Remember when Ringo Starr made that statement that he wasn’t going to sign autographs anymore? It was hysterical, because he hadn’t signed autographs (in person) for decades before that statement. What people didn’t know was, that he was great about signing through the mail (I sent him a CD a month before he decided to stop signing).
Well, actor Bryan Cranston yesterday made a similar statement. Luckily for my friend Peg, she got his autograph when we were backstage at the Jimmy Kimmel Show. It was around the second season of Breaking Bad. We were backstage with Heidi Klum, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and the late Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell. She was most excited by meeting him, and he was thrilled that she was thrilled (especially with such star power backstage, and him being the least popular of that bunch). She doesn’t care about autographs, but I made her get his signature (I didn’t care, as I wasn’t a fan of the show; I regret it now, especially after seeing one of the best movies of last year -- Last Flag Flying. But I digress).
Cranston confused people are first, when he tweeted out yesterday “I’m retiring.” Since we had just heard of Daniel Day-Lewis retiring, claiming “Phantom Thread” was going to be his last movie (side note: it’s an awful film, don’t see it). Cranston tweeted, "Friends, After 18 years of signing everything for fans - I’m retiring. Overwhelmed by requests and I just can’t do it anymore," he wrote on Twitter and Facebook. "I love meeting fans and will personalize pix in person, but that’s all. Thanks for your understanding. See you on the street - we’ll take a selfie! Bryan"
What confuses me about the tweet is this. What does it mean to say “will personalize pix in person”? Does that mean he will autograph and personalize photos, but they have to be in person, and not through the mail? And if somebody does have a picture of him in person, that usually means it’s an autograph dealer. No other people are just walking around with 8x10 photos of him.
I heard Cranston on a talk show last year tell a funny story. When he was doing autograph signings to promote his book, people would sometimes say they’re getting a book signed for somebody else. They’d then say, “My sister will love this book. She’s such a huge fan of yours.” He’d smile and say, “Well, why are you not a big fan?” They’d then get embarrassed and say, “No, no...I am, too. But she’s a huge fan.”
Well, he had one time where the guy asked to get a book signed, saying his wife was a big fan. He said, “And you’re not a big fan?” The guy responded, “No, not really.”
To which Cranston had no response.
Cranston has always been great with fans asking for autographs and photos, and even going above and beyond. One time a 19-year-old with terminal cancer wanted to Skype with him, which he did. He then sent the guy Breaking Bad stuff, and even an ice cream truck to stop by his house.
Another time, he recorded a video for a high school student that wanted to ask a girl to the prom.
Here in San Diego at Comic Con once, he wore a Walter White mask, only taking it off when he reached the Breaking Bad panel. All the fans there that had seen him walking around, were kicking themselves for not approaching him.