thumbnail of Over Easy; 1111
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
Today's everybody.
Here's the host of What. You. Want you're. Welcome to over easy on our program we often talk about the importance of maintaining strong family ties as we grow older for the understanding and support the elders of the family can give as well as receive. Well tonight we have with us a father and daughter who shared a great deal as writers. In fact I've just written a book together and we'll learn more about that when we meet authors Irving Wallace and Amy Wallace. Attorney Paul Nathan will tell us about public pensions for retired federal employees. And as our first feature tonight we'll be looking at a unique and exciting group of performers funded by Seton CETA that's the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act. See there is a federal program that helps train or support persons who don't have jobs or who want to upgrade their skills. These performers a multigenerational group who call themselves cabaret entertain both seniors and younger audiences
under the seat of program. They're an offshoot of a San Francisco group called the tail spinners job Ellen was our guide to a recent rehearsal of Cabaret. We started this group in reaction to the stereotype idea of our elders that they were outsiders. Many of us had been performing in senior citizen centers for many years and we formed a group called the talismans. We had songs dances skits skits about the high cost of living on fixed income in the problems of aging. And we formed a show around that. And we played the hospital's com Listen Osman's nutrition sites. Church is just about anywhere where we could meet with the elders on a one to one basis. OK listen for this gig. It's a short stage you're going to change coming up the line like we always do okay we're just group together and I think it'll be alright when you could you come back and Susan when you stand right
yeah you stand right here and and Susan you come in and don't pluck the neck right and Charlie I'll sit down with that song. We're going to do what we're going to open with this little light of mine right let's drive to rehearsal do it twice. Because usually the first time we've just been looking it's still. My. Life. That stuff. I love it shocks. Grace love Barry 82 years old she's a gospel singer. She sang with Father Divine's peace missions throughout the country for many many years. When he is 65 years old retired from the railroad and after retired the age of
16 he went to school and graduated with this college. Charlie the bass player and Nick the drummer both from the late 20s also perform for the pickle Family Circus Dillard guitar and piano player who's in his 30s composes and also teaches music. So as soon as a singer dancer actress she's in her 20s she's choreographer and she also teaches dancing. That is. I myself am 46 years old I started with the sound system I'm true. For the past 25 years I've been appearing and playing in the parks playgrounds prisons hospitals. I've also appeared in films and acted on stage in.
A shallow to. Shallow to well by performing with a lot of different natures. I feel it's part of a group was part of a society might say I'm not isolated all by myself in some age categories. That's one thing. Another thing. Just because you've reached 60 or over a life that you can even change careers I did bring it up. The whole thing. I always wanted to be there. OK OK what do you understand you just retired from the rarer. Yeah I worked I was going to be a temporary job.
Yeah but you know I really wanted to be a doctor. Really what happened. And sang really. Nice. We drive my car. Werman Yeah. Ha ha ha ha ha. Hee hee hee. Thanks
I never get the herbal Brandy Scotch I walk up on the bar. I'm always curious about the potential for people to become active and what what triggers you know activity getting people out. Getting people moving and I think sometimes we do that you know back whatever way it is. Yeah. So I'm just going on
with my career trying to make somebody happy. So I you know I need to die. Yeah. Yet in a few years you know you'll get old Anyhow if you keep on living you'll get old or worse not going to get enough of the ones done and I got mine your way seemed dark and dreary. That's the first day right. OK. Then your book makes you cry even as a reason why try. And.
