It was sometime in the early 1990s, that I was introduced to Gregory peck, the Academy Award winning actor. He had bought a VCR from one of my dealers, and was having trouble programming it. My customer called me and asked me if I would mind going to his home to teach him how to use it. Being star struck as I am, of course I said yes. I was put in touch with the Peck’s assistant, Virginia. We made an appointment for me to visit.
I arrived at his home on Carolwood Drive in Beverly Hills, on a warm and sunny morning. I pulled up to the gate and, rang the bell and announced myself. A voice on the other end acknowledged that they were expecting me. The gate swung open, and up the long and winding driveway I went.
The company issued Ford Taurus was a stark contrast the expensive cars parked in the large circular turnaround in front of his door. I parked next to the new Mercedes Benz, exited the car and made my way to the door.
“Meet Mr. Peck”
I rang the doorbell, and was greeted by Virginia. We exchanged niceties and headed straight for his bedroom, where the TV and VCR were. We entered the room, and..low and behold…there stood Atticus Finch himself, Gregory Peck. He was a towering figure, as tall as he looked on the screen. It seemed very funny to me when he reached out his hand to shake mine, and introduced himself to me. “Hi, I’m Gregory Peck. SO nice of you to come by and help me with this darned VCR”. He explained that he wanted to record the Academy Award broadcast, since he would be there in attendance, and wanted to watch it later.
I sat on the edge of his bed with him and Mrs. Peck, and patiently went through the programming procedure, step-by-step, as I would have my own parents. The bed was facing his enormous back yard with a tennis court, pool, and a guest house larger than my primary…and only residence.
May I Have A Photo?
I wanted so badly to get a photo with him, but was afraid to ask. Though I was doing him a favor, I still didn’t want to impose on him in his home. I had a flash back to the time I wanted to ask Cindy Frazier to prom. I just couldn’t get the question out, for fear of rejection. But, Mr. peck was such a regular guy. As famous as he was, when I was teaching him how to use the VCR, he was just another guy who had trouble with technology.
I finally got the nerve to ask him. “Mr. Peck, may I get a photo with you?” “Well Perry” he responded, “I’m not much dressed for a photo today. But I would be happy to take one if you will come back and help me again. You see, I’m not sure I still can do this on my own”. I couldn’t believe I was getting invited back. Of course I said yes.
That Was The First Of Many Visits
The photo of us was taken on my second visit. You can see his two Academy Awards, along with his Panasonic TV and VCR behind us. The photo was taken in his den. He never did get the hang of programming the VCR. So, whenever there was an important show on he needed to record, I would get a call from Virginia. In all, I think I visited him about a dozen times. Not long after I started going to help him, he passed away.
Whenever I would visit, we would spend a few minutes talking about the latest electronics. At one point, he needed a new TV, and asked me about the new Panasonic Superflat. I talked about it and the price. At the time, he shooting a film for Sony Pictures. He told me he liked the Panasonic TV better, but he got a special deal form Sony, which made the TV $125 cheaper. It seemed ironic that he would feel the need to save $125, while we were looking over his 3 acre estate in Beverly Hills.
I enjoyed the times I would be invited to help him. He always had interesting things to talk about. And he always made time to for me when I visited. Those visits will always be among my most favorite memories.