Mon, 2 January 2017
You can count on one finger those industry professionals who have transitioned from a career as a stuntman climbing the faces of Mount Rushmore in Hitchcock’s North by Northwest to that of Hollywood’s “go-to” television director.
That man is Ray Austin, whose work as a director includes episodes on every hit TV series from the 1960s to the present day.
In this incredibly entertaining conversation with Bob & Suzanne, Ray shares intimate stories of his wartime childhood and the events leading to his lifelong relationship with legendary film star Cary Grant. You’ll be infused with Ray’s unmatched energy and work ethic as he recalls his early conversation with Alfred Hitchcock that revealed his own ambition to someday replace Hitchcock in the director’s chair.
Ray created and coordinated the amazing stunts for such epics as Cleopatra and Spartacus, and worked as an actor in classic films like The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. More acting followed in TV series like The Saint and The Avengers, which only whetted his appetite for calling the shots from behind the camera. You’ll hear how Ray’s athletic prowess and charismatic personality were matched by a keen writing ability that soon won him his first directing gigs.
The life and career of Ray Austin—with more than 300 directing credits ranging from The Saint and Black Beauty to Magnum, P.I., The Six Million Dollar Man, Highlander, Spenser: for Hire, and The New Zorro—and with a pantheon of show business celebrity friendships ranging from Cary Grant to TV’s iconic producer Quinn Martin--is nearly the stuff of fiction.
Today, Ray—the bona fide holder of an historic feudal Irish title as The Baron Raymond John DeVere-Austin—is the renowned author of Find Me a Spy, Catch Me a Traitor as well as the Beauford Sloan Mystery Series, a page-turning trilogy which includes The Eagle Heist, Dead Again, and Your Turn to Die (all great reads now available at Amazon.com).
The story of Ray Austin’s life and career is an inspiring and compelling piece of Hollywood history, the likes of which will never be seen again. It’s a conversation you don’t want to miss!
Sun, 7 February 2016
Ron Friedman is one of Hollywood's most prolific and celebrated television writers of all time. Join this raucous “live” conversation over lunch in the busy outdoor patio at Caffé Roma in Beverly Hills as Ron talks about working with show business legends like longtime friend Stan Lee, the creator of X-Men,Spider Man, and Iron Man.
Mon, 3 August 2015
In this very personal and candid conversation with Bob and Suzanne, you’ll hear their longtime friend Michael Zinberg as he share the candid details of a professional history that spans four decades and multiple career paths. Michael is unique in the world of Hollywood, laying claim to hundreds of major directing, writing, and producing credits, as well as to two stints as a network executive.
Today, Michael is among Hollywood’s most enduring and prolific writer-producer-directors, with a track record of creating hit shows that has earned him multiple Emmy nominations and the prestigious Directors Guild Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dramatic Television for his groundbreaking work on Quantum Leap.
Michael—ever the consummate story teller—brings his innate good humor to the conversation as he talks about coming from San Antonio, Texas brimming with ambitions of big-time Hollywood success...and how he has actually achieved it. You’ll hear about his first job as a CBS-TV usher, how he broke into a dynamic prime-time “above the line” career as an Associate Producer and eventually transitioned into comedy writing and directing with The Bob Newhart Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show at legendary MTM Productions.
Zinberg has directed in every television format and genre, from half-hour sitcoms to hour dramas, to mini-series and movies. He’s worked with the entire pantheon of Hollywood celebrities on shows like Taxi, Lou Grant, Family Ties, Everybody Loves Raymond, The Practice, JAG, and Newhart. Still in non-stop demand as a seasoned, “go-to” director, Michael continues working on major hit shows, including NCIS, Lost, The Unit, The Blacklist, and The Good Wife.
Michael Zinberg reveals the extraordinary work ethic behind his remarkable success, and lights the way for anyone hoping to build a meaningful Hollywood career. It's a conversation you'll want to be part of.
Tue, 26 May 2015
Philip Taylor has a unique show business history and track record. In this podcast interview, he describes his journey from a childhood in rural England to Hollywood sound stages, with dozens of writing and producing credits on some of TV’s most memorable hit shows.
Taylor talks about his years of studying at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, and recalls the thrill of performing Shakespeare on the international stage. He then shares his experience “being in the right place at the right time”, and how he began writing scripts for hit TV shows.
