IN 1967, BEFORE SUSAN SARANDON WAS FAMOUS (AND BEFORE SHE WAS A MOTHER) A REDBOOK “YOUNG MAMA” SHOWCASES HER TALENT.
In the pre-career days of most young American women, Redbook magazine, traditionally, sought out the 21- to 35-year-old market of new mothers. We had to put a handle on this demographic to make Redbook’s strategy seem like a fresh idea. So I labeled their readers Young Mamas. It marked the first time anybody spoke directly to the baby boomers, and we convinced Redbook to stick a tentative toe into the dreaded waters of their major competitors, television--unheard of for those times. I cast a striving actress who stepped up to the plate and delivered this soliloquy: I remember one day I was at the supermarket, and Linda was only four years old. She pulled the bottom orange out of the display, and every last orange rolled all over the floor. I looked at the grocer and the grocer looked at me and I said, ‘Well if it were my kid I’d kill her.’ Then I ran around the corner, down the next aisle, called Linda, grabbed her and beat it out of that store. Never went back. (Then a voiceover: The most interesting parents the world has ever known are Young Mamas. And Redbook is, frankly, written for Young Mamas.) Her first reading was stupendous, and the second was jaw-dropping. I grabbed her, hugged her, and she beat it out of that shoot. I never saw a better performance, her agent’s phone rang off the hook, and she went on to become...Susan Sarandon. (Other talents I cast before they became stars were Peter Boyle, Ali MacGraw, Madeline Kahn, Sandy Duncan, Susan Blakely, Nancy Allen and Jason Alexander.)