Hot Pants on Smokey and the Bandit
12/7/1950, Houston, Texas
Susan McIver (aka Susan Lund). This petite, blue-eyed lovely lady was destined to become a member of what was, for a time, the most famous song-and-dance group in America. In Dean Martin's own words: "In the Spring of 1968, Greg Garrison, the producer of my television show, got a notion to put together a group of 12 beautiful young girls who could sing and dance the songs that were popular in the 1920s and 1930s."
Susan McIver, with the auburn hair, was one of those girls. So, how did Susie become a Golddigger in 1968? From an article in The Indianapolis News, Monday, June 14, 1971: Susan's position on the Golddiggers was almost a happenstance after years of preparation. She'd been dancing since she was five and had had two years of college when she was in her second season with the repertory chorus for the Houston Music Center's summer shows. The director was Jonathan Lucas, who also was a choreographer for Dean Martin's show and was helping Garrison assemble the Golddiggers. "Mr. Lucas liked my work and asked me if I'd be interested in trying out for the new group. Two days later I was in Hollywood talking with Mr. Garrison," she said.
Perhaps the younger generation, growing up with 60+ channels on cable TV, can't imagine what it was like in the 1960s, when there were only 3 networks: NBC, CBS, and ABC, (and a few local stations). Being on the Dean Martin show back then meant about 40% of the TVs in the country were tuned in to that hit show every week. Susie was one of the shortest (and cutest) of the Golddiggers-- from the way she stacked up next to Dino, I'd say she was about 5'4". The Golddiggers would appear on TV, go on national tours, and they released an LP record album with their theme song, "It Seems Like Yesterday" and 11 other oldies.
In 1970, the Golddiggers were in London, and their show gave American audiences their first look at Marty Feldman. The Golddiggers got their own half-hour syndicated series in 1971. Susan McIver (who had now married and changed her name to Susan Lund; they would later break up) was the fan favorite of the 12-member group, and was picked by Dino and Greg Garrison to be one of the top 4 chosen to be a "Ding-a-Ling" Sister. While in England, Susan would also make an appearance on the Benny Hill show. The Golddiggers went on another national tour in America. However, when they went south of the border to Mexico in 1972, things went awry. Susan said their passports were taken, and the girls were not being paid for their performances. They got back to the USA in a hurry. Susan was a Golddigger through 1973. Susan would make several TV and movie appearances through the 1970s, and until 1985.
It appears Susan remarried; she has a son, the budding young actor Blake McIver Ewing, who was born March 27, 1985, and is making quite a career for himself. The showbiz cycle has been handed down from mother to son, "Just Like an Old Time Movie" (one of the songs on the Golddiggers album). Check out the book: "Backstage at the Dean Martin Show" by Lee Hale, 2000. Also, here's a neat website:
Susan Lund, Susie McIver, Susie Lund