Tuesday, March 4, 2008

'Saturday Night' and Monday morning

The whole "Today" experience of this past week had a "This Is Your Life" quality for me, starting from when I first saw the number "212-664-4444" show up on my cell phone last Wednesday afternoon.

When I was in fourth grade, living in Texas, I went bananas for "Saturday Night Live." For the next few years, until all the members of the original cast dropped out, that show and "Monty Python's Flying Circus" were my obsession. It was a pretty, ahem, mature show for a child to watch, but I was allowed to stay up as late as I wanted and watch whatever I wanted, and what I wanted was to absorb each edition of SNL straight into my brain so I could reenact it to anyone who would listen in the schoolyard the following Monday.

I tried over and over to make actual contact with the SNL stars, especially my idol Dan Aykroyd. Unfortunately, the three-page letter to Aykroyd that I toiled over for hours only got me a plain 8-by-10 photo, with no autograph. I had better luck with Gilda Radner, receiving two autographed postcards, one of which had a nice personal note. But it was Aykroyd I wanted, and I spent more than one night trying to phone him at the NBC studios, never getting through but leaving messages with a page who probably rolled his eyes upon hearing my plaintive 9-year-old voice over the long-distance line.

So, when I saw NBC's number display on my phone, it registered immediately from a place deeply imprinted on my memory from three decades ago. My first thought was, "Why is NBC calling me?"

More memories of this past Monday to follow—for now, must get sleep ...