As many of you who have been following the story know, Mhairi and I were at the point where we had been working together on Feathers and Toast for about a year.
We had produced and released Season 1 and then spent even more time producing and developing the Tallulah character through our Tallulah Talks Back and Holiday Tidbit series and our social media efforts were slowly starting to pay off as evidenced by the uptick of people suddenly using the word Darling, but we were hardly trending.
I was at a point where I was thrilled with what we were doing, loved every minute of it, but was still very unsure of where this project was going to lead. Were we ever going to get a wider audience? Was this project something I was ever going to be able to make a living off of? Was it in my financial best interests to keep going?
This was all the stuff rolling around in my head as I took a much needed break over the Christmas holidays and then something happened that I will never forget.
It was my birthday and I was roaming around this really cool bookstore with a friend of mine, just jabbering away, and then as I turned a corner I stopped dead in my tracks.
There on the book shelf, facing out and just staring at me was a book with a woman on the cover that looked strikingly similar to Mhairi and the title of the book read “Tallulah, Darling of the Gods.” What????
Naturally I immediately grabbed it off the shelf and opened it up and the first words I read were something along the lines of “there I was sitting on the side of tub as Tallulah had her bath, drinking champagne.” The hairs stood up on the back of my neck. I was motionless, mouth open.
Seeing the confusion on my face, my friend, who is a bit older than me says, “that’s Tallulah Bankhead, you’ve never heard of her?” To which I reply “Noooo.” And she says “She was an amazing theater actress back in the 20’s, I just assumed that’s who you based your Tallulah character after.” Still completely freaked out I just said “Uh, nooooo.”
The truth is I didn’t even know who she was and I was pretty positive Mhairi didn’t either. She had mentioned who her inspirations were to me many times before (mostly Lucille Ball) and never once did Tallulah Bankhead ever get brought up.
Obviously I had to buy the book and the second I got home I dove into it. The more I read the weirder it got. How could we have created a character so similar to someone we didn’t even know exists?
And the similarities weren’t just between Tallulah and our Tallulah, there were striking similarities between her and Mhairi. Odd similarities like the fact that they both have quick metabolisms and need to have food by their bed at night, and that they both love the newspaper The Guardian so much that they had/have people ship it in.
The second I got back to LA I decided to give Mhairi the book as a present, but I warned her before she opened it. As I handed her the package, I said “now listen, if you know who this person is, then this will just be a nice gift, but if you don’t, it might freak you out a little.” And as it turns out my suspicions were right, she had no idea who Tallulah Bankhead was, her mouth dropped and she was, in fact, completely freaked out.
Now to this day, I still have no idea what it all means or how Tallulah Bankhead plays into our story. Or why I just happened to find this book sitting, cover out, presentational style, at a random used book shop in Daytona Beach, Fl (a shop I didn’t even know existed until my friend suggested we go to it that morning). Or why I found that book at the exact time that I was questioning where this show would go, but what I do know is that it all felt way too coincidental for me and “coincidences” are something I have learned to never over look.
Throughout my life, whenever “coincidences” start showing up with any sort of frequency, it has always ended up being because I was on the right track, so right there and then I recommitted to the show. I knew there would be a Season 2 and likely many more, which brings me to…
Industry Tip #14
Creative projects are a bit like relationships, deep down, whether we want to admit it or not, we know when something is working and when it is not. If at every turn the doors keep opening, and synchronicity’s keep happening, then those are the ones you should stick with, no matter how long or windy the road. Go with your gut.
I leave you with a video I later found on Youtube that is of Tallulah Bankhead guest starring on *gasp* The Lucille Ball show. Seeing her in person made the similarities even more striking. Would love to hear your thoughts on all this? Coincidence? Or something more?