Veteran comedy writer Tom Leopold started out as an actor, working opposite James Mason, Robert Preston, Ted Knight and Wayne Newton before going on to create comedy material for legends Steve Allen, Bob Hope and Mary Tyler Moore and write on hit series like “Cheers” and “Seinfeld” (scripting the memorable “Babu” episode, among others). Tom sat down with Gilbert and Frank to talk about early acting roles on “Gunsmoke” and “Mannix,” his days on the “National Lampoon Radio Hour” with Christopher Guest and Bill Murray and his years-long friendships with pals Paul Shaffer, Richard Belzer and Harry Shearer. Also: George Chakiris vs. George Maharis, Chevy Chase hitches a ride with Paul Lynde and 80-year-old Georgie Jessel phones his mom. PLUS: Stubby Kaye! Gert “Goldfinger” Frobe! Donald O’Connor’s coat! Tom brunches with Jerry Lewis! And the return of Perfecto Telles!
Actor, comedian and radio host Danny Bonaduce started in show business at age four and achieved fame at age ten as smart-alecky Danny Partridge on the hit sitcom “The Partridge Family.” But within a year of the show’s cancellation, he was homeless, battling substance abuse and piling up arrests. Gilbert and Frank dialed up Danny at his home in Seattle to ask him about his early roles on shows like “Bewitched” and “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir,” his four years as a Partridge and his long, VERY strange trip from tabloid celebrity to reality show “train wreck” to top-rated shock jock and radio show host. Also: Danny meets a young Richard Pryor, bangs up Sonny Bono’s Porsche, runs afoul of an angry chimp and dukes it out with Donny Osmond and Greg Brady. PLUS: Ray Bolger! Mick Jagger! Whit Bissell! Shirley Jones sends Danny to his room! And David Cassidy displays his hidden “talent!”
Screenwriter/Producers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski have written some of the most offbeat and imaginative movies of the last three decades, including Ed Wood, The People vs. Larry Flynt, Man on the Moon and the new Big Eyes (opening this week). Gilbert and Frank dropped by Scott and Larry’s hotel as the boys prepped for their MOMA premiere to talk about everything from the success of their critically reviled debut film, Problem Child (featuring a certain shrill-voiced comedian) to their attempts at a Marx Brothers biopic and an It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World sequel. PLUS: Margaret Keane’s existential crisis! Kelton the Cop demands a cameo! Gallagher vs. Gallagher II! “Ed Wood & Bela Lugosi: A Love Story”! And Scott and Larry meet the King of Pop!
Manhattan-born Henry Winkler overcame a difficult childhood to carve out a memorable acting career that would see him work with everyone from Gene Kelly to Katherine Hepburn and portray one of TV’s most indelible characters, Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli. Gilbert and Frank dialed up Henry at his L.A. home to talk about his struggles with dyslexia, the genius of a young Robin Williams and Henry’s enduring friendships with Ron Howard and John Ritter. Also: Henry helps discover Marlee Matlin, meets John (and Julian) Lennon and explains the mysterious disappearance of Chuck Cunningham. PLUS: Fonzie parts the Red Sea! Sly Stallone paints his windows black! Henry turns down “Grease”! And Gilbert “sings” the “Lords of Flatbush” theme!
Gilbert and Frank visit the George Burns Room at the historic New York Friars Club, where they’re joined by actor, singer and musician MICKY DOLENZ for a fun and fascinating look back at “Monkeemania” and his own unlikely journey from 1950’s child star (“Circus Boy”) to 1960’s pop/rock icon. Also, Micky drops in on a “Sgt. Pepper” recording session, makes movies with Jack Nicholson and Frank Zappa and hits the town with fellow “Hollywood Vampires” John Lennon, Keith Moon and Alice Cooper. PLUS: Lon Chaney Jr.! Micky’s mom meets “The Creeper”! The Monkees take on “Faust”! Harry Nilsson quits his day job! And Sgt. Bilko sings “Yesterday”!
Writer, journalist and pop culture expert STEVE COX is the author of more than twenty books on film and television, including books about Johnny Carson, The Three Stooges, The Addams Family, I Dream of Jeannie, The Munsters, It’s a Wonderful Life and The Wizard of Oz. This week, Steve joins Gibert and Frank for a lively (and then some) conversation about Larry Fine’s lady-killing, the unappreciated comic timing of Fred Gwynne and “Grandpa” Al Lewis, and Abbott and Costello’s influence on Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David. PLUS: A Munchkin suicide hoax! Mayor McCheese cleans up! Buddy Hackett enjoys a strawberry malted! And Frank goes to a Stooge funeral!
In one of our more…er…”free-spirited” episodes, Gilbert’s old pal BOB SAGET drops by the historic Friars Club to plug his New York Times bestseller “Dirty Daddy” and to look back on his early days in the biz, his 8-year gig as a wholesome sitcom patriarch and his friendships with Rodney Dangerfield and Don Rickles. Also, Bob starts his own hate society, dreams about Buddy Hackett and Buddy Ebsen and grills Gilbert about his most memorable “casting couch” experiences. PLUS: Sam Kinison as the Messiah! Gilbert as “Weezie” Jefferson! Asian Elvis! Perfecto Telles! And the first joke Bob ever wrote!
Legendary B-movie king ROGER CORMAN has produced and directed over 400 films, giving early career breaks to actors like Robert De Niro, Sandra Bullock, Bruce Dern, Charles Bronson and Dennis Hopper and helping to launch the directing careers of Ron Howard, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese and Peter Bogdanovich (among others). Gilbert and Frank phoned Roger in his Hollywood home to learn more about his life and fabled career, including where/how he first met longtime friend and collaborator Jack Nicholson, why the Hell’s Angels threatened to murder him AND take him to court, and why “a monster should always be bigger than a leading lady.” Plus: “The Beast with (not quite) a Million Eyes”! Roger experiments with LSD! Peter Lorre messes with Boris Karloff’s head! The “acceptable level of insanity”! And the enduring mystery of “The Terror”!