The Eager Beaver’s Television Interview


Anyone who was a child of the 1970’s watched talk shows.

In fact, it was a lifestyle.

We spent hours in front of our Magnavox Technicolor television that was tucked inside a sturdy oak cabinet and watched the likes of Mike Douglas, Dinah Shore, Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin, Bob Braun and Paul Dixon.

What talk show fan didn’t dream of someday sitting on the couch while Burt Reynolds made a surprise appearance on Dinah’s show or to witness Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon act out their popular Carnac the Magnificent bit?

As luck would have it, the press release for Not Your Mother’s Book…On Being A Woman (as mentioned in my recent post, Can This Eager Beaver Still Win The Pulitzer?) caught the eye of a producer from local talk show Indy Style, resulting in an invitation for this Eager Beaver to be a guest.

Yeah!  My childhood fantasy came true!

Yikes!  How can I loose 50 pounds, have my teeth whitened and develop a perky personality in less than two weeks?

That’s easy.

I invested in some NASA-engineered shape wear, chomped endlessly on whitening gum and brought my mother along – kind of a perky-personality-stunt-double, if you will.

As we sat in the “green room” waiting to be called onto the set, the host did a teaser introduction warning viewers that half the titles in the book were not appropriate to be read on the air.

At that very moment another “green room” guest, the fun-loving Sancho, from Man of La Mancha shot an evil look in my direction.

Hey, lighten up Sancho! Can’t you see I’m living the Impossible Dream!

So that’s two strikes for the Network Sensors (“Honey, You’re a Fat Ass” and “Vajazzle My What?”) out of three stories I contributed, leaving, “W-The Other Scarlet Letter” for on-air discussion.

Oh the irony of successfully avoiding friends tagging unflattering photos of me on Facebook for years in an effort to hide my midlife weight gain, only to out myself as a shopper of Women’s clothing in front of thousands on television.  Not that the “chin-cam” gave my secret away or anything.

The biggest on-air surprise for me was the shock of seeing myself on-camera and listening to my own voice.

The biggest off-air surprise was receiving a text from Shirley Partridge saying that she wants her black velvet jacket back.

All-in-all, the interview was a big success for promoting the book.

And those Facebook friends I’ve been hiding from for years, came out in droves to show their support for my involvement in the book – even the lurkers joined in.

In the words of talk show hosts everywhere, “Good Night Everybody and thanks for watching!”

© 2012, Terri Spilman

Me with my “perky-personality stunt-double” after the taping.

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23 thoughts on “The Eager Beaver’s Television Interview

  1. Love your thought bubble above, Terri! You have a great talent for humor writing, and you did awesome on air — looked like you had done it 20 times before. Nice job!

  2. I would rush home from high school to watch Mike Douglas. I loved those old 70s talk shows. I’m sure you were the perfect, articulate, witty guest when you were on Indy Style. But I know what you mean about when one sees one self on TV. It’s sobering to say the least. And just for the record that picture of you and you mom is adorable!

  3. Great, and witty, write up of a wonderful interview. Yes, I set my alarm and left notes on the bedside table, bathroom vanity, and by the coffee pot so I would remember to tune in and see you as a television star. My only complaint is that a lot of your work deals with mid life, aging issues. As your former babysitter, how old do you think that makes me feel? You were great and so is your perky personality stunt double.

    • I imagine it makes you feel pretty darn old, although, you aren’t really that much older than me! I’ll try to blog about something more youthful like planking – that is, if I can figure out what it is first.

    • It’s because my NASA shape wear turned me into a human blood pressure cuff. My pressure was up walking from the green room to the set area. Went back down when they propped me up on the couch. Either that, or I was just plain catatonic.

  4. Terry – you look awesome!
    Congrats on the book – is it available in Canada? (I could not find it on amazon.ca…)
    My husband still likes to watch talk-shows, I get to endure the Maury Povic show every morning…
    Also – thanks for stopping by my blog. I check your out regularly as well, you are my first and only true blog love 😉
    (BTW – there is a picture of us on my blog without the mustaches and I hide behind my daughter because chin-cam 😉 – http://kerstinauer.tumblr.com/post/25998574672/dna)

    • Thank you! The book is available on amazon.ca. You should submit some stories! I forgot about your husband and Maury – you poor thing. I saw your photos and they are beautiful. You should be very proud of them.

  5. I feel like Gayle King!!!
    I sooo wish I could have cheered you on in person or watched in real time! You looked great and were perfect! You were more Terri Garr & Bonnie Hunt than Mrs. Partridge. I loved this post, too….made me wistful…how I wish we could watch those delightful talk shows in syndication!

    • Hey Gayle! I wish I had a mag for you to run or a morning show for you to host! What a compliment – two of my favorite gals. I wish we could watch those shows in syndication as well. My mom used to watch Letterman when he was on during the day. I can still hear her laughing.

  6. Congratulations for being invited and having the courage to show up! I love that your mom was there to support you, how fun! I bet that interview must have been very funny. How do you manage to have a clean conversation without discussing the titles much?

    • I just realized I never replied to this – so, thanks! The note in my hand was actually a script written by my daughter for me. She thought it may seem that I like myself too much if I talked too much about my stories. Very perceptive.

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