Percy Saltzman Interview: GROUP GROPE & GRIPE


Interviewing one-on-one is tough enough. But groups? Never get involved in a group interview on TV. It's Murder. Believe me, I know.

I've done two of them. Horror stories. The first was with the world famous ice hockey champions, the Montreal Canadians, l'equipe Canadien.

The second was Monty Python. PHEW!

First I only had a few minutes per group. Second how do you come up with different questions as you proceed rapidly down the lineup, with the clock snipping at your rear.

It's impossible! It's unfair! It's unkempt! It's shabby.

One man versus the redoubtable Canadiens: the Rocket, the Pocket, the Boom-Boom! Big Jean! Dickie Moore! Elmer Lach! Toe Blake! Gruesome!

But manfully I stick handled through the lot, slipping, sliding, poking, spearing, hooking, clipping, checking - here a deke, there a deke, everywhere a deke-deke - he shoots! He scores! My name is on the Stanley Cup! Saltzman 1 Canadiens 0. Look it up! Check me out!

After that, the Pythons have got to be easy meat. Oh, yeah! There we were on the riser (TV jargon for a platform raised 8 inches above the studio floor, so that people could stare straight into the ponderous camera's big red eye).

I tried to interview the group (in town for a week at the Royal Alex) my god, I tried but they would have none of it. They were out to destroy me! To mock me! To them it was all a lark!

Before long we were wrestling for riser control. I fought back but it was a losing battle from the get-go. They pitched me from the platform, chair and all. I fell heavily. I blacked out. When I came too, the show was over, the studio, dark and empty. I licked my bleeding wounds and crawled home, a sadder and a wiser man. Pythons? All they were big Boa's (Bores). Pythons 5 (Cleese, Chapman, Palin, Gillian. and Eric?), Saltzman zero. Look it up! Check it out!

Never do a group. You'll come a proper cropper. S'truth!