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:
And Al Capp somewhere in his:
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.