My Celebrity Spokespersons
By Jeff Salter
This is another example of a topic I’d originally suggested, but for which I no longer recall whether I had anything particular in mind. Indeed, as I’ve read the offerings of the Resident Foxes so far this week, I see completely different directions than what I had likely imagined. All to the good, of course.
I suppose what got me on this topic was musing whether Ian Fleming’s short novels about a British agent (with a license to kill) – would have gone very far… if not for the famous mention by American President John F. Kennedy. Not long afterward, James Bond was not only a household name, but the idol of most red-blooded males old enough to read the stories. Not to mention that those handful of novels and stories spawned one of the most prolific franchises in film and merchandise that the world has ever known (outside of Star Wars, of course).
One of the Foxes mentioned celebrity AUTHORS. Another mentioned Celebrity ACTORS who might play the roles of her characters, if/when those stories made it to the screen. A third Fox mentioned endorsements from sources directly connected to the subjects of her stories — whether those be organizations, TV shows, or competition athletes.
All those wonderful ideas got me to thinking about a public awareness campaign created by the American Library Association several decades ago (at least by the late 1970s, when I entered the library profession). This campaign at one time focused, I believe, on National Library Week… but later the celebrity poster series was so popular that many libraries used them as semi-permanent interior decoration. ALA took celebrities from screen, stage, politics, business, industry, music, sports, and just about any other endeavor in which popular people may be found. Each was to select her / his favorite book (or one of their favorites) and pose for a photo. The campaign was wildly successful and you can only imagine what a sales PUSH each of those titles got from the hundreds of thousands of each poster which were purchased and posted in libraries across the country.
And imagine the effect on children who idolized celebrities (such as the sports figures) and realized, “Hey, those athletes also READ.”
So what would I hope for?
Well, certainly, I’d love for the TV show that deals with tree houses to mention, on air, my novel, Stuck on Cloud Eight — because my heroine (in that tale) lives in a custom tree house. And I’d love for one of the TV shows that investigate spooks and hauntings to mention, on air, my novel, The Ghostess and MISTER Muir — because my hero (in that tale) takes up residence in an apartment carved out of a former luxurious hotel suite which is now haunted by a lovely 100-year-old ghostess.
Here are a few other celebrities whose attention I wish I could get long enough for them to read my stories and publicly endorse them:
Dale Dye – former Marine officer who now acts in various military-themed movies and also serves as a consultant on many others – could endorse my tribute to the Greatest Generation, Called to Arms Again.
Lucille Ball – (were she still living) who was superb at screwball comedy – would be a terrific endorser for my screwball comedies, Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold and Scratching the Seven-Month Itch. I can’t think of another living actress or actor who is known for that type of comedy… and please don’t suggest Will Ferrell.
My chances (of reaching a celebrity and securing their public endorsement) are pretty slim — let’s face it. But I have been thinking this week of endorsements which would not likely be as financially advantageous… but would mean a lot to me, nonetheless.
As might be expected, most of my 14 titles already released (and two more titles expected this year) have been dedicated to relatives or friends. But three (so far) and one (expected soon) are dedicated to former teachers who meant a lot to me at the time I was in their classes and whose interest and encouragement kept me writing when I may otherwise have given up.
Not necessarily because of the story’s content, the following titles are dedicated to these former teachers:
* The novella Don’t Bet On It — dedicated to my third grade teacher, Ray Katherine Netterville Dunaway.
* The novel Scratching the Seven Month Itch — dedicated to my senior English teacher, Earlene Howser Ward.
* The novella Pleased to Meet Me — dedicated to my sophomore English teacher, Rosalie Sherman.
* The as yet un-released (but hopefully soon) novel Not Easy Being Android — dedicated to my high school drama teacher, Judith Lacour.
Something that would really be meaningful to me would be if each of those teachers
* would learn that I’d dedicated a book to them (some I have not been able to track down),
* would read my story and really (sincerely) LOVE it,
* would tell all their friends and relatives about my story, and
* would brag (to everyone who would listen) about that student they knew so long ago who still remembered them (and their encouragement) so kindly.
Now that’s an endorsement that would warm the cockles of my heart!
[JLS # 367]