The Time I Confiscated Robert Redford's Chewing Gum


First, I have to say that the reason I'm sharing this post is because my next post also has something to do with Robert Redford.

And second, this is a true story. Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye.

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My story:

I just recently watched the movie The Way We Were starring Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford.

Seeing Redford again, reminded me of a time when I was attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City and was so fortunate to actually witness him in person.

He had been a graduate of the Academy and was kind enough to return and give a talk to all the students about becoming a professional actor. We were also permitted to ask him questions.

Now mind you, this was about six months after "The Way We Were" was released, so there was still a tremendous amount of excitement in the air that day anticipating his arrival because the movie was a smashing success.

I was lucky enough to have gotten a seat on the floor (along with my dear friend Dawn), which was directly in front of the small stage were Redford would be sitting at a table. There was a pitcher of water and a glass preset, as well as an ashtray, which I thought was odd because he never once lit a cigarette. In fact, I don't think he was/is even a smoker.

Anyway….when he finally walked onstage, I can't possibly convey to you just how enthusiastic the entire student body reacted.

The applause and cheering went on for a full minute.

Finally, after everyone calmed down, Redford had a seat and began his talk.

And as he was speaking, I noticed that he was chewing a piece of gum.

(which, by the way, was bright green)

About halfway through his talk, I watched him reach inside his mouth, take out the gum, and place it into the ashtray that was in front of him.

And at that moment, I got a scathingly brilliant idea about confiscating that piece of gum so I’d have it as a souvenir for the rest of my life.

I mean, how many people could say they possessed Robert Redford’s chewing gum that contained his DNA?

Not many.

So I racked my brain, trying to figure out how to get it.

Suddenly, an idea began to form…

After his talk, I would stay behind inside the theater, allowing everyone to leave before me. And then when the entire theater was empty, I would nonchalantly walk up on that stage and quickly NAB it!

How original, right? And who would ever find out?

So when Redford finished talking, of course, everyone stood up again and reacted even MORE wildly than when he entered.

And as he got up to leave, the entire audience rushed up onstage and followed him into the lobby so that they could watch him make an exit out the front door on Madison Ave.

I on the other hand, nervously waited for the theater to clear out so that I could be alone to do my deed of the devil.

And after I was absolutely sure that I was totally alone, I jumped up on the stage and headed straight for the ash tray.

However, when I looked down, expecting to find Robert Redford’s chewing gum, I gasped!

It had vanished!

I stood there thinking to myself…“What in holy hell happened to that gum?!?!?”

I was absolutely LIVID.

I mean, who would do such a thing???

And just then, my friend Dawn came running back into the theater and hugged me, screaming…

“RON! RON!…GUESS WHAT I HAVE?….LOOK!...

And when I looked down into her grubby little hand, I saw the small green treasure that I had searched for.

…IT’S ROBERT REDFORD’S GUM!!!”

And the first thing out of my mouth was, “OMG, Dawn…how infantile could you be?

She said, “What do you mean?”

“I mean…how stupidly ridiculous. Not only is that childish, but it's also disgusting. I can’t believe you would stoop so low as to take chewing gum out of an ashtray. And can you imagine what everyone is going to think when you tell them? They’re going to look at you as if you‘re some kind of psychotic fan of Robert Redford."

She sadly looked down at the gum and said, “You know, Ron…you’re right. I don’t know what I was thinking.”

And then she did something that made me BEYOND happy. I watched as she tossed the gum back into the ashtray.

And as the two of us were walking out of the theater, I brilliantly said, “Oh wait a minute, I forgot something, but you go ahead, I’ll meet you in the lobby so we can take the subway back to the dorms together.”

And as she closed the theater door, I quietly tiptoed onto the stage and grabbed that piece of gum; shoving it into my coat pocket.

And smiled 😊

As I exited the theater, I thought to myself...

“Gee, I wonder how long chewing gum will last wrapped in aluminum foil?”




Epilogue:

I had that gum for years and years, and got so much pleasure and joy from showing it to people. But unfortunately, I somehow lost it during my move back to Florida from New York.

And yet it serves me right for being such a despicable little sneaky bastard.


The End
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24 comments

  1. Well, today people do crap like that so they can sell it on eBay! But I can't believe you shamed your friend like that, Ron! Lol, did she ever find out??

    I suppose you accidentally threw it away but I was really hoping at the end of this post to see a photo of it! Darn.

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  2. Ron, this so funny! You little devil you. I can't believe you actually saw (in person) Robert Redford! What was he like? Did you get to ask him a question?

    Thank you for the morning laugh. I needed this today!

