I haven’t had a memorable Armitage Dream since late October! Somewhat of a long draught, but last night I had the pleasure of another rather cute (translate: G-rated!) dream starring Richard Armitage, my family, and our kitten-cat, Zax. *I* thought it was pretty entertaining, but maybe only because I have the benefit of knowing the child, and can’t help but find his antics continually amusing…
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I’m at home alone, feverishly speed-dialing family and friends to remind them that my young love’s performance at last year’s preschool Christmas program is about to be televised on PBS! (The kiddo’s pre-K class did a Charlie Brown-themed play last December, and the young love had the leading role. Naturally, Mommy and Daddy were stupendously proud!) Apparently, PBS is doing a feature on children’s theatre performance, and this humble preschool production has been selected to be featured on the show! (This stellar production really was videoed for posterity… for a fundraising effort whereby the smitten parents buy the DVD, though: not for television! LOL) Hubby has the kids, and has gone down to the PBS studio to chaperone the young love for the PBS station interview. (While I, apparently, stayed home. To man the DVR, evidently. Right. Moving on.) Little do I know, this program is to feature not only the young love’s phenomenal performance as Charlie Brown and various other worthy children’s theatre productions, but is also to feature old footage of several noteworthy celebrities’ early childhood theatre experiences.
The show kicks off, and I watch excitedly, enjoying all the cute snippets from various kid productions around the world, and secure in the knowledge that my young love made the cutest Charlie Brown ever to be seen in live theatre or television. Just as the show is wrapping up, getting ready to move to the studio interviews with the young love and other child performers, I’m blown away to see a brief, Thorin-filled selection from the most recent BOFA trailer, and the PBS host announces that they happen to have exclusive footage of Richard Armitage in his FIRST Hobbit appearance, when he was just a small boy, cast as an elf!
I can’t believe this scoop! As far as I know, this PBS appearance was not announced anywhere in the fandom, and what are the chances many Armitage admirers would be watching this rather obscure PBS documentary? I might be the one to “break the story” and I happen to be
at home, manning the DVR recording the show because the young love was to be featured!! I watch with unmitigated delight as the clips of young Armitage begin to roll. The spindly youth has enormous elf ears, and moves lightly across the stage. He’s simply adorable. Almost as adorable as the Charlie Brown star I’ve just been watching. There isn’t much to it, no dialogue from youthful Richard-the-elf, and it’s over in minutes.
I check Twitter, WordPress, and Richard Armitage Central on my phone, and there is no mention of it yet! (I seem to always be eager to get “the scoop” for the fandom in my dreams. Like the time I found out about the secret wax figure RA characters at Madame Tussaud’s London. LOL. In real life I tend to be the last to know.) PBS cuts to the studio, and I see my own young love sitting on a large couch with about 5 other children; he’s wearing his Charlie Brown shirt, and seems to be preoccupied with a duffel bag on his lap. This niggles at me, but I am soon distracted: the camera pans around to the other side of a coffee table, and on another couch, sits Richard Armitage and the host of the show! Richard is short-haired and is sporting the stubbled look. He’s wearing casual jeans, black shirt, and black boots. He looks relaxed, and is watching the squirming couch-full across from him with a warm and open expression.
The host of the show introduces the children by first name, and then introduces Richard Armitage. Richard is asked a question or two about his experiences filming the Hobbit, and asked to compare the Peter Jackson mega-blockbuster with the children’s theatre performance from his youth. Richard makes a little joke about the dragon in the early production being basically nothing but smoke and red light, and that’s when I hear a familiar, lisping voice loudly interrupt to announce “But did you know… When I grow up, I’m going to be EITHER a Dragon Sthlayer, or… a Dentisth!” The camera quickly pans out, now showing both couches, but nobody needs to tell me who has just interrupted Richard’s answer. I’ve heard all about my child’s professional aspirations before.
Richard’s face lights up and he smiles at the absurdity of this pronouncement. “Are you really? A dragon slayer, or a dentist! And you can’t be both?” The young love furrows his brow, and takes a moment to thoughtfully ponder such a notion.
“Actually, did you know… a Dragon Sthlayer could be a Dentisth because a Dentisth can kill the tartar-bug in your mouth and make bad breath disthappear, AND a Dragon Sthlayer can kill a dragon and dragonths have bad breath, too? That’ths why I want to be a Dragon Sthlayer because dragonths have BURNING BAD BREATH!”
