When Bob and Jean Spettle headed to New York for a vacation, they never dreamed of nationwide publicity — especially for standing in the rain.
After standing in the rain for more than two hours waiting to get into “LIVE with Regis and Kelly,” however, Bob has been immortalized as “Bob the Wet Guy” and winner of the Relly Award for Favorite Real Person: Male.
It all started with the bane of vacations — waiting in line. Jean said Bob wasn’t really interested in getting into the television show, but she was determined to see it. “He wasn’t real crazy about going to the show, but he went there for me and ended up being the star of the show,” she said. “We got there at a quarter to seven and we didn’t get in until 9:05.
“We were 60th and 61st in line and it was just pouring down rain,” said Jean. “Then a lady came out and said they were full and weren’t taking anybody else.”
She said a cameraman was spanning the waiting line and focused on Bob, who was hunkering under an old blue umbrella. “We had an old umbrella,” she said. “The handle had broken on the subway.”
When Regis and Kelly saw Bob on the camera, Jean said, they told the staff to bring him into the show. Bob’s attitude might have been responsible for getting the couple into the show. He had seen Regis pass by earlier on the star’s way to work and so Bob told Regis he could have invited him in earlier.
“Bob got to sit right next to (producer Michael) Gelman,” Jean said, “and they said things on and off to him during the show.”
They also got to meet actor Adam Sandler, who was a guest on the show.
The couple learned how popular the television show is later on their vacation. Bob said someone asked him for his autograph at Times Square and he was also recognized at Yankee Stadiumduring their visit.
The couple learned that Bob was a nominee for a Relly Award in August and the show invited them back.
Relly Awards are decided by viewers in 16 categories. In the Favorite Real Person: Male category, Bob faced competition from Don the cartwheeler, Teddy the kid, Pawel the audience winner and Patrick the ice cream lover.
Bob said he appreciated everybody who voted for him.
“This has been a great summer,” said Jean. Bob retired from Ohio Edison on July 1 and now they’ve had two visits to New York.
They took the first visit by themselves and visited ground zero for 9/11, the Empire State Building, Staten Island and the Statue of Liberty, Soho and Chinatown.
When the television show invited them back, Bob and Jean included their family. Jean’s mother Esther Edwards and the couple’s children Tanya Flanigan, Stacey Horner and Scott and Kellie Spettle also took the trip. Amy Recalde, a cousin from Connecticut, met them in the city.
“It was really wonderful,” said Jean. “We had a blast.”
“LIVE with Regis and Kelly” went to great lengths to make the event a special occasion, Jean said. “We walked the red carpet and Joan Rivers was there along with her daughter, Melissa,” she said.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” Jean said. “It’s been the most wonderful thing that’s ever happened to us. We couldn’t ever have had a better summer vacation than that.”