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  3. You're absolutely right! And had their been eBay back then, I could have probably sold that gum for a couple thousand. HA!

    I know, aren't I wicked? No, she never did find out because I lived in a dorm at Pace University and she had shared an apartment other fellow acting students, so I was able to conceal my dastardly deed. However, I did confide in a few other students who lived in my dorm, but I made them swear they wouldn't tell.

    Yes, I think that's what happened too. Before I left NY, I stored some of my personal belongings in the basement of a friend's apartment, so I think that's where the incident happened. I either accidentally threw it away, or it dropped out of the basket I stored it in.

    I wish I still had it too! And I clearly remember smelling gum when I first got it, just to see what flavor it was---spearmint!

    Have a grrrreat week, my friend. And thanks so much for stopping by!
    X

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  4. Tee-hee! Aren't I wicked? I should go to hell for that. HA!

    He seemed like a really nice guy who was down-to-earth. Not at all a "movie star." He seemed genuine and modest.

    No, I did not ask him a question because I would have been too nervous to look at him and actually speak. I was so star-struck and in awe that he was sitting there. It felt surreal.

    Thanks so much for stopping by. my friend. Have an awesome week!
    X

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  5. Suddenly I don't feel so bad for that little baggie of Kate Winslet's toenail clippings I've got stashed away in my nightstand...

    I kid, I kid.

    I was literally laughing out loud at your exchange with Dawn. Sneaky indeed! Fake indignation suits you well, my friend.

    This post reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from The Jerk, btw. Navin asks Marie why she's crying, and she says, "Because I just heard a song on the radio that reminded me of the way we were." "What was it?" Navin asks, and Marie replies, "The Way We Were."

    Have a great day, Ron!

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  6. Ron, this just proves you were in your niche when you chose to become an actor -- what a brilliant piece of showmanship! Convincing a friend that taking Redford's gum was silly, then sneaking back to nab it for yourself -- you ROCK!!


    Redford has long been one of my favorite actors. He exudes that outdoorsy, rustic manliness -- like a real cowboy -- and he was amazing in the films I saw. Wasn't he great in The Sting, too?? But you're right -- I don't ever recall seeing him smoke, probably because he's just too healthy for a habit like that.


    Happy Wednesday to you! xx

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  7. Mark, your first sentence made me laugh. And well done because at first I actually believe you!

    Yes, you and I are similar in that we love to play tricks on people. And oh... isn't it fun???

    "and she says, "Because I just heard a song on the radio that reminded me of the way we were." "What was it?" Navin asks, and Marie replies, "The Way We Were."

    OMG, that is so freaking funny! It's been awhile since I've seen that movie, but now that you shared that with me, I need to go back and watch it!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a grrrrreat day too!

    X

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  8. HA! Aren't I such a sneaky devil, Debbie? But I couldn't help it, I just HAD to have that chewing gum. And when I got it back to my dormitory, before I wrapped it in aluminum foil, I smelled it, just to see what flavor it was. Spearmint!

    Yes to everything you shared about Redford. He totally exudes that outdoorsy, cowboy feel! Definitely a man's man. He and Sidney Pollock (who directed The Way We Were) are still good friends. And I think they both had ranches in New Mexico at one time. Yes, loved him in Sting! And also, All the President's Men. Great film!

    I honestly don't think he's a smoker, which it why I was puzzled by the ashtray. However, it did serve a purpose. It held his chewing gum. HA!

    Always great to see you, my friend. Happy Wednesday to you too!

    X

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  9. HYSTERICAL Ron! You sly dog you! I wish that you still had that piece of gum because I so wanted to see it. I would die to meet Robert Redford. I remember when The Way We Were came out and saw it TWICE in one month. I love that movie so much that I bought the DVD years ago. I like to watch that move a view times a year. Streisand and Redford were so good together. And the ending was so sad, wasn't it?

    Wonderful story, Ron! I always enjoy reading stories about your acting days! xo

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  10. Hee-hee-hee! Aren't I sneaky one, Denise? I couldn't help myself because I would have said anything to get that GUM! HA!

    LOVE "The Way We Were!" I have the DVD as well. In fact, I got the Special Edition DVD with a lot of extras. Streisand and Redford were PERFECT in that film. They LOOKED like they belonged together. And yes, the ending is so bittersweet. Still makes me teary-eyed.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, girl. Hope you're having a FAB week!
    X

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  11. LOL! When I was in college I went to a Harry Chapin concert and bought a tee shirt that, somehow, I got him to sign. I embroidered over the signature in case it faded after washing. Funny the things we do when in the presence of celebrities, isn't it? I've always liked Robert Redford movies. Hope your week is going wonderfully. X

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  12. Valerie DaggattFebruary 20, 2020

    What an absolutely brilliant post and what a shame you eventually lost that gum. I was a fervent follower of Redford so I guess if I had seen the gum I would have fought you for it. Hee hee!!

