EM’s Early Days

Mar 3, 2003  •  Post A Comment

I worked as a journalist for Electronic Media in its infancy, when most requests for interviews were met with myriad questions from publicists-“What is Electronic Media?” “Who does it reach?” “Can you send me a copy to review before I go to my executive with your request?”-rather than with their collaboration. Perhaps this contributed to the indelible impression made by my first encounter with King World’s flamboyant Michael King.
Our initial meeting was scheduled over dinner at Jimmy’s, a hot spot in Beverly Hills for television’s power brokers that was well out of my price range at the time, so I skipped lunch that day, working until time to leave for the restaurant. Upon my arrival I was introduced to Michael by King World’s head of creative services at the time, David Sams. There were others in the party that night, but the larger-than-life personality of Michael King has blurred them from my memory.
Though our dinner was confirmed for 8 p.m., we didn’t order our meals until after 10:30, and that was only because the waiter threatened to close the kitchen. Drinking, jokes and ribald conversation filled the hours that preceded our group’s overtaking the restaurant’s piano bar, with Michael leading us in song until well after closing time.
Never one to let the party end, Michael invited us all back to his house in Malibu for a private screening of “The Rock N Roll Evening News,” never mind that it was in the wee hours of the morning. My reputation for “keeping up with the boys” was forever tarnished that morning as I promptly fell asleep as soon as I sat down on the sofa to enjoy the show.
My gracious host let me sleep for a couple of hours, waking me just in time to head back to EM’s offices, since it was a deadline day. I can’t remember the story that was the impetus for this meeting, but I’ll never forget my night in the life of Michael King.
Jeff Pryor is president of Pryor & Associates public relations.