NOTE: Bill Persky* was
multi-tasking, decades before the word was invented... Legend has it, that he
was born directing the attending physician’s every move, while simultaneously
wiping the guy’s sweat-filled brow with tissues from a nearby box of Kleenex, re-writing prescriptions for a
dyslexic pharmacist who was passing through, and precociously ogling the nurses...
But it wasn’t until he got
out of Syracuse U. that he really started cooking – literally... Here he is, (
Above) during a moment of intense
culinary introspection while he was working the night shift in a Kosher
Vietnamese Restaurant on New York’s Lower East Side that was also populated by show
business types – hence the unusual menu that featured a plate du jour whose only
requirement was that it have - at once - both Asiatic and Hasidic origins. (Bill’s
specialty was Filet of Seoul Sole ala Shecky Greene.) However, by day, he too was
making his mark in show business, and continues to do so, having thus far :
WRITTEN, PRODUCED AND DIRECTED OVER 500
TELEVISION SHOWS INCLUDING: "THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW".... "KATE
& ALLIE", "WHO'S THE BOSS"... CREATED THE SERIES "THAT
GIRL" ... TV SPECIALS FOR MARY TYLER MOORE, BILL COSBY, DICK VAN
DYKE, GOLDIE HAWN AND SID CAESAR. WINNER OF 5 EMMYS AND A WRITER'S GUILD LIFE TIME
When I sent Bill a link to this site a few weeks ago, he responded by sending me a piece that relates directly to the site’s title and the title of the original piece I found myself writing, when a friend suggested I begin posting some stuff online, in a cyberformat, the name of which reminded me of the smell of seaweed – or is that a bog. (See Above for title of site and Below for original piece) . Bill’s accompanying note said, quite simply: “Here’s Mine”... attached to which was the following document that I offer exactly as he wrote it, apparently just a few years after he too had joined the ever-growing ranks of “The Septuagenarians.”
New Career at Age 70
If you’re on the job long enough, chances are you’ll be faced with the breakdown of some equipment, and a choice to fix, replace, or live with it. The decision rests on the importance of the part and how long you hope to stay in the business. As a result, you will get involved with a series of doctors, since they have become so specialized that there is one for each of your body’s 289 parts. The one stop GP of your youth is more of a travel agent than a healer, sending you on a never ending journey to, “the right guy for this”. Maintenance men trade “specialists”, like they used to trade golf pros who fixed their putting. Doctor visit are a big part of your new career, and learning some simple rules will help maintain your well being mentally, if not physically: don’t get upset until you have waited at least one hour after your appointment time, get them to handle the insurance and try to get samples of prescription drugs; even if you’re not taking them, you probably have a friend who is. Exercise is important for body, mind and spirit and should be practiced daily but realistically. Don’t waste time remembering how good you used to be (This also pertains to sex). Don’t push or pamper yourself but be sure to get in at least an hour a day. Walking a mile is sufficient and can usually be achieved on trips to your various doctors. Diet is a matter of choice, both in what you eat and what you believe of what you read. There are a dozen articles a week declaring how good or bad just about everything, including coffee, wine, and chocolate are for you. If you’ve come this far, eating what you’ve been eating, the chances are it will carry you the rest of the way. Though it may take a village to raise a child, three good friends are all that’s needed for your maintenance. The shared maladies and experiences keep the job in perspective, and three is the perfect number to help recall the dates, places, and names that don’t really matter, but cause untold concern, just because you can’t remember them. Memory is the most fragile of our skills and is carefully monitored. For those times, when you wake at 3 am, and need to know the name of a bit player, in a movie you didn’t even like, and you can’t reach the other two thirds of your recall team , the alphabet is a handy tool. If you run through it a couple of times, and still haven’t found the name, you’ll probably fall back to sleep in the process. The current work force still considers, if only in their own mind, the maintenance of the family as their primary function. Ours was the last generation responsible for the care and feeding of our parents and wants no one to responsible for ours, so concerns and plans for the well being of our spouse, children, and grandchildren, are a routine part of every day, as is the family pet. You’ve had him since he was a kitten or pup and is now, in animal years older than you. Chances are he’s also on medication and you have spent countless hours, and dollars, at the vet but do whatever it takes to keep him going, and feel that given the chance, he would do the same for you
The family home is also
showing signs of ware from the life and memories that were created within and
requires the attention of its own team
of specialist, the plumbers, painters, gardeners and contractors to keep it
going. To fix or sell is an on going discussion.
It's a tough demanding occupation and I have discovered, after 5 years on the job, the most important thing to maintain is a sense of humor
*Co-wrote the book for
WB&T with Don Rosenblit. That’s Don on Bill's
right --- 55 ½ years ago. (below)
As a character of Sid Caesar's might say: “Und now cums der commoicial”
WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, 2009
The Players Foundation proudly presents
“Things I’ve Done—
While Waiting For My Life To Start.”
An informal evening with Emmy Award winning
writer, director, and producer...
Bill Persky is a 5 time Emmy Award winning writer, director, and producer for
such shows as The Dick Van Dyke Show, That Girl, Sid Caesar, Bill Cosby, and
Kate & Allie.
After a start at WNEW radio in the mid-50’s, he moved to California and writing
for a variety of shows including: The Steve Allen Show, The Andy Williams
Show, Julie Andrews Show, McHales Navy, and The Joey Bishop Show until he
found a home with Carl Reiner on The Dick Van Dyke Show. After 3 years as a
writer, story editor, and two Emmys, Bill and his partner Sam Denoff, followed by
creating That Girl for Marlo Thomas.
In the 1980’s, Bill moved to New York to produce and direct 100 episodes of the
series, Kate & Allie, winning an Emmy for directing.
Join us for Bill’s delightful evening of stories, professional and personal.
This is an event you won’t want to miss.
Admission: FREE Telephone: (212) 475-6116 THE PLAYERS
Program: 7:00 p.m. Email: 16 Gramercy Park South
firstname.lastname@example.org New York, NY 10003