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'And that's how I met Marilyn Monroe'


Personal experiences of being a salesman
Albert Maysles Film-maker
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One of the things that made us that much more interested in making the film to begin with was that both my brother and I had done some door to door selling of our own as, as high school kids. When I was in high school there wasn't any way that I could think of where I could possibly finance- go to college- unless, unless in high school I began earning some money, in that case as a door-to-door salesman. So I sold Fuller Brushes, I sold encyclopaedias. I remember my first day out when I sold encyclopaedias I had this whole long speech in my pocket and- a speech that was given to me by the Encyclopaedia Americana, the company that I worked for. And so I got to the first house, of my first attempt to sell it, the woman let me in and I began giving the pitch. And, not good at memorizing anything, I got maybe one or two sentences into it and I just forgot everything, and she turned to me and she said- do you have the rest of it? And I said- well, yeah, I have it in my pocket. She says- well, why don't you read it? So I said- oh, okay. So I read it and she bought it. It shows one of my favorite things: the, the kindness of strangers. And in fact, in fact everything depends on the kindness- everything you make in a documentary, it depends on the kindness of, of the people allowing you to be with them and to capture themselves as they are. I think you get that kindness in return when people feel they can trust you. And this, this woman not only trusted me but, but, you know, extended such kindness that I tell the story many times.

Albert Maysles (1926-2015) known for his important documentaries on Muhammad Ali, Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles, pioneered the documentary style known as Direct Cinema. He helped create techniques still widely used in modern documentary production, as well as many of the techniques used in reality TV.

Listeners: Rebekah Maysles Tamara Tracz Sara Maysles

Rebekah Maysles, daughter of Albert Maysles, is an artist living between New York and Philadelphia. She has her own line of clothing, Blackberryrose, and co-runs the store Sodafine in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, New York, a vintage and handmade store that sells clothing, books and other products made by artists.

Tamara Tracz is a writer and filmmaker based in London.

Sara Maysles, daughter of Albert Maysles, is currently doing her BA in East Asian Studies at Columbia University, and working as an Archivist of the photographs and photographic material at Maysles Films Inc., Albert‚s film production company. She spent ten months out of two years working with Tibetan refugees at a center in Nepal, and continues to travel back and forth between America and Asia.

Tags: Fuller Brushes

Duration: 2 minutes, 29 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008