Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves, Buddy Holly and Rick Nelson

Like most actors, I experience (attend) many more auditions than actually landing roles in commercials or movies. Most auditions are done here in town (San Antonio), although many call for me to drive up to Austin where they cast a lot of commercials and movies. The same goes for print ads.

Besides being a Radio/TV personality I also act and While I audition her in San Antonio, I have to drive Austin frequently to be seen by casting folks. It’s too costly to go to L.A. or anywhere else so, I don’t bother. In the early 90s there was a Church's Fried Chicken commercial being cast in Dallas and if I wanted a shot I'd have to get there on my own dime. If I wanted to audition I would have to go on my own dime. An opportunity like this might be worth the coast of a plane ticket and the cab ride to the audition and back to the airport so, I went for it. Master thespian I’m not but I don't go for roles as an extra or go to cattle calls...the free-for-alls that happen when they print casting calls in the paper or broadcast them for the general public to come and try to land a role.

I got to Dallas and it looked like a cattle call. Man, I was pissed. Even though organized chaos, I knew I'd just be a number, and they always choose someone else. With more men vying for the role, or roles, I might be right for it, but chances increase for getting lost in the shuffle.

I got done and took a cab to catch a plane back to San Antonio. Out-of-pocket air fare and cab fare, I just wanted to get home. Screw that concrete jungle called Dallas. Good things happen in my city.

I get on the plane and about five rows back to my left sits Texas baseball legend Nolan Ryan. Sitting on his left is George W. Bush, the future President of The United States and son of current President George H. Bush. Sitting behind "Dubya" was a clean-cut man in a suit and across the aisle from him another gent, seemingly cookie-cutter like. If one hadn't been black and the other white they would have been twins. They were Secret Service.

Well, that was interesting enough as I made my way to the back of the plane where I prefer to sit. Toward the back, on the right, sat Henry Cisneros—former mayor of San Antonio, future Clinton cabinet member, and before scandal rocked his world, a guy who might've been the first President of the Hispanic persuasion. I said hi, but didn't really know him.

Cisneros’ younger sister worked with me at KITY/KONO for about five minutes, and I knew his wife from various personal appearances I did through the years. Henry busied himself with some paperwork as I buckled up for the less-than-an-hour trip. What a coincidence seeing Nolan Ryan, George W. Bush, and Henry Cisneros on my plane.

All of sudden this feeling came over me and would not leave until that plane landed. My mind got the best of me and started thinking about famous people that died in plane crashes. Patsy Cline, Cowboy Copas, and Hawkshaw Hawkins died in a plane crash...Buddy Holly did, too...two other music stars died with him. Ritchie Valens and songwriter, recording artist, and Houston disc Jockey the Big Bopper were on that same plane. Ricky Nelson died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve, 1985. Jim Reeves died in a plane crash.

Oh, man, this had all the makings of a disaster. God forbid we crash with the President's son on the plane—a national tragedy. Nolan Ryan was on the same plane, and the nation's most up-and-coming Hispanic politician was on the plane, too. But, it's what kept playing in my head that was funny to me.

My healthy ego keeps me in check, and I'm not under any delusion that I'm all that and a bag of chicharones. Some folks can read a person's confidence as arrogance, and I believe I've been a victim of that a few times in my life. If you don't like me because you think I'm conceited or full of myself, then you can't read people. I appreciate my abilities and what they've brought me in life, and I’m grateful to everyone who ever enjoyed what I did on the air or in person. Still on the receiving end of recognition to this day, I bow my head and say thank you, for I am truly humbled and give great thanks for those moments. Even though a well-known radio/tv personality in one of the largest cities in America, I one.

My imagination ran wild with visions of newspaper headlines from papers everywhere carrying the horrible news. They seemed real, like my eyes were seeing what my mind's eye saw. The papers ran like a newspaper movie montage—circling as they stopped upright. I then imagined the story headline: THE PRESIDENT'S SON, BASEBALL LEGEND NOLAN RYAN, THE NATION'S TOP HISPANIC POLITICIAN ALL DIE IN AIRPLANE CRASH...OH, AND BY THE WAY, THEY FOUND SOME BURNED-UP DISC JOCKEY AT THE BACK OF THE PLANE.

Was that going to sum up my life? A burned-up disc jockey at the back of the plane? When the plane landed at San Antonio International Airport, I welcomed the feeling of sweet peace. I knew I wasn't going to be cast in the Church's Fried Chicken Commercial, and I didn't care. I was going to live another day.

Mark Carrillo

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Copyright 2011 by Mark Carrillo and – All Rights Reserved.