I heard today that some islanders are selling their free tickets to see Regis and Kelly when they broadcast live in PEI. I have to smile. And I want to share something with my island neighbors about what all this California dreamin' means - and remind them of what they already have.
After I left radio, I worked in my own commercial recording studio in Santa Barbara. I wrote and produced radio commercials, voiced audio for film and television and worked in sessions where I recorded projects for blockbuster films, famous actors and models, voice talents, authors, adventurers, Hollywood studios and wanna be's.
About 8 years ago, I had spent the Christmas break on our farm in PEI. It was a magical time with our young sons. We cut our own Christmas tree from our woods (instead of buying it at Big Wave Dave's Tree Lot), and we spent time in the snow exploring our new home. A couple of days after we got back to California, I was scheduled to record a commercial voice session with Dennis Miller. At the time, Mr. Miller had left Saturday Night Live and was working as an announcer on ABC's Monday Night Football. Mr. Miller has a home and family in SB.
Mr. Miller had a bit of a reputation for being gruff and difficult to work with. I never saw that in all the times I worked with him. On this session I came in a bit hung over but ready to make sure the studio was in order. Reputation or not, I knew there would be no excuses for not getting things right; we were connecting to a commercial studio in New York. I was introduced to Mr. Miller as I was setting up the mic booth and he said, " how are you today Johnny? "Delirious" I said. He laughed. And we began the session.
The laugh broke the tension for me and things went well. During a break in recording, while the clients in New York were reviewing the takes, I turned off the mic. "So how was Christmas?" I asked, trying to strike up some mild conversation to pass the time while we waited for New York. There was an unhappy pause.
"I was in Pittsburg"
At that moment, a light went on in my head. I had just spent a glorious and memorable Christmas with my wife and children at home on our farm. He had been in Pittsburg, watching an NFL game and making ludicrous money from ABC. But he missed Christmas. Funny, huh? It was the moment I realized that all these people I saw on TV and sometimes even worked with at the studio were missing out on something my wife and I held more dear than money. Over the years, I found many of these charming, highly paid and talented men and women were working hard to make enough money...to GET OUT. We gave up a good deal of money when we chose to leave all that behind and come here. Now we have what islanders have and what so many well paid celebrities don't...we have our own lives in a beautiful place.
I remembered that today as I was weeding corn and soy beans in the heat. And then I heard on CBC radio that John Corbett would be guesting on Regis and Kelly, here on the island. I laughed out loud. John Corbett and I have worked together over three years in the studio. The last time I saw him, I told him I was leaving Santa Barbara and moving to our farm in PEI. I described it to him and told him how much we love it here.
And now, Mr. Corbett has found his way to the island. Maybe it's just co-incidence. He is promoting a new film he shot in Canada. So probably just a fluke right? He and Bo Derek live on her beautiful horse ranch in Santa Ynez. She is a kind and graceful woman who would sometimes accompany John to the studio (and sometimes did her own work with us.) She is a master horse woman and I think she loves the country and the outdoors. He is a son of Wheeling, West Virginia who has a touring band. He loves to sing and play country music. Could they have chosen to come here? Will they find their way back home to PEI?
Take it from me, for some of us, the California dream doesn't end in California.
And if you live here, you don't need tickets to a TV show to find out why Hollywood is coming here.
Will I try to track down John? Well, maybe. He's a great guy and I'd love to show him our little bit of the island...you know...show him what we love. But I think I might just let time and the island work that out.
I've got corn to weed.
I watched the 15 minutes "Live" posted on line of Monday's show. Really enjoyed it. Regis and Kelly and the Live crew really did a nice job. And compliments to Tourism PEI as well. They are doing a great job of showcasing PEI.
And I did contact John Corbett. He's only making a brief stop for the Thursday show but I offered him our hospitality and a welcome to PEI. After all...it's the island way.