This has been bugging me since it happened and I'm trying to recoup something out of it. I did the antique store equivalent of whistling when you've got cards in a Poker game or what Joe Mantegna called "cracked out of turn" or "crumbed the play" in House of Games.
Earlier in the month I was up in Portland Maine visiting some friends and getting out of the city for awhile with the kids. My friend is the Director of the Portland Art Museum so one rainy morning we went downtown for the private tour. Before going into the museum I noticed an appealing looking antique store across the street. When our tour was done we had some lunch and did some shopping at the LL Bean Outlet store. We were on our way back to the house as the weather appeared to be clearing up and I asked the kids if they would mind taking a short detour past the store and started reciting the standard issue speech about not breaking anything. Something was pulling me in there.
I've always liked collecting things and since I learned of my family's early entertainment roots I've started collecting vintage postcards of old Vaudeville Theaters from around the country. I asked the proprietor if they had any of these postcards and he told me that they didn't but they had a few old Vaudeville photos somewhere around and he continued on with his business. After a few minutes I asked him about the photos he had mentioned and he started looking for them. With a look on his face like he was straining to remember he said to me "I think his family name is Sale. Do you know anything like that?" This is where I cracked.....My Grandfather was writing and directing talking movies right when talkies first started. A few weeks earlier I'd been reading all about them. One of the stars of his earliest 2 reel films was a Vaudeville comic named Chic Sale. I just couldn't contain myself. I said to him "Sure I know a guy named Chic Sale" and started spouting off every last detail I could remember with such relish and confidence that a huge smile started forming on his lips.
He walked to the back and whispered something to his partner who looked around for a minute or so and found a few photos sitting on an old trunk covered in dust. He handed them to me and sure enough there he was as his signature "Granpa" character in full garb with a hand written note and his name Chic Sale signed on the bottom. I tried backtracking but the damage was done. I made some stupid comment about how obscure these really were. Finally, I asked him what he wanted for them and it was way more than I could justify spending. I tried bargaining but he had played his hand well. I asked him if I could buy one but he told me he couldn't break up the set. My only move for now was to walk and try something else but he had me. He gave me his card and told me to think about it.
Now 2-3 weeks have gone by and I'm still thinking about them. Lesson Learned!