Tiny Tim Interview by Lowell Tarling (1992)

The Context Of The Interview

March 1992: Tiny Tim arrives in Australia for the ‘People Are Strange’ tour.

25 March: Dylan concert. Robbie and I go with Martin, Tim and Emma. At one point we thought Tiny would be coming too. 

1 April: Terry, Bernadette, Tim, Blazey and someone else are at Martin’s place. Plus Tiny is being interviewed by Drum Media in the side room. I say ‘hi’ to him. He says he’ll be back in 10 minutes, but he is whisked off to the Clive Robertson Show instead. He’s already done TV today – Ray Martin with Chad Morgan. Tiny is wearing his Mickey Mouse (b/w) suit today.

4 April: Tiny talks to me and Joel all afternoon. Prior to this interview we both sit with him at Martin’s house while he signs about 200 posters. Martin is not present because he is at the Australian Galleries setting up his painting exhibition. I play to Tiny some songs on guitar – believe it or not – to keep him awake while signing posters! I keep him awake with my singing and then we go into the long room and talk. After this I drive him back to the Savoy Double Bay where he is staying.

4 April 1992 – The Interview (180 minutes, 12,536 words)

The Interview

Tiny Tim: Mr Tarling, can I see your guitar for a minute?

Lowell Tarling: Sure.

I just want to see something. I can't play this guitar but ... (strums). This is nice, praise the Lord. (Sings) Everytime My Heart Beats It Beats With Love For You. This is a song Bing Crosby sang in 1930-31. I grabbed hold of it off an old record. This is the song I dedicated to Miss Mary Beth.


It's just that song reminds me of her. In 1978 she was so beautiful. I used to get drunk - I liked to get drunk in this place and I'd call her up from different towns. I called her up from here once. You know, love is a passion that dies as quick as it comes.

New York's Early Music Industry

Were you born around 163rd Street?

No - I was born in Park Avenue Hospital. 101 West 163rd Street was where I lived from 1942. My Father, my Mother, they lived there. He died earlier but my Mother was there too until 1981.That was an area from which George Gershwin lived there about. George Raft the screen actor later in the 30s who I admired immensely. He used to be a tango dancer in 1921 in the year Valentino was a star - the Sheik at the Autobahn Ballroom, which is a few blocks up on 165th and Broadway where they later shut down The Metz in 1965. The 163rd Street area was famous also for another great star, Ted Lewis. Ted Lewis from 1918 had a great jazz band for Columbia Records when they were still wind-up gramophones in 1917-18. Ted Lewis was one of the first early exclusive artists signed by the Columbia Gramophone 78 Popular Record Company in 1917 because, believe it or not popular singers like Billy Murray, Henry Burr were not signed to record contracts. Victor and Columbia only recorded Caruso in 1910, 1909, signed contracts. I don't know this for a fact, so I don't want to give you information that is not exactly right. I also haven't heard anything to be different than that, so if I'm wrong I'm not stating the fact that I'm right. But the reason I brought that out is because when Ted Lewis signed an exclusive artist's contract for Columbia in 1917 they considered popular singing before, just peasant singers - you know - for the masses. They didn't realise that Billy Murray, Henry Burr, Irving Kaufman, stars before 1917 would sell more records in country places than the Caruso people. But anyway Ted Lewis lived around the neighbourhood. He was the first jazz band - orchestra of white popular music - to really make a dent in a new type of teenage cult that came during and after World War I.

Being A Fan

When did you first become a fan of musicians? Who was your first musical hero?

My hero was the first one I heard at three years old, another singer from 1917. Henry Burr came from Canada. He was the second popular singer in the world - America - making thousands of records from 1907-1925. I remember him singing,

Beautiful Ohio in dreams again I see
Visions that once used to be

I remember him singing that from a gramophone my Father got me. He made that famous in 1919 right after or during the end of the World War.  Beautiful Ohio, just a snip of that on the ukulele ... (sings). I heard it played constantly, constantly, constantly. It was so popular. In those days they couldn't keep tabs of how many millions they sold, it was whatever they could count. They maybe sold 20,000-30,000 78 rpm shellacs, but that was like a million in those days when they put a pin needle in the arm and heard it. So Henry Burr was the first major personality.

And your Father introduced you to Henry Burr's music by buying the records?

Well he bought the machine, the records were there.


Where did your parents come from?

My Mother came from Russia or from Poland. She lived in a territory that changed hands so many times it's hard to tell whether she's Polish or Russian. I think she leans more towards the Russian side.

And your Father came from Lebanon?

Lebanon. Beirut.

His Father was a Priest?

A Maronite Priest. They were allowed to marry.

What was your family religion?

My parents didn't care what I was. They let me choose for myself. First I went through the Jewish religion, then I went and found out about Jesus Christ.

Did your Mother go to the synagogue?

Not the synagogue or church. But her Mother - may she rest in peace was very religious.

What kind of work did your Father do?

He and my Mother were in the knitting mills. They were working in the knitting mills in separate places on machines and my Father fixed machines, my Mother was sewing piecework. Very difficult work for my Mother, very difficult work. They got paid by the pieces they made. If they did piecework by the hour, whatever they completed they got paid.

Were they okay financially?

Are you kidding? The only ones who were well off were the ‘relos’ around me. It was every day living. Every day living.


What were your other interests before you were 10?

Always the comic books.

Were you a loner?

Yes, in my head I was.

These comic books - remember we're talking about the age when comic books were the rage - 1939-40 - 64 pages for 10c. I had the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth issue of Marvel Comics.  The first 22 issues of Captain America. Prize Comics, Jumbo Jungle, Planet, Ranger, Captain Marvel, Whiz Comics, Captain Marvel Junior, Action Comics, Batman (of course), Superman, Adventure Comics, All-American Comics, Worlds Finest Comics, Loony Tunes, True Comics, Blue Bolt, Dare Devil ... Oh! I'm not exaggerating. These comics - I tell ya - the comics in 1940-41 and 1942 were a trend. Every one. There were comic books all over, 64 pages for 10c. World’s Finest Comics which had 96 pages for I5c which featured DC characters - Batman, Superman, The Green Lantern. Flash was another comic I got. You know they say the first issue of Batman is worth a lot. Let me tell you, anyone who has three issues of a comic book called Nickel Comics...in 1940 I had these. It was called Nickel Comics, 32 pages for 5c. And it didn't last long - maybe 2-3 years - maybe less. I had the first issue of that, the first two issues.They're worth tonnes of money now. I'll never forget the first issues of Nickel Comics.They featured Bulletman who had a cap that looked like a Dunce cap but it was made out of metal and whenever the crooks shot him with guns, as long as the helmet was on, it hit the helmet and bounced off it. That was Bulletman. In the same book was the Cisco Kid. I can't remember the other comics.

