A "Good Day" to all my fellow writers:
I was a comedy writer for Bob Hope for almost twenty years in the 70s and 80s. I’ve written a book about my experiences on the road with him and my fellow writers entitled “THE LAUGH MAKERS: A Behind-the-Scenes Tribute to Bob Hope’s Incredible Gag Writers.” The book was published on February 14, 2009 by Bear Manor Media Publishers and is now available at Amazon, Barnes&Noble and Blackstones.
Since Bob Hope was born in Eltham (he immigrated at age 3), British interest in his life and career has always been high. We taped many specials during my 17-year tenure with the show in London at the Palladium (several with the Queen in attendance).
I'm now attempting to arrange radio interviews in the UK, but have no contacts there to help me make the right connections.
I stumbled onto your site whilst searching the net for just such contacts. I would have gained so much from a site like yours when I was first preparing my manuscript for publication. Your interactive review system is fantastic. I had no idea how my book would appeal to the average reader, but so far have been gratified by reviews posted by buyers on Amazon.com.
How much more helpful it would have been to receive reviews before the manuscript went to the printer, however.
I've included some photos to give you a feel for the type of book it is -- i.e., the cover and several pix from the 83 that are included in the book. Also, I've appended a sample chapter below.
Any marketing tips you could provide will fall on appreciative ears, indeed. In return, I would be happy to answer any questions you might posit on the process of publication, etc. I'd also be happy to participate as a reviewer -- preferably of excerpts in the humor area. That I know something about.
You can contact me personally at:
Thanks so much in advance!
IT LOOKED GOOD ON PAPER, ANYWAY...
When The Best-Laid Plans Went Awry During
Production of The Bob Hope Show
Excerpted from "THE LAUGH MAKERS: A
Behind-the-Scenes Tribute to Bob Hope's
Incredible Gag Writers
By Robert L. Mills, J.D.
Whenever I’m asked what a comedy writer’s job was like back when variety was king, people most often refer to the old Dick Van DykeShow where Rob, Buddy and Sally sat in an office trying to think up funny lines for their star, Alan Brady, to deliver. While writing jokes, sketches, song parodies and comedy routines did make up the bulk of our duties, the remainder was often devoted to heading off disasters of one kind or another. Comedy, like any activity performed in public for pay, is fraught with hidden dangers.
London, April 1979.
It’s the day before we’re scheduled to tape an hour-long special, "An Evening at the Palladium," for a black-tie audience that will include Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. Gig Henry and I are going over the script with Hope in his dressing room, and, as usual when he was about to perform for royalty, he’s wrestling with some last-minute jitters. (“She has the keys to the Tower of London.” ) Also present are executive producers Sid Vinnage and Elliott Kozak, and a British writing team who had been hired to assist us, Dick Vosburgh and Gary Chambers.
The phone rings. Hope picks it up, and on the other end of the line is one of our guest stars, Richard Burton, whose voice fills the room even though it’s not a speaker-phone. It seems that Dick’s “people” — read new wife of some three weeks, one of Burton’s “between Liz” marriages — don’t think it’s in the actor’s best interest to be doing a love scene with co-star Raquel Welch in a sketch we’d prepared for them — a parody of the popular PBS series "Upstairs, Downstairs" that we had re-titled "Backstairs at Buckingham Palace." Hope cups his hand over the mouthpiece and asks us if we can rewrite the sketch omitting the kissing. We all shake our heads “no” — if the love scenes go, there’s no sketch.
Hope tells Burton he’ll get back to him and hangs up. We carefully go over the sketch line-by-line just to be sure, and Hope agrees that, unless Burton has lip privileges with the downstairs chambermaid, we’ll have to write a whole new sketch, and time, as they say over there, is frightfully short.
Hope gets an idea. He calls Burton back and asks him if it would help if the chambermaid were someone other than Raquel. Several minutes elapse while Dick again checks with his people. That would solve the problem very nicely, he tells Hope. Goodbye, Raquel. Vinnage starts calling his British contacts and soon locates actress Susan George who’s appearing in a stage play about three hundred miles from London. Susan, an experienced performer who had recently costarred with Dustin Hoffman in the popular American movie, "Straw Dogs," agrees to step in for Raquel despite a case of laryngitis, finishes her matinee and arrives at the Palladium just hours before showtime. After a quick rehearsal, she bravely goes on for Raquel and ends up sharing equal-billing with Welch, Burton and Leslie Uggams. Later, Raquel explains to a group of British reporters that she had rejected the sketch because she was unhappy with her lines. This time, we were happy to take the rap.
(Excerpted from "THE LAUGH MAKERS: A Behind-the-Scenes Tribute to Bob Hope's Incredible Gag Writers," Copyright 2009 by Robert L. Mills.
(www.BearManorMedia.bizland.com/id370.html) (Amazon.com) This excerpt my be reproduced without changes if properly credited.