August 16, 2016

A very long time ago, Sheilah Graham was on television


Sheilah Graham: powerful Hollywood gossip columnist, Melville House author, and, if you were around in the sixties… spokesperson for pens?


This does indeed seem like the best $1.69 a constant scribbler might spend in 1960, when this commercial first aired. (According to detailed calculations, adjusted for inflation, the pen would cost approximately $475,922.69 today.)

If that doesn’t exhaust your appetite for Sheilah Graham-laden proof of the wild changes in what TV looks like, you can also watch this amazing clip, from a couple years later, of Graham serving as the Mystery Guest in an episode of What’s My Line?, featuring as contestants Random House co-founder Bennett Cerf, entertainment journalist Dorothy Kilgallen, and frequent game show panelists (slash proof that being a “frequent game show panelist” was once something you could be famous for) Robert Q. Lewis and Arlene Francis.

It’s certainly an interesting clip. Graham answers every question asked of her with a little birdsong that ends with an exclamation in French. At one point, host John Charles Daly proclaims of Cerf, “There’s the publisher, speaking the truth again!” And there’s an interesting, brief discussion of what Ernest Hemingway’s then newly (and posthumously) published memoir A Moveable Feast had to say about Graham’s former lover, F. Scott Fitzgerald.