Actor Steve Guttenberg is busy making the PR rounds for his new memoir The Guttenberg Bible. And no matter how many times he tells the story of the clever way he kick-started his L.A. acting career in the mid-1970s, it never ceases to be downright unbelievable.
Per a an interview on NPR, here’s how Guttenberg essentially took a page from Steven Spielberg’s Universal Studios playbook and applied it to the storied Paramount Pictures lot:
“In those days, there was no computer, there were no cell phones. There was just a guard with a telephone. So I just started walking by the time-punch machine and I punched a blank card, like everyone else was punching their cards and I started sneaking onto the lot and I found myself an office in the old Lucille Ball makeup building.”
“I went to the prop department and said ‘I need tables, chairs, a desk, for Happy Days.’ He asked me a couple of questions and I said ‘Look, Garry Marshall needs them right now. If you want to call Garry Marshall’s office, great.’ And he said, ‘You know, I don’t want to call Garry Marshall’s office. I just want to give you this furniture.’ So I brought it up to my office and I had my phone and I started making my own phone calls.”
When asked, Guttenberg would claim to be the stepson of then-Paramount Pictures chairman Michael Eisner. From his fake studio lot perch, which he made use of over the course of an astonishing two years, Guttenberg harassed the nearby offices of late casting director Hoyt Bowers. Bowers finally surrendered some interview time and referred him to a colleague who cast the actor in the 1977 TV movie Something for Joey.
Jacket cover courtesy: Macmillan/Thomas Dunne Books