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How to Succeed in Showbiz Without Really Trying – Part Two

Read Part One of How to Succeed in Showbiz Without Really Trying

Fast forward. I’d graduated high school and was attending UCLA studying fine art. I went on a blind date, met my husband, dropped out of school for a semester to get married and…but that’s another story.

Our wedding photo

Our wedding photo

After years abroad directing films for the Air Force, he returned to America and became a television commercial producer for a large advertising agency.

My husband  encouraged, nay, insisted I continue my education. When was the last time you heard of a husband putting his wife through college?

One Christmas, we were invited to a holiday party at a major commercial production studio. I was introduced to everyone and chatting away, when a woman tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I’d like to act in commercials. Dumbfounded, I replied, “Sure, why not?” She was the casting director of the studio and I had been discovered!

Sandy in car

I had to get a portfolio of photos to show directors and agency people when I went to  auditions. There was usually a long lineup of actors all hoping to get cast and trying, oh, so hard, to be nice to one another despite the competition. Although I was nervous, and to be honest, intimidated, I scored at my first audition. I was hired to be one of the joyfully, happy young adults square dancing to the strains of the Hamms Beer jingle, “From the land of sky blue waters…”

Since my husband was one of the more important agency producers in town, I changed my name so that no one would know that I was his wife. I was going to make it or break it  on my own.

After that first job, I just kept on being cast in more and more commercials. I had a “lucky” outfit that I wore for casting calls. It was a brown and white gingham shirtdress with a white collar and white buttons down the front. How do I remember? Because I wore it for so many auditions. My long hair was tied at the nape of my neck with a big white ribbon and off I’d go. Trust me, this outfit got me lots of  jobs.

Here my co-star was an elephant. This was a spot for Procter and Gamble, but I just can’t remember what the product was. Oh, well.

Sandy Proctor and Gamble commercial

Suddenly, I was the girl next door or the wife next door, appearing in loads of commercials.  I was bubbly and enthusiastic (just like I was  in my high school musicals). I bubbled and enthused about all sorts of products like Folger’s Coffee, Butterball Turkey, Coca-Cola, Kodak Film, Crest Toothpaste, Disneyland, Ford, Pert Shampoo,  Canada Dry Ginger Ale,  and many others.

Here I am at Disneyland in a Kodak commercial. The actor with me was a fun guy. We were in a few other commercials together. In fact, there was a group of us that always seemed to be cast together. I guess our all-round wholesomeness was what did it for us.

Kodak commercial at Disneyland

Annette Funicello was also in this commercial. She was the Princess of Disney. I say Princess because everyone knew her and treated her like a princess. Actually, she was a lovely person to work with.

That is Annette Funnicello in a tea cup with me at Disneyland
 Annette Funicello in a tea-cup with me at Disneyland
Now, you’d think this would be a fun shoot. Well, it was to a degree. The good times ended when I discovered we had to go up and down the Matterhorn ride dozens of times until they got the  shot of us plunging into the water “just right.” That ride scared the living daylights out of me, but there I was laughing with joy because I loved those residual checks.

Sandy head shotNow, if you saw the woman above – me – and you were a commercial producer or director, would the first thing you’d want to do is dye my hair blond? Dye it blond for a huge national campaign for a new shampoo? Yep, that’s what they wanted. They saw me and said, “Let’s make her a blond.”  I agreed because this spot was for a new product backed with a major national campaign and that could mean a lot of money for me. So, many bleaching processes later, I became a blond. They filmed the commercial  and I went home and sobbed. I hated the way I looked. I hid in my house and wouldn’t go out or let anyone see me.

And my big payoff?  They cancelled the whole campaign. Why? The name of the shampoo was “Pert”and P&G suddenly discovered that Pert meant “fart.” in the south. So, I was left with BLOND hair that I hated and no money! I cut my hair very short and dyed it back to my original color as soon as I could.

One of my favorite commercials was for Canada Dry. It was created by the famous author, Gerald A. Browne, when he was a New York advertising creative director. Did you read  “11 Harrowhouse?” He wrote that and many other popular books which were made into movies.

His concept was to hire  the most gorgeous models, bring them to Hollywood and have little old me be the “gangsters’ moll.” Do you recognize Maude Adams and Merle Lynn Browne? Guess who’s in the blond wig?

Canada_Dry_commercial01

Directing Maude Adams
Thumbs up. Print it.

My husband the director

My husband, the director

Canada Dry soft drink commercial

Did I want to be an actress? No, but I loved going to the mail box and getting those residual checks!

We saved the money I earned and invested it all to start our own commercial production company. I’ve always been very proud of the fact that it was “my” money that funded our company!

