His name may be most closely associated with Laugh-In, the television comedy phenom of the late 1960s/early 70s, but George Schlatter has spent a lifetime in show business, with countless credentials and friendships to show for it At the age of 94 he’s Still Laughing—which is the name of his newly published autobiography. He kept Leonard and Jessie laughing as he spun tales of working with Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, and the stars he launched on Laugh-In like Goldie Hawn and Lily Tomlin. The stories never stop…...
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56:39Oscar-winning actress, mother, championship archer, film festival director, memoirist, founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media…Geena Davis has many hats but wears them lightly. The star of such enduring films as Beetlejuice, A League of their Own, and Thelma & Louise is a cut-up at heart, as Leonard and Jessie quickly learned. It’s easy to see how she has accomplished so much, especially in the area of female representation in media. She’s smart and talented but also endearing…and happy to talk about the people she’s worked with (from Penny Marshall to Tim Burton) as well as her history as a creator of whimsical inventions.
52:02David Keith has been out of the spotlight in recent years but when he hit it big in An Officer and a Gentleman he became a hot property. Many movies followed, including The Lords of Discipline, Firestarter, Heartbreak Hotel (in which he played Elvis Presley), and The Indian in the Cupboard, to name just a few. He’s kept busy doing episodic television and directing a handful of genre films. Now he’s working as a creative executive producer, and in his new horror-thriller Walden (available on VOD beginning December 12) he’s given himself a good part as a judge. He sat on his front porch in Knoxville, Tennessee and reminisced with Leonard and Jessie for a cozy, comfortable conversation.
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42:44A lifetime of acting, mostly on stage, finally paid off for Paul Raci when he earned an Oscar nomination for a part he was born to play in Sound of Metal. It has changed the trajectory of his career, and he is happy to talk about working with Nicolas Cage, Jennifer Lopez, and Colman Domingo on recent projects. But what Leonard and Jessie took away from our conversation is Paul’s admirable work ethic and total dedication to his craft.
37:22If you weren’t among the seven million people watching Melvin Gregg’s 7-second Vine videos online you may know him from such films and TV shows as Nine Perfect Strangers and the brand-new feature Share alongside Bradley Whitford and Alice Braga, now available on VOD. His acting ambitions brought him to Hollywood but unlike other young, struggling thespians, he devised a game plan to get him in the door with A-list filmmakers. Leonard and Jessie advise you to keep an eye on Melvin: he’s going places.
1:01:47Tony Anselmo’s face may not be familiar, but the whole world knows his voice—that is, when he speaks as his alter ego, Donald Duck! Tony inherited this unique job from its creator, Clarence Nash, and he feels very protective of the famously furious mallard. He is also a graduate of Cal Arts and has been an animator at the Walt Disney studio since 1980. Leonard and Jessie are longtime fans and friends, as they share a love of all things Disney.
57:43Elizabeth Daley has served as the Dean of the USC School for Cinematic Arts for 30 years, which means she’s been Leonard’s boss for 25 of those years. Leonard and Jessie realized that they’d never sat and just talked to her for an hour—until now. Elizabeth studied theater and migrated to television early in her career, then answered the call from academia for what she thought would be a temporary assignment. Now she consults worldwide based on her vast experience dealing with students, teachers, and such alumni as George Lucas, who laid the foundation (literally) to rebuild the school in downtown Los Angeles. You’ll hear other names appropriately dropped, from Hitchcock to Zemeckis in the course of this wide-ranging conversation.
1:03:39Just in time for Halloween, we reconnected with director and film aficionado John Landis for a wide-ranging, clearly spontaneous conversation about horror films past and present. John’s Halloween bona fides: he directed An American Werewolf in London, the underappreciated Innocent Blood, and Michael Jackson’s Thriller, about which Jessie was particularly curious. Leonard is always impressed with John’s vast knowledge of film history, especially in the horror/sci-fi/fantasy genres. Jessie’s nearly two-year-old daughter Daisy make a cameo appearance near the end of this episode.
Revisiting Gilbert Gottfried
59:31Having just wrapped Fantastic Fest 2023, Leonard and Jessie are thinking about past experiences at this unique gathering in Austin, Texas. Step back six years to enjoy an episode recorded at the Alamo Drafthouse Lamar’s lively Highball Lounge with the late, great comedian Gilbert Gottfried. He was one of a kind, and so is this raucous hour-long interview.
1:07:10Writer-director Greg Nava made his reputation with the unforgettable 1983 film El Norte, and then gave the world an exceptional musical biopic, Selena. He is happy to recount the stories behind those memorable films for Leonard, who witnessed El Norte’s breakout screening at the Telluride Film Festival, and Jessie, who has committed Selena to memory. This long-overdue conversation follows a happy reunion at this year’s Telluride fest.