Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Burt Kearns & Jeff Abraham interviewed ‘Knockers Up Gal’ Rusty Warren for Legs McNeil’s

Burt Kearns and Jeff Abraham interviewed legendary musician, comedian, and leader of the sexual revolution Rusty Warren a few weeks ago in southern California.  Today, their time with the famed ‘Knockers Up Gal’ of the Fifties and Sixties has been turned into a long article posted on, the rock, pop culture and literary website based on Please Kill Me, the definitive punk rock history book penned by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain.

Burt, as you know, wrote Tabloid Baby.  Jeff is Hollywood’s leading comedy historian.  The pair collaborated on a book we can’t tell you about just yet.  Their piece on Rusty unearths many anecdotes about her life and career, and brings to the forefront for the first time the sisterhood alliance among the top female comedians of the era.

Here’s a sample, as Rusty Warren looks back at the heyday of Las Vegas:

   “In Vegas, you’d always have three comics, myself and two other people,” Rusty recalled. “We’d trade off. The men were all dressed to go onstage, except they’d pull their pants down and the gals came over and gave them blowjobs. And then: ‘Now, ladies and gentlemen… dadadadada…’ Up… Zip! Pull up, out and get out to go on. My room was right next to theirs.”
   Whether working the lounges or the big rooms, the male performers went their own way, she said, kissing up to the mobsters running the casinos or hoping to pal around with big stars like Milton Berle or that prick Jerry Lewis. The women supported each other.
   “Joan Rivers was always nice to me, even when she was working the main room,” recalls Rusty. “Phyllis Diller gave me her house when she was gone. I was there three times a year and she let me use it. Totie Fields, she was younger. Her house was nearby, she’d come round. She made it big, but she came to me as a friend because I was one who didn’t go on (in the main room) where she goes. She’d ask, ‘What should I do with so and so?’ She was very nice. It was a nice combination of friends. 
   “Las Vegas was different then. I don’t go to Vegas today.”

Read the entire article by clicking here.

(Burt and Legs go back forty years.  In the late Eighties, Legs was Burt’s editor at Spin magazine.)

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Ray Richmond’s TRANSITION is named one of the Top Ten Theatrical Productions of 2017

Congratulations are in order for Ray Richmond and the team behind the Obama-Trump comedic play TRANSITION, as the first theatrical response to the unfolding Trump era has been named one of  2017’s Top Ten Los Angeles Theatrical Productions.

The influential celeb-centric Huffington Post placed the small-theatre production alongside -- and  even above -- multi-million dollar productions at the Ahmanson Theatre (three in total) and Geffen Playhouse!

The HuffPo raves:

"Using the headline 'Democracy is a terrible thing to waste,' Ray Richmond’s hilarious reimagining of Obama turning over the White House to Trump in a private meeting is uproarious. Harry Murphy has an easy target in an orange-haired despot but it is Joshua Wolf Coleman who completely nails Obama’s speech patterns, authority and his patience.The audience delightedly finally gets to see the latter blown out of the water.

The one-act TRANSITION was a prescient imagining of what went on during the first private Oval office meeting between President Barack Obama and the unexpected President-Elect. Harry S. Murphy inhabited a Donald Trump that went far beyond the usual parody.  Joshua Wolf Coleman slipped uncannily into the Obama suit.  The play had a successful run in March and April at the Lounge Theatre in Hollywood, returning in June as a hit of the Hollywood Fringe Festival.   

Additional productions of TRANSITION are expected to be presented in cities around the country. 

Meanwhile, Richmond and Coleman have teamed up for a series of Internet shorts called The Obama Monologues.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Chris Bearde June 18, 1936 - April 23, 2017

Chris Bearde was our pal.  He was one of the greatest comedic talents in television history, with a rapier-sharp wit and young man’s rage against injustice.  

Chris created The Gong Show, produced The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour and wrote the television special Elvis, also known as the 68 Comeback. 

One of Chris’ last Facebook posts

Up until this weekend, he continued to stand up against Donald Trump and his thugs with Facebook posts that were often hilarious, always full of righteous anger and disbelief that this country he’d arrived in from Australia had come to this!  Eighty is a good run, but Chris, like Joan Rivers when she died, was so youthful, energetic and passionate right up until the moment it stopped, that the shock is real.

We’ll miss Chris Bearde.

Chris’ Facebook post last week

Thursday, March 2, 2017

A Democracy is a Terrible Thing to Waste! Don’t waste time, get your tickets to TRANSITION!

“A democracy is a terrible thing to waste!”

Now there’s a tagline!  And it’s all explained in Ray Richmond’s new play, TRANSITION, which opens March 11 at the Lounge Theatre in Hollywood.

TRANSITION enacts what could have gone on during that momentous Oval Office meeting between Oresident Barack Obama and President-Elect Donald Trump two days after Trump's improbable victory.

