We walked from the deli to Rockefeller Center, which was really one street over (from 7th Avenue to 6th Avenue), and then 3 streets down (from 52nd Street to 49th Street). Dad was so wore out again, and it scared me again. I was just amazed at the difference the cold weather is making on his ability to walk. If it had been just one step further, I don't think he could have made it.
Once inside the building, we had plenty of time to catch our breath, and to make our way to the "candy shop," where we were to pick up the tour. We arrived with enough time to sit on a bench facing a huge glass window with the Rockefeller Center ice skating rink right outside it.
The tour was great. We saw the Dateline set, the NBC Nightly News (with Tom Brokaw) set, and a studio which showed how the weather is broad-casted.
As our tour ended, and we were filing out, a lady was yelling, "If you're interested in being in the audience for a taping of the Caroline Rhea show, please follow me." I had no idea who she was, but mom and dad got excited, and wanted to attend the taping. (It turns out she's a talk show host with her own talk show, and it's the one which replaced The Rosie O'Donnell Show. She had a lot of "Sally Field-like" qualities and mannerisms to me, and I liked her instantly.)
The studio had three sections (left, middle, right with the middle section about twice the size of the side sections), and we ended up seated in the very last row on the right side. There were only four seats. Mom got the one by the wall, dad next, then me, and then a lady to my left by the aisle. She was from Seattle, and I liked her instantly, too.
We spent about a half hour being "whooped up" by a stand-up guy whose job it is to warm up the audience -- the idea, I guess, having us in a frenzy before Caroline came out. He was actually pretty good at what he did, so it was enjoyable. He went through all the signals of how he was going to be asking us to clap, stop clapping, stand up, sit back down, and so on, during the taping.
When the show started, the first thing that happened was that this camera, just to the right of us, on this super long track (so it could zoom up to the front of the stage, then all the way back to the back of the audience, and pan around the audience) came whizzing back from the stage. As it zipped toward us, the cable bunched up and hung down, ending up right above and beside mom's head. She flinched a little, and dad uttered, "Jesus Christopher."
It was very cold in the studio, and mom kept her black gloves on the whole time. She was bound and determined to get her black-gloved hands on national television, and any time that camera looked like it was panning around, her arms were waving in the air.
One of the guests was Debbie Reynolds, and she was very interesting. I forget the other guest's name, but he was quite interesting, too, if not more so. He had written a play called "Barbra's Wedding," which was opening that night on Broadway. It was about being a neighbor of Barbra Streisand during her wedding, experiencing all of the hullabaloo of it, yet not being invited to it.
A couple in the front of the audience was celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary, and everyone kept making a big deal about it. Dad said at one point, "What about us? 50 in September!" I wish, now, that I would have somehow alerted the warm-up guy, or someone on the staff about that. They surely would have gotten some attention and mom could have had her whole body on camera instead of just her gloved hands.
At the end, they thought they didn't have enough tape to fill the entire show, so they went on with this drawn out "game" of having audience members ask Caroline and the horn player from the show's band "Love Advice Questions." It really took way too much time, just to set it up, and then the questions weren't all that profound. It will be interesting to see the show when it airs on Wednesday of this week.
We got back to the hotel just before 4 and ate leftover pizza since we hadn't had any lunch. Donna arrived shortly after 4, and took her 4:30 - 5:30 conference call in the room.
After that, we took a cab to Macy's, and Donna and Mom bought Macy's bags, and Mom bought Donna some mats for her dogs' bowls.
From there, we took a cab to The Stonewall Inn. I had a little trouble finding it, and dad got so winded he just plopped down on a bench on the sidewalk. I really got worried about him at that point.
After a few minutes, we got into the bar, sat down, I ordered a drink, Donna got a coke, and mom and dad caught their breath. After a few minutes, I gave them a short history lesson on the Stonewall Inn. They just looked around as it occurred to them that they were in a gay bar.
I finished my drink, and we walked across the street to Tiffany's for dinner, which was great. Mom and I had the most unbelievably delicious slice of cheesecake. OMG. It was like ice cream in the middle. YUM!
We caught a cab back to Times Square from the Village with Mom sitting up front. That cab driver was a maniac, and we came to "within an inch of our lives" a couple of times on the way back.
Dad went to bed right away; he was so worn out. I logged in to the computer for a while, and mom talked and talked and talked with Donna. Just like old times.