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Hollywood Stories
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Tales of Hollywood
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Stephen Schochet

 

 

 

 



Hollywood Stories Speaking Engagements are great entertainment!!

 

 

"On behalf 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’s 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 “fiend” 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 “victims” 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.  “Listen 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’m telling you people never forgot it. Be a villain once, make an impact and then you can switch to heroic parts.”      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.

The Wildest Guest 

     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’s  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’s 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’s 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’t Want a Hit 

     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, “We don’t want a doctor!” 

Walt Disney’s Daughters 

     Walt Disney’s 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’t 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, “Daddy, you  never told me you were that Walt Disney,” and asked him for an autograph. 

    



Fees vary depending on the event and travel time. Please check out the Hollywood Stories' YouTube 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

 

 
 

Dear Stephen,

On behalf of the Palos Verdes Library District, I would like to thank you for a wonderful presentation on February 15th, 2005. Your delightful tales of Hollywood were not only informative but very entertaining as well. The many bursts of laughter from the group would testify to that!

It becomes very clear while listening, that your knowledge of Hollywood legend and lore is exceptional and your personal stories of meeting and greeting Hollywood celebrities were funny and insightful.

Jennifer Addington
Adult Programming Librarian
Palos Verdes Library District


 

 

 

 

Stephen Schochet