Our pay was Partytime Popcorn, Eckrich lunch meat, Faygo pop and New Era potato chips.
It was about 1957 that I got to appear live on Bud Davies' Dance Party on CKLW-TV.
This was the training period in which you try to build yourself and figure out who you are. Smith and Dale were the Martin and Lewis of that era.
Kliph Nesteroff: Before you and Mitch De Wood broke up you had a taste of big time show business. I read that on your closing night you had both Jackie Robinson and the Duchess of Windsor in the crowd. Marty Allen: Well, there were a lot of people that wrote for us. I couldn't say it was Bob Hope's writer or this one's writer.
At that time, all the singers at the agency were using comedians [to open for them].
If Nat Cole went out - there was a comic - and she told him about me and that's how I got connected with him. well, I worked with different guys, but not for long periods of time or anything of consequence. For a while we did gigs together, but it wasn't like we were going to team up forever. None of that ever happened, actually, until I got with Steve Rossi who had been the production singer at The Sands.
It was good for a while, but it was in the period in which I was developing.
Thought I was so sweet and attractive and didn't know what I was saying or how funny I was. I don't know about everybody's apartment, but it sort of worked.
Let's keep our fingers and everything else crossed for you. And like I say, the client was just whoop-dee-doo about me (laughs). I would work during the daytime and we had a housekeeper, you know. We'd just come in a half hour before airtime and, of course, it was a live show. The irony of it all is I have never been a good game player of any sort. Whenever he lost there was always a lot of sourness and pouting and all of that.
They showed me a lot about the way of actors in New York. He always referred to me as "the kid." "Hey, kid." He was a tough guy. Everybody always thought that if you were on a panel on a game show that everyone always pals around with everybody. You say hi when you come in and when you leave you say bye. " I said, "Sure, if you give 'em to me for nothing I'll smoke 'em." Which I did. I said, "Oh, well, that has got to be Henry's because he's an alcoholic! They rented a little yacht that would go around the island [of Manhattan]. Anne said, "You must." I said, "Is Henry going to be there? " He said, "No, no, you're imagining." I said, "I did, Henry! Henry - when he got angry he could be very stalwart. Betsy Palmer: Well, she was a very strong woman and she wasn't miss goody two-shoes like I was. I would say these things and they'd say, "She doesn't know what she's saying." I always knew what I was saying. But we were different personalities - which was very good for the show. I don't ever consider myself as being sophisticated, although I guess I was at a certain time when I was younger. But when they put him on camera, he only had a couple of steps to where he was sitting. I think it was from childhood - like polio or something like that. The thing that was so great about that time as far as my aspect of it was...
It all falls into the place that it is supposed to be. I've never been a big television watcher so things come and go and I haven't seen them. Very strong and had very strong opinions about things, but he was married to my roommates and they were great people. I don't know how to qualify that remark other than... And his ladies that he had - they used to come to the house of my husband and I and have dinner. "Winston tastes good like a cigarette should."In fact, we used to smoke on the show. He said, "Well, if we give you cigarettes each week, do you suppose you could bring those to the show and smoke ours instead? Especially as a woman it was considered a very refined act of sophistication. There was one which was empty except for a cocktail glass (laughs). and I was always opening my mouth and saying things that were not meant to sound as bad as they did. " I said, "Yes."Betsy Palmer: As we were watching I said to him, "I just saw a body fly up into the air! When I came on I thought I would just be there until the other woman came back, but the client liked me because I wasn't political. Betsy Palmer: No, we behaved ourselves on air, but there was just a distance. Kliph Nesteroff: I'm just curious because in later years she was embroiled in political scandal - so I guess I'm wondering if she was truly as charming as she comes across or was she more of a Machiavellian in nature...