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#23  Jerry London: Famed Director of Major Television Movies & Mini-series

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 Daysand Love, American Stylewhere 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 FilesKojakHawaii Five-0The Six Million Dollar Manand Barreta.

The biggest mini-series of all time!
The biggest mini-series of all time!

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!

 

 

Direct download: Podcast23EDITFINAL6.30.14.mp3
Category:Television -- posted at: 5:47pm PDT

The episode opens with an audio-clip tease of things to come...

and if you’ve never heard of “Radio XERB”, you’re about to get

a real lesson in the early days of Rock n’ Roll!

Suzanne opens the show with “movie news” about this season’s classic sci-fi

monster flick Godzilla starring Ken Watanabe (Suzanne’s fave) and Bryan Cranston (Bob’s fave)

revealing the tongue-in-cheek contemporary “take” on it.

Bob then jumps into the heart of the episode with his questionable vocal impression of

one of the world’s true broadcasting originals, the inimitable

Wolfman Jack. 

After sharing their personal experiences with the early world of “outlaw radio”,

Suzanne and Bob deliver some amazing sound clips from The Wolfman himself and his

professional inspiration, early Rock ‘n Roll’s most powerful and popular

disc jockey (before he got busted for his involvement in assorted “payola” schemes),

the incredibly fast-talking “Moondog” Allan Freed.

Uniquely shrouded in well-planned “mystery”, Wolfman Jack’s persona

was first revealed to the world in George Lucas’ classic American Graffiti.

Bob and Suzanne share even more about this gravely-voiced legend as they describe

what it was like working side-by-side with him in a fast-paced studio environment

perpetually clouded in marijuana smoke.

Throughout the episode, classic music clips from The Miracles, KC & the Sunshine Band,

blues legend Howlin’ Wolf, and The Rolling Stones help tell the story of

the era’s most iconic, innovative, and well-loved radio star...as we

pull back the curtain to reveal the real man (and his actual name)  behind

Wolfman Jack.

In the words of Wolfman Jack himself, time to “get your boogie on, baby!”

Direct download: Podcast22EDITFINALJune2.14.mp3
Category:Celebrities -- posted at: 12:42pm PDT

#20 Acting & Singing with Ross Borden

It’s a free-wheeling interview as Ross Borden discusses Detroit origins

that led to an onstage vaudeville childhood of singing, dancing, and

making false eyelashes for nightclub strippers...and how

he became (of all things) a professional dentist.

 

How Ross stepped away from a prosperous 20-year dental career to

follow his true creative passions right into the major Hollywood studios

as a “go to” guest actor is truly the stuff of Hollywood Dreams.  

With credits on shows like Kung Fu, Simon & Simon, Falcon Crest,Hawaii 5-0,

and T.J. Hooker, Ross knows what he’s talking about as he shares candid personal

memories of David Carradine, Robert Wagner, Jacqueline Bisset,

and the Hollywood “casting couch”.

 

With three beautifully-produced CDs proving his singing and performing

prowess, Ross generously shares advice for those with ambitions to enter the

highly-charged world of professional music and film acting. 

 

This is the episode anyone who wants to become a working actor

should hear as Ross Borden tells us what it really takes to succeed in “the biz”.

should hear as Ross Borden tells us what it really takes to succeed in “the biz”.

Direct download: Podcast_20FINALMAY8.14.mp3
Category:Show Business -- posted at: 12:58pm PDT

#19 The Acting Life with Jimmy Hawkins

Jimmy Hawkins' career is the stuff of Hollywood legend.

From his appearance as "Tommy Bailey" in Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life to acting alongside stars like Spencer Tracy,

Katharine Hepburn, Sally Field, Shelly Fabares, Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, Rick Nelson,

and Elvis Presley, Hawkins reveals the secrets of his success as

"America's favorite boyfriend and sidekick".

In a career spanning more than three decades, Jimmy became the "go-to" actor who

brought unique energy and comedy timing to unforgettable characters that took him from child star to

series regular on such classics as Leave It to Beaver, The Donna Reed Show, Annie Oakley, 

and The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet.

This is a conversation you won't forget as Jimmy shares stories of casting calls at MGM and Paramount Studios,

and describes the chain of events that led him to co-star with Elvis Presley in Spinout and Girl Happy.

You'll hear what it was like to work with both Elvis and Ricky Nelson, Jimmy's "inside secret"to

dating Hollywood actresses, and why Jimmy turned down Woody Allen's offer of a major film role.

