Publicity photo of Ron Penfound as "Captain Penny" (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Since dreams are in some ways like movies, it makes sense that there would be casts of characters and occasionally guest appearances. My dreams typically will have a recurring cast that includes family members and friends. There are also a number of unrecognizable players filling important roles in dreams. These characters either rarely reappear or their identities don't register with me so that I don't realize they've returned.
On some occasions there will be appearances by people who are actual celebrities or famous people. At other times there will be characters whom I know as being famous in the dream but not known to me in waking life.
My blog buddy Stephen T. McCarthy related a dream guest appearance in a recent comment left on one of my A Faraway View posts. You can click on the link for the full account, but to lift Stephen's description the man in his dream is "some famous old character actor (not a real person, but an old actor known to all of us in the dream)".
I've likewise had several dreams where a person will appear who is known in the dream to be a person of note, but someone of whom I have no knowledge in my actual life. Perhaps these people have characteristics that relate to another person actually known to my conscious mind. In the dream they may represent some archetypal personage that symbolizes something in the dream.
Usually I find these symbolic figures are played by what would normally be considered to be character actors or personalities who have some unique traits. Some of the real life figures who have appeared in my dreams are William Demarest (Uncle Charlie from the television show My Three Sons), Andy Devine, and Walter Brennan.
One dream that I remember having when I was about 5 or 6 years old starred local Cleveland, Ohio TV personality Captain Penny. In the dream I was watching Captain Penny on television. He was interacting with a frog puppet, though the frog seemed very real to me. At some point Captain Penny accidentally steps on the frog and kills it. Everyone one on the television show seems distraught. I am upset and wake up crying and feeling very sad.
I don't recall if the frog character was an actual part of the television show or not, but it was a character that seemed very familiar to me in the dream. Since I watched Captain Penny nearly everyday he was a familiar face and an important figure in my young life. Beyond that I have no idea what the meaning of this dream would have been, if there had been any meaning at all.
I don't know what the dreams with famous people represent other than the aforementioned concept of archetypes. I don't think there is usually any direct meaning to the person dreamed about.
Have you had dreams about famous people? Does your dream theater have a cast of standard characters who make repeated appearances in your dreams? If so, who are they? Are there people you recognize in your dreams or see in your dreams that you don't recall ever having seen in waking life?
A psychologist once told me all characters in dreams are really us and that we put faces and personas on them to deal with our own issues. Sort of ruined the fun of dreams after that. Dreaming is us working on us. So if that above concept is true...guess you killed that frog. Aw! And you were the frog. Hmmm?ReplyDelete
If Em's psychologist friend is right,I'm in big trouble and must be one 'sick' puppy.ReplyDelete
I often dream of famous actors (old ones though, maybe dead) that I admire as artist, talking to me about acting techniques. No they don't represent people I actually know, but they are symbols for other psychic functions or conscious tendencies.ReplyDelete
Sometimes I might dream of people I've never seen or heard of before. Once I dreamed of a man, and I woke up remembering his name and last name; I had never heard those names before. And they made sense! Doing research I found out that the last name might be Portuguese. I know nobody in or from Portugal.
Other than that, yes, there are recurrent characters populating my dreams. But I'm aware that most of the time the dream is telling me something about me, and not about them.
Andy Devine and Walter Brennan, now those are some very classic "character actor" types. I like them both.
I don't think I'm quite FULLY buying what Em-Musing's psychologist friend says, but I do think it's very often correct. I have encountered that theory before that says every character in our dreams is some aspect of us.
I think that's often true, but I also believe that sometimes the characters stand for concepts or situations or things that somehow apply to us, but do not necessarily represent US as individuals. At any rate, all of the dreams that aren't simply "Night Doodles" contain messages for our conscious minds to decipher.
I also found Jay's comment about dreaming up unknown names to be interesting as well because this too has happened to me.
In fact, not too long ago I dreamed up some imaginary woman named Dana Tobin. I have never known a Dana Tobin in my real life so I Googled the name. To my surprise, I found there was a Dana Tobin associated with the publishing industry. I thought about sending her my manuscript for a children's book but by the time I got off my lazy butt and was seriously prepared to do something about it, I could no longer find her name through Google.
Oh well. As they say, "If you snooze, you lose." No big deal because it probably wasn't really going to amount to anything anyway. (My imagination sometimes carries me away.)
'Loyal American Underground'
Em -- That's an interesting theory that makes a certain amount of sense. My next dream post is going to be about the dreamer in the starring role of the dream movie. I'll reference your comment there.ReplyDelete
farawayeyes-- You and me both, but I guess we all probably imagine just about everything so why not dream it. Seeing another character acting out our fantasies might make it more acceptable to us.
Jay -- I've also dreamed of people with names that I don't remember having heard before. I suppose our subconscious mind has picked this up from names actually seen or heard but not remembered by our conscious mind. I've also dreamed of words that don't exist or titles that I'm not familiar with. Probably these are more symbols for something else.
