The Last Time I Looked: (Stories, Real and Unreal) - PARTNERS Chapter One
February 25, 2013


I am obsessed with partnerships. It doesn't take Carl Jung or Carl Reiner to figure out the significance of this. I was married for over 40 years to Adolph Green, who was the partner of Betty Comden for more than 60 years. As far as I know…and I know pretty far…they are the only male – female, non married, longest partnership in the history of film, theater and popular songs. Ever!

I have already written a nonfiction book about certain aspects of my life. But there is no way I can deal with the heat, my feelings, observations, and my intimate associations with them, and many other famous partners without going on a strong, but necessary, fictional writing journey.

I want to be tough, truthful, and funny.

I want to capture the bond, the dependency, and the rivalries of creative collaborators in the world of show business that I know so well.


What am I saying? That creative partnership is a stronger tie than any other kind, and when it’s broken, the partners rarely do as well with someone else or alone.

O.K. we know that power is a potent aphrodisiac, and power to our characters means success in movies, music, plays, and awards. Now it would be, downloads, ringtones, reality shows, and God knows what else is down the cyber pike. So these are not villains or villainesses, this little group…they do the right thing…we’re just talking about the eternal question of values…versus art…is it art…?


Don't worry, I'm not going to "rosebud" you to death, but I have a story to tell. I realized fairly early on, that I didn't have the talent, looks, or personality to become a star. That hasn't stopped a lot of people, and I used to manage the careers of some of them. But that wasn't true of Bea Franklin or Howie Baits, the husband and wife singing team who were my first clients. Their voices were right up with Sinatra's, Bennett's, Steve and Eydie's, and Damone's. Their looks were right down there with the seven dwarfs. But like all of our gang, they surgically trimmed, built, liposucked, and transplanted their way to being borderline photogenic. Howie actually turned out to be good looking.

Do you know the Yiddish word "pisk"? It means "mouth", as in... "She's got some pisk on her!" Bea had a major-league pisk. Crude was about as refined as she could muster. That was how she got attention when she was the shortest, plumpest, and palest 15-year-old auditioning for the radio amateur show. She talked her way in, and once they heard her sing, they forgave her language, and thanked God, that it was radio and no one could see her.

When you listened to her, you heard a four-octave voice, musicianship, a superb sense of rhythm and humor, but no taste whatsoever. Every song was either frenzy or tears, nothing in between. Cool, was for the goyim, like Peggy Lee. She was out to make history.

Click here to read chapter two.
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You are so right about partnerships. I have reconnected with mine after many years although we live on different coasts. Thank God for the internet. What a wonderful and exciting life you have lived as the partner of a partner.
1:51am 05/05/2013
Terry Cranert
Look forward to many more chapters
8:51am 03/05/2013
maureen moroney
Dear Phyllis,

Look forward to following your blog.

3:34pm 02/28/2013
Patty Sprofera
Dear Phyllis,
My first reading of your writing and I'm very much looking to chapter 2! While you certainly don't owe it to anyone, your life has been fascinating and privlidged in all you have experienced....the fact that you have the ability to bring it to the page with wit and wry reflection is a joy.
All the best,
Mark Ellis
11:37am 02/28/2013
Mark Ellis
I am loving this! Can't wait for next week!
8:06pm 02/27/2013
Evangeline Morphos
I could have warned you about dating sites, but did you ask?? However, the wait was worth it and I'm looking forward to Chapter 2.
2:07pm 02/27/2013
Carolyn Kalmus
What a joy, what fun, what insightful observations. More please.
11:26am 02/27/2013
John Handy (Stagemanager, retired)
Love your blog. Keep it up. Glad our paths crossed a couple of times.. Give my regards to Broadway.
10:00pm 02/26/2013
Harvey Sabinson
Hi, Phyllis. I love serials. (Cereals?!?!) Really. And you had my in the e-mail with "MaimedMates" (quiet office chortle) and "LastRitePals" (laugh out loud at my desk)!

Eager to read more of Bea, Howie and pals. With "pisk" I'm starting a PNG glossary..

5:47pm 02/26/2013
Tom Viola
Glad you're back. You were missed. Hope this finds you healthy, happy and well.
I'm gonna work on my pisk. I love the word.
1:27pm 02/26/2013
Terrence McNally
Dear Phyllis, it's great to read your blog, and I wish you all success! You are one wonderful woman and I have endless admiration for your talents.

Here's a little Purimspiel I wrote the same year we did I MARRIED AN ANGEL that I hope you'll enjoy..the video is .from last year's revival.
password esther

All very best wishes
12:40pm 02/26/2013
Donald Sosin
I am glad you are back and so funny. I look forward to your next blog.
12:26pm 02/26/2013
Howard Marren
Dear Phyllis (if I may be so bold),
What a shame to learn that you subscribed to all those dating services and I missed my opportunity to take you out. I've had a crush on you forever (well, at least since "Subways Are For Sleeping"), and I hope you haven't given up yet. I have a son in Brooklyn, and get up there to see him and my wonderful daughter-in-law and grandson frequently. May I take you to lunch or dinner?
11:48am 02/26/2013
Neil Greenberg
Terrific to have you back, blogging!
11:48am 02/26/2013
I have to wait a week? Arrrrrgh! Can't you just drop what your doing and get the next chapter ready in hour? Love this.
12:10pm 02/25/2013
Patty Murphy
More please.
11:57am 02/25/2013
Terry Finn