By Hollywood Book Publicist Charlie Barrett of The Barrett Company
Long before I became a book publicist…I was Jay Leno’s very first publicist at NBC’s
“Tonight Show” when he was named guest host in 1987 for Mr. Johnny Carson. In those days of my career in Hollywood, I served as the network’s staff PR director for
“Tonight.” Monday was Mr. Johnny Carson’s day-off from the “Tonight Show” and for years NBC had numerous guest hosts “fill in” for Johnny. In 1987, Jay shared the duties as “temp” Monday night guest host with Gary Shandling (“The Larry Sanders Show”) -- after the abrupt departure of Joan Rivers, who for years was the show’s permanent Monday night guest host.
Lately, I have been reading and re-reading Jay’s most popular book, “Leading With My Chin.” It is a very funny, curious and sometimes painfully honest account of his early life in Massachusetts, his parents and how he made it big in the entertainment biz after years and years of struggling. For a good read, I totally recommend this book (with co-author Bill Zehme) from Harper Collins publishers. See www.amazon.com for copies.
I found Jay in those late 1980’s days at NBC to be very easy going, always eager and ready to do whatever media interviews I asked him to do. That worked out well for me since Mr. Carson rarely did any media interviews whatsoever. Jay was as quick-witted as they come and, as many of you may recall, a comic Mr. Carson invited on the show many times before he became a guest host. Jay’s wry and sharp-witted sense of humor that he has developed so well over the years has served him well as evidenced by his continued long run and late night popularity as host of “Tonight.”
When Mr. Carson retired, Jay assumed the late night throne on “Tonight” in 1992. Jay eagerly invited my new PR client - Mr. Ed McMahon - on the show in 1993, just before Ed and I were scheduled to cross the USA in Ed’s specially-equipped tour bus to publicize his series “Star Search” which was produced at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Jay was so gracious, warm, respectful and hospitable to Ed that day when he returned to
“Tonight.” Ed even started to tear-up a bit, since the last time he sat in that “famous chair” next to “the desk” was the night of May 22, 1992 when he and Mr. Carson bid their audience good-bye after nearly 30 years at NBC. Since those days I have returned to the “Tonight Show” green room (the back stage lounge) numerous times to watch Jay and his guests even if I did not have a client with me as a billed performer.
I particularly recall one very humorous incident in 1990 with Jay. His alma mater, Emerson College sent an emissary to the show to present Jay with a citation for being a “famous alumni.” When the NBC photographer took the photo of Jay and the Emerson man for the college newspaper, Jay quipped, “My professors at Emerson told me I should forget show biz….hmmm.”
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~ ~ ~ GIVEAWAY ~ ~ ~
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This giveaway is part of the Barrett Company Hollywood Publicity Tour hosted by Pump Up Your Book. There are a lot of great blogs participating in this Kindle Fire giveaway. After you enter, check out the other stops on the Barrett Company Hollywood Publicity Tour and enter there too!
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The Kindle Fire promotion will run March 5 – 23, 2012. Winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email and announced on March 24, 2012.
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About The Barrett Company:Media expert & advisor Charles Barrett formed The Barrett Company in 1991 as a full service media relations and media marketing/communications agency. The Los Angeles headquartered firm offers 21st century integrated media outreach and media marketing expertise with an emphasis on the entertainment and leisure time industries serving authors/publishers, Hollywood celebrities, motion pictures, and television. Since inception, TBC has served such companies as Simon & Schuster, Globe Pequot Press, Norton Publishers, Warner Brothers Studios, American Movie Classics cable channel, ABC TV, CBS TV, Fox Television, self-published author publishers such as Xlibris, Author House, I-Universe and numerous celebrities from Johnny Carson to Ed McMahon to Kevin Costner to Oprah Winfrey (Oprah’s Big Give television series on ABC).
The Barrett Company also assists attorneys and their clients, managing media coverage in civil and criminal cases from California to New York in both state and federal courts.