Not many TV writers have the ability to move between comedy and dramatic genres, but Philip has multiple credits on both sides of the fence. He’s written for shows as varied as . “Mork & Mindy”, “Murder, She Wrote”, “Eight is Enough”, “CPO Sharkey”, “Good Times”, and “Knight Rider”, demonstrating an unusual ability to move between half-hour sitcoms, hour dramas, two-hour longform TV movies, and feature films.
With great humor and plenty of behind-the-scenes details, Philip tells Bob and Suzanne how he wrote the cult movie classic “Lust in the Dust”, starring Tab Hunter and the legendary Divine. He then describes his four-year stint writing for “The New Zorro” (and acting in an episode on location in Spain), which he quickly followed with multiple scripts for “Highlander” and for Jerry Bruckheimer’s first TV series, “Soldier of Fortune, Inc.”
Now teaching film and television writing at Arizona State University, Philip candidly shares tips that have helped many of his students break into the Hollywood mainstream. If you’ve got your sights set on writing for movies or TV, this conversation with Philip Taylor is “required listening”.
Mon, 30 March 2015
Listen in as Bob & Suzanne talk to actor David Selby about his life and starring roles on stage, screen, and television.
David describes his childhood in rural West Virginia, and his discovery of “something inside” that drove him to become a serious student of acting.
Having appeared in more than 70 stage productions—including starring roles in everything from Oklahoma, to The Crucible, to last year’s A Delicate Balance—David’s theatre work has been the backbone of an unparalleled TV and movie career.
His first major television role as “Quentin” on Dark Shadows made David a huge fan favorite. From there, he jumped into feature films, starring in The Super Cops and playing opposite Barbra Streisand in Up the Sandbox. Always in demand by Hollywood casting directors, David’s hundreds of acting credits include The Waltons, Police Woman, Raise the Titanic, Mad Men, The Social Network, and the soon-to-be-released Equals, with Twilight’s Kristen Stewart.
When David joined Bob on Falcon Crest to play opposite Jane Wyman, he earned an international following that continues to this day. David talks about making “Richard Channing” an unforgettable character with unusual depth and complexity, which he followed up with as “Xavier Trout” on Soldier of Fortune.
Beginning his acting career as far from Hollywood as you can imagine, David Selby has worked with directors like Tim Burton, David Fincher, and Ridley Scott...and with actors from Jeff Bridges and Jason Robards to Barbra Streisand and Julia Roberts.
While scaling the heights of show business, David has also managed to author ten books of memoirs, plays, poems, and novels. David Selby, an actor who has remained devoted to his family and rooted in his West Virginia origins, is the ultimate “Hollywood Renaissance Man.”
Mon, 30 June 2014
Bob and Suzanne interview one of Hollywood’s most esteemed directors, Jerry London. With hundreds of primetime television series, movies, and mega-miniseries to his credit, Jerry tells how he broke into show business as an apprentice film editor on I Love Lucy, and what it was like "paying dues" working on The Untouchables and The Danny Thomas Show.
Jerry has great stories about working closely with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, including his "day at the races" with Hollywood stars betting and winning on longshots.
Jerry describes his early directing gigs on shows like Hogan’s Heroes, Happy Days, and Love, American Style, where he made a daring creative decision that put him in the limelight and propelled his career forward onto nearly every hit show in Hollywood, including The Rockford Files, Kojak, Hawaii Five-0, The Six Million Dollar Man, and Barreta.
From directing TV series non-stop, Jerry then graduated to movies and miniseries, ultimately becoming the creative force behind such memorable productions as The Scarlet and the Black, Chicago Story, Women in White, Escapade, Wheels, and the longest, most critically acclaimed miniseries of its time, Shogun.
Jerry London’s behind-the-scenes stories, his advice to
aspiring filmmakers, and his personal impressions of
the many stars he worked with (Burt Reynolds, Doris Day,
Angie Dickenson, Rock Hudson, Lee Remick,
James Garner, Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood,
Richard Chamberlain), make this an episode
you won’t forget!
Fri, 24 January 2014
Suzanne opens this episode with her “shout out” to evergreen actress Betty White
for yet another birthday milestone and shares her anticipation
of the forthcoming Academy Awards.
She then candidly reacts to director Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s Blackfish, the documentary
that details the history of SeaWorld Orlando trainers
and their work with the killer whale Tilikum.
Moving past zoological politics, Bob and Suzanne then share
their experiences shooting Zorro in Madrid, Spain starring Duncan Regehr
and Henry Darrow. Bob details the initial casting process and
the creative satisfaction of working on such a classic character
with nearly total creative freedom.
