Elliot Mintz: A Sound Portrait

Elliot Mintz is a former radio and television personality who went on to become a media consultant for many well-known celebrities and CEOs.  I cannot think of anyone in the business they sometimes call the Hollywood “entertainment industry” who has grabbed my attention quite like Elliot Mintz.  I cannot really think of many people who would not find him interesting…years ago when he represented a lot of the A-list celebrities like Paris Hilton, he seemed a million miles away from my own life.  Then there was the many recordings I heard of his nationally syndicated radio program, “The Lost Lennon Tapes” that played rare alternate takes, composition tapes and interviews of Elliot’s friend John Lennon.  John Lennon along with maybe Frank Sinatra or Elvis Presley may be the only people in the history of popular music with enough interest that an entire radio series could be devoted to them.  You may think Paris Hilton and John Lennon are worlds apart, but you have to understand Elliot Mintz.  He isinterested in the true essence of a person.  The media and people in general for that matter tend to try to put people in neat categories, a box.  As he told me during our first encounter, “You know, there is a difference between who we are and what we do and there’s probably more of a significant difference about how we are perceived.

I was curious about Elliot Mintz for a long time before I finally decided to email him.  I asked him a question and he wrote back and immediately gave me his phone number.  We corresponded for years until I finally had enough nerve to ask him if he would be interviewed.  Why I was afraid to ask I can’t quite say.  He said “yes,” and it was few years later, in 2011, I would find myself in an airplane heading to Los Angeles, California.  It was more than just curiosity.  Sometimes we just know it’s the way we’re supposed to go.  There I was in his house where I was free to ask whatever I wanted.  This was a man who had seen and heard a lot.

The first question I asked him was “Who is Elliot Mintz?”  He said, “I guess it depends on who you ask.”  I haven’t really had someone answer the question of who they are in that way.  Elliot Mintz has said he doesn’t really know who he is, but if there is any reason for that, it is because he has spent his life looking at who other people are.  He has seen a lot, heard more and along the way tried to look at it and think about what it means.

So who is Elliot Mintz?

If you spend some time on his website www.elliotmintz.com  you may believe he has been the conduit between some of the most interesting people who have ever lived and the listening world.  He was born in New York, but found himself moving to California at a very young age.  He decided he wanted to be on the radio.  This may have been a surprise to some people given that Elliot Mintz was very shy and had stutter and a thick New York accent.  Over time he overcame those challenges.  It was interviewing that Elliot Mintz really loved.  It was more than the extraction of information, it was a person’s very essence.  Many of the people he would interview were or would become in some cases the most iconic people of all time…Groucho Marx, Salvador Dali, John Lennon, Bob Dylan and Jack Nicholson.  Elliot Mintz was always a preservationist.  To hold onto the tapes is to be a keeper of the stories.  In this respect, some interviewers become almost like archivists.  Elliot Mintz kept the tapes and for many, many years they remained tucked away, unknown to most.  It was long before the internet.   These piles of unmarked tapes could not remain hidden forever.

The question Elliot Mintz began being asked repeatedly was “Elliot, when are you going to write a book?”  Elliot has told me that a more accurate biography is written by someone other than the subject.  It seemed to me like Elliot was looking for something more accessible where those who wanted to find out more could make up their own mind.

What would be created was something old and something new.  A jukebox that doesn’t need a coin.  In short, that is what elliotmintz.com is.  You get to decide to watch or listen to whatever strikes your interest.  You can play it all day…and because of the incredible content on this website, I choose to think of it as a portal into new worlds.  The stories and minds of people like Alan Watts and Jack Gariss are all available at your fingertips, and not a coin is required of you.  Some of the material is visual, but a lot of it is audio…radio has been called a theatre of the mind and this description always comes to my mind when I think of elliotmintz.com

At first elliotmintz.com was only available on computers and laptops.  Now the reach of the website has been expanded to iPhones and other more portable devices.  I decided I had to do a second interview with Elliot Mintz, which he agreed to do.  The website has a lot of insight into Elliot Mintz’s opinions, recollections and thoughts, but my curiosity was still not satisfied.  I spoke with Elliot Mintz and the second conversation was far more personal and more of an inner-view than the first.  I felt like I had gotten his essence then, but I felt I was gaining more of an insight into who he really was…  If we are judged by the company we keep, Elliot Mintz is certainly diverse and intriguing.  I found myself speaking with a publicist named Michael Levine who has written the best-selling book on public relations of all time.  Then there was Te Kay, the technical wizard and digital artist behind elliotmintz.com…to call him a webmaster really is a disservice.  Then there are two of Elliot Mintz’s broadcasting colleagues—Sirius/XM DJ Jim Ladd and Roy of Hollywood, the host of “Something’s Happening” on KPFK 90.7 FM in Southern California. 

 Since the beginning of my radio program, almost all of the shows have followed the format of music along with an interview.  I found myself creating something without knowing what it was…exactly.  Was it an audio documentary?  Was it a radio broadcast? Was it an audio book?  The creation of the piece continued.  Daniel Buckner helped me write program…if you want to call it that.  Henry Jordan of Jordan Digital Studios mastered, produced and mixed it.  The musical selections you hear are courtesy of songwriter and recording artist John Goodwin.

In the end, I decided that this was a sound portrait.  For those who are looking to find out a little bit more, I want to invite you to listen or read this piece which I am quite proud of…

Spoken arts radio is something very rarely done these days.  The two exceptions ot the rule are Roy of Hollywood in California and Bob Fass  in New York.  In keeping with that tradition, I am very honored Elliot Mintz and his friends have allowed me to ask questions and create a spoken arts record of Elliot and the launching of his fascinating website.

With that said, I believe the story is not over yet… elliotmintz.com will have more selections added to the jukebox. 

This “sound portrait” will be available soon.  For those who prefer to read, a text version of the program will also be available.  I look forward to your thoughts… 

I will also admit that my curiosity still persists.  Communication is very important to Elliot Mintz and I believe we will pick up where we left off and go just a bit deeper on another night… 

Michael Levine: Publicist & Author

It isn’t the fine diamonds or the crystalline face of the watch that gets the job done. It is the unseen mechanism inside that functions. Publicists are an unseen mechanism that make the entertainment industry work. The blurb in the newspaper, the piece in the magazine, the mention on your favorite late-night television show are all masterminded by the craftsmen of public relations.

 One of the biggest names in the Hollywood PR world would have to be Michael Levine. His company, Levine Communications Office, has represented some of the most iconic names in entertainment. Trusting in the master craftsman were Michael Jackson, Charlton Heston and George Carlin among others.

Michael Levine is the author of seventeen books. His numerous radio, television and print appearances have made Michael Levine an authority on the media, fame and public relations. 

Now, let us join Michael Levine, craftsman of public relations.

Paul Leslie:  Ladies and gentlemen, our special guest is one of the best know experts in the field of publicity. Steve Allen called him the Michael Jordan of entertainment PR. He is the founderof Levine Communication Offices and the author of several best-selling books. He’ll be joining us to talk about publicity and in particular his friendship with Hollywood legend, Elliot Mintz. Thank you so much for making the time to talk to us.
Michael Levine:  I’m honored to be sharing your valuable audience.

How did you become interested in publicity?
I was interested in the entertainment industry. I was actually interested in two things. When I was growing up I was interested in the enteirtainment industry, I was interested in politics. And I decided to pursue the entertainment industry as a career by virtue of that kind of attraction I had to see in person.

Is publicity still fascinating?
Yeah, I think it is. I mean the media is fascinating. I think communications is fascinating. It is very fascinating. Certainly, undergoing radical change, I mean, you know, I started PR from back in June of 1983 and there were no computers or text messages or FedEx, very different world, so yes, it’s still very fascinating.

Not too long ago in speaking with Elliot Mintz, he said that you are one of the best publicists he’s ever encountered. I would have to ask you, what do you say makes a good publicist?
Michael Levine:  I’m happy to answer your question but let me just comment on that if I may. First of all, that is a very, very kind, unnecessarily generous kind remark that Elliot made about me. I cannot believe that arguably, I would define Elliot as the most brilliant media consultant ever. Not this year, not last year, he will be in the entertainment realm the most brilliant media consultant ever. And so the fact that I could even be in the same top ten 10 list that it’s just hard to imagine, but and I really believe that, I mean, independent of my friendship with Elliot, my love of Elliot, I really believe as I think about, I talk to him, I am awe-struck by his capacity to understand the communications. Okay, now then, you say to me, Michael, what makes a good publicist? Well,I think a good publicist has a capacity to understand communications well and they have a good capacity to understand news well and they have a good capacity to blend the two well and so forth. So, there we are. It’s a natural gift in large part, I mean, I wrote a book on PR called Guerilla PR which is the best-selling PR book of all time and I think you can teach people a lot of stuff through that book or through books, but there’s also a natural capacity.

 You said a moment ago that you felt like Elliot more or less personifies what it is to be a good publicist.
Just the most brilliant communications mind of our time. Way, way beyond the traditional publicists from my point of view.

So it’s he’s in incredible ability as a communicator that you think?
Incredible, an incredible psychological capacity to read people, read situations. First of all, if you know Elliot at all, Elliot listens to people with an intensity that is Freud-like. He has an ability to listen intensely to a human’s words and actions and read things that frankly other people might not perceive as acutely.

How did you meet Elliot and what was your first impression when you first looked into his eyes?
Well, I’ve known of Elliot for my entire professional life and admired him. We’ve very different careers. Elliot’s approach to clients is to have a few, that paid him a good deal of money and he did a brilliant job on their behalf. I on the hand went a different route. I had a much larger firm with many, many, many, many more clients and had a bigger entity. He had a small and more boutique entity. So I’ve known Elliot all my professional life, but we became friends a couple of years ago. And I would say that you do not need to be Freud or Einstein to look into Elliot’s eyes and know that he’s a very unique guy. He’s just not your average bear, I’ll say that.

What is something about Elliot Mintz we would be surprised to know?
One thing I think that might surprise you, I mean, if I, you would have had a number of superstar clients that he’s had, that he is very humble. He does not think of himself and he is not grandiose.  He is not a narcissist, very self-effacing, very humble, very generous, he’s run counter to the stereotypes of most people in Hollywood.

 He’s just launched this website, elliotmintz.com.
Fascinating.

Yes, very.
If I could just mentioned, one of things which I think is fascinating, I mean, if you’re interested in Elliot Mintz, I think it’s very fascinating website. But let’s imagine you’re not interested in Elliot Mintz, you’re just interested in the times in which Elliot Mintz lived. You’re interested in the 70’s, in the 60’s, in the 70’s, 80’s and the 90’s and the 2000, it’s fascinating.  It’s fascinating. You can go on a walk on a beach in Malibu, California with John Lennon and you’re going to talk to John about the Beatles breakup. Really?  That’s pretty big, that’s pretty interesting and there is just countless things that are fascinating about the times, you know, the Zeitgeist of that era.

 What do you think that’s motivating him to put this all out there because it’s all free?
Yes it’s all free, yeah because I think that Elliot’s unique, one of Elliot’s uniqueness is that he wants, he does not, I’m sorry, I’m just paraphrasing his words. He doesn’t think the website is about him. He thinks it’s a website about the world in the times in which he lived. So, I have to take his words at face value and like that that’s a need that he has to communicate, it is an unbelievable amount of material to share. You know, it’s kind of the center point of so much of entertainment industry and pop culture history.  It’s rather remarkable.

What are you the most proud of?
In my work?

Yeah, in your life, actually.
 Well, you know, I have a very unusual life in that, I didn’t go to college, you know, my mom was an alcoholic, I was first to a degree, blessed and cursed by this thing called dyslexia. Do you know anything about dyslexia?

 I know a little, but not a great deal.
Dyslexia is a kind of a disorder of some type where you are reading in the cognitive ability. You know, when you’re a young kid, you invert numbers and it’s an interesting thing, you know, I was talking to you about two years ago, I had dinner with David Geffen which was a real high point of my life and, we’re talking, David is dyslexic, I’m dyslexic and we’re talking about dyslexia and David said to me, “you know Michael, 40 years ago, we had a different word for dyslexia.” And I said, “really David, what was that?” He said, “dumb.” And it’s true that 40 years ago, people who were dyslexic were thought to be dumb. So, the greatest achievement of my life is that I was able to take a bad set of cards that I was dealt, right, an alcoholic mother, dyslexia, scared skinny kid, no college, no money, no education, no parenting, no job and I was able to take these bad cards and play them well. It’s one of the reasons I do some of the coaching I do and with clients and people, so, there you go.

 So this is kind of an open-ended question, for all the listeners out there, what would you say to them?
I’m not sure. Oh I would say, I think that I would say that you would be well served if you’re listening to this to consider and recall that life is difficult and that life is difficult for all of us. It is difficult if you are a gay or straight, or black or white, or young or old, or thin or fat. If you have a lot of money, it is difficult. If you have a little money it is difficult that some people would say, you know, it’s been said that money does not make you happy. Well, I promise you my brother, poverty will make you miserable but it’s difficult. Life is a difficult journey. Now, it’s not a bad journey but it is difficult. And we are tried, we humans are tried by constant ceaseless challenge, a kind of a, like an obstacle course that’s been designed by God or the universe to test us or to teach us or something. There we are. Life is difficult.

