Marcel Marceau Speaks!

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I Was Trapped in a Glass Elevator with Marcel Marceau

"Children of Paradise and Charlie Chaplin"

"On Stan Laurel"

"On Chaplin, Keaton, Jerry Lewis and Red Skelton"

"Future and Past of Mime"

"The Bible and Seven Deadly Sins"

"Mime and Breakdance"

"David and Goliath"

"Universal Appeal of Mime"

"Mime Schools"

"Harpo Marx and Monsieur Bip"


"Picasso and Surrealism"

"Mimes Who Use Masks"

"On Painting"

"10 Years in 10 Minutes"

"KOOP Austin Station ID"


The King of Pop and The King of Mime

DATELINE: March 24, 1996 Austin, TX

The tall thin man in whiteface crouched in a corner and closed his eyes. I took a deep breath and tried to relax. The man with the video camera brushed against me. I could smell his French cologne. Minutes passed in silence.

Bells began ringing. I looked below and saw some people in hotel uniforms running around. Others stood 21 floors below staring and pointing at us. The glass elevator stayed stationary. Suddenly, as if possessed, the tall thin man began moving silently moving his hands in front of his face. He let out a low, guttural moan and raised his eyes to the roof and shouted at the top of his lungs, "Merde!"

Three hours later, the elevator began its descent. We had spent a good portion of our Sunday afternoon standing in silence stranded in a the Omni Hotel's glass elevator. Upon landing, I kissed the floor and looked up to see a hotel manager shaking her finger at us and saying, "You all must leave the hotel right now. You are not allowed to shoot footage without the permission of the hotel managers."

Two large security guards escorted the seven of us outside the premises. We went our separate ways. My roommate and I walked around the corner and tried to call a friend in the hotel. He did not answer. The phone rang and rang and rang.

We walked past the hotel one more time and saw the tall thin man surrounded by a 3-person French television crew. He was signing autographs for a group of children who stared at him. His motions seemed choreographed and graceful. I made my way through the crowd and reached the tall thin man. I extended my hand and said, "Monsieur, a mime is a terrible thing to waste."

Without missing a beat, the man who I had now determined was Marcel Marceau one of the greatest actors of our time, looked up at me, let out a chortle and replied, "Yes, but a waist is a terrible thing to mime!"