For or those given to wondering: (a) how much Colleen (Thorn Birds) McCullough really weighs, (b) how Lawrence Welk Show singer Norma Zimmer got a new self-image, or (c) how the writing Irving Wallace family gets along so well—the place to be over the Memorial Day weekend was the American Booksellers Association Convention in San Francisco’s civic auditorium. (Answers: 300 pounds; prayer; they talk a lot.)
Seizing the chance to work their wiles on bookstore owners and critics were the likes of Brooke Hayward, Garson Kanin, Art Buchwald, Melvin Belli, Joyce Haber and Leon Uris. Chitchat ran from such white-hot domestic currency as microwave cuisine to Daniel Schorr’s down-the-nose opinion of David Frost: “a showman who studies his part very well—the part of a newsman.”
For those unmoved by erudition in bulk, there were plenty of publishing freebies to grease the wheels of commerce—buttons, bookmarks, T-shirts, pastries, calendars and cocktails. And lest anyone suspect that literati aren’t lusty, a popular poster bragged that BOOKSELLERS MAKE BETTER LOVERS. “It’s definitely a meat rack,” observed one critic. The cutlets were hardly complaining.