Sunday, February 28, 2010

Michael Blosil and Andrew Koenig's Message For The Rest Of Us

It was a tragic, ironic twist of fate in learning that Marie Osmond's 18-year-old son Michael Blosil had committed suicide, just after I campaigned here for "Donny & Marie's" return to ABC for a new Friday night variety show.

What made matters worse, of course, is that this very sad event transpired only days after "Star Trek" actor Walter Koenig and his wife learned that their son, Andrew, at only 41-years-old, had also killed himself.

The reason for both tragedies?

Depression, exacerbated by the not-so-always-bright Hollywood spotlight.

Both Michael and Andrew had become victims of a negative, addictive philosophy that is all too-prevelant in today's award-infested entertainment industry, and in the world, in general:

Let's call it the "You're-not-good-enough-unless-I-tell-you-so" disease.

Like so many people today of all ages, in and out of show business, Michael and Andrew's self-worth seemed to be caught in a vicious co-dependency with how others viewed their life and work.

Michael and Andrew seemingly had everything going for them, and yet, when depressed, they found little comfort in the world around them. And they lacked the ability to comfort themselves in that world - a world that once included performing in a hit TV show (Andrew in the long-gone 1990s sitcom, "Growing Pains") - and being the product of a once happy, now defunct marriage (Michael, as her mother Marie Osmond divorced his father).

Please, let's find the inner-ability to remain strong, while the world around us becomes weak.

Let's stop worrying so much about what other people think. And instead, as actress Marlo Thomas once so wonderfully relayed in her classic 1970s TV special of the same name, let's be "Free To Be You And Me."

And let's become conscious and mindful enough to sincerely offer loving-kindness, support and encouragement to one another - and ourselves - as much as possible - without there being anything it in for us, or earning the "acceptance" of others...Oscar or no Oscar...job or no job...happy family or no happy family.

On one particular "down" day, your loving-kind words may be just the thing that saves your own or someone else's life.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

"Donny & Marie" Belong Back On ABC Friday Nights

The re-do game is a tough nut to crack - but not when it comes to having Donny and Marie Osmond mark a return to weekly prime-time television with a reboot of their music variety show.

Remakes and reunions of previous hit television programs, either for the small screen or large, usually fail. Mostly because those involved with the show are more concerned with placing their mark on a particular project, as opposed to concerning themselves with what made the original series a hit in the first place. Or because they are not loyal to the premise or mythology of the original series.

Another reason such rehashes do not succeed is because the on-screen performers have either passed away, are ill, and/or are replaced with new performers.

With regard to the latter, in particular, such is not the case with Donny and Marie.

Both are still alive, look great and have retained their enormous amount of talent. What's more, their talented pool of family membership is getting deeper by the minute. In addition to older brothers, Alan, Wayne, Merril, Jay, and Jimmy there are children, nieces, nephews, etc.

The Osmond form of family entertainment is a breath of fresh air in today's world, and loyal, original, nostalgic and new fans will flock to watch their show (which recommendedly should be scheduled for it original 8:00 PM on Friday night - and on it's original network: ABC).

Donny and Marie's marketedability, in particular, is on the upswing in a big way. Donny is a recent victor from "Dancing With The Stars," Marie has recently signed to do a talk show (due to her increased visibility as a spokesperson for Weight Watchers), and their new live stage show in Vegas is a massive hit.

It's just plain time for the new "Donny and Marie Show."

Friday, February 26, 2010

Happiness Is Vital To Your Health

Nothing else matters in this world unless you have your health. And one of the ways that to always insure your health, is through finding happiness and retaining a joyful heart.

Below is a excerpt from a wonderful website that points out just how important being happy is to your physical health. It's followed by the direct link to the site itself.

"Everyone has experienced that sense of well-being and exuberance from happiness and joy. The eyes shine, the cheeks glow, and the heart beats faster. You suddenly seem to bloom. It is an infectious thing as well as a social uplift. Your happiness makes you radiant, yet few realize what chemical changes this emotion causes in your body. There is a powerful chain of glands, the pituitary, thyroid and the adrenals which, when stimulated by happiness, pour their secretions directly into the blood-stream. This combined secretion forms a potent antiseptic and stimulant which was called by the ancients, "the elixir of life." The body under this condition becomes impervious to all disease, resulting in a state of, health and well-being."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dan Weaver's "Dad Had Twenty Hearts," Too

My great friend Dan Weaver emailed me in response to one of my recent blog posts, titled, "My Dad Had Twenty Hearts." Here, I talk about my experience with my Dad in 1994, when he was ill - and how I was torn between staying by his side and leaving for an out-of-town assignment (which see the blog post dated February 14th).

In any case, Dan's response to my initial post was so touching, I asked him if I could share it in public on as a separate post. To my honor, he agreed. Here now is what he said:


"That is a beautiful story, Herbie. Do you remember what you used the $20 for? Somehow, even if it was subconcious, that money served a purpose that advanced your career.

How wonderful that your Dad understood how much that trip and your writing meant to you. My Dad was concerned about my TV career and for the longest time discouraged it, wanting me to become a doctor to work in private practice with him--he was a physcial therapist. But I had one of those moments like you when I knew how proud he was of me.

