Just when you think you’ve got it taped


Morrie Gelman’s piece shook loose a memory of my own. It was the late ’60s and I was entertainment editor of the late Miami Beach Sun as well as a stringer for Variety. After taping an hour-plus interview with Leslie Bricusse, longtime collaborator with Tony Newley, we switched to playback and heard, as Syd would have said, “bupkes.”

The microphone connection was loose and, while it was good enough to make the VU meter react, there was nada on the tape.

I apologized and said I’d try to reconstruct something from my brief notes. Bricusse said: “No, let’s do it again tomorrow,” then told me a sad story of his own.

When he was first married and had no money for a honeymoon, he got a British radio outlet (I don’t remember which) to foot the bill for a trip in return for which he’d do interviews with singers and musicians on the Continent. He did, but never listened to any of it along the way, figuring he’d go over it all when he got back to England.

You guessed it! There was something wrong with the recorder and he had many feet of empty tape when he returned. So he didn’t mind having the chance to make this one good.

BTW, I saw him that night at a nearby table in the Hotel Fontainebleau’s Club Gigi seated with an amazingly beautiful woman and a very good looking man. Bricusse waved me over and introduced me to Natalie Wood and her husband Richard Gregson.