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  13. So glad you enjoyed, Valerie! And yes, it's a shame that I lost that gum. However, Karma is a bitch, isn't it? Ha!

    " I was a fervent follower of Redford so I guess if I had seen the gum I would have fought you for it. Hee hee!!"

    LOVED that!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, dear friend. Hope all is going smoothly with your new heating system.

    X

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  14. OMG Lisa....I LOVE Harry Chapin!!! ----"Cats in the Cradle!!!!"

    And how faaaabulous that you got him to sign the tee shirt. Way to go!!!!

    "Funny the things we do when in the presence of celebrities, isn't it?"

    Yes, you're absolutely right about that. We often become in AWE!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend, and for sharing your story! Have a great rest of your week!
    X

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  15. http://ladyfi.wordpress.comFebruary 21, 2020

    What a wonderful, wonderful story!

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  16. Thank you, Fiona! Wish I still had his gum!

    Have a faaaaaaaabulous weekend, my friend! X

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  17. Ron, both my husband and I read this and thought it was hilarious! What a great story! I loved him in The Way We Were. Streisand too! Did he share anything about working on the movie and working with Babs? Oh, do tell!

    You could write a book about your stories in the theater. Not only would it be interesting, but funny as well.

    Hope you're enjoying our colder weather. I am! xo

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  18. Yes, Elaine, as a matter of fact he did share about working with on the working the movie with Barbra Streisand. Someone in the audience asked him what it was like to work with Streisand and he said (very diplomatically) that she and he had completely different approaches to acting, so it was challenging. However, it worked because it gave their characters a "tension" that was appropriate for the movie.

    And yes!!! I am sooooooooooo enjoying this colder weather. Now, I'm hoping for some SNOW!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a great weekend!
    X

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  19. ory Ron, what an interesting and diverse life experiences you've had. This was like something off an episode of "Friends." VERY funny! And judging from the way you talked your friend Dawn into feeling bad and tossing it back into the ashtray is proof of how convincing you must be as as actor LOL!

    Redford is one of my favorite actors. I really enjoy his movies and the way he started The Sundance Film Festival for independent filmmakers!

    Great story, dude!

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  20. HA! Aren't wicked, Matt? But I just couldn't help myself, I WANTED that chewing gum! But karma is bitch because I ended up losing it anyway.

    Yes, isn't the Sundance Film Festival AWESOME? Just goes to show you what a cool guy he is in helping others to make a name for themselves.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Hope you're enjoying an excellent weekend!
    X

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  21. Oh my God, Ron - that is a weird and hilarious story! I honestly don't think it would even occur to me to want anyone's spit-filled gum. Not even Robert Redford. But that funniest part was you shaming your friend into discarding it so you could get it. Did you ever admit that to her?

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  22. Oh, Ron this such a hilarious post!

    And what a sneaky little fiend you were, gum-shaming your friend so you could reach for the Wrigley's yourself! You used your superlative acting skills for such a nefarious purpose.

    I'm so proud of you!

    Too bad you didn't hold onto that gum. You could've had Robert Redford cloned and keep him all to sinful yourself!

    So whatever happened to Dawn? Are you still friends with her? If you are, I suspect you won't be much longer after she reads this post!

    Take care, buddy, and remind me never to chew gum with you!

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  23. HA! I know, aren't I WEIRD? But I couldn't help myself, I just had to have that gum. Back then I was so starstruck, in awe of famous actors/actresses that I met.

    No, I never did admit it to her. However, I did tell several fellow students but sworn them to secrecy. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Hope you're having a fabulous weekend!

    X

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  24. "And what a sneaky little fiend you were, gum-shaming your friend so you could reach for the Wrigley's yourself! "

    I know, Rob, wasn't I such a sneaky scumbag? Serves me right for the losing the gum.

    "Too bad you didn't hold onto that gum. You could've had Robert Redford cloned and keep him all to sinful yourself!"

    Bwhahahahahahaha! OMG...you're right! Especially today, with all that science can do with just your saliva!

    You know, I have no idea what happened to Dawn. I think we just eventually parted way as we moved on to different schools and our careers took us to different places. Even though this happened quite a long time ago, I can still recall what she looked like and that she used to use a moisturizer from Clinque called, Dramatically Different Moisturizer. Isn't it funny that I still remember that?

    Thanks so much for stopping by, buddy. Hope you're enjoying a faaaaabulous Sunday!

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