Stealing Comics

Not only did I buy comic books, they were an obsession. My parents did not have enough money and I didn't like to trade them because I liked them new. I didn't like them used. So - I will admit this - I did steal them. I did steal them in 1940-41. I hung around with a group of kids 9-10 years old at the time. Remember magazines and papers in those years were plentiful. New York today has three papers. In 1940 it had seven or eight, The News, The Mirror, The Times, The Tribune, The Journal American, The World, 7he Sun, The Post is eight. So they had at least eight newspapers selling from 2c for the Daily Mirror; 2c for The News, 5c on Sunday for 10c - whatever. And at night I think it was a nickel for the evening papers.

Pulp Fiction

And the magazines with the comics were unbelievable, selling books on stands. You had for 15c pulp magazines where the covers had glorious illustrations but the insides were typewritten on corrugated paper. Must have had 200-300 pages for 15c featuring cowboy, detective, romance. I rarely bought those books. It was too much to read, too many words. I like pictures.

Have you ever been a novel reader?

Yes, in those years I read the Pocket Penguin Books. Pocket books were so new at that time it was unbelievable what was in the stores, just the books! I read Agatha Christie. The first book I read by her in 1943 and it was called Evil Under The Sun and I tried to be Hercule Poirot. I would lay at home in bed and read the dialogue when he spoke. I would put on a French accent - who knows? - just to get into it. Otherwise I went to comics.

Got Caught Stealing

As I said, in 1940-41 these kids looked out in the stores. I walked in and they stole the comics. Sometimes I took one or two. I'll never forget what embarrassed me. I went into the same store again and the man there said, You wanna steal another book? That really got me, but that didn't stop me yet. It embarrassed me. I remember one time I think - I'm not sure - I think my Father caught me trying to steal one. He hit me right in public and I never stole again after that. And of course the Good Lord punished me with a trauma after that in 1942 when during Christmas I was all alone. I came back from a movie, almost before Christmas 1942. I came from a movie called My Sister Eileen with Rosalyn Russell and Brian Herne. It was 4.00 in the afternoon, 22nd December. My Mother came home from work at 5.00 and a woman was drunk next door. She'd just moved in and she accused me of stealing, which I didn't. But she had a tough guy she was living with and I got scared and blamed it on a kid upstairs. It was during the War of ’42 and I never forgot that. Eventually she moved out, there was no problem, but I was a coward. I blamed this kid upstairs. His parents forgave me but he always felt uncomfortable near me. I always blame the fact that I stole years before as a punishment. But I love comics, they were the rage of the age.


Did you ever try to draw comics yourself?

I can't draw. I wish I could draw. Do you know, if I could draw I'd want to draw sketches of the faces of all these pretty women - that's the sort of thing I'd do: sketches. I would sit there and draw.

Playing Piano

Another thing I miss is not playing piano. If I had the time and the money to spend playing the piano I would learn that thing backwards so I could play in any key and then play chords. The piano has many facets. From Jazz to Classical, just to master the chords. And of course Swing-time, Rag-time, so to master every one of those facets takes a superb discipline to only practice, practice, practice for years - maybe 10 years. And once you've mastered the labour pain, a great jazzman can play anything. I wanted to be a pianist.

The Fairy Princess

What were your career aspirations when you were - say - 12?

That's a good question Mr Tarling. I can't even think if I thought of what I wanted to be. I'll tell you the best I can remember from three years old, and I remember this precisely because I wasn't five, I wasn't four. I was three years old, the most three and a half, when I had the gramophone. I played Beautiful Ohio. I used to wave at a girl who was going to work. She would wave to me. From what I recall, she was Spanish long black hair. She might not have been, but she always looked pretty to me. From three years old I had this fantasy. I always used to hear a program on Saturdays called Let's Pretend, (sings). That was the theme. On Saturday mornings it was only half an hour. Radio shows, soap operas, comedy, like The Jack Benny Show, they were all half an hour. Crosby's crooning was on 15 minutes. News was on 15 minutes. Soap Operas were on 15 minutes. Comedy shows like Jack Benny, Fred Allen, quiz shows were on half an hour. Soap operas were 15 minutes only. And Let's Pretend was on for kids, a half an hour. It always depicted stories of Fairyland. I'll never forget when I heard the story in 1942, 41, about White Cloud who lived up in the clouds, in the stars, and she fell from one of the stars. She was so beautiful, and this young boy came down, and she was gorgeous to behold. He took her to his house. He thought she was sick because she fell from a long way, and he made her well again and they both fell in love with each other. He told her, We can be with each other, but my Father's looking for me. You must never go out when the Moon is full. Now that is not exactly correct, but it had something to do with going outside when a star was in a certain place in the Heavens - I'm using the Moon as an example. You shall not do it at a certain time of night. And one time the guy forgot and they were walking along at night and they were so in love. And, Oh my goodness, I forgot!  We shouldn't have gone out! And all of a sudden ‘my Father sees me’ and he picked her up, and all of a sudden she was leaving the earth and he couldn't bring her back. His heart was broken and she went back to the star in the Heavens, this beautiful Princess. And every night since then, when he saw the star, he was waving to her. And I was always looking for a White Cloud, especially since that time. I was always looking for that Fairy Princess. I can explain, thank Jesus Christ for his blessings to bring these things up. I don't even think about these things now. Definitely I always looked for that Fairy Princess who would never grow old and we could reign forever. She would be true to me forever in that Fairyland.

Tired Of Your Wife

No matter how beautiful they are ... I mean, I'm married to a very beautiful wife - Miss Jan. It pains me to be so tired of her and she's tired of me. We'll have to sit the marriage out if that's what the Good Lord wants. But every romance, every marriage, every romance before marriage - that's the only thing. Isn't that strange? You get tired of pizza and eat different food the next day. You get tired of soup. You get tired of the place you're at - if you got the money, you take a vacation. You don't do the same thing all the time. Only if you get tired of your wife do you have to pay the penalty of her complaining. Or the person having to stick out a marriage when there's no more feeling. I guess it's like life: you die to your career, you die in life – you wait for death to come. You die in your emotions, you get tired one day (yawns). And the same with women and men, they get tired of each other - and romance is gone. I guess it's like death. I guess it's a way to show the woman and the man that nothing lasts forever. The only difficulty is that you're both told not to commit adultery and to stay in a marriage where both people can't exist because there's no more feelings. And the world goes by feelings, even if it's, I'm in pain, help. Whatever it is, positive or negative, life is a feeling.  Life is really an emotion - an emotion of pain or an emotion or pleasure and success. And when you fall in love and that ecstasy is there and you're running after her, you can't do enough for her. And then the tide settles in and you become lethargic, Do what you want. Nonchalant - be it after one year or 10 years. That's a terrible pain. It's a terrible pain not to feel nothing for your spouse any more.

