Bill Murray Dissed Me and Broke My Grandad’s Water Ski

Green-Lake
We’d like to thank Jamie Kane for today’s story.

My aunt Jill dated Bill Murray in high school. I knew this growing up, and like everyone, I was a huge Bill Murray fan. Whenever we were all quoting classic movie lines on the playground, I’d bring this up – but it didn’t buy me much street cred because, at the time, I was 10. One summer around 1984, I was up at my Grandparent’s summer home in Green Lake, Wisconsin and my aunt Jill happened to be visiting. I was at the local golf course hitting golf balls on the driving range, and Jill pulls up and asks me if I want to go meet Bill Murray. I’m all in.

Bill’s mom had a house on the same lake, and my aunt explained on the drive that we were actually going there to recover a water ski that had been borrowed earlier that week by the Murray brothers. The reason why I was going to finally meet Bill Murray made no difference to 5th grade me.

We arrived at Mrs. Murray’s house and parked the car. We walked around the house and out onto a huge lawn towards Green Lake. About 100 yards away, I saw him playing ball with his son Homer (I think Homer’s middle name is “Banks” after Ernie Banks). As aunt Jill and I walked across this giant lawn, I was getting progressively more nervous to meet him. When we got to him, he gave my aunt a hug and then he turned to me, trademark grin.

Aunt Jill: “Bill, I’d like you to meet my nephew Jamie”

Bill Murray (shaking the outstretched hand of a dumbstruck kid):

“What kind of a name is “Jamie” for a guy?”

Decades later, still not over it, turns out that he and his brothers had actually somehow broken the water ski they had borrowed from our boat house (how do you break a water ski?) Bill had to come back to the house with us (after stopping at the liquor/ski store in town) and explain everything to my Granddad – who he had, years before, met while picking my aunt up for the prom. My Granddad Jack Thomas was not impressed either time.

It was worth it watching him squirm through a few innings of a Cubs game with my Granddad and me after dissing the name “Jamie”. Our families’ favorite autograph, which he gave one of my many cousins that afternoon, was:

“Brush your teeth, and don’t hitchhike… Bill Murray”

Super Bowl XX

We’d like to thank Joe for today’s story.

My grandfather’s friend worked for the McCaskey family and the Bears in the 70’s and 80’s, so she threw our family a couple tickets to Super Bowl XX. My uncle and cousin, both in their early 20’s at the time, wound up going to the game.

Since they were guests of the team, they got to go to one of the official Bears’ post game parties. There were several celebrities and athletes at the event that they chatted with, as everyone was drinking and celebrating the Bears’ victory (no, he didn’t meet Ditka or the Fridge).

After grabbing a drink my uncle turned around to see Bill Murray standing behind him. He freaked out a bit, as one doesn’t meet many celebrities in South Texas. He went to shake his hand and managed to sputter out, “Mr. Murray, I’ve always wanted to meet you.” Murray knocked his hand aside and grabbed him in a big hug and yelled, “And I’ve always wanted to meet you!” Our cousin said my uncle was more excited about this 10 second interaction than he was about the game.

1982 – Bill’s Mother’s Birthday

We’d like to thank Bob McLaughlin for this story.

My son is getting Married this weekend. He had his bachelor party last night and the story of meeting famous people came up. Well I have been lucky and have met several, but one of the most memorable was one of my first and that was Bill.

It was around 1981 or ’82. I had just come home from Boot camp in Florida and was going to Greatlakes for additional training, which also happens to be my hometown area of Deerfield. It was a late night in Northbrook, Illinois. My sister was working in a restaurant doing food prep and my parents asked me to pick her up from work. Ok, no problem.

So my buddy and me headed out to where she worked and entered an almost empty restaurant. There was only one table being used and, right away, we saw that it was Bill Murray and family. Continue reading

Bill Murray Saved My Life

madison square garden
We’d like to thank Andrew Arnett for sharing this story

On January 22, 1982, Bill Murray saved my life.

I was at Madison Square Garden to see The Police with my friend Pete. We had tickets in the blue section, or “Blue Heaven” as it was referred to, because it was all the way back and up. From there the stage looked like a matchbox and the entertainers like ants. We agreed the situation was unacceptable and, while the Go Go’s played their opening set, decided to make our move.

We dropped down the wall into green section, snuck by the guard into yellow section, hopped over a small rail to get into orange then, there it was – red section splayed out in front of us like the promised land, with the front row beckoning.

There was only one problem. The entire perimeter of red section was heavily patrolled by security. I cautioned Pete. I suggested we hunker down in orange for a while, at least until the Go Go’s played “Our Lips Are Sealed”, and then wait for an opening.

Pete remained gung ho and wouldn’t have it. Pete was a huge Stewart Copeland fan; he wanted to cop those drum moves up close. Before I could stop him, he said “I’m going for it,” then took off in a dash. I was right behind him.

For a moment, everything seemed all right. We were melding into the crowd. Everyone was excited, rocking out. Then, there was a hand on my shoulder.

They got Pete as well. We were escorted to a section to the side of the stage. A bunch of security people gave us some warnings, asked for our tickets, tore them in the corner, and handed them back to us. Then they escorted us all the way back to blue section.

Pete and I sat there for a while, languishing to the rhythms of “We Got the Beat.”

“Let’s go for it again,” Pete told me. It seemed like the right thing to do. We were really so very close that first time. So we dropped down the wall into green, snuck by the guard into yellow, hopped over the rail into orange and, then, we were at red section again.

Most people would have been satisfied with our position but at this point it seemed like a mission, like climbing Everest or something. Pete leaped into red like a jackrabbit over the road.

I was right behind him but security was on us like a net. This time they weren’t so understanding.

After verifying that this was our second offense, we were taken behind the stage to a group of awaiting NYPD officers. These were the real ones, not the rent-a-cops we had been dealing with.

There was a group of eight officers, and they escorted us to the service elevator. While we waited for the elevator, the cops taunted us, telling us we were in big trouble. The mood was grave, and we anticipated a beat down.

Then the elevator door opened and Bill Murray walked out.

We worshipped Bill. We started yelling out “Save us Bill, save us!”

He didn’t say anything but, before walking away, gave us a smile like his Hunter Thompson character would do in Where the Buffalo Roam.

That look changed everything. We were no longer morbidly fearful. We were elated, we felt graced. The cops didn’t know what to make of the situation – the atmosphere of intimidation completely evaporated.

Down in the basement of Madison Square Garden, the cops formed a circle around Pete and I.

One cop got up close. “You hate me don’t you?” he alleged, “You want to hit me don’t you?”

“No, no”, I shot back, “I really don’t!”

“Look, I’ll take my badge off,” he offered as he removed it from his uniform.

Pete and I didn’t make a move and, a few moments later, they told us to scram. So we left the building by the side entrance.

There was no doubt in our minds that, if Bill Murray didn’t show up at that fateful moment, something horrible would have befallen us. Bill Murray saved our lives.

(Post image courtesy of bfraz on flickr)

Nothing Lasts Forever

Nothing Lasts Forever Bill Murray

I just read an article in Slate about how, back in 1984, a science-fiction comedy film was made called Nothing Lasts Forever. It was directed by Tom Schiller, who had been a writer on SNL. The cast included some of the big stars at the time, including Bill Murray of course.

Update: We originally had an embedded video of the movie posted here, but it appears that the Warner Bros. had YouTube take it down. At any rate, here’s a link to the trailer.