Art Linkletter Interview
He was born Gordon Arthur Kelly but the world knows him as Art Linkletter.
Art Linkletter played host to two of the longest-running television shows
in broadcast history-----“House Party” which aired on CBS T.V.
and Radio for 25 years and “People Are Funny” which aired on
NBC T.V. and Radio for 19 years.
In fact, at one point he had T.V. shows on all three networks – NBC,
CBS, and ABC-----all at the same time!!!
Just recently, Art Linkletter turned 94, and released his 28 th book appropriately
titled, “How to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life”.
A more enjoyable interview I’ve never had.
It is with great pleasure that we present a wonderful interview with the
legendary Art Linkletter.
Q – I like the title of your new book “How
to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life”. That’s
pretty clever. Did you think of that?
A – That was my title. Mark Hansen brought the experience of selling
the great book ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’. It sold about 120 million
copies. It got about 80 variations. It was my experience as President of the
Center on Aging at UCLA for the last 14 years; in other words I’ve been
in the scientific and as well as the living end.
Q – You’re on a nationwide tour to promote
A – Yes. That’s the only way to do it. This is my 28 th book and
I know to sell a book these days you gotta get out and talk to people. I do
a lot of radio interviews and a lot of television interviews. I do a lot of
speeches and in my speech I’ll include a paragraph or two on the book.
Mark does a lot too. When you do a book you gotta sell it.
Q – So, with this book and this title you’re
really trying to reach everybody, not just older people.
A – That’s right, because you gotta start thinking about getting
older and planning for it when you’re in your 30’s and 40’s.
A lot of the Baby Boomers didn’t. They’re coming to their retirement
age next year (2007). In 20 years they’ll be 76 million of these. So,
the book was also for them. Many of them certainly didn’t care for their
financial planning but lived high, wide and handsome.
Q – You give lectures on 3 or 4 cruises a
year? What are you lecturing about?
A – Well, I speak on ships because the ships today are tourist ships,
many, many of them. They’re places where seniors are going in increasing
numbers. Something like 70 percent of the cruise ships are seniors. So, I brighten
up their life by telling them how to go on making it mean something. That’s
what the book does. It takes a financial, but it takes your attitude which
is all important in your life, your whole life. You live between your ears.
How you feel about things and yourself is included is very, very important
to your whole life. It affects your immune deficiency mechanism in the body
and everything else.
Q – Now, were you born with this positive
spirit or is this something you acquired in life?
A – I was always that way. I was the talker in class who was sent to
the Principle’s office repeatedly for my hand-waving and joking. I was
the Class Clown. I had a grim start, but it made no difference to me. I was
abandoned as an orphan, then adopted by some poor people. He was a preacher.
But, there was nothing in my life that gave me inspiration from without. It
just came from within. I’m also an Alpha.
Q – What’s that?
A – Its new terminology for what you might call born leaders. I find
that almost anything I get into, I get into for fun and curiosity and a couple
of years later I’m the President of it. It comes from the lead name in
the wolf pack and the wolf pack is probably the best organized hunting group
in the world and the leader is a born Alpha. In other words, from the time
he’s a puppy he gets the big bites. I didn’t know what an Alpha
was until a couple of years ago. My God, when I was reading about it I said,
I’m an Alpha!! (Laughs).
Q – You gave an interview to Bob Thomas of
the Associated Press. You told him, “I’m not a Pollyanna thinker
but I am a positive thinker. That makes you able to dismiss tragedies
and failures and try again”. I won’t ask about the tragedies
in your life, but, what if any failures have you had? You’re a pretty
A – Well, you have failures in your youth. Coming up you do stupid things
as you do from time to time. In San Francisco I was the radio director for
the San Francisco World’s Fair. I had been radio director of the San
Diego World’s Fair and the Texas Centennial Fair, so I knew a lot about
it. But, I was in southern California which was anathema to a Northern California
back in the 30’s because San Francisco had been the key city of the country
because of the Gold Rush up there. Los Angeles was a bunch of up-start dreamers
and schemes and cannibals. There was a kind of unofficial feeling up there
that Southern Californians were not to be trusted. So, anyway I was radio director
at the fair, and just before the fair opened I was fired from the job, under
unusual circumstances. The President of the fair asked me what I had in mind
for the opening of the fair. I gave him a whole list of things starting with
the President of the United States and so forth. Then he pointed out there
was no particular genius in that. There was nothing new in it, and I should
have more imagination. I said, well give me an example. What do you mean? Well,
go to the window and look out the door. What do you see? The Golden Gate Bridge.
