February 5, 2004 - Have You Been Seeing Stars?
Imagine a film festival without stars … kind of like a film festival without films. Top billing this year at the Santa Barbara Film Festival was Peter Jackson, the highly acclaimed director of the Lord of the Rings movies. Last Saturday was a big night for Jackson. He was presented with the Modern Master Award. In an amazing display of the power of stardom, girls screamed when he walked down the red carpet at the Arlington. Screams that one would think would be reserved only for the truly sexy - like the other two celebrities on the schedule, Charlize Theron and Diane Lane.
The dedicated staff of edhat.com wanted to document what other celebrities were seen during the film festival and who was seeing them. Here is our list:
Eyewitness celebrity sightings by members of the dedicated staff
Kirk Douglas, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Elliot Gould, Dennis Quaid, and Christopher Lloyd.
Sightings documented by photographic evidence
Rob Lowe, Sean Astin, John Cleese, Stuart Whitman, Robert Carradine, Rodrigo Noya, Mary Kay Place, and John Densmore of the Doors.
Reported sighting by reliable sources
Reported sightings by unreliable sources
Steve Martin walking down State Street, Kevin Costner at the Opening night, Johnny Depp entering Rite Aid. Rite.
Reported sightings that we know just ain’t true
The young woman at the parking kiosk told us she saw Joan Crawford. “Joan Crawford?” we asked, “Yes”, said the woman. “She has a kid now.” Yeah, yeah, we’ve already seen THAT movie!
Standing in front of the Metro 4, Ed had a brief chat with SBIFF chief Roger Durling yesterday. Roger, who knows more about movies than just about anybody, rattled off a long laundry list of celebrities who had come to his festival. In the end he added, “Anne Francis just went in to see to a movie.” “Anne Francis?” Ed asked. “From Forbidden Planet,” Roger replied.
The dedicated staffers have been asking volunteers, retail clerks, restaurant servers, and parking attendants all week if they’ve seen any celebrities. The answer is always a resounding (and disappointed), “no”.
And no one we asked knew about Anne Francis, either.
Five people at the Film Festival Welcome Desk also drew a blank on the actress. It was only after some dedicated research by the dedicated staff that we figured out what Roger had already known – Anne Francis, pictured on the left, is so famous that she has been immortalized in Rocky Horror Picture Show song lyrics:
“Science Fiction - Double Feature
Dr. X will build a creature
See androids fighting Brad and Janet
Ann Francis stars in Forbidden Planet
Oh-oh at the late night, double feature, picture show.”
A legend! … and she walked right past us.
On the other side of town, in the La Cumbre and Five Points shopping centers, the dedicated staffers were surveying real people away from the film festival to see how much star awareness they had - we figured they wouldn’t know Ann Francis, but would they know the mainstream stars at the Festival?
Well, not really. With the exception of a striking Vons (2019) worker named Lisa who knew all the stars, most “real people” had a hard time identifying the faces in the pictures we showed them. In order of recognition: Rob Lowe (52%), John Cleese (39%), Peter Jackson (35%), Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Sean Astin (both 22%), and Christopher Lloyd (4%). We were only counting people who knew the celebrity’s real name, not context or character. During our survey J-Lou-D was the most misidentified star. We had guesses of Minnie Driver, Courtney Cox, and Ally McBeal.
The percentages of recognition, we found, were much lower than our contestants expected. We guess that not all people are as tuned into pop culture as our educated and hip edhat.com subscribers! JBaker, who guessed really low numbers, won the contest!
JB wins a Santa Barbara gift pack that includes a genuine first-edition edhat.com hat, a jar of Marshmallow Cocoa Body Butter (for your skin) from Jaqua, 2 coupons for Cold Stone ice cream, and a See’s Candy gift certificate. JB is also in the running for our week’s end grand prize drawing which includes lunch for 2 at Café Buenos Aires
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