Maybe I should have named my blog Potpourri or Pastiche or simply a Savory Stew because I aim to throw a lot of different things into the pot, mostly about reading, writing and art, but many other things, too, because I’ve lived a long time and have a lot of interests. I also will include here thoughts of others I come upon who share my loves. Including those of you who care to share your thoughts and impressions.

Archive - January, 2015

Me, Phyliss Diller, The Crystal Palace and the Landesmans
posted by Ed Farber on January 5, 2015

Did you know that Phyliss Diller, the comedienne who came to fame in the late ‘50s-‘70s, was a homeowner in Webster Groves (suburb of St. Louis) in the early 60s? I met her through Jay Landesman who hired her for several gigs at his Crystal Palace in Gaslight Square. Jay had hired me to do the programs for the Crystal Palace in 1963 which I did for about a year. Sadly, I never kept any of them.

I still remember getting the program material from Jay at his big home on Westminster Place. Jay, to me, was the prime example of the avante garde lifestyle of the time (late 50s early 60s) that grew out of the Beat Generation (indeed writer Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, stars of the Beats, were friends of Jay, and Ginsberg appeared at the Crystal Palace.) I was really in awe of Jay and his wife, Fran. I remember coming to their home one morning around 11 a.m., and Fran was playing the piano and singing a song that sounded vaguely familiar. “She wrote that,” Jay told me. “It’s from our Broadway show, ‘The Nervous Set.’ That show should have run longer on Broadway than it did because those New Yorkers just weren’t hip enough.”  For me, a young ad man who wasn’t very hip at all, the Landesmans were the epitome of hip.

Anyway, here are a few typical Diller jokes that are very funny. Not as funny, of course, without her stage presence and comic delivery. She would appear in a wild-looking wig and dress, typically waving a cigarette holder around. I remember her laughing at her own jokes in a comic cackle that was quite infectious, at least, audiences thought so and made her a top star. Imagine her delivering these lines:

Burt Reynolds once asked me out. I was in his room.


Whatever you may look like, marry a man your own age.


As your beauty fades, so will his eyesight.


Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing up

 is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.


The reason women don't play football  is because 11 of them

would never wear the same outfit in public.


Best way to get rid of  kitchen odors: Eat out.


I want my children to have all the things I couldn't afford.

Then I want to move in with them.


Old age is when the liver spots show through your gloves.

Phyliss Diller died at age 92 in 2012.

If you remember Phyliss, The Crystal Palace, Gaslight Square or the Landesmans, please leave a comment. I'd love to hear about it.