1249 A Strange As It Seems intersection of film and music! VIDEO INTERVIEW

Today’s Guest: Chip Jacobs, author, Strange As It Seems: The Impossible Life of Gordon Zahler, Smogtown

 

Watch this exclusive Mr. Media interview with Chip Jacobs by clicking on the video player above! 

Mr. Media is recorded live before a studio audience full of musical geniuses who had no idea how good their lives were until reading Strange As It Seems… in the NEW new media capital of the world… St. Petersburg, Florida!

Strange As It Seems: The Impossible Life of Gordon Zahler by Chip Jacobs, Mr. Media Interviews

Strange As It Seems: The Impossible Life of Gordon Zahler by Chip Jacobs. Order your copy today by clicking on the book cover above!

If you are determined to title your book Strange As It Seems, you damn well better deliver.

Chip Jacobs does that and more in a loving, funny and well-written biography of his late uncle, Hollywood musical legend Gordon Zahler.

What makes it so strange? Well, in 1940, when Gordon Zahler was a 14-year-old daredevil who believed more than most teen-aged boys that he could do anything, a misadventure with a high school gymnastics springboard landed him on his neck and severed his spine.

CHIP JACOBS podcast excerpt: “Some people scoff or give me a funny eyebrow scrunched look when them my uncle did these things that he did. He looked at his injury like some people look at a skin rash and said to himself, ‘Deal with it. I want to go on my boat, take flying lessons, or… What about a safari?'”

Most everyone – classmates, doctors and family – presumed he would be dead in a matter of days.

Nat King Cole, Gordon Zahler, Strange As It Seems, Mr. Media Interviews

Gordon with Nat King Cole and friends at the Trocadero nightclub in Hollywood, mid 1940’s. (Photo courtesy of Chip Jacobs.)

For inexplicable reasons, Zahler survived. Scratch that: the quadriplegic thrived. He refused to roll over and die; instead, taking charge of his Hollywood composer father’s music catalogue to create the go-to music library for early low-budget TV and film producers.

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All of the time and money his family devoted to him early on paid off; Zahler created a successful business with nothing more than a charismatic sales pitch. Eventually, he became friends and a business associate of “I Love Lucy” star and producer Lucille Ball, Woody Woodpecker creator Walter Lanz, and animal-oriented TV show producer Ivan Tors.

CHIP JACOBS podcast excerpt: “Some of the TV shows to which Gordon provided music were filmed at Desilu Studios. For some reason, Lucille Ball thought my uncle was that cat’s pajamas. It must have been Gordon’s non-pitying attitude. Lucille Ball would see him and yell, ‘Gordon!’ and come running up to him. She would hug him, chat him up, and bring over other stars.”

Right about now you’re probably thinking this sounds like the plot to a Hollywood movie – Zelig starring Woody Allen, perhaps, or Forrest Gump with Tom Hanks.

But it’s a true story, one that Zahler’s nephew, Chip Jacobs, lived first hand at the end of his uncle’s life and later researched and reported in Strange As It Seems: The Impossible Life of Gordon Zahler.

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Walter Lantz, Woody Woodpecker, Gordon Zahler, Strange As It Seems, Mr. Media Interviews

Cartoonist and business partner Walter Lantz (creatror of “Woody Woodpecker”), with Gordon Zahler at a marina, early 1960’s. (Photo courtesy of Chip Jacobs.)

Key interview moments:

• 3:00 Chip Jacobs gave him biography the subtitle “The Impossible Life of Gordon Zahler” because he knew his uncle’s life sounded unbelievable;

• 19:20 Muriel Zahler, Chip’s mother and Gordon’s sister, recognized that her life was forever changed by Gordon’s accident and the financial too it took on their family; she never forgave him but never abandoned him, either;

• 19:20 Gordon’s outsized life intersected with many celebrities thanks to his music business, creating relationships with everyone from sitcom queen Lucille Ball (“I Love Lucy”) and animator Walter Lantz (creator of “Woody Woodpecker”) to “B” movie director Ed Wood Jr. (Plan 9 From Outer Space).

Chip Jacobs WebsiteFacebookTwitterLinkedInGoodreads

 


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About Mr. Media® Interviews-Bob Andelman

Bob Andelman is the host and producer of Mr. Media® Interviews. He is also the author or co-author of 15 books, including The Wawa Way with Howard Stoeckel, Building Atlanta with Herman J. Russell, Fans Not Customers with Vernon W. Hill, founder of Commerce Bank and Metro Bank UK, Mind Over Business with Ken Baum, The Consulate with Thomas R. Stutler, The Profiler with Pat Brown, Built From Scratch with the founders of The Home Depot, The Profit Zone with Adrian Slywotzky, Mean Business with Albert J. Dunlap, and Will Eisner: A Spirited Life. Click here to see Bob Andelman's Amazon Central author page. He is a member in good standing of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (member page).