He said The Golden Gate Bridge is the biggest bridge in the world. It’s
a part of San Francisco. He said, if you knew anything about engineering you’d
know that all the cables holding that big center span out are different tension
and the wind blowing through them produces a different t. So, I would string
microphones from one end of the bridge to the other and patch someone with
a giant control board and go on the air playing on the Golden Gate Bridge as
a harp ‘California Here We Come’. I said ‘you’re nuts’.
He said ‘You’re fired’! So, I went home and told my wife
that we’ve reached a very interesting place in my career. I’ve
just reached a new decision. She said, ‘Well look, its 11 o’clock
in the morning. Have you been fired’? I said, well yes, I was. That was
the trigger, but the decision I made is that I will never again work for anybody-----and
I never have. I’ve never even had an agent. I never had a manager to
tell me what to do. I promoted my own sales, my own shows. Sold ‘em.
Produced ‘em. Starred in them. That was a key turning point in my life,
done because I was fired.
Q – If you didn’t have an agent, how
did you know you were being fairly compensated by the t.v. networks?
A – That’s something that comes gradually. I didn’t go to
the network. I started locally. One of the main reasons of course that I never
had an agent is no agent was interested in handling me for $15. (Laughs). Local
broadcast in San Diego. A town of 70,000. So, I started there and then I went
to these world fairs which gave me a broad look at what was going on and the
money that was being made. Then I started to go regional with my own radio
shows after I was fired in San Francisco. I just kept changing more and more
and more and more ‘til I finally got up to now for my lectures. I charge
$25,000 for a lecture. 15 years ago when I started my lecturing career I charged
$2,000. And the same was true of radio and television, with the exception that
with radio and television and I was in radio from 1933, 1934, until 1951 when
I moved over to television until 1970. I gradually got my free up from say
$10,000 a show to $15,000 a show to having stock options and being on the Board
of Directors to the companies that were sponsoring me. And that’s where
I made my biggest money.
Q – I was going to ask where you made the
bulk of your money, because television didn’t pay the money then
that they pay now.
A – I made a lot of it in show business but it was all heavily taxed.
At one time I was in the 92% bracket counting California and Federal. So, that
also spurred me into making capital gains money through ownership in companies.
I’ve been in probably 15 or 18 different companies. I have a co. of my
own now. I’m also in solar energy. I’m Chairman of the Board of
an International Solar Energy Co. which in my opinion, right at the moment
would be like having a ground floor ownership in Coca-Cola or Campbell’s
Soup. This is energy to run the world. The solar, energy I’m in is thermal
and we’re building a $350 million dollar power plant in Las Vegas right
now and we’ve got contracts beginning to show up all over the world and
those will be for running whole countries. What do you think of that?
Q – That’s very, very impressive.
A – The name of the co. is Solargenix-----and I’m Chairman of the
Board. We are opening a whole new world of energy from the sun. We can get
sun up to 700 degrees through our reflecting devices which are all patented
through the University of Chicago. We can up to 700 degrees heat and that is
something that is absolutely magic in the world of industry. It means steam
and steam runs turbines and turbines give you your lights, your air-conditioning,
your power for everything that makes civilization run.
Q – I would guess that what happened here
is that someone approached you with this idea because of your name recognition
and ability to raise money for the project.
