Monday, August 16, 2010

Lester Colodny's Hollywood Memoir

Lester Colodny learned many things in the course of his career, such as Frank Sinatra did not like to rehearse. Mr. Colodny found this out by attempting to direct him in a commercial.

Mr. Colodny also found out that several chimpanzees let loose on live television is not a happy situation. He discovered this as an associate producer for “The Today Show”. Host Dave Garroway, whose idea it was, must have seen his error immediately as the chimps assaulted Mr. Garroway and the rest of his stunned cast, including Frank Blair, Jack Lescoulie, and a very young, beautiful, and horror-stricken Florence Henderson.

In his recently published memoir, “A Funny Thing Happened - Life Behind the Scenes: Hollywood Hilarity and Manhattan Mayhem” (SciArt Media, publisher) written by Mr. Colodny with Susan Heller, an amazing career of twists and turns, often under the silliest of circumstances, is chronicled by this now 85-year-old gentleman who currently directs community theatre in New England.

Lester Colodny has been a writer of plays, ad copy, of news précis, and screenplays. He stumbled into acting and stumbled into Mae West, touring with her show “Diamond L’il”. He worked as a literary agent, a talent agent, and director of television commercials. He won an Emmy Award for a special with Jack Benny he wrote, directed and produced. He won several “Clio” awards for his unique “Xerox” commercials. He created the television show “The Munsters”.

He recounts a Hollywood party where Rod Steiger and Lee Marvin endured a spectacular fistfight. Colodny worked with, and partied with, and shares his memories of such Hollywood luminaries as Lana Turner (whom he dated), Cary Grant, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz (and several other party crashers that would be a name-dropper’s paradise), Jerry Lewis, and the Beatles, among a score of others.

He would also direct another commercial with a very young Richard Dreyfuss.

For more on my interview with Mr. Colodny, have a look here at my New England Travels blog, and here at my Tragedy and Comedy in New England blog. To order your copy of this unique memoir by a very funny guy, have a look here at the SciArt Media website.

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