Gypsy Boots: Bare Feet & Good Things to Eat
By Bill Johnson aka Le Fantome
(July 2, 2000)
The most unforgettable character I have found on WebTV is a character named Gypsy Boots. Born of Russian immigrant parents, Robert Bootzin, aka Gypsy Boots, was the "original hippy" or nature boy back in the 40's, living on fruits and nuts and living wild out in the hills of Tahquitz Canyon around LA. He bathed in the cool mountain water, slept in rocks and caves and sold produce in Palm Springs. He operated a "health hut" in Hollywood and his gregarious personality and perpetual energy led him to a career performing at the Monterey and Newport Jazz Festivals on the same bill as Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, and others.
Actually, I met him in Commerce in 1963 when I was in college at East Texas State University, now the University of Texas A&M when he preformed as "Gypsy Boots and his Hairy Hoots" with a few of his buddies. At that time, college hootenannies were the "hot thing" along with the Kingston Trio. Many may remember Gypsy from a continuing part on the old "Steve Allen Show" in the 60's or from bit parts in "The Game" with Michael Douglas or a bit in "Swingin' Summer", a movie of the 60's. James F Scheer, editor of HEALTH FREEDOM NEWS, wrote: "It's impossible to look at Gypsy Boots once. You have to look at least twice, because you can't believe what you saw the first time! Spare as Jack Sprat, crackling-with-electric energy, sun browned with long wild, white hair and a beard bristly enough to scour a burnt-on cooking pan, legendary Gypsy Boots seems to have been born in shorts and a T-shirt. He is 89 years old going on 19 and perhaps the world's greatest advocate and activist for wellness, good health and super nutrition."
About a year ago, in a search engine, I located my old friend (89 years young) from 33 years ago and invited him back to our dormitory for snacks. Gypsy is a health guru for the masses serving up fruits, nuts and veggies to the Hollywood Establishment out of his psychedelic van roaming Southern California. He is a regular fixture at the UCLA, USC and OakLand Raiders games and can be found as the "unofficial mascot" at the Hollywood Farmers Market and various sporting events. He hopes to make a movie of his life with help from his son, Daniel Bootzin, who is an independent film maker.
Gypsy has been featured on the Tonight Show, the Best of Groucho Marx, several Hollywood Documentaries such as "Fruits and Nuts with Gypsy Boots," and "It's a Fad, Fad Word." He has been in motion pictures such as the "Untouchables", "Childish Things", "Stone Killer," "Swingin' Summer," and "The Game." Gypsy's clients include such stars as Kirk and Michael Douglas, Muhammad Ali, Joe Pyne and many more. Annually, birthdays parties are thrown for him at Paramount Studios hosted by Michael Douglas. He is a guru of good healthful life style and eating.
Last year this writer asked Gypsy if he would like a new website as the Bookstore that was sponsoring him on the net deleted his site for lack of interest? He was delighted and I undertook the task of bringing his site to fruition in the months ahead. Gypsyboots.com is now an established site for his antics and he is so grateful, he sends me Valencia oranges, vitamins and other goodies on a regular basis. The site keeps up his activities and offers good veggie recipes and healthful tips to the viewers, along with a world of pictures and sound bytes from his activities.
Gypsy telephones me with suggestions for his site and faxes and e-mails pictures and upcoming events to post to his fans. This writer edits the site with the help of a friend of Gypsy's called Pancake Jack who has a computer and scans and e-mails me pictures to put on the website. I make vidcaps and sound bytes from the videotapes Gypsy sends me to add also. The site has been a boon to him as he proudly displays the URL on his van. He has received a lot of offers from the website, resulting in numerous public appearances at bookfairs, seminars, and benefits. For a nearly 90 year old, he has more energy than I had when I was 20! A true fan site for his many fans!
Recently, he was invited to a benefit honoring Little Richard and was reunited with his old friend. Also, at a recent bookfair at UCLA, aging Kirk Douglas singled Gypsy out in the audience and went over to him and gave his old friend a great hug. I am here to tell you that Gypsy is a spirited youngster and an active and energetic man of 90 and a testament to his lifestyle. He is too much for this writer of 54 to handle athletically as he throws a "perfect spiral" at 40 yards as he worked out with "The Dallas Cowboys Club" all the time when they had their training camp at Thousand Oaks.
GypsyBoots.com stands as a testament to the life of this wonderful man and was a gift from a sponsor. The site is maintained by me on WebTV and receives a lot of attention throughout Southern California. Gypsy's van has the addy on it as he travels to public appearances around the state.
Among the pages on the site, the reader will find recipes from Gypsy's own files for a healthy lifestyle, pictures of the celebrities he delivers fruits, nuts and veggie's to, pictures of his history, scenes from the seminars he lectures on good nutrition, and his sponsors.
Gypsy Boots also is writing a new feature article in "Living Nutrition Magazine." You can see some of his antics for yourself at the Hollywood Farmer's Market where he is a regular fixture. He is also the author of two books which are noted on the website.
If you visit his website, please sign his guestbook. I personally transit them to him and he loves to hear from his fans. He even posts his phone number to talk to the fans at night. He loves to talk and chat with everyone! (If you get a word in edgewise, that is!) Many old acquaintances have reunited with him through the website made with WebTV. And, if you are ever in Hollywood, don't forget to stop by on Sundays at the Hollywood Farmer's Market where you will find him each weekend. It has been a real privilege working with Gypsy to develop his celebrity website and it is also great to be able to help spread his message of healthful living and nutrition to the masses.
[Community Editor's Notes: Ah, Gypsy Boots, what a wonderful webpage! Seems your web designer did a magnificent, creative and fun job on it! It is so vibrant and colorful! And, oh, those recipes!! Now we see how you have kept yourself as strong and young as someone in their twenties. Thank you so very much for being so kind as to grant this interview. We hope you hear from some of our readers! See you at the market!!--ck]