Sunday, July 8, 2012 | 4:21 p.m.
Fame becomes Shortino
When I met Paul Shortino, all I could think was, “I can’t believe I am meeting Duke Fame.”
His former identity in the film “This Is Spinal Tap” leads to the latest VegasVille Photo, snapped by Shortino’s wife, Carmen.
When: July 4, 2012.
Where: Carmen Shortino’s Cadillac, rear bumper.
The Circumstance: This one bears extensive explanation.
Paul Shortino is best known as the vocalist for Rough Cutt and Quiet Riot, but he also is forever recognized in a cultish way for a piece of footage in which he doesn’t use his voice at all. In one of the great film cameos, Shortino is the speechless centerpiece in a scene from the 1984 satirical comedy classic “This Is Spinal Tap.”
In the segment, Shortino is being led through a hotel lobby as the members of Spinal Tap have just learned of a kink in their reservations at the same hotel: Instead of seven suites for their stay, they have been booked into one suite on the seventh floor.
As this issue is being sorted out, Shortino as Fame enters the lobby with a slickly coiffed Howard Hessman (playing Fame’s manager Terry Ladd) at his side. Fame’s gaze is vacant as the members of the band reintroduce themselves. Hessman cuts the confab short with, “We’re doing the EnormoDome, or whatever it is. It’s terrific. It’s a big house. We sold it out, 20,000 seats … We’d love to stand around and chat, but we need to go sit in the lobby and wait for the limo.”
As Fame is led away, David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean) says to Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest), “What a wanker. What a wanker.” Tufnel responds, “He has this much talent -- this much -- if he’s lucky.” The two then remember following Fame onstage at a long-ago gig and having to “apologize” for Fame’s set.
Shortino still has fun with that appearance, which lasted less than a minute in the adaptation of a heavy metal band trying to make a comeback. “If I’d known they were going to call me a wanker, I would have done something to deserve being called that,” Shortino once said, laughing.
As an homage to the film role, Shortino years ago requested the vanity plates “DUKFAME.” He turned the plates back to the DMV about a year and a half ago, saying he “felt weird” driving around Las Vegas with those plates on his vehicle. But at Carmen’s urging, Paul again requested the plates, and by July 4 they had been reissued and are now on the front and rear bumpers of Carmen’s car.
As she says, “He is the Duke Fame, and they ride nicely on my Cadillac.” On trips to the EnormoDome, no doubt.