A – That’s it. They came to me first of all; they heard of me through
a friend of mine who highly recommended me in the business world, and I was
paid to be a spokesman. From a spokesman I became an investor. And from an
investor I became a stock holder and an owner and now I’m on the Board
and all the rest of it. So these things just don’t happen. First of all,
in my career, in my life, I would suggest to other people thinking about having
that kind of life and being interested in it because a lot of people wouldn’t
like it because it’s full of risks. You’re making bets on things.
In fact one of the hardest things I have to find is creative lawyers. Everybody
has to have lawyers to get by in business today. Most lawyers are defensive.
They’re telling you how to stay out of trouble, not how to make money.
So, I have lawyers who tell me what the risks are and then how to best protect
myself against some of them and some of them of course it just depends on how
I handle it and what happens in the business.
Q – You were an athlete in college weren’t
A – Yes. I’m in the Hall of Fame at San Diego State University
for basketball. I was all Conference Center at 6’ 2” which was
small because in those days in basketball in the 30’s, we didn’t
have 3 point shots. Nobody ever dunked a ball. There was only one Black guy
on the whole team. (Laughs). So, I was the Center. Then at the same time, my
other big sport was swimming. I swam in a lot of big meets. I tried out for
the Olympics in ’36. After I got out of college I played four wall handball
and became ranked in say the Top 25 or 30 in the nation. I played in national
tournaments all over the country. Then when I was 50, my knees began to wear
out from handball strain for 25 years and I switched to skiing and I’ve
been skiing up until this year (2006). I quit this year ‘cause my wife
gave away all my ski’s when I was away on a lecture tour. I said, ‘why’?
She said, ‘I want to be a wife, not a nurse’. (Laughs). But, I’ve
been skiing, doing competitive skiing for elderly people, over 50, over 80,
over 90 and I’ve been skiing all that time at Vail, Aspen, Steamboat
Springs, Sun Valley, Switzerland. So, my whole life has been keyed to athletics.
At one time, when I started college, I started out to be a coach and after
I was in college for a year and out there, coaching was fine, but I had more
on my mind than that so I majored in English and Psychology, and got into the
other parts of business. It’s a growth business. During my whole life,
I have attracted and looked for and used mentors who were successful, important
people and made friends of them and was helped and guided by them. I’m
talking about people like Henry Kaiser, D.K. Ludwig who invented the Super
tanker, Walt Disney. And of course, Norman Vincent Peale, the great minister
was a fan and a mentor, and a guide to me, and others along the way. I found
out that people who are successful in every branch of life are anxious to help
promising young people to become what they haven’t reached and I am now
that myself. I am a mentor for young people. I’ve been a mentor for people
like the Chairman of the Board of Freeport Mac bran Oil Co. one of the major
oil and gold and copper cos. in the country. He came into my office, a young
fellow out of college, needed a job, needed something and I’ve been his
mentor until now. He’s far richer than I am and in many ways more important
in his field. But that’s the kind of thing you re-pay. The great thing
about getting older is that you can re-pay. The last third of my life has been
as a missionary in Africa, India, Hati for World Vision, the largest missionary
group in the United States, and 147 countries. I went out with a camera and
a crew of camera people and filmed the hurting, dying, maimed, hungry, starving
people of the world and brought back pictures which raised millions of dollars.
That’s the pay back.
Q – How did you know you would be successful
A – I had no idea how I could be successful. I had a part-time job in
my junior year in college with KGB in San Diego which by the way years and
years later caused me a moment of embarrassment, but only a moment. Ronald
Reagan appointed me Ambassador to Australia and I was appearing before a widely
Democratic group of Senators of the Foreign Affairs Committee and one of them
said, ‘How can you possibly ask to be an ambassador to Australia for
the United States when you worked for the KGB’? He was looking at my
bio. Anyhow just a board announcer. I did spot announcements between the C.B.S.
shows, watched for the local stuff and read a few news things. There was no
future in it for me that I could see because in 1933 radio was just being developed.
They were looking at all the fields of entertainment. So, the people who were
stars were singers or musicians or actors or comics. That’s it. They
didn’t pay any money for sports announcers which I thought I could be.
