I did a fun interview with Torchy Smith on his BabyBoomerTalkRadio Show.
I did a fun interview with Torchy Smith on his BabyBoomerTalkRadio Show.
I AM ZELIG ….INDEED
WOW! So I’ve told you that I’m Zelig in that I have met and been involved with all the major figures of our time. In the book, I tell how Roger Ailes back in the day was manipulating the American body politic wayyyyyy back then, before Fox TV.
I was doing casting on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, iconic satirical TV show of the late Sixties, when Richard Nixon that “master of comedy” was running for President. Funny, he was not. In fact, he was known to wear a suit for a walk on the beach.
Most of the writers were liberal, but we had a secret Republican Head Writer. He got Nixon to say one of the catch phrases: Sock it to me!
Or “You bet your bippy” …and knowing the naughty connotation of the latter, Ailes, chose the former. And we made it a question
Roger Ailes, even then the behind the scenes media-meister delivered him to us….to make him palatable to America. Nixon got elected and we got blamed and praised. Ailes just passed away after a downfall and a fall.
If you want to read what happened back then…it’s in the book! Enjoy!
Q&A with Susan Silver
Local author Susan Silver’s new memoir, Hot Pants in Hollywood: Sex, Secrets, and Sitcoms,
has just come out. To celebrate its release, we asked her a few questions.
1) How did you come to write Hot Pants in Hollywood?
I had always wanted to write a book about the incredible amount of iconic people I’d met in in my life…kind of like Zelig,or Ms. Zelig.
I started on it a couple years ago and it morphed into this book.It’s kind of three books in one:
my early life as a Midwest girl wanting to go to Hollywood, my first working
and writing experiences as a female in a man’s world, and finally going through
what all Baby Boomers do…marriage, divorce, reinventing yourself,
search for love and taking care of elderly parents.
And I’m still here! I hope it inspires others and gives a few laughs as well.
2) How was the process of working on this book different from your many other writing endeavors?
Totally different. No one telling you what to say or to say! Then of course having to cut and choose what to leave out or leave in. A great editor Leslie Wells who did all of Mitch Albom’s books helped me with that.
3) What are you currently reading?
To tell you the truth I did’nt read for a couple months while finishing the book. Now I will start again. Have Hitler: Ascent and Jonathan Safran Foer’s Here I Am waiting for me to begin.How’s that for a contrast?
4) Do you have a personal favorite book of all time? If so, can you share it and tell us why?
As a child I loved The Secret Garden and still think of it both realistically and metaphorically as a beckoning romantic force.
5) What’s next? Any upcoming book projects in the works that you can tell us about?
Lots of touring and book store events. I love doing TV and Radio and have some of those booked also…hope to get my own show perhaps….hint hint.
I have just published my memoir, “Hot Pants in Hollywood,” and the subtitle is: “Sex,Secrets & Sitcoms.” Oh oh.
As an only child, growing up in a very sheltered Mid West upbringing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I would come home every day after school and tell my Mother every minute event of the day. There were no secrets, and she lived my life along with me, for better or worse. This was in thedays before Feminism, while most mothers were stay-at-home. Their life choices were limited and then, even in my college days, most of my girlfriends went to the University of Wisconsin, for their “MRS.”
To my Mother’s concern, fear, and some pride, I wanted to be a writer and have a career other than teaching and so was allowed to go a little bit away to Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. From there, I escaped to California, UCLA and the temptations of Hollywood. Now her worst fears would come to pass. (Don’t forget, I was not allowed to cross the main street until I was twelve.)
After some interesting jobs and more interesting “escapes” from the likes of Elvis, Steve McQueen, and Lenny Bruce, my career as a TV sit com writer took off with the iconic Mary Tyler Moore Show. By then I was married, though not to a man my Mother approved of….she wanted him to call her ‘Mother’ and he said he already had one and preferred to call her “Dorothy.”
With the good timing of the Feminist Movement, the show both led and encouraged working women, modeled after the lead, aka ‘America’s Sweetheart,’ who was a sometime reluctant but successful role model in the changing real world. I was more a Rhoda in temperament, with a much more rocky Mother/Daughter dynamic now bordering on full out war.
Mary’s relationship with her mother was more benign and one shock revealed was that she was on “The Pill.” I had never had “the talk” with my Mother about sex, other than her telling me repeatedly that “boys will not buy the cow if they can get the milk for free.” Yeah, hey, it was the Sixties!
Because I always felt my Mother’s shadow somewhere over my left shoulder, I’d remained a virgin until I was engaged. Even then, I knew my Mother disapproved and had always made the distinction of “fast girls” in high school. They were usually girls with over developed calves, she believed. So, even today, I see women walking down the street, legs clenched from heels and I know…I just know! We all become our mothers. Trust me. We do.
