I have not gone back and looked at the thoughts I gave, on meeting Susan, the night of the Joey Bishop TV show
and did not realize how..'watered down'..the version that is there, really was..until now. MANY other things
happened, that night, and maybe it was too long to share
or..things that were not wanted to be told, when it was
redone by another author.
I will not go into all of that..let it remain as it is, but there is ONE THING I did want the other fans to know
that happened that night...after the show..that is not told.
DON RICKLES was the other guest on the show and we all know how he can be...'biting in his humor or 'dishing' others'. Well, before the show was through, he tried doing that to Susan..and he got it thrown back at him!
RICKLES asked SUSAN..."why she decided to do..'that film'..(VALLEY OF THE DOLLS which she was also promoting on the show (Joey Bishop was also in the film) and it was getting a reputation for maybe 'not being a very good film'. (Susan was now replacing JUDY GARLAND who they fired from the film.) Soo...Rickles says..."But Susan, WHY did you...do this film?"
SUSAN paused for a moment...shot him a icy look and replied..."To buy gas for my boat!!"
That shut Rickles up! He tried, backstage, after the show, to 'play up' to her and she would have none of it! Susan was standing opposite me, looking down the long hallway, a beaming smile on her face, as if she was either remembering something or just the joy of how the show had turned out, because she was very pleased with it all.
RICKLES came out of his dressing room, just behind us and saw her standing there. They couldn't have been more than 15 feet apart. He said.."Oh, Susan.." I watched the expression on her face change when she heard him, but she never turned! Her smile went from bliss to annoyed. Again...he said.."Oh...Susan.." She still did not turn, but with her very low, smokey voice said.."Yes!"
RICKLES said.."Since you say you have some wonderful parties in Ft. Lauterdale..and I do get down that way..maybe I should come by..sometime."
SUSAN...still with her back to him and again, very low said.."Yeah...why don't you do that!".
I was watching Susan all this time and felt the tenseness and the 'cold shoulder' she was giving him.
Now I looked at Rickles and he looked at me. He knew I had got the message she was delivering to him..and he finally..got it too! He left with a ugly frown!
He got what he deserved...from our gal! To me, he was a real...creep!
After he was gone...Susan's attitude was back to warm and friendly. It was after this incident, before I ever started talking with her. In a way, it broke 'the ice' I had, about talking to her and I think she knew it! I had wanted to be 'that guy' who had approached her, by the dressing room door, and she did see the hurt look on my face,when she invited him in..to chat. But right afterward, she came down the hall and stood right next to me. No one else there but the two of us. I think she knew how much I wanted to talk to her. THEN the RICKLES incident happened..and right after that, was when I finally got the courage to speak to her.
It was just my last, stupid remark, that I will never forget or forgive myself for saying! "Susan, I'm so sorry for the bad reviews you got on "Back Street". What a DUMB thing to come out of..My Foolish Mouth!
Thank you for sharing your remembrance of meeting Susan after her appearance on the Joey Bishop show.
I can't believe that was 43 years ago-it seems like
only yesterday. You indicated that other things
occurred that night as well;will you share them some-time? I remember reading somewhere that Susan requested that Don Rickles also be a guest that evening;if not,it does seem probable that given his
reputation and particular brand of 'humor'someone must
have cleared his appearance with her in advance. I do
recall he mentioned that she came to see him perform
when he was just getting started in show business;
he said he appreciated that-does that mean she was a fan? I also remember her response to his question of
why she took the role in "Valley Of The Dolls"- I
assumed that her reply indicated that she did not take
the film or herself seriously. If all this is true,
then he probably didn't know what 'hit him' backstage
after the show. Please don't get me wrong-I totally
agree that Rickles was a CREEP. I never appreciated
his humor and Susan owed him nothing. But that being
said,it never hurts to be gracious and rise above
the common -in this case the very common Rickles.
However,she may have thought that he would have
interpreted that as encouragement. I have adored Susan
since I was 12-55 years ago and I'm not about to change now. However,I've always wished that she had
been more benevolent in her dealings with others.
Apparently,she alienated many of her peers through
the years,though the people of Carrollton,Ga seemed
to have had great affection for her. I hope this post
doesn't offend you. Of course,she had her 'issues'
and I never walked in her shoes nor was I fortunate
enough to be backstage that night. If I had been,I'm
sure I wouldn't be able to form a word! In the final analysis,there was no one like her. And finally,Errol,
since you actually saw her,was she as gorgeous as
her fans always felt she was?
HI Elaine...First off..there is no reason for me to make this story up! Whether it was something else that happened, that night, or if it was what he said on the show to her...she did give him 'the cold shoulder'. I also feel Susan was not the kind to have guys 'put the make' on her. I do not blame Susan for acting as she did toward him and gave her credit for giving him the
I really don't think I want to share any more from that night, since it didn't seem to be interesting enough, when first written..to add to the site..and this seems to prove that to be true.
To answering your question on...'was Susan as beautiful as she seemed to be'...the answer is a BIG YES! Guess that might have been why I just stood and stared, as long as I did, before ever saying a word.