Author of 19 Books including:
Poetry & Fiction (LET PEAS BE WITH YOU, MURDER IN THE SKIN TRADE)
Biography (COSBY, JOHNNY CARSON)
Non-Fiction Humor (WHO'S WHO IN COMEDY, STARS OF STAND-UP,
GOLDMINE COMEDY RECORD GUIDE, COMEDY ON RECORD,
COMEDY STARS AT 78 rpm, COMIC SUPPORT, SEXUAL HUMOR,
COMEDY QUOTE DICTIONARY)
Non-Fiction (POE IN THE MEDIA, HORROR STARS ON RADIO)
Novelty (STOOGE FANS' IQ TEST, WHO'D SAY THAT?, BEDSIDE BOOK
OF CELEBRITY SEX QUIZZES)
Pop Culture (SWEETHEARTS OF 60'S TV, FIGHT FOR TONIGHT)
Editor of Three National Magazines:
ROCKET (Rock Music
YARNCRAFT (like it says, co-editor with his significant other, Suzanne)
CD album notes for various releases (including albums by Flip
Wilson, Henny Youngman and Shelley Berman), magazine work
in everything from Reader's Digest to Writer's Digest, from
Dogs and Sheep! and American Horseman to
Teacher, Videoscope and Video. For Video he interviewed Gumby
creator Art Clokey and did a cover story interview with
Craig Claiborne. Also edited "John Lennon A Tribute."
Works agented by LGI and London Features, photos in national magazines
and used during TV news broadcasts. TV Guide, Penthouse, People etc.
Ron Smith's radio scripts were read by STEVE MARTIN, LILY TOMLIN
and BOB NEWART. The show was a syndicated half-hour featuring
a different comedian's bio each week. Garrison Keillor's
company produced the series.
TELEVISION INTERVIEWS AND APPEARANCES
As one of the leading authorities on comedy, Ron's appeared on the major networks, commenting on everything from the death of Johnny Carson (NBC)
to new stand-up talent (HBO) to the history of comedy in general
(Norman Jewison's SHOWTIME special "In the 20th Century")
He's appeared on news talk shows from Rita Cosby to
Bill O'Reilly, and on the A&E Biography episodes for
Bill Cosby and Julie Newmar. Ron was a paid extra for Howard Stern's
"Private Parts" movie (ending up on the cutting room floor) and can be
glimpsed in "Too Far is Not Far Enough" the film documentary on
Tomi Ungerer (scene where Tomi demonstrates cartoon techniques).
VOICEOVER WORK includes poetry narration, WSCR radio show (where
he once stayed on air for 24 hours for a "Comedy Marathon) and
the voices for the Oxford "Dial-a-Pickle-Joke" campaign. He's been
interviewed on dozens of radio shows.
In the course of writing so many books and magazine articles, I've
corresponded with many celebrities, and some have become friends.
Below is a random assortment. I picked ones that didn't
have a lot of gossip in them or things that the celebrity
might not want to see on the Internet.
In Order: BOB ELLIOTT, LOU JACOBI, VINCENT PRICE,
TOM LEHRER, JONATHAN WINTERS, JOHN BANNER,
HONEY BRUCE, FRAN ALLISON, BROTHER THEODORE,
SPIKE MILLIGAN, DICK MARTIN, AL JAFFEE,
MARCEL MARCEAU, RICHARD MATHESON
DISCUSSING BROTHER THEODORE, RICHARD JENI
POSTCARD, and oh yes, DOM DELUISE drawing a
self portrait on cardboard
It's kind of interesting how some stars have
modest letterhead, or write long-hand...isn't it?
When I was a precocious junior high school student, I began writing
fan letters. It gave me a boost to actually get letters and autographed
photos back from these famous and busy stars.
One amazing thrill was when my idol Paul Frees didn't write...
but phone me instead. I was almost to awe-stricken to talk.
My confidence as a writer began to build as well, as aside from
school assignments and gold stars and whatnot, I was getting
validation from creative people who appreciated what I wrote.
I knew a guy who wrote fan letters as a hobby. He had
a form letter. He told me "secretaries handle fan mail. I want
the autograph. I know the star won't read what I wrote."
I figured if you were sincere, wrote something unique,
it would get attention. Before I had reason to write to
stars (for interview requests, fact-checking) I wrote just
to mention how their work affected me. I sometimes included
unusual pix and collages to prove it.
Patrick McGoohan didn't sign too much by
mail, but a collage of an early photo of himself, standing in the Paris
catacombs with a cat?
The ability to verbalize what was so touching and important
about these performers, would allow me to move on to movie,
TV and book criticism in everything from VIDEO magazine
to the CHICAGO TRIBUNE.
No question about it...getting letters back from MOE of the Three
Stooges and Julie Newmar, helped inspire me to focus on a
career where I would someday write "The Stooge Fans' IQ
Test" and "Sweethearts of 60's TV."
Today, people meet a celebrity, ask for a SELFIE, and grin.
They go to a book signing, get a signature and walk.
That's fine for a thrill, but it's not exactly communication.
Below, just a random assortment, some from my
fan days, some in person when I was working on projects,
a lot of comedy stars signing pix while returning my questions
or proofs relating to my various books None bought at memorabilia
shows. Some were chosen for the pose, or odd comment
(Tom Poston is responding to my recalling a fumetti
that appeared in HELP! Magazine ).