Longtime listeners know that Dean Haglund and Phil Leirness are often at their best when things in the world seem their worst. If an hour of insightful, inspiring, heartfelt and humorous conversation is something your soul could use at present, give a listen as your friends in podcasting try to make sense of a world torn apart by pandemic, shaken to the core by violence, and held spellbound by explorers slipping the surly bonds of earth, as for the first time in a decade, America sent astronauts into space. Dean and Phil discuss all of it and share an essay by a good friend of the show about a passage in history more than 50 years old that seems more relevant than ever. They also tackle the important question, “Can a puppet show provide healing?” And that leads to Dean’s detailed analysis of a particular song. In “Celebrity Deaths”, Dean and Phil remember one of Phil’s very favorite character actors, a man who began and concluded his acting career with Best Picture Oscar winners. They also remember a groundbreaking playwright, screenwriter and activist, as well as an Asian-American pioneer for civil rights and social justice. Finally, they commend Netflix for their social stance and for a brand new comedy series.
Phil Leirness is joined by music journalist (and friend of the show) Yoshi Kato, who briefly fills in for a tardy Dean Haglund, to discuss the lives and legacies of six notables from the world of music in “Celebrity Deaths”, as well as to set the table concerning a later discussion of Asian Pacific American Heritage month and the 1961 film Flower Drum Song. Dean then arrives just in time to remember a prolific character actor, the decorated police officer who played Eddie Haskell on TV’s “Leave it to Beaver”, and the great Fred Willard. Dean and Phil then answer an email from a loyal listener about an upcoming Michael Bay film set in the world of Covid-19. This leads to a fascinating discussion and argument before attention is turned to the ramping up of film and TV production and the announcement that the Venice Film Festival will go ahead as planned this September. Dean then sings the praises of two different television series, Phil sings the praises of two classic movies about gambling. Then the conversation turns to the careers of Sessue Hayakawa, one of the first heartthrobs of the silver screen, the hilarious and brilliant Jack Soo, and the tragically overlooked Reiko Sato.