Difference Between Romance And An Automobile

You're obviously disillusioned coming from White Cloud to this?

Yes! Even Miss Cherazade, my wife, Elizabeth Taylor when she was 16, I'm tired of! The same beauty, same look, hasn't grown old, but there's no more feeling there. The difference between romance and an automobile is that you can always replace the fuel and get the car going again. When romance dies in a man or a women, I've never seen that same feeling come back. I mean, the woman goes from the outside-in, trying to keep her husband. She goes to the beauty parlour, she gets a face lift, she gets sexier clothes.  Sometimes these things work for a while like a Novocane shot, but never like when you first met. Spiritually the gift was given and taken away the same way it came, after a month or a year. So the woman in the marriage tried to work at the marriage by outward appearances - to go to the beauty parlour. But the problem is an inward experience. It should be from the inside-out. The problem is not changing the hair - it's losing that loving feeling, which is a spiritual gift to begin with. When that goes, the marriage becomes lethargic, and one clashes with God's laws who says no adulterers shall get into Heaven in the sixth chapter of the First Book of Corinthians. And yet at the same time, how can one stop from even having fun with a woman, or vice versa, when there's no more feelings. I hope it's okay for your son to hear this. If it was where a man still gets aroused and the woman can - and then he committed adultery - then I can see a punishment. But when the feeling's died, and there's no more life, then no matter how pretty the woman is, the man can't get aroused, and the woman now knows there's a tiredness because the vibrations aren't there - and they both yearn for different partners so the action begins again. And you wonder what world is this?  Is this Satan's way? Is Satan winning the battle? Is this God's way? The way of man, sweat of his brow since the Garden of Eden by making the feeling gone and having to realise what the Garden of Eden meant?

Sex Is Love

Who knows what it is, but it's a terrible pain. Other than physical pain because physical pain is the worst - it's the most terrible pain of all, to lose that loving feeling to someone - to a wife - having to now be nonchalant. I can't live without you, this is the feeling and the passion. Now it's, Sure dear, do what you want honey. Don't worry, take your time. Have a good time ... when that happens the marriage is over. I really believe that s-e-x is love. S-e-x is love.

Sex is love?

That's right, it's a precious word. And the lack of it is what causes break-ups.  It's an old saying, When the Sun goes down, the day has ended. When a man's private part goes down, the marriage has ended. Because marriage is a feeling of passion.  There's a right type of lust and a wrong type of lust.  According to the Scriptures the wrong type of lust is outside of the marriage.  The right type of lust is in the marriage - for children or whatever. But still we get tired of our spouses and it's the biggest pain - other than going to Hell - in the world.


No! Boy and girl - they know each other for two months and they marry - their relationship is so hot. And all of a sudden it's gone! He gets tired of her.  Nuthin means nuthin no more. Where did it go? It left as quickly as it came. It doesn't have to be a marriage - I'm talking about relationships in general, but marriage is the right thing. Tiredness is the biggest pain ever and that's why in the days of King David - in the days of Abraham and Isaac - they had concubines, you see, to have children. Not to fool around with concubines and to have one main wife. But in this day and age it's hard when the feeling's gone. I say it with respect. If our Lord Jesus Christ had been married and gone through that pain of getting tired in an everyday way, I wonder how He'd fare!

If Satan Should Repent

Let me tell you something to think about. I praise the Lord. I pray the Lord will not turn away from me because I'm not trying to make this a blasphemy. I'm looking at the scene - and I thank Jesus Christ for life and it's great to talk about it. When Jesus Christ was asked the question, Master how many times should I forgive my brother - one time?  Ten times?  How many times should I forgive my brother if he does the same thing against me which he's done before? he said, 70 times seven - meaning if you can, you should forgive. Now I ask the question, if that beautiful angel called Lucifer (who was really a beautiful angel) - the Devil - and his demons - asked the Lord for forgiveness in sincerity, without trying to pull any punches: 0 Lord, 0 Great God of Israel, I tried to rebel against you with my angels, and you let us do that because you're Almighty. And I challenge you - you sent me to earth to challenge even Adam - and I won that battle, only because your Almightiness permitted me to do this. But I have found that the win was not really gratifying. I found really that there's nothing like being in Heaven and being with you and taking your word. The damage that I have caused on this earth and the punishment that you have given by putting the spirit of demonic forces in my angels because of our punishments are hurting the earth. It is not worth the victory that I've had - only because you let us with our free will. So really, I pray forgiveness and my demons sincerely are tired. We're here in Hell, and I pray for forgiveness that you can once more start the earth like a master planner who'll throw the old canvas away and start again. Now in a case like that, the Great Lord, the Great God of Israel, the Great Jehovah with Jesus Christ his son, who said for man to forgive 70 X 7 - would he not forgive Satan? This is a very important statement here. I know there are thousands of Priests who can sound well and give logical explanations or even Satan's blasphemy - stay well away from them.

Hell, Hitler, Paul Hogan and Satan

That's easy to say when you're a Priest and there's one soul going to Hell and suffering an eternity of feeling the bums down there - nothing but the screams and pains and agonies. Or going to a worse part of Hell with no clothes and it's freezing in there! Now, we're talking about a God who is Almighty - not just mighty, like the Devil. We're not talking about a prisoner who did all those shocking things in Milwaukee, or any other person shooting all these people. Or Adolf Hitler, who was part-Jewish according to a book I read, I Was Hitler's Psychiatrist written by Dr Kruger back in 1936. When we see someone like him who at two or three or four was an infant in his Mother's arms; where somewhere in the world at 20 he was rejected in Vienna with his paintings. (Ironically he was a pretty good painter.) When he was rejected, I think it sort of hardened him because he might have been Jewish. And it sort of really hardened him. The question is - inch by inch - he was the same baby in his Mother's arms that you and I were - now the question here is: When are people normal? When are they possessed by demons? Now if we say we are possessed by demons because of the passion to commit adultery - because of the life of passion, we're tired of our spouses - like Paul Hogan - great actor, but married to a lovely wife for 30 years. Left her not only because Linda Kowalski was young and beautiful but he was tired of his wife. She's a great woman. She did everything for him. Helped him on his career, but feeling-wise it's hard to admit to the spouse, We're tired. I can't take the pain of nothingness. I can't take the fear of dying and not being with a young person again. So basically, when is a person 'normal' and 'abnormal'? If we say Hitler was normal up to 20 years and abnormal when he was possessed by hardness and Satan, then can he be judged to go to Hell because he was in an abnormal state? So this is why if Satan could-would repent I would pray that no one goes to Hell because all have sinned. Who has not sinned? Even the parent who goes to religious churches and synagogues - especially the churches - who tell their sons (especially) and daughters, You can go out with your girlfriend, just be home at 9.00 - be careful what you do, and say they commit the smallest form of sin, even sensuality by touching, and say it's a normal thing to do - when it's just as bad to commit fornication when they're older. So basically, it's a sin-filled world. We're all sick. When you look at society and the evils of the heart, we're all sick within, with our thoughts 24 hours a day which we have to fight in negatives and positives. Our desires and businesses to steal and take advantage of our best friends! Basically we're all sick with passions and temptations. So if Satan would repent - sincerely now - with no strings attached - and really cry out for a chance that no one should perish - because when I look at this world, who can go to Heaven? Who has not sinned? One time before Noah's Ark in the Old Testament God wanted to destroy the world because everyone was eating and drinking and he was sick and tired of what he saw - Satan in the world, man paying no attention to him or to his commandments. But he spared Noah and six others ~ whatever - because here was the few who did. So marriage, tiredness. People can only take so much. So when you hear about Jesus Christ back to save the world and all that, why should anyone perish if Satan will repent of his sins and ask God for forgiveness so that there doesn't have to be a Hell or a Torment? Even Jesus Christ becoming a man - and I say this with respect the closest to Superman would be Jesus Christ. Clark Kent turns into Superman. The Son of the father who is immortal turns himself into man to suffer - like Clark Kent if he refused to use his powers as Jesus Christ did. So when he came to earth, even on the Cross, when he said, Why hath God forsaken me? the pain was in his hands, as a human being.

