Below is a screenshot of the rundown one of my first shows as a producer at Donny and Marie.
Yes, I went from Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, where I had to learn the proper way to address her even though she was there to speak about Wedgwood china, to Mac King, who makes his head among other things disappear five days a week in his amazing Vegas show, to Robert Palmer, the super cool crooner who revolutionized music videos with his use of fashion models as musicians. You know, even if I tried, I couldn’t put it any better, this show pretty much sums up the insanity of life.
During the infancy of the internet, there was a woman who took the web by storm, Cindy Margolis. She was and still is known as the Queen of the Internet and/or the Most Downloaded Woman in the World and once again, through sheer luck, she was my guest on Donny and Marie. Here’s her intro.
A bit of background. At the time, late 90’s, and not shockingly, still today, I was, am and always will be a New York Jew who loves deli. While living in LA, I had two go to places, Canter’s which is on Fairfax and Jerry’s Famous which had locations throughout LA. Each had their own charms, charged New York prices and supplied a fix of kosher style deli. The reason I bring this up is because Cindy, at the time, was married to the owner of Jerry’s. Jackpot. Her photos were beautiful, but a pastrami sandwich at Jerry’s was heaven.
Prior to her appearance on the show, I did my standard pre-interview. This would be somewhat different. While I’m sure others asked lurid questions, I was focused on something else, coupons from Jerry’s. Somehow I would have to bring up her husband and then casually bring up my fixation with deli, then finally coming in for the kill asking for some coupons. It was a plan. My stomach approved. And then it happened. With the business questions out of the way, I could turn the conversation towards marriage and inevitably on some coupons. Little did I realize my fixation on smoked meat would elicit the following:
You just celebrated your anniversary?
We just had our year anniversary. We decided that after a year to go to counseling. We went separately to a husband and wife team. When I went, there was this man sitting there in the office. He looked at me and said that he had just seen me on TV and that he had a couple of my posters. I thought it was weird that this therapist would have this stuff, but I began to talk to him and tell him about my marriage. Eventually the woman therapist came out and I told her that her husband was so nice. She told me that it was not her husband, but an electrician working at the office. I can’t believe I told him such intimate things. I can just imagine him sitting around talking to his buddies.
Perfection. Home Run. Touchdown. Short of bringing the electrician on to confirm things, this story had everything. Sex, embarrassment and more sex. This appearance led to several more on our show…and I always was the producer…and I always celebrated with free pastrami after the taping.
Back in 1999, when no one was quite sure the world wouldn’t explode with Y2K, I was working on Donny and Marie and they entrusted me with producing Miss America; more likely, it just fell on one of my show days and despite the trepidations of what international incidents I might trigger by speaking with her, they let me proceed anyways. I just found my notes of questions that I wanted/possibly did ask her. In retrospect, they probably should have rethought me leading this segment. While the questions start off tame, as with many of my interviews, they seem to veer off on an insane tangent by the end.
QUESTIONS FOR MISS AMERICA
Why do you think you won over everyone else?
Do you have any hidden talents that we didn’t see last night?
What is happening next in your life?
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
If you were a judge, who would you have picked?
What was the toughest part of the competition?
What do you hope to accomplish with your reign?
Do you think you are ready for the all of the attention?
How cold do you think the water is going to be when you jump in tomorrow?
If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?
Are you a little bit country or a little bit rock n’ roll?
Who was your favorite Miss America?
Unfortunately, I can’t find the answers to these probing inquiries, but rest assured she did not, like most others, answer the tree question.
Did I leave anything out? Let me know in case I get to interview again sometime this century.