Dave Barry: I’m surrounded by characters – real ones
07/27/2012 12:01 AM
09/08/2014 5:58 PM
Not to brag, but I have been hanging around with a number of “A-List” celebrities here for the Olympics, including Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, David Beckham, Prince William and Tony the Tiger.
To be totally accurate, the only one of these celebrities I have actually met in person is Tony the Tiger. I was part of the press corps that accompanied Tony on a tour of London aboard a double-decker bus to promote public awareness of the fact that Kellogg’s cereal is for sale and you need to buy it. Also on the tour – prepare to be jealous – were Snap, Crackle and Pop, as well as “Mini,” a Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheat who looks sort of like a child’s mattress with arms and legs.
The tour’s relentlessly upbeat celebrity hostess was Summer Sanders, who won two gold medals in swimming in the 1992 Olympics and also appeared on the third season of Celebrity Apprentice, in which she was the eighth person fired by Donald Trump. Summer is in fantastic physical condition. She could easily have beaten the crap out of any given member of the press corps, which consisted mostly of pasty and porky older guys like myself looking for a free bus tour of London. But instead she told us how much she and her family enjoy consuming nutritious Kellogg’s brand cereals. She also would occasionally say things like – and she always sounded totally sincere – “Isn’t this SO fun?!”
For their part, the cereal characters never said a word, except for Pop, who messed up when he got onto the bus. I asked, “Which one are you?” And he said, from somewhere inside his giant head, in a deep voice with an English accent: “I’m Pop.” Apparently he then remembered that he wasn’t supposed to talk, because after that he and the other characters limited themselves to gestures, their main one being: Thumbs-up! Having spent a couple of hours with Tony the Tiger, I can tell you that no matter what you ask him, he is going to respond: Thumbs-up!
YOU: How are you doing, Tony?
YOU: How do you feel about the Iranian nuclear-development program?
TONY: (Thumbs up!)
Also on the bus was a team of black-clad young people who served as handlers for the characters, helping them navigate around in their giant heads. (I heard one of them say: “I’m with Crackle.”)
The bus tour took us to various famous London places, with Tony and the other characters waving to pedestrians and giving them the Thumbs-up! We stopped at Buckingham Palace, where Tony and Summer got out for a photo opportunity. While they were posing, a group of tourists wandered up, and this exchange ensued:
SUMMER (pointing at Tony): Does everybody know who this is?!
TOURIST: We’re French.
This did not deter Summer in the slightest. Reading from notes, she used the photo opportunity to inform the press corps that Kellogg’s is the official provider of breakfast cereals to the royal family, and that the Queen’s favorite is Frosted Flakes. She also informed us that:• From 1952 through 2005, the voice of Tony the Tiger (“They’re grrrreat!”) was voiced by a man named “Thurl Ravenscroft.”
• In Germany, Snap, Crackle and Pop are known as “Knisper! Knasper! Knusper!”
In conclusion, it was a nice tour, and as a journalist I strongly urge you to purchase Kellogg’s products, or simply mail them cash.
Much later that same day my wife and I went to the Victoria and Albert Museum, where, according to a newspaper article my wife read, there was a super-exclusive party featuring such celebrities as David Beckham, Brad Pitt, David Beckham, Brad Pitt, David Beckham and David Beckham. (I am listing these celebrities in order of their interest to my wife).
We of course were not invited to this party, but we thought that if we stood outside like pathetic losers, we might catch a glimpse of some celebrities, such as David Beckham, or perhaps even David Beckham. We stood around the museum entrance with a small clot of people, some of whom actually had capital L’s tattooed on their foreheads, until we began to suspect that no celebrities were going to appear. This was confirmed when a woman in an orange dress emerged, and my wife asked her if there were any celebrities coming out, and the woman replied that there were no celebrities inside.
“Not even Brad Pitt?” said my wife.
“No,” said the woman.
“What about David Beckham?” said my wife, who is not one to give up easily.
So that was a totally wasted trip, although it did appear to be a very educational museum, at least from the outside.
In conclusion, here are your:
OLYMPIC NEWS HEADLINES• The Opening Ceremonies are tomorrow, and the big question is who will light the Olympic flame. I know who I think should get the honor, and if he does, look for a big... Thumbs-up!
• Apparently there is a place near London called “Dorking.” Rest assured, I WILL look into this.
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