 My last question, who is Michael Levine?
Self-made guy. Just a guy who got some really bad cards as a young kid growing up in New York City about two and a half miles north of Ground Zero and he was able through the force of determination, drive and determination to take bad cards and play them well. I was blessed in lots of ways, along that journey, not least of which being born in the country in which playing your cards at all was possible. In that way I think Warren Buffett was correct, I won the ovarian lottery. I’m just a self-made guy, I’m just a guy who was willing to work on nights and weekends when most people weren’t and I played my cards well. Now, there was a lot of calls to that personally.

Thank you very much for your perspectives and your time.
Thank you, brother. God bless.

Elliot Mintz: Cyberographer

They say that Hans Lippershey was likely the inventor of the telescope. Hans brought us just a little closer to those magnificent stars that light up our nights. For all of Lippershey’s ability, his invention could not bring us nearly so close to the stars as that celebrity magnifier, Elliot Mintz. Elliot began his life, just as the stars, on the eastern horizon, New York, to be exact. His journey would guide him to the west coast and Los Angeles, California. The focus of his interests lead him into radio, the power of his talent lead him to bring great names like John Coltrane, John Wayne, Jack Nicholson and Stevie Wonder into greater clarity for a world of fans.

In his career he has expanded to multimedia, namely television and also media consultancy. Join us  as we viewsthe life and experiences of the Telescope of Timeless Talent: Elliot Mintz.

Elliot Mintz:  I’m in your hands Paul one more time.

Paul Leslie:  Yes indeed. Indeed.

I just poured myself  my first  glass  of the evening and it’s a 2012 Macon-Villages Chardonnay.

Well I am also drinking a Chardonnay, the last time we had a conversation of this depth, I was drinking red and you were drinking white and now we are both drinking white wine.

Would you like to propose a toast over the telephone and after you propose the toast, we’ll click our glasses against receiver?

Okay, I will. May the airwaves never cease to carry your work, may the calm voice never fail and may the whole world be privileged to mince words.
Bless you.

That made a lovely sound. So ladies and gentlemen, the man I’m talking to is Elliot Mintz. Thank you so much for joining us.

My pleasure, Paul

Who does Elliot Mintz say that Elliot Mintz is?

Who does Elliot Mintz say that Elliot Mintz is?

The first time we talked I asked you, “who is Elliot Mintz?” and you said it depends on who you ask.

Yeah, yeah.

I’ve got you now.

Check, but not quite mate because there are others of course in all of our lives who had issues of who we are, what we represent to them, what we mean etc. and then there are those of us who are quite assured of who we are. I’m not. I can’t answer the question because I don’t know who I am. I am working on that on a daily basis. Well I’m a creature that changes by the hour, minutes and second like in kind of subjectively discuss things that interest Elliot Mintz and this is about I can do all of that but the actual essence of me is still elusive. I think it was Winston Churchill, Sir Winston Churchill who once said that history of all countries should be written as a citizen of a different country so the perspective would be from an observational of point of view and frequently a more accurate biography tends to be more accurate than the autobiography. So I therefore would have to return to my initial answer that I gave to you that it depends on who you ask. I don’t know, but I am not completely in touch by what Elliot Mintz is as an individual.

There are two people that would say that you, they would have called you when they were around, they would have called you son. Everyone on earth has that in common. We all come from a mother and a father. And so, who were your mother and father and what are your strongest recollections of them?

The first of the two that come to my mind is my father because I was closest to him. A very, very, very, very good man an immigrant from Eastern Europe who arrived on the shores when he was 16 years old with just a shirt on his back and no particular skills, a vision and a dream escaping the madness of what Europe was like in that time. Who begin to work in what was called in New York the shmatta business, please don’t ask me to spell it, but Schmatta is kind a Yiddish word that refers to a clothing or fabrics. And he spent 30 or 40 years of his life as a cutter, cutting from patterns what would have eventually become women’s coats, larger women’s coats and he eventually had a small company with his bother called A&N Fashions.

The Garment District was five or six blocks away from Times Square in Manhattan. It was a very difficult life. It was before air-conditioning and summers in that place where my father worked with those machines we would cut through 20-30 different layers or levels of fabric and cotton, things like that, post-war things. I only visited him once or twice when I was a little boy, he took me downtown so I could see where he worked and it was grimy and dirty there where two or three employees a bookkeeper. He would walk with those pushcarts through the sidewalks of Manhattan in the heat of summer delivering his goods to people who might purchase them for retail. 

He did that most of his life. Towards the end of his life he dabbled a little in real estate, buying small pieces of property with the money that he saved all of his life. He married my mother after they had a chance meeting at a place called Corsinger’s which was in Upstate New York. It was kind of like the getaway place from New York where usually Jewish couples would go to listen to Henny Youngman to dance, to socialize, they would call it “being in the mountains.” And one day he met my mother there who at that time was a bookkeeper in a small restaurant, the restaurant/nightclub which she left one day telling her friends that she was going to go to Corsinger’s because she wanted to find a husband. And as the story is told to me by my sister, the two of them found themselves in the same large room that what would like kind of a Country Club and there was a Sadie Hawkins dance that came on and my mother, somewhat uncharacteristically but wouldn’t question my sisters reportage, walked up to my father who was at the end of the bar, with a couple of his pals and asked if he wanted to dance.

And he said yes and after a very, very brief courtship, he asked for her hand in marriage and it was less than a year later that I appeared on the scene in 1945. My mother was a homemaker and enjoyed that role, raising my sister and I. We grew up in a lower middle class neighborhood in the upper part of Manhattan. My father would wake up every morning at six or six-thirty, board the subway and go down to the Schmatta district, work until seven o’clock in the evening, come back on the subway. He now would be grimy, dirty, exhausted, he would take a shower and my mother would have food prepared at the table for the four of us just sitting and have a simple meal in a two-bedroom apartment that they lived in all of their lives. Both of them passed away in that apartment. He’s the one that I left when 17 or 18. They were loving people, demonstrably loving people. They held hands frequently; they talked with each other constantly and loved to laugh. I was the first born. They had no road map as to what to do. My mother read Dr. Spock’s books and listened to the advice from my granny. She did her very best with me and she did better with my sister. And she loved my father dearly. I remember, I remember my sister told me that when my mother died of a massive, unexpected heart attack in that apartment and the emergency crew arrived and as they were taking my mother away on a stretcher and she was pronounced dead in the apartment, my father asked the EMT guys to stop for a second and he got down on his knees and he touched her hand and he said “thank you.” Those were the kind of people my parents were.

That’s very touching and both sad and amazing image to think of.

More than 50 years together and during that period of time I think they spent two days apart or three days apart. It was a different time Paul, you know, it was what we called the real deal time and I am certain that there are relationships. I’m just pouring myself one more glass, hang on a second. And I am certain that they’re married couples today who have that kind of romantic camaraderie, but I don’t run into a lot of them in this city that I call my home.

Yeah. A lot of people who were born in the 40s that I have interviewed, they have a very vivid, a very vivid image of the first time they saw or they have a memory of the first time they heard the band called the Beatles. Can you recall the first time you heard the Beatles?

Yes, it was in 1963, I had just, it was my first year in Los Angeles and actually it could have been 1964. I don’t have an absolute clear recollection. It’s coming to me now that’s just, the part of my Beatle brain is so overloaded with stories and recollections I confuse them, but of course the first time I ever heard them and saw them was on the Ed Sullivan Show. So that would have been of course in 1963, after I had only been Los Angeles a few months and I turned on my black and white rented television set in my rather sparse little apartment that I was renting for $200 a month I think. And I saw them perform on Sullivan.

What about the first time that you heard Bob Dylan? Can you recall that, or if not when can you remember what the song was?

“The Times They Are a-Changing” and I probably heard it on the radio. At that time in my life, by the way, you do know that both albums what we refer to in America as “Meet the Beatles” and Bob’s first album were both released or recorded during the same month?

Fascinating!

So it was the time that I don’t know if I could afford to buy a phonograph record, I was in a very tight little budget. I might not have had a stereo in that little apartment. So the likelihood is that I heard that song on the radio. And it wasn’t long after that that I attended a Joan Baez concert at the Hollywood Bowl, the remarkable musical facility in Los Angeles. And at the end of Baez concert, she said I just want to bring on a friend of mine to sing a couple of songs for you and she introduced Bob and he came on and he sang two or three songs if I recall and the audience hardly would believe, let him leave the stage and one of those songs could have been “The Times They Are a-Changing.” So the first time I saw him live was very young between a very short time after I heard the recording and he was a part of Joan Baez’s encore.

Our interview tonight is with Elliot Mintz. I suppose what’s so fascinating about not only what you told us about the albums being around this in the same exact month but also the fact that you ended up meeting and having a lot of interactions with, not only John Lennon, but also Bob Dylan and then also your other interviews and your other encounters with members of the Beatles. Did you ever dream going back to the days when you first heard them that you would one day meet the Beatles and Bob Dylan?

No. It never occurred to me nor was it something that I lusted after. The fact is I’m a really good audience. I really appreciate art and if I look at a fabulous painting, it never occurs to me, it would be great to meet the painter. I’m just as happy looking on to work that might be hanging on somebody’s wall. If I read a marvelous novel I don’t think in that fan sense that wouldn’t it be great to meet so-and-so and in those days especially when I listened to music, I just felt really pleased to be able to listen to the music, but it never occurred to me and of course I was 17, 18 and 19 so that thought would have been rather irrational as well that I would meet any of these people in certain cases like Bob and John, become friends and the case of Bob represent him for many, many, many years.  It’s not something you think of when you’re 17 or 18 in the Hollywood Bowl and studying broadcasting.

It was fine what it was. Now upon reflection, I can tell you where as nine years with Bob were incredibly meaningful to me and inspirational and I hold him in the highest regard not only as an artist, but a client, a friend. I’ve traveled around the world with Bob. We had hundreds of conversations and spoke a thousand hours. He was a guest at my house. I was a guest at his home. We had a very, very wonderful and marvelous relationship. However, if I had only heard his music, it would have been enough. Everything else was dessert and also Paul, just for the record with no disrespect to the group, it’s intriguing tonight as we me speak tonight under the full moon about 25 miles from where I’m sitting, Paul McCartney is doing a concert at Dodger Stadium, it is his first appearance there since the days of the Beatles. He is singing right now. I liked the Beatles of course, very few who didn’t but it wasn’t the Beatles that captured my imagination as it was John and Yoko.  I may have been a little too old to have gotten caught up in Beatlemania, to me it was Elvis. It was Elvis and again I never thought about meeting him, I never did. We passed each other by in a hallway at MGM once but there was intriguing passing moment that always stuck in my mind but in a direct answer to your question, no, there was nobody who I quote “wanted to meet” later as my professional part of my life began to you morph and expand and I became an interviewer and I was doing radio and television, well then I had a hit list of people who I did want to meet, but I wanted to meet them for the purpose of interviewing them with no expectation of becoming friends with them or hanging out with them or anything like that. It would also be a bit presumptuous in my part that seemed to be this extraordinary people that I have encountered over the years would be at all interested in spending any time with Elliot Mintz. It Takes Two to Tango.  Before you ask a girl out on a date or ask her to go with you to the prom, the first thing that goes through your mind is what is it about you that would excite her imagination to say yes.

Fascinating, and so that’s how you that’s how you look at in an interaction with a person, you think about that?

Always. Why the heck would that person in the middle of a whirlwind if we’re  talking right now as we frequently do about celebrity news, why would John and Yoko want to spend any time with others, what’s the big deal? It’s not like, they had difficulty finding a friend, so I just didn’t think of it in that capacity and was always surprised when such things would work out that way.

Are you aware that people have said before about you that you are magnetic person?

I’ve heard the phrase but I’m not in touch with that. You know, I’m not magnetized by Elliot, Elliot doesn’t attract Elliot. The magnetizing concept suggests that there is something about me that draws people to me. I have a slightly different take on that, Paul and that is I think that there is something out there that attracts each of us to each other, but it is removed from individual personalities. Right now, the super moon is embracing and touching almost everybody on planet earth. I’m standing out in my deck now, looking directly at it. It has a magnetic impact. I can’t divert my attention. I can’t say well there’s the full moon, I think I’m going to go back inside my living room and look at the orchids. It got me. Well. That’s the full moon in its majesty, in its mystery, you look hold of its powers to affect gravitational flows and the tides, almost a quarter of a million miles away. Yes, one could say that probably about Mother Theresa and Nelson Mandela and Jesus Christ, and Buddha and Krishna and Moses and a variety of other people who the world or followers were attracted to there was some kind magnetic, mystical, magical energy that just emoted from them. I acknowledge the fact that there are beings like that have walked the planet earth but none of them with a name called Elliot Mintz.