StMc --I'll be touching upon this multi-character role playing thing next week as it is something I've experienced in dreams. Actually Dana Tobin sounds like a familiar name to me that I've seen on a blog somewhere. Then again it may bear a similarity to a name that I've seen. Maybe you saw the same name and it struck something in your subconscious mind that has special meaning to you.
Arlee, famous people show up in my dreams quite regularly. For some reason I never think it's odd.ReplyDelete
Mmmm... Yeah, maybe. But the name did not ring any bell at the time. I just now Googled it again, and although a number of Dana Tobin's show up, none having to do with publishing or Blogspot or WordPress blogging that I saw.ReplyDelete
It's a mystery to me. Well, heck, it's dream related, so it SHOULD be somewhat mysterious.
'Loyal American Underground'
I think most people would know what famous person I dream about so I won't say except his name can be shortened to DOD.ReplyDelete
Enjoyed the post Lee.
Should you want to comment anytime and find you can't find my blog it's because Internet Explorer won't show my blog. I am now on Chrome.
I enjoyed this post! I've dreamed about famous people from time to time. Usually, though, I don't remember my dreams.ReplyDelete
I frequently have extremely weird dreams. I think it's just an image brain-dump from what your brain didn't fully process during your waking hours.ReplyDelete
If you want to get into the really weird, look into sleep paralysis. I've had it happen a number of times during a stressful time in my life. It's actually terrifying.
Maurice -- Guest celebrity appearances never seem odd in my dreams either. That's why I compare dreams to movies. The celebrities are merely playing a role even if it's themselves.ReplyDelete
StMc -- Life keeps getting more mysterious the older I get.
Yvonne -- You probably dream of Daniel since he's on your mind so much. He's a part of your everyday life.
Dana -- Remembering dreams takes practice.
Stephsco -- Sleep paralysis is a topic that I plan to address in the upcoming weeks. I agree that it is terrifying.
I don't remember most of my dreams, but I remember the ones with recurring casts. Usually close friends and family, but for some reason we are always years younger. Perhaps I still have not resolved all my childhood issues :)ReplyDelete
I'm looking forward to your sleep paralysis series. One of my frequent nightmares is of someone breaking in, or chasing me, and I can't scream. Weird.
I honestly don't recall dreaming about any famous people.ReplyDelete
Dreams that I do remember include family and friends, and sometimes total unknown faces who are acting oddly, or are providing conflict, which oftentimes gives me the clue to the dream.
Donna -- In most of my dreams I am my younger self as are most of the people in them. I don't know what the explanation to that would be.ReplyDelete
Paula--I'd say most of the people in my dreams are people I don't know. The celebrity appearances are not very frequent.
I once dreamed that I was at a concert with Kevin Bacon..I can't remember now what we were listening to..and I'm not even a huge Kevin Bacon fan...(ever play'6 degrees of Kevin Bacon'?! lol!) I'm not sure I believe that dreams are 'us working on us'..I don't see how someone can work on themselves when they're unconscious..I think that most of them don't really mean anything in and of themselves, but they can be a reflection of stresses that we're going through...I've found when I'm super stressed I'll dream the craziest shit...Even certain medications can cause really f**ked up dreams...Hey, does anybody find that if you happen to fall asleep in the afternoon, the dreams you have are WAY crazier than night time dreams?ReplyDelete
Eve -- I don't do well with the Kevin Bacon game because I don't remember a lot of actors and what movies they were in.ReplyDelete
I really think if you start paying very close attention to your dreams and lining them up alongside live events, you will find that the dreams are giving you some very relevant information. The problem is that this is time consuming so none of us do this dream analysis often. There have been times where dreams have provided me very important insight.
I take a nap nearly every day, but if I dream I rarely remember those dreams. My really crazy dreams come in the early morning hours before I wake up.
I've heard of people who keep a notepad and pen beside their bed and they write down their dreams as soon as they wake up...I have written down a lot of my dreams over the years..and some of them are bizarre. Sometimes they do correspond with live events,which I suppose, when you think about it, is only natural because it is my brain dreaming the dream, and my brain knows what's going on in my life, and our brains don't stop thinking just because we're asleep, (do they?!)... sometimes an insight into whatever it is that's troubling me comes...but never has a dream helped me make a decision, or changed my life. I've heard that some of the old philosophers used to put a lot of stock in dreams...It is such an interesting topic...to be continued!ReplyDelete
Eve-- I used to record my dreams immediately upon awakening and write down every detail that I could remember. This was when I was in high school and college and I had more time that was conducive to this activity. I still do this on occasion, but not very frequently. Getting into a habit of writing down dreams is a great exercise for the memory and helps to give a deeper insight to the mysteries and secrets that dreams hold. I think dreams have a potential of being very valuable in making decisions if we'd listen closely to what they're telling us. Most of us don't take the time to do this.ReplyDelete