Clint’s 1998 Fan Club Luncheon
Only the fabulous Clint Ritchie could inspire me to travel from California to New York City to attend a fan club luncheon. Although I have watched Clint portray “Clint Buchanan” since he joined the cast of “One Life to Live” in 1979, I only learned about his fan club’s annual gathering in early 1997. By the time of his April 1998 luncheon, Clint and I had become good friends.
When I was first encouraged to attend, the idea seemed preposterous: Fly all the way to New York City just to have lunch? The more I thought about it, however, the more intriguing the prospect became, until I finally announced to my husband last summer that I was indeed going to New York City to have lunch with Clint. (Yeah, the look on his face was worth more than a thousand words!)
After a full day of flying, including an unplanned stopover in Nashville, I was more than ready to spend a few days with our favorite guy! I was not disappointed.
The trip included a tour of the ABC studios where “One Life to Live” is filmed.
The luncheon, at the Marriott Marquis Hotel, was absolutely delightful! First of all, Clint has a lovely group of fans with whom I enjoyed visiting. While we savored our meal, Clint answered questions not only about the show, but also Happy Horse Ranch, etc. He was presented with several gifts from the club, including a star statuette (our own version of the Emmy) which caused many people to encourage him to submit his name, at long last, for the real thing! Several show-related items were raffled off, including scripts, T-shirts, mugs, etc. which Clint autographed for the lucky winners. Clint also patiently posed for pictures with everyone.
One of the highlights of the afternoon was a videotaped retrospective of Clint’s most memorable scenes, beginning with that fateful day in 1979 when Joe Riley brought him home to meet Viki and continuing right up to 1997’s now-infamous tomato scene. Also, included was footage of Clint’s beautiful Happy Horse Ranch. It was very interesting to watch Clint’s reaction to the various scenes, especially his mesmerizing performance when “Clint” discovers “Viki’s” infidelity. An almost palpable hush came over the room as we watched that scene and the one following in which Colin Raye sings about “someone else’s moon” while “Clint” rides in the taxi, pondering his life with “Viki.” For many of us, those scenes were extremely difficult and painful to watch for reasons which, I’m sure for Clint’s many fans, don’t require explanation.
For me, the most moving part of the afternoon, however, had nothing to do with Clint’s performances or “One Life to Live.” He received a commemorative book about John Deere tractors which caused Clint to comment that May 10, 1998 will be the fifth anniversary of his accident. He told us that the tractor which ran over him weighed 5,800 pounds — nearly three tons. Those words have been ringing in my ears ever since. I’m thankful that Clint was able to recover and return to the airwaves to delight us with his outstanding performances. Too often we forget to be thankful for our own health, as well as that of our friends and families.