 You mentioned the moon and when someone goes on your website ElliotMintz.com, they’re going to see that you’re very much a night person and you’ve and you’ve posted a lot of things on social media about the moon and I don’t know if you’ve ever looked at mine that you’ve probably noticed that I also share your fascination and yes I would use the word love for the moon. What do you think about when you look up at that moon?

And I have looked at your website and I do understand your appreciation for the moon. And look, this is something that’s not a private club. This is something shared by so many of us just do a YouTube search of songs having to do with the moon.

Yes.

And it is one of the essential things that we will see is how closely the moon is related to the concept of love.

Interesting.

Even more so than sunshine. So it is with all due respect to somebody like Stevie Wonder who might say, “You Are the Sunshine of My Life,” with me and a woman it’s “Fly Me to The Moon.” Now, what is it about the moon? Well, you know, it was up until just a half a century ago, it was an enigma, it had been there for billions of millions and every being that ever walked the face of the earth shared an encounter an infinite encounter with the moon, almost everyday of their life, if one can think of the handful of things, that all of us gazed upon together, with the same sense of mystery, curiosity, fascination, love, passion and in some cases fear, it’s the moon. It is the moon that has brought out the most loving of our inspirations, the moon, the Lunar is from the Latin, it gave us the word “lunatic.” For centuries we were told that the full moon could bring out the very worst in people, could evoke the spirit, the werewolves could be demonic in its own sense, and it’s still today amongst certain indigenous people, the appearance of the moon or more specifically a full Solar eclipse brings about great consternation and disturbance.  Animals have been knownto just howl at the moon although I’ve noticed in recent years there are very few reports about that. I’m standing out on my deck now in Los Angeles. There are lots of houses not from where I live and many of my neighbors have dogs, the area that I live in which is a little bit rural, my neighbors are coyotes and the occasional mountain lion, deer and others, as I speak to you. I have not heard one howl.

Something that I have noticed about Bob Dylan, he had sung many, many songs that mention the moon. I’ve never met Mr. Dylan, but most recently he recorded and made it like a single “Full Moon and Empty Arms,” he recorded and put that on his website which is an old, old song that Sinatra recorded. When Bob Dylan comes through your town do you still go see him in concert because I’ve noticed on your website, ElliotMintz.com, you’re proselytizing for Bob, you are encouraging people out there, please go see Bob Dylan in concert, you believe in his concerts.

I believe in his artistry and his magic and his performance and his continuity and I believe that he might be the last link of the chain so I encourage especially younger people who were not raised with him to avail themselves of this opportunity while Bob is still touring which I presumed he will be doing until the final encore in answer to your question, yes, when he is in Los Angeles, of course I make it my business to go to see him. Look, I’ve traveled with him throughout Europe and I probably have seen him perform live, 50, 60, 70 times. When I was working with him, a lot of those times I was backstage doing the kinds of things that I was  doing, however, when I knew that there were certain songs that were about to be played maybe because I saw a playlist before he went on where I heard first few notes of the piece that particularly resonated in my heart, I of course just walked to the back of the auditorium and stood there, transfixed listening to him and watching him and feeling not only his night applies to him but watching the audience, looking at the audience, seeing how they’re affected and how they’re touched, noticing the different types of people that are in the arena with me.  I’ve seen Bob perform before, 80,000, 90,000 people. I’ve seen him perform in a night club like setting and when he is doing what he is doing and he is completely in the moment, one cannot avert their eyes or ears from the uniqueness of the performance. So, yes, I seldom miss an appearance of him, I’ve never grown tired of music and certainly have never grown tired of the man.

On your website which for anyone listening they can visit this website. It’s completely free, ElliotMintz.com. On that website, the flagship interview, the first thing, it’s kind of like the introductory course, if you will, it’s anextensive interview that you do and you’re being interviewed by the famed DJ Jim Ladd. I wanted you to tell everyone what are your recollections of that night, of the night because you and I’m assuming that it was all one night, it looked like it was, you covered a lot of ground.

We did two interviews. We did one interview, just Jim and I are talking and it was a long two, three hour interview and at the end of the interview, Jim said, look there is so many other questions I want to ask you but it was two or three o’clock in the morning, you know me, and he had to get home but he said we should try and do this again sometime and go into greater depth. I thought that we had pretty much done it. In fact that first interview with Jim was edited and I’m debating right now whether or not we should place some of those segments on YouTube because there are things discussed in that first one that I never got around to in the second but we finished that interview and not long after that, I met a young web designer who I’ll be talking to you about in a little while and I showed him what we had taped that night with the two cameras.

You know, he said, you know, it’s just kind of interesting but basically you just have two talking heads going back and forth–his language and I don’t know who the heck you are and barely know examples of what you’ve done, so you might consider doing another conversation with Jim that could be intercut with videos and audio tapes and stuff and your archives and photographs and like a little bit more intriguing than just to talk again. That led to me inviting Jim back to the house a few weeks later where we sat. It was all done in one evening. I think we taped six hours that night. It was a two-and-a-half bottle Chardonnay evening, because remember when the crew left around 3:30 in the morning and I was kind of cleaning up, I did notice and I noticed the bottles that were directly behind the speaker which was the platform that the Tiffany lamp was standing on. And it was very long, it was very intense and Jim exercised a tremendous patience.

He obviously took a nap in the afternoon to prepare himself for that but I was determined, Paul. I was determined to tell my tale once completely so I would not have to revisit those experiences again. And I simply told Jim, he should feel free to ask me anything and everything that he ever wanted to ask me, no holds barred, there would never be a “no comment” on my part and that’s how that, on the website it’s called Mintz on Mintz, a homage in a way to “Blonde on Blonde” and I wanted it done. Also in the old days when people would sell Hoover vacuum cleaners door to door in the media and in marketing and in sales, they tell the story of that when Hoover introduced there standup vacuum cleaner, a salesman show up at the door, they would knock on the door and they would say to the housewife who was at home in the afternoon, look, I’ve got this wonderful machine that will take all the dirt and dust off the top of your carpeting and floors and if you let me come in for just a minute I’ll demonstrate the product for you. And obviously 10s of thousands said sure, come on in, the man would come in, he would toss a little bag of dirt on the carpet, plug in the Hoover, go back and forth for 15-20 seconds, allow the housewife to do the same.

 The dirt was gone and he would say for $39 or whatever it costs, you can have this marvelous device. Frankly, I don’t know how people got dirt out of their carpet before the invention of the vacuum cleaner. Something worthy of research on a very quiet evening and that was how the Hoover vacuum cleaner became a household product. In media, one of the lessons learned is, if you want people to trust the product, you have to get them to trust the salesman, who knocked on the door. Imagine today if somebody walked up to your front door, knocked on the door and said they were, you know, selling a vacuum cleaner, would you let them inside, so they can throw some dirt on, you know, people hanged up on telemarketers, they would slam their door, it was in that first moment when the salesman would have to convince the housewife who he was, that she was safe, he had something to deliver and perhaps it would enhance her life and he had 30 or 60 second sound bite in opportunity to do that.

 “Mintz on Mintz” on my website is modeled up to the Hoover vacuum cleaner to some degree that before you pay any attention to the 100 hours of content that I present on the website, maybe it’s important to know a little something about the guy who did this stuff and put it together and who is giving it to you for free. Maybe you’ve got to trust me a little that I’m not going to send you astray. Maybe you have to trust me about halfway through a sign will come up if you want more send $8 a month to this post office box address. Maybe if you knew something more about me and how I felt about the world that you might feel a camaraderie with me and say, you know, I kind of see things, very much like that guy or I don’t but I find what he says to be intriguing. I’d like to know a little bit more about his world, his experiences, and the voices in people that brought him to the tentative conclusions that he is sharing with me. That’s the purpose of “Mintz on Mintz.”

You were just talking about voices. One of the voices that one might find on ElliotMintz.com is a very hypnotic voice, this man, I asked you who had made the biggest influence and you said it was him. And this man was Jack Garris. What was Jack Garris like to be around?

Jack Garris was my very first spiritual teacher. He was a remarkable, remarkable man and left behind a series of recordings. He passed maybe 15 or 20 years ago, if memory serves more recently. He was certainly never a super star. He wrote one book that had only modest sales. He lived in the valley with his wonderful wife, Jeanette and he was the one who set me on the path. I would later make arrangements for him to do a radio show every Sunday on the first station I ever worked on, KPFK Radio. He was, he never proselytized, he never sold any faith trip, best of my knowledge he had no specific allegiance to any faith group. He was a scholar who studied the world of spiritualism, metaphysics and religion and had one of the greatest libraries I ever saw in the subject it was in his garage, he converted his garage into an old library.

It was right next to a little barnyard he had. It was a tiny little house in the valley and he would record his radio shows in the barnyard where there would be geese and goats, he had an open door policy. When he was in the library, the door would be open in case any of the goats or geese or other animals wanted to come in, they would occasionally make sounds or connect on some level. He talked about teaching. They were comprised of dozens of conversations I would have with him and his wife Jeanette usually over a dinner in a place called Reseda, California. He taught me how to question, how to listen, these are spiritual things. He directed me towards certain teachers, books, philosophies, religion and just asked me to approach it with an open heart.

Did he ever discuss with you the time that he worked with Cecil B. DeMille?

In passing, he said that during the course of his life, he was a, briefly a Hollywood screenplay writer. And I said, well that’s intriguing. Did you write any movies that I might have seen? He said, I worked with Cecil on the Ten Commandments.

That’s such an incredible thing.

It’s a throwaway of mine over an organic dinner where he taught me how to milk a goat. And I kind of looked at the soup and I said, “you worked with Cecil B. DeMille and helped write the Ten Commandments for the movies?” He said yeah but that was a long time ago and then he went on to another subject.

That’s fantastic.

Completely disassociated for what some would consider to be a credit, what I perceived from Jack is being a distraction. A lifetime of metaphysical pursuits, if ever there was somebody who was not part of Hollywood, it was Jack Garris, but we all have to earn a living, he never sold anything. He would have classes at his house informally for people who wanted to learn. His only book was called the Wayless Way. People would listen to him on Sunday mornings. He would just sit in front of the microphone in his garage library and he would talk extemporaneously. And then he would do four sides of those programs bringing the tapes to the radio station and they would be played, currently to those who are interested, there is wonderful radio program called “the Roy of Hollywood Show,” it is broadcast nightly from midnight to 5 a.m. over KPFK Radio in Los Angeles and that program is streamed along with the other KPFK programs on the internet. So you could listen to  Roy of Hollywood, who presents spoken arts. He is not a disc jockey, it’s not a talk show, interview with telephones, but he has access to the most marvelous collection of the most intriguing people in the world. Some are with us and some of them have passed and he frequently plays recordings of Jack Garris. So, if any people who visit my website and listen to my conversations with Jack Garris, say, oh this is cool, I want more I would direct them to the Roy of Hollywood Show on KPFK.

As a matter of fact, Roy of Hollywood is someone that I find intriguing and for this reason, one would assume because of the nature of his program that he has spent a great deal of his life listening. He has heard from an enormous number of people, I remember reading an article where he said, I like to listen, I like to listen to what I play. Not too long ago, Roy of Hollywood played our first interview, you and I, the first Elliot Mintz interview that I did. He played it on KPFK, his show “Something’s Happening.” So I’m asking you, Elliot, for someone who has not met Roy of Hollywood, according to you what is the essence of this guy Roy Tuckman?

I don’t know and he is very shy when it comes to revelation having to do with his own identity and persona. I could never imagine him doing a “Roy on Roy” interview. In fact, I’ve never read an interview with Roy and he keeps his private life pretty much to himself and allows these marvelous broadcasts to speak for themselves. In the old days, I used to go to do his program each year when this radio station which was a listen, is a listeners supported station like public broadcasting. People who like what they hear, they will send in money, that station stays on the air and does not have to sell any advertisement and they probably did the program for five or six years where I’d come by and help in the fundraising ventures.

Outside of meeting with Roy, in person on the radio I think I only had one dinner with him. We went out for a meal and of course we tape-recorded the conversations. That was part meal, part, we broadcast, a little bit like my dinner with Andre was the concept except I lacked the rich history but Andre imported upon the person who he was dining with at the time. So I knew very little about Roy’s private life and his personal philosophy. He obviously wants it that way.  I’ll honor that. However, as I’m now beginning to talk a little bit about the website and I’ve been advised it’s a good idea to do actually a number of interviews just to let them know it’s there, I will call Roy and ask if we can have a chat.

And maybe, just maybe if he’s willing, I might say, hey how do you feel about going out and having a meal together or having a chard and getting to know who he is, because he is clearly a man there is Roy Tuckman in Los Angeles and there is Bob Fass in New York. He does a late night show on WBAI Radio. These fellows have been broadcasting for 20, 30, 40 years.  Spoken art shows again and none of them are getting rich off of it. This is a survival radio, it’s a higher calling, it’s the sharing of the sound of the tribal drum. It is the last outpost of broadcast communication before it all kind of disappears into Miley Cyrusville. I would like to know more about the people and I think that their tale should be chronicled as well.

