Kevin’s Spacey Journey: Part One
Like so many before him, Kevin Fowler was born in South Orange, New Jersey sometime in the 1950s. The exact year has not been authenticated, but the date is rumored to be July 26, 1959. This rumor was started by Mr. Spacey himself. Cynical people have been heard to say that for a man his age he looks like a man closer to his “older, fatter” brother’s age, but Mr. Spacey is sticking to his original story. Attempts to get a look at his driver’s license for age verification have so far been unsuccessful. As have all attempts to check his current credit rating.
Kevin’s family moved to California when he was a small child, where he was put to work gathering cow chips in the vast prairie known as Hollywood. This caused Kevin to grow troubled and lonely and also caused his hair to start falling out. But still, he tried to make his family proud. One day, while trying to clean his sister’s bike with a gasoline-soaked rag and a book of matches, he accidentally set fire to the old wooden shed that was perched in a tree house in the backyard of his family’s modest home.
His parents quickly realized he was a boy with remarkable leadership qualities and to give him more specialized school training, they sent him away to a prestigious military academy where he excelled at all sports. Kevin and a class mate won the coveted ‘1971 Team Tire Tossing Award’. And Kevin was given a well-deserved leadership medal. The medal was nice, but the real prize was a one way ticket home on the first bus out of town.
Kevin returned home to his loving family and started on the path to movie stardom and an award winning future.
He started school right away and his parents once again realized that he was in need of a more structured environment, so they enrolled him in a school for a very “special” kind of student. A school that would nurture his academic needs. After intensive studies in acting, set decoration, directing, lunch, and comb overs, Kevin was ready to graduate. Unfortunately, there was one subject that always gave him a lot of trouble: Math! Kevin was the director, star and set designer of the final school play performed that year – Boy In a Beret – and it took up most of his time and left him little time for other classes.
Fate once again took him by the hand. As luck would have it, the new principal of Kevin’s high school was the commander of his old military academy! Realizing that Kevin would keep returning to the school until he graduated, the principal named him co-valedictorian of his class. Kevin also received the first-ever cash prize given to a student for being named valedictorian without passing Math. He was to be allowed to exchange the cash for a one-way ticket to New York City.
The district attorney refused to file charges against the principal citing extreme duress.
But Kevin was a young man with a dream. He didn’t want to go to New York. So all of his time and money went to the fulfillment of a boy’s dream. To get a job at Gallenkamp Shoes!
Kevin quickly realized that a boy’s dreams and a young man’s reality are often very different. One afternoon while stacking boxes of sandals, he suddenly realized that all the years of dance, piano, acting, directing, set design, and comb over lessons weren’t going to be useful in the shoe business. Maybe he was supposed to go in a different direction. Take a different path in life. This sudden epiphany was partly due to the fact the store was going out of business. The very next day Kevin quit his job and registered at the local community college. Sadly, he was not able to take advanced Math courses so he took his beloved mother’s advice and enrolled in the drama department.
As fate would have it, the head of the drama department was his old high school principal! He was so thrilled to see Kevin that he offered to personally upgrade Kevin’s old one-way plane ticket to New York, to First Class. Kevin couldn’t believe his good fortune and jumped at the chance!
His family was excited too. His brother and sister often wondered what would happen to their sweet baby brother and his mom worried about what the future held for her little punkin. Kevin’s dad was a quiet man. He showed his support in other ways. He had all of Kevin’s belongings out at the curb by the time he got home from school that day.
The whole family went to the airport to see him off safely. His mom and dad cried. His brother and sister cried. Kevin still cries when he recalls the tender words from his adored older, fatter brother as they waited for him to board the plane: “You’re gonna change your name so no one knows we’re related, right?”
The other members of the family thought this was a fantastic idea! Kevin didn’t quite understand why this would be, but if his mom thought it was a good idea, then Kevin thought so too. But what name would he use? His mom told everyone of the story of her family’s arrival in the U.S. back in the 1930s. John Graham Spacey was the first Spacey to arrive from England before the war. Maybe Kevin could take his name and make the family proud while at the same time making sure they remained anonymous.
This confused Kevin since he always thought his family was from New Jersey, but if his wonderful and smart mom thought it was a good idea, then Kevin would not argue with her. Kevin Mathew Fowler would become Kevin Graham Fowler!
Suddenly, Kevin’s mom started thinking it wasn’t such a good idea for her baby to be alone in the wilds of New York City, but his sister said he’d be OK. Some of his friends were already there. They’d take care of him.
