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Ask Martha for 2004

Q:  Hi Martha,

Thanks for replying to my question last month.  It's good to know more Babs footage was originally shot for 'Animal House', shame it doesn't exist today though!

You're right about the 'Legally Blonde' movies, especially the recent sequel.  Reese Witherspoon is dressed EXACTLY the same as Babs on the DVD cover (well, fair enough, you were both dressed as Jackie O but that's not the point).

Anyway, sorry to ramble but here's my question:

Do you have any plans on releasing the songs you recorded/performed with Keith?

Also, is it true that you created a board game?

Happy new year.

All the best,
Peter


A:  Peter,

Well, Keith and I met singing in a small Beverly Hills rock and roll club, where the owner is a well-known band manager who used to give us both the mike frequently.  Then, I invited him to join in my group to do some duets I needed male vocals for.  All live, local performances--not for recording, no studio work.  I was only singing to get back to live audience and performing again after a 6 year hiatus from entertaining.  Keith is a gifted virtuoso song-meister with an incredible range and gorgeous voice (and that's my objective opinion!).  So, eventually, I went back to the camera/acting and he carried on with a new backup band more adapted to his style.  So . . . long story . . . no, we never recorded, although he now has a home studio setup should we ever decide to!  His guitarist is the lead guitar for the Wallflowers, Jacob Dylan's band, his drummer has toured with Duran Duran, his bass player tours with Edgar Winter, and his keyboardist with Joe Cocker and before that with Tower of Power.  Don't know your age, but these are some heavy hitters in their era.  I feel a bit lightweight in that company, but I adore his guys--and abundance of talent as well as heart.

And, yes, I did create a board game, about 20 years ago!  Called "Beverly Hills, a game of wealth and status."  It was a Monopoly style satire on the city of Beverly Hills where you gain status points (or lose) depending on where you eat, shop or travel.  The tokens were all die cast metal hood ornaments of cars; everyone starts with a blue Ford and moves into Mercedes, Jaguar, Porsche, etc.  It was really funny and generated so much publicity at the time that our manufacturer couldn't keep up with the orders, so that we had to disappoint a lot of larger dept. stores and eventually couldn't deliver.  Lesson learned--be sure to find a manufacturer capable of high quantity work before you launch a product.

Happy New Year!
Martha


Q:  Martha,

How did you wind up posing for Playboy?  Was it something you'd wanted to do, or did someone from Playboy spot you somewhere and ask you?  How do you think it changed your life?

Karen


A:  Yes, I was "spotted" by a Playboy talent scout who had previously submitted another girl who was accepted, and they earn a decent fee for successful submission.  The time between us submitting photos until acceptance was record short, and Playboy had to bump out another girl set to be a Miss July to put me in right away.

My life was drastically changed, but not in the way you might expect.  Being raised a typical midwesterner, my feet were always pretty firmly planted on the earth, so, despite offers from exotic Arabic princes to fly across the world on a date, or various other famous people seeking your company . . . I just travelled the country doing personal appearances for them for about 3 years or so, and kept my life simple in my Michigan apartment.  The changes were obviously more money, more mobility (travel), and the reactions other people have towards you--the most interesting change.  One becomes defensive while everyone makes incorrect assumptions about you based on ONE modelling job!  It was never a factor in my acting career, as I was unable to reveal it in the early days of my L.A. career.  Television in those days was notoriously un-receptive to former Playmates starring in series.  It was too risky for the ratings system in a much more conservative climate.  So, I just didn't speak of it for years.  Now it's all changed, and I freely discuss it with anyone in the business.

Thanks,
Martha


Q:  Dear Martha,

I heard you have a sister.  Is she older or younger?  Are you anything alike or are you polar opposites?

A:  Yes, I do have a sister who is older and like a best friend to me.  Recently a pipe burst in my home causing damage to a closet full of old photos and press clippings over the years, including all my earlier modelling pictures and ads.  My sister showed up at the door (she also lives in L.A.) to help retrieve all the stuff as best we could.  We ended up using a hair dryer to dry off items, and it took the better part of the day.  Much of it was saved.  What a funny New Year's Day activity!

We are polar opposites only politically, I'd say, but used to be on the same side.  It makes for colorful dinners together with lively discussions, but otherwise, we think uncannily alike on many issues, and spend a good deal of time together.

Martha


Q:  Dear Martha,

When given a script to read, are you usually told which role someone has in mind for you, or do you read it without that foreknowledge and determine the role as you read?  Once you've decided there's a role that interests you, how do you go about preparing yourself for the audition?  Although many actors say they can't stand the audition process, you've said you like it.  What about it appeals to you?

Fling

A:  Fling,

Yes, I always know the role I'm up for, it's the way we download the material to study it--by role name.

The audition prep is pretty extensive for me.  Don't like leaving much to chance or luck there.  I start with a thorough read through once or twice without an preconceived notions, open minded to get a feel for the tone.  Then I look more closely at my character to determine the purpose the writer had in mind for her, and after that is the hard part.  Regardless of the size of the role, one scene or many, I work on her back story.  I create her life from birth, parents, teen years, professional life, etc.  This takes time and imagination!  But it really pays off in the end.  Oftentimes, casting directors will change material at the last minute, or if they like you, throw new scenes at you to be read for producers at a moment's glance.  You need to be fully anchored in a character to be able to make those fast adjustments without the time to think about:  How does she feel about her ex-husband?  Her Dad?  What does she secretly dream about achieving?  Biggest fears, phobias?  I always over prepare if there is time.  We generally get our scripts the night before the audition, so this is late night activity!  Then, lastly--learn lines.  Partly because I have this kind of photo short-term memory thing for scripts, and because by that time, you know the character so well . . . it's just clear how she would respond.  Good question!

What I love about auditions is the same thing I love about acting . . . performing.  It is, after all, the exact same process--you just don't get paid for auditions.  But because it's a high stakes competition, I get fired up, and all the cylinders start going full speed ahead.  Adrenaline rush, pitter pat heart rate, same reason people race cars, ride the Revolution and fall in love.  And I love to get inside the character's clothes, skin, shoes (if they're cute shoes) and mindset.  I happen to think acting is a terrific form of therapy for certain people, too.  Not that I need therapy . . . Oh, no.  Surely not.  I just think it's truly fun to get up and dress like someone, go out and be that person fully for that portion of the day.  Like a vacation from your life for a moment.

Best,
Martha


Q:  Dear Martha,

What's the strangest thing a fan ever asked you to sign?

Diana

A:  Diana;

I've signed shirts, arms, bikini underwear (new, unused!), casts, hats, jackets, etc., but the strangest thing was definitely the pious Reverend who wrote me requesting I send him a signed copy of my Playboy centerfold!  A real Reverend at a real church wanted, for some reason, an autographed centerfold . . . go figure!  Maybe they were having a church fund-raiser and needed items???  There you have it . . .

Martha


Q:  In SMK, did Francine every have a code name?  It never made it into an aired episode, but some people think there was a line in an original version of a script that was cut.  If not, what do you think her code name should have been?

A:  Oh dear, I think I probably had at least one, but whatever it was, it escapes my memory now, sorry.  I'll tell you what, though, those people who run this site are total freak experts on this sort of stuff.  Guarantee you they know the code names of all the characters and half the guest stars.  I'd have probably chosen "Cream Puff."

