I came along way too late in the 20th Century to savor the storied, once-glorious atmosphere of the RKO Radio Pictures lot (Melrose and Gower), which was right next door to the still-standing Paramount lot.

My only physical, professional association with the former RKO operation (the studio having peaked between the early 1930s and late ‘50s) was my horrific three-month stint as an Entertainment Tonight employee. E.T.’s offices were located near the Gower gate, and I worked there for two or three months in the spring of98.

It was absolutely the most hellish job I’ve ever had in my life, in part because I had to be at work at 5 am and in part because of the acutely political vibe under exec producer Linda Bell Blue. Everyone who worked there was “schemin’ schemin’ like a demon,” and after a while I began to daydream about shooting heroin into my veins.

HE to self during E.T. employment: “Will they fire me next month, next week…tomorrow?

“Why are people always speaking in hushed tones behind closed doors? Is the work I’m doing of any value to anyone? Will I always have to wake up at 3:45 am? Is it too late to learn a new trade?

The daily salt-mine vibe at Entertainment Tonight was the most horrifically political and terrifying I’ve ever known in my life, bar none. It was all about petty office power games and anxiety and who’s up and who’s down.

Nothing in that environment was the least bit calm or serene. Nothing was devotional. It was all about fakeperforming in front of your co-workers in order to convince them that you wouldn’t say anything bad about them when they weren’t around.

Women were always conferring and plotting in their offices with the doors closed, and the subject was always other women who were huddling and plotting in their offices, etc.

I naturally wanted to keep getting paid, but half the time I wanted to stick my head in a gas oven. I was 40% upset when I was canned but 60% relieved.