The Last Temptation of Christ

I don't know if you saw the picture, The Last Temptation of Christ?

Yes I did.

What did you think of it?

I thought the end was amazing - the last third when he took the other path.

What do you mean?

Instead of being crucified he took the other path - choosing life.

Did you think anything else was amazing?

What do you mean?

I'll tell you what I thought the most amazing part was, because I was fooled - totally fooled - no maybes, no ifs or buts. It's when the little girl was the Devil - the little girl of 10 years old. This girl who appeared as lovely as an angel was actually induced by Satan. And this was a lovely 10-year old girl. Satan appeared as an angel and this is precisely the most fantastic part of the movie because this is how Satan appears in the world today as an angel. Remember, he is a beautiful angel. Sure, he can turn horrid too, but in his appearances, like a woman, when she is at her most fantastic beauty - at 19 - and the men who admire her, the fragrance she gives out in her charm - her looks is captivating because man does not see if she is married at that time, if she is wearing a ring, if she can cause him harm, what's she's after. She is so cunning, she is so captivating. The aura she gives out is like the fly coming to the spider with temptation of honey in the web.

Early Religious Experiences

When did you first pray?

I remember this, it might have started really after that incident with that drunk person in 1942 because this Rabbi was very nice. But I was going to the synagogue before that in 1942-41 so I think I remember praying in the synagogue.

Did you have a Bah Mitzvah?


Did you Mother take you to the synagogue?

She didn't take me, I went there with a friend. I must have done maybe 3-4 lessons.  Then they had the first comic book called Picture Stories From The Bible. I might be wrong but for 250 they had 242 pages on the Old Testament. I think they also had one either 150 or 250 for maybe 96 pages on the New Testament. I was amazed when I read the New Testament that Jesus Christ was like a Superman who could change.

Losing No 8 Captain America Comic

You obviously loved your comics.

Oooh boy! Did I!

How many did you have?

I couldn't count then, but at one time - if I'd never thrown them away -  I would have had at least 300-500.

What happened to them?

In maybe 1942 I was going to day camp for a while - which I hated with other kids after school. And in those years when the new issues came out the shopkeepers pasted them with gum on the window. It was such a rage in those years. The new ones came out once or twice and month and they pasted them on the windows. And while going back home from this day camp - I was about 10 years old - I looked in the window and I said, What is that shield? It was Captain America! I can't describe it with words, it looked like this (gestures). It was blue, white and red and, like a woman, it attracted me right from the window. Issue No 1, it said. And I said, I've got to grab it. It was like a love affair. I grabbed it immediately and had 22 issues of that. I wanted them all. I didn't want a broken collection. The super's daughter said she wanted to read No 8. I should never have let it out of my possession but she was so pretty. Her name was Audrey Dash. She was 10 years old. She had black hair down to her shoulders. I thank the Lord, I saw beauty. I lent her issue No 8. her Father was the superintendent. He got angry with her and beat her with the comic. Ooh! He beat her with the comic and he destroyed it! I could never get it back again, and I didn't want the 22 issues with one missing, so I gave them away.

What did your parents think about comics?

They hated them! It was the worst. It was an enmity to my Father.

Mother and Father

How did you get on with your Mother and Father?

My parents were saints. I really mean it. My Father worked hard, my Mother worked harder. I can never do what they did with work. I mean, I could be in prison because if I had to be on the streets, who knows what would happen? The work they did was unbelievable and because of work, because of living in tenements, because of 4 July 1935 when my Mother was away and my Father was sleeping, living on this third floor of a six floor tenement, and instead of sleeping, I thank Jesus Christ for having been awake so that I could see the fire. This happened near a window, a burning blaze. Someone lit a firecracker, clothes were hanging on the line above and it caught on fire and spread. When I woke him up my Father went to the window and put it out with his hands before the firemen came.  Burned both his hands. They were hard working people and because of the hardness they could never get along. It was difficult for them to get along. It was screaming and fighting with each other from - well, I was aware from 1935 on. In fact, in that year -1936 at the most - my Father was ready to leave, and leave me with my Mother because he couldn't take it no more.  He was a quiet man, she was a hard working woman and when she talked she never stopped. And with the accent, it was very irritating. But she was working hard. And I saw her cry, and I said to my Father, Please don't leave. And he kept his promise of that day, he never left again.

Expulsion From School

They were great parents to me, but as I grew in my teens and later on, there were arguments naturally. I couldn't get along well at school. I certainly was put back twice in high school and told to leave because of arguments - once more because of women. In those years I was one of the few men to sit in a class of 25-30 girls taking typing (laughs). Now today, it's nothing. But in those years any man sitting in a girl's class taking typing - there's something wrong (laughs). One teacher embarrassed me and I answered her back. She said, I'll send you to the Principal. I said, He's an old man anyway. She sent me to him. What are you here for? he said. I said, I called you an 'old man'. Ring your Mother! And my Mother came to the school, and they let me in again. He forgave me. But then I got into trouble with the Physical Education teacher because I was listening to baseball games on the staircase with a portable radio. And then they caught me singing to the girls during lunchbreak in the stairs. So that was the end of that and they told me to leave. It was not easy leaving because then my father said, Look at your cousin.  He's going to College. You haven't graduated high school. So we have to work for you. My Mother said, What kind of a son is this? What kind of boy is this?  It came from you (meaning my Father). We never had such an odd family. You know what I mean? Sure they couldn't help it, working all the time. She called me 'Dope' here and there. She didn't mean to, but that did get me.