But, you just did that because it was considered fun. And they didn’t
pay anything to news people because news wasn’t what it is today. So,
I said I’m apparently not going to get anywhere in this field so I’ll
move over to the business field or teaching. I was going to be a school teacher,
Professor of English. Just before I quit, one of those miracles happened of
timing. I have a saying that life is what happens to you while you’re
making other plans. And that’s true with me in spades. Here I was getting
ready to leave radio when suddenly I heard a young guy in Dallas, Texas doing
outrageously and daring and dramatic and unusual things never done in the history
of entertainment. He took a microphone and a long cord out the window and walked
on the street and talked to people. No producers. No prizes. No written material.
No rehearsals. Just a ‘Who are you? Where you going’? What do you
think?’ When I heard that I had the wit to say, ‘Holy Smoke! That’s
what I’ve been doing all the way through college. I’ve been talking.
I’ve been debating. I’ve been spending time in the principle’s
office for talking. So, I started and I sold my first local sponsor to have
a show on local radio. Starting there came the first ‘Man On The Street’ Show.
Then came the first ‘Simple Quiz’ Show. Then the ‘Game Show’.
And then the ‘Stunt Show’. Then the variety show. Working my way
up to do motion pictures, nightclub appearances, worlds fairs and all the rest
of it. But, it all started because I heard a guy in Texas say ‘Who are
you? What do you do’? It was remarkable. Then of course the second big
thing I did in my career; I was practicing on a brand new thing called a tape
recorder. In the days of 1938-1939 we were just getting the first tape recorder.
Now, you have them in your hand. But then, they were the size of a small refrigerator.
I was at home practicing and my son Jack, who’s now 69 walked in. He
was 5 ½ - 6 years of age. I said, ‘Come over here Jack. Talk right
into this little machine here and tell me what you did today’. He said, ‘I
went to school for the first time, kindergarten’. I said, ‘Well,
how did you like it’? He said, ‘I ain’t going back’.
I said, ‘Why aren’t you going back’. He said, ‘Well,
Dad, I can’t read and I can’t write. And they won’t let me
talk. So, why should I go back’? Well, I played this on my local radio
show in San Francisco and the mail came in from all over the country, Northern
California, local. And I said to myself, always being on the alert for ideas,
hey, there’s never been kids before. So, I invented children. There were
children who were actors, singers, acrobats and performers who were professional
children. But, there were no children talking about their life at home or what
they thought about dogs, cats, what they wanted to be when they grew up. Just
little homily funny stuff. That’s what started me on ‘Kids Say
the Darndest Things’ which has probably been the outstanding thing that
I’ve done in my life that nobody else has done quite as well.
Q – How did you get the kids on “House
Party” to open up so much to you? If I was a kid in a t.v. studio,
facing a guy with a microphone in his hand, dressed in a suit and tie-----I
would’ve been scared. The kids on your show didn’t seem to
be scared at all and I’m wondering why.
A – Well, there were several reasons for that. In the first place, all
the kids from my show, for 26 years-----27,000 children, aged from 5 to 10;
I wanted the family group before they got into the middle school where they
had girls and guys and all the rest of it. Their world is the world of the
family; mother and dad and new words and new ideas. It was a huge learning
curve between 5 and 10. So, I had the school teacher through the Board of Education
pick all the kids in their class that fit the year I wanted, 5 to 10 years
old. I sent a letter to each one of them before she picked the four children
out of her plans to appear on my show. Rather cleverly I thought, I said, I
would like to have a special favor when you pick the kids of course you’re
going to pick the ones you want, but I would like you to think very carefully
that I would like to have you pick the ones you’d like to have out of
the class for a few blessed hours. So, I got the extroverts, largely. I got
both kinds of course. With that kind of appeal the teacher knew what I was
talking about. So, she picked the hand-wavers, the guys jumping up and taking
a chance on what goes on. I’ll give you an example of an interview I
actually had that shows what I was looking for: A little boy about 7 or 8,
I said, ‘Why do you think the teacher picked you out of the whole class
to come down and be on my show’? He said, ‘I’m the smartest
kid in the room’. I said, ‘Did the teacher tell you that’?
