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Welcome to the latest edition of THE INTERVUE, the best place to hear stories from the people who make the entertainment world go round and today you are in for a treat.

If I say the names of Regis Philbin, Michael Eisner, Ted Koppel, Willard Scott and Aubrey Plaza & asked what do they have in common? They were all part of the NBC Page Program

Our guest today is an alumnus of the program as well. She is Emmy-nominated show-biz veteran, a longtime host, writer, producer and personality with decades of success on both sides of the camera.  Now, she’s taking us back to the beginning of her career – when she joined the famous NBC Studio Page program.  My Peacock Tale: Secrets Of An NBC Page is the story of her, her fellow pages who became lifelong friends, and the dizzying array of celebrities, hangers-on, has-beens, and legends that found their way through the halls of NBC Burbank in the mid-late 1970s.

I’ve been through the NBC studio a couple times, and it’s a place of television dreams and legends. She has made her way to the page program. So we’re gonna get the scoop on being at NBC back in the day.

Friends of THE INTERVUE, Let’s meet Shelley Herman

Welcome to THE INTERVUE, Shelley!

Well, thank you. I wish I were the one and only Shelley Berman But on my first or second day at NBC, it was really weird because I was getting phone messages from people that I didn’t know who they were. And somebody finally figured out there was another woman by the name of Shelley Berman, working on the TV show “Van Dyke and Company”. She had my messages, and I had her messages. We met, we become friends. We still get each other’s W-2s mixed up occasionally. I know it’s like only on a sitcom or something like that happened, but it really happened to me.

Unbelievable. First, we just got the first question and It’s not even the first question, and we got a pretty good story so far. That’s amazing. Only in your second day job, crazy.

It’s on that show. Not very many people remember that variety show that Dick Van Dyke did, but it was on that variety show where I met Andy Kaufman.

Wow! And this was and this is him before “Taxi”, right?

Oh, it was way before “Taxi” and it was kind of funny because he told me he got this TV series and he didn’t much like the idea of doing a sitcom because he was a performance artist. And he said, “Don’t watch it. Don’t watch it”. Well, many years later, I wound up marrying one of the actors that was on the first season of “Taxi”, a guy named Randall Carver who played John Burns.

Yes, I remembered him from that season.

Yeah, it was very strange that I had to catch it in reruns. I didn’t catch it when it was first on. So, my friend Andy said it wasn’t a good show. So, Andy didn’t know everything.

No, and it led to a great successful marriage. So how many years are married?

I met him in 1985 and we were married in 2012. We actually got married on the day, according to the Mayan calendar that the world was supposed to come to an end. So the them of our wedding was an “end of the world” wedding. And it was a lot of fun. So this December 2023, will have been married 11 years.

Congratulations. Oh, and don’t get me started on the day the world ends. And I was flying back from San Francisco to DC. And I thought, “oh my gosh, the world may not be here, by the time (laughs)

You have wrote this “My Peacock Tale” during the pandemic. Can you tell us about the process behind the book? And when did you realize you want to talk about your life and times as an NBC page?

Well, I’m very, very fortunate that the core group of people I started with are still my best friends to this day. I mean, we go to each other’s weddings, we watch award shows together, we’ve been to our parent’s funerals, it’s really been quite a life that we’ve all had together. And we’ve all heard each other stories a million times. But when the pandemic hit and Zoom happened, and we started reaching out to our friends who lived out of California, we started hearing more and more stories.

And pretty soon somebody had one Freddie Prinze story, and somebody had another or somebody had a Donald Trump story. And I had another and people kept saying “somebody ought to write a book”. And I just kept thinking, “well, only really smart people write books”. And then eventually it was like, “well, I’ll take a crack at this and see what happens”. I consider the book to be in part a love letter to my friends, because we had this great magical experience at NBC Burbank, and now the stories are there for everyone to read.

And for those who don’t know, NBC Burbank is no more. It’s now in The Burbank Studios. I went up there in early January, just see the building. It’s been about 10 years since I’ve been up there. And last time I was there, I got see “The Weakest Link” with George Gray. I got to see the first “Family Feud” with new host Richard Karn and got to do a tour. And you know, it flooded a lot of game show memories, memories of hearing “Live from Burbank”. And it’s amazing, you know.

Well, and of course Laugh-In called it “Beautiful Downtown Burbank”. So, they’re the ones that put it on the map.

The NBC Page Program is very hard to get in. In fact, you mentioned that it’s even harder to get it in Harvard. Of the 1000s of people who apply for it, roughly 212 get in. I heard that you have Elvis to thank for it. Is that correct?

In large part, yes. A bunch of gal pals and I took a road trip to Las Vegas to go see Elvis, because one of the girls was able to get us free tickets from her father. And we saw ringside, Elvis at the Hilton. And for any of your listeners who saw the Austin Butler movie, it was just like that. The energy, the feel, the frenzy. And what I remember most was the sweat because Elvis would do this thing where he wears a scarf around his neck, and he would dab his brow and then stand at the apron of the stage. And then a woman would come and take the scarf off of him as her souvenir. And he was he was just starting to get a little heavy when we saw him.