Richard is chuckling now, and he praises my young love’s determination to fight bad breath on every front. My heart rate has increased, and my foolish grin must be enormous, but the young love isn’t done educating Richard. “Right! But did you know… that old caths can have bad breath but kittenths don’t have bad breath? And did you know… my Mommy can pull out bad teeth on caths?”
Richard, judging by the elevation of his forehead crinkles, is apparently dumbstruck by this revelation, and simply says, “Can she really?”
The young love nods knowledgeably, then unzips his duffel bag and his kitten, Zax, a long-haired black cat of about 6 months age, scrambles out. Because he’s tried putting Zax into a duffel bag on more than one occasion, the young love is ready for him, and manages to snag the laid-back cat before he reaches the floor, and the cat relaxes like a ragdoll, knowing it is the path of least resistance when a child has hold of him. Young love carries the kitten-cat over to Richard Armitage and introduces him, offering Richard the opportunity to smell the pet’s breath. “Zaxth has good breath. Thsee? You can sthmell insthide hith mouth and it sthmellth like cat food!”
Richard, with a priceless expression, is now leaning as far away from the proffered cat breath as possible, and declines this sniff firmly but politely. The young love asks if Richard would like to hold the cat, and Richard again declines politely, trying not to laugh. “But did you know… if we don’t hold on to Zaxth, he will get sthtraight into that plant!” He points to the on-set decor. “Zaxth alwayth climbth up into my Mommy’th planths and then my Mommy maketh a sthound like thith: PFFFFFTH! and that sthpooked him out of the plant. But here: you hold him!”
Zax is plunked onto Richard’s lap, and like any sensible creature, seems well-pleased to be there. He circles once then settles in, making biscuits. The young love is evidently satisfied that Richard is holding the kitten safely, even if still leaning as far back as possible, and moves off to inspect sound equipment. (We’ve been to a number of pre-school Christmas programs. When he was three, the young love participated not at all, forsaking the song and dance for the chance to open a trapdoor and fiddle around with sound equipment onstage.) Hubby is in the audience and gestures emphatically for the young love to get back to the couch. The young love continues frizzling with sound equipment and ignores his father’s stern gestures like a champ. As if nothing off-script has occurred, the host winks conspiratorially and resumes the discussion, and Richard reluctantly hangs onto the cat. (Far be it from Richard to allow the cat to get into anyone’s plant!) He has a bit of a deer-in-the-headlights look at first, but soon relaxes.
However, the temptation presented by a fluffy black kitten and a closer inspection of sound equipment is simply too overwhelming for the other young theatre performers, and pretty soon several other children have left the couch. The little girls swarm around Richard Armitage, (no surprise there!) while the little boys join the young love in fingering the sound equipment. The little girls, ignoring the boring adult talk, are now petting and cooing to the cat. Pretty soon I see my three-year old daughter, who is supposed to be in the studio audience, has joined the mix. I glance at Hubby, and see mortified resignation on his face. (He clearly should have been the one to stay home and man the DVR… *I* would not have missed the cat in the duffel bag, or let the daughter slip onto the set. You can take that to the bank!)
Although he couldn’t be bothered to mind his daddy, this development does get the young love’s attention. “Did you know… that’th my sthisther! Sthissthy: did you know, he didn’t smell Zaxth’ breath!!” Sissy gives Richard Armitage a pitying look, letting him know he’s missed a real opportunity. It seems our daughter has not made the connection between the unfortunate fellow who won’t smell kitten breath, and her beloved Swisher. (It must be the lack of Twinkle Stars on his wall.) She opens her mouth to say something, but the host of the show, a little flustered now, announces they will cut to commercial. As the film pans out, I see Hubby leap to his feet and hurry over with the duffel bag to collect Zax off Richard’s lap.
Richard and Hubby pass a conspiratorial look, and without any words spoken aloud, I clearly read the silent conversation, the conversation that they dare not have in front of a studio audience and a handful of children.
They say not one word about a Fluffy Black Pussy.
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Perhaps fortunately, I don’t remember anything after they cut to commercial. Note to self: take every precaution in future to be physically present for these proud parental moments! Hubby is absolutely not to be trusted to supervise PBS broadcasting appearances ever again!
May I take this opportunity to wish everyone a Very Happy New Year? Here’s to more Richard Armitage dreams in 2015… =)