He said, ‘No. I noticed it myself’. See what I mean? (Laughs).
Then the second thing that happened was, they were picked up by a limousine
and given a lunch at a Hollywood restaurant, a tour of the studios and then
they came to my show in the afternoon. I took ‘em in to a room, four
kids, no teacher, no parents. Just them. I sat down on the floor and I kidded
around with them. I teased with them. I let ‘em see that I was not a
Big Star suddenly having them out in front of a bunch of people. I told ‘em
this show is just kind of fun. I ask you questions and you guess at what the
answers are, if you don’t know what they are, and the people all laugh
and they have a lot of fun. Now, I did this for the purpose of acquainting
them of where they were going to be and what they were going to do because
if a kid says something that he thinks is quite serious and everybody laughs-----he
retreats. He’s like a turtle. He goes back into the shell. I wanted them
to know everybody was going to be laughing with us. They’ve already known
me. When we got out there, I was not a guy in a suit and tie, an older guy.
I was always on the same level with them. I put them up on a stage above where
I was. So, I kind of sat at the end of the stage, of their little stage and
that brought me right eye-to-eye with them. Then I looked deeply into their
eyes when I talked to them. I gave them my strict attention. No matter what
they said. I took it seriously. Some of it was very funny like the kid I asked ‘What
do you want to be when you grow up’. This kid said, ‘I want to
be an airplane pilot’. So, I said, ‘Let’s suppose that you
were flying a big airplane between Los Angeles and Hawaii and you’re
out over the middle of the ocean. You got 125 people in your airplane, and
all of a sudden all 4 engines stopped. What do you do? You’re the Captain’.
And he thought a minute and he said, ‘Well, first I’d ask everybody
to put on their seatbelts’. I said, ‘Very good. Very good. Then
what would you do’? He said, ‘I’d put on my parachute and
jump out’. Well, everybody laughed and as they laughed tears came to
his eyes. I knew that he was serious. He wasn’t being a smart ass. So,
when they stopped laughing, I said, ‘Why would you do that’? He
said, ‘I’m going for gas. I’d come back’. You see what
I mean? I didn’t make fun of him. I didn’t laugh at him. I looked
at him and saw his reaction to it. I said to a kid one day, ‘You don’t
look happy today. You’re not having any fun here. What’s the matter’?
He said, ‘I don’t feel very happy because my dog died’. Oh,
I said, ‘I know what that’s like. It’s like a brother. It’s
like part of the family, but think of it this way; he’ll be waiting for
you up in Heaven’. He looked up at me with his eyes wide open, and said, ‘What
would god want with a dead dog’? How can you get material like that?
No writer could think of it.
Q – You don’t smoke. You don’t
drink. Do you eat meat? Do you eat ice-cream?
A – I eat ice-cream, but not a lot of it. I eat some meat, maybe once
or twice a week. I don’t eat a lot. I’m at the same weight right
now that I was when I graduated from college, 190 pounds. I’m 6’ 1” so
it’s well distributed. I exercise everyday. I swim a lot, in my pool.
I do things. Up ‘til this year I skied a lot too. I’ve been athletic
all my life because I found I feel good. I didn’t drink because I got
drunk once and I got sick. And where I got sick outside of my house, nothing
has grown on that ground ever since. (Laughs). So, I don’t like to drink.
I don’t feel I need to drink to feel extroverted. I don’t drink
anything. I don’t even drink wine.
Q – Television was a lot better in the early
days when there was only 3 networks.
A – Right.
Q – There were limited budgets and when you
get down to it, nobody knew what they were doing.
A – Right.
Q – What happened?
A – What happened was television and radio somewhat was taken over by
the networks and the advertising agencies who just bought time like you’d
buy a page in a magazine. When I was coming up everything depended on the advertising
agency who bought the shows, who shepherded the shows, and in my case I did
the commercials. One time Jack Benny said to me, ‘Art, what are you the
commercials for’? You’re a star now. You’re a celebrity.
