KEEP THOSE CARDS AND RESIDUALS COMING
One of the joys of being in show biz is going to your mailbox and discovering one of those big residual checks. The size of the check is sometimes the difference between buying that new Mercedes or starving to death, “Get me to the bank on time.”
For the uninitiated, a residual check is what you receive when a show, a series, a commercial, etc., etc., etc., keeps up with the energizer bunny and just keeps on going. If it goes long enough and the checks are big enough, you will never have to work in this town again.
Just how long do those checks keep on going? Does the word “FOREVER” strike a familiar note? It does to me.
Back in 1964 I starred in a movie. Well … em … I really didn’t STAR in a movie. It’s more like I STAR-TED in a movie. It was “The Patsy.” And, Jerry Lewis was the star. Actually, truth be known, for me it wasn’t even a start. A “start” signifies that you start and then kept going. “The Patsy” was my “start’n stop.” As far as movies are concerned, it was my hit song and swan song in one number.
But, here we are some 40 plus years later and those big “The Patsy” residual checks just keep rolling in, allowing me to survive in this town for at least another hour. I was so proud of my last check that, instead of cashing it, I had it framed. Not exactly because of the tremendous amount the check represented, but for the fact that after all those years, Paramount Pictures persevered and made sure I got it. Forget that it was sent to an address I hadn’t lived at for 40 years, we big movie stars have The Screen Actors Guild to guide these most deserved checks to our huge new mansions.
This tenacity in tracing lost personalities is the good part. The not-so-good part is that over the years those remittances do get depressingly smaller and smaller. I suspect that more money was spent on search and rescue, than the value of the check itself.
Take my check for example. That’s not $6009.00 one sees in the “pay amount” line. That is $6.09. The frame I put it in cost $14.99 (plus tax).
I love receiving these checks. They bring back fond memories of the great fun I had working with my idol Jerry Lewis. He made me feel like a movie star and still does by sending those checks. Thank you Jerry.
Someone should write a song.
“There’s no business like show business like no business I know.”
And they should get a really big gal singer to sing it really loud.