It’s funny, it's scary -- it gets tense!

There are previews on March 9 and 10… then it's on to the world premiere engagment of the first theatrical reaction to the Trump era.

Written by Ray Richmond.  Directed by Lee Costello.  Starring Harry S. Murphy and Joshua Wolf Coleman.

TRANSITION will run for five weekends and 16 performances, through April 9 at the Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd in Hollywood. 

Get your tickets at

Ray has reserved two pairs each for Presidents Trump and Obama.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Ray Richmond’s TRANSITION, the first theatrical work of the Trump era, premieres March 11 in Hollywood

 Lots of our pals sank into hopelessness when Donald Trump was elected president in November 2016.

Ray Richmond, our pal the journalist, critic, and “conscience of the entertainment industry” was no different.  Until he became very different and turned his outrage into a theatrical production.

TRANSITION is the name of the play. It’s about that first Oval Office meeting between President Barack Obama and president-elect Donald Trump on November 10, 2016, and has its world premiere on March 11 at the Lounge Theatre in Hollywood.The 90-minute production is described as “an imagined, dramatic recreation of the historic sitdown that took place on November 10, 2016 (two days after Trump's shocking victory in the Presidential election)... a compelling drama with comedic elements woven throughout. 

"The meeting evolves into a chess match between a man who's spent years building a legacy, and an outsider moving in to tear it all down. The play touches on issues including immigration, gun control, health care, sexism and nuclear war.”

TRANSITION stars Joshua Wolf Coleman as President Barack Obama and Harry S. Murphy as Donald Trump, and is directed by Lee Costello.

Coleman is a veteran of Guthrie Theatre and La Jolla Playhouse who's played the title role in Macbeth and Puddn'head Wilson and appeared in television series including Grey's Anatomy, House, and The West Wing.  

Joshua Wolf Coleman in Hidalgo
Murphy is a writer-performer alumnus of Second City in Chicago whose credits include Charlie Wilson’s War, Evan Almighty, Reefer Madness – The Movie Musical, Scandal, and  Curb Your Enthusiasm. 

Harry S. Murphy with Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm, Season 3 Episode 6
Director Lee Costello is a member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre. She's directed countless plays in New York and Los Angeles regional theatre including last year’s Waiting for Grace at The Odyssey Theatre, which was chosen by The Huffington Post as one of the Top Ten theatre productions in Los Angeles in 2016.  

TRANSITION is the first theatrical effort directly inspired by the Trump Era.   It’s also the first play by Ray, who’s well-known as an entertainment critic, columnist, reporter and blogger for publications including The Hollywood Reporter, Variety and the Los Angeles Times, and who's written four books.

"After the election, I was as devastated as everyone else by the fact our country was about to go to hell," Richmond says. “But when President Obama invited Trump to the Oval Office for a meeting, it struck me as a perfect construct for a two-man stage play. Writing it lifted me from my funk, driven by equal parts fear and inspiration.”

TRANSITION will run for five weekends and 16 performances, through April 9 at the Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd in Hollywood. Tickets are available at

Ray has reserved two pairs each for Presidents Trump and Obama.

Hollywood hijinks hauled out as Time presents Celebrities on Trial on Reelz!

Time Presents: Celebrities On Trial premieres this Wednesday, March 1st  -- tomorrow! -- on Reelz.  

The show presents a rogue's gallery of stars who broke the law and had to face the music in court.  Drugs, assault, thievery, divorce, drunk driving, domestic abuse, murder and general bad behaviour are just some of the reasons celebrities have wound up in hot water -- and worse.

Lindsay Lohan, Bill Cosby, Charlie Sheen, Phil Spector, Mel Gibson, Robery Downey Jr., Winona Ryder and, yes Fatty Arbuckle, are only some of the celebs who are in the docket in this one.

And Michael Jackson.  The folks at  P&L Media, who produced the show for the folks in the big Time Inc. building in lower Manhattan, have already made headlines by revealing why the dead King of Pop wore pajamas to court one day.

Peter Brennan, Lisa Lew, (the P&L) and our pal Burt Kearns are executive producers.

 Watch this if only for the unbelieveable, seemingly never-ending celebrity mug shot montages.  See if your favorite star made the grade.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Reelz special 'Time Presents Milestones 2016: A Tribute to the Stars We’ve Lost' is also a tribute to Sgt. Pepper!

Time Presents: Milestones 2016 - A Tribute to the Stars We’ve Lost premieres Wednesday, December 21st on Reelz.  Editors at Time talk about some of the major losses in film, television, music and politics in a very lively special that focuses on celebrity accomplishments rather than their deaths.

Produced by P&L Media, the show’s executive producers are Peter Brennan, Lisa Lew, (the P&L) and our pal Burt Kearns, who was, as we recall involved with a not dissimilar Sgt. Pepper’s parody.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Long live Dr. Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D.! May the Power of the Cosmos be with him! Yes! Yes! Yes!

