Monday, February 24, 2014
Another crazy secretary story
One of the bat-shit carziest was Sally. This is when we had a development deal at Paramount. We had our own production company and the mandate was to sell pilots and get shows on the air.
Sally lived in a modest apartment in Brentwood, a half-hour drive to Paramount. One morning her pet parakeet got out of its cage, flew out the window, and perched in a nearby tree.
When this happens, what do you do? Call the fire department? Yes, that’s what you or I or anyone sane might do. But not Sally.
She called the Paramount Special Effects department and ordered that two stuntmen to come out to her apartment to retrieve the bird.
I got awoken by a call from the Special Effects department. They wanted my okay for this. How much would be charged against our production deal? $20,000. “Fuck no!” I said and told them to cancel the assignment.
Sally called me moments later, frantic because Paramount gave her the bad news. What was she going to do? This was essentially our conversation:
ME: Did you call the fire department?
HER: Why would I call the fie department?
ME: To get your bird down.
HER: There’s no fire.
ME: They also rescue animals. You’ve never heard of fireman raising ladders up against trees and saving cats?
HER: This is a bird.
ME: So what?
HER: Do they have nets?
ME: How would I know?
HER: Well, how will they capture him?
ME: They’ll send up the Dalmatian. He’ll put it in his mouth. I don’t know.
HER: Maybe I can pay some kids to climb the tree.
ME: Just call the fucking fire department!
HER: Can I tell them I'm a producer.
HER: But I want them to come here first.
ME: You think they go out on calls based on your status in Hollywood?
HER: Well, maybe they're actors.
ME: So if they think you're a producer they'll recite a monologue from King Lear as they shimmy up the ladder?
HER: Well how else can I get them to come here first?
ME: Tell him the bird is the Maltese Falcon.
After that the conversation got weird. She eventually phoned the LAFD. The bird was rescued. It took all morning. And we got no work done. Hey, I’m just glad she didn’t call for the corporate jet to fly her the ten miles from Brentwood to Paramount in Hollywood.
Sally was one of our better secretaries by the way. So that gives you some idea.