I can’t decide if this is kind of cool or kind of sad. Check out Hollywood Is Calling:
Now for the first time ever you can have a real celebrity make a live phone call to someone you know for just $19.95. You can also purchase an email video greeting card with a message from your favorite star for just $5. Whether it’s for a special occasion or just for the fun of it, there’s no better way to impress a client, sweetheart or a friend.
THESE ARE NOT PRE-RECORDED MESSAGES OR VOICE IMPERSONATORS. ALL CALLS ARE MADE LIVE BY THE ACTUAL CELEBRITY.
The emailed videos are pre-recorded, so that’s no big deal, but apparently the phone calls are the real thing from the real celebrity.
As you might guess, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are not on the list. It’s really a collection of people whose celebrity has faded or whose celebrity never shined brightly to begin with.
The FAQ puts it a little differently:
The vast majority of our celebrities are not motivated by financial reasons when it comes to this project. Their extraordinary achievements have made them tremendously popular all across the globe and they believe that our patented new service is a great way for them to stay in touch with their growing fan base. It’s also a lot of fun.
Uh, yeah, because Mary Badham (who played “Scout” in To Kill a Mockingbird) is such a rising star these days. Why, just last year she was in Our Very Own, her first movie credit since 1966. I don’t want to be mean to Ms. Badham, but who are they trying to kid?
(Before someone else brings it up, yes, I know that every one of these people is more famous than I am, and yes, if people would pay $19.95 for a 30-second phone call from me, I’d sign up too.)
The service makes clear in the FAQ that each call is automatically terminated after 30 seconds. I assume this is to protect the celebrity in question from being accused of being impolite. It’s not that Paige Brooks from Baywatch isn’t willing to wait 10 minutes for your brother to get out of the shower so she can wish him Happy Birthday. She’s love to spend her time that way for her share of the $19.95, but the evil computer is going to cut her off in 30 seconds, so she’s sorry it didn’t work out.
On the other hand, this company has broken new ground with this sort of retail-grade appearance management. For $300 you can get a 20-minute “telephone personal appearance” from Dwayne Hickman. That’s Dobie Gillis for God’s sake! You can also get calls from Butch Patrick (Eddie friggin’ Munster) and Lou Ferrigno (the one true Hulk).
Here’s a few of the other celebrities who are available:
- Alex Michel (The Bachelor)
- David Keith
- Larry Holmes (World Heavyweight Boxing Champion)
- Dennis Haskins (Mr. Belding on Saved By The Bell)
- Joseph Gannascoli (Vito Spatafore on The Sopranos)
- Dean Haglund (Langly, one of the Loan Gunmen, on X-Files)
- Leon Spinks (World Heavyweight Boxing Champion)
- Gary Jones (SGT Walter Harriman on Stargate SG-1)
- The Barbi Twins
- Russell Johnson (The Professor on Gilligan’s Island)
- Richard Hatch (The original Apollo on the original Battlestar Gallactica)
- Ron Palillo (Arnold Horshack on Welcome Back Kotter)
- Jon Provost (Timmy on Lassie)
- Tony Todd (Candyman)
- Brandon Cruz (Eddie on The Courtship of Eddies Father)
- Rick Searfoss (Space Shuttle Pilot and Commander)
- John De Lancie (Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation)
- Marta Kristen (Judy Robinson on Lost In Space)
- David Naughton (the American Werewolf in London)
- Mitch Ryder (Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels)
- Doug Fieger (from The Knack)
- Linnea Quigley (queen of the B movies)
- Leonard A. Lies (the Machete Zombie from Dawn of the Dead)
- Lorenzo Lamas
- Dr Elmo (“Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer”)
- Martha Reeves (Martha Reeves And The Vandellas)
- Lauren Chapin (from Father Knows Best)
- Sybil Danning
- Trina Parks (Thumper from Diamonds Are Forever)
- Virginia Hey (Zhaan from Farscape, also the warrior woman from Road Warrior)
- Olivier Gruner (actor and World Kickboxing Champion)
- Erin Murphy (Tabitha from Bewitched)
- Kato Kaelin [but of course!]
- Todd Bridges
- Andrea Thompson
- Erin Gray
- Sonny Landham (Billy in Predator)
- Stu Charno (The serial killer from “Clyde Bruckmans Final Repose” on X-Files)
- Gigi Edgley (Chiana from Farscape)
- Kathy Garver (Cissy on Family Affair)
- Larry Thomas (Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi)
None of those people are huge stars these days, but some of them are still getting work, and shouldn’t they have some money coming in from their old stuff?
I can’t help but think that there’s some kind of trick to this. I just can’t decide if we’re being tricked into buying this, or if these celebrities were tricked into signing up.
(Leave a comment if you’ve ever tried this and let me know if it’s real.)
Ultimately, I don’t get it.
It might be fun to have a huge star call me up—just to hear them say my name—but none of these people are that famous. I’m sure it would be fascinating to talk to some of these people about their work and their lives, but that would have to be a real conversation, perhaps over a nice dinner. A 30-second call does nothing for me.
Still, if Andrea Thompson is reading this, and you’re ever in town and willing to pose for a few photos, dinner is on me. The same goes for Virginia Hey, Rick Searfoss, and Linnea Quigley. I hope you like pizza.