What you were talking about how there’s not a lot known about Roy Tuckman and I located an interview he did, with Jay Kugelman and I recalled very vividly something he said in the interview and he said, you know, I tried to tell people like the X Files, the television show, used to say the truth is out there. And I’d like to say the truth is within. So I’m curious about this Elliot, what you learned from Jack Garris and your experiences with meditation, did that ever intersect, did meditation ever intersect with your interviewing, with your passion for interviewing?

Oh yes. The short answer is yes. Meditation teaches you among other things how to listen, how to be still, how to turn off the endless sound tracking your brain. How to tune out the pre cacophony of sonic input that we all move through to be very, very still with an open heart, and those are just some of the things about the meditative experience that brings into certain people’s lives. Of course meditation is not a goal-oriented pursuit, don’t meditate, has to how to put a new Porsche in the garage. You don’t use meditation to put in the good word that you’re going to find a job next month. That falls more closely into prayer and I have said from time to time that prayer is when you ask of God.  Mediation is when you listen to God. So with meditation, in its simplest form, it teaches you how to first shut up, get out of the way, open your heart, your chakras to absorb whatever appears without judging, in answer to your question I apply all of those bedecks to be interviewing experiments when I’m interviewing somebody. You know, I don’t do it anymore because I am at my retirement point here, it’s hard, it used to be at my doorstep. When I was interviewing people, I did interview over 2000 people, part of what I tried to do was to shut up get out of the way and let people express themselves, without interruptions without challenging them, to let them have their moments. So the meditative experience was extremely, extremely helpful during the broadcast years.

On the note of broadcast years, the first interview that we did together, we talked a little bit about the “Lost Lennon Tapes,” there are some content on ElliotMintz.com about the lost Lennon tapes for anyone that’s out there that’s kind of how I became aware of Elliot Mintz was a number of bootleg recordings of the “Lost Lennon Tapes.” It completely and totally drew me in. We talked about it last time and I didn’t ask this question last time, but I wanted to. So I’m asking it to you now, how did it feel when you put together the last episode of the “Lost Lennon Tapes”?

It was difficult for me. The reality was, I had then, I don’t know, it seemed like 200 broadcast, 200 hours of this series which was a collection of unreleased John Lennon material from rehearsal tapes to outtakes to spoken word recordings to interviews with other people that he interacted with. It was the most comprised, I could say, well, we’ve got an ego attachment, some believe the most extensive radio biography, ever presented about any human being in the course of broadcasting. There are not many who would be able to sustain 200 hours of examination over a four-year period. It wasn’t me, I mean I just introduced segments or explained the outtakes or the rehearsal tapes we were listening to from what album, you know that kind of, but when it came time to do the last one, because we’d run out of tape, there is just X amount of tape. I mean I went to New York and Yoko allowed me to go through the Dakota building, in the basement to the old bedroom to drawers in the house and office where red bind cassette tapes, and just take whatever you’d find make radio shows from them, allow people to listen and to share.  That how the concept originated.

When I reached the last tape I know that, you know, anything beyond that would be padding and the “Lost Lennon Tapes” was followed briefly with another radio show called “The Beatle Years,” which I hosted as well, which was more along the line of “Breakfast with The Beatles” and more along the line of, you know, an overview of the group but in that area of course I could not play any outtakes or any of the material involved in the other delayed and sold copyrighted, whatever you want to call it, you know, it belongs to them. Yoko gave me permission to air the material on John, but it was different with The Beatle Years.

So whereas The Beatle Years was a good primer and I think helped people understand the phenomena, who may not have been their the first time around.

It was not like “Lost Lennon. “The last radio show I did where I had, it was basically a goodbye and then a little piece at the end indicating that this would be morph into the Beatles. I remember leaving the radio station which was located near Culver City, California, not far from here. And if memory serves, I am stuck at a local bar in that area that I’ve never been to before. Unlike me, and walked in and just ordered a glass of Chardonnay and reflected about, you know, the previous four years at least once a week I would drive out to Culver City and sit behind the microphone, do the stuff. The first episode of that show was listened to by more than six million people. The show would have eventually be syndicated into public place around the globe. It was very popular in Australia, I’m told. Yes, I know there is a bootleg market for those programs on the internet but obviously I can’t and wouldn’t promote that kind of thing because, you know, it’s not kosher. I do know that there are fans who trade recordings and who really enjoyed the program. I certainly understand that, but on my website of course, I couldn’t rebroadcast any of those, those programs.

 The engineer and co-producer of the show, this show for many, many years, he would tell me stories about waking up very early in the morning when it was broadcast and he would wake up and he would record the “Lost Lennon Tapes” and that all came to an end because of a relationship that he entered into with a woman and that, but he was a religious listener of the “Lost Lennon Tapes.” That was what got me started on listening.

What happened between him and the woman? Did the woman object to the fact that he would wake up early in the morning and leave or did they to the radio and to record my radio show?

Well, I think what was happening was he was becoming distracted by her. I hope you just put…

Was he becoming distracted by her or by the broadcasts?

No, no, no, he would do this every single morning and then I’m guessing what happened was he was occupying his time with something else when he entered into this relationship. I’m trying to keep it PC.

I somehow just feel that there is a priority into taking place. And dear, I’d like to give you one more kiss but there is an ultimate take of “Instant Karma” that I’ve got to, you know, make a cassette of. I do not know what we’re speaking of and so I don’t wish to know and the relationship of course is none of my business but never leave a woman who you’re involved with intimately to make a dub of a radio show. I think that that’s kind of an edict that we should apply to the male female, dynamic.

I think that there are many people both genders who concur. How does Elliot Mintz define love?

Placing someone else’s needs, desires, passions, insecurities and everything, just a few steps ahead of your own. Love is about surrender. When I say to somebody “I love you,” that’s a declaration. If Isay to somebody “how can I love you more, how can I demonstrate the extent and depth of my passion for you?” That’s more. It’s placing yourself second. Now, if you say it to the right person, and also we’re partners, it’s 50-50. It’s a mirror image and you try to achieve a point in the center, where both of you are reflecting each other’s passion. It has to do with the sound of two hearts beating as one.

 It’s been described exquisitely by people like John Lilly and Lisa Lime and others who speak of the dyadic relationship, dyadic relationship, studies that you create a dyad with someone where the line between them using this in a traditional sense of risk of sounding politically incorrect but the line dividing the man and the woman becomes secondary. I remember that completely John Lennon and Yoko Ono would refer to themselves as JohnandYoko as one word. And for a long time the world thought of them as JohnYoko. It wasn’t where one begins and the other one ended and the other one begins. It was this amalgamation. In a dyadic relationship, of course, you still retain all of those things that are you but it’s combined with a new image.

I remember I was speaking to a woman who I knew well who was involved in a dyadic relationship and she told me that when the phone rang, well, let’s refer to her as Jane, let’s refer to the man she was in love with as Bill. When the phone would phone ring, somebody would say to Jane “hi, I’d like to talk to Bill.” She would say, “you are,” so the dyadic relationship is an extreme extension, probably not the definition you were seeking, sort of or sort of backwards before I get into the tantra and just say that, facing the one you love slightly ahead of you is a pretty good model as to what the essence of the lovers have been. Women understand this better because they do it daily with their children. Single moms really get it. Single moms have to decide, well, do I want to really do something just for me, call a babysitter and go to a movie with a friend or go on a date or do I want to be a present mom during my child’s image of years? Men are not as in touch with that, I don’t think. That’s why they say that the female now is the lioness as you know, that they are so in touch with the heart beats of their baby. Well, love has to do with being in touch with the heart beats of your lover.

Elliot, how do you define good communication?

Well, listen twice as much as you speak. You can fill in the missing spaces later.  Be able to listen to people without judgment or imposing your own values and beliefs upon something that they say. Recently, I listened to a lecture by someone who was talking about how you might deal with somebody who was experiencing grief. Somebody comes to you and said they just lost their mother or father, their husband or wife, heaven forbid their child. What should be your first methodology of how to deal with that announcement? Well here is one of the biggies: don’t say “it’s going to be all right,” don’t say “you’re going to get over it,”  “that time heals everything.” Listen. Let them speak. Let them grieve. Another one is don’t interject “yours.” Somebody told you that their cat or their dog of 20 years, 15 years has just passed. You do not pick that sentence up by saying, “oh yes, I remember when my dog died” and for you to do a narrative about that, see a lot of that kind of thing on social media.  That people take mistaken that somebody named and personalized it to conform to their perceptions, which steam rolls over the initial declaration. Sometimes the best thing you can do is just listen, be present, be sensitive, be emotionally available and when it’s time to go, listen to the cues.

Fascinating. There are some information there on your website, ElliotMintz.com, there’s some information there about many different topics relating to media, relating to publicity even stuff on there about paparazzi. Something that would occur to me is that you’ve had a lot of interactions dealing with the media going back to your very early days in radio. When you were interviewing people, you no doubt contacted many people who were associated with press agents, publicists, that kind of thing having been a media consultant yourself. You may be especially qualified to answer the question of who is the best publicist? who is the best PR person you’ve ever known?

Let me think about that for a moment. I never thought of PR as a particularly noble occupation and some of the best PR people where people who just have the position that they would do anything to make their clients famous. They would bend rules, they would lie, in some cases pay off journalists, engage in various behavior that was not all that, I mean there never was a publicists that Mother Teresa would have retained to represent her. It’s a service profession, but like all public relations work is to get people to take an interest in a client or a product. So when I think of people who did it well, it’s a double-edged sword.  It’s kind of like thinking that who is the best criminal attorney in the United States? Well of course if I was to pick a name, the best criminal attorney would be the criminal attorney who got his client off even if he knew that the client may have been guilty of what a person has accused of.

Does that, I guess that makes a person a very good attorney but not always the best people but I’ve also known some excellent criminal defense attorneys who have explained to me that whether or not the client was culpable of committing the crime, it was still their role to defend them. I understand that a doctor who receives a wounded or injured person who has just been in a, I don’t know, a gun fight with the police and in the process may have killed a law enforcement officer and he was shot at and he appears in the emergency room on a gurney or a stretcher while it’s the role of that doctor, he took an oath to do everything he could to persevere the life of the assailant and I get that too.

The role in PR, you don’t have to take any kind of poll and most of the people and I apologize in advance to my former colleagues who, you know, who were really, who many of whom where very respectable people and real gentlemen and gentle ladies. I may have liked them as people, but I never cared very much for the profession. There were some superb publicists over at Rogers and Cowen, there were publicist from the old days of Hollywood, who you know, they would do anything to make their client look good. Today’s spin doctors and media people, in many cases lack the passion. It’s just becoming too much of I don’t know, it’s real hard to explain these things without getting myself into trouble by citin examples. I can tell you that today, there’s a man, friend of mine named Michael Levine, he’s been a publicist, I don’t know, for 30 years, 40 years. He is a very, very honorable man. He has represented dozens and dozens and dozens of people. They have won Academy Awards. He had their books in the New York Times bestseller list and he is a person of honor. I’ll tell you what makes a great publicist, just occurred to me. It’s a person with a conviction of saying no to a prospective client because they know it’s a sham. So if somebody comes, you know, in that hay day of my public relations days and media copy days, is somebody came to me and said, look, I have come up with this new thing that I want you to promote. I don’t believe in it, the thing really doesn’t work all that much. It’s a piece of exercise equipment, it’s a phony diet pill, it’s a handgun that can be made out of paper or cardboard so you can get it through airport security. It’s kind of a electronic cigarette that really may contain some carcinogens. It’s all of these things but look, I really think that you could come up with a plan and I’ll pay you $25,000 a month to promote it. Well of course, I would say “n”o and I probably turn down more people than I have accepted. And I know some other people in media, in PR, who would do the same. That would be my definition of a great publicist.

Well, what about the best interviewers, who does Elliot Mintz say the best interviewers are?

Are or were?

How about both?

Today, Christiane Amanpour, who you see on CNN and occasionally on “60 Minutes” is one of the very, very best interviewers. She is excellent. Her style and her technique is, I mean that’s the bar that you have to reach. I think that Charlie Rose does a fabulous job of what he does. Bill Moyers, is a man who give us the extraordinary series of the interviews with Joseph Campbell that’s available on YouTube and DVDs or however you get things. I always admired him and I admired his style tremendously. And those are three names that come to mind immediately. In the old days and I guess I can refer to the old days as well, I liked Jack Paar because of his natural curiosity. I liked Mike Wallace because he knew how to extract information. He was tough and, you know, certainly wasn’t my style, now, but if you were a bad guy and was foolish enough to sit down with Mike Wallace to try and spin your story about what you were doing, you know, telemarketing boiler room, well Wallace was good in getting to the heart of the matter.