[Ed. Note:  Even we 'freak experts' running the site don't know if Francine ever had a code name!]


Q:  Martha,

What actors do you admire?  Have you tried to emulate them in any way?

Joe

A:  Joe;

Emulation is something one is often not even aware of.  It creeps in as you watch, admire, and assimilate someone's style.  So, I never set out to emulate one actor or another.  I will say I'm a huge Dustin Hoffman fan, but we never go up for the same roles . . .  I've never seen him not hit the mark--he always unveils a profound, compelling human character study that fascinates.  For ladies, I enjoy Meryl Streep (who doesn't?) and always adored anything Katherine Hepburn did.  More recently, Hillary Swank is interesting.  There are so many, I couldn't list them all here.  It's also late at night now, and I'm too sleepy to remember them all!  There are tons on TV I respect as well--especially in comedy.  I aspire to be on of the "Golden Girls" one day!

Martha


Q:  Dear Martha,

I recently got hooked on Inside the Actor's Studio and wondered how you'd answer the questions the host asks at the end of each show:

1.  What's your favorite word?
2.  What's your least favorite word?
3.  What turns you on?
4.  What turns you off?
5.  What sound or noise do you love?
6.  What sound or noise do you hate?
7.  What's your favorite swear word?
8.  What profession, other than your own, would you like to try?
9.  What profession would you not want to participate in?
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Thanks,
Callie

A:  Whoa, Callie--That's a tall order Q!

1.  Favorite word:  I love the sound of Kuala Lumpur and always wanted to visit just to tell everyone I was going there.
2.  Least favorite word:  No.
3.  Turn on (suddenly feel like I'm filling out the Playmate questionnaire):  Warm Santa Anna winds on a balmy California night; almost any wind.
4.  Turn off:  Outbursts of anger; petty, small-minded people with petty, small-minded talk
5.  Sound/love:  Many . . . a whisper in my ear; wind in the trees; my husband's voice; any good music; ocean's waves.  I'm big on sounds.
6.  Sound/hate:  This is strange, I know but outside any annoying TV commercial, I really hate the sound of an eraser on paper.  I know, it's odd.
7.  Swear word:  No f**king idea.
8.  Profession to try:  Astrophysics; Writing; Forensics; Therapist; Production design; Talk show host; Journalism; Advertising; Poet; Teacher.  Intelligence Agent!  They need a few good women!  I could go on and on.  Need to live 100s of years!
9.  Profession never want:  Puppeteer; Insurance; Waitress (did that); Auto Sales; Finance; Retailer.
10. Heaven exists.  My fear is He's gonna say, "Sorry, Martha, we decided to go another direction and go with the Brunette instead."  (Story of my life when I get to the screen test level for a role).   Hopefully, instead, He will say, "Welcome home, my dear sweet girl--you've done well, I'm proud of your service.   Now, what would you like to do next time??"


Q:  Martha,

If someone handed you a million dollars and said you had to spend it all in a week, however you wanted to, no strings attached, what would you do first?

Faith

A:  Faith,

Well, being somewhat conservative with money, I'd "spend" a good part of it on something that was a wise investment.  Probably a second home--in the desert, which I also love.  Or maybe in Tuscany, Italy.  How much do I have left?  Do I have enough for a spa trip, a wildly indulgent Beverly Hills shopping spree, and of course a few precious gifts for my husband and family.  Oh no, I forgot my friends!  And my charity donations . . . I could use a new car, a high def flat screen TV, house could use some painting, I've always dreamed to go on Safari in Africa . . .

Faith, I'm afraid I'll need more than a million, if that's OK?


Q:  You said that your dream job is an ensemble cast comedy, but would you ever want to be THE STAR of a show, or is that not a responsibility that you want?

A:  It's not really about responsibility so much as that I truly enjoy the play of an ensemble csat.  I think you can get the richest relationships that have appeal to wider audiences.  Witness Cheers, Friends, Taxi, and so on.  I've always seen myself as more of a supporting player as well, but hey, I wouldn't turn down a starring role!


Q:  Dear Martha,

Has there ever been a moment in any of your acting roles where you thought, "Yes!  That's it, it can't get any better than that!" or do you always think there's another better performance in you?

Thanks so much for answering all these questions!

Jean

A:  Jean,

You're welcome.

That happens sometimes on stage, when you repeat the same role night after night.  Some nights you can attain real heights and feel that audience right in the palm of your hand.  It's such an intimate relationship with those strangers out in the darkened seats.  But in general--actors always feel there's a better performance in there.  Or at least a more interesting interpretation of the scene.  I'm famous for getting the part brilliantly in the car driving back home from the audition or the set.  Every actor will tell you this one.  That hindsight always gives you the best ideas.  I need to have a vid-cam installed in my car to send out my best work!


Q:  Martha,

Have you done any acting that will be showing soon, something for which we can set our VCR's/TIVO's/DVR's to record?

In SMK, during the 'chocolate/freezer' scene with Amanda, Francine's list of chocolate items included mostly 'pure' chocolate items (chocolate only), while Amanda listed things like chocolate covered strawberries and hot fudge sundaes and chocolate marshmallow bunnies.  Do you think Amanda was too wimpy to handle 'pure' chocolate so she had to cut it with other foods?  :-)  What are your personal chocolate preferences?

Thanks!
a_bit_dotty

A:  Give me some time, dot, it's pilot season now and I'm anxiously seeking new work.  All you will see now is most likely reruns.  I hear I'm on the Game Show channel a lot!  There was a VH1 Behind the Movies I taped last autumn called "Genius of the Genre"--interview stuff, but I have NO idea when they'll be airing it.

Interesting theory on chocolate tastes vs personality!  I like it.  You couldn't imagine how much I love chocolate--real fine chocolate.  It must be dark--Godiva truffles to start.  A piping hot chocolate souffle (Wolfgang Puck's at Spago rocks) with vanilla bean ice cream and fraises de bois (small tart wild strawberries), chocolate almond bark, Ruth Hunt of Kentucky's chocolate Bourbon Balls, Dove miniature dark chocolate ice cream treats . . . Don't get me started!  It's definitely a staple food in my household and is always in the cupboard.  It actually got me through our big Earthquake here in the 90s, Hagen Daz bars, to be precise, that time.


Q:  Martha,

What was the most challenging thing about being on a soap opera?  What experiences did you take from that job?  Weren't you on when the Eugene/Calliope story was going?  What was it like being around those two wacky characters?

Betty

A:  Betty;

The hardest thing, especially since I had a charcter like Perils of Pauline that was always mired in disaster--the hardest is that you have to cry in a 5 second countdown and always be in full tears at the count of 5, 4, 3, 2, 1--CRY!  I wear lenses, so I can't use the synthetic tears, which usually look fake, anyways.  It was great technical training.  Soaps are really the best place for new actors to get their chops and earn a good living at the same time.  As for wacky characters--welcome to Hollywood.  That's nothing new on a set!


Q:  Do you still keep in touch with childhood, school, and college friends?

A:  Most of my friends I've known for over 20 years!  I'm from Michigan, so my school friends I don't really see much now.  There are a few I'll catch when I visit my Mom.  I have one friend from my High School who moved out here a few years ago and looked me up, and now we're friends again.  That's really fun, because there was about a 20 year gap since we'd seen each other, and we picked up right where we left off.  I do tend to keep my friends a long time, to go through all the ups and downs on both sides of the relationship and devleop a "history" together.

