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I am so happy you are here! Now sit and visit with me for a while, visit all my pages and feel free to leave a comment. I'd love to hear from you! It's all just a SOUTHERN THING.


Thursday, June 30, 2011


My years in talk radio were my favorite career years.  Of course my very , most hilarious, rewarding years have been being mom to my son, who will leave for college in August...( cue hysterical loud crying sounds and loads of Kleenex).  But even my years on the soap DAYS OF OUT LIVES never compared to my days on the radio.  There is something intimate...personal...just a sweet closeness that happens between a host and her guests...and especially a host and her audience.  I love the LIVE element of radio.  No going back and fixing it in post production.  Nope.  It's out there.  That made it real, and authentic and genuine for me.  I loved interviewing celebrities, showing them as just real people.  I seemed to always be able to disarm them with my Southern hospitality and actual manners we are raised on in the South.  A smile and hug hello and the ice was broken.  Well, all except the one time I flew all the way to LA from Birmingham to sit with ultra famous comedian and actor Bob Hope. And he forgot I was coming! And he was not happy to see me.
Me in front of the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
Nathan Purdee, Bill Harris, a Disney artist and Charles Shaunnessy

When I was on WAPI in Birmingham, I interviewed so many celebs....all THE GOLDEN GIRLS, so many soap actors, broadcasted live from the Chinese Theater in Hollywood, interviewed famed celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, (he LOVED the Southern Belle that sat with him for Breakfast!..Me!)  I had a blast with the Hollywood royals, and decided before the big ones die, like George Burns and Bob Hope, and a few others, I MUST interview them.  So, being that Steel Magnolia that my Mama taught me to be, I never take NO for an answer...I decide I will do something....then ...just do it.  I had become fairly close friends with famous blind golfer, Charley Boswell.  Yes, I did say BLIND GOLFER.  That is entirely another story...especially when I tell you how Charley described DRIVING a car as a blind man while he was on the air with me!!  He was a sight...no pun intended.  Well, Charley held a huge celebrity golf tournament every year to raise money for the eye sight foundations and when I found out Bob Hope would be there nothing would do but I somehow needed to catch him and, you know, ask a few questions.  Translation: Get him in my studio!  The problem was, he was only there over a weekend and I was a Monday through Friday show.  I had to figure out something.  My husband the Yankee was a TV reporter at the time, but he was not about to be dragged into another "Great Idea" of mine.  But, he could drive the Get-away car!  My mind set to figuring how to get Bob Hope and quick.
Me with Wolfgang Puck at SPAGO in Hollywood
I called Charley's office and begged...(read: Bribed) someone to tell me some of his locations while he was in town.  The nice lady tried her best to make me understand that all of the events were invitation only and were screened by Mr. Hopes "People" to ensure security. "Ms. Albright, even if I tell you where he will be, you will not be able to get in at this late date."  Uh-huh.  I managed to get a few of the locations from her...all public knowledge by now, like where the banquet would be, the hotel, and of course the tournament itself.  But I knew just showing up and throwing a bag over Mr. Hope's head and shoving him into the get-away car driven by the Yankee probably wouldn't work. I had to think of something else.  This situation reminded me of when I was only 14 and I had the ultimate teenaged crush on Leif Garrett.  He was performing in Atlanta and nothing would stop me from meeting this guy...absolutley nothing!  So I, with my mother who taught me, of all things NEVER GIVE UP...devised a plan.  Make a press packet and a press ID and get over to Atlanta.  I did and I got to meet my dream man.  It was then that I made up my mind to be a REAL member of the press when I grew up. The power was intoxicating!.  Now, though Mr. Hope was not my heart throb, I was a legitimate member of the press. Thats It!!  Press packets, delivered with crossed fingers to the locations and only a tiny white lie to accompany them.  And with the Yankee driving the get-away car, I wouldn't have to have parking permits to do the deliveries.  I made up all the packets filled with info on me, WAPI, my show, the audience demographics, my picture, and we headed out to the venues that Saturday.  I walked straight up to the guards at every spot and said..."Mr. Hope is expecting this for a radio interview he is doing on Monday."  ( He just didn't realize it yet...that's all.)  I delivered five packets and said a prayer.
The very next morning I lay sleeping next to my Yankee, when the phone rang.  Yankee answers, and rolls over and wakes me and says it's for you.  A sleepy Hello....here is what I heard..." Hi, Beth, it's Bob Hope.... I almost fainted and at the same time wanted to say...yeah and I am the Queen of England...but OMG it was really BOB!!!
I quickly sit up and say in my best voice trying not to sound like the loser sleeping in on Sunday morning, "Yes, Mr. Hope, thank you for calling me."
