The day Al Capp tried to get jiggy with Goldie Hawn

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Actress Goldie Hawn was not always the taut Hollywood Royalty you see at movie premieres today. Back in the ’60s, she was a teenaged girl looking to get into show biz after a casting agent spotted her on the street. The agent suggested she audition for a TV show hosted by cartoonist Al Capp. And the experience turned out to be rather demoralizing, as Capp came on so strong that she considered giving up her show biz dreams.

“I go to this big Park Avenue apartment; I’ve never been in so much wealth… he thunders through the door… and he said, ‘Well I’m going to slip into something more comfortable,'” Hawn told the Oprah Network. “And something went off in my brain like, ‘More comfortable? OK, well I guess that means he’s going to go in and take off his raincoat…’ So he comes in in a dressing gown and he sits down on the couch and I’m thinking, ‘This isn’t looking too good.'”

The cartoonist then asked nervous Hawn to show off her legs and when she obliged him by lifting her skirt, Caplin went too far, according to Hawn, who added, “He opened up his dressing gown and I looked at it… It was scary. I said, ‘Mr. Capp I will never get a job like this.’ And he said to me, ‘Oh, I’ve had them all.’ And I said, ‘Well it doesn’t matter, but I’ll never do this,’ and he said, ‘Well, you’re never going to get anywhere in this business, you should go home and marry a Jewish dentist.’ And I started to cry and I said, ‘Well maybe I will.'”


If you’re wondering how Capp, the creator of the L’il Abner comic strip, got in a position to allegedly open his dressing gown to pretty young starlets, from the ’50s on he was perhaps the biggest comics celebrity ever, hosting three talk shows — The Al Capp Show (1952 and 1968) and Al Capp (1971–’72), Al Capp’s America — and hosting two game shows. In addition, he was a frequent guest on The Tonight Show, a regular on the Today show and hosted or guested on many radio shows as well. Known for his right-wing views, he was, in short, somewhere between the Fred Thompson and Larry King of his day.

If you’re wondering if Hawn might have been exaggerating her tale a bit, unfortunately, in his later years, Capp became something of a horrible dirty old man. In 1968 he made indecent advances to four female students while on a college speaking engagement — a scandal that the school hushed up. In 1971, he was charged with sodomy, attempted adultery and indecent exposure following another college lecture in Eau Claire, WI. He pled guilty to the attempted adultery charge — a scandal that rocked all the way to Nixon’s White House.

In case you’re wondering, here’s Hawn early in her career:
Goldie The day Al Capp tried to get jiggy with Goldie Hawn

And Al Capp somewhere in his:
ny c al.capp  The day Al Capp tried to get jiggy with Goldie Hawn

Comments

  1. Torsten Adair says:

    One of life’s little surprises came when I was at the National Archives, looking to listen to the first episode of “All Things Considered” in the NPR collection.

    While using the paper index, I discovered Al Capp’s talk show. Knowing how conservative he was in the early 1970s, I was a bit surprised to see him at NPR, but I suspect they let everyone join in the early years.

    http://www.archives.gov/research/guides/catalog-film-sound-video.html

    National Public Radio Catalog (RG 200 NPR)

    And here’s another surprise!
    “Al Capp Mtg. with President, November 24, 1970 4:30 p.m.”

    His name appears on quite a few Nixon tape transcripts. Anyone care to visit the Nixon Library?

  2. Whenever I see the name “Al Capp”, my first thought is always to confuse him with Andy Capp. Which provides an even more entertaining mental picture than the real story does! :)

  3. Swampy says:

    Don’t forget his encounter with John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYxFO8o-t2E

  4. Readers of Heidi’s column who are interested in Al Capp’s fascinating career and personal life (of which Goldie Hawn is but one scandal) will be happy to know that Michael Schumacher (Will Eisner, Alan Ginsberg and many other bios) and I (Art of Harvey Kurtzman, etc.) are hard at work collaborating on a biography of Al Capp. It’s coming in approximately one year from a major publisher. Official announcement will come from them.

  5. Snikt Snakt says:

    What a scumbag Al Capp was. The dude couldn’t keep it in his pants or his hands off the ladies, apparently!

  6. James Van Hise says:

    There’s a funny story about Capp from the early 1970s. He was giving a lecture and afterwards someone asked him what it was like to work with Frank Frazetta. Capp was dumbfounded as he didn’t think that anyone knew he used ghost artists on Li’l Abner. He asked the guy, “Are you his son?” And the guy explained that he was just a fan, so Capp relaxed, lied through his teeth and claimed that Frazetta just assisted him for a few months rather than admitting that Frazetta was the main artist on the Sunday strip for several years and who quit when Capp tried to cut Frazetta’s fee by 50%.

  7. It seems that Al (no relation to me, ha ha) had quite a thick um… skin.

    There seem to be plenty of accounts of how he strong-willed his way around.

  8. Funny she didn’t comment on his wooden leg…

  9. traci says:

    Dirty old men in comics. There’s something that never changes. Paging Julie Schwartz!

  10. george says:

    I’ve read one account of this where Hawn did mention his wooden leg.

  11. george says:

    BTW, Capp was originally known for his left-wing views, before moving right in the ’60s. The hippies and Joan Baez really unnerved him.

  12. Kirk G says:

    I’m having a hard to figuring out how much of the above is joshing, and how much is real.

  13. James Van Hise says:

    One could say that it was because of Al Capp that Frazetta became the famous artist we all came to know. When Frazetta abruptly quit working for Capp (in the middle of moving to a new house with his family), he suddenly had to find work again. Roy Krenkel suggested paperback covers because he’d seen Frazetta’s painting work even though Frank hadn’t done much yet in that regard professionally. So he started doing covers for Ace Books and the rest is history. Frank liked painting so much that he abandoned comics after drawing a story in Creepy #1.

  14. Kerry Maxwell says:

    I spent a pleasant evening with Al Capp at his NH farmhouse, back in the mid-70’s ( I was friends with a young relative). He was tickled that a young whippersnapper knew who he was, and I thrilled to meet someone who was connected to Frank Frazzetta. My dad had instilled in me an awareness of the comic strip prehistory of comics, so I could talk the talk about comic strip history pretty good for a 15 yo. I do remember a bit of “watch out granpa is a bit of a right wing douche” and I was a long haired teen hippy, but we had a grand old time. I remember him as played by Lionel Barrymore.

  15. One of Capp’s pro buddies claimed that he jumped the fence politically because he thought he could make more money lecturing to the right. Can’t recall the source of the allegation though.

  16. Dzhims says:

    Looking at old Li’l Abner strips (1940s), I noticed that Capp kept using the number 69 in all kinds of situations — way too often for it to be random. Sounds as though he may have been advertising another one of his sexual proclivities. His strip often reflects a sexual preoccupation, almost from the very start, in 1934.

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