My only regret is that I can't spend more time with my friends.  We are all so busy today, and I think it's a shame we don't just make it a priority to spend some down time, grab a cofee and talk face to face on a regular basis.  All my friends have crazy scheduled like myself, so it makes it near impossible to get together.  That's what I'd do with my million dollars from the question above!  Take time off and hang with my friends.  Sounds good.

Martha


Q:  Dear Martha,

It's great that you're giving the fans a chance to answer their questions.  Here's mine:

If you could have been in any movie as any character, who would you have liked to have played?

Also, when are you going to do more movies?

All the best,
Leah

A:  Leah,

It may sound weird, but I always loved the Frances Farmer story "Frances" starring Jessica Lange.  A horrific journey of psychopathy and epic proportions of madness--but, as I was fascinated by psychology as a kid, this type of pic always appealed to me.  And, of course, those roles are the most challenging to perform, I feel.  Aside from the complexities of that--maybe Diane Keaton in "Annie Hall."  Grace Kelly in "Rear Window."  See, they have NOTHING in common!  I'll stop while I'm ahead.  Hope I haven't totally confused you.

Re more movies:  Soon I hope.  My last filmic effort was the "Where are they now?" feature on the new Animal House DVD.  But that was slapped together quite fast (overnight!).  I am always looking and auditioning.  Stay tuned.

Martha


Q:  Dear Martha,

What has been, for you, your most challenging acting role?  Why?

Thank you,
Claire

A:  Claire,

Oh, they're all challenging in their own way!  That's a very good question.  I did a play once with Rita Wilson and another actress called "Vanities"--pretty well known play.  And I played "Kathy," the mysterious character of the three very well-defined ones.  Most of her dialogue was "inner" dialogue, and the audience never really gets to know where she's coming from (esp in Act III).  To keep that interesting, true to character and move the story forward was a real challenge, but fortunately the luxury of theatre is you get more than a few chances to evolve your performance.  We had both sold out shows and good reviews, so I guess it worked . . .

Martha


Q:  Martha,

I see from earlier questions that you're a Braves fan.  Do you get to many games?

RR

A:  RR,

LOVE the Braves!  My husband is from Atlanta, and it was practically written into my wedding vows that I be a Braves fan.  I really miss Javy Lopez, though.  I usually get to at least one game per year.  Last year, for our anniversary, I got us seats 3 rows behind home plate at Dodger Stadium when they came (surprised my husband).  He wore his Chef's hat!  We also went to some in Atlanta; the cameraman put us on the screen, and Joe talked about Animal House--it's so fun!  Before marriage, I knew NOTHING about baseball--now I'm addicted and can't wait for the season to begin.

MS


Q:  Martha,

Will you ever resurrect your Beverly Hills board game?  It sounds like it'd be a lot of fun!

Joe

A:  Joe,

Doubtful.  It would require a revamping entirely, as the board itself is a mock-up of the city at the time, which has drastically changed now (stores, restaurants, etc.).  It is fun, though; the concept is still good.

I have only two copies of it myself!  But I love board games and may just do another one someday.

Martha


Q:  Dear Martha,

Do you think you made the right choice getting out of acting when you did?  How do you think things might have been different if you'd stayed "in the business" instead of leaving and returning years later?  Was it a difficult decision to get back into acting, or was it more of a 'calling' of sorts?

Paul

A:  Paul,

Yes.  Very.  And, Yes.

Seriously, I slipped out at a time when there really didn't seem to be anything of interest out there for me.  Fresh off a 4 year series--it's common for actors to disappear for a while as new faces move in and you become a bit of "yesterday's news."  At the same time, I was spending more and more time in Europe and planning to move to France.  I don't really think it would have been a good idea to stay in.

Who knows?  I probably shouldn't have stayed away so long--because getting back after so many years was a real resurrection!

My husband was largely responsible for my re-entry.  I fought it a few years, but he convinced me that my resume was still strong enough to make another pass.  So far, so good . . .

Martha


Q:  Dear Martha,

Do you get recognized a lot by fans when you go out?  Do you enjoy talking to them and signing autographs?  Are you embarrassed if they ask you to sign your Playboy pictures?  What's the strangest autograph request you've had?  What scenes in Scarecrow and Mrs. King were your favorite and least favorite to film?  Do you think you're more known for playing "Babs" or "Francine"?

Thanks,
Your fan,
Ron

A:  Hey, Ron--

Lots o questions!!  Not that much recognition by fans, but oftentimes it's my voice they recognize when I speak.  And yes, I do enjoy it and signing.  most people are so sweet about it and appreciative.  No, signing Playboy pix never embarrasses me.  I only get embarrassed if someone has dug out some OLD publicity photos that I hate with bad hair or bad lighting!!  As I said on an earlier post, the strangest autograph was probably the Reverend who requested a signed centerfold for himself!  I always liked the Francine undercover roles where I got to be a character within a character (as a maid, a waitress, a Hungarian defector . . .).  And the last answer, I honestly think more people have seen Animal House more times than almost any movie!  So, Babs, I guess.

Thanks,
Martha


Q:  Hi Martha,

Do you regret the writers of the 'Delta House' television show not including Babs in the spin-off series and would you have accepted the part if they had?

If your career hadn't taken off after 'Animal House' would you have applied for a job at 'Universal Studios'?  That would have freaked out a lot of people.  :-)

All the best,
Peter

A:  Hello Peter,

Well, turns out "Delta House" wasn't really the smash hit Animal House was, so, no, I can't say I regret that one.  But, of course, it would have been nice to have been offered a role, and, yes--I'd have accepted.  Babs was such a fun character . . . I'd have played her in a commercial

Oddly enough, I knew someone who was a tram guide at Universal Studios at the time of the release of the movie.  And he told me they were besieged with "ask for Babs" customers!  I love it!  But NO--this would not be a job for me in real life.  In my early modeling days as a teen, I used to travel as a spokesperson doing the Auto Shows, repeating the same script all day long, in every city . . . so boring, really.  I think it's where I learned comedy.  I found myself changing the script and sending it up into a satire of the car just to escape the dreariness of the repetition!  Suddenly, I had huge crowds around the turntable laughing at the routine . . . not sure the Company was thrilled with it or if it sold any new cars.

Martha


Q:  Hello Martha,

I hope you are well.

I wanted to ask you a follow up question to one you answered a few months ago if that's ok.

Q1:  You mentioned you had a scene from 'Animal House' deleted from the movie involving a catfight between Babs and Mandy Pepperidge.  Could you please run through exactly when this happened and also state what was re-shot to make the scene how it appears today in the finished version.

A1:  The scene was during the final parade, right before we see Mandy pull Babs' (breakaway) dress off her on the float . . . and there was no re-shooting on the film.  No time or budget for that in that respect.  The scene was merely edited and wasn't really necessary for any story line continuity.

Q2:  Did the fight happen on the float and can you remember any specific dialogue (I know it was a long time ago).

A2:  Yes, it was on the float.  I ask Mandy to give me Greggie's ring, she says something about having thrown it in the toilet, she was so exasperated with him and that I should just go try and fish it out myself and we end up in a cat fight.  I could get the exact dialogue, as it's in the script, and I do have that, but not on hand right now . . . maybe next month?

Q3:  We see you fall off the float after it gets rammed by the Delta's cake float; was this a re-shoot to set up the scene of Babs losing her dress?  (What ever the case, you did a wonderful job.)