The plane was ready to be boarded and Kevin Fowler kissed his mom goodbye and got on the plane. He had a date with destiny.
Kevin’s Spacey Journey: Part Two
New York in the summer hits you like a wall of steel as Kevin quickly discovered. He got off the plane and retrieved his luggage, realizing he’d rushed off so fast, he hadn’t thought of where he was going to stay or where he would work or anything! While he waited for a taxi, he suddenly remembered his old school friend Val Kilmer. He lived in NYC. Maybe he could help. In fact, Kevin suddenly remembered that Val was studying acting at one of the world’s most prestigious drama schools. If only he could remember what it was called.
As Kevin stepped out of the airport, he was struck by a construction crane moving a large steel slab. He was taken to the nearest emergency room. He seemed dazed and confused. The ER nurse asked him if he could remember his name. Kevin struggled to think of it. He was becoming very upset when it flashed in his head like a light bulb. “It’s Spacey. Kevin Spacey.”
The doctor decided to admit him overnight since he still seemed woozy, and as he watched TV in his room, he saw that his dear friend Mare was on the Gong Show! Oh, if he could only reach those same dizzying showbiz heights some day! He vowed to look up his old school friend Val when he was released the next morning. He had a new purpose in life.
Kevin found Val faster than he had expected. He was driving the taxi that took Kevin away from the hospital. They caught up on old times while sitting in traffic. Val’s dad was coming to dinner that night and Kevin was invited along. Kevin always liked the senior Mr. Kilmer and knew Mr. Kilmer would be thrilled to see him too.
During dinner, Val regaled his dad and Kevin with exciting stories of drama school. Kevin tried not to be envious but it was hard. But since he didn’t even have a job and no place to live, school was out of the question. Val had a great idea! Maybe Kevin could use the extra bedroom in the Kilmer family apartment and maybe dad could get him a job. Then in a few years, maybe Kevin could have enough saved up to go to drama school and in another 5 or 6 years he could afford to get his own place!
Val’s dad was so moved by Kevin’s plight he told Kev and Val that he’d personally pay for Kevin’s tuition right now. He didn’t need to wait. Really! He didn’t! He’d even pay for rent in an apartment in New Jersey if Kevin didn’t mind the commute.
Kevin wondered once again what he’d done to deserve such good friends. This was the break he’d been looking for.
Thanks to the generosity of Val Kilmer’s dad, Kevin was soon enrolled at Juilliard and living in a small apartment with a bunch of other kids who Val’s dad didn’t want living in his spare room. Kevin felt like he had finally found a home. He called his mom to tell her he had arrived safely and already had a place to live and was going to this incredible school and had changed his name, but his sister refused the call when the operator said it was from Kevin Spacey. Kevin decided he’d just send a postcard later.
Juilliard was not the experience Kevin hoped it would be. He was constantly in conflict with his teachers and more than once was told to leave the classroom when he told the teachers “That’s not how we did it in high school.” and “I directed, acted in and designed the sets for ‘Boy in a Beret’. I don’t need somebody telling me how to act.” and of course, some of the teachers didn’t like this and suggested Kevin switch to Creative Accounting and Tax Evasion. Kevin hadn’t heard that Julliard taught Math, but if the teachers thought it was a good idea, who was he to second guess them?
Unfortunately, once again academics were Kevin’s undoing and he left school after just a few years. He dropped his new name. He worked at a series of odd jobs to support himself. Waiter. Cable subscription salesman. Weightlifter.
It was while selling cable subscriptions that Kevin met a man who would change his life. Joseph Papp. He gave Kevin a job taking notes and copying papers. Taking out the trash. Writing letters and answering mail from the hundreds of people who wrote every day. Answering the phones. Running errands. Going to the post office. Sometimes, they even let him sweep the floors at the end of the day. Kevin loved doing these things. Kevin felt he could stay there forever. But once again, fate had other plans for Kevin Whatever-his name-was-now.
Kevin got a really bad paper cut one day while copying notes he had taken the day before. Joe, or Mr. Papp as his friends called him, didn’t think the cut was that bad and offered to get Kevin a band-aid, but Kevin worried that the cut would lead to infection and he’d end up having to have his finger cut off and he’d probably get some horrible disease while in the hospital and there goes the whole hand …
Joe told Kevin he was in the wrong job. He should be on the stage. Kevin said he loved his note taking job too much to ever leave it. Joe told him to get out of his office and not to come back. So Kevin left and after spending the day wandering around the city and thinking of what he was going to do with his life, he remembered something that had happened to him when he was younger.
