I Was (Almost) a 12-Year-Old Star!

My Real Memoir

By the time I was 12, my focus had shifted from drawing to storytelling. Although, in truth, even my art had been visual storytelling; I loved movies, after all, and what were movies but visual stories? The week Movieland, the largest wax museum in America, opened, I spent my twelfth birthday there.

My other passion was books, and what were books but movies that played in your head? I’d also discovered the addictive power of praise and, although people had praised my art, when I told stories, they praised me, providing this little dope with an even more direct dose of dopamine!

And so I entered the 6th Grade Talent Show! I’d learned a goofy little jingle, “Casey Coffins,” at Camp Osceola the year before: “Casey Coffins, they are fine, made of satin, brass and pine. When your loved ones pass away, let them go the Casey way.”

I added a spoken chant, “C-A-S-E-Y, the only way to die!” (thus becoming the first plain white rapper), and turned it into a spoof of a TV commercial. While I hocked coffins, I referred to my product’s fine workmanship (I’d made a flimsy coffin from Dad’s left-over lumber). Then I opened the lid, without looking inside, revealing my buddy Jeff as a crumbling corpse (other buddy Rory was my hapless assistant). Worse, this corpse was only “mostly dead,” which meant he was “slightly alive.”* Hence, while I sang the theme song, Jeff climbed out of the casket and chased Rory and me around the stage. End of sketch. Cue uproarious laughter.

The rehearsal went well! Plus, Melinda Ardman was there lip-synching Shelley Fabares’s hit tune “Johnny Angel!” In my heart, I was Johnny Angel.

Problem: The night before the show I came down with a mammoth case of the flu. The next morning Mom took me to the doctor’s office. Doc dosed me with antibiotics, and told me to go home and sleep! “Noooo!” I shouted, “I have the Talent Show!” (It was my intended launch-pad to fame and glory, after all.) So Doc gave me some loop-juice, and said, “OK, but then you sleep!”

Worse Problem: When I got to the school and saw the packed auditorium, I suddenly came down with an even more mammoth case of stage fright. Loathing myself but unable to master the panic, I claimed to be so overcome with fever that I was on the verge of passing out. Mommandad believed me (the non-coward part of me had hoped they would force me go on). I handed my script to Rory, and begged him to take over my role.

Later, after hearing it went well, I was devastated. I’d missed my shot at fame and glory! Or had I? I hatched a plan: I would build a professional theatre

In my backyard!

*Miracle Max in The Princess Bride

My Real Memoir is a series. To read the next one, click here.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir, Movies and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to I Was (Almost) a 12-Year-Old Star!

  1. Pingback: How I Launched My Career (at Age 12) | Mitch Teemley

  2. pkadams says:

    Aww poor kid!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I got quite a kick out of this. A star in the making!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. rwfrohlich says:

    You had a fun childhood!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. ejstoo says:

    Cool! My only claim to fame was in grade one or so a news crew came in and we were told to do what we were doing at a certain time. Mine was that I was finished the reading assignment, so was leafing through books to read…I think I got on camera. Tada…a star is born 😀 LOL…prefer being behind the camera taking pictures than in front of it. Lifelong preference since my Uncle gave me the little Kodak instamatic (film had to be processed and came in little containers) which I had until I got married time frame to take pictures of his holiday and when he left let me have it if we sent him copies of the pictures. The camera sadly broke down with age and use. But, treasure the memory of it.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Nancy Ruegg says:

    So how did you overcome the stage fright? You’ve been on scores of stages since that night? (Oo-oo–that’s the beginning of a poem right there! I’ll let you finish it with the answer to the question!)

    Liked by 4 people

  7. believe4147 says:

    Funny story for everyone but you. Maybe your big chance is just around the corner.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Life really isn’t fair
    when you’re tripping down the stair
    as the starlight in your eyes
    leaves you deaf and dumb and blind

    But as long you keep going
    on life’s river, gently flowing
    you may find a new beginning
    past your pain and dreadful ending

    Liked by 3 people

  9. You had so much fun in your childhood 🙌 I love reading about your adventures 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  10. bersinink says:

    I just love this! You truly are such an amazing storyteller!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. leendadll says:

    I grew up judt a couple blocks for Movieland Wax Museum. Never been there… parents always insisted it was a tourist trap.

    Did you build your theater?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. redline says:

    Good treahd

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Jennie says:

    I loved this story!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. “plain white rapper”!!! 😅😂🤣

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Pingback: Me and Princess Leia’s Mom | Mitch Teemley

  16. Pingback: Follow That Dream | Mitch Teemley

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