Without realizing it, I was setting trends (well, my stylists were setting trends). I didn't know the first thing about fashion. If someone had given me a tank top with shoulder pads, I probably would have put it on. I couldn't possibly have understood the influence I had—or, to be honest, the influence my character, Mike Seaver, had. When I spun around sporting sunglasses and a brown leather coat during the "Growing Pains" theme, millions of teens were doing the same thing in front of their bathroom mirrors. I had no idea. Boy George started a new tune as I exited the Pass Avenue ramp off the 101 and headed towards the Warner Bros. Ranch. This part of the drive was often the most entertaining. I took great pleasure in leaving my window down and maneuvering up to a red light next to a car filled with girls. I'd glance over, flashing my famously crooked smile.
I loved the double takes, the ear-piercing screams. Without fail, their spastic hands fluttered while their lips mouthed my name. The best part was taking off while the shock kept them stuck in the intersection. The previous night during taping, I found another way to stroke my ego. A girl had won a chance to play a bit part on the show, though she had been told I wouldn't be around for the scene. An older man playing her father said his lines and all went normally. But when the second take rolled around, I snuck in and said the father's lines. The girl grabbed her stomach, shaking all over. She stared, incredulous, while I soaked up every moment of her ecstatic squeals. When I hugged her, I thought she'd pass out in my arms.
With a wave to the security guard, I pulled my car into the parking space marked "For Kirk Cameron Only" next to Stage 30. I jumped out and headed to my 30-foot motor home. Another day, another 10 grand.
It cracked me up: me, a celebrity? I was told I was a "heartthrob," which sounded like a condition a person should have checked by a medical professional. Teen mags plastered my mug on their covers, with modest centerfold pictures inside. Q&As covered my fave color (purple), my fave shows ("Family Ties" and "Cosby"), my height (5' 7"), weight (130 pounds) and eye color (hazel). They also printed false information. One said my parents were a psychologist and a newspaper reporter. Sure, my television parents held those careers—my real parents were a math/P.E. teacher and a housewife/manager (of me). I was supposed to be the coolest kid on the planet, but no one knew what a dork I was.
I received 10,000 letters per week, mostly from girls who wanted to meet me, touch me, marry me. I had a fan club that sent out a variety of keepsakes—photos, T-shirts, buttons, even a pillowcase with my picture just the right size for girls to kiss my fabric-y likeness as they drifted off to sleep. Weird.
Wherever I went people catered to me. Limousines carted me off to the next gig. Waiters comped my meals. Flight attendants whispered, "Mr. Cameron, why don't you come with me?" and escorted me to first class. Once off the plane, people laid down a red carpet and greeted me on the tarmac with military-like fanfare.
When I arrived at a party, everyone sat up and took notice. The room buzzed with not-so-quiet whispers: "Isn't that Kirk Cameron?" The adoration was obvious in the body language, facial expressions and eagerness of those around me. All of it baffled me beyond belief. I was in the midst of a phenomenon I felt I had no hand in creating.