Bob remarks that Suzanne wrote one of the show’s “scariest”
characters into an episode, and compliments Executive Producers
Gary Goodman and Barry Rosen on their well-oiled
production machine, while Suzanne seems to snicker at the
fact that Bob is obviously afraid of horses.
Remembering guest stars Adam West (Batman), Andre The Giant,
Jesse Ventura, and Daniel Craig (James Bond), Bob tips his hat to
Story Editor and writer Philip Taylor...while Suzanne reminds Bob
that what he seemed most intrigued by were the topless sunbathers
he pretended to ignore at the beach...
Fri, 20 December 2013
Suzanne opens this episode with some brief gushing over
Chris Hemsworth in Ron Howard’s Rush, a film she and Bob
both recommend this year along with Dallas Buyers Club.
After mentioning the ongoing Hollywood-Santa Barbara
connection—with a nod to the Santa Barbara International Film
Festival soon coming to their neighborhood—Bob admits that he
may not have been the “perfect fit” as writer-producer
on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Bob confesses his frustration with the “downward spiral of politics”
among the show’s executives and producers, and reveals
his ironic point of view about writing for one of
television’s cultural holy grails.
With a focus on the show’s characters and storylines,
Bob’s year as a writer-producer was colored by
his irreverent take on all things technical...to the point that
he wrote Samaritan Snare, an episode featuring an alien culture
that was the antithesis of The Star Fleet.
Giving a couple of dialogue quotes from the episode,
Bob points to an old grammar school joke he employed
in the script, and admits to simply “having some fun” among
all the behind-the-scenes drama on the Paramount Studios lot.
Suzanne then points out the remarkable connection between
I Love Lucy and the original Star Trek, following that up with
the announcement of Bob’s recent award from the Writers Guild
for having been named for “outstanding television writing”
on the show...and a moment later teases Bob with “where’s the money?”
Tue, 3 December 2013
Suzanne starts the episode with a “local’s view” of Oprah Winfrey’s recent
“yard sale” at The Santa Barbara Polo Club just down the road from the
podcast recording studio.
After Bob dodges her questions about “what’s happening with your face?”,
he describes returning to the studio where he was once a “gopher”,
as a writer-producer of Paramount Television’s huge syndicated hit
Star Trek: The Next Generation.
With never-before revealed details of his Rolls-Royce ride and
3-martini lunch with Gene Roddenberry, Bob recalls
the rapid turnover of writers, producers, and executives on ST:TNG,
which became a hugely successful syndicated series hit in spite of
the downward spiral of internal staff and studio politics.
Bob pulls no punches in describing his meetings with members
of the show’s cast, to the point where Suzanne says “What a mess!”
Caught in the middle of what he describes as “Shakespearean complexity”
on the show, Bob reveals the secret of surviving on the staff of
any hit television series.
He then describes his process for writing credible
science fiction in pursuit of the Star Trek vision, and provides
the behind-the-scenes motivation for his script
The Icarus Factor...in which he actually tried to kill off
the captain of The Enterprise!
Thu, 15 August 2013
Suzanne begins by creating some mystery and reveals secrets as she talks about her new bathing suit,
today’s generation of pampered Hollywood pets, why The Wizard of Oz’s “Toto” was
envied by the “munchkins”, and then refers to the new book she and Bob
are working on...but won’t reveal the title!
The conversation turns to Bob’s experiences as Supervising Producer on Ohara,
a Warner Bros. TV series that starred Pat Morita of The Karate Kid fame.
Bob reveals the difficulties in writing and producing a cop show for the former “Mr. Miyagi”
with a vague, constantly-changing franchise...a challenge made all the more difficult
by a phalanx of bickering producers, studio chiefs, and network executives
ranging from future Oscar-winner Brian Grazer to a Keith Richards look-and-act-alike.
Even with all the behind-the-scenes drama, Bob remembers the fun of writing
great cop action scripts alongside L.A.P.D. Homicide Detective (and future Assistant L.A. Mayor)
Joe Gunn, while casting future superstars like Brandon Lee, Benicio del Toro,
and Cuba Gooding, Jr. in routine “day player” roles.
Those casting stories lead Bob to recall his friendship with Bruce Lee long before
Enter The Dragon turned him into an international action superstar. Bob even details his
eyewitness account of Bruce Lee’s on-the-set humility and a display physical power
that provides plenty of contrast to his experience on Ohara
It may have been a case of “too many chefs in the kitchen” on Ohara, but
Bob admits that working on the Warner Bros. studio lot—and bumping into people like
Clint Eastwood—made producing the show a true Hollywood Experience.