Steve Cotler

Steve Cotler

Category Archives: Anecdotes

A Boy, a Swimming Pool, and the Laws of Universe

My brother Doug writes about his afternoon with my four-year-old grandson: When Ethan and I walked outside, we had no specific plans. We knew only that the sun was shining, the spring birds were singing. It was warm and we were going to explore the backyard. There were so many possibilities. But once he saw […]

Little Songs on Big Subjects

When we were very little, my brother and I had a record entitled Little Songs on Big Subjects. Sung by The Jesters, one of the first groups to record commercial jingles, the tunes, written by Hy Zaret and Lou Singer, emphasized tolerance. Zaret, who died in 2007 just a month shy of 100, told me […]

Un-Racism: You Have to Be Carefully Taught

James Michener‘s short story collection, Tales of the South Pacific, a bestselling Pulitzer Prize winner in 1948, was eclipsed a year later by South Pacific, the blockbuster Richard Rodgers–Oscar Hammerstein musical that includes some of the most memorable songs written for the stage. One song, “You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught,” includes this verse: You’ve […]

Schweppervesence…and Malaria

Commander Whitehead Mixers…and medicine. In 1968, Commander Edward Whitehead came to Harvard Business School to give a talk on the continuing importance—in the face of computers and other rapidly advancing technologies—of people in industry. (A similar, and rather drier talk he gave in 1955 is here.) Perhaps the first CEO to become his company’s advertising […]

Fast Food Delhi

Business is slow at the Marin County Indian restaurant that Ram owns. In my opinion, he should take this time to do some cleaning in the back, but instead he leans on an elbow and tells me about his last visit to Delhi. “A friend whose car I am borrowing is warning me if the […]

Vive le Musée!

Passersby were forced to walk in the street as the Tour de Healdsburg cycled (without forward movement) on the sidewalk outside Costeaux French Bakery in a vigorous and joyful celebration of Bastille Day. Riding for the unheralded Le Musée Historique team (Healdsburg Museum and Historical Society) were

Looking Back at Filmmaking

An elephant carries its baby for 22 months. I carried mine far longer. My baby was HEARTWOOD, a feature film. I first came to Hollywood in 1975, where I starved writing four-minute radio dramas for Vincent Price ($86 each), then suddenly (it took four years!) I became extraordinarily successful at getting film projects produced:

My Last Blizzard

Winter, 1982-83, neck wrapped, leaning on the soft smells above the noonish counter in the cold gap between two multi-stories near Times Square, I ate sidewalk pizza as the flakes began to fall. They were whispers in the soft wind, but the weathermen waxed “much more, much more.” By 3 p.m., the City was anticipating […]

Baseball: Recapturing Youth

As a kid, baseball was my sport. I was too short to be effective in basketball, no one played soccer in the 50’s, and although I was fast and could catch, my lack of bulk marginalized me in football. I played Little League, made the All-Star team, and loved the game. I played softball in […]

Mom’s Cafe — Salina, Utah

There are sage pronouncements that should never be ignored. In his 1956 short story collection, A Walk on the Wild Side, Nelson Algren wrote: “Never play cards with a man called Doc. Never eat at a place called Mom’s.” I have always avoided faux physicians at poker palaces, but once, after nearly two handfuls of […]