Lordy! There were missteps galore with my first book How To Be A Party Girl, beginning with the title. Misstep? No, it was more like Bigfoot throwing a bolder from the top of the Empire State building and hitting me directly in the chest. Frank Taylor and Sam Stewart at McGraw Hill loved the title and I was so naive and had such a healthy innocent sense of humor, that it didn't occur to me the title could be misconstrued. As the popular host of a TV show on the ABC affiliate in San Francisco, I was quickly booked on every television and radio show in the Bay Srea, including the Pat Michaels show on channel 2 in Oakland. I was having such a ball, signing books for long lines of people, being interviewed by my buddies in television and radio, getting ready to go on a national tour, that it was hard to comprehend what a friend from channel 2 was trying to tell me when she called.
"Pat, I don't know how to tell you this," she said, her voice subdued.
"What are you talking about?" I asked, alarmed.
"Have you seen TV Guide?"
"No, I don't get it."
"Better get a copy," she said.
The bottom line of a very long story that affected not only my self-esteem but sent me into a fit of depression, is hard for me to write about even today.
TV Guide had published a notation regarding my upcoming appearance on The Pat Michaels Show with the words "From Party Girl to Call Girl: How far can a party girl go before she becomes a call girl?" A masked anonymous prostitute was to appear on the show with me, I learned. I canceled my appearance and filed a suit for slander against TV Guide and channel 2.
Three years later, a jury agreed that, as a public figure, I had been defamed, with malice, and awarded me two hundred thousand dollars. My case made case law and was reported in Time magazine. But what a price I paid for that victory, and learning more about libel law than I ever wanted to know.
Those who say sticks and stones will break your bones but words will never hurt you, are as crazy as one of my dad's Oklahoma parishioners who ran barefoot through a field of nettles screaming "I'm Jesus."
Causes Pat Montandon Supports
PETA, Women for Women, Amnesty International, Children as the Peacemakers, Peace to The Planet