Get Shorty actor John Travolta was amazed when he first became a TV star in the 1970s - because he had no idea famous people can eat in restaurants for free.

Travolta, now 50, couldn't believe it when management in a diner refused to accept his money because they recognised him from American television show WELCOME BACK, KOTTER.

And now he's used to the trappings of superstardom, Travolta doesn't even bother reserving his table because he always gets a seat.

He says, "The restaurant thing is a gimme. I don't even have to make reservations. I just show up and let them decide whether to let me in or not.

"When I was 21 and first started appearing on Welcome Back, Kotter, I went to a diner and they said the tab was on them. I asked, 'Why?' They said, 'Because we have a policy that we give all famous people free food.'

"I didn't know if this Kotter show was going to be a hit or not, but I thought, 'Wow! I could get an apartment near this diner and eat every meal here. I'll be set."

29/09/2004 09:25