As cofounder of Firesign Theater, Phil Proctor influenced several generations of comedy fans. (One of them was Steve Jobs.) Younger people may know him better as the voice of Howard Seville on The Rugrats. He’s still going strong, providing voices for video games, animated movies like Toy Story and Monsters Inc., and costarring in the YouTube comedy series, “Boomers on a Bench.” There’s nothing Phil hasn’t done in show business; he and the Firesign gang even wrote the first psychedelic rock Western, Zachariah, back in 1971. There’s no shortage of great stories when Phil starts talking to Leonard.
Our guest is Charles Phoenix, the Ambassador of Americana: part stand-up comic, part pop culture curator, and full-time purveyor of fun. His lectures, videos, and weekly e-mail blasts celebrate the joys of life in the 50s and 60s, including moviegoing (with drive-ins a specialty). Jessie and I are great fans and had a great time talking to this effervescent fellow. Check out his site at http://www.charlesphoenix.com/
Leonard and Jessie welcome Doug Benson in a live-audience podcast from the San Diego Comic-Con. Doug and Leonard share notes on some of their favorite films from the current crop, with some timely suggestions on what to see. Then Jessie serves as quizmaster when the two big-league film nerds play Doug’s own creation, The Leonard Maltin Game.
This week Leonard and Jessie welcome fan favorite Clare Kramer, best known for her roles in Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Bring It On. She's used that notoriety to become an entrepreneur as the cofounder of Geek Nation. She shares stories about her career and recommends some films you may have missed.
Leonard Maltin and his daughter Jessie welcome the always-outspoken Roseanne Barr and Eric Weinrib, director of the new documentary Roseanne for President! The conversation ranges from the comedienne's presidential run in 2012 to her favorite performers when she was growing up. Eric, whose past adventures with Ken Kesey and Hunter S. Thompson prepared him for almost anything, explains how his long association with Michael Moore led to this collaboration with Roseanne.
The one and only Kevin Pollak is a wonderful character actor who has recently experienced what it's like behind the camera as a director. Kevin joins Leonard to talk about all the lessons he learned directing his first indie comedy The Late Bloomer. He also tells us why his roles in Deterrence, The Usual Suspects, and Avalon are important to him. Plus, Christopher Walken makes an appearance.
Leonard and his daughter Jessie are joined by British actress and singer Danielle Hope to talk about their favorite British actors (including Dani’s mentor, Michael Crawford) and films over the years, including the current release Genius with Colin Firth and Jude Law, the 2014 family comedy Paddington, and the works of the brilliant Mike Leigh.
This episode is sponsored by Blue Apron.
The talented Kate Micucci (of the comedy duo Garfunkel and Oates) joins Leonard to talk about her costarring role in the new Mike Birbiglia film Don't Think Twice, which comes to theaters in July. They also discuss people who have inspired Kate in her acting career (including Cloris Leachman and Anjelica Huston), and some of her favorite films, including Searching for Bobby Fischer and While You Were Sleeping.
Alec Baldwin joins Leonard from New York City through the magic of the internet to chat about the joy of doing his podcast "Here's The Thing with Alec Baldwin," his memories of working in Tim Burton's modern classic Beetlejuice, and the tradition of staying up late watching classic films on television with his father when he was young. Plus, Alec recommends some of his favorite unsung movies.
Traveling troubadour of comedy Dana Gould returns to join Leonard to talk about practical effects vs. special effects, Don Knotts in hysterical comedy-horror film The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, and the 1943 horror film I Walked with a Zombie from producer Val Lewton. Plus, Dana tells us about his new comedy-horror series Stan Against Evil based on his father.
Jessie Maltin is back to answer some listener questions addressed to Leonard including: his thoughts on Lost in Translation, the future of the Disney treasures, which classic films he would introduce to a younger audience, and much more. Plus, Leonard recommends some sleepers that are currently in theaters such as the Italian-French erotic-thriller A Bigger Splash starring Tilda Swinton and Ralph Fiennes.
Actor, comedian, and fellow movie lover Samm Levine is back to join Leonard for a discussion of films of the 1980s: the box-office hits, enduring favorites, and titles we’ve all forgotten. They also discuss remakes, what it means for a movie to be considered a classic, and the pre-computer & post-cellphone eras in film.
Filmmaker and film lover Joe Dante (Gremlins, Matinee) joins Leonard to talk about writing for the horror/science fiction film magazine Castle of Frankenstein, going from creating trailers to making a feature film of his own, and his classic and cult movies based web series Trailers From Hell. Plus, Joe recommends some unsung favorite films such as John Farrow’s 1948 film noir The Big Clock.
The multi-talented Paul Scheer of How Did This Get Made? joins Leonard to talk about his podcast unearthing gems like the Village People's Can't Stop the Music, wearing out the VHS tapes of movies he recorded as a kid, and the ground rules for doing a remake. Plus, Paul recommends some of his favorite films from the golden age of Hollywood including the 1934 comedy-mystery The Thin Man.
Comedian and actor Gilbert Gottfried joins Leonard and Baron to talk about growing up in New York watching old movies on late-night TV, doing impressions of Humphrey Bogart as he started doing stand-up at the age of 15, and how his lifelong passion for old movies has informed his comedy. Plus, Gilbert recommends some unsung movies you should seek out, including 1968's The Swimmer starring Burt Lancaster.
This week, Leonard and Baron discuss the works of the extraordinary Cate Blanchett and focus on three films in which she disappears into her role: the great Notes On a Scandal, a movie that got a bum rap when it was released, and the Sam Raimi directed supernatural thriller The Gift.
Screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski have a terrific skill writing movies about real people in their films Ed Wood, Man on the Moon, and Big Eyes—not to mention The People vs. O.J.. They join Leonard this week to discuss how they went from writing Problem Child to biopics, adding their own life experience into their writing, and why their Robert Ripley & Marx Brothers projects never got made. Plus, they recommend some underrated films that have influenced them.
Recorded live at South by Southwest 2016, Leonard, Baron, and Jessie discuss three movies based on True Stories: the 2011 Richard Linklater comedy Bernie starring Jack Black, a semi-biographical sports drama that you should avoid, and Errol Morris' unpredictable 1997 documentary Fast, Cheap & Out of Control.
Filmmaker Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter, Mud) joins Leonard to discuss his terrific new sci-fi chase film Midnight Special, which is best appreciated on a theater screen. Jeff explains why he continues to shoot on film, how he began his collaboration with Michael Shannon, directing child actor Jaeden Lieberher, and making the moviegoing experience special. He also reveals which movies have influenced him as a fan and a filmmaker.
Filmmaker John Sayles joins Leonard and Baron to talk about how he came to make his first feature, Return of the Secaucus 7, as well as The Brother from Another Planet, Eight Men Out, Matewan, and other indie milestones. He also discusses directing music videos with Bruce Springsteen, his process working with actors, and two of his favorite sleepers.