Wed, 14 January 2015
This episode features Bob and Suzanne having a free-wheeling up-tempo conversation with "Falcon Crest" actress Ana Alicia, as she holds nothing back in telling her very personal story.
Ana’s story—of a girl born in Mexico, raised in El Paso, educated at Wellesley on full scholarship, and determined to follow her acting dreams even while going to law school—is an inspiring lesson for anyone thinking about a career on stage or in front of the camera.
From her initial creative “break” as a finalist in a grammar school poetry contest, as a teenager she jumped into in school plays and found her true calling as an artist. She was soon involved in the world of local dinner theater, and while still going to law school (“trying to be practical”) turned the challenge of finding a Hollywood agent on its ear.
She describes her first screen test—and why she wore a casting director’s sweater over her own clothes—and how that propelled her into a starring role on Ryan’s Hope at the age of 20.
This fast-paced conversation reveals Ana’s very real intelligence, commitment to craft, and the personal determination that saw her rocket to national prominence on the cast of CBS-TV’s hit series Falcon Crest by the time she was 25. (Don’t miss her story about her “sexy” audition for Executive Producer Earl Hamner…)
Ana talks about working with Bob in the role of “Melissa Agretti” on Falcon Crest during the years he produced the show...and even opens up to Suzanne about what it was like working with the many “hunky guys” (William R. Moses, Lorenzo Lamas, David Selby) on the show. She pulls no punches in revealing the real-life “drama” behind the scenes of the series, and how network and studio politics, including the constant changes in the writing staff ultimately affected everyone on the show.
Ana talks candidly about the real world of auditions, casting sessions, and working on the sets of more than 30 major TV shows and movies, including The Sacketts, Renegade, Murder, She Wrote, Life Goes On, Moonlighting, Hotel, The Love Boat, B.J. and the Bear, Quincy, The Hardy Boys. She also shares personal insights into what it’s like performing alongside major stars like Raul Julia, Tom Selleck, Sam Elliott, Jane Wyman, Jack Klugman, Susan Sullivan, Edward James Olmos, James Brolin, and Angela Lansbury.
In telling her story, Ana Alicia gives a compelling lesson in determination, preparation, and the focus it takes to make it as an actor in Hollywood…and the hard choices involved in choosing family and motherhood over a stellar career.
This is an inspiring, educational, and heartfelt conversation…and it’s not to be missed.
Thu, 18 December 2014
This high-energy conversation tells the story of an ambitious kid with zero show business “connections” who became one of Hollywood’s most prolific and successful television movie producers: Bruce Sallan.
Bruce’s inspiring story takes us from a film class at UCLA and into pitch meetings at the major television networks...then into casting sessions at Hollywood’s biggest studios...and on to film locations around the world with some of the biggest celebrity stars of our time.
With more than 24 major television movies to his credit—all inspired by his personal commitment to telling the best stories with a redeeming social value—Bruce enjoyed a remarkable 25-year career on the highest rungs of the Hollywood ladder. He’s one of those rare talents who moved easily between high-level jobs at production companies, movie studios, and television networks.
In this rapid-fire, free-wheeling conversation, Bruce doesn’t pull any punches as he recalls his work with stars like Bruce Dern, Barbara Hershey, Alan Arkin, Don Johnson, John Forsythe, Dick Van Patten, Betty White, Ron Howard, Mickey Rourke, Lindsay Wagner...and the list goes on!
Bruce Sallan delivers more than just anecdotes here; he talks about the actual “how to” of a Hollywood career, what it takes to really pitch and sell a hot TV project, and how to navigate the treacherous politics of any show business career.
The conversation then turns to Bruce’s dynamic career as an author (The Empty-Nest Road Trip Blues and A Dad’s Point-of-View: We ARE Half the Equation), a nationally-syndicated newspaper columnist, the recognized and outspoken advocate for fatherhood, a leading social media icon, the creator of one of Twitter’s #DadChat where his weekly “all about dad” Tweet Chat draws thousands of weekly followers.
As the father of two sons, a seasoned and expert skier and unmatched raconteur, Bruce Sallan is uniquely gifted communicator with a great message to share...and he shares it with unmatched intelligence and energy. This is a conversation NOT to be missed!
Sat, 1 November 2014
Melissa Sue Anderson became an internationally-recognized television star at the age of eleven and remains a fan favorite for her long-running portrayal of “Mary Ingalls” on Little House on the Prairie.
In this revealing and very personal conversation, Melissa shares details of her life as a child actor who broke into the business because—in spite of her confessed shyness—“it sounded like fun”.
Melissa’s innate sense of humor is evident as she shares with Bob and Suzanne the anxieties of auditioning for network executives, producers, and directors…all the while competing with other talented kids like Jodie Foster. But Melissa apparently had “that special something” that sold well on the tube, because by the time she was cast in her first television role on The Brady Bunch, she had dozens of on-air commercials to her credit.
Throughout the podcast Melissa delivers the impressions of a 10-year old working on Hollywood’s sound stages where she was surprised to find that “things were so fake.” She describes her many co-stars with amusing candor, and shares memories of those who generously gave her their inside “acting tips”.