David Susskind was one of the pioneers in television. I liked the way Steve Allen had interchanges and exchanges with people. He was very conversational. In a very underrated category, Hugh Heffner in the probably early 60’s, hosted a program, a television show called, “Playboy After Dark” where he recreated a living room scene and invited jazz musicians and comedians, people like Mort Sahl or Lenny Bruce and he would engage in conversation. I thought he did a really fine job at that. Those are the ones that come to my mind immediately. It’s also the dying art, a dying art. Partially because people don’t take the time to listen. Larry King was very non-judgmental in his approach in broadcasting and I liked him very much for that reason. He allowed people to speak, which is why so many people went to see him. One of the criticisms that was lodged against him was that he only asked softball questions, I heard that many times that he, I didn’t know why it was necessary to always ask hardball questions.

An interview doesn’t have to be a deposition. I mean that was something that Mike Wallace specialized in. Chris Wallace does the same, but I think he’s more arrogant. I tend to like conversations more than interviews. By the way, among the five things, and there are only five that I do well, interviewing was one of my skills. They can see that unabashedly, you know, that when it came to that form of exchange, I was pretty good at it.

On that note when somebody goes on your website, ElliotMintz.com, you’re going to find a couple of fairly recent filmed conversations that you had, you do an interview with a woman who has written a number of books. It’s on the website, it’s a section called “Self-Publish Your Book.” There are other conversations that you have with different people. Although you’ve kind of gone on to another chapter in your life, in your heart, are you still an interviewer?

In my heart, I’m still a listener and sometimes when I’m with friends and I’m really curious about something they’re speaking about and I bombard them with questions, they sometimes say, Elliot, this is an interview, you have the tape-recorder running somewhere. There are some things, you know, that just don’t leave you. I just find that, just pouring this, something of a glass Chard give me a second Paul…the third glass for anybody who is keeping count. In the website, there is a section that we call fireside chats. The fireside chats basically is to allow people to kind of eavesdrop as to what it’s like at my house when I invite a friend over to sit and talk. It’s more of a conversation than an interview although, you know, there’s a subtle line between the two, you will find that in my interviews, I rarely ever give an opinion. In a fireside chat, I tipped my hand a couple of times, just walking outside here in the deck now to look at the full moon as we’re speaking.

In the fireside chats, yes, there’s a conversation with a woman named, Jen Ashton who teaches people how to self-publish their own books. She was very successful publishing stories about erotica. That is her specialty. A single mom, raising a child who hit bottom, who I met, who I liked and who overnight amassed an enormous amount of attention, money and sales, just by self-publishing her stories. The reason for me inviting her to sit by the fireplace was to infuse other people with the knowledge that they have that ability, that we all know something about something. And, forget about looking for a literary agent. Forget about trying to convince some New York publishing house to publish your work. Forget about putting up your own money to buy 5,000 books from some organization, some company and it’s up to you to sell them. She teaches you how to self \\-publish, put the material online and sell it yourself and I was hoping that that conversation would open the door for other people primarily women, single women with a tale to tell as to how they could do the same.

That’s why Jen came to the house and I’m hoping that people will go to the site, listen to her tale and say, you know, there are things that occurred in my life that I think I could incorporate. As well as people willsay, I’m a good photographer, I’ve taking pictures. Maybe I can self publish a book about my own pictures. As well as a plumber, who might say, you know, I’d like to put together a little booklet, 40 or 50 pages as to how to fix the things in your house that require plumbing without calling to say to come to your place for $60 an hour to do it. And I want to sell it on Amazon.com for four dollars apiece and I’m hoping that 10,000 people would click yes and I’ll make $40,000 while I’m sleeping. And I invited Marianne Williamson to discuss the things that she talks about having to do with spiritualism, of course and miracles in her life. I invited Sean Ono Lennon to come by because he’s been to my house hundreds of times. I love him, he is brilliant, he is wonderful, he is funny and I just got, I don’t want to be selfish here, let’s share what a night would be like if Sean Ono Lennon came to your house. And so it is with the number of the fireside chats including some that have some tragic stories to them.

 There is a fireside chat that takes place having to do with the subject called Rett syndrome, R-E-T-T S-Y-N-D-R-O-M-E, Rett syndrome, it is a combination of the more advanced forms of autism coupled with neuromuscular disorder where it effects little girls, usually at the age of three. Where you bring a happy, healthy little baby home from the hospital, who develops all of her skills like any other little child, and avocabulary and all the rest of it and something happens, something happens, and that within a day or two, or three, that happy healthy little girl loses her entire vocabulary. It’s like somebody pushed delete on download and she can’t walk, she can’t move, she can’t eat, it’s Rett syndrome.

 Well I went to the home of a marvelous couple, Heidi and Jonathan Epstein who are raising a little girl, Hannah who has Rett, a more advanced form, not as advanced form of Rett that I just described, but nonetheless Rett and I spent a day with them, shooting the videotape. And trying to get to the essence of this tragedy, it’s called “A Parent’s Worst Nightmare” on the website. I did it specifically because I want to create public awareness of something that most people have never heard of and in the process to direct people to an organization called the Rett Syndrome Research Trust which is working to put an end to this horror, 97% of every dollar raised by them goes directly to science. Two, three staff members. 

“Playing for Change,” I interview a man who records homeless or street musicians,  takes the music, makes DVDs, sells them, uses the money to build music schools. So children can learn how to make their own music. Yes, the fireside chats are chats and conversations with people I would have whether or not I had a website. Those are the kinds of folks that I have coming to visit me and those are the kinds of discussions that we have and those are the subjects of great importance to me.

 Our conversation tonight is with Elliot Mintz, your website is free for anyone out there that wants to view the website, it’s ElliotMintz.com. In an interview not too long ago, Livingston Taylor said, “money is a poor substitute for the creative process.” How does it feel to know that people and you’re seeing this interaction on Facebook and so forth, that people are being able to see the interviews as you did throughout your life, it can be entertainment. It can be education. How is it feel when you know that people, this entire library, it’s just, you’re opening it up, what do you think about now that it’s open?

And by the way, it’s only partially opened. It’s about as much as I could handle during the first go-around. I think we put up 100 or 150 hours. I’ve never actually counted it. I couldn’t imagine anybody who would, but Paul, I have to tell you that I have maybe 700 more hours of material that has not been identified, labeled, digitalized, classified. They’re just in boxes, unmarked boxes. I moved very fast during my life and recorded things and took the tapes, and just I never had the time to look back. So, it would take years and probably a professional archivist to go through the hundreds of hours of stuff that I still can’t find. One of the things that disappointed me was there were a couple of things that I wanted to include on the site when it first went public that I just couldn’t find I knew I had it and I knew I had seen it and I’ve gone through a series of boxes where I thought it might be, but I spent a wonderful, wonderful afternoon with Dr. Hunter S. Thompson in the kitchen of the Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith ranch in Malibu where I just held my little camera and videotaped the conversation with Hunter Thompson and I.

So I thought that would be a really nice, get to share with people. I still can’t quite find it and hundreds of others. So, the website is an ongoing work in progress. I want to get away from it for a while. I want to see how many people react to what they’re seeing, if it’s enhancing their lives in some kind of way, if it’s meaningful to them. If it is, I’ll come back with the web designer and we’ll go through the process of restoring these tapes, digitalizing them, removing commercials, removing phone numbers, removing the stuff that doesn’t work trying to hold the tapes together because they’re stretched or damaged by the heat, but it sometimes can take 10, 15 hours to create a 15 or 20 minute interview ready for the web. And right now I’d like to spend a little bit of time going horse back riding and take my eyes off of the screen. But if there is calling for it, if people’s lives are being enhanced by it in some minor way, I’ll come back to it, I’ll give them more. I like the idea of giving it away. Frankly, I think that if I had charged them for this, it would be a disservice to, a disservice to the whole concept.

During the first interview we had, you told us your favorite Beatles song and your favorite John Lennon’s song, what song of any artist, if you had to pick one, is one that means the most to you? And let me qualify that, I mean, truly, any melody, it could be an American songbook standard, it could be a classical piece, pop song, jazz tune, the song that resonates the strongest in your heart.

“As Time Goes By.”

Why is that?

That’s the one that just bounced into my brain when you asked the question and the time reflection through all the right reasons. It would be like you ask me about my favorite song or possibly my favorite movie, “Casablanca.” I mean, I’m an old softy when it comes to the movies, you know, like movies about romance. And I love romantic songs and I love the old, the American song classics. I was so pleased when Linda Ronstadt liberated those songs from the closet. Prior to Linda doing her collection of those marvelous 1940’s songs, they had been kept in the dust bowl somewhere. She let them out, others started to do the same, Rod Stewart, did a wonderful series as well. But these classic, gorgeous songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein, Sammy Cahn and Irving Berlin and Rodgers and Hart and what we call the Tin Pan Alley songs, they come to my mind immediately. Of course, there are rock songs that were anthems to my generation which I love and play all the time. I was in the car yesterday and took the top down and cranked up the “Greatest Hits of Jackson Browne.” I’m listening to him sing “The Pretender” and “Linda Paloma” and those, and listening to Frank Sinatra doing “Only the Lonely” in the late night hours is extraordinary. Do you know the first live recording that was ever done, Paul, the first album that was done outside of a studio where they took the microphones and brought them someplace else?

Which one was that?

“Judy Garland at Carnegie Hall,” have you ever heard that album?

I have indeed. I didn’t know that that was the first.

That was the first time, to my knowledge, you know, I will be corrected of course if I got this one wrong. To me, that was the case and if you and by the way, it’s much better to listen to it on disc, on vinyl than in CD. It was a really poor transfer. A great deal of the audience reaction was truncated to make space on the disc, but on vinyl, that puts you in Carnegie Hall when Judy Garland did that exquisite concert. Well, there are times when I just have to hear “Over the Rainbow” and go to the vinyl and go to the last 15 minutes of that concert and she touches me tremendously as well as signature songs.

There are dozens of them. Music plays an incredibly important part of my life. I couldn’t imagine my life without music. That business about if you had to surrender one of your five senses which will be always problematic, always problematic, but the one that would remain number five would be the ability to hear because to be deprived of the sound of music, that’s like living without food or water. I have music playing almost all the time wherever I am unless I’m in meditation even it’s just in the background. I like the melodies of life. I like where music takes me. Songs are mini biographies, they tell the tales of the person who wrote them, in some cases the people who sing them, in the best cases, a little bit of both. And also, in the music department, I love jazz and I love classical music and play as much of those two genres as I do the standards in the rock sonnets. I like Japanese music. I like music from foreign lands, I like Middle-Eastern music. The only thing is that I’ve not been not been able to totally embrace as I know I should is opera. I would love to develop a greater clarity and connecting to opera, it hasn’t happened yet, summers not over.

If there was a theme song, keeping with the theme here of music, if there was a song that best describes you, it could have lyrics or it could be an instrumental? What would be the song that would best describe you?

It’s a great, great question. Now why didn’t I never ask that question when I was doing this stuff, give me a second. The song that would best describe me, I don’t know, I mean the two obvious knee-jerk responses would be “Imagine” by John and “Chimes of Freedom” by Bob, because all the obvious reasons, but they would describe a part of me, you know, the wish aspirations of me, the hidden, not the hidden but the spoken belongings, but the song about me which I think goes to heart of your question, I don’t know if I’ve heard it yet. Maybe I should write it. 

Maybe. Elliot, again, it’s been a very, very fascinating conversation. I’ve enjoyed it so, so much but I always end in the same way. I always end very open.  For anyone who is listening, wherever they are and whenever they hear this. What do you want to say to them?

Well, two things, one, I want to make an addendum to an earlier question you asked when I was indicating some of my favorite interviewers. I’d like to insert your name in that that vestige because as I mentioned to you during our first encounter, I think that you are superb at what you do and encourage you to do more. I think you are a marvelous, marvelous interviewer.  So that’s the addendum.

Thank you.

You’re welcome Paul. And as far as the other, this is the first interview that I’ve done. Now that the website is complete and available on mobile devices and all the stuff and I intend to do a few more, but I wanted to do this one with you because when we first spoke, you got it. I think you really got the essence of who I was in terms of broadcasting, in terms of being a media consultant. I listened to radio show that you put together. I thought it was really comprehensive and, you know, intelligent, sophisticated and classy, more so than I deserved. So, I invite people to sample the site. And again, this is free. I don’t put a dollar in my pocket and I am not selling any kind of a trip, I’m not telling anybody what to believe or not believe. It’s just a gift.

I was fortunate enough to meet and talk with them in some cases, become friends with some really extraordinary people. To me it’s just a honor to share the gift with others. And I hope that some people will be touched by it. And that’s the reason that I invite you to visit the website. I’d be very interested with your comments, your thoughts, your impressions and beyond that, nobody is more anxious or interested or curious as to where the next step on the Yellow Brick Road will take me. So, now that the website is for the most part complete, my slate is clean again, the blackboard does not have any scratches upon it and we will see what destiny’s hand places on the agenda for what’s to come.

Elliot, first of all, thank you very much again for giving us this interview and I only hope that the next interview isn’t as many years away as the last one was.

You have my phone number and you are always welcome to call, Paul. You’re one of the people I would speak with anytime you have any curiosity about anything that I might be involved in.