Dr. Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D.

Word is spreading that our friend, Dr. Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D., the brilliant, legendary nuclear physicist, Mysteries from Beyond The Other Dominion host, television actor, cryptozoologist, science and pop culture expert and always optimistic performer, has passed on to the other dominion.

Dr. Ruehl always ended every conversation or note with these words:

“May The Power of The Cosmos Be with you!
Yes!  Yes!  Yes!”

Yes!  Yes!  Yes!

“Gi-yee!”  Dr. Ruehl was famous for his “straw-through-the-potato” experiment

Now he is at one with the Cosmos.  Hollywood will not see his likes again.

Dr. Ruehl lives!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Screengrab: Burt Kearns graphic in Kardashian special on Reelz

Burt Kearns is frozen and identified in the REELZ television news special, KARDASHIAN: THE MAN WHO SAVED OJ SIMPSON.  Along with recalling his exploits in breaking news and making history in the OJ Simpson case, Kearns was an executive producer of the high-rating, newsmaking television program.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Reelz special: Producer Kearns shows how he nailed Robert Kardashian's role in OJ Simpson coverup

Veteran television and film producer Burt Kearns of Good Story Productions reaches back more than twenty years in his latest television project, showing for the first time how he broke a major story -- and made history --  in the OJ Simpson murder case.  

Robert Kardashian: The Man who Saved OJ Simpson premieres tomorrow evening, Monday, on the Reelz network.  Its highlight is Kearns’ frame-by-frame dissection of videotaped evidence,  as he details his discovery that OJ Simpson's pal Robert Kardashian slipped away with Simpson's Louis Vuitton garment bag the morning after the murders of Simpson's ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman.

The hourlong special is a production of P&L Media.  Kearns wrote and produced the special along with P&L honchos Peter Brennan and Lisa Lew, and makes a rare on-camera appearance, leading viewers through the incriminating footage, frame by frame.

July 1994: Kearns with editor Jack Foster as he "catches" Kardashian
Under Brennan's leadership, the trio worked together in 1994 on the short-lived but incredibly influential late night news show Premier Story, which was already leading the rest of the news media in coverage of the Simpson case when Kearns made the discovery of the incriminating American Airlines and Hertz Rentacar tags on video four weeks after the murder.

The Reelz special also includes much Premier Story footage that hasn't been seen in more than twenty years, including a focus on cameraman-producer "Hi-8 Joe" Guidry and action footage featuring  Premier Story's star and crusading journalist host, Alison Holloway.

Brennan, Lew and Kearns most recently worked together on P&L's controversial Reelz documentary special, El Chapo & Sean Penn: Bungle In The Jungle, and this latest offering promises to be just as newsmaking.

Kearns wrote about "The Bag" in his memoir/tabloid television history book, Tabloid Baby.

Here's an excerpt from Chapter 28 of Tabloid Baby, "Where's The Bag, Mr. Kardashian?":

             Premier Story had been on the air five weeks when the Simpson pretrial hearing ended on July eighth.  Along with all the evidence revealed in the televised proceedings, many of the faces we couldn’t put names to in the hours after the murders were identified and developed into important characters.

            None was more intriguing than Robert Kardashian, O.J. Simpson’s close friend and business partner.  Kardashian read Simpson’s supposed suicide note the day of the Bronco chase and later reactivated his law license to help in his friend’s defense.
            We had video from the morning after the murders showing Kardashian waiting at the mansion gate for Simpson to arrive home from Chicago.  When Simpson was led in by police, Kardashian remained planted inside.  A woman who’d accompanied Simpson from the airport walked over to Kardashian with a stuffed garment bag.  She and Kardashian embraced. She put her head on his shoulder.  It looked as if they were crying, but when I blew up the tape, it was obvious he was whispering something., His eyes scanned the scene.
            When Simpson was led put to be driven to police headquarters for questioning, Kardashian took the garment bag and scooted away, unnoticed by anyone but another observant KCOP cameraman.
            We noticed the man.  We just didn't know who he was at the time.

