Wed June 3, 2009
Vivid memories of a childhood shaped by "Rat Pack"-era glamour, and by talking spirits and exorcisms. (Encore presentation.)
By Rich Fisher
Tulsa, Oklahoma – (Note: This program originally aired earlier this year.) On today's show, a delightful, often surprising discussion with the artist and writer (and former GQ Magazine managing editor) Philip Smith, whose new book, "Walking through Walls: A Memoir," has been hailed as a cross between "Running with Scissors" and "Bewitched." As this author tells our host Rich Fisher, Smith's father led a remarkable, and maybe unbelievable, double life. By day, Lew Smith was a rather famous interior decorator in the martini-sipping, sunglasses-twirling heyday of 1960s Miami. By night, Philip's father was a psychic healer --- a goodhearted soul with supernatural powers who helped thousands of ill or injured people (but never charged a dime for doing so) by way of contacting the spirit world, performing exorcisms, dispensing homeopathic or mystical remedies, and so on. Too eerie to be true? Maybe. But it's a heck of a story, without a doubt, and Smith has ample proof of such eeriness at his website (which is at http://walkingthroughwallsthebook.com/). And in any case, his book is great fun to read, and interesting as both autobiography and recent American pop cultural history. It's pretty funny at times, too. As one critic for Publishers Weekly has noted, Philip Smith "looks back at his father with much affection in this mirthful memoir that bounces between the comic and the cosmic."