Kevin’s Spacey Journey: Part Three
When Kevin was a boy, he used to go to the theatre to kill time between his math and science classes at school. He used to stand outside the stage door and wait for the actors to leave so he could speak with them.
He was never happier than when one of his idols would stop for autographs and pictures. One of his fondest memories was of the great Katherine Hepburn.
Kevin idolized her. She was appearing in a play near his home. Day after day he would wait by her car with a bouquet of flowers he bought with money he made from selling his hair. He dreamed of the day he would meet her.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t her car. In fact, it was also the wrong theater. But Kevin never forgot the thrill of anticipation he felt when he grabbed his autograph book and ran out the door.
He also dreamed that one day he would be a great stage actor and he would be the man leaving the stage door into the arms of his adoring fans. Many years later, Kevin would fulfill that boyish dream through hard work and looking great in Armani.
But Kevin also had a secret. A secret he told no one for fear he would be laughed at, ridiculed, scorned. Turned away by the very theatre people he would grow to love and respect. A secret he only told his mother and his dear high school friend Mare Winningham.
Kevin wanted to revolutionize the ticketing system on Broadway!
Kevin’s plan came to him one day when he was waiting to meet Katherine Hepburn. He had grown tired and hungry while waiting for the play she was in to let out and went into a burger joint to get an order of fries and a large coke.
He was wondering why he never managed to see Ms. Hepburn as she left the theater each night and he was feeling disheartened. He knew the only way he’d get to meet her was by actually seeing the play, but he’d spent most of his money on the flowers.
While he was snacking on his fries, he noticed an old woman sleeping in the booth next to him. Sticking out of her bag was a ticket to a play! Kevin was a nice and considerate boy and he was thinking the poor woman was probably more tired than he was and to spare her the agony of sitting through a long play, he took the ticket from her bag and ran back to the theater on the corner.
Kevin enjoyed the play immensely, although he was shocked to see that as the years had passed, Katherine Hepburn had started to look a lot like Robert Conrad. After the play ended, he ran to the stage door with his flowers and as the door opened he cried out “Ms. Hepburn! Ms. Hepburn! My name is Kevin Fowler and I’m your number one fan!” and he threw at her, the bouquet of flowers he’d brought with him earlier in the day.
After security had calmed Mr. Conrad and Kevin explained everything, he was told that he was at the wrong theater and since he wasn’t a paying customer, he’d have to move away from the door.
Kevin was crushed and realized that this would never have happened if only it didn’t cost so much to stand at the stage door. He swore that if he was ever in a position to do anything about that, he would.
Now, as Kevin walked the streets wondering what direction his life would go in now that he’d been fired from his job as a floor-sweeping note taker, he realized this was the time to try and make his dream come true. But how? Maybe he could become an actor and one day he’d be rich enough and powerful enough to make a difference. How hard could that be?
Little did he know that 25 short years later, he would be an award winning actor with the clout and money to solve this problem.
Kevin’s Spacey Journey: Part Four
Kevin became an actor and achieved a great deal of success. He was offered the chance to star on Broadway. Kevin realized this was the perfect time to put his secret plan in to place. By buying into the show as a producer, he could control the price of the sidewalk tickets!
For a small price, a fan could purchase a spot on the sidewalk near the stage door. The closer you wanted to be, the more the tickets cost, but for about $50, you could watch Kevin sign autographs and for about $100 you were given the prime spot next to the dumpster at the stage door!
Kevin also made arrangements for people to have seats inside the theater when there was a play being performed. This was especially nice during the hot Summer months.
There was one small bit of controversy when arrangements were made for students to have cheap tickets. Due to a bureaucratic mix-up, the students weren’t allowed to stand near the stage door. There was talk of a possible lawsuit by students who felt cheated out of autographs, but they were placated when Kevin allowed them to sit close to the stage inside the theater during the performances. This wasn’t much, but for $25, why complain? At least they weren’t outside in the rain.
Every night for months, Kevin and his fans would meet near his car and he would sign autographs and have his picture taken. He always remembered the old days of waiting for Katherine Hepburn.
One night, he decided to write to her to tell her how much his admiration of her had changed both his life and the face of autograph hunting forever. He poured out his heart to her. He told her of his years of struggling to get into the shoe business and how he went to New York and changed his name and all about how he’d made his family proud.
Sixteen long months later, he received a card in the mail.
It said simply “Kevin, good for you.”
Written by Me in 2000
Animation by Animatedimages.org
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