That would hurt, wouldn't it?

Sure it would hurt. But it would hurt seeing her working. She was a very beautiful woman when she was young. My Mother was a very very beautiful sensual woman. I saw pictures of her, and for her to work and have the hard life, it hardened her. And my parents had to work. My relatives were very affluent, especially Harold who was going to College.

Did Harold write that book about you, (ed: Tiny Tim by Harry Stein)?

No, that was another Stein. That was Harry Stein.

But anyway, he was brilliant.  He was studying all day.  Never went out to play.  Sit in rooms and study - a genius. I always played with the guys in the streets. The only thing in school that attracted me was the Fairy Princess, finding that Dream Girl. Even at school.

Eating In Private

I'll tell you the turning point. This is a trauma with my Mother yelling, and they were always yelling at each other constantly because of the strain of work and hardship. So with all this taking place I certainly lived alone with myself. I never wanted my parents to sit down when I'm eating at the table, unless they were eating. I never wanted my father to come over when I was eating, and I'm talking about 12-13 years old. I always asked my Mother when she prepared a meal, Did you wash your hands with soap first?  At 12 and 13. And that would infuriate her, and I was scared to take anything if she hadn't washed with soap on the hand. Even today, as you know, I drink from straws and certain glasses. Even my wife - you know - even my wife. From my own parents I would have a straw, my own glass. From my own parents I didn't want them to sit by me when I was eating, unless they were eating. My Father pressed it and I hated that. Really, I hated the fact he did that. My Mother said, Leave him alone, you know who he is already. And I liked that because she didn't press herself, but he was a very gentle man, and he thought that he could get me out of it. It got worse. Figure this out. My own wife who pleases me constantly sexually in bed - not any more. I mean, I haven't had an affair with her since 1989 - I mean, I haven't seen her body. All she does now is come over and touch me because I tell her I need something every day. I mean, she's given me so much love she doesn't have to, but you know - even with all that we have our own glasses.

The World's Best Sustainer

Figure this out though. You take someone like Miss Cherazade who I only met 27 March of this year. When I was teaching her some chords on the ukulele I handed the ukulele to her and minutes before Mr Sharp came in with some carrot juice. he said, I've got to get you the right glass, is this okay? He gave me a coffee percolator that no one had touched, know what I mean? It was a pyrex glass, it looked clean ... and you know what, minutes before I had taken out the ukulele tuner to tune the ukulele - so I could teach her a few chords - and she was almost taking it up to her mouth and then she said, Oh! Oh! I’m sorry. She didn't take it to her mouth but she wanted to, and I wanted her to (laughs). That was the strangest thing. Not only that I wanted her to, but I was debating in that moment, Did I lose the magic? because I didn't say, No, you do it. I was in trauma for a minute. That was a trauma! And yet if I'd been married to her 2-3 years, would the same thing happen? Why is that? What is the change? What causes the difference of that moment with that angel to actually want her to put her lips there. Yet with my own wife, even my own daughter, I want my own glasses and the straw.

Does anyone ever kiss you on the mouth?

Not if I can help it.

What about when people and fans come up and say, Hello Tiny and kiss you spontaneously?

Oh I turn the cheek. I turn the cheek as much as possible. And yet - yet in the same relationship here - if there was that moment - if there was a moment like with Miss Cherazade at the height, or even another girl - I might not take my lips off her. The same with the tuner. It can only happen when that passion is there; that passion in the height of its passion like a song coming up fast on the Billboard charts. If it happened with Miss Cherazade, she would be the first to get her lips off mine, if it were 10 minutes. I mightn't be the world's best kisser, but I would be the world's best sustainer until she had to quit. I wouldn't want to lose that moment for the telephone or nuthin. What does this mean? It means when love is at its height, all the things you thought you couldn't do, you can. But one has to have the inspiration. And that's the way it has always been in life, I always live for that Fairy Princess from three years old to this moment.

The Spanish Girl

Is that when you first fell in love?

Yes, with the girl across the window who went to work. I call her the Spanish Girl - I don't know if she was Spanish - but she looked dark with black hair. Unbelievable! She was 21. This was 1935. I was a young infant. I remember - I was three years old at the time - I remember - she looked beautiful to me and she waved to me every morning.

First Kiss

What about your first kiss?

The first girl I kissed was Betty Wallace. She was a Black girl and it was not until 1965.


(Laughs) And the reason for that is, even though I'm weak, it doesn't mean that it's right. I still don't believe in kissing or touching until marriage. The fact that I fall weak is because of the moment. Some moments creep up on you. Mr Rowe (ed.  David Rowe) will tell you, two days ago at the airport I was minding my own business and this woman dame up to me from nowhere - sitting in Melbourne Airport - she was going to Sydney. For her age she was still attractive, and I was sitting there and she said, Tiny Tim it's you! I was actually sitting with Mr Rowe and she said, You're an inspiration to me! That's a joke to begin with, especially with a young thing like that. And all of a sudden before I knew it she kissed me. All of a sudden her lips were on my cheek and I still had a passion to move, and then I kissed her hand and then she left. I sinned by giving her my address at the Savoy. That was a spiritual weakness and I apologised to Mr Rowe. Believe me I was just so amazed that this thing just happened like that, it was unbelievable. I don't look for these things.

Betty Wallace

Betty Wallace was the first girl I kissed. I was still with my Mother in 1965. I was out of work and she was a very pretty 19-year old Black girl. She had gone with a White fellow in the Village. He was a very good looking guy and he'd let her down. Her parents worked for the Post Office, they lived in a suburb way out Long Island. She maintained their apartment in Manhattan and she lived about 12 blocks away from me. So she was very pretty. She had the most beautiful smile I've ever seen and - oh forgive me - but she had a chest that was unbelievable. I kissed her. Some sexual things happened. I said, I can never do it again. I have to ban you from this house because I've sinned. I have to ban you from my apartment. I have to fight this sin. But every time the bell rang I opened the door again and the same thing happened.

Was this a serious relationship?