Mr. Barrett formed the firm after serving in top public relations positions with the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) for more than ten years, where he was in charge of media relations for The Tonight Show and Today, among other well-known NBC shows such as Unsolved Mysteries, Fame and numerous highly-rated NBC specials, including The American Film Institute Awards and The American Movie Awards.
Mr. Barrett has also held executive media relations posts with 20th Century Fox Film Corporation in New York and Capitol Records in Hollywood, New York and London, where he helped launch recorded music by The Beatles, The Band and many other music artists.
When earlier basing in New York City, Mr. Barrett assisted major publishers with publicity campaigns for a number of New York Times best-selling authors, serving such publishers as Scribner’s, Simon & Schuster, Norton, John Wiley & Sons, Warner Books and Golden Books, among many others.
The Barrett Company serves major publisher and self-published authors with Harper Collins, Little Brown, Penguin Press, i-Universe, Oxford University Press, Viking Press, Xlibris, Random House, Holm Press, Ben Bella Books, Author House, SMU Press, NYU Press, creating and performing a range of publicity services and media outreach for both fiction and non-fiction book releases.
Charles Barrett began his media career as a reporter with The Associated Press in New Haven, CT and later served on the editorial staffs of both The Hollywood Reporter in Los Angeles and Billboard Publications in New York. He has also authored numerous articles for magazines and newspapers on the performing arts and travel as well as appearing as a contributor on major U.S. radio talk shows discussing celebrities, films, television and books. He was voted the Book Publicist of the Year award by the Southern California Book Pub Society recently. Charles is a member of The Publishers Association of Los Angeles, The Academy of TV Arts and Sciences (Emmy Award) and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (The Oscars ®).
The Barrett Company is well known and regarded among the world’s media outlets for its credibility and creativity. Through years of client assignments we have developed remarkable and successful campaigns for our wide range of authors/publishers, Hollywood creatives, companies and celebrities, which have paved the way for us to produce media, consumer and trade events of all descriptions both in the United States and overseas, from Book Expo to NATPE (the renowned annual television program executive conference) to Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, The Frankfurt Book Fair to filmdom’s Show West as well as MIP in France, The Beverly Hills Film Festival and The Cannes International Film Festival.
TBC’s experience, skills and knowledge in various professional disciplines have enabled the company to offer programs we are proud of, including trade and consumer publicity campaigns, Internet publicity campaigns, crisis communications management, new company and celebrity launches, trade show media awareness, marketing communications solutions, and consultancy to in-house publicity firms in publishing, film and television. No assignment is too big or too small. TBC possesses a keen awareness of the workings of the global media – - including but not limited to print, broadcast and digital – - and has demonstrated over the years the ability to create stunning and effective media outreach models for valued clients, be they well established, or start-ups, or beginning careers as authors and celebrities.
A key professional on The Barrett Company team is Vice President John Michaeli, who offers international and domestic public relations/communications expertise with a proven track record of developing, implementing and directing strategic marketing campaigns. Mr. Michaeli is a crisis communications specialist, having served many studios and networks dealing with a range of public issues in both personnel to products areas. Mr. Michaeli has held senior management posts with PR agencies and companies in the entertainment, technology, new media, network TV and public relations industries, including Walt Disney Studios, Fox Family Channel, Warner Brothers, Pax TV and Hanna-Barbera, the renowned animation studio in Hollywood where he served as VP of Marketing.
Representing TBC in New York is publicist and author Ward Morehouse III, who served as media contact at NBC for NBC Nightly News and was also was a Vice President at Jack Raymond & Associates, a top New York public relations firm. Mr. Morehouse has authored several books on the world’s top hotels from The Plaza to The Waldorf Astoria and most recently released his latest book, London’s Grand Hotels. He also created and maintains the New York City web portal www.broadwayafterdark.com.