            We promoted the story on the Kardashian tape to run the following Monday, four weeks after the murders.  It would be a look back at the mysterious doings outside the mansion and the people we didn't know then, but knew all too well now.  It made for a good promo.
            On Monday, July eleventh, editor Jack Foster and I squeezed into the tiny airless editing closet and began work on the piece.  I had him slow the tape, stop and start it, even zoom in on faces n the crowd as I tried to find a story angle to fit the promo.
            "Let it run in slow motion," I instructed him, sipping coffee as I watched little Kardashian, in his jeans and polo short, walk away with the suitcase.
            "Can you make it slower?"
Slower.  The police officers were concerned with keeping the cameras away from the car holding Simpson. Attorney Howard Weitzman seemed to make eye contact with Kardashian before calling over to the lead detective and placing an arm over his shoulder. Kardashian and the woman were on the move, walking past cops and detectives. Detective Bert Luper almost bumped into him walking out of the driveway.
            The big Louis Vuitton garment bag-- we could tell by the markings-- was too heavy for the little man.  He switched hands, and as he did, I noticed something.  "Roll that back."
            "You got it."
            "Real slow."  I leaned toward the screen.  My eyes had to be fooling me.
            Kardashian moved slowly in reverse. The bag changed hands. Three tags flew up from the handle.
            "Freeze it!"
            Jack did. "Back a little. Thanks."
            Three tags: one said Hertz; the others were for American Airlines.
            "Fuck me."
            "What is it?"
            "Fuck me."
            Simpson, the Hertz spokesman, flew American Airlines to and from Chicago. It was O.J. Simpson's bag; the one he brought back from Chicago; the one police were searching for. They’d never found a murder weapon or bloody clothes --  or the Louis Vuitton garment bag.
            Robert Kardashian was getting away with O.J. Simpson’s garment bag --and who knows what else.
            Holy shit.

  Kardashian: The Man Who Saved OJ Simpson premieres Monday June 13, 9 pm ET/PT

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Frank, Dean & Sammy! Producer inks the Rat Pack

Word’s in that our man Burt Kearns, the writer-producer who made headlines in 2014 as one of the few people in show business (Richard Belzer is another) to have the famous Jerry Lewis caricature tattooed on his arm, has taken his obsession to a new level with the Rat Pack.

A version of the classic Three Hipsters work by the artist Shag was inked by acclaimed tattooist Mister Crankee at the So Cal Tattoo and Art Gallery on Ventura Blvd in Tarzana.

This is one of Crankee’s last works before he takes his inks and needles to Mike Devries’ MD Tattoo Studio in Northridge on Monday.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Burt Kearns’ FX OJ Simpson billboard tweet leads to article, re-argument of the case and criticism of series

Burt Kearns is once again stirring up OJ Simpson debate.  The former "tabloid television titan” and author of Tabloid Baby, the definitive book on the era (with one hundred pages dedicated to the OJ trial era), has caused an uproar over the FX series, The People vs. OJ Simpson, that spread today from Facebook to the national newsmedia.

His observations about the ads for the show led to lots of argument -- and an item on AdWeek’s Fishbowl LA site:

FX Billboards Fly in the Face of OJ

by Richard Horgan on Feb 3, 2016

If the glove doesn’t fit, you must… take some creative license.

Our Facebook pal Burt Kearns, a longtime TV and film producer, showrunner and writer, covered the OJ trial for Premier Story and A Current Affair. Following Tuesday night’s premiere, he ruminated as follows:

So here’s my issue. I covered the case. And in court, the glove… did… not… fit. So why does it fit so well in the ads?
‪#‎PeopleVsOJSimpson ‪#‎MarkFuhrman ‪#‎TabloidBaby

Touche! Although at least one commenter responded to Kearns’ Facebook thoughts by suggesting that the glove did in fact fit and OJ’s struggle to put it on was an act. If you believe that, then Ryan Murphy and co. with these marketing materials are tipping how they ultimately feel about the trial outcome.

Kearns, in his 1999 book Tabloid Baby, touched on many aspects of the Simpson case. It will be interesting to see if and-or how the FX true crime series encompasses something else in that Kearns tome. Namely, that he spied Robert Kardashian making off with OJ’s Louis Vuitton bag the morning OJ returned from Chicago.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Gonzo comedy High There named one of Top Ten Documentaries of 2015!

Talk about a twist during Hollywood’s awards season: High There, the very independent nonfiction gonzo comedy film about one man’s marijuana-stoked exploits in Hawai’i, has been named one of the Top Ten Documentaries of 2015!

This mid-January surprise comes from the very influential and respected indie movie site A Bucket of Corn (as in popcorn), which in July praised High There as “a perfect film” (“possibly one of the best documentaries I have seen in a long time... truly original and a perfect example of everything to do in a memorable, wild, over-the-top and perfect piece of filmed cinema”).

And if a Top Ten designation isn’t enough for the BRINKvision hit, High There is ranked on the Top Ten list-- above Amy, the much-hyped, big budget Amy Winehouse documentary that’s been nominated for an Academy Award®!

So congratulations to our pals for making “The Bucket List": directors and stars Wayne Darwen and Henry Goren of Rat Lung Pictures, producer Burt Kearns, of Good Story Productions, Sam Peters at Sam Peters International Productions Unlimited (and his very effective Sam Peters Public Relations) and David Pike at BRINKvision.

(And if you haven’t seen High There, it’s available on limited edition DVD... and on demand at sites like, Amazon, Vimeo, Fandor and Google Play.)