One-Minute Memoir

May 8, 2013

Warren and Me

By Bob Fleishman

Warren Beatty

Walking up Madison Avenue in November of 1972, I spied what had to be two of the so-called “beautiful people” one often sees in New York City, standing on the corner just outside Georgio Armani’s. Both were wearing full-length fur coats and were disengaging themselves from what appeared to be a prolonged clinch. The woman could have just stepped out of a Vogue Magazine ad — beautifully coiffured black hair, perfectly formed features and bright red lipstick. The man also had beautifully coiffured black hair and perfectly formed features, but no lipstick.

It was Warren Beatty!

Stunned at first by coming upon such a sight, I quickly recovered and, not wanting to interfere with the couple’s sad parting, I continued toward my destination some blocks away. While waiting for the light to change at Madison Avenue and 58th streets, I happened to glance at the gentleman standing beside me.  That’s right, once again it was Warren himself.

I realized that since this was just before the Presidential Election of 1972, and I was a supporter of the Democratic nominee, I had to say something to this Hollywood Idol who was known for his intense political involvement. To my own surprise, considering how excited I was, I came up with something timely — and I thought, rather clever. “Where’s your McGovern button?” I said, proudly pointing to the round plastic McGovern badge featured prominently on my comparatively drab brown jacket. “Right here,” he quickly responded, opening his fur coat to reveal a solid gold McGovern button. Feeling that I was on a roll and could do no wrong, I came back just as fast, if not as strong. “That’s quite impressive,” I said. “You got me there.”

The light still hadn’t changed, so I gave it another shot. “I saw you on the Dick Cavett show last week. I thought you handled his questions very well.” (Cavett, the host of a popular TV talk show, had tried to pursue Beatty’s love life while Warren was attempting to steer the conversation to the issues of the campaign). The light finally turned green, and I expected Warren to just mumble something like “Thank you very much” or  another glib response and move on. But much to my surprise, he said, “Oh, really! Well, I didn’t think I did well at all. He just wouldn’t let me talk about what was important”

Incredibly, our talk about the campaign continued for another four or five blocks. But soon, because I had initiated the encounter, I felt compelled to be the one to end it. I picked my spot and said, “It was great chatting with you. Then — rather lamely I now think — my hoped-for big ending came out as, “Keep the faith!” Warren just nodded and smiled that mysterious smile of non-commitment that made women all over the world swoon. “Nice meeting you,” he replied, and was gone.

In my daze during the experience I had actually walked three blocks farther than intended, so engrossed in our conversation that I never noticed. And for the last forty-plus years, I’ve tried to think of a better punch line with which to end a conversation with Warren Beatty — just in case I do run into him again. Recently, in one of my daydreams, I’m at some social function  and, sure enough, there he is across the crowded room. I saunter over and say, “So, Mr. B, we meet again!!!”

Copyright © 2013 Bob Fleishman.

lzBobFBob Fleishman is a retired General Dentist who is using his newly found extra time in more creative pursuits. He has written two plays, The Man Who Makes You Laugh and The Session and is currently writing a book about growing up in his old neighborhood in Northwest Baltimore. In addition, he is a professional videographer currently working on a film for Baltimore City College’s 175th Anniversary.

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