Yes, she gave me her school ring a month after I'd met her and this is what led to the kissing and sin. The minute we started going steady - before we were getting along great - but the minute she put the ring on she said, Why are you wearing cream on your hands? Why are you doing this to your face? I said, Wait a minute.  I was going with you for two weeks and you were smiling and doing this and that, now as soon as you put the ring on my finger you're now telling me this about the hand you said was so soft when we were going together. Now you're complaining about this.  I don't need this, so go back and get your ring. She said, I'm going to go back and get your ring! I said, Who needs to do this? Yes, I had been creaming my hands. I said I would stop for her, but I did it anyway. I came over to her house on Sunday 30 May 1965 and she started to touch my hands and she said, You lied to me, you're still using creams. I said, Yes okay, you're right, I have. But you can't tell me what to do. Go and get my ring. I had to get her ring. I had to walk 12 blocks. I was tense like anything. I couldn't believe she was so nice before the ring went on. And then I came back and I was nervous and she was crying. Oh! She was there crying when I came back, I'm sorry, I'll never do this again. I don't know what strange emotions came over me but her crying brought me to hug her and to embrace her and then I felt my lips going closer to hers - because you know when I went with her 2-3 weeks, I never kissed her. I told her what I believed in. But when the thing happened I exploded within me, if you know what I mean. And then of course I felt like I was in sin. The minute that happened I felt the Devil come right in and said, Don't worry about it. The world is like this. This is a normal thing to do. What you did is not wrong. You're just emotional but God expects that of you. And I said, No no, you get behind me Satan in Jesus’ most precious name, because I will not quit. I will not quit. Now I have a stain upon my soul. Now I've got to tell people like Lenny Bruce and so many others who I was confiding in with sexual problems and the situation. I told them I'd never kissed a girl yet.  Now I've got to tell them that I've slipped. That was a terrible, terrible thing to bear in my head. The thing is, I had the strength to say, If you slip, you come back again. You're gonna quit. So that's what I did. We stayed together about two months and we broke up.

Long Hair, High Voice

What did your Mother say about the hair?

Valentino parted his hair on one side. I didn't want to copy him, I parted it on the other side. And mine grew almost to the top of the ear, over the eyebrow. Well in 1954 I had the long hair on the side, enough to be looked at. I also had the high voice - for which I thank Jesus Christ for his blessings, because before - in 1951 - I had a normal voice and something was crying, Change! When I failed, I sang at a party for Metro Goldwyn & Mayer executives, and Loews movie houses where I was a messenger at the time in 1951. At Christmas time when I sang at their party they were looking for new talent in their employees, so they wanted me to sing. I sang a song in a straight voice and bombed out because I was too nervous. I said, Something's got to change, and it did. Something cried out. I wasn't good looking. I wanted to appeal to women. I didn't care if they laughed as long as they looked. So I started growing my hair. I knew to change I had to be original with the voice, so I wouldn't sound like Vallee or Perry Como or Crosby or Columbo, so one morning in 1952 I woke up and it was sounding like this, (sings, low voice) Because of you there's a song in my heart. (High voice) Because of you my romance had its start. So I said, Wait a minute, that voice doesn't sound like Crosby, Como or anybody. I've got the hair now I've got the voice. I started to experiment with hits of the day, (high voice) O for just a chance to love you... And then I started, (high voice) You are my sunshine, my only sunshine... And I started to win in the night clubs. I mean 1954 I had to nerve to go out with the high voice, with the long hair. I lost my job at Loews in 1952 after working there a year and a half and now I had to sit at home, Mother and Father were the breadwinners. All I had was my parents. All I had was waiting for them to come home safely. And all I had was dreaming of a miracle somewhere along the line - in reality it could be like the horse and the Lotto win. You feel great in the high, but you're gonna wind up on the streets. What if something happened to my parents coming back from work? What will I do?  One or both of them?

Jesus Christ

When I found Jesus Christ, in 1953 I started to pray, really pray by believing in Jesus Christ and talking to him alone in my room, in my closet, on my knees and talking to him like I'm talking to you. Why is this happening?  I don't feel this way. Let me know more of you... When that happened, I then asked for my own career to make it, I know it's wrong Lord with the parents working their hearts out, but something tells me I've got to keep like that, the voice, the hair, the cosmetics. You know what I think of women. As long as I don't touch them, as long as I can look at them... So in 1953 after finding Jesus Christ, the career started to take place. Everything came together.

New And Original

I praise the Lord for a new style, a new sound, a new look. And all of a sudden about 1954 I had the look, the white face make-up. I used to cleanse, and I still do eight times a day, to appeal to women, keep my skin nice. I always dream I'm in Paradise with women, and so by 1954 it was a new original package. The look, the hair, the appearance and the voices At least when I went to Amateur Nights in 1955, 56, 57 and tried to win contests, I was starting to win with the high voice! However, my Mother and my Father were saying, Where did we get him from? My Mother said to my Father, What kind of man is this? He's not my son! He came from you! And he'd say, Tillie, stop it. The relatives, they were feeling sorry for my Mother. By 1956, either they were laughing upstairs or feeling sorry for my Mother. My Godmother came in - she was the one my Mother worked for, for years - she owned a knitting mill. She was very wealthy and she was my Godmother, and she said, What are you? A fairy?  Just like that. I didn't like what she said. I wasn't warm to her for a long time. I knew what she was trying to do but I didn't like it. It was not just to make it in the business - like Kiss, the Beatles - part of the style was my own identity, to find the women. Even if they laughed at me, at least they looked at me. I didn't want to cut the nose. My keeping clean I felt I was in a Paradise with perfume and flowers and purity with women in heaven. To the parents, it was one thing. To the world however, this was not just for show business.

Everyone was picking on you at home? And you told me about the subways...

People moved away from me. When I was looking for a job, people were holding onto a strap rail, they'd read The Times and nudge each other. With that white face I looked as white as a pillow case, at 8.00 in the morning, in the rush hour. And you know, I was sitting there with the long hair, and I always splashed nice cologne on me, and they said, I don't know what this is Joe. And, Don't ask me what it is, you know (laughs). There was tension!

Originality Is The Key To Success

Why did you stick with it?

Why did I stick with it? Good question. Especially in 1956, 57, 58 before the Beatles, when Eisenhower was President, and you had the McCarthey hearings just finishing. I mean, we had the Alabama riots. This was a period of time - I couldn't believe it! Outwardly I felt terrible and scared. Inwardly I knew. I knew that I had found something, and originality is the key to success. Rudy Vallee once said, If you sing in a night club and they're smoking and drinking and all of a sudden they stop everything and look at you, then you know that you have something. And this was happening to me in the world. I was winning shows at night with the high voice where I never won before with the straight voice in 1950-51. Now in 1957-58 I was winning. They laughed at me, with me, who cares? It was causing the attention. The girls were looking. I was rejected, but they knew me in this business. And I knew that I had a plan and a formula.

Don't Worry, Herbie Will Make It

However, my cousin was in the 'real' world. They couldn't invite me to the Wedding, 'it was too full'. One of them did invite me, the younger one. But the older one never invited me ~ the one who went to College. His in-laws said, We don't need him. My Father hated it. My Father and my Mother went, but I was too much for the Wedding. This is 1959 - the beginning of 1960 now rolls along.

Did you have friends?