Farewell is a beautiful and soft word and yet it is a horrible and a heavy thing too. So, we won’t say farewell, we will say “so long.”

So long, Paul.

Elliot Mintz: Media Consultant, Former Radio & Television Personality

“Who is Elliot Mintz?” The answer depends on who you ask…

For readers of glossy celebrity magazines or viewers of the television program TMZ or followers of websites like PopTV.com, Elliot Mintz is a Hollywood publicist and media consultant for clients past and present ranging from Paris Hilton, Nicky Hilton, Don Johnson, Shauna Sands, Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon, Bob Dylan and the estate of John Lennon as well as companies like Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino and Bijan Fragrance.

Elliot Mintz is also known in the world of broadcasting as a past radio and television personality, having interviewed over 2,000 people as a radio talk show host and later as a television correspondent and host. He went on to host “The Lost Lennon Tapes,” a syndicated weekly radio program that ran from 1988 to 1992. The Lost Lennon Tapes broadcasted previously unreleased tracks, rehearsals, composing tapes, interviews and home recordings of John Lennon whom Mintz first met in 1971.

In the world of John Lennon and his living legacy, Elliot Mintz is known as a confidante and friend of John Lennon. His memoirs of John Lennon appear in the book Memories of John Lennon, compiled by Yoko Ono available from Harper Collins.

Undoubtedly, Elliot Mintz is a man whose life has been an incredible journey.

It’s not everyday you get to welcome someone who influenced you and that is happening tonight with our special guest Elliot Mintz. Elliot Mintz started in the world of media as an underground radio personality and became known as a very major press representative whose clients have included Bob Dylan, Don Johnson, John Lennon, Yoko Ono and others. Elliot thanks so much for making the time to do this. It’s a pleasure.

Paul the pleasure is mine and it’s a delight to meet you.

Who is Elliot Mintz?

I guess it depends who you ask.

I think most stories are best from the beginning. Where were you born and what was life like growing up?

I was born February 16th, 1945 in the Bronx. Raised in New York. Lived there until I was seventeen, eighteen years old and caught a plane to LA where I’ve been ever since. My recollections of my childhood are always sketchy. I can give them to you in non sequiturs. I have one sister. My parents were deeply loving people who were married for over 40 years. I lost my father recently at age 99. My mother had passed in her seventies. I never recall the two of them having an argument. It was a kind of 1950s Norman Rockwell childhood as far as I can tell. I can picture a barbershop poles on the street corner of the neighborhood. The local pizza shop where I saw my first Wurlitzer juke box and where I probably first heard Elvis. There was a park not far from where I grew up in the apartment, two bedroom apartment. And I would like to take long walks in the park. I was a terrible student. I had an awful stutter. My stuttering resulted in me having to take speech therapy classes which is one of the reasons I speak this way. When I first decided I wanted to be a DJ, you know you always try to overcome the things you can’t do, like the people who lose their limbs and decide they want to climb Mount Everest. Well, I used to (imitates his old speaking manner) talk like that. I’m not making fun of people who stutter. So I sounded, and besides talking like that I had a New York accent because it’s the only place that I had been to – street corner. So early on I wanted to get beyond the limitations of expression and maybe expand it somewhat. My childhood was neither happy or sad. It was solitary with few friends, poor scholastic grades, lots of reading, lots of reflection, endless hours in movie theatres.

You just mentioned Elvis a second ago. What music did you fall in love with when you were young?

My parents had one of those gigantic radios in the living room, a very modest apartment in 190th Street in Manhattan, not far from the George Washington Bridge. My father lived in that apartment until the end of his life – all of his life. But there was this big mahogany device with that giant speaker in it, you know? It could’ve been a Grundig Majestic, I forgot what it was, and I grew up listening to ‘50s music. First doo-wop, which I love to this day, which I heard in high school, when people would go into the bathroom to create that great early reverb effect off the tile walls, and do the great doo-wop classics that the Five Satins and the others did. My parents came in at the end of the Frank Sinatra experience and the dawn of Doris Day and the Hit Parade and Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, a very innocent time in America, and I would listen to little bits of that coming through the radio without paying a great deal of attention to it. Until I heard Elvis and that changed everything and from that point on I would listen to the basic music of the ‘50s. If you pick up any one of those classic albums of the one hundred of the top ‘50s hits from the 1950s, that’s what I was listening to and that slowly segued into, probably like most people, from Elvis to two people: Dylan and the Beatles.

You mentioned a minute ago, you said you made it out here in LA. What was it that brought you out here?

There were two major factors, Paul. One, because I was such a miserable student in school and was left behind in every grade, had to attend summer school every summer, finally got out of high school with a 66 average after, I think, five years. My IQ was about ten points lower than the national average. I’m not a smart person. I of course applied to every college that I could, was obviously rejected by all of them except for Los Angeles City College, a community college in LA. So one of the reasons I wound up here was I was invited by a school when all the others turned me down. The second reason was when I was around 16 I saw a movie called The Misfits, the last movie ever done that starred Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe before they died. The movie also included Montgomery Clift, Thelma Ritter, Eli Wallach. It was written by Arthur Miller who was married to Marilyn Monroe at the time. He wrote Death of a Salesman. It was about a dying breed of cowboys trying to make the transition from wrestling or roping wild mustang to sell to wealthy Texans as Christmas presents to their children, to roping wild mustang to selling them to the dealers to put in dog food containers. And there was something about the essence of The Misfits, which I’ve now seen a hundred times, it’s my favorite film – Casablanca is my second favorite – it was my first view of the West and I knew I wanted to be there in some capacity. The third was I wanted to get out of New York. So it was those three things that motivated me to get on a plane one day and come to a place I’d never been to before, knew nobody and try to get a start.

So you came out here, you don’t know anybody and from there you become a part of this Los Angeles music scene and you become a disc jockey. What lead you down that path?

Well, Los Angeles City College, fortunately, turns out to have had one of the very best broadcasting departments in America. And it was free. It was a small class, 30 or 40 students and I studied everything having to do with broadcasting. I wanted to know how to broadcast. I wanted to learn how to do the weather, how to operate a camera, how to be an engineer, how to do news, how to do everything having to do with broadcast, to work on losing the New York accent, to work on losing the stutter and I gravitated to a particular area in broadcasting which was interviewing. I found myself all-consumed with the study of how to conduct a meaningful interview and there was a little college radio station KMLA that if you opened the windows really wide and spoke very loud you could be heard to the lunch room, and the students would practice that way and I started practicing by interviewing people on KMLA. I was 18 years old. It was a preview of coming attractions. I enjoyed listening. I believe that everyone had a story to tell. I believed that most people were not willing to give up their story without some degree of an acoustic environment that suggested, “I really want to know,” and I learned my first lesson in interviewing which was “Ask the question. Shut up. Get out of the way and let the guest respond.” After a year or two at KMLA I just applied to a variety of local radio stations and was accepted by one, KPFK, which was a listener-supported station, part of a group called the Pacifica Foundation. There was a station in New York, Texas and Berkley, etc. and if people liked what they heard just sent them a check. Kind of like PBS and that kind of thing. I was 21. I was the youngest talk show host in America and I began doing nightly radio shows, interviewing the cultural icons of the time. After a year or two there I went on to do the same basic thing on seven or eight different radio stations, commercial stations, and then on to television, by talking to people. My guess is I interviewed over 2,000 people. I also took phone calls from listeners, an estimated 20,000 on-air phone calls as well, and in the process over a ten-year period I tried to learn my craft.

Throughout the course of you doing radio, when you were on the air and when you were doing these interviews, what were you trying to accomplish out of that? What did you want the listener to get out of the experience?

The essence of the person I was speaking with. I viewed myself as a conduit. The guest speaks to the audience through me. I was not there to judge or to argue or to quarrel. In those days FM radio, you could sit and talk to somebody for two or three or four hours. Today we have now reduced a sound bite to a sound bark. You’ve got about three seconds to get an answer out. I would be terrible on today’s radio. Nobody would pay any attention at all. See, Paul, I’ve always believed that if somebody has something to speak about, that touches your life, your heart, your experience, there is a valuable exchange because you get another point of view. I wasn’t that big on the exclusives. I wasn’t that big on just racking up how many famous people I could get. Some of my more memorable interviews for me personally were with anonymous people with something to say as opposed to extraordinarily famous people who had nothing to say. When I say they had nothing to say, I append that by saying that they had nothing to say through me. There are some musicians who can create these sensory perceptions through lyrics, instrumentation – music, but they don’t talk because all of their brilliance and wisdom and inspiration comes through a very tiny aperture. Just like there are some great writers who can write but can’t speak. There are a zillion great speakers who can’t carry a tune and can’t write a book. So, I wanted to probe. I wanted to explore and felt there was a camaraderie of interest here, between listener, myself and guest, and perhaps something good would be spoken and, optimistically, maybe something would be learned.

You just mentioned that many times the person you interviewed, they weren’t the most famous person. I’m very curious to know was there anyone that you always felt you could have gotten something good out of that constantly eluded you. That you couldn’t get them.

I would have loved to have spoken with Marilyn Monroe but I arrived in Los Angeles shortly after she had passed. So shy of a séance, I couldn’t have interviewed Marilyn but I always wanted to. On my wish list there were three or four unfulfilled interviews. We all have them. You’re a radio guy. You’ve got a secret list in your back pocket of the three or four people who you just, before you hang up your microphone, you’ve got to sit down and talk. We all got ‘em. We all got ‘em. For me, it was Elvis, Howard Hughes, the Pope, and Mother Theresa. Those were the four, if I could sit down and broadcast the essence of who they are, it would have been extraordinary. All for different reasons. I can’t recall anybody else who I really wanted to talk to who I didn’t get a chance to talk to.

Well on the other side of the coin, can you name maybe three or four people that you were elated to interview and when you were done, you thought “This is great.” There’s nothing better than that feeling.

There were some anonymous people at the time, like a man named Jack Gariss, who is one of the creators of a device called the bioscope. He taught me more about meditation than anybody who I ever met and I’ve been meditating for 30 years. Jack was an anonymous person when we met but was one of my favorite interview subjects. He would be an example of somebody where people could say “Jack who?,” but if they listened to the broadcast it could change their lives. In terms of the ones where you did the interview and you drove home that night, and felt that something meaningful had occurred, the first time I spoke to Yoko. The first time I spoke to John. The first interview I did with Bob Dylan. Then I have to scratch my head. Those are three that jump off the page at me but there were writers like Norman Mailer and Ray Bradbury. There were mystical people like Baba Ram Dass and Alan Watts. There were iconic figures like Salvador Dali. There were an endless list of musicians, actors. Sitting in Jack Lemmon’s trailer when I was 18 years old. Him agreeing to talk to a kid from school knowing that it would only be heard at L.A. City College after he had been nominated for Days of Wine and Roses. An afternoon that I spent with John Wayne. A day I spent with Groucho Marx. You don’t have the time or the tape, Paul (laughs) and I don’t have the recollection to go through all of them. But each name that I just mentioned, when I drove home – and sometimes on the way home I would put the tape recorder on play so I could listen to how it sounded before I would get to the station – and there were moments that just propelled me. Partially, being in awe of the person or persons that I spoke with, partially because they said something that I would never anticipated that they would say, and primarily because I felt such good fortune to have had that opportunity.

On the note of Yoko Ono, you mentioned her as one of the interviews that you felt was especially meaningful. If my memory is correct, you interviewed her around the book Grapefruit came out. Is that correct?

I’m so bad with numbers. I can’t do the time table so Grapefruit had already been written. I had read Grapefruit. I recall that she had released an album called Approximately Infinite Universe which I listened to and I found I was transfixed by it. Approximately Infinite Universe, Grapefruit as well as Yoko’s involvement in bed-ins and the rest of it – she captured me. There was something about the essence of what was coming through. Whenever I heard her public pronouncements – I was aware of her long before we spoke – but she sounded like a completely original woman. There is a term, it has legal meanings and it has philosophical meanings, it’s called derivative. Some people believe that all work is derivative, something that preceded it. I don’t know if that would apply to the space program, but people say it does apply to rock ‘n roll that was an out growth of rhythm and blues. I mean there are definitely progressions with Yoko. I’m going to pour you another glass in a second, I’ll finish talking about Yoko. I heard her say things that I had never heard expressed before and I really needed to speak with her. I really needed to hear more and the first interview that we did, it was a phoner. I was on a local station, she was in New York. We spoke on the telephone for an hour. When I got off of the phone, I just knew that I had met somebody unlike anyone I had ever spoken to before. In that sense I probably shared the experience that John did when he first had his encounter. Refresh your glass…Cabernet Sauvignon by Essex.

What am I drinking now?

You’re having Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009 Esser from a California label. I’m drinking a glass of Macon-Villages Chardonnay. This here is the 2009 Louis Jadot. It’s basically the house wine. I have a bottle of this every day. You’re on red, I’m on white, but all roads lead to the same path.

I suppose ironically, I’m wearing all white and you’re wearing red.

