Today's friend, the Evil Zebra, is a celeb himself, but he still occasionally takes the time to share some of his celebrity encounters with Johngy's Beat. Previously, we saw the first part of his first encounter with the late actress Dana Plato. Here, the Evil Zebra continues the story.
Part 2 of the DANA PLATO Stories
At last we met......... WE MET!!!! I was WET!!!!!!!!
Now onto to the remaining time in Miami @ the National DECA Conference........ After spending the afternoon at the pool, I invited Kay and Dana to join my group from Pennsylvania for dinner. So I guess you could say we kinda adopted Dana and Kay into our family, which DANA was thrilled with. She had lots of kids her own age to talk to and hang out with, which she did over the next few days. I remember the kids all having a ball at the "dance" that they set up for them that night.
Ok...... a few days of fun and fast forward to the final night at the conference, where they held the awards session in which Dana would be taking to the stage to present the award for the MDA - 7-Up company national project, 3-4 thousand screaming high school kids cheered as they announced, "And here to present the award for the MDA 7-Up Company Project, please put your hands together and welcome our special guest... you know her as Kimberly Drummond from TV's Diff'rent Strokes. Please welcome DANA PLATO!!!!!!!!"
What happens next, you would not believe. She talks a bit, saying how she loved hanging out there over the past few days and met some really cool people and then it was time for her to open the envelope and present the winning high school. She opened the envelope and her face went real strange. Everyone was waiting...She then got this big smile on her face and said something like, " OH MY GOD.... the winning high school is...NORRISTOWN HIGH SCHOOL...from Norristown, Pennsylvania!"
That's right. MY school WON! So as we made our way up to the stage to get the award from our new friend. I just watched how excited Dana was up on stage until we got up there. She ran right over and jumped up at me (kinda like how Johnny Fairplay did to Danny Bonaduce on an award show... LOL). She presented us with the award, and we all walked off stage together.
We did a photo shoot for 7-Up back stage and then headed back to our rooms to change into comfy clothes to hang out on our last night in Florida. We all had early flights home the next morning. It was about 10 pm and the conference was using about three or four hotels in the Miami Beach area.
On the last night of the conference, most States had a hospitality suite in one of the hotels for their kids and teachers to hang out in and have pizza and what not on the last night. Well naturally, Dana wanted to try and at least visit each state's "party" for a few minutes. I remember that Kay went to a few of them with us, but got tired and said to me, "You're on your own... just keep a good eye on DANA and I will see in the morning before we leave". So Kay went back to her room and Dana and I headed out to visit as many "states" as we could.
I'm not sure how many we visited, but I remember it was about 3 am when we got back to our hotel. We had to be up to head to the airport at I think 6 am, so we decided to just stay up and talk and since my room was right near Dana's, a few of us just hung out talking and stuff in my room. That is when the pics of Dana sitting on my lap were taken. One thing I do remember about that night is (and I didn't know till I got home and looked at it) I had the high school yearbook with me at the hotel. We had just gotten them before we left for Florida, so i brought mine along to get my kids to sign and when looking at it later I noticed a note in it from DANA PLATO!!!!!
Yup she must have signed it while I was not looking LOL! I also remember her saying how much fun she had and that she was sooooooooo happy that she met us all first! She also said she didn't wanna leave and go home, which gets me to the final part of the Florida "meeting".
So it's like 5 am in the hotel lobby. Tons of tired kids are waiting to get to the airport to catch a flight home. We got a school bus there loading up my kids. Down to the lobby comes Dana and Kay. 7-Up company had a LIMO waiting to take them to the airport. As we are saying our good-byes, I promise Dana that I will be in touch with her cause I had something planned and if it worked out, I would be giving her a call in about a week. The next thing I know the LIMO is gone. Nope...Kay and Dana did not leave without a final good bye. Dana told the limo to leave, cause they were taking the school bus with US to the airport!!! STAY TUNED FOR MORE!!!!
As always, I really appreciate the Evil Zebra's stories. I grew up watching Plato on tv and t is heartwarming to hear EZ's insider stories. I know he has more stories and I look forward to hear them.
The Evil Zebra and Dana Plato in Florida-Late 1970's.