Tonight's my blog party. A report will follow. And thanks to those who plan to attend. I've decided to go myself. Meanwhile, the ramp up to this blog's ten year anniversary continues. A favorite post from every year. This one first appeared on August 9, 2007. One of the features that readers really like is me telling ridiculous war stories of my adventures in Hollywood. Here's one of the crazier ones.
"Hey, who stole my flamingo?"
Or...my favorite pitch meeting ever.
1978 my partner, David Isaacs and I were head writers of MASH. That
fall we also signed on to write a pilot for CBS. Our producer was Allan
Carr (pictured above). He was this rather flamboyant character famous
for throwing lavish parties in the “King Tut Disco” in his home,
producing such films as SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER and GREASE, and winning a
Tony for producing LA CAGE AUS FOLLES on Broadway. He looked like
composer Paul Williams -- short, cherubic, bespectacled.
arranged a meeting to pitch our pilot story. Since we were dealing with
MASH all day the meeting was set for 6 PM at his Benedict Canyon mansion
(“Hillhaven Lodge”, complete with a giant eight foot Oscar statue in
show up and are told by the butler he’s not ready. The butler ushered
us onto thia lovely outdoor patio where a bottle of wine was waiting for
us as well as a Chasen’s ice mountain of fresh seafood. This must cost $500. An hour later
we’re still waiting although the bottle is now empty. And we start
getting a little giddy. We were wondering how we could steal one of his
ceramic flamingos. Would Allan notice the two long flamingo legs
sticking out of my briefcase? We were really starting to get punchy.
we hear “Hello, hello” and quickly put on our serious game faces. A
moment later Allan sweeps in wearing nothing but a flowing white
caftan…and a layer of thick white cold cream all over his face. Holy
shit! We almost lost it.
And now, not only must we somehow
maintain decorum, we have to pitch a complete pilot story. Behind Allan
sat the flamingos, making it even worse.
We somehow managed to
get through it. Imagine this surreal scene – a normal pitch meeting, the
producer and writers polishing a story, trading ideas, everyone acting
as though there’s nothing unusual even though the producer is in a dress
with Crisco dripping from his face.
We wrapped up the meeting,
said goodbye, shook hands, he closed the front door, and we rolled
around on his front lawn for 45 minutes laughing.
didn’t go thank God because shortly after that Allan had his stomach
stapled. Lord knows what the story meetings were like following that.