(Ed. Note: The team at Aces Casino will be away from the Aces offices for 8 more days while necessary construction and renovation work is done at the main facility in Buena Park. We will return on Monday, August 13th, with new blog posts and re-charged management and staff. In the meantime, please enjoy one of our "Greatest Hits" blog posts, this one dealing with what turned out to be another very interesting celebrity encounter or three.)
Recently, there was a manager's meeting held here at the offices of Aces Casino, the top orange county casino party rental giant. The reason for this "summit meeting" of our top six department heads was pretty simple; the team was there to come up with some suitable, yet witty content for the next few blog entries to post right here in our infamous Aces Casino blog. (You didn't think I thought all of this stuff up, did you? -- Grin) Yeah, that's right; It's "Casino Night Writer's Block." It happens....
What we found out was the answer to the riddle, "How many casino night managers does it take to come up with even ONE suitable topic?" Well, the answer appears to be six. They ALL came up with the SAME IDEA. So much for great minds think alike.
But...Wait, just a minute. First, they DID have a point. "Aces, you already blogged about our favorite celebrity casino event of all time!" (this event is the one they all thought of first.) But, just like the best think-tankers of these United States, they all thought of their second-favorite celebrity-laced casino night endeavor, and suggested that we use THAT one.
OK. I'm easy. It's not one of MY favorites (for reasons that you'll understand later), but yours truly only has one vote. Democracy wins out again, friends.
It's an event that was instantly dubbed, "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly." And, without question, it was ALL of the above, in spades, as you'll soon see.
The event was a celebrity fund raiser held at a studio warehouse in Culver City about 15 years ago, and as Jack Webb would have so eloquently put it, "What you about to read is true. The charities' names have been changed to protect the innocent." The CHARITIES, yes. The CELEBRITIES? Uh-uhh. Nope. We're going with THEIR names. We'd make a GREAT tell-all book author.
The day of the event, the entire Aces team was totally psyched; Because of the nature of the event, and all of the celebs that would be in attendance, it wasn't hard for the top orange county casino party juggernaut to fill the 30-some-odd dealers needed to properly staff this casino party.
All was well... The equipment was set up in perfect position for the casino floor, the dealer team was early as always, to receive their assignments for the evening, the casino floor staff (including me) was ready to go. Then, right before the event, the hostess for the evening came to talk to us about what she wanted most from us, to assist her in the event.
It was none other than Joan Rivers.
Ouch. Now, I hadn't ever met Ms. Rivers before, but obviously, today was going to be my unlucky day. As she shuffled toward us, I remember not actually recognizing her (In hindsight, I would estimate that she was, at that point, somewhere between face lifts 5-and-8), but, yep, although she was slightly contorted, there was no mistaking that voice.
I introduced myself, and her immediate response was "Nice to meet you, Stan." (Not my name.) And, even though I corrected her a number of times during this first get-together, it never took. I was "Stan" all night. Hey, what the heck, i've been called worse. I used to referee hockey games in Westminster, California. I WISHED that THOSE guys would call me Stan.
Anyway, she filled me in on what little she knew about the event, and went on her merry way. Unfortunately, this wouldn't be the last I would see of Joan Rivers on this fateful evening. Oh, NOOOO, not by a long shot.
Reason? Well, Joan thought that it would be a hoot to follow me around and constantly quiz me about what I was doing during our Las Vegas night casino event, and never missing a trick when it came to interrupting my work with the dealers and clients, and harassing both me AND the clients with snide "comedic" innuendos that were being broadcast throughout the casino floor via her wireless microphone.
That face of hers still haunts me to this day. (I'm told this is a recurring nightmare for many people that watch her on television. Ask Annie Duke.) That was a long night. She repeatedly asked me questions like, "what do you think of my butt, Stan?" I finally answered her by telling her that I had seen more butt on a cigarette, a quip she didn't take to at all. She turned her "let's harass Stan" meter up to "10" at that point. Yikes...
Joan Rivers -- Definitely the "BAD."
In fairness, we HAVE to move right to the good. Steven Spielberg. Talk about a nice guy. Irically, he was playing at a Blackjack table with a dealer that has been notorious for being, shall we say, "merciless" when it comes to beating up our fake casino game players. Spielberg was unable to dodge this dealers' wrath as well, declaring at one point that, "If I lose one more hand, i'll be unable to afford to make my next picture.
Thank goodness the casino chips ARE fake, because the director of such blockbuster hits as "Jaws" and "Jurassic Park" lost an incredible 17 hands in a row. Stick to blockbusters, Steven... (Grin)
Well, I guess that only leaves us with our third of three parts. We've had the "good," we've talked about the "bad." Now, it's time for the "ugly." and BOY, was IT ugly. (Laugh) Take it from an orange county casino night party employee that looks in the mirror on a daily basis: I KNOW UGLY.
Same party, and almost immediately after having a few laughs with Mr. Spielberg, we get a call over our headset communications system... "Ummm, Aces, we need a little help on table #2."
OK, no problem. I know Table 2. It's right near the warehouse entrance, right next to ED-209, the robot from "Robocop." Can't miss it. I also note to myself that it has one of our all-time favorite blackjack dealers at that table, one of the nicest guys in the world. So, without hesitation, it's time to go over to Table #2, and talk to our dealer.
When I get near, the dealer waves me over, and quietly whispers to me something I thought i'd never hear from this dealer..... "If you don't get this guy away from me right now, i'm going to have to kill him."
I look over at the player he's pointing at, and it's ROBERT WAGNER.
Now, i've always LOVED Robert Wagner, all the shows he's done (Hart to Hart, Switch), and to top it all off, the dealer doesn't recognize or know who Wagner is. (Darned young dealers. Makes me feel old.) Besides, this is the SAME Robert Wagner that was oh-so-hospitable at the beginning of the event.
Funny what 9 glasses of wine will do to ya. Hey, I've been THERE, done THAT.
Well, he's totally out of control: boisterous, argumentative, consistently slurring his words, swearing at the dealer, accusing him of cheating. (Yeah, we always love cheating celebs out of fake chips at high-end charitable events.)
Luckily, one of Wagner's friends immediately comes to the rescue to assist him in getting away from the table, and it's a good thing -- Here comes Joan Rivers, looking for someone to verbally assault, and Robert Wagner would have been a prime target. Once she arrives at the table, It's too late to attack the late Mr. Wagner, so now, it's time to harass the old "pit boss," yours truly, "Ol' Stan."
Hey, it's better than Ol' "frozen face" getting into it with Alexander Mundy. THAT could have been REALLY ugly.
Wow....THAT was a night to remember. Or forget. I haven't decided which. What did I learn from all of our experience at what turned out to be a really fun event? Easy.
Next time we do a celeb event, i'm bringing ED-209 with me.