Reach your teeth and push you. And I want. To cry. I like this because you were afraid
you're afraid of old age and we shouldn't be. I mean Paul in her book says age is not a sickness it's not a disease. It's a season and each season is perfect and a home in itself and any other season cannot cancel it out. And as the snows of winter melt the Next-Generation spring is born. Yes. Yes the. Category they call themselves that will be taking another look at that talented group on tomorrow's
program as well. You know if you're interested in starting a similar project in your town you might contact a CETA. Let them know of your interest. There are no age restrictions. Watching different generations take pleasure in performing together is part of the joy of Cabaret. Public pensions provide the bulk of many older people's incomes. But as we learned recently from Attorney Paul Nathan there are discrepancies in the program. He suggested ways in which those problems might be worked out. When he joined us in our studios. What we've talked about private pensions public pensions public pensions really represent a very large segment of the pension industry in the United States. When you consider the fact that all railroad retirees are involved in it in a pension system civil service pension years military pensions social security is really also a public pension. The fact is there are a lot of dollars and a lot of individuals involved in the public pension scene in addition to as we've
talked about private pensions in the past who were to rural roads are still free enterprise or are they will come under public pensions as well. It's really tied into the Social Security system it's part of that although they are private employees still interesting enough. In addition you've got all the state and municipal pension plans that people are covered under. And what we're finding right now I think with some of the major problems that we're probably going to face in the next in the next decade really revolve very much around trying to dovetail bring together people covered under the various public and private pension systems. So you've got people who are as I say sometimes what's called double dipping getting two and three pensions not all that often but in the some of the military people are getting military pensions and they're able to get other kinds of civil service or or social security pensions. And on the that's on the one hand on the other hand you've got people who fall through the cracks who aren't getting anything. And I think in the next years we're going to be trying to address that problem so that everyone gets some sort of a decent
picture. The other problems that revolve around the public pension system I think really arise very much out of the fact that we're dealing oftentimes with giant bureaucracies. It's very hard to get an answer. Often times several lawsuits that we've been involved in have tried to call it humanize the system so that we can for example Now we've won two lawsuits one in Social Security and one in civil service for the whole country so that if an individual has perhaps mistakenly been overpaid received an overpayment there can no longer be a recoupment taking back of that overpayment by the governmental entity without having a prior hearing and notice. So that the individual can go into some kind of a face to face confrontation as opposed to dealing with the you're with the machine. Another problem arises I think out of the fact that and when we study in the future the pension system public pension system what's happened in the past commissions have been appointed. In the past the railroad retirement system for example had a penny a
head a commission appointed and some eighty six thousand individuals who were expecting to get a railroad retirement pension work in 1974 cut off. Autumn and as a result as an act of Congress were cut off as a result of this study. The commission that was that was involved because they didn't have direct representation really on that commission. I'm worried and I think it's just important to alert viewers to the fact that the White House is going to be setting up a nother commission to study the public pension system. I think it's critical that people get involved that they write their congressmen that they write the White House and find out what that commission is going to do and that they have citizen representation on it. I really think it's important that people know about that. So the verb go position of the commissioner was well that. That would suit me to get into it. Exactly because if I happen in the railroad retirement situation a whole class of individuals were cut out because they weren't directly represented. I think the other kinds of tools that people have these are the
these giant bureaucracies relate to if they let's say their check is late or they can't find you know the check is missing or something like that. They can either call a local Legal Services Program which is very much on top of these kinds of issues or a resource that we've discovered recently is a congressman state local congressman staff. They have individuals who are caseworkers they're assigned specifically to help cut through lots of times the red tape that you have with a bureaucracy like civil service like the military you know the veterans pension system. I think and it's an extra resource that most people aren't really aware of and they're local and they're oftentimes very very helpful. The same thing with your assemblyman a local state congressman There's machinery is already in existence so it's just a question of you doing it. Exactly. That's interesting. How long do you think it'll take us to get things sorted out for this look at the inequities that there are critics. Well unfortunately it's probably going to take several years and there are as I think studies going