"I got all five of the press packets and it looks to me like you wanna do a show.  How 'bout you come to my house in Toluca Lake next month and we will do it form there...that work?"  Pardon me Mr. Hope, I have just swallowed my tongue and am unable to speak...AAAGGGHHHHH....silent scream, followed by dignified voice...."Why yes, Mr. Hope, that would be wonderful!"  He follows with, "Okay, here is my home number, talk to my secretary and get it all arranged.  See you next month.  You certainly are persistent.  I like that.  Talk to you soon."  And he hung up and I sat dumbfounded in my bed, not sure if that had been a dream.
All of the arrangements were made.  All the ads, created for the Birmingham news, and placed. All set.  A month flew by and I had managed to arrange for my Yankee to go with me, and be the engineer and board operator.  I was thrilled my station let him go since he worked at a TV station and not the radio station.  We were newly married and it would be the trip of a life time for both of us.
I settled in at my hotel and called Mr. Hopes house.  My stomach dropped to the floor, along with my mouth.  WHAT?????  "He forgot you were coming and cannot see you." His secretary informed me. Yep!  Thats what I said...NOOOOOOOOO!  "I confirmed this last week,"  I said, in my thickest Southern accent trying to make her feel sorry for me.  This cannot be.  I have full page ads going in the Birmingham news and MY NAME is on them.  No way I am letting my audience down while ruining the reputation of my show, my station, not to mention myself, lady.  No! I will be there and someone will let me in that gate!  Of course this was my conversation in my head, not to the secretary.  I figured the threats and anger should be saved for when all else failed.  And that was looking like a strong possibility.
The secretary set me up with with another person to get it worked out.  I had been handed off.  I had one day to work this out.
This was back in the 80s and cell phones were rare and so every hour we were stopping at a pay phone to call Mr. Hope's house.  I became a sore in their side and I wasn't going back to Birmingham without this interview. They soon realized that!  I began to get sick.  My Program Director in Birmingham would die.  I decided not to call him until the last second.  It was 2pm the day before the interview.  Another call from a pay phone to the HOPE house.  Again, "We are still working on it Ms. Albright. Mr. Hope will have the house full of writers tomorrow planning for his NBC special and he is very busy."  It was not looking good.  My stomach began to swell.  When I get anxious, it swells and I look three months pregnant.  Not the best look for a girl who has had one too many fried green tomatoes!  To this day, when I am anxious and freaking out about something, my Yankee will say, "Are you okay?  You have Bob Hope stomach."  It's a joke now, but it sure wasn't then.  At 8pm that night, I decided I needed to let my boss know what was happening.  He was wonderful and encouraging and said it would be okay.  The ads could be pulled and to come home and not worry.  After that phone call I sat down on the curb of the convenience store parking lot and cried.  It was not in me to accept defeat.  I had to call the HOPE house one more time. The young male assistant answered.  It was 8:30pm.  "Okay Ms. Albright.  We have it worked out.  Mr. Hope will see you for 30 minutes tomorrow at 1pm."  AAAGGGHHHH...happy screams and jumping and more screams! I am in a convenience store parking lot and some homeless folks and hookers are wondering if they can get some of what I just had!  "Oh Thank you! Thank you so much!"  I hung up and called my boss.  Okay, maybe I can sleep now!  Are you kidding me????
 Me with Bob Hope during the Interview at his home
  We arrived at the Toluca Lake home and were passed through the gate.  We set up in Mr. Hope's office and waited.  He arrived on time and was in house shoes and everyday clothes, hands in pockets and not happy to see me.  Maybe I had pushed a little to hard for this.  He sat at his desk and the interview began...awkwardly at first, as I held the mic to his mouth.  I was a sick, nervous wreck, sitting in Bob Hopes home, and trying to be cool and remember my questions.  I decided to heck with the questions and to just do my usual, have a heartfelt conversation.  He reminded me more than once, he had NBC writers waiting for him in the kitchen and he was in a hurry.  It was not going well.  I suddenly remembered something I read in my research.  Bob, as a child, had to stand in line in the kitchen for a bath.  His mother lined up all her children in the order of whom had been the best behaved that day.  The best child went first, getting the clean, hottest water, while the one at the back got the cold, dirty water.  Bob was always playing pranks, so he would up at the back of the line.    Breakthrough!  Bob laughed out loud and started talking....TWO HOURS later, after what was supposed to be 30 minutes, with NBC writers waiting, BOB HOPE had just chosen to be with me, from Birmingham, Alabama!  I had done my station and my state proud!  When we were finished, he took me to his book shelves and pulled out his photo albums and showed me his mother.  "She was such a handsome woman, I look just like her," he said laughing.
He had softened and I had managed to put him at ease.  We took a picture that I have treasured forever.
The station ran the 2 hours worth of tape over a week instead of one day and we ran big ads for all of it.  I was the talk of Birmingham and I was so happy I did not let down my precious, priceless audience.
Needless to say, I had no trouble the next year getting into the tournament in Birmingham.  I hung with my man, Mr. Hope.

