My Day with Jackie Chan
A good friend called one afternoon to tell me that the store he owned would be setting up
a booth at the upcoming Science Fiction & Comic Book Convention, which was to be held
at a fancy hotel in downtown Los Angeles, California.
He called to inform me he'd just found out that the special guest speaker for the event
was to be none other than, action superstar JACKIE CHAN! He would be there that day
to promote the release of his latest film: "Rumble in the Bronx" in the US.
My friend's specialty store had been renting me their entire selection of imported and
subtitled Chan flicks on VHS long before they became available in most local franchised
rental stores. Long before most Americans even knew whom Jackie was?
He knew what a true fan I really was of Jackie's, and he knew I'd jump at
the chance to be there he was right!
We made plans for him to pick me up early in the morning on the day of the convention
so they could get their gear in and set up on time.
We stopped by my local Carl's Jr. for a couple of quick egg burritos to eat as breakfast,
then, immediately hit the road towards downtown Los Angeles.
When we arrived, his store's equipment truck was already unloaded and his efficient crew
had nearly finished constructing their entire display.
Hours later, it was time to "hurry up and wait" in a long line to see Jackie Chan.
By the time I finally found myself standing at the ballroom's entrance, I could see the
place was already packed inside. I began to feel a bit discouraged. But, I was determined ... I decided to walk straight up the
middle aisle to the front in search of a perfect seat.
Luckily, I found one center stage in the first row at the foot of a podium, right next to a kid
who played one of the "Power Rangers" on TV. I had found myself in the best seat in the house!
I must have had some good karma that day? Or, so I thought ...
As I waited for the guest of honor to appear onstage, I began to feel a bit unusual.
My head was beginning to hurt and I starting sweating. I could feel my entire body
temperature slowly heating up. I sat there quietly and began to feel sick.
Jackie Chan finally took the stage amidst a loud round of applause and adoring cheers!
There was one of my favorite heroes of all time right in front of me and I felt like
I might have to pass out due to a strange illness!
But, as I said, I was very determined ... I maintained my composure as the crowd
quieted down and the ceremonies commenced
At that time, Jackie's English was still fairly broken and he was having some trouble
finding or properly pronouncing certain words to use in order to correctly express what
he was trying to convey to the audience. I could even tell he was becoming uncomfortable
and seemed to be a bit embarrassed by his poor command of our common language.
He appeared to become somewhat nervous? Now, he was starting to sweat!
To help him save face when he struggled with quick translations, I quietly managed to
feed him the proper words he was searching for from the edge of the podium at the foot
of the stage, even though my health was still fading.
Jackie's mood lightened and his face began to flash that million-dollar smile more often
with his confidence now renewed. While he spoke on, he occasionally looked down at me
and smiled with seeming gratitude for the assistance I offered freely!
After his speech, some members of the audience were lining up behind a microphone
to ask him questions. I was the last person who slowly wobbled to the back of the line
to ask a final question of my hero while struggling not to fall down.
Right before my turn, the function's coordinator tried to end the questions segment
due to a lack of time. But, Jackie recognized me there and he actually waved off the
representative to allow me to speak.
I asked, "Who's broken more bones during their careers: Evel Knievel or Jackie Chan?"
The crowd laughed! I also thanked him sincerely for helping us to keep our sense
of humor as martial artists. The entire room then applauded in appreciation!
While slowly returning to my seat in a daze, a member of the crew waved me over to
the side of the stage and escorted me behind a facade to meet Jackie Chan!
Jackie told me how thankful he was for my earlier assistance while speaking onstage.
He seemed very honest and sincere as he spoke. We talked for minutes while
my condition worsened and his whole crew waited impatiently for us to finish.
Before we parted, Jackie generously autographed some promo pictures and posters
for me, then he presented me with a couple of cool looking "Rumble in the Bronx"
baseball-style caps, which I will always cherish!
Right after we parted, I rushed right out of the ballroom to the nearest restroom,
into a vacant stall and began puking my guts out! Minutes seemed like hours while my
body sweated profusely trying to rid itself of a bad egg burrito!