So, we had this fabulous trip, three of the girls took off to go party. And I kind of felt like well, I should stay with the girl who got us the tickets and not just dump her like everybody else. So, as we were sitting in the coffee shop at the Hilton eating a cherry pie with ice cream. We talked about our hopes and dreams. And I had mentioned to her that when I was in high school, I had the opportunity to go to a taping of “The Midnight Special”. And that was you know, a rock concert show that was done on stage two at NBC. I saw these people wearing these ugly uniforms, standing around virtually doing nothing but they got to listen to rock and roll music all day and they were getting paid to be on the job. And my only experience at that time that I had to put on my resume was that I had been a volunteer usher at The Valley Music Theater. So, I told Judy that I wanted to do this and she said Well, my mom’s best friend works at NBC. Let me see if I can make a call. And two weeks later, I had the job.

Amazing and you were 20 when you got the job, correct?

Yes, I was not only underage, because now they want you to be at least 21. I also was still in college. And now they want you to have at least a Bachelor of Science, or Bachelor of Arts degree. And if any of your listeners have heard about the Page Program, which is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, you could go online and apply for a job as an NBC page. And if you fill out all the forms, and they want you to send a video in nowadays, they’ll even fly you into New York or LA on their dime to interview you. So, it’s, it’s still a very prestigious program, they still only want the best of the best. And it’s a great entry level job for the entertainment industry.

That’s very wonderful to hear. Now, let’s go back to the time you started as an NBC Page, who was the very first star you met?

Well, I carried a garment bag for this little lady whose hair was it curlers, and she was wearing a scarf around her head and dark glasses. And she just looked like she could be blown over with a feather. But she was going over to “Hollywood Squares”, and I carried her stuff for her. And I looked on the dressing room door, and it was Janet Leigh. I didn’t recognize her without her being all dolled up. And once she was dolled up, oh, yeah, it was Janet Leigh.

And you got her to the set of Hollywood Squares. That’s amazing. In fact, I remember growing up watching the original, then John Davidson and Tom Bergeron that interviewed two of the three hosts, I’m still waiting to find out if I get to interview Peter Marshall hopefully.

You know what Peter Marshall was when you’re rattling off the list of former NBC pages. At the age of 15 he was a page because his sister was a famous actress, Joanne Dru. And she got him into what they called pageboys at the time. Another name I don’t think you mentioned on the list, who was also an NBC page was Chuck Barris.

It’s amazing how it comes back to game shows, I love it.

I love the fact that he started off as a page and had probably one of the most iconic TV shows in the seven days that was on NBC. So that was a pretty full circle time for him.

Now, how did your experience of being the page for NBC in the 1970s help you grow into the writer and showbiz veteran that you are now?

Well, it’s gonna be kind of weird to say this but I learned a lot about what not to do. If that makes sense to people,

Oh, it makes perfect sense.

Well, and that’s part of the thing, too is I have I have a little story in my book about how I was in an elevator with Ray Bradbury. And one time I asked him, like, “Okay, what’s your secret to success” type of thing. And he says, “when you’re writing something, write with your gut because your heart and your head are always going to justify something but, in your gut, if you know what’s right, that go with that instinct”. And a lot of times I’ve had to do that in the entertainment industry, because I put it on my Lucy Ricardo thinking cap. Because if you can’t, like just get something done the way it’s supposed to be? Well, you have to think of another way to kind of go in the back door to do something.

And I what’s coming to mind immediately is I was desperately trying to meet Dick Ebersol, who had offices in New York and Los Angeles. At the time, he was spearheading programming, and specifically “Saturday Night Live”. And his secretary, only doing her job, didn’t want to set up a meeting with a pesky little page. I’m driving home one night, and on talk radio, I hear “and our next guest is Dick Ebersol”. So I got off the freeway and started plugging quarters into the payphone and told this call screener, some story about I want to talk about Gilda Radner or something. And when I got on the air, I said, “Hi, my name is Shelly Herman and I’m a page at NBC and I try to get a meeting with your office and they won’t give me a meeting. We’re on the air right now at this very minute. Will you promise that I can go meet up in your office?”. And he said “yes”.

So, I got my meeting with Ebersol. And his first bit of advice to me was “leave NBC”. And I was like “why?” He said, “because they will value you more and give you more money if they have to hire you back”. So that was his advice and I have been back a few times for various assignments and mostly game shows which is our mutual love.  I still hear the sound of all of that whenever I walked through those hallways. Warner Brothers has now taken over the NBC Burbank facility and they’re putting in all kinds of monstrous buildings around it and trying to connect the Warner Brothers lot to NBC at a certain point, but the strike has to end before they can start doing that kind of stuff.

TO BE CONTINUED in Part II when we delve into gameshows and who were Shelley’s favorite encounters

Shelley’s book is now available on Amazon.com

For more information on My Peacock Tale, go to

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