A3:  No, as I said, we shot straight through, no re-shoot.  The dress ripped away due to the float crash, but Mandy was pulling on it due to the fight.  (Gee, thanks!)

I'm sorry to be so specific but I have a long interest in all things 'Animal House' and to hear fresh info from one of the stars is just too good to pass up.

All the very best,
Jane

No problem--try me again for the specifics on that dialoge.  OR, I do sell autographed script copies if you'd like one with the scene in it.  I usually sell them at fan shows.  Maybe you can order from this site?  We'll see if we can set that up.

Thanks, Jane,
Martha

[Ed. Note:  We are working on a way to sell a few select items on this site.  When we're ready, there'll be a link for that.]




Q:  It's Chris Stuart again.  Thank you very much for sharing with me (and whoever reads the questions and answers on your web site).

How wonderful it was to work with Mary Louise Weller while filming "National Lampoon's Animal House."  I'm glad that you are apparently happy with the way you look at your age.  Have you ever been into any sports or leisure activities?  I'm kind of interested in water sports such as scuba diving myself.

Also, at roughly what time period do you think it stopped being a stigma in general for TV actresses like you to be former Playboy Playmates?  Do you think there is at least one ex-Playmate whom you think blazed the trail for others like you to follow?

Take care,
Chris Stuart

A:  Hi Chris, and you're most welcome.

Sorry this has taken so long this time!

Yes, I remember leisure.  I remember sports.  I'm not much into team sports, but I love tennis.  I'm an average player, but love it all the same.  I adore making my opponent run across the court--left and right, back and forth like crazy, then I end up laughing so hard that I miss the return!

I also go hiking in the local mountains near my home on a regular basis, and this, I believe, is what keeps me sane!  Seriously.  I can't imagine doing without that regular dose of Nature to keep it all in proper perspective.  On my honeymoon (Bora Bora and Tahiti), we went snorkeling daily, and it was incredible!  I will never forget those waters there and the amazing underwater world we saw.  But not a lot of snorkel opportunity in the Beverly Hills area.  I was supposed to scuba for a job once, and after tipping off the boat into the ocean (off the coast of Belize), I panicked and bobbed back to plead with the director to not do it.  They got a stunt double to wear my swimsuit and do the dive (which looked so beautiful), and I cam back onto the boat at the end, breathless and as if . . . Ah, the magic of film!  I know it must be a phenomenal experience, but I have a thing about the equipment and the depths . . . I just watch Discovery versions and stay dry.

No Playmate before me actually blazed that trail, and neither did I, because it wasn't until after my TV appearances that the transition became more or less seamless and non-controversial--Playmate to actress.  Shannon Tweed had a smooth move, I think.  But, ironically, I think Traci Lords probably was the real trailblazer, to cross from Porn to Legit acting--formerly unheard of before her.  After that, a Playboy Playmate appearance on TV seemed relatively harmless and not noteworthy.  Everyone relaxed about it, and now it's even considered an asset to have been a centerfold.  The publicity.

Thanks for you questions,
Martha




Q:  Hi Martha,

I have a few questions about the SMK episode "A Matter of Choice."  In this episode, you were bound and gagged.  Did it botther you when you first read the script and found out you had to be tied up?  I have always wondered how these kind of scenes were filmed.  How long did you actually have to be tied up?  Did they shoot the scenes as fast as they could so you wouldn't have to be uncomfortable for too long?  Were you tied loosely?  Were you able to speak through the gag?  Did they give you a choice of being gagged with a cloth, or tape over your mouth?  Tape would probably hurt when they removed it.

Thanks for answering my questions.

Your fan,
Ron

A:  Hi Ron--

I loved that episode!  James Cromwell kidnaps me in that one, right?  What more could a girl ask for?  He's terrific!  I also love it because they were told to do NO hairdo (au naturel), and the barest of makeup . . . which I would have preferred all along.  And then, I got to speak . . . was it Russian?  In any case, I got to do a lingual feat!  The "ginding" was really nothing.  Usually they do it loosely, and it's up to the actor to act out the "struggle" or tension of the ropes.  No, I had no choices as to type of binding or gag--that was a writer-producer call.

Thanks for your question,
Martha

[Ed. Note:  The James Cromwell episode, in which Francine does indeed get kidnapped was "Wrong Number."  In "A Matter of Choice," Francine is drugged, bound, gagged, and stuck in a crate.  Didn't she live a glamorous life?]



Q:  Hallo Martha and team!

General questions:

Of the non-acting careers you have participated in, which was the most challenging and which was the most fun?
How did you make the switch over from modeling to acting?
Did you have formal acting training?
What is the hardest part in looking for an acting job?
I've read that you studied palmistry; what fascinates you about this subject?  How much do you charge for a reading?  :o)
How many languages do you speak?

SMK questions:

What do you think Francine's biggest obstacle was in becoming an international spy?
What were her biggest strengths?
Did you do anything to prepare yourself to "go into character"?
Do you have any favorite outfits from the show?
Least favorite?

Emma

A:  Emma--you have many questions!!  Curious mind . . .

OK, Let's see.

Non-acting . . . I LOVE to write and have written several screenplays, treatments and a non fiction book about contemporary women's issues.  That's probably more of a "hobby," though.  I did write and design a greeting card like that was really a creative challenging endeavor and sold everywhere quite well.  Selling Real Estate in Beverly Hills and environs was certainly most challenging--trying to find the artistic level in a commission driven business.  Singing and improv comedy were the most fun 'cause they were the most scary!

I came to L.A. as a model and was hanging out at Universal Studios one day with a friend in the Music Dept--where I had a modeling job for some album cover . . . oddly enough--I was also "gagged" on that job! (re last question).  Anyways, we ran into the then Head of Casting for Motion Pictures who--for some reason--felt I was "star material" and was intent to see me along.  He introduced me to the then Contract Dept head who sent me off to their acting coach for long training, and the next thing I knew, Universal was calling me in for small roles on a regular basis.  This gentleman, Bob LaSanka--Casting Head--never wanted anything untoward from me, just seemed to pride himself in a certain "instinct" for film/TV and really went out of his way to walk me down the Tower corridors and pop me into each important office to intro me:  "She's gonna be a big star."  Very kind man.  Don't know where he might be today.

Palmistry:  I've always had an insatiable desire to learn everything and anything that clarifies what makes humans tick.  Started reading Psychology at 11 years old.  Then Astrology and Palmistry at 12 and 13.  Acting, Philosophy, ad infinitum.  Never ending, never boring study!

I speak fluent French and Italian (which I learned from French instead of English--easier that way), and I speak a small spattering in a few other odd languages.  I can say "I'm hungry," "I'm cold," "I'm tired," "I'm American," and "Get away from me, you creep" in quite a few tongues . . .

SMK--We should establish a 5 question limit!!  Francine's biggest obstacle was probably always Francine herself.  You remember in the Pilot episode--OK, in her defense, she was drugged--but she reveals National Security secrets to the enemy!  Loose Lips!  But, her strengths were her dedication to her work, and I think she was a 4-star spy.

Preparation for her character:  As with any role, I do a ton of research and keep a daily "journal" in the character's handwriting and track their thoughts.  I brought a notebook of back-story ideas and character sensibilities to the producers before the show started shooting, even ripped pages from fashion magazines how she might dress.  (That part was totally ignored!)  She was written originally as tres fashionable.  Oh, well, interpretation . . .