When I was done vomiting, I stepped outside in front of the hotel to sit against it's cool
marble entrance to help bring my body temperature down. Cooled down a bit, I went
back inside and walked towards the large commerce center where my friend's booth was
I didn't feel like I could yet manage the long walk all the way across the convention floor
in my condition. So, I found an enclosed area where some moving blankets and equipment
were stored and snuck in. I must've slept there at least a couple of hours as my body slowly
Feeling a little better after my long rest, I then returned to my friend's booth just in time
to help pack up some of his store's equipment and goods before the end of the day.
On the way home, I tried to snooze some more. I barely even spoke to my friend during our drive.
I was still feeling a little queasy from those damn eggs I'd eaten early that morning!
His burrito didn't seem to have any ill effects on him throughout the course of that day?
I did tell him of the extremely good time I had while meeting one of my all time favorite
"Martial Arts Screen Idols", the legendary JACKIE CHAN!
It is a rare pleasure to meet one's heroes in life. It's an even greater joy when one of those individuals turns out to be as genuine and as approachable as Jackie was to me on that occasion.
That special day will stand out as a highlight in my memory for the rest of my life!
Recently, AMAM-MAGAZINE.COM was invited to cover the official unveiling of international superstar Jackie Chan's likeness, now immortalized as a featured wax statue at the popular Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum on Hollywood Boulevard.
The $55 million attraction, located next door to the historic Grauman's Chinese Theater, will be observing a month-long Chinese New Year's Celebration by adding it's newest wax statue of the beloved Asian film actor and intenational martial arts icon.
Those in attendance went wild with appreciation inside the crowded Plaza when Jackie Chan finally appeared before many of his adoring fans amid a firing squad of flashing cameras!
All in white, Chan looked sharply-dressed in a traditional Chinese suit from his J.C. signature clothing line and a slick pair of dark sunglasses, as he briskly took to the stage that had been set-up for his afternoon appearance in the courtyard of Madame Tussaud's.
After his initial introduction, I actually led the whole crowd in a lively volley of enthusiastic cheering for Jackie Chan, which brought a broad beaming smile to the face of our hero!
The action-film superstar happily gleamed and continually waved to the crowd as the energetic fans there repeatedly screamed, "We love you Jackie!"
After his brand new wax statue was revealed with a fair degree of fanfare, Jackie was handed a microphone to let his fans know aloud how grateful he was for those who're honoring him.
"Now there will always be a young Jackie Chan," he proclaimed, while examining his new wax image.
The statue was a perfect likeness of him. I pointed to my big honker and gestured to Jackie on how they got his nose right on the statue...he smiled and laughed at my joke!
Chan responded with clear delight and amusement at his new wax twin, even placing his sunglasses on the statue for some playful Press pictures.
He appeared to be sincerely humbled by all the appreciation being shown towards him and freely displayed some of his trademark humor when speaking with everyone who approached him.
I was thankful to be up there in front of the line of photographers and media, also to be allowed to present Jackie with some small personal gifts from my Sensei Gene LeBell and myself...it was good fun to have the chance again to speak with one of my greatest heroes in person!
Scheduled for its official release the following weekend, Jackie Chan's latest feature "The Spy Next Door" debuted next door at the landmark Chinese Theater. His next production, set for theater's in 2010, is a remake of the "Karate Kid" this time set in China in which Chan takes on the equivalent role of "Mr. Miyagi" originally made famous by the late beloved actor Pat Morita.
Already hugely famous in most parts of the globe, Chan has finally become a highly revered and deservedly adored action-movie star in the United States within the past decades by starring in the "Rush Hour" and "Shanghai Noon" series, among many other big American box-office hits.
The famed multi-talented actor, director, producer, singer, philantropist and martial arts expert was born in Hong Kong and is currently one of the most well known movie stars in films today.
Chan, who's fluent in multiple languages, began his career as a stunt man in the early 1970's and even worked as a stunt-coordinator in films for the legendary Bruce Lee prior to becoming a worldwide star of over 100 films of his own.
Among his many accolades and numerous Awards, Jackie Chan has also appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, a recipient of the top French Chevalier des Award and was presented as a Member of the British Empire by the Queen of England.