Fortunately, we’d made our peace somewhere around when I was in my late 30’s and had one knock out fight after which she started to cry and said, “I am a person too! I had my dreams you know.”
Wow, she wasn’t just here on earth to feed me, comfort me, pat my shoulder when I couldn’t fall asleep? Before she died, i made her promise she would come back and pat my shoulder to let me know. I”m still waiting.
But if anyone could, it would be my Mother. I miss both my parents every day.
I got divorced and led a rather liberated life in the many years after and my Mother enjoyed hearing about my liasons. My Father, however, had more doubts and he voiced them. That was hard to hear sometimes. But wonder of wonder, it was my Mother who supported these adventures and who enjoyed hearing of my Zelig like occurences in standing next to, knowing, and sometimes dating some of the Icons of my time. Once and a while I would even have a “famous person” call her and that made her day.
And yet, I will be very honest. I’m glad she never got to read my memoir..there are some secrets yes, usually sex ones, that I wouldn’t want her to hear! For Mother’s Day, I really think my book could open the door for discussion between mothers and daughters…but remember, there are some things we should not tell them! At least about my life!
A few days ago, I had the memorable and joyful experience of actually holding my book, my memoir, for the first time! I loved it. It looked great, the cover — playful, cheerful and adorable thanks to my wonderful illustrator, Joey Heiberg who did a caricature of a photo of me…from the TV Guide article, “The Writer Wore Hotpants.” Yeah I did. And now, my memoir with a play on words was out.
Hot Pants in Hollywood: Sex, Secrets & Sitcoms, as it’s titled, the book has more about sitcoms, then sex. It told the story of my growing up a scared little virgin from Milwaukee, who escaped the MidWest with all it’s values and constrictions and made it to Hollywood with all that implies.
It relates how, like Zelig, or Ms. Zelig I have met and known most of the icons of my generation and lifetime. It shares hopefully inspirational secrets of how to become successful in a heretofore “man’s world,” how to reinvent yourself continuously, and how to find love in all the right places. Okay and some wrong places…a lot of wrong places. But, moving on.
There are laughs, tears, familial anecdotes that we all have gone through and hopefully are identifiable. It had been two years in the making, remaking, rewriting, and now I was thrilled to see it alive and actual. I cried, I’ll admit it.
I posted about it on Facebook, and Twitter, and all my lovely friends reposted and promised to buy it and promote it, which was just great until…and I mean UNTIL…I realized that now all my friends, in addition to the strangers (who I didn’t mind at all learning,) all my friends and their spouses would learn about my sex life. A lot about it.
Yeah, I had no problem writing about it, but the idea of others I know reading about it suddenly…and rather too late crossed my mind and freaked it out! The rest of me, too.
The Prologue, entitled, “Vibrator Girl,” comes to said mind immediately! Yes, a strange, sexual, but ultimately funny experience would be the first taste, “so to speak” of my memoir. And, I can guarantee that no one had ever written or read anything like this before, as I’m told it never happened to anyone else before. Par for the course for me of course. One in a series of strange health experiences revealed in the book.
And then, there were chapters about love affairs and details about one person’s anatomy that seemed so crucial to write about but to read about…hmmmm.
I’m doing various book store events to which my god daughter and her family will be attending. At the age of five, perhaps she won’t understand things, and yet she is one smart little kid. And maybe the family will rethink naming me honorary God Mother at all! And one of the elderly gentlemen friends I recently ran into and gave the card with book cover on reacted rather strongly to the title…Hot Pants. He probably didn’t know they were a wardrobe item, and not a description of the owner’s sexual proclivities.
So, now what? Well, what’s done is done, right? I can always concentrate on the chapters like “How To Write A Sitcom” or “First Script for The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” or “Clint Eastwood,” who has his very own chapter.
I had avoided doing what some publishers and even a good friend had advised, okay, okay, begged me to do. “Name names.” Be more “salacious!” Ick!
No! That was not the book I wanted to write…and did not! Yet…there is a bonus chapter called “Vibrator Two”…but it’s not in the book! It’s only a Bonus so to speak, for those press who do reviews and interviews and, they wouldn’t refer to it anyway…would they?
But then there are the ones called “Famous People I Did Not Have Sex With” or “What Not To Do in the Hospital.” And the admirable chapters about taking care of one’s parents and how meaningful that can be. And those tips on “How To Write a Sitcom” — oh I already said that. But they are valuable to young writers. And lots of other helpful stuff. Honest. Those should be PG rated and perfectly fine.
Wait…I better check.
Too late! Oh oh.
Excerpted from Hot Pants in Hollywood: Sex, Secrets & Sitcoms.