Hollywood Stories Speaking Engagements
are great entertainment!!
of the Rotary Club of Alhambra I would like to thank you for speaking to
our club; the stories and anecdotes you shared were very entertaining."
†-- Mark R. Paulson, Program Chair
Make your next event a fun one with Stephen Schochet, "Hollywood's Ultimate Storyteller". He is available to travel throughout the USA and can tailor his vast material to suit your needs. Here are some samples of the thousands of stories Stephen has collected over the years:
¬†The Universal Maniac¬†
¬†¬† ¬† In 1999, an Australian gentleman told me about an interesting experience he¬†and his family had at¬† Universal Studios. They were on the backlot tour passing one of the¬†theme park‚Äôs main attractions,¬† the Bates Motel used in the 1960 horror classic¬†Psycho, about¬† a murderous young man named Norman Bates who loved his mother a little too much. As¬† the guide gave out information about how director Alfred Hitchcock shot the picture, a tall¬† man, dressed in drag and carrying a large knife, emerged from behind the old set and¬† charged toward the tram. The narrator seemed to know nothing about the Norman Bates¬† look-alike and clammed up completely. The make-believe killer wore such a convincing¬† maniacal expression that some of the paying customers were frightened and¬† screamed when he raised his weapon. Then the ‚Äúfiend‚ÄĚ pulled off his wig and¬† he turned out to be comic Jim Carrey;¬†the thirty-seven-year-old star was¬† clowning around during a work break. After his laughing ‚Äúvictims‚ÄĚ calmed¬† down, Jim was happy to pose for pictures and sign autographs.¬†
The Image-Conscious Terminator
¬†¬† ¬† Arnold Schwarzenegger was unsure if playing the title role in the 1984 science fiction¬† thriller¬†The Terminator¬†would be good for his image. The future California governor¬† was well aware that one of his idols, former actor turned President Ronald Reagan, usually had taken nice-guy roles.¬† Did Arnold really want to risk his standing with the public to portray a murderous robot with very little dialogue?¬† Schwarzenegger had a meeting with Mike Medavoy, the head of Orion Pictures.¬† ‚ÄúListen Arnold, you should play a bad guy once.¬† When I was a kid I saw Richard Widmark as a killer in a movie called¬†Kiss of Death.¬† He pushed an old lady in a wheelchair down the stairs and laughed like a maniac.¬† I‚Äôm telling you people never forgot it. Be a villain once, make an impact and then you can switch to heroic parts.‚ÄĚ ¬†¬† ¬† Arnold agreed to sign onto the movie that would make him a superstar.¬† Medavoy never mentioned that in 1948, after Widmark did his evil turn, some elderly ladies stopped the actor in the street and slapped his face.
¬†¬† ¬† Longtime staff at the old Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles had many¬† candidates for the most outrageously behaved celebrity guest. There were the¬† hammy Barrymore brothers who always tried to outdo one another;¬†after the¬† drunken John earned many stares for bringing his pet monkey in the hotel‚Äôs¬† famed Moroccan-style club, the Coconut Grove, Lionel arrived there with seven¬† chimps. Chaos erupted when the well-dressed guests chased the animals as they¬† swung through the paper Mache trees. Then there was famed movie theater¬† owner Sid Grauman who told Charlie Chaplin that he found a dead body in his¬† hotel bed. The tramp fled in terror when Sid pulled back the blankets, not¬† realizing he was looking at a wax dummy covered in ketchup. But it was hard to¬† top the antics of actress Tallulah Bankhead who once called for room service,¬† answered the door in the buff and told the bell boy no tip;¬†she had nothing on¬† her.¬†
Marlene‚Äôs Wartime Regret¬†
¬†¬† ¬† Marlene Dietrich found her true calling entertaining the Allied troops in¬† 1943. The forty-two-year-old actress, who never enjoyed making movies, got a¬† crash course in how to talk to audiences. Nothing could be tougher or more¬† fulfilling than performing in front of young men who might die in battle the¬† next day. The Berlin-born American citizen overcame suspicions that she was¬† actually an Axis spy, and was proud of spurning Hitler‚Äôs request to return to¬† Germany. After World War II ended, she enjoyed being a lusty cabaret singer¬† for many years and tried never to take herself too seriously. Marlene, whose¬† long list of romances ranged from John Wayne to General Patton, once¬† mentioned to her husband that she should have married Hitler back in the¬† thirties, and then there would have been no war. She laughed when he agreed¬† and stated that the Fuhrer would have killed himself much sooner.¬†
We Don‚Äôt Want a
¬†¬† ¬† Executives at United Artists Studio were unimpressed viewing the initial¬† footage of Sean Connery playing James Bond in the 1962 spy thriller¬†Dr. No.¬† The thirty-two-year-old Scottish actor, whose receding hairline was carefully¬† hidden by a toupee, seemed to change his accent in almost every scene. Sure,¬† the former Mr. Universe runner-up was a formidable presence, but did Connery¬† have the sophistication to play the suave super spy 007, a role originally meant¬† for Cary Grant? The studio kept the completed film on the shelf for many¬† months before releasing it in England where it was a smash. Well, it had to be a¬† fluke;¬†Bond was English, after all. Six months later, they released it in the USA¬† where it did great again.¬†Dr. No¬†led to a hugely successful James Bond franchise¬† and made Sean Connery an international star. It failed only in Japan, where¬† movie-theater owners translated¬†Dr. No¬†to read, ‚ÄúWe don‚Äôt want a doctor!‚ÄĚ¬†
¬†¬† ¬† Walt Disney‚Äôs two daughters, Sharon and Diane, grew up sheltered from the¬† limelight. The children had no images of Mickey Mouse around their home.¬† Their father didn‚Äôt go to many parties, preferring to stay in after a long day of¬† work. Sometimes he would playfully chase the youngsters upstairs, cackling like¬† the evil peddler woman in¬†Snow White. When they behaved badly, Walt would¬† admonish them with a raised eyebrow;¬†his stern demeanor inspired the¬† character of the wise old owl, in the 1942 animated feature¬†Bambi. As toddlers,¬† the brainy Diane and beautiful Sharon stayed blissfully unaware that their¬† parents worried about them being kidnapped and allowed no pictures of the¬† sisters to be publicly circulated. Once in 1939, a curious classmate questioned¬† six-year-old Diane about her family. She went home and said, ‚ÄúDaddy, you¬† never told me you were that Walt Disney,‚ÄĚ and asked him for an autograph.¬†
Fees vary depending on the event and travel time. Please check out the Hollywood Stories' channel for more samples of Stephen's storytelling.
"Probably one of the most entertaining
and knowledgeable guests in regards to the movies."
Joe Mazza, King Of Late Night Radio, the Genesis Radio Network
"The best storyteller about Hollywood
we've ever heard!"
Tim Sika, Celluoid Dreams, KSJS Radio San Jose, CA