06 July 2014

Progress Report 21: Entering the Home Stretch (?)

German lobby card for Young Frankenstein, with Teri Garr,
Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman, and an ill-fated fox stole.

It’s distressing how deeply one cuts into one’s blogging time when one is trying to complete a biography — but there’s scant help for it. So many little details pop up, and at one point this spring, when I really and truly thought I’d completed a major revision, my editors called to say that, no, the revision was not complete, and could I please get back to work? This news came just 24 hours after I submitted the manuscript, and I hardly had time to celebrate. I’ve been looking over my shoulder ever since: surely any forward movement will turn out to have been backward, or sideways, or simply wrong.

Still, I’m relieved to report that we really do seem to have reached a point where persons other than myself are busily working on the biography of Madeline Kahn. Editors, designers, marketing folks, you name it. For a very long time, I have lived at my desk, hardly speaking to anyone, and especially because so many of the interviews for this book have been conducted by telephone, I’ve felt I was living entirely inside my own head. Maybe the book was some sort of delusion, and I’d wake up and find that I’d been working on something else altogether. My taxes, for example.

Learning to sing like Patti LaBelle: a scene from the show Cosby, with Phylicia Rashad and T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh.

There are no major revelations at the moment — no release date, no official title, no cover art — though we’re working on plenty of surprises. Choosing illustrations for the book turned out to be great fun, and the editors have agreed to include more pictures than I’d anticipated. So if you want to see what Madeline looked like in Woody Allen’s Shadows and Fog — a movie from which she was cut — you’ll have only to pick up the book.

It’s been a long journey, and at times I can almost sense Madeline, looking askance and saying, “Really? You’re going to all this trouble to tell my story?” But it hasn’t always seemed like much trouble, and I certainly haven’t lost interest in that story. I’m still discovering ways in which Madeline’s life and work intersected with those of some of the most fascinating people of her time: not quite “Six Degrees of Madeline Kahn,” perhaps, but she’s a presence in the history of the performing arts. It’s about time we learned more about her.

And I’m relieved to say that, soon, you’ll be able to do just that.

Madeline took part in the Metropolitan Opera Quiz during the intermission of a performance of Aida, starring Leontyne Price.
She held her own against contestants Kitty Carlisle Hart (who’d sung at the Met) and Charles Nelson Reilly and moderator Edwin Newman — but she needed her glasses to do it.
(Here and above, bad screencaps by WVM.)


Chanterelle said...

Go, you!

What a brave endeavor. I'm sure Madeline would be proud (of you) and thrilled.

Be nice to those marketing people, even though you'll likely end up doing most of the marketing yourself. C'est comme ça.

Anne said...

I have been greatly looking forward to this post !

Congratulations and THANK YOU so much for writing Madeline's story!

For a very long time, I have lived at my desk...

This is indeed what it takes;
nose to the grind stone.

It's like building a cathedral, one brick at a time. Given dedication and tenacity like
yours however, the walls do finally go up .

As to marketing, make sure TMC knows of it when it comes out. They always feature a movie book in their monthly movie news round up

Congratulations again !