Friday, February 20, 2009
Sunset Blvd. was closed down in front of the Continental Hotel, and for some distance in both directions along the Sunset Strip. The streets filled with onlookers staring upwards at the figure of me walking back and forth along the outer edge of the roof.
As long as I stayed out there, no one had any inclination to join me, except for one single person, Seymour Cassel. Seymour was a pretty well-known character actor at the time, whose face was known from numerous parts in motion pictures and television shows. I knew him from local restaurants and bars in the area.
While watching the coverage on TV, and then coming to the scene itself as it picked up momentum, Cassel had decided to make his way into the hotel and talk to the authorities on site.
Once inside, he convinced the sheriff's department to allow him on the roof, telling them he knew me, and might be of help in getting me to call it off. Desperate for a solution, they'd agreed to give him a shot.
As I sat on the edge of the roof looking down at the crowds of people, a voice yelled out from somewhere on the roof behind me, saying, "Hey Bobby, there's someone here who says he knows you and wants to talk."
I turned my head in the direction of the voice and saw Seymour standing there looking quite friendly and flashing me a big smile. "Hi Bobby," he yelled. "Hey Seymour," I yelled back, "How's it going?" He moved toward me and yelled out again, "You mind if I come out there with you and talk?" "No," I answered, "Come on out here if you can handle it."
Seymour ducked under the pipe railing that ran all around the roof area, and approached me smiling with his hand outstretched. I shook his hand, and a voice yelled out saying, "Watch it Seymour he might jump and take you down with him."
Hearing this Seymour hesitated a bit until I motioned positively for him to come ahead, which he did. Once there, he joined me in a sitting position at the edge of the roof.
We sat there with our legs dangling over the edge, eye-balling the sea of faces below. "Man," he said, "What a view!" "Yeah," I said, "it's a real trip isn't it." He then asked, "Are you going to jump off this thing?" "Hell no," I replied, "It would kill me." We both laughed...
"So you're not up here to commit suicide?" he asked. "Nope," I replied. "You're just up here screwin' with everybody, right?" he said. "Yeah, pretty much, I just got tired of the bullshit and figured I'd come up here and do a Bobby Jameson on them."
"Wow, man," exclaimed Seymour, "This is like nothing I've ever seen in my life." "Yeah," I replied, It's pretty damn intense." "Bobby, I was watchin' TV," Seymour said, "When they broke into the program with live coverage of this. As soon as I saw it, I knew it was you again, up here doin' your thing. It's damn near on every channel," he said, "I hope you don't mind, man, but I just had to come up here and get in on some of this publicity."
I stared at the look on Seymour's face, and started laughing. "Hell no I don't mind, I'm glad to have you. It's about time somebody figured out what I am doing, and how good this publicity is. If any of those dumb shits in the record business had any brains, they'd realize I was a walking publicity stunt and release every Goddamn record I ever made and use this to promote it."
"Seymour smiled and said, "Yeah, you can't buy this kind of publicity, this is incredible, man." He looked up at the various helicopters circling the area saying, "Look at em all, everybody's here checkin' you out."
He stopped for a second, and then asked,"Hey, Bobby, how bout a cup of coffee?" "Yeah," I said, "Coffee would be good about now." He got up and went toward the railing, yelling to someone about getting coffee.
After a couple of minutes, an individual showed up with two cups of coffee. Not paper cups, but two cups and saucers that said Continental Hyatt House on the side.
As I watched, Seymour yelled at me, "Whatta ya want in your coffee?" "Just a little sugar," I yelled. Momentarily he headed back to me, balancing the two cups as he walked. I wondered if those guys had any idea of why Cassel had come up here.
I took a cup and saucer from Seymour's outstretched hand, thanking him as he reclaimed his spot next to me. There we were. Seymour Cassel and Bobby Jameson, with our cups and saucers, sitting on the edge of the roof, twelve stories up, sipping coffee and watching the amazing happenings all around us.
As long as I live, I will always remember those moments, with great fondness, of me and Seymour drinking coffee on that roof. We sat in silence staring out at L.A., periodically glancing at the scene below.
After awhile, he said he'd better get going before the sheriff figured out he hadn't gotten anywhere with getting me to come down. He looked at me and asked, "Are you gonna be alright, man?" "Yeah," I answered, "I'll be OK."
We shook hands, and he slowly stood up. Then I watched as he made his way back to the others. He spoke to them briefly and shortly thereafter disappeared from view. I wondered what he said to them before he left. I smiled. "Seymour, what a trip!" I thought, "Seymour Cassel."
I sat alone, smiling at the thought of Seymour, and how he just showed up on the roof of the Continental Hotel that day in 1973 or 74, I don't remember for sure....