"Still Laughing" is the title of George Schlatter's new book and if you read it, you'll be laughing, too. There are first-hand, hilarious stories on every page and he shares many of them on this podcast episode. Schlatter went from being a Las Vegas bouncer (although he prefers the title, "executive in charge of emergency departures") to being a talent agent, where he struck up an early and valued friendship with Frank Sinatra. He eventually became a TV producer, handling top talent such as Dinah Shore, Judy Garland, Sammy Davis, Jr., Cher and many others.
When he wasn't meeting stars he was making them, especially as the producer of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. Almost overnight, the late '60s, early '70s comedy/variety hour made household names of Goldie Hawn, Lily Tomlin, Arte Johnson, Ruth Buzzi, Gary Owens, JoAnne Worley and many others. He gave a young writer from Toronto a shot -- Lorne Michaels. Not sure whatever happened to him.
Phrases such as "You bet your sweet bippy," "Hear come de judge," and "Sock it to me," swept through schoolyards and suburban homes across North America.
Not everything he tried worked. Schlatter has great stories about his flops, including Turn On, a 1969 experimental series that was canceled on the East Coast before the show was even seen on the West Coast.
Schlatter also talks about his greatest achievement: his 67-year marriage to wife Jolene. The couple donated so many scripts and other artifacts to the National Comedy Centre in Jamestown, N.Y. the place named their theatre after them.