I have lots of "least favorite" outfits, but I always liked the well-fitted suits with color (one season I was told I was to wear only shades of brown all year!).

Thanks, Emma, for all these questions.  It's almost bedtime now!

Best,
Martha



Q:  Hi Martha,

I hope you are well.

Is it true that you appear in the movie "Broadcast News"?  I've looked but I couldn't see you in it.

All the best,
Peter


A:  Peter,

That's so funny.  That has been on my IMDb resume forever, and they won't remove it, for some reason.  I've tried to update it.  No, not in it.  But I loved that movie, so it's OK to be thought of as part of it!

I could always use the old Hollywood actor's line--"I ended up on the editing room floor."  I think there is a Martha L Smith out there who may be in the film.  Sorry.

Martha Anne Smith


Q:  Hi Martha,

Where in Cleveland did you live, and what high school did you go to?

Ron from Cleveland

A:  Hey Ron,

Well, I left when I was 3 or 4 years old, so the memories are dim!  And although I was advanced a few years ahead in school . . . didn't get into high school at 3.  I lived in Brooklyn, Ohio, which they say is near Parma . . . ring any bells?  My high school, however, was in Farmington, Michigan and called North Farmington High.

But I have been back to Cleveland in recent times and was very impressed with all the changes to the city.  I had a great time at the Flats, going to comedy clubs and hanging out.  Also, you have a wonderful Art Museum.  And my Dad had his heart surgery at the renowned Cleveland Clinic.  I believe they were responsible for giving him an additional 14 months of his life before he passed.  I have tremendous respect for those Doctors and surgeons there.

Thanks for asking!

Take care,
Martha


Q:  Hi Martha,

I run the 'World of Martha Smith' club at MSN and was wondering how you feel about this and internet fan sites in general.  Does it seem strange seeing this sort of thing or is it just something that you get used to over a period of time?  I suppose the same can be applied with seeing your face in a magazine or watching yourself in a movie.

I was just interested in how you viewed such things.

All the best,
Peter

A:  Peter--

Hello!  You have a great site--Can't believe how many images you're able to locate.  Where do you find them all?!  I love all the sites out there . . . love the internet in general . . . the last bastion of truly "free press" where people can speak their minds, air their views, and post their photos--whatever they might be.  I have a theory that the internet will influence our upcoming elections more than all the millions being poured into television/radio ads.  But, off topic, I know!

It's always a kick to discover a fan site--or a fan!!  But, no, it's not the same as the filmic or print image.  When a fan assembles photos or clips or whatever--they're operating out of sheer personal will.  It's not like a photographer or director--a hired gun paid to capture the moment.  A fan is his/her own, self-started, entrepreneurial, amazing!  To spend the time to create a site such as yours--it boggles the mind that people will do that, and it's really appreciated on a deep level.  Makes one feel their body of work has some intrinsic value somewhere in the cosmos.  And your site is a real trip down memory lane.

Thanks for all your efforts,
Martha


Q:  Dear Martha,

You've played characters that are more likely to be wearing the latest designer fashions than blue jeans.  Is that your style, too, or are you more of a 'dress down' kind of gal?

Jeanie

A:  Jeanie--

Well, at this moment, it's 10 PM in L.A., and I'm currently wearing one of my favorite items in my wardrobe, which my husband affectionately terms "the Tiger."  It's a faux (obviously) Tiger print bathrobe that I don when I come home from a long, hard day.  I've always loved fashion as a tool of comedy, actually.  If you saw Francine on "Scarecrow and Mrs. King," you know what I mean!

What I mean is--as a method of expressing your whimsical side, not taking it all too seriously.  Give people a smile with your style.  These days, though, it's more function, comfort . . . and then end up in the Tiger.

Martha


Q:  Martha,

Do you have a favorite movie?  What about it makes it your favorite?  Do you prefer drama or comedy?

Faith H.

A:  Hi Faith--

I love SO MANY movies, it's tough to choose a "favorite."  Midnight Cowboy, Animal House (!), WIm Wender's "Wings of Desire," Year of Living Dangerously, Annie Hall, Crimes and Misdemeanors, English Patient, Jules et Jim, Quiet American, Arthur, I could go on and on.

Drama or comedy doesn't matter really, just all the elements--cast, director, script, etc.  I'm a sucker for gorgeous cinematography, too, so long as there's a compelling story somewhere in there.

As a kid, I was hooked on Hitchcock (Psycho, Rear Window, North by Northwest . . . ).  And thriller was my genre.  Good comedies seem the rarest to find.  But I keep looking!  I LOVE the good laugh.

Thanks,
Martha


Q:  Hello Martha,

You said in a recent Q&A that you love board games.  Any particular ones?

A:  Love them so much I invented a few.

I used to have Monopoly marathons at my house.  Once a week, and I fared very well.  Usually won.  We even tried it once with real money (ones and fives).  Got that idea from Mr. Hefner when I saw him doing it once--not with ones and fives . . .  No surprise i later sold real estate.

We like another game, Big Dictionary (not a board game), where you invent definitions to unknown but actual words and throw them into the hat with the real definition, and everyone tries to pick the real one.  Love word games.  I used to be a frequent guest on Dick Clark's "100,000 Dollar Pyramid," where I got to win tons of money for the contestants.  That was so much fun.

Clue is good.  Pictionary isn't bad, either.  I like them all--except Trivia games, which I'm not very good at.  The trivia section of my brain is tired!  Too crowded with the vital, survival information to have room for all that trivia.

I haven't played Monopoly in years now.  I think everyone knows they can't beat me and refuse to play anymore!  What's a girl to do?

Martha


Q:  Hi Martha,

I was wondering if you will have any appearance on any upcoming TV shows or movies.  I saw where another fan asked you about your scene on "SMK" where you were tied up by James Cromwell.  It seems by your answer that you were a real trooper in that scene as I can imagine that many actors/actresses would not look forward to being tied up especially for all the takes and re-takes, etc.  I recall in that scene that you were able to slip off your shoe and undo your binds, I don't remember if your feet were bound or not.  I think you were wearing tan hosiery under your shoe.  Please refresh my memory.  Thank you.

Stan


Stan--

Sounds like you should be refreshing MY memory!

I loved that particular episode . . . I mean, James Cromwell--can't go wrong.  All my kidnappings, tie-ups and bondage moments on Scarecrow were, of course, extremely ficticious and easy to maneuver out of.  Oh, yeah, the old pump came in handy more than once to get me out of a pickle!  Used to make me think of Maxwell Smart talking into his shoe . . .

As for upcoming shows, we all have to wait and see on that.  Monday, I go back for the new Rob Lowe Pilot called "Dr. Vegas."  Went about a month ago and didn't get the role, but it appears they are re-shooting and re-casting, so they've called me back, and we shall see.  Otherwise, I've not been going on many calls these days.  Busy with other things and doing a total remodel of my house, as well.

Thanks,
Martha

[Ed. Note:  The episode where Francine slipped off her shoe was "A Matter of Choice."  The James Cromwell episode was "Wrong Number."]


Q:  Hi Martha,

Hope all is well with you!  I have been wondering something for a while now, and I figured you were the gal to ask.  I always hear actors and actresses say they can't stand to watch themselves.

