!”We later saw posters announcing Usher in concert that weekend. The older members of the Krehbiel family were quite confused about why a normal international flight would have ushers onboard ...— Jason Miller and Melanie Krehbiel,NewtonBruce SpringsteenAttached is a copy of a poster of my daughter and Bruce Springsteen “dancing in the dark” from the Charlotte, N.C., April 27, 2008, Magic show.This was definitely one of those “life moments” that will always be remembered and treasured by my family. Amazingly, it was captured with these great photographs that were sent to me by some great fans; one was a Backstreets photographer. Truly some very generous people out there in the E Street Nation.— Brian K. Hawkins,Columbia, S.C.Wayne NewtonWhen my sister-in-law in Tucson called to tell me Wayne Newton was coming to Wichita for a concert for the Diabetes Association, I ran over and paid for two tickets to the show and the reception.They were surprised because no publicity had gone out. Our seats turned out to be front row center. Afterward at the reception at the Indian Center, they had us all make a big ring, and Mr. Newton went person to person, shaking hands.When he got to me, I asked him about his involvement with an Indian school south of Phoenix. After he told of his help there, I said something about our daughter doing her volunteer service for our church as a third-grade teacher at the Hopi School at Oraibi. We exchanged stories about the students and the beautiful country there when his handler pulled at him to hurry up.But he reached down and kissed me on my left cheek. A friend of mine, who was across the room, came running over and asked, “Why did he kiss you? He just shook my hand.” I just smiled.— Elaine H. Loganbill,North Newton‘The Departed’I was visiting a friend in Boston while on vacation in July of 2005.We had found out where filming was taking place for the movie “The Departed” and decided to hang out there in hopes of seeing some of the stars. I was told by some other people that Martin Sheen usually walked back to the trailers from the set with a bodyguard. Within 15 minutes of hearing this, I turned around to see Mr. Sheen doing just that.I was among about 15 other people who walked over to him, and he took the time to say hello to each of us and let us each take a picture with him. He didn’t seem bothered at all to take time for the fans who had waited to spot one of the many stars who where there on location. I was able to get a photo of Matt Damon, Leo DiCaprio and Martin Scorcese but only as they were rushing to vehicles with dark windows. Martin Sheen was happy to oblige his fans with a fun photo-op and an autograph.— Debra Hacker,Valley CenterGene HackmanAt last we were on our way! On our way to a long-awaited, month-long Anabaptist history tour in Europe. Our spirits were high!In Boston, we experienced a six-hour unplanned layover, so we pulled out our Travel Scrabble, borrowed from a friend. We were knee-deep in a fiercely competitive game, when suddenly we noticed commotion at the far end of the waiting area. We left our Scrabble game unattended and wandered over.Imagine our surprise when we noticed Gene Hackman, celebrated actor, signing autographs and joshing with people. My husband, Harold, urged me forward while he got his camera ready. Hackman shook my hand and gave me his autograph. I think he signed on either Harold's or my business card!We boarded the plane past 11 that night and snuggled into our seats for sleep. It had been a long and exciting day. A kindly flight attendant saw us, brought another blanket, tucked it around both of us and said, “Sleep tight, you love birds!”After such an eventful day, we did!— Rosella Wiens Regier,Newton‘Miami Vice’My “brushes with the famous” happened somewhere between 1967 and 1969.And boy, do I wish I had pictures!The first few brushes were with Don Johnson, later of “Miami Vice” fame. Fresh out of high school, I had three different guy friends, all who were driving new Corvettes. Evenings were spent dragging Douglas, and then the Corvette guys would park along the west side of the Sandy’s hamburger joint parking lot, across from East High.There were a handful of occasions with a bunch of us standing around the cars talking and watching the other cars drive through, and Don Johnson was among the guys hanging out with us.The other brush was when Glen Campbell “the Wichita Lineman” came to Wichita to perform at the Forum downtown. I had a friend working for Quality Chevrolet who sent a caravan of new Chevys to the Wichita Airport to pick up Glen Campbell and his back-up singers and band. My friend asked me if I wanted to go along. We picked Glen up and drove him to his hotel. I was too shy to say much, but he was very friendly to me. I still remember how handsome he was and what beautiful skin and hair he had.— Shirley Fisher-Langloys.(formerly of Newton)Wichita‘Grandpa’ on a planeIn June 1980, our first grandchild, Sandi Swartzendruber, came with her parents from Michigan for her first visit in Kansas.When we met them at the Wichita airport, she was fussy after her long and first plane ride. Her parents, Nancy and Glen, tried quieting her. When their efforts weren’t spectacularly effective, we heard a grandfatherly voice say, “Come to Grandpa.”We turned to see the man reach for, take and comfort Sandi. She quieted and our eyes widened. “Grandpa” was Lawrence Welk!— Louvina MillerWhitewaterChicago concertMy wife and I have been going to Chicago concerts nearly every year since 1974.In the mid-80s, a friend of ours gave us an unopened Chicago II record album.The vinyl album was a two-record quadraphonic set. It became a dream of mine to meet the band and get them to autograph our album. In 1999, we went to Sandstone Amphitheater in Bonner Springs for a Doobie Brothers/Chicago concert. While the Doobies, who opened the concert, were in the middle of their set, I took my album to the booth of the radio station that was promoting the concert.I managed to set a backstage pass to meet the band. I got to shake the hands of the band members while they autographed my album.At the time, four of the original band members were original.— Rich Andres,NewtonPaul NewmanA former college roommate of mine, Sallie Rendigs Benton, is married to a movie screenwriter/director, Robert Benton (”Places of the Heart,” “Kramer vs. Kramer,” “Bonnie & Clyde,” “Nobody’s Fool”).Eleven years ago, several months after Sallie and I had been together at a reunion, Sallie telephoned me. She said that Benson (as she calls him) was going to be filming a movie in LA., which would be starring Paul Newman, Susan Sarandon and Gene Hackman. Also in the cast were James Garner, Liev Schreiber, Stockard Channing and Reese Witherspoon. Sallie asked if my husband, Ted, and I would like to come out to watch some of the filming. we jumped at the chance and made plans to fly to California.We stayed with former Newton residents Tom and Margy Wentz.We were able to observe scenes filmed on two locations: up in the Los Angeles hills and on set at Paramount Studio. The scenes filmed up in the hills were outdoor scenes, and it was at this location that we met and visited with Paul Newman.We were impressed with his friendliness, accessibility and down-to-earth demeanor. Sallie took photos of us with him. She told us he seldom signs autographs; however, when she later showed him the photos, she asked him it he would autograph one of them for us. She said he had no hesitation in doing so.We are very proud and thrilled to have this photo, as well as all of the other photos of him taken that evening. The whole experience of getting an inside look at movie making was fascinating. The name of the movie of which we observed some of the filming was “Twilight,” a murder mystery thriller. It was released in 1998.— Sue Ice,Newton