That observation had escaped my attention.

There’s a book, I’m quite fond of this book, it’s called Memories of John Lennon and it was compiled by Yoko Ono, and in it you mentioned that when people ask you what John Lennon was like, that they already know. That line really struck me when you read it. Were you nervous to meet him? I mean, think about it like this, here’s a Beatle and one of the most influential artists of all time. What’s going through your head?

Well I met John on the radio, again, on the telephone. I interviewed him first on the evening of his birthday – live. So, we quote “met,” but we met verbally. It was different. You know we met on the telephone. We talked on the phone. Talking to somebody on the phone creates a completely different experience. You’re not fixated upon meeting somebody who looks exactly like they looked in the photographs that you had seen of them or the movie or whatever it was. So speaking to him was as natural as natural could be. He was a gracious and accommodating interview subject. He had some experience in this area. He also felt so real and if one listens to that first interview – the Mintz-Lennon interview, there were many that would follow – it was like talking to an old friend for me. Now of course, I knew who he was. I think the only thing he knew about me was that he had listened to the Yoko Ono interview that I had done, weeks or months before. He was also aware of the fact that Yoko and I had struck up a telephone friendship where we would talk to each other on the phone after the interview. So he had some insider knowledge as to who this dude Elliot was but we never spoke until we spoke on the radio live. That was completely comfortable. It resulted in a telephone friendship with John as well, where for weeks and months following the first John Lennon interview, John would call me or I would call John, or Yoko would call me or I would call Yoko, or the three of us would, virtually every day for weeks or months. Hundreds of hours of conversations. You know, people do the same thing. They just call it Facebook, right? Before my time, I think it was called pen pals. For John, Yoko and I it was just the telephone exchange. One day, the two of them drove across the United States from New York to California. They didn’t actually do the driving. Somebody drove them, in an old car. John called and said, “We’re here and we would like to meet you.” I admit that when I got into my car to drive to a little community about give or take fifty miles from where we’re sitting, Paul – a place called Ojai – and John described the car he was in, which I keep calling an old Rambler or station wagon. People have asked for greater identification about the vehicle, but that’s all I remember. And I pulled up along side their car, in what I recall to be the middle of the field, and turned the engine off and got out, and the door opened and Yoko came out first and John followed right afterwards. John said to Yoko, “Go on. Give him a hug.” Yoko is not a demonstrably affectionate woman who just gives hugs and kisses to people and it was a hesitating hug and a hello, and John put out his hand and I shook it, and I looked at that face. This was during the ‘working class hero’ look with very long hair and, of course, the wire-rimmed glasses. He looked like John Lennon. He looked as familiar to me as my closest friends, my parents. I had known him for years. There was no nervousness. There was no hesitation. There was no reservation. Now, if we had not had the telephone relationship prior to the meeting in the field, I may have been a little hesitant and maybe he would have been a little guarded but after a minute or two he said, “So look, we’re going to this house we rented. Just follow us.” And I followed them to a house that they were renting and we spent the day together. And Paul, from that point on, in all those years, eight years, in all those hundreds of hours of conversation, all those visits back and forth – John and Yoko would come to my house and I would visit them at the Dakota when we would travel – I always knew that I was talking to John Lennon but I never attached that to anything having to do with Beatlemania or I Want to Hold Your Hand or any of that stuff. When we were having conversations it was just two dudes talking, debating, discovering. The only time that it was different was when we were in public, if we went out to a restaurant and I saw the way everybody else reacted to him, and how he just needed to react to everybody else, that the vibe was slightly different, but the times shared with them privately were as comfortable as me sitting here and talking with you.

I was thinking about you a few weeks ago. I was at the John Lennon Art Gallery in Atlanta at the Weston Hotel. At first, I think spent probably so long looking at all the stuff that they started wondering what my motives were. I looked at the artwork and then I started looking at something altogether different. I started looking at the people who were coming and how they were reacting and also, who was coming in. You know, young people. You have become kind of, like Yoko, the voice of John Lennon in this era and it has to be a tremendous responsibility. I thought about that also when I was reading your recollections in the Memories book. What is that responsibility like?

Well, let me immediately say that I totally divorce myself of the perception that I am the voice of John Lennon. I insist upon that. (Laughs) Nobody speaks for John and I go out of my way, because people have asked me frequently “What would John say about the war today?” and “How would John have felt about George Bush?” or those things, and I always preface it by saying, “I do not speak for John.” Never have, never could. I only wish he could be here to speak for himself. But in terms of me discussing the relationship between John and Yoko, we were family. My responsibility is to historical accuracy. I am not a John Lennon or Yoko Ono sycophant. I was never the house propagandist. I’m not here to advance any kind of myth about him or Yoko, and John has his frailties as we all did, and I never thought of him as a saint. He was a really good guy who did his best to make this world a little better during the time that he was given to do it. Now, as long as I stay focused on that I’m OK with it but I’m no spokesperson for John Lennon.

On that note, I wanted to talk a little bit about The Lost Lennon Tapes, which was a syndicated radio program. It, I believe, gathered six to seven million listeners during it’s peak?

I’m told that those were the numbers. I don’t know who was out there counting them but I heard that.

What are some of your most vibrant memories from the Lost Lennon Tapes?

That’s a good question, Paul. Nobody has ever asked me that before. I’m going to do a quick mind scan to see if one comes up. I’m pouring myself a glass of Chard. There were hundreds of hours of this broadcast that I did called The Lost Lennon Tapes followed by an additional number of hours called The Beatle Years. I did them for a radio syndication company called Westwood One Radio and they were heard on hundreds of radio stations once a week. They were one-hour broadcasts. It involved the airing of previously unheard John Lennon material. Rehearsal tapes, demo tapes, spoken arts, partial interviews, at-home recordings where they just left the machine on. This was a time – I’m not good at the numbers but I think it was 25 years ago – where Yoko had these hundreds and hundreds of hours of material on John and I represented Westwood One. And I arranged a dinner between a man named Norm Pattiz, who created the, was the CEO of Westwood One, and Yoko. We went out to dinner. Yoko had the material, Norm had all of these radio stations, and over dinner it was suggested that perhaps there would be some value in playing the stuff on the radio. By the time we got to dessert and a discussion about a host, somebody floated my name, one of the two. I said, “I accept.” and it began. My joy was in listening to the composing tapes, in listening to these hours and hours of John with an acoustic guitar or at a piano, figuring out – I’m not a musician so I don’t know what the phrase is – the right chords or the right keys on the piano, experimenting with the lyrics, you know, with a little tape recorder, a little Sony, on the piano, and listening to the evolution of songs that would later become known to all of us. So the first time that I would listen to a composing tape of Strawberry Fields Forever or whatever the song might be, it was an accurate representation and reproduction of John’s creative process and I loved that. Years later, John would wear a little button on his lapel that read “I prefer it in mono”. I like listening to recordings. I mention this without any ego attached to it whatsoever – before The Lost Lennon Tapes, I can’t recall boxed sets or collections that involved alternate takes, bonus tracks, all the stuff that’s now a staple for 5,000 musicians. I think it occurred with some jazz artists but I don’t recall it with rock people. If somebody has information that contradicts that, I would love to hear from them. It was new and it was daring and different to let people hear material before it was 100% ready with the makeup on it. I preferred it in mono. I preferred it in its primitive stages. I loved being the fly on the wall, listening to this experience evolve and I think that’s what accounted for the popularity of the radio series.

Your passion for it, in part.

And others that would feel the same way.

Right, sure.

Let me refresh your glass.

Thank you, sir. Of the songs that John Lennon wrote – and this may be a question you’re tired of answering – what would you say is your favorite composition?

From the Beatle period or as an individual artist?

How about one of each?

OK. As a Beatle, I loved In Your Life. “There are places I remember.” That song grabbed me. In conversations with John, when I would ask him those questions on air, because when we were not on air doing interviews we rarely, if ever, talked about the Beatles. John had a great sense of pride about that song. He also felt really, really good about Strawberry Fields. He also had really, really positive feelings about I Am the Walrus. Those were the three that we talked about when I asked him what his faves were. There were lots that he acknowledged as being well-written compositions and many that he acknowledged as being extraordinary compositions between himself and Paul, because, as most people know, a lot of these songs were Paul’s songs, a lot were John’s songs, a number were collaborations, but when they were teenagers they had an agreement that every Beatles song would be titled a Lennon-McCartney composition. Although, obviously, there are songs like Yesterday that was purely a Paul McCartney composition and obviously a work of genius. But rather than dividing who wrote who about what, etc., In My Life, Strawberry Fields and I Am the Walrus are my three favorite Beatles songs. In terms of his individual work, Imagine is our collective. We’re sitting here tonight in January of 2011, and I note that every time the ball drops in Times Square to bring in a new year, they play two songs to the crowd of the million and the viewers of the hundred million around the world, and somebody plays on the loudspeakers first Imagine, then Frank Sinatra sings New York, New York. Imagine was the wish, the hope, the prayer, the vision. It is the song that is most, in my opinion, indicative of the feelings and passions, beliefs, hopes, wishes, dreams, of John. Conversely, I really took to a song called God. He represents my feelings and represented his but what touched me so much about it was the reprobatory nature of the way he expressed his sentiments. Watching the Wheels, Beautiful Boy – dozens and dozens and dozens of others. I was a little old for the Beatle experience. Keep in mind that my teenage years was influenced by Elvis. But by the time I was in my twenties it wasn’t about the Beatles, it was about John and Yoko and, a generation later, for the children to follow it, would be Michael Jackson. I felt that John did his best work after the Beatles. His collaboration with Yoko, who helped to teach him how to imagine, the power of imagining, struck a responsive chord in my heart.

You mentioned a moment ago, Imagine. My mother is someone who most people think of as being a traditionalist and a Christian type, and something that she said about ImagineI’ll never forget her saying this to me. She said, “Imagine is what everybody really feels but maybe doesn’t admit.”

What an interesting quote from your mom.

Aside from that, this I thought was kind of an unusual question. John also had a fine taste in music and he covered a lot of songs that I thought were awesome versions like Ain’t That a Shame and so many. Was a cover that you thought, “Well done”?

Absolutely. Without question, without reservation, instantly, with all due respect to Ben E. King, with all due respect. When I hear John Lennon singing Stand by Me it puts the universe in perspective. It was the best cover of that song, just like Ray Charles’s cover of Eleanor Rigby was the best cover of that song. Stand By Me by John Lennon was it for me. And if one visits the rock and roll album, the one that was produced by Phil Spector, and listens to John’s covers – I know a lot of people are dismissive of that and they kind of feel that why should John Lennon cover other people’s songs when he was such a genius? His genius was recognizing the value of reminding people of these experiences that they may have missed. That was part of his genius. He wasn’t some kind of creative hog – ‘if it isn’t about me and if it isn’t one of mine, why should I do somebody else’s?’ Those songs, the ‘50s song from the rock and roll album, were the songs that he grew up listening to in Liverpool, via the BBC, that led him down the long and winding road.

I wondered if you were going to say Angel Baby.

Well, I happen to have a particular love for that song. I think that Angel Baby – Paul, in some ways, just based upon what you shared with me a few moments ago, I probably share a lot of your mom’s beliefs. Your mom was a devout Christian? So she would acknowledge that angels are messengers of God. They are sent here for that purpose.

I would think so.

I don’t mean to misrepresent your mother’s feelings but I think that that would be the natural extrapolation.

Right.

Well I believe in angels and I believe that they are messengers of God, and I don’t remember how old I was when I first heard Angel Baby. It had to have been, it was in the 1950s when the song came out or maybe later. I was just a kid. But when I heard it, it sounded like a choir from heaven. The song is like a psalm and if you can clear it through YouTube, or whatever you have to do these days to get the angels to sing to people, run it. I listened to it in the past eight or nine months on an old Wurlitzer jukebox, which is the way it should be listened to. It’s sacred.

It’s absolutely a mesmerizing song.

Yes. Especially if you hear it in mono, on vinyl, on a 45 RPM that’s not been digitally enhanced, on an old jukebox or an old turntable with the tone arm, it’s just like heaven being here with you. It’s interesting, John and I never discussed that song and I attended a number of those “Rock and Roll” sessions, those Spector sessions. I don’t know how I would have reacted being in the room listening to John singing Angel Baby. So, yeah – Angel Baby, Stand By Me – a toss-up. Make one the A side, one the B side.

One note on that. Rosie – the woman who wrote that song – she said that John’s version was her absolute favorite.

Did she?

Yeah, which, I can see it. He really embodied it when he sang it.

For the record, Rosie and the Originals’ original version – my favorite version.

Oh, likewise.

However, John did right by her.

Yoko Ono, she’s somebody – her art had been scrutinized by a lot of people but I’m impressed that she always releases her art and her music. I think a lot of great artists are releasing their work – yes, for their audience but also to turn themselves on. What motivates her?