on also in the in the in the Congress right now in the public pension system. There are studies going will be studies going on with respect to both systems trying to make them blend together but I think it's going to be several years. So make use of the congressional scenery that's there. People represent you and you could you could write to that's on the individual situation of the big picture is going to be a problem for a while. Thank you for thank you. If you want to make your voice heard it's worth taking Paul Mason says advice on how to do it and your input can make a difference. Now here's a short message about job service for older workers. Aged less. Hire the older worker. The reliability capability dependability abilities Grayle would be here along with good attendance records knowledge and experience. Ride and work well in all kinds of jobs old kinds of hired. Older workers
prompted by experience. Check your local office of the state employment service. There is a message well worth listening to and doing something about. Now to our guests Irving and Amy Wallace are a father and daughter with the deep respect and affection for each other. And in addition they are two members of the most successful family of writers in the country today a family that has produced bestsellers like the prized by Irving the people's Allman AKh from Irving and his son David Wallechinsky. Not to mention the Book of Lists. And before I forget the fountains was a bestselling novel by wife Sylvia. And if you can believe still another book on top of all these. Irving and Amy have collaborated on the fascinating story of the original Siamese twins. The book is called the two. And before I run out of breath with these lists let me introduce our guests. Irving Wallace and Amy Wallace. Thank you. Thank you thank you for the way the book looks at the thought that show
people what got you interested in the subject of the original Siamese twins. I'll tell you years ago I did a book on P.T. Barnum a biography and then just a casual mention of it and I often thought it might make a good book it was too difficult. And one day I mean I decide to do a book and I said you pick your subject if I like it will do that book. And about six months later she said I'd like to do the original Siamese twins. I said it's too tough. How are you doing up a hundred and fifty year old with your you know in the title in America and she said well there's two of us that will make it easier and there were two of us to do the thing. Any want of doing it was just fascinating the the term Siamese twins comes from the fact that these two who were joined together that way were the families. There were signs are actually quite. And there the longest lived Siamese twins in history. Well they don't want to live 60 to 65. They bore 21 children. They married normal sisters and lived here with Carolina's success can you imagine the logistics of a marriage you're going to die here.
They were S.. They were perfectly normal every way except they had a band about the size of my hair six inches long on the right I mean right from here to here. And so one could never be without the other when they ate when they went to sleep of one was and the other had to go to bed with him and it was amazing and I met these two young women and fall in love with them and the parents of the women said impossible. You know it was possible as a little bit it was good good marriages families and marriage just 21 wonderful children. Now modern surgery could have part of them and I understand even the surgery of the time might have been able to from according to the book not I don't think I'm you know there was a risk of infection and so I mean they know x rays I was there you know she apparently didn't have much emotional problems about being joined. Well a lot of their early lives but later in their lives they had personality problems one took to drinking heavily and the other one was a tea totaller heavy drug with the I don't know they don't know but if you're going on another one. Right. Well it's a fascinating book and you'll find out all about it if you read that too but I want to talk about you
tonight. That's all right. Want to talk about now. You are a living refutation of the idea that the family that rides together fights together right. You certainly cooperate all of you and in turning up the literary things and our your work habits the same I mean do you. He's such a workaholic you know if you're working writing schedule anything like his well it's starting to be now because I have a lot of projects going on that time getting busy I'm busy all the time. But he wasn't too tough to work with. Well you know I got along after the film I'll tell you what the problem was. I'm a father she's a daughter and I have a son a wife a song. Now when I work with children the problem you know I realize that early on we're having problems and every time there's a problem I say that you started I've always told you all your life what to do when you're very young and you can't do that when you're working with someone on an equal basis and I realized that and I stopped it. I looked upon her as a stranger a collaborator and not as a daughter. Stop being the father figure. Now is it possible for you to wear both hats that way switch easily other words when you're working with Amy Wallace a
collaborator you're approach you're at an equal level but you're still are father of other very difficult. Now think of as a collaborator not as my daughter but then I don't think it was my daughter. That's a difficult also like any writers like to be written. So we have occasional squabbles about that but it's Friday but we worked it all out. Now it's just no problem. Is that something you grow as a writer if you I mean if an editor makes you gesture as you get older do you still defend the way you put something down. Invariably I do it I do mean a lot I mean I've lived with the so long the editors just looked at it but I've lived with it and thought about it for several years and suddenly my child is being you know changes plastic surgery is being done in my my book and I object but sometimes you're reasonable you in the end you want to protect your books you want to be as good as possible. You put too much into it. So when someone makes a suggestion I pay a lot of attention. How did you divide the work. Amy we get alternate chapters each week we do have chapters of special interest each of us and then we'd write a chapter send it to one another and go over the chapters.