Me with Bob Hope at the Charley Boswell Invitational the next year

I know I am tenacious to a fault.  But, if you believe and work tirelessly, and never give up, anything is possible.  Anything.  even sitting in the home of an angry celebrity, and turning him into mush before it's over.  Thank God, he loved his Mother!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

THE MEN WE LOVE: Miss Scarlett and Cleopatra were onto Something!

 I have NEVER been one of those independent women.  You know, the ones who want to always go dutch on a date, and be all independent?  No!  I love a chivalrous old fashioned man who will ride up on his white horse and grab me and whisk me off to the castle.  I have never been one of those women that HATE men.  Even when my Yankee and I are at odds and on the war path, I NEVER feel I want to be independent of my men.  I actually like being dependent.  I get pretty spoiled that way.  And a good Southern Belle just LOVES to be spoiled and fawned over by her men. Think of Scarlett and the scene on her front porch.
     With Father's Day and Graduation being all in the same week, it had me thinking about the men in my life; my Yankee and my brilliant, talented son, who is only PART Yankee.  On a daily basis, these men make up my little Universe here in California.  My Daddy has been my guardian angel since I was just four, and my brother, who is blessed to still live in my beloved Alabama, to my stepfather of over thirty years,  all take care of me and my mom in some way almost daily.  And my two precious nephews whom I wished lived near me, are stars in my night sky!  These are my men, the men I love.
     My son, my only child, graduated from high school last week and I thought I would need a sedative!  I did pretty good.  Only wound up needing a few tissues.  I love this young man so much it hurts!  From the day that fat little bundle was placed in my arms, I became mama Bear.  Ain't nobody messin' with my boy! And he is such a good young man!
As I watched him receive his diploma, with so many honors, last week, and a teary me sat beside my Yankee, holding his hand, as he was tearing too, it occurred to me that the men in my life are primary...primal too, but primary all the same!  We are a family of men, lots of men.  My mother and I are the only two females.  Maybe that is why we are so close.  No, we are close because I can't LIVE without my Mama, like most Southern Belles.  But men dominate the family...in numbers only, as anyone will tell you, the WOMEN, my mother and me, rule the roosts!  It has taken a lot of patience to live ensconced in so many of the male species.  A lot.  My mother and I, well, we are the IN CHARGE type... some....most, might even call us BOSSY.  And whom do we boss?  The MEN of course! It's just our nature...we don't do it on purpose!  Our men are our crew.  My mother has my brother, my step father, and even my nephews!  See, no nieces, just men...and more men.  I have my Yankee, and my half Yankee son.  As women, we come by it honestly.  It is our very nature to be bossy, ...ahem...to... ORGANIZE, to handle the details of life, and to pull off daily living and turn life into a fine-tuned machine that just hums along without too many glitches.  We can do it if the men would just do what we need them to do.  Sometimes they do.  But they are a tough bunch to get them to do what we want WHEN we want them to do it.  MEN!
"Honey, take out the garbage."  THREE HOURS LATER....."Honey, why is the garbage still here?"  My yankee gives the proverbial, "uh huh" and maybe in a couple more hours it will finally get out the door.  He must decide WHEN is the right moment for the garbage to go out. This must be second nature to men.  They DON'T want to be bossed.  They don't really like to be told what to do, but we have an incessant need to tell them what to do!  Isn't that a funny little trick from the universe?  As women, we MUST boss, but our men can't stand to be bossed.  Yet we need each other on so many levels!  Good one, Universe.  Ha, that is so funny.  So we end up being NAGGY.  Sometimes, just to get me to shut up, my yankee will put the garbage right on the front porch..."yes, it's OUT now,"  he will say. And I think I have already told the story of how he, in a hurry to shut me up, one day took out all the laundry by accident, instead of the garbage.  The towels and baby clothes went to the curb, and I was left to FOLD the garbage!  MEN!
     What would we do without the men we love?  I am about to find out as my baby boy leaves for college in August.  I will be cryng rivers and buckets all the way back from dropping him off.  So will my Yankee.  My son,  who has always called me his rock,  has grown into a rock of his own.  He is exceptional.  I know, the most exceptional part of him HAS to be the ALABAMA in him!  Ok, that was intended as a joke. Well,  maybe a half truth.  He is strong and good and out to change the world and he will do great.  It's me I am worried about.  What a strange house this will be without him here every day.
