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Friday, August 6, 2010

"A Funny Thing Happened..." - A Memoir by Lester Colodny

What is more fun than a barrel of monkeys? The question is asked, and hilariously answered, in a new memoir by Lester Colodny of Westport, Connecticut. “A Funny Thing Happened - Life Behind the Scenes: Hollywood Hilarity and Manhattan Mayhem” was recently published by SciArt Media, written by Mr. Colodny with Susan Heller.

Mr. Colodny kindly granted me a phone interview and discussed his long and varied career as a writer of plays, ad copy, of news prĂ©cis, and screenplays. He stumbled into acting and stumbled into Mae West, touring with her show “Diamond L’il”. He worked as a literary agent, a talent agent, and director of television commercials. He won an Emmy Award for a special with Jack Benny he wrote, directed and produced. He won several “Clio” awards for his unique “Xerox” commercials. Now, at 85 years old, he directs community theatre plays in Connecticut, and has written this fun memoir of a life of many career twists and turns, usually unexpected and often under the silliest of circumstances.

“When I look back, I say, “Who is that fellow, Les Colodny, that did all that?”

The monkeys, incidentally, involved the completely unprepared cast of NBC’s “The Today” show, with a clownish Dave Garroway, and his terrorized compatriots: Frank Blair, Jack Lescoulie, and a very young, beautiful, and horror-stricken Florence Henderson. Mr. Colodny was the show’s writer and associate producer at the time. You need to read the book just for this story alone.

He is a multi-talented raconteur and teller of stories, which feature Frank Sinatra, Mel Brooks, Jerry Lewis, and many more. Mr. Colodny’s granddaughter, actress, Elizabeth Hendrickson (“The Young and the Restless” and “All My Children” - 2002-2007) wrote the foreword.

“My life is funny,” Mr. Colodny remarks, noting that the parade of comical incidents, improbable twists of fate, and the sometimes exasperating over-the-top characters that have passed through his life is like, “God played a joke on me.”

For more on Lester Colodny’s work in theatre, including his new avocation as a director of community theatre plays in Connecticut, have a look at next week’s Tragedy and Comedy in New England blog. For more on his adventures in film and television, join us in a couple weeks at Another Old Movie Blog.

For more on Lester Colodny’s book and to order your copy, have a look here at the SciArt Media website. SciArt Media is a new publishing company in New Hampshire, which specializes in books by New England authors.

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