Later, I became a painter and then a mother. I had a baby daughter and a few years later, a son.  I didn’t want to go on interviews. I wanted to be with my children and paint. My favorite role of all.

my daughter and me

My daughter, Susannah and me

Sandy and son Matt

My son, Matt and me

Read Part One of this story at How To Succeed In Showbiz Without Really Trying Part One

All images appearing on How to Succeed in Showbiz Without Really Trying – Part Two are the expressed property of Sandra Sallin. All rights reserved. In other words, don’t steal it!



  • kathy peck leeds - What a fascinating post. I really enjoyed reading it. You’re so talented in so many ways. But yes, being a mother and a painter is the best, couldn’t agree more.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks Kathy. When all is said and done, what really matters?ReplyCancel

  • Bonnie fuller - Great. Love the story and the pictures!ReplyCancel

  • SilverFoxyBlog - Love it, such an interesting life! Great memories and even greater pictures! I think you should write a book, I bet you have some really fabulous stories to tell.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - I didn’t know I had stories to tell until I started this blog. I was not planning on writing about my life, it just happened.ReplyCancel

  • Elsa Louise - Gracious. In my comment on an earlier post, noting how much the camera loved you, little did I know. It’s delightful to learn about your performing career.

    Remembering now Pert shampoo…, and Hamm’s beer…, and Kodak film. Made me wonder about the beer, for I was pretty young during those campaigns. Looked it up, and oh yes, the jingle, “From the land of sky-blue water,” along with the bear that was its mascot. The beer bear. Can hear that tune still today, in my head, even without consulting YouTube. So it must have done its job as an advert.

    Do you ever think about whether your path would have been the same if you’d not grown up in Los Angeles? How much living in the region played a role in the choices you were able to make?

    For example, you didn’t seem to have a burning desire to act and found the commercial route completely amenable, which is contrary to how most actors/actresses view it, being more as a waystation on their way to stardom. And, of course, we all know how that usually pans out…

    But you were right there, comfortable in your own hometown (least I think it was your hometown). Did it make a difference, do you feel?

    BTW, you and Dana Delany could be twins.

    I read your musical entry yesterday and enjoyed that one, too.

    Such a life you’ve led.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - “From the land of sky blue water.” My goodness you’re right I can hear the drum beats now. I do not think my path would have been the same. I had no desire to be an actress. But remember the man I married was in the “business.” So I was exposed to people and situations that I would not have living somewhere else. I think I would still have become an artist. That you can do anywhere. Remember I did give up my acting career for a life I felt was more important to me.

      I do not know Dana Delany. I’ll have to google her.
      I did not realize I had so many stories to tell until I started this blog. Had no idea where it was going to take me.

      Thanks for your provocative comments. I appreciate them.ReplyCancel

      • Elsa Louise - Oh, I’m glad to read that. Have no intention to go on too long myself in a comment; just that your post is so provocative on the reader side.

        I like the idea of exposure in a good way. You were possessed of such a natural quality, which is what I saw in the UCLA photo. This must’ve stood out to casting personnel, no doubt. Your years of music study and performance surely added to your poise.

        The giving up of one thing for another…but if the latter was more in tune with what you wanted from life overall, then it was probably more fulfilling in the end, and you would have felt no great loss of the former. And what fabulous memories you have to share with us at this point!

        Yes, Google her. She is very lovely, too. And a fine actress.

        One last observation: Do you know the painting of Severin Roesen? I sense a simpatico in the vivid details and flower motifs of his and your styles. His works are some of my favorites. Now yours are as well.ReplyCancel

        • sandra - Please keep commenting. I love your observations. Regarding the artist Severin Rosesen. I was not aware of his work, but it is gorgeous. I do adore Jan Van Huysum. Are you aware of his work? He would paint in secret so other artist’s could not steal his techniques. To this day artist’s study his paintings in wonder and ask, “How did he do it?”

          I still love classical music. I do miss singing in a choir and playing an instrument. But I can’t do everything. So I sing and hum to what ever piece of music I’m listening to. In fact one of he reasons I needed my own studio was so that I could sing along with the operas I was listening to.

          As to “natural quality”. You’re very intuitive. Yes, I would say that is exactly what they saw in me.
          Again, I really enjoy the exchange of ideas. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Randy Hyde - I love this! Really well done!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thank you Mr. Writer. You did a great job today at The Bold Italic.ReplyCancel

  • Randy Hyde - And I want more photos! They’re so much fun!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - More photos? I was worried I’d bore people.ReplyCancel

  • Judi Briscoe - Oh Sandy, what a life! I loved every single entry…your children and grandchildren are going to love having this wonderful telling of your life…ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks Judie. I Did not know I had so many stories to tell. They just keep tumbling out of my fingers.ReplyCancel

  • Gail Corcoran - Thanks Sandy what a terrific story! I enjoyed every word and picture. This is a great gift for your children and grandchildren.

    GailReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks Gail. Your right my kids are loving the posts. They had no idea about my past adventures.ReplyCancel

  • Sharon Twigg-Smith - Really, REALLY enjoyed this “look” into your past! No wonder you’re such a delightful friend!! xxReplyCancel

    • sandra - Why thank you. I feel the same way about you my dear pal.ReplyCancel

  • Steve Middleton - I concur. . .more photos and more stories! I love these blog entries. It makes me nostalgic for a time I didn’t even experience. And how cute is Matty in that last pic?ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks Steve. Glad you like the photos. We do have some photos that I just love. Please tell Matt he’s adorable still. I think he’s a little hurt. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • deborah briskin - how is it that i had no idea that you did all of this?? the photos are
    just fantastic!! you and bob were quite the beautiful couple!!!!
    i AM impressed…..ReplyCancel

    • sandra - I guess we never talked about it. Of course, you were just a little girl when all of this was happening.ReplyCancel

  • Jayne on Weed Street - The smile on your beautiful baby’s face was better than any residual check, yes? No camera can smile back at you like that. But it’s been nice to have both, I am sure!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - How very perceptive of you. I love that smile on our faces.Yes,it was lovely to earn that money and the fun of it all, but nothing can compare to being a parent. I think there are certain needs that actors have and maybe I just don’t have that need.ReplyCancel

  • Diane Ross - Loved seeing all the photos. You’ve talked about these on Meander, but we never got to see the photos. Great job!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks Diane. It is fun for me to see the photos also. I’ve got these huge albums…over twenty of them.ReplyCancel

  • Susannah - WE all loved it mom, KEEP WRITING! Dont stop! I only wish it was longer…and more photos please 🙂

    XXOO SusReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks sweetie. I love the photo of you and I together.ReplyCancel

  • afterthekidsleave - What a great read! I’m looking forward to seeing more…and to catching up with you on GenFab! 🙂
    KarenReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Karen. Yes, I’m also looking forward to getting to know you better through your blog and GenFab.ReplyCancel

  • Tabitha - Sandra,
    I was just about to email you back when my finger dragged your email to the little trashcan – it’s so frustrating when that happens, so I sleuthed and found you here! What a wonderful life, this was such a great read and seeing those tea cups again really took me back to my childhood, off to read more.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks for continuing reading. I never thought I’d be writing about my life, but who knows where the finger will go? or something like that.ReplyCancel

  • Mom Mom's Apron - You really did have that classic Girl Next Door look — no wonder you were in hot demand! What an interesting and fascinating life you had. Thank you for sharing your stories.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks for reading. I’m stuck on your blog. So many good recipes to try, and I love the idea that you’ve tested them all for me. I’m now searching for the Maille.ReplyCancel

  • Chloe Jeffreys - Wow! What an exciting life you’ve led so far. And those people were right to hire you because you did look extremely wholesome.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - I think I’m a little too wholesome now. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Audrey Howitt - Fascinating! I loved your post and I loved seeing the old pictures!!ReplyCancel

  • Julie DeNeen - Beautiful pictures and blog post! You are stunning!ReplyCancel

  • Janine Huldie - Really wonderful post and have to say this is the first I read by you, but was fascinated. Your story was truly awe inspiring and thanks for sharing it with all of us.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks for taking the time to read.ReplyCancel

  • Rambling Amazon - What a fascinating life you’ve lived, keep them coming!!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks. I went to your web site and I’m intrigued by those tights. Got to look them up. Thanks for the tip and I hope they send them to you gratis!ReplyCancel

  • Melissa Bennett - This post is truly beautiful. Your story is amazing and the pictures you included were stunning. I love it.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Welcome. I’m glad you enjoyed the posting.ReplyCancel

  • http://www.tammypstafford.blogspot.com - You look like you’re enjoying life! I always wanted to act but never tried it. Are your kids in show business since it seems to run in the family?ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks for reading. No my kids want nothing to do with showbiz. Funny huh? I think they see how tough it can be. I also think you need a special personality to put up with a lot of show biz stuff.ReplyCancel

  • A Gift Wrapped Life - What a great story Sandra and such great photos to go along with it all. You must be the only woman on earth who could claim to have a photo of you and Annette in a teacup! My grandparents and an aunt/uncle/cousin lived just outside Los Angeles and we used to be in awe of them because they lived near Disneyworld, your post reminded me of that. I can see why everyone would want you for their commercials! xxReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thank you so much Sande. I love your beautiful blog and stories, so elegant and inviting. I’d never thought about Annette and me that way. Funny.ReplyCancel

  • October | Sandra Sallin | Style at a certain age - […] commercial acting career which I enjoyed until the birth of our first child. You can read more here. A few years after I had become a successful artist I was asked to teach a class at UCLA entitled […]ReplyCancel

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