From the E-Mailbag…

I enjoy posting a link to a video, then hearing from someone who was involved in the creation of that video. Here's a message from Steve Winer…

My partner and I were the two writers for Robert Klein Time and I can tell you for a fact that, thanks to hardball negotiations by our agent, the budget for the show was actually more like fourteen dollars.

You picked a clip that means a lot to me. I know you've written often here about Soupy Sales and your devotion to his work. Well, I was a great fan as well and that night I finally got the chance to talk to him and tell him of, among other things, how I was in the audience on the day he re-opened the Paramount Theater. He was gracious and charming and full of wonderful stories.

I told him how it always seemed as if he were talking directly to us on his show, and he explained that was very deliberate. He talked of the artificial distance a performer is supposed to keep from the television camera. He made a point of breaking that distance at the beginning of each show by walking directly up to the camera and' kissing the lens. Then he would step back, but not as far as tradition called for. Thus he created an intimacy between himself and the viewers.

He was with his then new wife and as my compliments continued he turned to her, and with his trademark chuckle, said "See? And you thought you married a flop!" She in turn prompted him to tell me other stories. "Tell him about Hippy!" she said. "Do you know what Hippy was?" he asked. "Hippy is just Pookie turned inside out!"

And so it went — an evening I treasured and I'm glad to see it here. Of course, since it's posted without consent, my partner and I make nothing from it, so perhaps you could suggest to your readers that they go into their parents' rooms late at night, reach into their wallets and…

Thanks, Steve, and I apologize for underestimating your budget. (Note to self: Tell the story here soon about the budget on The Stanley Siegel Show.)

As I said, that talk show of Mr. Klein's was enormously entertaining. I recall one episode with Robin Williams in which Klein apparently decided to treat Robin the way Robin treated other comedians when he was on stage with them, stepping on their punch lines and not letting them say much. Wish someone was rerunning things like this…or some of the really odd specials that graced HBO and Showtime in the first year or three of their existence.