Towards the end of his life he came to visit one of his sons from his second marriage who was serving in the Marines in San Diego. He rode the train up to LA to visit Lee and me. I arranged to get tickets to The Tonight Show, not fully understanding how he loved that show and never missing it each night. The VIP seats allowed for us to get a photo with Jay [Leno] after the show. My 6'4" dad, a former boxer once weighing in at 225 with few fears, was literally speechless. Jay even told him to calm down.

At that moment, I was the biggest producer in Hollywood. That picture was framed and used at his funeral; he talked about that experience much.

It's so important that we have the validation of our fathers. For you, that walk to the pool and his gift was truly priceless. Thanks for sharing it and stirring my memories as your work so often does."

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Power and "Influence" of Positive Television

I have always believed that television, and popular television, in particular, is an untapped resource for education. Shows like "Bewitched," "Kung Fu," "The Six Million Dollar Man," "The Bionic Woman," and "Life Goes On," as well as many, many others, hold insight for for us all. And I make the attempt to present that insight with my TV & Self Esteem Seminars (which I offer to schools, colleges, business organizations, and senior and community centers).

In their wonderful book, titled, INFLUENCER: THE POWER TO CHANGE ANYTHING (McGraw-Hill, 2008), co-authors Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler point out just how amazing an influence the power of positive television may and does have.

Early in their book, they point out how TV producer Miguel Sabido, of Mexico City, has created a method for influencing hundreds of thousands of people at a time. They write:

"Sabido has perfected strategies for changing how people think and bheave by producing life-changing soap operas - of all things. At one point, when Sabido aimed his popular TV show Ven Conmigo (Come With Me) at improving literacy (a problem that had remained intractable for decades), his TV characters propelled over a quatger of a million viewers into the streets of Mexico City - all in search of free literary booklets that were shown on the program. Sabidio's work in entertainment education has now been replicated in dozens of countries with remarkable success. A careful review of his work helps us understand how to use one of the world's best tools for helping others willingly change their minds."

And yet INFLUENCER: THE POWER TO CHANGE ANYTHING does not just detail and verify the positive influence that a TV producer and his show may have in one particular city. It remains true to its subtitle, as explains and validates the positive influence that any one of us may have with any one of our singular lives and ideas - be it personal or professional - in our families, work environments or with anyone, anywhere - around the world.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My Dad Had Twenty Hearts

Way back in 1994, when I was doing early research for THE "BIONIC" BOOK, I was fortunate enough to visit the set of the third and final "Bionic" reunion movie, "Bionic Ever After," when "Steve Austin" (as played by Lee Majors) and "Jaime Sommers" (Lindsay Wagner) finally married. The movie was being filmed in Charleston, South Carolina - a place I had then yet to visit.

Meanwhile, and unfortunately, my Dad was suffering from lung cancer back in my hometown of Rochester NY, and I was about whether or not to leave him for the film.

But my Dad, ever stoic, insisted that I take the trip. He knew how much being on the set of that movie would ultimately mean and contribute to my book. He also knew that I needed a rest from caregiving. That's the kind of man that he was.

So, I made my plans to leave for Charleston. Yet, before doing so, I took a walk with my Dad to the pool that was part of the townhome complex where we lived.

There I was - young, healthy, excited about the trip. And yet sad...because I was walking with my elderly, ill father, who only months before, had been the picture of health himself. In fact, he had not been sick a day in his life, and at 83-years-old, he had always looked much younger. If anyone could have been a movie-star, it was my Dad.

But not at the time of our walk. Not with his walker. And not with the tubes that ran from his nose to the oxygen tank.

My Dad's heart, however, was in peak condition, physically and emotionally. His pride was there for his son - as was his generosity - which was "on the money."

For in the middle of the walk, my Dad stopped, and reached into his pocket and pulled out a twenty-dollar bill - which he had somehow prepared to give me before we started the walk.

"Here," he said, "you take this...for your trip. In case you need it."

At this point, of course, I was making money as a writer. Not hundreds of thousands, but certainly enough to get me to Charleston and back.

But I could not turn away from Dad's mere twenty-dollar offer.

I looked in his eyes. The sincerity, with which he was giving me that small amount of money, was so loving-kind, pensive and massive. It would have cracked his heart in two had I rejected his offer.

What's more, by this time, the cancer in his lungs had slightly started to affect his emotions - and his thinking. My Dad's age, combined with the general inability to grasp onto just how different the world had become, how twenty dollars was really not a lot of money - for a young man or even a senior - all worked to cloud his perspective.

Ultimately, for my Dad, that twenty dollars was a lot of money. For me, it was a modest amount that became a priceless gift.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A few reviews of "Life Goes On" book..

"...a real heartfelt and terrific behind-the-scenes chronicle of those four wonderful years of 'Life Goes On.'"

- Bill Smitrovich (actor, father on the show)

" amazing book......totally captures the essence of 'Life Goes On.'"

- Michael Lange (director)


"...extremely well done and easily accurate trip to a most wonderful extraordinary effort."

- Michael Braverman (series creator)