From Hollywood to Panama City Beach

Published: Sep. 17, 2020 at 9:11 PM CDT
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What do Los Angeles and Panama City Beach have in common? A man named Mike.

He’s hobnobbed with Hollywood greats like Jimmy Stewart, Charlton Heston and Jay Leno. He’s even gone sailing with John Wayne.

Four years ago Mike and Linda Teilmann made Panama City Beach their permanent home.

“We love it here, absolutely love it,” said Linda.

Their lives have been full of adventures including the one that brought them to the world’s most beautiful beaches.

“We love watching HGTV and we were watching a show one evening and there was this young couple from Atlanta that had come to Panama City Beach and bought a condo on the beach and the price was so astounding to us sitting in Los Angeles because in Los Angeles you might be able to buy a garage for that price,” explained Linda.

So on a trip to South Carolina for a wedding, the two took a detour.

“We were here for 3 days and bought a condo before we left,” said Linda. “And we have never regretted it.”

The move from one coast to the other was spurred by the traffic and crowds in Los Angeles and Mike’s desire to retire to the beach.

“I had thought of Ecuador and Panama and a couple of other places in Central America,” said Mike.

But the laid back life of Panama City Beach won. However, laid back isn’t something Mike is used to.

His bio reads like a who’s who in, well, everything.

“I started as a newspaperman in San Francisco then worked in the advertising department and then I headed off to radio and television,” said Mike. He added with a chuckle, “they paid us a marvelous salary. I think it was almost up to minimum wage as I recall.”

Mike spent three decades in the military both active duty and reserve ending his career as a state-recognized Brigadier General.

“When I received Federal recognition as an officer I was astounded a month or two later when I got a check. I was in the reserve and I didn’t know you got paid so I sent the check back,” said Mike.

His booming voice, quick wit and obvious charm got a lot of recognition in Hollywood.

One of his favorite longtime gigs was working with the legendary Bob Hope.

He has a copy of the musical score for Thanks for the Memory, Bob Hope’s theme song, and even some of the typed out scripts Hope used in his shows.

"That was one of the great thrills of my life working for Hope and working for Gene Autry, who owned our television station. The first broadcast television station in the west, KTLA-TV.

His stories are mesmerizing and always end on a humorous note. Such as one trip he made with the USO.

“Guantanamo Bay that was such a fun event,” said Mike. “We took Victoria Secret models and that was such a smooth move because whenever I wanted to do something I’d ask the girls and they would go to the admiral and say we’d like to see this or that and the other people had already told us no and he’d say come on down.”

He served as a producer for nine overseas USO tours, wrote, produced and hosted more than 60 USO shows for stateside bases and camps, He’s emceed Hollywood star-studded events and has even been nominated for six Emmys, and that’s just to name a few of his experiences.

“My business colleague was the Mayor of Hollywood and I was his Chief of Staff so it opened a great deal of doors for me,” said Mike.

His connections in Hollywood and his military career landed a call from Bob Hope after 9-11 to transform the USO at the Los Angeles airport into something more than a small trailer, which he did with a lot of help.

“It did offer a comfortable stop for our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who were traveling through the airport and their families,” said Mike.

The LAX USO is also where he met Linda.

“Linda was a volunteer at the Bob Hope USO,” explained Mike.

While Mike has technically retired he really hasn’t.

“I still work for the Pentagon for the Chief Army Reserve. I am the United States Army Reserve ambassador for Northwest Florida,” said Mike.

He’s even been knighted.

“Thirty-five years ago I was knighted in England for services in a military order of Knighthood,” said Mike. “The Royal Order of Constantine the Great and St. Helen. Linda is the first lady of St. Helen and I head up as the deputy grand master of the order. It keeps us out of mischief.”

As for the Hollywood greats like Jimmy Stewart, Ginger Rogers, Mickey Rooney, Lloyd Bridges, Buddy Ebsen, even Walt Disney and so many, many more, Mike wouldn’t trade those friendships for anything.

And just as a side note, Mike turned 83 Thursday.

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