Sunday, November 23, 2014
My Moment with Albert Campion
I tuned into NJN, the broadcaster of Campion, one evening during a fundraiser. I always felt sorry for NJN because they were competing with WHYY in Philadelphia and WNET in New York City for viewer dollars. Imagine my delight when they announced that the special in-studio guest for the evening was Peter Davison.
“Yes, friends, for a pledge of $35.00 you can talk to Peter Davison, star of the PBS series, Mystery!”
I seized the phone and was greeted by a lady with a clarion New Jersey bray. (Hold your letters filled with outrage and umbrage. I mean this characterization as a compliment.)
“NJN, CAN I TAKE YOUR PLEDGE?”
“Yes. I pledge $35.00 and I want to speak to Peter Davison.”
I surrendered name, address and credit card information.
“Just a minute,” said the lady on the line. “Where’s the CELEBRITY?”
I hear a murmur of voices and then I hear the telephone lady say, “STEPHANIE.”
“Good evening, Stephanie. Lovely of you to ring.”
This was said in the most beguiling British accent. (Heaven, I’m in heaven)
We talked for a while about Campion (I assured him the series had many American fans), his impressions of America, and his wish to do a play on the West End. Mr. Davison was was a delight and seemed to have the entire evening to talk to me.
I dined out on this experience for some time. I not only told my friends about it, they put me in touch with friends of theirs so that I could recount the experience. I was excited to tell the story over and over and any number of people seemed enchanted by it.
Then came my friend Jane. Jane, the reader and watcher of science fiction. Jane who once accused me of thinking less of her because she read science fiction.
“What did he have to say about Doctor Who?”
“You didn’t ask him about Doctor Who?”
“Why would I ask him about Doctor Who?”
A great sigh that spoke of regret, resignation and not suffering fools gladly was released.
“He played Doctor Who and you didn’t ask him anything about it?”
“Do I get a reprieve from your scornful attitude if assure you my failure to ask questions about Doctor Who was the result of ignorance and not malice?”
I did feel awful about this oversight for a few minutes, but not much longer.
Over the years, I have given money to public television and radio and collected mugs, t-shirts, tote bags, books and God knows what else.
Those few minutes with Peter Davison, though I have nothing to show for it but the memory, remain my favorite thank you gift.
© 2014 Stephanie Patterson