Did you or did you work together on the on the finished draft to the extent that it doesn't wouldn't apparently have two different styles and we caught certain stylistic tricks we each had as personalities and we tried to even them out. You know I impose one of hers. Me and the book reads like it's written by one person or two persons of one mind and I'm taking amazing things too. After we finish this close relationship on two books also the Book of Lists which is about the three of us work about my son her brother she went back to Berkeley with a friend Bill Hank and without US went off and wrote a book on her own which is out called The psychic healing book. She did it without us. Do your future projects include a collaboration or are you going to do something or another. Is that right. So you just shift gears in and out of that situation as I usually because writing can be kind of a lonely thing I enjoy having collaborative. It's not unique maybe but it is unusual isn't it to have a writing family history at least in my years I mean I met my wife Sylvia she was a writer and she was an editor
I met her as an editor on the West Coast and I was writing for a magazine she was editor of and I don't know I became a kind of chauvinist later after we had children I felt somebody got together. I'm up there with my thoughts and it was wrong because she's a really gifted woman and she wrote as you mention the book The fountains and she's in the middle of a new novel now. It's fantastic and you know and our son has got to have five books three bestsellers. David your Book of Lists has really hit the wall. We had such fun. I'll tell you you get to know each other in an you know first as if I could be independent we not to lay our hands on them they to go their own ways. And when you can get together like this and we're kind of independent we get together we have a really good at each of your books or a thing is a favorite I mean not to collaborating with the ones that you've written. What was your favorite book. I would say two of my favorites three of my favorites. One is the word which a network is making into an eight hour series for the word about discovery of a new
Bible. The other want to surprise the inside story of four Nobel Prize winners. It was a shocker to me but I never it never occurred to me that there was anything that utter. Why would you want the book unless I was banned everything and I was banned in Scandinavia. Out they were just sort of writing at the bad side Nobel Prize. And then I like that I like very much a book I wrote called a man about a black man who becomes president of the United States by accident. Remember that. Well it's still going very well. I remember it and didn't get it and then I remember that I wouldn't let you read it over that's what happens when you write so many books. You forget the number in every one of you got me off book with my friend Bill Hank and it's coming out of court press. It's the first book we feel very strongly that it's not only a few people are psychic but that everyone has psychic abilities and it's how to heal yourself and your friends.
And the marvelous approach to it to make it available to everybody. If I feel strongly that it's a time when people can send out of the good luck to you and your both of you anyway. Thank you. Irving and Amy Wallace a father and daughter working together there by writing a book on the virtues of togetherness in spirit anyway if not in fact and who knows they may write one on that subject as well. Whatever they're up to the Wallaces are an inspiration I think for all of us who believe that. Generations in a family can learn from one another if we keep our lines of communication open. It's not always easy
but the rewards I think often justify the efforts they do that always justify some effort in upcoming programs will find out more about what Congress is doing for the older citizen here in the country when we talk with Representative John Bright of us from Indiana. We will also be investigating the problems of buying a new car and how to make this investment a little less costly. Harriet pilpul will be here also filling us in on how women are protected under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. We hope you'll be with us for all of these features and many more. Until then for all of us here overeasy thank you and goodnight. Thank. You.
Please note: This content is only available at GBH and the Library of Congress, either due to copyright restrictions or because this content has not yet been reviewed for copyright or privacy issues. For information about on location research, click here.
Over Easy
Episode Number
Contributing Organization
KQED (San Francisco, California)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/55-37hqcsdf).
Series Description
Over Easy is a daily magazine hosted by Hugh Downs and featuring segments about aging and other topics of interest to older people.
Amy Wallence ?Irving Wallace?Paul Nathanson?Cabaret
Broadcast Date
Asset type
Local Communities
Media type
Moving Image
Content creator: KQED
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: OE1111;21379 (KQED AAP)
Format: U-matic
Duration: 00:30:00
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Over Easy; 1111,” 1977-01-01, KQED, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 30, 2022,
MLA: “Over Easy; 1111.” 1977-01-01. KQED, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 30, 2022. <>.
APA: Over Easy; 1111. Boston, MA: KQED, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from