Fans of Little House will be intrigued to hear Melissa describe her first meeting with Michael Landon and what it was like competing for the role of “Mary Ingalls”…and ultimately working on the show where she really learned the ropes of working in an ensemble of actors on a hit series.
She also shares her secret to “playing blind”…a technique that served her well as she was cast as a sightless person more than she would have liked. Melissa then shares her fond memories of working with her “favorite producer” Aaron Spelling and both the joy and disappointment of working on Dark Mansions, Bob’s 2-hour series pilot that fell victim to studio and network politics.
An author (her book The Way I See It is available at Amazon.com), Emmy winner, and member of the Western Performers Hall of Fame--whose favorite acting gig was on The Equalizer--Melissa Sue Anderson’s story is inspiring and instructive.
Listening to Melissa delivers great insights into working with agents, producers, directors…and the unpredictable yet very real value of “luck”.
Mon, 20 October 2014
Mon, 6 October 2014
Bob & Suzanne have a candid and free-wheeling conversation with
Paul Petersen, once a child actor and pop music teen idol,
now a prominent social activist and prolific novelist, and the
driving force behind "A Minor Consideration" working on
behalf of young performers everywhere.
Breaking into show business as one of the original
Mousketeers on Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club, Petersen went on to
a co-starring role on one of the most iconic television series of all time,
The Donna Reed Show, playing what he describes as
“the classic gap-toothed wisecracking younger brother”.
Paul recalls the professional acting lessons he learned performing
opposite movie greats Cary Grant and Sophia Loren in Houseboat,
and then from Emmy-winner Carl Betz and Oscar-winner Donna Reed
on The Donna Reed Show.
He then shares the gritty real-world of Hollywood studio casting
when The Donna Reed Show went off the air after eight years,
and he suddenly went from young star to struggling actor.
Articulate and painfully honest, Paul pulls no punches,
telling his story with compelling intelligence and honesty.
You won’t forget hearing about the day that Hollywood legend
Mickey Rooney literally showed up unannounced at his doorstep
to give him the keys to a successful and fulfilling life.
What follows is a story of strength, stamina, and
personal transformation. The lessons Paul Petersen shares
on this podcast should be heard by every “stage mother”
and by all talented kids with dreams of
making “the bigtime” in Hollywood.
This is the story of a "kid with talent" who became
an iconic television star and international teen idol...
and then walked into the halls of academe and a career as
a novelist and social activist. It's a tale as dramatic and compelling as
any of Paul's TV and movie roles...and it’s rooted in
the bottom-line reality of show business.
If you’ve ever worked in the entertainment industry...or if
you have dreams of someday breaking into television,
movies, or music at the professional level, this interview with
Paul Petersen is no to be missed!
Thu, 25 September 2014
One of Hollywood’s most enduring and beloved leading ladies,
Shelley openly shares the details of her childhood as a
department store “fashion model”, and how that led to her first
television appearance at the age of 10.
In constant onscreen demand from an early age, she appeared in more
than 50 television series, from early classics like Annie Oakley to
her breakthrough role on The Donna Reed Show.
Shelley shares memories of her eight years playing “Mary Stone”
and working closely with TV legends Donna Reed, Paul Petersen,
and Carl Betz, and then describes the unique experience of
becoming an international teen idol with the release of
her #1 hit recording of Johnny Angel.
As the only female co-star to appear in three of Elvis Presley's
movies (Clambake, Girl Happy and Spinout), Shelley describes
what it was like meeting “the King” for the first time...and how
she still thinks of him as her “favorite leading man”.
Shelley then goes on to recount her adult life as an actress on
shows like Love, American Style, The Rockford Files, and Fantasy Island
and her professional joy working opposite James Caan in the era’s
most memorable television movie, Brian’s Song.
This is an intimate, open-hearted dialogue with a legendary actress as
she shares the realities of Hollywood’s type-casting in the Sixties
while giving us a real sense of the personal and professional values
that brought her years of success on major hits like
One Day at a Time and Coach.
It's an engaging conversation with a truly
classy lady as she reveals the personal side of
the Hollywood "actor's life" that you won’t want to miss!
Sat, 13 September 2014
Michael Sloan was born into a British theatrical family and raised amid
the smell of greasepaint and the sound of applause.
Bob and Suzanne’s conversation with Michael starts with his youth as a budding actor
and his early adventures writing and producing his own independent feature films.
Michael’s story then demonstrates his unique creative instincts as he describes how
he got his first major primetime television break writing for Columbo, a credit that
propelled him toward a meteoric career path at Universal City Studios and beyond.
Sloan’s credits soon ranged from BJ & The Bear (where he gave Bob his first primetime writing gig)
and Quincy to McCloud, Battlestar Gallactica, Sword of Justice, and The Return of The Man From Uncle...
to name only a few of hundreds! His was the producing and writing “juice” behind
unforgettable shows like Kung Fu: The Legend Continues and
the contemporary Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
And as if his hundreds of writing and producing credits weren’t enough, Michael was also
the creator of one of television’s most highly-acclaimed suspense and action series,
The Equalizer—now a major motion picture starring Denzel Washington
set to appear in theaters worldwide.