This is one conversation you won't forget...with more to come in Part 2!

 

Direct download: Podcast_19EDITFINALApril9.mp3
Category:Celebrities -- posted at: 12:49pm PDT

#18 "Zorro" - Behind the scenes in Hollywood and in Madrid

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...

Direct download: Podcast_18FINALjan24.mp3
Category:Television -- posted at: 6:31pm PDT

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?”

Direct download: Podcast_17Final.mp3
Category:Television -- posted at: 7:05pm PDT

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!

Direct download: Podcast_16FINAL.mp3
Category:Television -- posted at: 8:52pm PDT

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.

Direct download: Podcast_15Final.mp3
Category:Television -- posted at: 11:45pm PDT

Suzanne opens discussing Ryan Seacrest’s new reality show “Montecito” and then 

analyzes some hits before reviewing “The Seven Worst Reality Shows” to

ever make it on the air...while Bob shares his passion for

vinyl Rock ‘n Roll record albums.

The conversation moves on to how Bob took advantage of his “inside track”

deal with NBC Productions and his relationship with programming exec

Brandon Tartikoff to pitch and sell a pilot for  Time Out for Dad, which starred

NFL Hall of Famer Dick Butkus and Harriet Nelson.

Bob tells what it was like meeting Chicago Bears linebacker Dick Butkus

for the first time, and then how Butkus held his own as a comedic actor

surrounded by first timers on a movie set. 

Bob recalls his meeting withHarriet Nelson who appeared

in the show...while Suzanne lets it be known that she’s had a lifelong “thing”

for Harriet’s son, famed rocker Ricky Nelson.  We also hear about the

casting process that discovered future TV star Johnny Galecki,

star of the CBS-TV series The Big Bang Theory .

Bob and Suzanne touch upon the fact that Time Out for Dad may

have been ahead of its time, dealing with the challenges faced by a

stay-at-home father married to a wife whose career is on the rise.  They

reminisce about working with Scarface star Paul Shenar on the pilot, as well as

with the veteran crew members whom Bob spent time with, pumping them

for their stories of “Old Hollywood”.

Bob admits to being a “born marketer”, describing the story-point prop shoes

that he shamelessly wrote into the show in hopes of breaking into

the world of  Nike’s Air Jordans, and then turns to the cruel odds of

the TV pilot process as a project goes through the various phases of

story-pitch-script-shoot...and then the dreaded decision-making that follows.


The episode closes with the realities of network programming

changes, as Bob gives his own definition of

“failure” in the world of television.

Direct download: Podcast_14.mp3
Category:Television -- posted at: 8:47pm PDT

Suzanne begins with the announcement of a new “Music” category at

www.WhereHollywoodHides.com, and—while reminding us she’s sooo much

younger than Bob—lays claim to being a lifelong Beatles fan. 

For his part, Bob admits that he’s just “a rock-and-roll kind of guy”

and would’ve bet the farm that I Want to Hold Your Hand would never

make the charts.  So much for his musical tastes...

 

The episode moves on to what Bob himself describes as his “greatest

career failure” while under contract to Aaron Spelling Productions writing and

producing Dark Mansions for ABC-TV.  It’s a tale of classic Hollywood

casting politics as Bob sets the record straight as to exactly why former

movie queen Loretta Young never got the part in the film that eventually

went to Oscar winner Joan Fontaine.

 

Bob reveals the nature of production and budgets in Spelling’s 1980s-era

Hollywood, as well as the rationale (follow the money!) for the  excessive

proliferation of producer credits seen on Dark Mansions.  With a tip of the hat

to the talents of Linda Purl, Michael York, Melissa Sue Anderson,

Nicollette Sheridan, and director Jerry London, Bob’s confidence in the show

never prepared him for the horrible results of an evening of sneak-preview 

audience testing.  It’s the story of how a “hit movie” with the promise of becoming

a network television series became an instant embarrassment for all...

as well as an immediate career bump for the fool who wrote it (that’d be Bob).

 

Going from “Golden Boy” to “Bob who?”, and proving the truth of

when you’re hot, your hot, and when you’re not...you’re not,

this episode is a good illustration of the pitfalls to be found on

the Hollywood career path for any writer, actor, producer, or director.

Direct download: Podcast_13.mp3
Category:Television -- posted at: 10:40pm PDT