Monday, December 17, 2007

This Could Be The Start Of Something Big....

So, in 1973, I was chatting with Steve Allen about how we have this nationwide Energy Crisis and people are confused and frustrated - gas is cheap but now you couldn't get any?!

I was promoting Southern California as a tourist destination but most of the customers were expected to drive or fly from cold, northern climates and from the East Coast and that required ample fuel supplies.

We shifted focus and started talking to people a lot closer. We came up with "Vacation in your own backyard. Millions of people come thousands of miles to enjoy what you have right here in Southern California."

The movie studios endorsed this energy-conscious idea and offered their celebrities to record special "Public Service" messages which we sent out to local stations. That is how I came to be in the living room of Steve Allen one sunny morning.

I had a studio sound man with me with sophisticated recording equipment and one of those large fuzzy-covered microphones. Mr. Allen had been briefed and agreed to lend his considerable talent to the effort but he kept going over my proposed script.

Finally, he looked up and said "I like to listen to Paul Harvey. He's a man of few words. No, really, if someone gave him 80 words to read in a script, he would pare it down to 40 and speak slowly. With..... Dramatic.... Pauses. And, he would stress certain words. A distinctive and memorable style."

Steve Allen started chopping words - MY words - off the page and together we came up with a shorter version that said what needed to be said. He gave us several excellent takes on the revamped copy. The sound man signaled that we were done.

Walking us to the door, Mr. Allen asked what music would be used with the short piece? I explained that we were avoiding all the problems and delays for clearance that original music would demand.

He laughed and dug out one of his albums, suggested a track to use and gave it to me along with a hand-written note of approval and permission.

"End of problem," he said and bid us a good morning.

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