You find a Don Wilson, or Ken Niles as announcers to do the commercials’.
I said, ‘No, I don’t Jack. I’m a salesman. I’m a salesman
almost first and foremost, and I’m selling the guy who’s paying
the bills. That’s the most important part of the show. In those days
there was more censorship. There was more care given. You represented the client.
Now you do not represent any client. All you do is you’re doing a show
and every 5 or 6 minutes they take 3 minutes off and in television put on anywhere
from 8 to 11 commercials. Five seconds, ten seconds, twenty seconds. These
are elaborate commercials. Some of ‘em cost more than the damn show does.
They got airplanes flying through windows. Guys jumping off of skyscrapers.
You do that for 3 minutes and then bang, you almost forget what the hell the
show was about. And then too, the stars; it seems to me and I look back on
it very fondly as all older people do to their youth, the stars were people
of great importance to the family. They knew them. Today I don’t know
who these people are. A lot of ‘em are ensemble groups like ‘Friends’.
Take 5 or 6 people doing a lot of crazy talk. But then we had Frank Sinatra,
Lucille Ball, Jack Benny and Georgie Burns, Gracie Allen, Fred Allen, all friends
of mine. In my case I was on 3 networks for many years every week; ABC in the
middle of the week doing a show called ‘Life with Linkletter’,
another show ‘House Party’ five days a week on C.B.S. and ‘People
Are Funny’ on Friday nights on NBC. I did that show for 19 years, the ‘House
Party’ for 26 years and the people got to know us. We were there. Today
after 4 or 5 years even stars like Seinfeld quit. And today we have 5 or 6
networks and dozens of local stations of all kinds; pay stations, satellite
stations and hundreds of radio stations. So, everything has been multiplied
and you don’t have the concentration on the few that we had. I had 9
million people everyday on my ‘House Party’, and 15 million on
my Friday night show. Today there’s a station for everything. If you
like sports you don’t even watch ABC you watch ESPN, and so on and so
Q – You were at the opening of Disneyland
in 1955. Did you think it was going to succeed or not succeed?
A – I didn’t think it was going to succeed. I was a friend of Walt
and he knew how I felt. He knew I was all for him. But, in the first place
they took a place that was an hour and forty-five minutes down from the center
of L.A. in Orange County surrounded by little farms and no freeways. The show
on the opening day was 108 degrees. People were sinking down in the asphalt.
Some of these shows weren’t properly staged ‘cause they were not
quite finished. In fact the press called it ‘Mickey Mouse’s Tourist
Trap.’ But, we stayed in it and put on a good show; a show that had a
million people visit by September 1 st. It opened July 17 th. Then we asked
me later at his home one time at a party; he said, ‘What do you think
Art, I’m doing another Disneyland in Florida’. I said I don’t
think you should do it. He said, ‘Why not’? I said, ‘cause
this one is unique. It’s the only one in the world. He said, ‘Yeah,
but I could do things I couldn’t do there. I had 67 acres, now I’m
going to have over 20,000 acres. I can have it all spread out and protect my
flanks.’ Very interesting. He knew what he was doing and I followed him
all the way through. I’m still called a legend out there and I speak
at Disneyland and Disneyworld regularly.
Q – How many people around today can say they
actually knew Walt Disney? Not many.
A – That’s right. I was a very close friend of the family. I wasn’t
just a guy on the show. Walt and I had been friends and done things for years
until he did the show. He and my family were close friends. My son Jack went
with his daughter. They were going to get married at one time. Lois and Lil
who was Walt’s wife were dear friends so it was a wonderful time. I knew
so many people who were family friends. Lucille Ball and I loved to get together
and talk about families. She was guilty in her mind of having a career that
took so much of her time.
Q – Since you were a performer in so many
different mediums, I’m just curious if the Mob ever approached you,
offering to assist in your career in return for a percentage interest
in your career?