Again, without speaking for Yoko because she does that most eloquently on her own, my observation is Yoko attempts always to be true to her own heart. She doesn’t sit around with a bunch of consultants to discuss ‘What material should I do? What should I wear? What stylist should I use?’ etc., to try and sell the most records or get the most recognition or any of that stuff. Yoko is an original and her allegiance is to her art. Always has been from day one to day two. Here’s what’s changed, Paul. The rest of the world caught up with her. I’m not sure of the next statistic I’m about to give to you but I think, I think, I think that if you went to billboard and looked up ‘dance singles’ during the past five years, you would find that ‘dance singles by Yoko Ono’ have achieved the #1, 2 or 3 position at least a half a dozen times in the past five years. She is a lady in her 70s.

Well, on the note of Yoko Ono, I’d like to tell you and all the listeners about an experience that I had in Athens, Georgia. I saw Sean Lennon perform. I can tell you it was one of the most moving concerts I have ever seen in my life. I remember sitting there and I was sitting next to a guy who is a friend of mine – he’s an attorney – and he didn’t get it, and you know, that’s cool. And I didn’t hear him when he was talking to me. He would talk to me, he would say things and I was fixated on this concert. What do you think about Sean Lennon?

I’m going to answer the question but first let me ask you a question. The concert that you saw, was that before he and Charlotte formed Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger? Was he just performing solo?

Yes, it was right after Friendly Fire. An incredible album and incredible video accompaniments that go with it. I’m incredibly impressed with his work. It was a beautiful concert. It was at The Melting Point, a very, very intimate venue. I was blown away by the songs.

I commend people’s attention to Friendly Fire. It’s a package of two discs. One disc is just music and another other disc is what I’m going to call a video, but it’s not just your traditional video. It’s shot like a movie. I think it was shot in 35mm. It has a story line to it. It’s exquisite. Bijou Phillips is in it. Lindsay Lohan is in it. I make a brief cameo appearance but you have to look really fast and really hard to see me in it. Friendly Fire was, in my opinion, Sean’s primal scream. It was an intensely emotional time for him and a complex time. In recent years, he has been travelling the world with his girlfriend and fellow musician, and they have a little group – it’s them. That’s the whole group and the group is called ‘Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger’. And people can look that up or just go on SeanLennon.com and they’ll be led to videos and the rest of it. I saw them perform in L.A. about a month ago and they’ll be back here in two weeks. It showcases their collective genius in composition and presentation. It’s a stripped-down, metaphorical, mystical, psychedelic, ‘eternal presence’ exchange between the audience and performers. It harkens back to the days when you would go to a concert, not expecting to see your rock and roll hero, but expecting to be touched, excited, intrigued and leave in a state of personal reflection. It might be the most unique musical act currently touring the world. I love Sean. I met him when he was a week old. He’s 35 now. He’s the son I never had you know. He’s an inspiration to me. I cannot say enough about his generosity of spirit, his creative abilities, his absolute brilliance, his humor, consideration, reverence. Love Sean. I love Sean. He was here last month. You know what we did, Paul? Just before the night of the concert, he was only in L.A. for a day or two. He and Charlotte came up to the house. We set up a couple of cameras. I sat and I talked with him for an hour and a half in front of the fireplace that you’re probably hearing in the background, and we reminisced a little bit about our 35-year journey together. And looking at him and remembering him from the years that he would come out in the summers, when he was seven, eight, nine, ten years old, and he would stay with me in Laurel Canyon in my old house. When I would go to New York to attend his birthday parties. Our adventures on the road. Awards ceremonies. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of hours and nights in this room where we’re sitting, where we’re having our recording/telephone conversation. If you ever have an opportunity to meet and interact with Sean, that’s a true gift. But considering the pedigree, it should not come as a surprise.

Well, you’ve talked about a lot of these people and I have a pretty good idea of who your answer will be but in your life, what person have you that met most inspired you?

I think Jack Gariss.

Jack Gariss?

Yeah. Right now, people who are listening to this are scratching their heads and saying, ‘Who?” When I was 21 or 22 on KPFK radio, I met this man who was the man who turned me on to meditation and metaphysics. He had the most lasting, meaningful impact. Hundreds of people who I met who touched me and influenced me for different reasons, for different reasons. Sometimes God places some people before you for specific purpose, to evoke a special response, to open a new door, and I could give you a litany of them. A guy named Jack Gariss, who taught me about meditation, probably impacted me more than anyone I have ever met.

I was looking on your YouTube channel – you can check out YouTube.com/Elliot Mintz videos – for your future it said: “Trying to figure that out” What do you see in the future for your life?

I have all of these pages. I have the Facebook thing and the Twitter thing and the MySpace thing and, basically, I’m just holding all of those pages to avoid the people who pretend to be me and say and do outrageous and embarrassing things. By the way, virtually everything on the internet about me at the moment is either embarrassing, inaccurate, pointless, or having nothing to do with who I am. So it will be very easy for people to ascertain that, I’m in the final stages of completing a web site – a little late to the rodeo – and that will be the place where, for those who care, that’s who I am. I have visited the YouTube thing and I have Googled my name, and I sometimes feel a total disconnect with that guy who I see on the screen with the electric blue tie and the spray tan and all that stuff. You know, there is a difference between who we are and what we do and there’s probably more of a significant difference about how we are perceived. That’s the runaway train of the internet. In answer your question about the future, I consult Tarot card readers and I consult people who have certain gifts of peering over the horizon and sharing with me what they see. And in these interactions and interchanges, some of the spoken visions resonate in my heart with my own dreams. It’s been told to me, and what I feel is that I’m in the third act of my life right now. As we sit here this evening, I’m 65 years old. I’m closer to the end than the beginning. And this is act three. And the broadcasting years, and the media consultant years – they came, they went. They were everything. They were everything. When I wrote that ‘Whatever your perceptions of John Lennon were, they were all true.” what I was trying to explain was any vision anybody may have had about what Elliot’s life was like as a broadcaster, those 2,000 interviews, or what would follow with media consultation – those are probably trueto them but my truth is yet to be manifest. If I were writing the script, and I don’t believe I am – I do believe in predestination. I believe in God’s will. I believe that the script has been written. And what I see on the dust cover on the book jacket is a life outside of Hollywood, a life away from show business, a life that would be more rural than urban, a life that would include the natural elements that elude us in big cities – horses, oceans. I could see myself teaching some classes in media in a small college, for those who would be I interested. Or doing something on the internet where I could talk to people about media issues if they wished to. What I primarily want to do is take all the information that I’ve learned in 40 years of broadcasting and media consultation, and make myself available on a pro bono basis to various causes and charities that I believe in. When John and Yoko did the bed interviews, John said what they were trying to do was to send out advertisements for peace, and they wanted to use the same devices that Wall Street used to sell toothpaste. Well, I know a thing or two about influencing public opinion and media. Instead of applying that to another actor or another actress, another show business personality, I’d like to apply that knowledge to those people who are trying to make this a better world. I see that in my future. I’d like to do a lot more horseback riding. I’d like to meditate more. I’d like to sleep later. I’d like to dream. I’d like to travel to places that I’ve not been before just for me, not because I’m tagging along with a client. I would like to explore the mystic more than I have. I’d like to revisit some classic literature that I read too early in my life. I’d like to get married. I’d like to stay healthy. I’d like to be able to be in a position to encourage others to pursue their dreams and not abandon any vision because somebody told them they couldn’t do it. And when it’s time, I would like to pass gracefully, with gratitude. That’s what I see in my future. There was I think a 15th century German mystic named Meister Eckhart who once wrote, quote “Man plans. God laughs.” So what I just put down on your tape recorder computer machine device is Elliot’s vision for Elliot. I quickly admonish myself, you can’t always get what you want.

When you look back on your life – full of great people, stories and events – what is the best thing about being Elliot Mintz?

Hmm. Paul, that’s another question I’ve never been asked. You’re really good. So rather than give a knee-jerk response, let me reflect upon it for a second. There’s nothing wrong with a little fireplace white noise. (Pause) Look, I have received far more than I’ve given. I am just so grateful to have been put in someplace during this incarnation where I could act as a filter or a conduit to others as a result of people that I’ve met. So the best thing about having been Elliot Mintz is that I’ve been given that chance. Just been given that chance, that I met some extraordinary people and that I have passed along the information that they have bestowed upon me. So, I am the CEO of the Cosmic Messenger Service. It’s a kind of a more ethereal version of FedEx. I accepted the responsibility. I hope I’ve lived up to the tenets of the job description, and I’ve lived to see the sparkle in the eyes of those who, at one time, believed that they couldn’t and then, ultimately, we allowed that they could.

This is a kind of a 180 but a second ago you mentioned that you hoped to get married. I’ve always wondered this and I don’t know why I’ve wondered this. What do you look for in a woman? You mentioned Marilyn Monroe earlier. Are you a Marilyn Monroe kind of guy or an Audrey Hepburn kind of guy?

(Laughs) Actually, I’m more of a Mother Theresa kind of guy. She would not have been a possibility (laughs), she had taken a vow. I’m somewhere between a Marilyn Monroe kind of a guy and an Audrey Hepburn kind of a guy. The ideal comic woman for me was always a cowgirl. Recently, they had the rodeo competition in Las Vegas, Nevada. Seven days, 30,000 people showed up. Well, you should have seen some of those girls roping steers. Let me tell you, Paul that would make the heart jump a beat or two. To be more specific, years ago I attended a film festival and I don’t remember if it was in Germany or Cannes. I was representing Melanie Griffith at the time. She had been nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a movie called Working Girl. She’s a marvelous actress and I’ve known her for many, many years. She was married to Don Johnson. She’s currently married to, and has been for many years, to Antonio Banderas. Tangentially, her mother is Tippi Hedron who starred in The Birds, the Alfred Hitchcock film. Anyway, Melanie and I were at a film festival to promote Working Girl and she had done 30 or 40 interviews throughout the day. The last interview that she did, a woman walks into the room where every reporter has five minutes to ask their questions for the country they represent, and the reporter said to Melanie, “Look you’re very, very hot right now and you’re an Academy Award nominee. You receive so many scripts and you’re offered fabulous sums to do it. What is the criteria that you use to decide who you want to play? What kind of woman do you look for in a script?” And Melanie responded as follows. She said, “I look for strong women with open hearts who will back up what they say they’re going to do.” The reporter thanked her. Left the room. Melanie and I were both exhausted. I went back to my room in the hotel and I reflected during the night about her answer to that question. And the following day I had breakfast with her and I said, “You know, you taught me a great Zen object lesson last night and that was, simply, that the same thing you look for in a woman in a script for you to portray in a movie, are the same qualities that I look for in a woman to share a life with. I look for, and love, strong women with open hearts who back up what they say they’re going to do. Now, those three elements with a touch of the cowgirl sounds pretty good to me. My home number is (laughs) … sorry, just being silly.

Well, go ahead – give them the number. (Laughing)

No, no, no.

My two final questions for Elliot Mintz. Some of the best restaurants in the world are here in California, or so they say. I feel you can find out a lot about a person by this question. What is your all-time favorite meal? (Laughs) So we’ve gone from women to meals.

Great question. You know, it’s not the meal it’s who you share it with. Not only who you share it with but when you share it. I can give you a list of the top-ten restaurants in Beverly Hills – or around the world. I’ve dined in many of them. When I was in my teens or twenties, I took a young lady, the first girl who I ever loved, to a place called Du-Par’s – it was an all-night coffee shop on Ventura Boulevard – and it was late at night and we had cheeseburgers, fries, chocolate shakes, apple pie with some vanilla on the side. All these years later, I can still taste. I went the next 30, 35 years without ever tasting meat. I live off of fish and chicken. That changed a month ago. I had my first bite of meat after, I think, 35 years. But that night at Du-Par’s may remain my most memorable meal. It was … the times, it was … the lady. And man, those fries were as crispy as the kind that you used to be able to get in New York.

My final question is very appropriate here. Yoko Ono was just talking about John Lennon and she said he would have loved Facebook and Twitter. In a lot of ways I think sometimes people focus on the bad side of these things but there’s a good side to it too. It connects us all. We’re able to share messages. We’re able to see that people across the country and people across the world are not that different. This broadcast is going out all over the world. My final question is: what would you, Mr. Elliot Mintz, like to say to all of those people listening in?

Hmm. Be true to your own tweets. Do your best to express them to people in person. Never feel a need to limit your expression and understand, with all of the great promise of the social network and sites and wizardry of computers, that they can never kiss you, hold you, or caress you. That words can only go so far. In answer to your question, Paul – turn off the machines and be with someone.

Well, Elliot. Thank you so much for doing this.

Thank you so much. Might I add – and I don’t want to sound patronizing or anything like that but I’ve done a couple of hundred of these – you’re damn good at what you do. Really, really, really good and I want to encourage you to continue to engage in this form of inquiry with as many people as you can and share it with as many people as you are able to do so, because you have the divine gift of posting questions, getting out of the way, listening, and giving somebody an opportunity to reveal themselves. This one’s been a pleasure.

TRANSCRIBED BY GAYLE BRAZDA & PAUL LESLIE