…because Ed McMahon is no longer with us.
When I worked with Ed in LA I had no idea it would be the puffiest point of my life. (I am the pale pink guy on the left.) This Polaroid was taken by the talented Charlie Altuna during a month long photoshoot for TV Guide that was literally a daily carousel of stars. This picture remains one of my all time favorite souvenirs. When I asked Ed to pose with me while pointing to a check I thought I was being pretty clever. His reaction was a stone-faced, “no reaction” and he said simply, “Oh, you want it with the check, sure.” The whole thing took about two seconds. We stepped outside and approximately half a second before the shutter snapped he hit the pose and his face became the Ed McMahon all of America would recognize. We go it. Later we had a few laughs while waiting for lighting and I think he appreciated my “classic corn” style banter and I did get him laughing more than once.
When he was about to put his jacket on for the shoot he called me over to show me his cufflinks – a gift from his wife. They were little gold watches. The right one was set three hours ahead of the left one. He was soft spoken and made sure I got a very up close good long look at them. Leisurely he told me how he honestly needed them because he was back and forth across the country so often that this was the only way he could keep track of time.
While giving each cuff a final little tug he delivered the unexpected punch, (but softly and without emotion) “Left coast, right coast. That’s how I keep it straight.”
I was instantly in silent hysterics. Talk about timing! That was a private three minute performance…and no smerks from Johnny. Did you know Ed was also a singer?
God, I miss showbusiness. Is anybody in showbusiness anymore? I guess not.