Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A guy named Buddy

My father was in the fur business in NY, and he knew a guy named Buddy. He was always well dressed, but never seemed to work. My Dad would work all day marking fur pelts, going to auctions, working on deals. Buddy would just hang around.

When I first went away to college he told me that Buddy wanted to give me a going away to college gift. He asked me what I wanted and I told him a typewriter would be great. He came back the next day and said he needed a specific model number. The next day a brand new Smith Corona showed up from Buddy. It was as hot as the asphalt streets on a summer day, but I didn't care.

There wasn't anything Buddy couldn't get - or people he didn't know. And he was always helpful.

So, fast forward three years later and I am a freshly graduated college graduate looking for work. Naturally, Buddy wants to help. I went into NY to meet with Buddy. It was my first 'meeting'...and boy it was interesting.

There was Buddy in the middle of all the action. He looked at me and said...'So kid, what do you wanna do?" I told him that I had worked for David Frost and got my degree in Journalism. He was not impressed. He asked again...So Kid, what do you wanna do?

I'm a quick learner...'Work in television" I said. Buddy looked up and smiled and pulled out a stack of business cards and started flipping through them. He'd stop and dial the number. " Hi, It's he there?" He called every major talent agency in NY and a few other people. They all called back. He set me up with the William Morris office in NY, The Ashley Famous Agency and a few more.

One of my more interesting encounters was in a coffee shop across from the Brill Building. My 'interview' was with a night club owner from New Jersey. He had enough gold rings and chains hanging around his neck to go into escrow on a house. He says " A friend of mine tells me you wanna work in television, is that right? He then starts to tell me about the clubs he owns and that he's also a personal manager for the group that recorded The Peppermint Twist.

He then gives me the name of another friend of his who is looking for a guy to run their television department. The production company was called Bryantson Films and the name was Lou Peraino.

The next day Buddy calls me and let me know that if I want the job with Mr. Peraino it's mine. The title is Director of TV Development and the starting salary is $65,000 a year. Gulp! It was 1974. I had just graduated college and two months past my 21st birthday. I got dizzy...and just a bit giddy! Who needed a job in the mail room at William Morris!

So, I asked my Dad what he thought. He said it was probably a legit deal, but that if I said 'yes'...then I could never say 'no'. What that means is they could ask for tickets for the Tonight Show, or for you to stand on a street corner holding a bag of money.

All of a sudden the mail room at William Morris looked more interesting.
I called Buddy and told him that I was going to save up and move to LA, which was conveniently true. More importantly, I didn't want to piss off Buddy.

A few years later, Louis Peraino was found guilty as part of the Federal investigation behind Deep Throat and The Devil and Miss Jones. On Tuesday, May 3, 1977 that story appeared in Daily Variety...along with my being named Associate Producer of The Victor Awards Show.

And only in Hollywood would those stories appear on the same page!