"Civilians," or us regular folk, will call everyone we know if we just might be on TV one night.  Whether it's a "man on the street" interview on the news, just walking buy and the camera is pointed that way, or standing outside NBS during The Today Show, we won't want to miss our chance to see ourselves.

I would think when that first job comes along for an actor, it would be a similar feeling.  Everyone they know crammed in front of the television waiting for them to have their one line and walk off camera.  It needn't be a starring role for them all to watch

When does that excitement fade and the feeling of dread to see themselves come into lay?

How do you feel about watching yourself?

Finally, just to give Keith a chance, do musicians feel the same way?  Do they hate to hear themselves sing on the radio or watch a music video they are in?

Thanks for answering . . . and for everything.  Hope to see you soon.

Jobsies

A:  Hey Jobsies!

How are ya?  Good Q.  To be honest, the first time I saw myself on the big screen at the Animal House first studio screening, I was torn between sliding under the seat and running out the exit door in the darkness.  You just cannot be prepared for the first closeup where your face looms 5 feet high!!  It was horrific!  Seriously, and I'd been on TV before, that was no problem.  It's the big screen that will set you back.  I thought I was terrible, and being so gigantic--terrible by many times magnification!  Couldn't enjoy the film after that.  And every time that huge face came on the screen, I cringed more.  Now, of course, I'm fine with it all.  My only beef is lighting.  If the lighting is done well, I'm comfortable with anything.  So--next SMK Reunion, please be sure it's soft, amber overheads . . . NO fluorescents, and lots of candles are good!  The other factor is the agonizing self-critical eye we all watch ourselves with.  It's not the same as doing a man on the street interview.  This celluloid stuff tends to hang around and sometimes haunt you for years to come.  We like to watch our progress, learn from our mistakes, and you often aren't in touch with that level of self-consciousness when you're "in the moment."  Then, technically--you learn all your best angles quickly!

Now, Keith is another story altogether!!!  He loves to sing for an audience most.  But is also very fond of hearing his songs in playback.  He's currently writing and recording a beautiful collection of songs with his keyboard player for a catalogue.  And I hear these songs all the time in thehouse, day and night.  Good thing I love his music!

Thanks,
Martha


Q:  Dear Martha,

This is the 3rd time I've E-mailed you with questions.  First of all I want to thank you for resonding to me.  I think a lot of times celebrities don't realize how much it means to people when they give the time to sign an autograph, talk to a fan or in this case write answers to questions.  It really meant a lot to me.  I'm so thrilled that you would take the time to answer questions from fans of yours?  I recently ordered some autographed pictures of you through Pierce and Shelly.  You signed them just as I requested.  They were great!  Animal House is one of my all time favorite movies!  I have the new DVD it's fantastic!  I think you are a wonderful person.  Here are my questions:

I play bass in a rock band we play classic rock.  We play about twice a month at local clubs.  Who are your favorite bands?  Do you have any favorite bass players?  What's your favorite song?  You mentioned being on the cover of an album, what band was it?

Finally, I hope you weren't offended by the picture I sent in for you to autograph (the one from SMK of you tied up and gagged).  Was that the weirdest picture you've been asked to sign?  Thank you so much for signing it.

Thanks for everything!  You're great!
Ron

A:  Ron--

Why, you are very, very welcome.  It's a pleasure, believe me.  As for bands--I'd be remiss if I didn't say my husband's band first!  Trouble Man.  And his former band, The Allman Brothers, as well.

One newer band I relate to is Jet, because it's a no gimmick, straight out, clean rock sound.  I think they're reminiscent but not to the point of being retro.  I like so many bands, it's hard to list them.

Because I used to go to concerts endlessly in the 70s--it's hard to stack many new ones against my old faves (Hendrix, Joplin, Stones, Bowie, Santana--Zep!).  I also grew up in Detroit, so Motown and Blues speak to me.  More my era was Iggy Pop and Alice Cooper--that was then!  Buena Vista Social Club when I'm in the mood for a Cuban twist.  For flat out guitar--love Ry Cooder Satriani and Stevie Ray.  Other oldies:  Blind Faith, Pink Floyd, The Who, Dire Straits.  Loved the whole Seattle thing, too--Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots.

You see, I've enjoyed rock and roll since age 13.  Never tire of good rock.  A little more recent:  No Doubt, Jane's Addiction, Pink, Black Crowes--see how it's all pouring out??  Aerosmith (my mom's favorite!), Red Hot Chili Peppers . . . and there's my bass pick--Flea.  He was born on my birthday!

I enjoy some Evanescence, Beck sometimes, and when I'm in a strange mood--Cake, Zappa or Soul Coughing.  Lastly, still like some Green Day, Toadies and goold old Garbage--Shirley's a great singer!  Now, that's it.  I remember no other bands . . .

No, the photo wasn't taken wrong or anything out of the norm, by the way.  As I said above, that was one of my favorite episodes to film.  Glad you enjoyed it.

Take care--
Martha



Q:  Martha,

In a previous answer, you said, ". . . fortunately the luxury of theatre is you get more than a few chances to evolve your performance."  That sounds like an advantage live performing has over film, but could it also be a disadvantage, causing 'over thinking' of a part?  Do you prefer performing in theater to film (whether that's movies or TV), or are they about equal?  What are the major plusses and minuses of each medium for you?

Fling

A:  Hi Fling!

I'm known for over-thinking the part--over-thinking EVERYTHING, for that matter!  But in truth, I find more fluid moments of spontaneity on stage than on camera.  Again--the audience gives one a "feed" that's more instant and automatic.  I don't really have a preference between the two per se . . . as long as the material is good, it doesn't matter to me.  And the director . . . and the co-stars . . . and the wardrobe depatment (!) . . . and the hairdresser--OK, we won't go there.  But, unless it's a sitcom--you really miss that live breathing audience when you're doing TV or film.  Especially comedy.

Hey, at this point . . . just performing would be fantastic.  I enjoy auditions for that reason!

Take care,
Martha




Q:  Hi Martha,

Just a quick question.  I read somewhere that you were originally offered the role of 'Mandy' in 'Animal House' but chose to do Babs instead.  If this is true, can you state your reasons for choosing Babs?

Thanks,
Peter


A:  Hi Peter!

You are correct.  It's kind of a funny story.  The original script read pretty raunchy, especially the Mandy part.  Some of the more explicit scenes in the script didn't make the final cut, weren't even shot, as is common from first draft to final.  My parents (my Conservative parents that is . . . ) were in California visiting from Michigan when I got the first call for the Mandy part.  Each time one would pop into the room and ask, "Whatcha reading for?"  I'd swiftly stash the script beneath some pillow and say--"Oh, nothing, some college comedy thing . . ."

As I read along, I noticed the Babs role was smaller, but to my taste, funnier, and I thought I'd really prefer to take that one on.  Plus, she didn't have to jump up on the air doing the splits with no underwear with Bluto (and the camera) glaring up from below!  (Scene never filmed)  Babs was a crisper character on the page.  I also like pink . . .

So, at the audition, I just asked if Babs had been cast yet, she hadn't--and Voila!  Read for it, got it, and loved it.

Martha



Q:  Hello Martha,

Do you have a favourite SMK episode, and can ich see you in new films on tv next time?

Your fan Henrike!


A:  Hello Henrike . . . Guten Dag (?)

