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dr george pollard is a sociometrician and social psychologist at Carleton University, in Ottawa, Canada. His interests include the process, practise and effects of writing as an act of pop culture and entertainment.

favourite conversations

Doubtless, some wonder which of the collected conversations I might favour. Which one or two had the biggest effect on me. A good parent doesn’t favour one child over another, much. All or none is thus the truth, despite a prickly moment or two, here and there.

My favourite celebrity conversations are from the early 1970s. One was with Dick Clark. The other was with Michael Caine.

On a lark, I called Clark. He took my call. I was a kid, working as a writer of radio commercials. I wanted a brief conversation regarding a radio show I had in mind. Instantly, Clark understood what I needed. In twenty or so minutes, he gave me enough material for three twenty-four minute shows, which produced, but never aired. We talked a few more times over the years. Clark was unpretentious, friendly, immediately set at ease, thrilled to help and always dignified.

My conversation with Michael Caine was a Marx Brothers movie. The radio station, where I worked at the time, allowed me a three-minute call to Caine, in Toronto, where he was promoting a new movie. After many delays, near misses and almost hang-ups, I had thirty seconds with Caine. “What’s the best advice about acting in films you received,” I asked. “Don’t blink,” he said. “Which of your movies is your favourite?” “Get Carter,” he said. “Is there a third installment in the Harry Palmer series?” “Yes,” said Caine. That was that. Caine is a true trooper.

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