Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Beatles, Ed Sullivan—and my DH, Michael


Ed first learns I have written a book when I hand him a finished manuscript. Naively, I imagine he'll be flattered, but when he reads it, he blows his stack and stops speaking to me.  He's furious. I am revealing more about him, more backstage gossip and more details about the inner workings of the show than he wants made public.

Fortunately for me and for Always On Sunday, Ed simmers down eventually and decides my unauthorized biography is "magnificent." He promotes it in his newspaper column, in interviews and in joint television appearances with me.  Ed helps turn the book he initially hated into a national bestseller.

During my 11 years on the Sullivan show, no one created more excitement than the Beatles. February 7, 1964: Kennedy Airport.  Their first trip to the United States.  The screaming fans!  The haircuts!  The sassy answers!  Welcome to New York!  The entire country focuses on this place and these young men.  Including me.  I am meeting their plane. A CBS public relations executive for years. Now the network's press representative on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

Ed was warned not to sign the Beatles: "You're crazy! No British group has ever made it big in this country." A month before they arrive, they are still unknown in America. Every reporter I contact turns down my invitation to go with me to JFK.

Two weeks later, "I Want To Hold Your Hand" rockets to the top of the charts.  Beatlemania crosses the Atlantic, and I am besieged by thousands of ticket requests. Reporters plead to join me at JFK.

On February 14, I greet the Beatles again, this time in Miami for a second Sullivan show.  I do my best to stay out of the way but, thanks to papparazzi determined to cash in on every shot of the Fab Four, I appear in photos published around the world (including the NY Post). In the captions I am called a Beatle, a case of mistaken identity Ruth and I still laugh about.

When I return to New York, Ed searches for me backstage. One stagehand is impressed.  "Ed must really like you," he says.  "You've only worked for him for four years, and he already knows your name."


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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Baby Boomers' special: Like It Was Yesterday.



I remember the Fonz and Archie Bunker.
I remember when LBJ meant the President (Lyndon B Johnson) and not a basketball player (LeBron James).
I remember the California Raisins, Louis the Lizard and the Budweiser Frogs.
I remember when the NY football Giants moved to the NJ Meadowlands.
I remember pin curls and garter belts, home perms and "Which twin has the Toni?"
I remember Dick and Pat, Jack and Jackie, Ronnie and Nancy, Jimmy and Roslyn, Bonnie and Clyde, Steve McQueen and Ali McGraw, Liz and Dick, Ken and Barbie.
I remember when you had to get up and cross the room to change the channel.
I remember gas station attendants, newsstands and soda fountains.
I remember streakers, est and transcendental meditation.
I remember consciousness raising, encounter groups and the Manson Family.
I remember Bullitt, The Godfather, and The French Connection.
I remember Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd and Marvin Gaye.
I remember Sergeant Pepper, Tricky Dick and Flower Power.
I remember the Bouffant, the Beehive, the Shag, the D.A, The Wet Look, The Dry Look and Greasy Kid Stuff. 
I remember Joy, "the most expensive perfume in the world" and  "Modess...because"
I remember Pan Am and TWA.
I remember disco and Donna Summer, hula hoops and Rubik's cubes.

I remember lots but I can't remember:
  1. What I had for dinner last night.
  2. Where I put my glasses
  3. Why I went into the kitchen and what I was going to do there
  4. Why I clicked on Google and what I wanted to look up (Thanks to Anne R. Allen for this one!) 

I got the idea for this post while writing THE CHANEL CAPER. If you relate to ups and down of being in your fifties, I think you'll enjoy the adventures of Blake and Ralph as they navigate their way through that sexy and sensational decade.

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

A brief but true tale about a kinky-sex-billionaire-international-paranoid spy thriller.

I'm in anecdote mode again today:


Back in the day, a writer of my acquaintance—let's call him Todd—had a decent career writing kids' sports bios for schools and libraries. You know: Derek Jeter, Tom Brady, LeBron James, Maria Sharapova.  Anyway, Todd, who was one of your basic good guys, took a break from athletic heroics to write a kinky-sex-billionaire-international-paranoid-spy epic and, somewhat to his surprise, the thing took off. 

Big six figure sale, foreign sales, tv and movie interest.  The offers poured in, the mention of large sums of money were tossed around and Todd was thrilled.

"I didn't know there was that much money in the world," he told me, astonished and delighted by the speed with which everything was happening.

A few weeks later, I ran into him on Lexington Avenue and 57th Street. He looked upset and quite downcast, especially for someone for whom everything was coming up roses.

"Todd, what's the matter?" I asked.

"I just came from my lawyer's office," he told me. "It was about the movie deal—"

"That's wonderful," I said.  "Congratulations!"

He shook his head. "I was really happy but do you know what he told me?" he said. "He said, 'Todd, they got ways to fuck you you haven't even thought of yet—'"

Lawyer turned out to be right. Todd wrote a treatment but the producer who was so hot to get the rights, couldn't make up his mind, maybe couldn't get the star or the financing he wanted/needed, asked for a rewrite, then another, finally decided he wasn't sure, wouldn't (or maybe couldn't) say exactly what had turned him from hot to lukewarm to cold. He stopped returning Todd's phone calls, and Todd's epic went from Big Deal to what? to who? to turnaround to nowhere.

Movie never got made.  Publisher moved on to next-big-thing. Book, naturally, never earned out. Todd didn't get a contract for his next kinky-sex-billionaire-international paranoid-spy epic. The big bucks turned out to be gossamer and Todd went back to writing sports bios. Something he does well, something he enjoys doing and at which he makes a decent living.

Sometimes all that glitters isn't gold.


No commercial today. No sales, no specials. If you're looking for a book, though, why not check out mine?  You could probably do worse. :-)









Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Fourth + a 99c sale!

Have a happy and safe Fourth!

From Hannibal Lector to Mrs. Danvers. On July 8 I'll be writing about Scene Stealers at Romance University.  Don't miss it!

ZURI: a romantic love story set in an African animal orphanage.  Be transported to another world for the weekend! No security lines. No airport. No hassles. Just beauty and pleasure!

"Masterful!" "Wonderful!" All 5-star reviews!

 Reduced to 99c through Sunday July 7 only. 

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