Lots of acquaintances.

Did anybody encourage you to stick with the creams and .. ?

No one. Not a one.

Not one relative, friend or anyone?

Only one relative, my Auntie Leah - may she rest in peace - she said to me, Don't worry, Herbie will make it. I never forgot her, but I think her son was in show business so she may have had a better understanding. Her son played a very good piano. She said, Don't worry, Herbie'll make it, and this is back some time ago - in the 40s. The hair came in the 50s.

The 60s

So then the 60s rolled around and now things are picking up at night time but not in the day time. Now it's getting worse. The Beatles were not on the scene yet, they didn't come until 1963. Now they were saying, Don't ask me what it is, it's sick! The kids were coming home from school, Black kids, especially in New York in the subways at 3.00. I failed an audition and I felt mad enough with that, and they'd come in and they'd say, Hey man, what's that? I know what it is. I want to tell you boys what it is. That man's weird. Look at that nose! Know what I mean? Oh I tell you! You know, I felt violence inside but of course I prayed Jesus Christ for the strength to hold myself because that's the way I looked. Here I failed an audition and I had to get taunted by these kids coming back from school! However 1968 came. In 1967 I signed with Reprise. Mo Ostin came down from Sinatra's record company on a tip from Peter Yarrow of Peter Paul & Mary when he saw me work at The Scene. In August of 1967 he came down, he liked what he saw and took me to Hollywood.

Tiny Tim Makes It!

In 1968, thank God through Christ for his blessing, when Tiptoe Through The Tulips hit the chart, the whole world now, the whole country of America, were asking what the relatives and friends said in a small spot of New York, Who is this? The relatives were saying, I can't believe it! My Mother was saying, Who would have thought this would happen? And the same relative who said that the Wedding was too crowded in 1957 wanted his kid to hold Miss Vicki's train when I did the Carson wedding. So it's funny how human nature is. I thank Jesus Christ when he said in the Bible that, The stone that the builders rejected has become a chief cornerstone. As long as I obey his laws and keep away as much as possible from fornication and the thrills of the flesh, which he hateth.

Tiny Tim In A Fight

Have you ever been in a fight?

A fight? My last and final fight was in 1940-41. The fellow's name was Daniel Connor. I've since met him, we're the finest of friends now. We were both at that age and I'll never forget, I hit him - he never quit.  Then all of a sudden he bopped me in the eye and I quit. That was the last fight I had. No...what am I saying? In 1951 I had a fight when I was working as a messenger with Loews MGM.  This fellow was saying, I'm going to tell so-and-so what you did and I hit him right in the office, and I almost got fired. I'm glad that he was weaker than me, the coward that I am. You know - he was taller than me. But since that time - no.

Not when you had make-up on in the subways?

No. I'd run away, get out of there quick. But there was one time with some Blacks in New York at 3.00 in the morning. One guy had a knife in-between his belt buckle and they were coming down the subway in the neighbourhood. Hey man, gimme your money, and I just didn't have any - in those days especially. I said, Here you can take whatever you want, let me pass by here. He said, Man that man said 'keep it', let's get going. So I was so happy that they'd let me go. So I said, Wait, I've got something for you! You know what I gave him? I took out this bottle of mouthwash. I said, Use this. I don't know why I said that, that guy could have killed me. Instead he said, Man this man's crazy.  Know what I mean? But that's the only time. I thank the Good Lord for leading me away from that, getting robbed and mugged. It could still happen know what I mean? Thank God through Christ right now it hasn't happened. They can't take much anyway.

It couldn't possibly happen now?

You never know.

But you're Tiny Tim.

There's always one out there for everyone. There's one negative human being. Nothing is impossible in this world. Remember those Black street guys when we drove through 42nd Street last year? They went, 'Hey, that's Tiny Tim!' God bless them, they were wonderful. But you know, whether it's White or Black, you're going to get robbed no matter who it is. It doesn't matter what they are, it's just the heart of the person at that moment. But it was a period of time. To this day I always think of that Eternal Princess.

Earliest Repertoire

What songs did you first start singing in public?

Going back to the 30s, these kiddie records - 78s.

John Brown had 10 Indian boys... (sings). And this one I remember, Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water, Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after. Old King Cole was a merry old soul ... ! Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep.... why I remember listening to those at three and four. I remember those melodies then. They were great melodies and I couldn't get them out of my head. As far as the first popular song, I remember singing songs in the 40s which was a big hit for K Kaiser at the time - 1940 if my year is correct - Playmates come outplay with me...(sings). And also a great song I sang in 1942, Tangerine ... and bring a flame... That was a big hit. And talking of hits - this is not an exaggeration - this was a No 1 hit in 1942 during the summertime with Jimmy Dorsey's Orchestra and Helen McConnell and Bob Everly sang that number.

These were the songs you sang at talent quests?

No - talent quests were later. These songs I sang to people in the country when I went up to the Catskills for the summer for two months. I always kept on top of the Top 10 in those years. It was only 78s though. You put a needle in the machine and you play 'em and you throw the needle out. You're going to the beach - in those years 1942-41 - they took a portable phonograph that they would wind up. They didn't have no batteries, they still had a wind-up phonograph for the beach, and you took it with a needle and you played all the big bands like Glenn Miller and all those people. When you went home you had the electric and you plugged it in the wall. The first portable radio - you know, we take these things for granted - thank God through Christ we now have transistors. Who would have thought of putting it in your pocket! The first car radio in 1936 was a Dodge - but in those years when you went to the summertime, they heard all this swing on wind-up portables - a lot of needles there.

In Love, In The 40s

But in 1942, I forget who I was in love with then - Audrey Dash! In 1943 I fell in love with a nurse. I had my appendix out and she was so beautiful. But in 1944 she was 12 her name was Lila Cordian. 6 April was her birthday. I met her on 6 July and she was gorgeous. Twelve years old, and this song I sang to her then as I do now, (sings)

Chills run down my spine
Aladdin's lamp is mine
The dream I dream of love denied me
Just one look and then
I knew that all I longed for long ago was you.

Songs Dedicated To Women

This was a hit song in 1942, Jingle Jangle Jingle. I always think of Audrey Dash and Audrey Dash's sister, oh she was so beautiful! 1943 the main song was for this nurse I met - Miss Diana - in Mount Sinai Hospital. And this great song, You'll Never Know How Much I Love You, and that was to that pretty nurse. In 1944, that one, Long Ago Far Away. In 1945, when I met Ann Hesse - oh she was beautiful! Long black hair, and she was 13. Oh she was so gorgeous. I was so nervous with her.  She used to wave to me from her window and the song then whenever I whistled this song she happened to be around the block Chicory Chick Is Me. Sammy Kay had a big hit with that. Now in 1946 I met this other girl, one of the great songs there was, The whole world is singing my song but I sing it only to you. I don't know who the girl was but she had black hair. I saw her from school. Every year I had songs dedicated to women who I met - for a minute, maybe for more than a minute.

