Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Liars and winners

We have a winner in the Call Me a Liar contest, originally hosted over at the Pulp Pusher site, as part of this Q&A interview. It's Robert McMahon of Narragansett, R.I., and he wins signed copies of both COLD SHOT TO THE HEART and GONE 'TIL NOVEMBER. Out of all the entrants, he is the only one who correctly picked No.3 as the lie.

Here are the truths, untruth and explanations:

1.) I’ve seen TAXI DRIVER fourteen times.

TRUE. Fourteen, at least. I have a framed one-sheet poster of it in my living room. I saw it twice in one week shortly after it came out, on a double-bill with Brian DePalma's OBSESSION (also scripted by Paul Schrader).

2.) Bruce Springsteen once borrowed my DVD of Monte Hellman’s TWO-LANE BLACKTOP.

TRUE. There was a period of time around 2005 when the DVD of Hellman's 1971 road movie was out of print and unavailable (it was rereleased a few years later by Criterion). Through a mutual friend, I was approached by someone who worked for Springsteen at the time, inquiring if I had a copy. Apparently, Bruce had caught part of it on TV, and was now looking for the actual DVD without having much luck. I Fedexed my copy to the employee, without really expecting to get it back. But in fact, I did, about a month later. Footage from the film eventually wound up in the documentary WINGS FOR WHEELS that Springsteen released in late 2005, as part of the BORN TO RUN 30th anniversary box set. Whether the clip was actually ripped from my DVD or not, I'll never know. I suspect it was.
(Top, Warren Oates with his 455 V8 GTO from the film).

3.) Years ago, I had a conversation with Stephen King while standing at adjoining urinals at the New York Hilton.

LIE. I actually did meet Stephen King at the N.Y. Hilton during the American Booksellers Association Convention there in 1991. And I did actually stand at an adjoining urinal with him, but I did NOT try to engage him in conversation. A few weeks later, I did an extensive interview with him for WRITER'S DIGEST magazine. You can read it here.

4.) I went skydiving once, landed in a tree and had to be rescued.

TRUE. In 1981, I went skydiving for the first (and, it turned out, only) time at a rural airport in Palatka, Fla. I jumped out of a Cessna 180 (pictured) at 3,000 feet, using a static line, but was late exiting the plane (in that model Cessna, you have to climb out on the strut, feet on the wheel, before you jump, in order to clear the plane. It's not easy). As a result, I missed the exit point my jumpmaster had picked, didn't make the drop zone and instead landed in some pine trees across a highway from the airport. I was wedged into branches about 12 feet up, until someone from the jump center came out to rescue me, nothing injured but my pride. I went back to do it twice more, but on both occasions the wind was such that, as a beginner, they wouldn't take me up, which I saw as a sign from the universe not to do it again. Haven't ruled it out for the future though.

5.) I once hit a Catholic nun in the back of the head with an orange (by accident).

TRUE, unfortunately. It was on the playground at the Our Lady Star of the Sea School in Long Branch, N.J. I was in seventh grade, and I was aiming at someone else. I forget the sister's name, but she pounced on me, grabbed me by my shirtfront with both hands and shook me like a terrier shakes a rat. Not my finest moment.

Thanks to everyone who participated.


Robet McMahon said...

Wallace, I enjoyed both books tremendously. I don't think any winner could be happier with his prize. Thanks.

Robet McMahon said...

I enjoyed both books tremendously. I don't think any winner could be happier with his prize. Thanks.

tintin said...

Having recorded your first jump on film, my recollection and source of laughs when told even today centers on hesitation to climb out on the strut versus difficulty. If my memory serves me, you took almost two days to get out there on the strut.