June 10, 2012: It’s the Lisa Sutton Show, Starring Lisa Kurtz

            Remember that middle-aged moment when we suddenly found ourselves hankering after stuff we’d had when we were 10? Our Partridge Family lunchbox; our Bobby Sherman fan club kit; Shrinky Dinks, Mystery Date, that fuzzy Talking Bugs Bunny doll—what happened to all that crap?

            It’s over at Lisa Sutton’s house, carefully sealed in its original packaging and lovingly displayed on a shelf in her well-manicured Studio City home. I know, because I’ve seen it.

            If the Jews had patron saints, Lisa Sutton would be the Patron Saint of Junk We Used to Love. She either owns it or has designed a reissue of it. If you had it as a kid, she has it today—only it’s in pristine condition. You and Lisa both stopped loving David Cassidy in 1974, but instead of tossing out all her Tiger Beats, Lisa tucked hers carefully away. They came in handy when all the bubblegum records from 1972 began being reissued on CD, because Lisa, a graphic designer and author, could use them as reference material while creating the CD package and writing the liner notes.

In 1974, Lisa Sutton (who back then was Lisa Kurtz), did not sue Glynnis O’Connor for stealing her face. Isn’t she nice?

            If you’ve bought a best-of CD by your one-time favorite kiddie pop band, or watched one of those where-are-they-now TV specials that overtook cable a decade ago, chances are Lisa worked on it. She’s not a packrat or an obsessed collector, she’s an archivist of pop culture dating back to the Sixties. Record labels and television networks are always phoning to say, “Can we rent your Sajid Khan collection?” or “Will you design a Phantom of the Paradise soundtrack package for us?”

One of my favorite things to do is to ask Lisa Sutton, “What’s new?” Most people might answer, “Oh, we’re painting the rec room,” or “I got a promotion and I hate my new boss.” Ask Lisa Sutton (who today works as a television producer on one of your favorite house-and-garden shows) what’s new, and she’s likely to tell you, “I’m working on another Brady Bunch special for VH1, but not until I finish this coffee table book about H.R. Pufnstuf. I just designed the cover of a new Cowsills hits package and I’m meeting with Lou Adler and Richard O’Brien tomorrow morning to talk about the Rocky Horror Picture Show 40th anniversary Blu-Ray.”

She’s having lunch with Susan Olsen. She’s taking a call from Leif Garrett. Juliette Mills wants to borrow her set of mint-in-box Nanny and the Professor paper dolls. She’s two days behind on the Sonny and Cher box set she’s doing for MCA, because she’s busy trying to find the Mrs. Beasley doll that CBS wants to borrow for its Family Affair reunion special next month. The original Mrs. Beasley, the one used in the pilot episode. Because Lisa Sutton has it.

            I love me some Lisa Sutton. Today is her birthday, and so I genuflect in the direction of Lidsville. I plan to watch a dozen episodes of Match Game ’73 and listen to all my Andy and David Williams albums, while wearing a smiley face pin, in her honor.

 Thing I Hate Today: Leaky faucets

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3 Responses

  1. So whatever happened to Glynnis O’Connor?

  2. To me she will always be Big Lisa.

  3. I remember Lisa’s HORROR when someone was jokingly playing catch with her Partridge Family Bus on some special – I would have felt the same! And hey, I bet she has Frank Hardy Mint in Box, too, dozens of them…!

    In fact, WHAT IF SHE HAS FRANK HARDY? Himself? Parker what’s-his-name hasn’t done anything in YEARS, so…?

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