A – No, never. And I knew Bugsy Siegel and the starting of Las Vegas
when they opened The Flamingo. I was up there as his guest. They were always
fascinated by show business. They owned nightclubs. One time Bob Crosby called
his brother Bing and said, ‘Look, the mob doesn’t like my stuff
and they’re kicking me out and I have a contract for several more weeks.
What am I going to do’? Bing wrote back, ‘Go to the next date.
Don’t fight with ‘em. Just leave and don’t get in trouble
with ‘em’. That kind of thing I knew about. They never did anything
like that with me. They were always very nice. They thought Frank (Sinatra)
was the greatest thing since milk and cream. They could be both ways, in their
social ways with ‘em. They always looked up to entertainers. Bugsy Siegel
wanted to be an entertainer, an actor someday. He was taking lessons from George
Raft for God’s sake. Paid him to come up and teach him how to act like
a tough guy. (Laughs). And here’s one of the Mob!!
Q – If Bugsy Siegel was killed because someone
thought Las Vegas and The Flamingo was a flop-----did they ever make a
A – He built The Flamingo and it was way over budget. Bugsy Siegel was
not a good manager. They rubbed him out for various reasons but one of the
main reasons was he couldn’t run the place right. Did a terrible job.
Q – I guess they just didn’t appreciate
A – They owned a lot of Vegas until the corporations came in, and took
over and ran ‘em properly. Vegas was a remarkable thing and still is.
I still can’t believe; I thought all through the years that’s the
last big one (hotel) that’ll go up and then came two or three more.
Q – People love entertainment in this country.
A – Oh, they do, they do. I do lectures now and that’s what I get
my big kick out of. I played State Fairs out in the 106 degree temperature
in North Dakota in the summer with the midway of the Fair half a block away
with all the noise. People selling peanuts up and down the 15,000 seat open-air
while I’m trying to get their attention. You know, I’ve been through
all that. I’ve played nightclubs. I’ve played Vegas and done 3
shows, one at 9p.m., on at 11p.m. and one at 2 in the morning on a stage. I’m
glad I don’t do those anymore.
Q – So what’s on your schedule after
A – Well, today I have a meeting, a big meeting with a group of real
estate developers. I’m developing a big, new thing down at Myrtle Beach,
in South Carolina. I’ve got a new idea for a planetarium that’s
being built in Germany which is a planetarium with the stars and everything,
but not so scientific. We’ve woven into it the story of Sandy Sandman
from the old Sandman stories, and he flies through the sky and I narrate it.
It’ll be playing at a hotel we’re gonna have in a water park and
everything else in Myrtle Beach. So, these guys are flying out to meet with
me this afternoon and tomorrow, and next week it’ll be a whole bunch
of different things everyday. I’m deeply into oil and gas all over the
world, drilling for gas in Texas. I have a company that builds self-storage
warehouses. We’ve built 30 of ‘em and I sit in on those meetings.
You never know what’s gonna happen next. The phone rings-----I’m
available! My wife one time told me one time if you’d been a girl you
would have been a prostitute, you say yes to everybody! Well, I don’t
say yes to everybody. I’m a believer in life long learning. I think there’s
always new stuff and it’s fascinating to me. Solar energy is the most
fascinating thing I’ve ever been in, in my whole life, and this has happened
in the last 4 years!!
Q – You have a great attitude.
A – I think its human nature to look for a comfortable niche. It becomes
kind of a rut. There you are, it’s good enough, but you don’t get
any new challenges. I’m a great believer in change. Thank - God because
I’ve lived a life where in my 100 years almost, on this earth, there
have been more changes than ever before in the history of the world. Just think
of this one thing: when I was born you could expect to live to be 47. Today
it’s 77. So, you’ve been given 30 years of life. God-----what a
gift! So, you’ve got to plan to live longer, be active longer and stay
up with things that are happening. By 2050, one out of every four people is
going to be over 65. More people are alive today over 65 than ever lived. So,
it’s a great time to be alive if you have a little gumption!!
© Gary James All Rights Reserved