Almost as “throwaway” in the interview, Michael reveals that his wife—actress
Melissa Sue Anderson of Little House on the Prairie fame—first suggested Denzel Washington
in the role of The Equalizer’s “Robert McCall” a full seven years before the movie
went into production…and then we learn that Michael’s new novel The Equalizer
has just debuted in bookstores everywhere.
With great wit and humor, the lessons Michael Sloan shares in this podcast are
truly bricks of gold on the road to Hollywood success!
Mon, 8 September 2014
Suzanne and Bob reveal the latest news about their new book, Where Hollywood Hides: Santa Barbara Celebrities in Paradise,
and then talk to award-winning Hollywood producer Dennis Brown.
Dennis tells a uniquely personal story that saw him go from “small town boy” to a studio accounting department,
and then to the pinnacle of Hollywood success...with career highlights along the way that include
getting hired by Grant Tinker (who would later build MTM Productions with his wife Mary Tyler Moore),
surviving the destruction of United Artists Studio by Michael Cimino's Heaven’s Gate,
and eventually being nominated for an Emmy.
During the course of his amazing career, Dennis has supervised multiple Academy Award and
Emmy Award-winning projects, has shot film on every continent on the planet.
The major stars he’s worked with include Jerry Seinfeld, Lindsay Wagner, Farrah Fawcett,
Liza Minelli, Tom Selleck, Burt Lancaster, Peter Fonda, Leonard Nimoy...
and in this interview, you’ll learn which actor holds a special place in his heart.
While sharing the one-work "key" to becoming a successful independent movie producer,
in a candid and emotional moment Dennis reveals what has truly mattered most to him
in building his career. Throughout the interview, you’ll hear what it takes to plan a Hollywood career and
how “the Hollywood dream” can become a reality.
It’s an easy-going intimate conversation about an incredible life working
behind the scenes in Hollywood...and one you won’t forget!
Wed, 27 August 2014
Suzanne and Bob talk about their new book, Where Hollywood Hides: Santa Barbara,
and are then joined by Lloyd Schwartz, one of TV’s most prolific writer-producers for
stories of his long and successful career in Hollywood.
Starting as a standup comic (with a member of The Black Panthers as his working partner),
Lloyd recalls selling his first network script while still in college and describes the confidence
and writing skills that made him Hollywood’s youngest television producer.
With TV writing credits ranging from Harper Valley PTA and Baywatch to movies like
The Invisible Woman and A Very Brady Christmas, Lloyd was well prepared when he
became the producer of one of television’s most iconic series of all time, The Brady Bunch.
Lloyd doesn’t pull any punches as he describes his notion of “happy projects” and reveals
his secret to building a lasting writing career and delivers a realistic and practical step-by-step
strategy for breaking into the studio system.
“If you do exactly what I’m saying, you’ll get into the business”.
Throughout the conversation, Lloyd shares stories of his favorite actors, talks about
what it was like moving up through the ranks from dialogue coach to producer—eventually
becoming a network executive—and then to writing America’s first live dinner theatre plays.
It’s a high-energy inspirational interview peppered with rock-solid tips for surviving in Hollywood,
including Lloyd’s personal mantra “The phone will never ring. You have to make it happen.”
Lloyd Schwartz has a unique and inspiring story, and if you want
“the keys to making it in Hollywood”, you’ll want to hear this podcast.
Mon, 11 August 2014
After his childhood appearance as "Tommy Bailey" in Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life
and an incredible 500 acting credits alongside stars like Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn,
Sally Field, Shelly Fabares, Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, Rick Nelson, and Elvis Presley,
Hawkins grew restless co-starring as "America's favorite boyfriend and sidekick".
He wanted more out of his Hollywood career...and he went out and got it.
Turning away from acting, Jimmy Hawkins set out to “remake” himself and soon became
one of Hollywood’s most entrepreneurial and commercially successful independent film and television producers.
You’ll hear how Jimmy navigated the shark-infested waters of Hollywood power-brokers and
deal-makers to help finance and produce Evel Knievel with George Hamilton, and the thrill of
the movie’s star-studded premier at Grauman’s Chiinese Theater that turned
a small independent film into a 25-million dollar hit.
Not resting on his laurels, Jimmy went on to create and produce hit films like Scout’s Honor starring
the young Gary Coleman, Don’t Look Back: The Story of Leroy “Satchel” Page with Lou Gossett Jr.,
and Love Leads the Way, starring Timothy Bottoms.
He reveals why each of his movie or television projects has projected positive values, the best in
human nature, and personal redemption...
and the keys to his ongoing personal and critical success.
With unmatched creative instincts, Jimmy has the uncanny ability to transcend genres,
formats, and media. After creating and producing Motown Returns to the Apollo, he soon jumped into
the publishing world to author no less than five best selling books targeting
the everlasting appeal of Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life.
This is a conversation you won't forget as Jimmy Hawkins shares the genuine secrets to
producing both movies and television projects in Hollywood.