Best laid plans … Phil had to hit the road for an emergency trip this week, which inspires him to ask Dean whether “plans” are a thing of the past, a luxury one is foolish to consider in our contemporary world. Of course plans are being made to re-start motion picture and television production, and your friends in podcasting will analyze these plans and how movies and TV shows will be different both on-screen and behind-the-scenes as the industry moves forward. A headline-making shakeup in show business occurred at the vaunted comedy institution Second City in the wake of recent social justice protests. This will get discussed in depth, as will America’s empathy deficit, with some insightful analysis and heartfelt and hilarious stories about empathy, or the lack thereof, from Dean and Phil. So, buckle up, and if this week’s show seems a bit all-over-the-map topically (technically?), well rest assured, that’s because it IS coming at you from … all over the map!
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.
In many ways, this week’s show is a sequel to last week’s episode #534, with the promised celebration of Jeanne Moreau’s life and career, an email from a listener about Tom Jones’ “The Young New Mexican Puppeteer” and more from the British Film Institute List of “the 50 films you should see by the age of 14”.
Unlike most sequels, however, this show is even more irreverent, insightful and informative than last week’s!
The festivities commence with a clip of Dean on Australian television telling a (bestiality?) joke, and then after a special opening (a tribute to Glen Campbell), Dean comes out guns blazing, ranting about the internet speeds of his adopted land. After Phil calms him down, they discuss the news of David Letterman’s new show, they urge people to save the Salem Cinema (a jewel of the Pacific Northwest), they talk about an interview they did with the late Jim Marrs and they continue their discussion about the “death of discernment”, this time focusing on an appalling memo crafted by a then member of the National Security Council.
From there, it’s onto “Celebrity Deaths”, where, in addition to the Femme Fatale of the French New Wave and Glen Campbell, your friends in podcasting remember a Tony-winning star of Broadway’s “The Music Man”, the star of an early television western series turned right-wing anti-government activist, and the man inside the Godzilla costume.
Finally, Dean and Phil discuss a 1982 Australian western, a 1954 western that influenced the likes of Sergio Leone and Sam Peckinpah, the original King Kong, and the Will Rogers comedy Life Begins at 40.