He is the little man in my life, now all grown up and ready to grab his own life and run with it.  And I will be running behind smiling and clapping for him as I always have.  Eventually, I won't be able to keep up and that is ok.  He will become someone else's man.  And she better be good to him, cause MAMA BEARS NEVER die!  Sorry to scare you, future daughter- in- law.  Not really.  But I raised this man myself.  He is chivalrous, and kind and will give you his shoulder and dry your tears and well, I trained him.  He DOES respond to my, ... SUGGESTIONS,... faster than my Yankee! All of us raising boys should remember that.  Someday, some young woman will take his hand and his heart and hopefully we have raised a real man, that loves his wife and family .....and will take out the garbage right away!  She will be counting on it.
     The man I first loved was of course, my Daddy.  Like all Southern Belles, our Daddy's are the center of the universe when we are little girls. Though my daddy died in a car accident when I was only four, I still remember him in great detail.   He was a big man, 6'3" and had big blue eyes and deep dimples.  He was my first knight in shining armor.  When he got home everyday, I had to sit in his lap and tell him, in chattering detail, about my day.  Especially if anyone had upset me.  He was ready to ride the white horse to get them for me.  He was patient and loving and told me I was his princess.  He REALLY was the MAN!
     My brother and step father have helped me move so many times.  When I yell  "Help", they have come runnin'.  Most of the time they aren't smiling, but they come runnin' anyway.  I remember my brother literally hauling a washing machine on his back up a flight up stairs for me.  He played tackle on his football team, so he was up for the job.  I bossed him even when we were little.  One day, after my ballet lesson, I wanted him to learn to do the splits.  So I took him into the kitchen where we had plenty of floor space, and showed him the position.  He couldn't quite get down far enough and fast enough to my satisfaction.  So, I gave him a hard shove, and nearly stopped my nephews from being born!!   That is NOT his favorite childhood memory!  But he still came to my rescue more than once in my life.
 My step dad just drove 2200 miles for my mother and me, to get my mom, who is unable to fly, to my son's graduation.  And countless times he has helped me fix something in my life, from a broken light socket to a broken car, even a broken heart.  He almost never understands the broken heart thing, but he tries all the same. And we could not live without my gorgeous nephews.  They rode their white horses 90 miles to my mother's rescue and took her to the doctors and did her  house work and yard work and helped her survive almost daily  last year as my stepdad had to work out of state.  Oh, I love those two boys like they are my own.  I am MAMA BEAR to them too.
     We ask, and they do it...eventually.  MEN!
     Without the men I love, I would have no crew.  I would have no one to fuss at, no one to cry to, no one to BLAME!  How in the world could I survive without my men? I am much like our Miss Scarlett.  I like to think I can do it all by myself, but I relish in the fact that I NEED my men.   As I said, I have never been one of those independent, I'll take care of myself, women.  I love to be spoiled and to be fussed over and taken care of sweetly. My daddy trained me to be this way.  As I have trained my son to be a knight in shining armor.  I was talking with a woman recently and she was telling my son that women in college will want to pay for themselves we they go out.  They will want to be independent.  My son spoke up saying, "No," he will want to pay.  "I am the man," he said.  I sat listening so proud and thinking that I have raised him to be chivalrous and take care of women and always be the MAN.  I can only hope I have done the right thing.  Definitely give women their space to  be awesome at anything they want to do, of course to be paid equally, but to be treated as women.  To have the door held, and the chair pulled, and the coat given on a cold night.
     I think Miss Scarlett had it all figured out.  She would attempt doing something herself, then look all forlorn and become the damsel in distress...and the men would come running.  Yes she was crazy...like a fox!
     I am part Scarlett...and part CLEOPATRA!  Think I'll lie back now and be served by all the scantily clad men while they fan me and feed me grapes.  I do love my men!  And I need my men.  And I KNOW they need me to give them their daily lists, and schedules and organize them.  Even if they don't  quite realize it themselves.
Ahhhh yes, how does the saying go?  So many men, so little time.