Elizabeth Taylor

1947 - Elizabeth Taylor was the first star I'd ever met, really at 15 years old.

You met her?

That same year she was 15 I met her in September at 3.00 in the afternoon on the 15th floor of the Sanregis (?) Hotel. I was waiting for her since I.00 and she finally came up there. I had pictures of her. When she was 15 I saw her in the same-year - 1947 - earlier during the summertime of June in a picture called Cynthia with George Murphy who later became a Senator. And from that time on she was so beautiful, I had to meet her. When she came to New York, Mrs Holt - whose son worked for NBC in the Rockefeller Plaza - got me some radio tickets to see her in a radio show on a Sunday in September, and she was so beautiful that I found out she was at the Sanregis. I went to see her on a Wednesday afternoon. I waited two hours. I don't know how they let me upstairs - because I waited for her to sign my scrap book - but she came up.  She looked at me. Wow she had the most beautiful violet eyes I'd ever seen. She was as pretty in person as she was in the pictures. And that day was a turning point. That day I said, I have to make it on her level. I want to meet Elizabeth Taylor at her level. So in 1947 - if ever there was any turning point in wanting to become a star - that was it.


When did you get your first ukulele?

In 1950, and the whole world was playing it then. My first one was a Diamond Head. The second was a Materferi (?) and then I started graduating to Gresch and finally Martin.

And what a great brand!

It sure is.

Tiny Tim On A Beatles Record

You sang 'Nowhere Man' didn't you? On the Beatles Christmas Record.

Right, in 1968. I met Mr Harrison some place in Manhattan and I said, You know Mr Harrison, it's a thrill meeting you all. None of the other Beatles were there except Jane Asher. She was there. And I said, I don't know what to say, but back in 1966 Mr Harrison, I was in love with Miss Jill. And 'Nowhere Man' was hitting the charts and I remember singing it like this (sings) ... And Mr Harrison said, Wait.  He took his tape recorder out and said, Go through the whole song again and say Merry Christmas Beatles, which I did. And he put it on a Beatle record - the 1968 Beatles Christmas Album. I praise the Lord, they were great years.

One Trick Pony

You must be very satisfied with your life. From walking the streets looking at other people's names in lights, going to movies and being in movies. You recently appeared in Paul Simon's 'One Trick Pony' movie, didn't you?

Right. Was I in it?  Did you see me in it?


Wow. Well you know that story. I was thrilled to make the movie with him. They shot it at the Concorde Theatre in 1979. But anyway, when I did that movie I was supposed to sing an old song, and he was supposed to come into the kitchen and look at me and walk out. And the song that I sang in that movie was, There's a broken heart for every light on Broadway; A broken dream for every light I say... that old Jolson number. Anyway I must have done 40 seconds of song in that movie, but he cut it down and you're lucky to see five seconds, 10 seconds. Anyway, some writer reviewed the movie and said - in 1980 this was - and he said the best part about the movie was Tiny Tim walking through and singing that song, and that was only five seconds. So you know how much he loved the movie! I've never heard from Mr Simon since. It was unbelievable. In 1980-81 there's this man who's sold millions of records, there's this man who packs them in wherever he goes. Tiny Tim was a star in his movie - never heard from him again! Liberace - fine man as he was - came down when I was hot in 68, came to a concert and I saw him in. He was very nice to me. But when he opened up in Radio City he didn't want me there either. Afraid I would upstage him. I don't know what it is. You'd think I'd be the least - they'd think!


Does it ever upset you that when journalists interview you all they talk about is the creams, the showers, you know what I mean?

Well they certainly can't talk about my last hit record!

Why do you allow them to do that? Sometimes you appear to encourage it.

That's another good question. The reason for that is very simple. First of all the name of the game is show business. Sometimes we forget the 'show' in the business. We also forget that it's not a private business, like the stock market or a business per se - with houses built, contractors - this is a public business. Those who enter into a business from which Hollywood was born - where fans could see stars on the celluloid screen, be it silent or sound. The very fascination of seeing a character on the screen, magnifies their charisma. Most people in the world will never be on television. And a lot of people in the world cry for a minute, they scream to their neighbours, Did you see me? Did you see me? So in a business where show is the business, a lot of people forget. Why do I tell them about my showers and everything?  I'm always saying that because I know that people want to know about it. They also want to know what goes on in the private life.  They should know. Show business is not a private life. If I wanted a private life then I should have been anything but in show business. If I'm a stockbroker or if I'm working in a business, I have a good right to say, What I do in my private life with Miss Vicki, or whoever I'm with, I'm sorry I can't tell you. This is not show business.

Soldiers Of Show Business

Stars love to get the applause. They love to bring the house down. They feel great when they get great reviews. They feel great when they marry a beautiful woman - Nicole Kidman - so they always want their crazy public feats to be magnified. They have to remember: we are soldiers of show business and show business is a public business. We are soldiers of show business. They can call me tomorrow with a booking and I can answer them. It's braver if I go and better for the business if I go, because even though I may have to be the sheep for the night, when it passes they can say, That man was nasty but he kept his composure and he kept the image. But if I whinge about it and somebody says something, they say, Aaah ya can't sing! It's better if I say, Well, I'm sorry, that's your opinion. I'm sorry if you feel like that. Of course, everyone will look - a guilt complex and you get the victory. In fact if I keep quiet about it, become nice about it, it takes some ammunition away from him and I live up to my image. But if I answer, I can't sing because your Mother gave me birth! I get the crowd's applause and I win the battle. I've still lost because he made a star come down from you know what.  So he's moved the star of it. So basically, this is show business. It's a public business. I tell these things because I want to tell people that I keep clean. They look at my outfit, they may think I'm not, so I want to say to everyone it's not the outside appearance they're looking at. I'm not saying it's not for myself - of course it is. I also tell them these things because I feel good keeping clean and fans want to know what you're doing and what you're doing it with. This is the precise gossip business. There is going to be negative and positive gossip. When I took on myself these things, I said All right, it is a public relations business.  Fans want to know. And if someone asks, How do you like being here? If I say, It's none of your business ... ! It is their business. They all want to know about a star.

You answer questions that are unbelievably personal. Should you talk more about your music perhaps?

That doesn't sell papers. The public wants to know about the star. The public wants to know intimate lives - and the paper's not there to praise the star. The paper is there to get circulated readers. So Tiny Tim, Nice Guy Does Good Show - that's not what they want to hear. They want to hear the other side, Ahh, he can't be like that? That's what they want to hear.

Copyright © 2005 [Lowell Tarling] - All rights reserved