Wed, 9 July 2014
Garner Simmons—television and feature film screenwriter—joins Bob McCullough and
Suzanne Herrera McCullough for a faced-paced conversation focused upon
the twists and turns of his Hollywood writing career.
With “writing in the blood”, Garner tells his unique story of breaking into show business while
working on his PhD by writing the definitive biography of legendary movie director Sam Peckinpah.
With Peckinpah: A Portrait in Montage as his calling card, Garner began climbing the rungs of
the Hollywood career ladder by following his personal mantra: “keep writing”.
Simmons reveals how winning a studio screenplay contest first brought him to the attention of
mega-agents and gave him the courage to leave Chicago for Hollywood...only to discover
that agents don’t always deliver on their promises.
Once he was in Hollywood and hearing the frequent advice “to forget this business and go back home”,
Garner did what he does best: he kept writing. You’ll hear his story of unmatched “chutzpah”,
determination, and the work ethic that helped him create his own “breaks”.
Garner talks about working as Story Editor in the early seasons of Falcon Crest,
and the credits that quickly followed as writer, story consultant, and producer on shows like
Yellow Rose, “V”, Spencer for Hire, Buck James, and Poltergeist.
As a writer of unparalleled versatility, Simmons has written for all genres and transitioned from
TV series to longform movies (A Rare Breed, Miracle Landing), wrote the early drafts of
The Last Samurai (starring Tom Cruise), and currently has
multiple feature films in development.
More than just telling his own story, this quick-tempo conversation with Garner Simmons
reveals the hard truth about working with Hollywood agents, delivers valuable career advice,
and is truly a lesson in finding “the keys to success in show business”!
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!
Mon, 2 June 2014
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
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
In the words of Wolfman Jack himself, time to “get your boogie on, baby!”
Fri, 9 May 2014
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”.
Thu, 10 April 2014
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!
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.
Sun, 7 July 2013
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.
changes, as Bob gives his own definition of
“failure” in the world of television.