SMK faves . . . You know I always say that I love any episode where I could go under cover as someone else.  "Life of the Party" (Kate and I as maids), the two episodes where I was the Hungarian defector, Magda Petrak, even the one where I got to pose as a typical American housewife in rollers!  (don't remember the name, sorry)  I also liked the pilot episode, just as a piece of film.

As for new films on tv, I'm working on it.  This year has been very quiet thus far for film work.  It's mostly my fault, because I've been so involved doing other things that I'm not going out on nearly as many auditions.  I'm sure it will be posted here . . . the next appearance.

Martha

[Ed. Note:  The 'American housewife in rollers' episode was "Filming Raul"]



Q:  Dear Martha,

Thought I'd let you know that I've seen parts of an old made-for-TV movie called "Hunters of the Reef" where Mary Louise Weller dons a wet suit and apparently does a lot of the scuba diving herself.  What a brave woman!  She must be superneat!  Don't be ashamed that you're reluctant to scuba yourself.  There are issues involving decompression, the bends, etc.  Besides, you said yourself that you and your husband had an amazing underwater experience just by snorkeling!

So, what is your ethnic heritage?  (Are you part Scottish, Irish, German, etc?)  Also, were ever offered a role in a movie BECAUSE you're a former Playboy Playmate?  I know it was a stigma back in the day if one was trying to break into network television, but there have been feature films made over the years that showcased various "babes" from "girlie" magazines.

Good luck,
Chris Stuart


A:  Hi Chris--

I'm fine with the scuba phobia, because I can't imagine anything more glorious than what I've already witnessed by snorkeling everywhere from Mexico, to Belize (off the reef), to Bora Bora (my favorite), Tahiti . . . sigh!  I need a vacation!

My ancestry:  My grandmother was from Denmark, "Fredericka."  Dad's side is a combo of English and German, I believe.  That's where that perfectionist streak heralds from!  I visited Denmark once and felt the roots there.  Not to mention the best apple tart on the planet.

As for the Playmate/film angle, I'm not really sure.  The casting of films is always more or less the same drill.  First, audition with casting director, read your scene, chat a bit, give pic and resume.  Next, audtion with Director and/or writer/producer.  Read again, maybe more scenes.  Chat some more.  Then, one or two more times.  One never knows if anyone is aware of Playboy.  It doesn't come up.  They're infinitely more interested in your acting background, credits, who you've worked with . . .

Martha



Q:  Hi Martha,

I'm a big fan from Vancouver, British Columbia.  I adored SMK and never missed a Monday night episode.  I always thought that Francine was a wonderful role model for young women.  Two questions:

1)  If you could play any role/any character at all, what would it be (your dream role)?  Who would you most like to co-star with and why?

SMK question
2)  Did you actually learn those hand-to-hand combat moves that Francine was so deft at in episodes like "A Class Act" and "The Triumvirate"?

Thanks in advance, and great site!  :-)

Cheers,
Meg Peters


A:  Hi Meg--

First off, thanks for the "deft" compliment!  Made me laugh.  Only because I remember Bruce and his stunt double teasing me endlessly when I would attempt those maneuvers.  And I always would.  I loved that part of it.  One time, maybe you will remember which episode, they must have been out of female stunt doubles that day, and a guy in a dress did one of my stunts and went clumsily running out of the scene, bowlegged and all!  It was hysterical.  I did study small weoponry, marksmanship, some limited stunt driving--which is pretty much my everyday style!

As for my ideal role, that's always a tough question for me, because I'm a stickler for great writing.  From auditioning for so many years--I've read thousands of scripts and been truly impressed by only a handful of writers than can capture not only character and language, but craft story and--the toughest criteria--good comedy.  So, my ideal role is the most artfully written one!

For a co-star, I'd always pick someone way outta my league.  Someone so brilliant at their craft that it forces you to rise to the occasion and deliver your best work.  Robin Williams, be it comedy or drama, would be an incredible challenge.  At the moment--I'm such a John Stewart fan (OK, so he's not an actor, big deal!), I would love to do a sitcom with his ilk.  Forever a fan of Dustin Hoffman.  I don't think there's a role he can't play.  Johnny Depp . . . well, of course.  Jeff Bridges (a friend of Bruce Boxleitner, I believe).  I studied with Jeff Goldblum for a while, and he's wonderfully playful as an actor.  There are too many to list.

Martha

[Ed. Note:  The episode where a 'guy in a dress' did one of Martha's stunts was "Life of the Party."]



Q:  Hi Martha,

Will you making any personal appearances in the near future, and will you be a part of the Playboy anniversary celebrations?

Was that really you who fell off the float at the end of 'Animal House'?

Forget Heather Thomas, you should have been in 'The Fall Guy.'

Peter


A:  Peter--

I think I may have auditioned for The Fall Guy!

Yes, that was me falling off the float, but we did it onto a trampoline type thing, if I recall correctly.  No injuries!

No appearances scheduled at this point.  Last year I did several back-to-back, and they can burn you out.  You want to talk to everyone and be nice to each and every visitor, then after 10 hours you find your face aching, your writing hand cramped, and your head spins.  So, I try to space the appearances out.

As for Playboy, I'm not sure about that, either.  I go to the Mansion (Hefner's) less these days.  Usually once per year for one of the gala events of the Playmate of the Year Luncheon, which I like.  My husband claims to REALLY enjoy Hef's roasted lamb so much that he feels we should go more often . . . hmmmmmm . . . Never knew a guy so crazy for lamb.  :-)

Martha



Q:  Hi Martha,

Just a couple of quick questions for you.

Do you know if you'll ever come over to England for a convention appearance?

Were you at all tempted to don the pink Jackie Kennedy outfit for the recent 'Animal House' DVD float parade?  I think that would have been fun to see you in Babs character.  (And where can I get one!!)

Thanks.
Love, Jane


A:  Cheers, Jane!

I would have loved the original Babs Jackie O costume for the parade!  The original costumer, Deborah Nadoolman, was there at the parade in Hollywood, too.  But, alas, I think Universal owns all those great clothes we wore.  I did go so far as to wear pink, though, in honor of dear Babsy.

I haven't been to England since . . . I want to say about 1997 or 8.  I don't have any current plans to go soon, unfortunately.  Would certainly entertain an offer, though, if something good was coming up.  My next trip will likely be up the California coastline through Big Sur and up to San Francisco, by car.  It's the most beautiful coast in the country, I think.

Martha


Q:  Hi Martha,

You're probably getting tired of answering questions for me, but this is the last time.  At least for a while.

I had no idea you were such a rock fan!  My favorite band of all time is KISS.  What do you think of them?  Were you ever a fan of that band?

Do you ever watch reruns of SMK when it's on?  Do you ever watch Animal House?

Is it hard to watch yourself on T.V.?  Does it seem weird?  Almost like it's another person?  Sometimes we videotape our band when we play live, and it's hard for me to watch that sometimes, don't really know why.  We are pretty good!  Is there any way I could send you a cd of our band?  Just would like you to hear us!  Nothing else!

One last thing since you seem to not have a problem on this subject, I have one last question about your "tied up scene" on SMK.  How long did you have to actually be tied up to film the scene?  Were you able to speak through the gag?  Sorry if this is too personal or weird.  I've always wanted to ask an actress about such scenes.

Thank you again, sorry to keep bothering you.

Wishing you the best!

Your fan,
Ron


A:  Hello Ron--

Don't apologize.  No problem!  Let's see here, you do have a LOT of questions.

