Want free publicity? Tie your story to current events

HOW CAROL BURNETT BECAME A STAR

How potent is tying your subject matter to current events?

Potent enough to turn Carol Burnett from a little known night club singer into a national star.

According to Tom Shales of the Washington Post, this is how Carol Burnett got her big break:  In 1957, she was appearing at the Blue Angel nightclub. Teen-age girls were obsessed with Elvis Presley. Burnett’s friend Ken Welch wrote a song about a young girl totally obsessed not with a rock star but with the secretary of state: “I Made a Fool of Myself Over John Foster Dulles.”

Jack Paar heard about it, booked her on the “Tonight Show,” and it created a frenzy. Ms. Burnett says in Shales’ original article, “The phones were ringing off the book. I went back to the Blue Angel to do the midnight show and there was a man on the phone who said he was Mr. Dulles’ television adviser, and he said, ‘Mr. Dulles didn’t see it. Could you possibly go back on the Paar show and do it on Thursday?’ I said, ‘Fine by me.’ But of course I didn’t know. But they called Jack Paar, who had a great show, and he brought me back on Thursday. Then Ed Sullivan called and I did it on his show that Sunday. So it was three times in one week.”

A week later, Burnett watched “Meet the Press” because Dulles was to be the interviewee. “And the very last question was, ‘So tell me, Mr. Dulles, what is going on between you and that young lady who sings that love song about you?’ And you know how dour he was. I got up close to the television set and he said, ‘I make it a matter of policy never to discuss matters of the heart in public.’ Isn’t that sweet? Wow.”

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2 Responses to “Want free publicity? Tie your story to current events”

  1. slynne says:

    I love this post. It is so incredilby true, too. I often wish that I was a more politically minded blogger, as these seem to get a lot more traffic. Whe you look at the wordpress ‘tags’ page, Politics and current events are always huge. Perhaps this has to do with the medium of alternative media, though.

    I love how you let her tell her own story. Where did you get the quotes?

  2. authorsmba says:

    As I mentioned in the post, that info all came from one of my favorite TV writers, Tom Shales.

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