493 Years to Track Down Woody Allen

When I was younger, I had an obsession with getting to know celebrities. I thought it would be cool to be friends with somebody famous, and thought the telephone was my ticket in, but when I dialed the operator and asked for Stephen King, she laughed in my face.

How rude.

It was worth a shot, though. I figured out that there are 9 million possible 7-digit phone numbers in any given area code, so if you work your way through the list – in New York City, let’s say (212) – eventually Woody Allen is going to answer. But then I did the math and realized if I called 50 different numbers every day, it could take 493 years for Woody to ever pick up the phone.  Truth be told, I don’t have that kind of time, so I pretty much killed the idea before it even got started.

C’mon, Woody…pick up the phone already! (Courtesy of slate.com)

Imagine my surprise and delight, then, when I came across Peter Frampton’s address in our company database. I was searching for somebody else – Phil something  or other – and stumbled upon him quite by accident. Is this the Peter Frampton, I wondered? The Peter Frampton of “Baby, I Love Your Way” fame? The former teenage heartthrob who pioneered the use of the “talk box” and whose live album sold about a trillion copies in the mid-70s? Surely, it had to be! My enthusiasm was tempered somewhat when I looked up the actual address and saw the “c/o.” It was CARE OF his management company in Nashville. Well, boo! So much for adding him to my Christmas card list. Just for fun I searched our database for Dave Grohl, the former Nirvana drummer and leader of the Foo Fighters, but regrettably came away empty handed.

And then, I discovered this guy I had been emailing sales chart reports to on a weekly basis happens to be the lead singer for a popular Portland band that is, in fact, our top-selling artist. I was amazed, because the dude has a very normal email address. firstnamelastname@hotmail.com. The idea that famous people might use the same email domains as the rest of us had honestly never occurred to me, and it sort of blew my mind. Deep down inside, are they just like us? I wondered. Do they put their socks on one foot at a time and brush their teeth in the mornings and – holy cow – do they sneeze?!

That’s just crazy talk.

But the email discovery has rekindled my childhood idea of randomly dialing phone numbers to find celebrities. It’s a lot more efficient, too. I guarantee it won’t take me 493 years to track down Woody Allen now! There are only a few really popular email programs, after all. AOL, Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, and Outlook are the big five. Who’s to say Woody Allen’s email address isn’t as simple as, say, woody.allen@gmail.com? It very well could be. Works for the Portland music star whose albums we distribute.

Woody Allen is just an example, by the way. As much as I enjoyed the nebbish director’s Midnight In Paris, I’d much rather find Jack Nicholson or Kate Winslett or Al Pacino or Mila Kunis or Kevin James or Bruce Springsteen or (no thanks to the smirking telephone operator) Stephen King, whom I really, really wanted to discuss Cujo with back in 1981.

Guess I’d better get busy!

In other work-related news, the big buzz around the office these days is the acquisition of a major country music star to our roster of labels. I shouldn’t divulge too much information, but maybe a few hints will suffice. This guy had a huge, annoyingly catchy hit song in the early 90s and is the father of a popular young woman with a hit television show on The Disney Channel who has since become a recording star herself. For purposes of anonymity I’ll call this man Willy Jay Tyrus.

Now, country music definitely isn’t my thing, but I want the company I work for to be successful, so I’m excited that the top brass is so excited. We have some really good record labels that put out a variety of great music, but much of it is on the obscure side, so signing Willy Jay Tyrus’s new label is quite the coup for us, even if his heyday was some twenty years ago. I’ll admit, when my product manager handed me a promo copy of the CD single yesterday I grimaced a little and drew back as if a snake were about to strike me (told ya I don’t like country music!), but he said if nothing else it was a collector’s item with a limited pressing of only 1000 copies, so I took it from him and listened to it. And I’ve gotta say, the song is actually pretty good. It’s catchy, if you can get past the twangy opening, and there’s a nice hard-driving guitar solo. Who knows, maybe the song will go to the top of the charts and the album will sell a million copies. Stranger things have happened. At least Willy Jay Tyrus is constantly in the news (and is, in fact, appearing on a major late night talk show this evening), so you just never know.

I think I might reach out to the guy and welcome him aboard. I’ll bet I can find him at willyjaytyrus@yahoo.com


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

13 thoughts on “493 Years to Track Down Woody Allen

  1. ” But then I did the math and realized if I called 50 different numbers every day, it could take 493 years for Woody to ever pick up the phone. ”

    HA! Mark, that cracked me up!

    Hey, I enjoy Woody Allen too. To me, he’s brilliant, but I find that people either love his sense of humor or DO NOT.

    And I have to admit, I STILL have an obsession for meeting certain celebrities.

    Oh and btw, I met Al Pacino when I was still living in NYC. And I acted like a total FOOL. I’ll tell ya about one day when you and Tara come to Philly or I come to Portland 🙂


    1. Hoo-ha! I love Al Pacino. Have you seen “Insomnia”? That’s one of my faves…though you can’t go wrong with “Scent of a Woman,” “Dog Day Afternoon,” “The Godfather,” etc. Can’t wait to hear this story of you two meeting!


  2. I knew who it was when you mentioned “huge, annoyingly catchy hit song in the early 90s”…oh my achy, breaky heart already…

    I loved how you immortalized a famous person. I dunno…do they put their socks on one at a time or do they have someone do it for them? Maybe they even have two people do it so they can put them both on at the same time…imagine that! *Gasp*

    I don’t even want to think about whether they go potty. Maybe that is something you can ask them when you e-mail them….bwahahahahaha!!


  3. You know I went through a phase in high school where I was obsessed with Woody Allen films and even read his book, Without Feathers, way back when. I think you should take up calling numbers again. Maybe enlist the whole family? Could cut down on your years of commitment…


  4. I just had a lovely chat with Jay O. Sanders—you may not know him by name, but Google him and you’ll go “ohhh, I know who he is now!”–last weekend. While at the laundromat……he actually does his own laundry and while there WAS that awkward moment while he was folding his undies, I found him to be an extremely nice guy. And as for Stephen King, my step-mother’s first husband was his editor. And yet I’m the only one in the family that has yet to meet him. And when I do, I’ll be speechless and do something stupid I’m sure. That dude is my idol.


    1. Yeah, I had to google Jay O. Sanders because I had no idea who he was, and you’re right – I did recognize him from his photos. Good to know he does his own laundry, and I’m curious: boxers or briefs?

      And, can you get me an “in” with Stephen???


      1. Briefs, actually. and I’d love to get you an ‘in’ with SK…..but *I* don’t even have one! But if I ever get one, I’ll send him your way!!


  5. I’ll have to be sure that my daughter doesn’t read this post – I’m trying to convince her to get over her obsession with trying to contact Viggo Mortenson to let him know how much she admires him.


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