Re: KISS.  It was kinda in between eras for me.  I did buy the action figure of Paul Stanley for my husband's birthday cake a few years ago--does that count?  He makes a great cake centerpiece . . . microphone and all.  But, yes, I like the band.  Just not as familiar as some of the others I listed.

I don't watch SMk reruns, well--they're not rerunning here anymore, for one thing.  But when they were, I didn't, except a few times.  My mom did, though.  All the time.  As for Animal House, I might pop the DVD in once a year.  It's always good for a fresh laugh.  Never get tired of it.

You get over the squeamish feeling watching yourself on screen.  I've heard friends tell me they have the same thing though--when I'm on screen and they feel funny watching it!

If you wish to send me a CD, I'd recommend having the site "sponsors" direct you to send it to them, and they will forward it to me directly.

Now, for the Scarecrow restraint scene!  My memory of it isn't all that clear now, it was so long ago--but I'd say we shot the scene for about 1/2 hour or so.  In between takes, I would be "untied."  The gag was not too bad, I could utter some sounds, I think.  Like I said, it was a long time ago.  They were careful with me!

Thanks, and take care,
Martha

[Ed. Note:  Items for Martha--nothing that requires a response--may be sent to:

Martha Smith
PO Box 24084
Knoxville, TN  37922-2084
U.S.A. ]




Q:  Hi Martha,

Did you have any involvement in the recent PLAYBOY anniversary celebrations?

All best,
Paul


A:  Hi Paul!

I am currently not involved in any of the anniversary activities.  I usually go to Hef's each year for the annual Playmate of the Year Luncheon, and maybe one or two other events, depending . . . But as of now, I am not scheduled for any anniversary celebrations.  I will however be doing another centerfold layout to commemorate MY 50 year anniversary with Playboy in . . . er . . . 2023!  Yeah, we will be relying heavily on retouching then.  ;-)

Martha



Q:  Dear Martha,

Who (actor, director, producer) have you never worked with you'd really like to have the chance to work with on a project?

Joe


A:  Hello Joe,

There are so many directors.  I've often said I would even pull cable on a Wim Wenders movie!  David Lynch.  I used to love Alfred Hitchcock as a kid, but of course, that's not feasible now!  Paddy Chayefsky Network and fine author of many novels) was always a favorite.  Cohen Brothers would be fun to work with.  Woody Allen!!  It's late right now, and I'm drawing a blank on more . . . sorry.  I have been pretty lucky to have worked with some really find actors and directors thus far.

Thanks for your question!

Martha



Q:  Hi Martha,

It's been too quiet without you on the screen.  Hurry back.

Anyway, I'm planning on visiting 'Cottage Grove' in the near future as I wanted to see where the end parade of 'Animal House' was filmed.  Can you recall (or anyone else here) what shop you were filmed standing outside at the end of the movie?  I know it was a long time ago and it may even have a name change, but I would love to take the opportunity to photography my girlfriend outside the store.  (She draws the line at stipping off down to her stockings though!)

Any help would be so cool

Take care,
Peter


A:  Hi Peter,

Well there you go testing the elasticity of my memory again!!  OK, this may be vague, but I remember in one of the stills from the Cottage Grove set seeing a store on the street named the same as one of the characters--only problem is . . . Yeah, you guessed it--I can't remember which character!  Was it "Dorfman's" or "Wormer's", "Boon's"--"Otter's" . . . Maybe my husband will remember . . . Hold on--OK, he says he thinks it was "Dorfman's" (Flounder's name was Kent Dorfman, actor was Steven Furst).  I believe it may have been a shoe store?

Well, it is a small town with only one main street.  I'm sure the locals can help you out as well; they still celebrate the film there, and many of them were extras in the parade scene.  What's wrong with your girlfriend??  Nothing wrong with a little bra and panties on a wintry morning in Cottage Grove!

Have a fun trip, and again, don't be shy about talking to local residents.  I hear they threw a bit mock parade to celebrate our recent 25 year anniverary there, with Otis Day performing.

Martha



Q:  Hello Martha,

Hope all is going well with you.

I have a question for you.  When you are out shopping, having dinner with Keith, or just doing normal everyday stuff, and a fan sees you, how do you wish s/he would respond?  Would you rather the fan smile from a distance while talking with a friend that you are over there (the whispering and pointing thing), or come over and say hello?  It seems that staying at a distance may make you (or any celebrity) feel like they are behind glass (an animal in a zoo type thing), but yet everyone deserves time to themselves, and interrupting someone when they are having dinner or doing their own shopping seems rude.

It's different when a celebrity is at an event of some sort, "on the clock," but during their own personal time, they should have the same rights as everyone else.  So, what is the polite and respectful thing to do, in your opinion?

Take care!!
Jobsies


A:  Hi Jobsies!

Good question.  Generally, I think that depends on two things:  what the celeb is doing--how personal or involved it is--and how private the person is in their life.  Everyone has such an individual privacy quotient, it's impossible to dictate across the board.  But for me, if I'm with my husband having a romantice tete a tete dinner--with him crooning a love song in my ear or spoon-feeding me a bite of souffle . . . well, probably NOT a good time!

But just our out for a stroll or shopping, I enjoy when someone comes over politely and says something--presumably--nice!  Back during Scarecrow days, people would walk up and say, "You look older on TV!!"  Uhhh . . . thanks??  Not sure.

So, common sense--and you can tell if they avert eye-to-eye contact that they usually want to be left alone.  I know the megastars have a tough time going anywhere, so I would just lay off approaching anyone of huge visibility . . . It can be very fatiguing for them.  But your "lesser" visibility celebs will generally be flattered and happy to oblige.  And you're right . . . the pointing from a distance thing is never a good idea!

Martha



Q:  Martha,

It's almost your birthday (Happy Birthday!), so I was wondering if you have any birthday traditions?

Claire


A:  Claire,

Funny, I love birthdays!  Everyone makes fun of me because I end up celebrating mine for about 3 months!  It's only due to the fact that most of my friends are always so busy, and want to take me out for grand birthday dinners . . . so we wait for our mutual schedules to collide--and that is often 1 or 2 months later.

So, I have a Birthday dinner Friday night at Ashton Kutcher's restaurant with 3 girldfriends.  Hmmmm . . . last week, I had a birthday evening with another girlfriend at the new Disney Concert Hall in downtown L.A.  Glorious dinner and symphony after!  (I have nice friends)  And this is already near one month after my birthday!

At home we have a funny tradition.  In my living room, there is one spot where we always place the Christmas tree.  All non-Christmas times, there is a tall floor lamp in its place, and when our birthdays come, we place all the presents "beneath the tree" (which is, of course, only a lamp).  Then after we've opened them, we leave them on the floor "under the tree" for a week so we can "play with them."  It's a bit of regression to a childhood thing, but it's now the household tradition for gifting.

Martha



Q:  Hi Martha,

I've read your page and you seem like such a nice person I really feel guilty about liking the scene where you get accidentally stripped down to your bra, panties, stockings and suspenders.  I think it's your best known scene.  Tell me, at an Animal House reunion, would you ever recreate that scene by posing in your undies and stockings nowadays?

Cheers,
Robert


A:  Hi Robert!

Well, that's an interesting question!  Let's wait and see how I'm looking at the NEXT Reunion!  And how warm the venue is!

Thanks,
Martha


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