TBC is proud of its association with renowned film marketing professional Jerry Pam. Mr. Pam’s accomplished film marketing career ranges from his days with The Beatles on their hit films, A Hard Day’s Night and Help, to films like Chocolat, Cinema Paridiso, Cider House Rules, the Oscar ® winner Shakespeare in Love and Good Will Hunting, among many, many other pictures. He earlier created remarkable film marketing campaigns for Apocalypse Now, Last Tango in Paris, American Graffiti, The Conversation and Midnight Express. Jerry has represented numerous screen and television personalities, including Michael Caine, Roger Moore, Jaclyn Smith and Robert Stack, in addition to well known authors such as Sidney Sheldon, Jackie Collins, Judith Krantz and Morris West. His corporate clients have ranged from Rolls Royce to Mouton Cadet Wines, and Faberge to General Mills.
The Barrett Company represents author Carla Malden (who co-wrote her father Karl Malden’s biography When Do I Start?) for her forthcoming book Afterimage from Globe Pequot Press. TBC created the media marketing campaign for film producer/agent Marty Jurow (Breakfast At Tiffany’s, The Pink Panther and Terms of Endearment) and his tales of Hollywood’s Golden Age — Marty Jurow Seein’ Stars: A Show Biz Odyssey, a hardbound work published by Southern Methodist University Press. In his book, Mr. Jurow tells riveting vignettes and stories about Jack Lemmon, Karl Malden, Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner, Audrey Hepburn, Marlon Brando, author Truman Capote, Katharine Hepburn, Elvis Presley and Gary Cooper, among others. Mr. Malden said about the book, “Anyone who wants to know what happened behind the scenes in theatre, film, and TV during the 30s, 40s and 50s must read this book.” Other author clients include Julie Sinatra author of Under My Skin, entrepreneur Gary Fong’s The Accidental Millionaire and Do You Really Need Back Surgery by noted Santa Monica neurosurgeon Dr. Aaron Filler to Before You Say I Do Again by California family law and divorce expert attorney Ben Berkley.
In motion pictures, The Barrett Company’s numerous client accomplishments include media outreach for the Showcase for Oscar ® Nominated Shorts that played to full theatres in Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., as well as publicity for movie openings and key industry awards for top feature films from Warner Brothers, MGM (Tomorrow Never Dies with Pierce Brosnan)), Paramount, Sony, Universal and Columbia Pictures. TBC as also served national theatre chains, feature film distributors and alternative cinema theatres with special regional movie openings and promotions including The Kids Are Alright, September Dawn, It’s Complicated, The Scoundrel’s Wife, Million Dollar Baby, Insomnia, The Aryan Couple, Master of the Game, Never Again, Blair Witch Project, multi film festival winner Smoke Signals and many film festival winners in various award categories.
TBC has served filmmakers at a wide variety of film festivals, including The Cannes Film Festival, The New York Film Festival, The Hollywood Film Festival, The Sundance Film Festival, The Toronto Film Festival, The Sarasota Film Festival, and the San Diego World Film Festival. TBC introduced the world media to the inaugural Beverly Hills Film Festival in 2001 with director/author Henry Bromell (Panic with Donald Sutherland).
Our notable TBC television projects include campaigns for reality-based TV productions such as Oprah Winfrey’s Oprah’s Big Give on ABC and CBS’ The Amazing Race to shows on American Movie Classics (Mad Men) to Bravo’s Millionaire Matchmaker to NBC’s Unsolved Mysteries to Paramount TV’s Wild Things to Fox TV’s Cops and numerous other productions. We also launched the success of Ed McMahon’s Star Search at Walt Disney World in 1995. Our PR campaigns for various television productions resulted in across-the-board media attention and awareness in a wide range of outlets from USA Today to the New York Times as well as The Wall Street Journal, Daily Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Multi Channel News, Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, E! TV, Today, Good Morning America and The Tonight Show just to mention a few.