Makeover My Grandma!
Here’s an excerpt from a show I produced in 2001 called Makeover My Grandma! with a package I titled ‘Grandma Decor’ which became an instant classic!
I was already an established producer for doing makeover and fashion segments– having worked extensively with Leon Hall from E! But I always think outside-the-box and find unique twists for old, conventional segment ideas. So, rather than doing another typical makeover for women in general I made it all about makeovers for grandmas. And finding one tough customer proved to be a classic match made in TV heaven!
In this case, I also created a new character who became a recurring guest on the show– ‘the Decorator to the Stars.’ Jerry Vann, a specialist in making over dressing rooms for rock stars, was the natural fit for this character. In reality, he really has been a decorator to many big name touring stars like Cher, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and even Prince. His decor specialty was basically following what the stars’ rider asked for. But I saw some comedic qualities in Jerry right away, and as it turned out, he had ambitions to be one of the ‘Monkees’ after seeing the original casting call for the TV group. Jerry actually had attended San Antonio College with Mike Nesmith who did become one of TV’s Fab Four. So in the spirit of a ‘Monkees’ episode, I always had a 60s music bed laid into the packages I produced with Jerry. The result was a fun foray that played out nicely and with big laughs from the audience in this first installment of the ‘Decorator to the Stars.’
One other programming note: the mystery guest in the all white suit we briefly reference in the Show Open here was actually a local legend at ABC/13: Marvin Zindler. He brought out flowers to a pair of 101-year-old twins who were big fans. Marvin was an amazing investigative reporter who also happened to be a natural character like no other. In fact, his reporting led to the original bust of the Chicken Ranch in La Grange, Texas which was immortalized in the musical and movie, “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” Marvin passed away in 2007, but his memory lives on in the Houston community to this day thanks to his enduring spirit and his championing of the ‘little guy.’ His catch phrase segments like ‘Slime in the Ice Machine’ were classics! And I often find myself quoting him from his last words he shared with his family on his deathbed. The family apparently gathered around him in his hospital room and began arguing over where to hold his funeral service. Marvin piped up and said, “Not my problem.” That was Marvin Zindler…to the very end!