Thursday, August 14, 2008 celebrating "classic" television celebrities and American pop culture launches

I'm a big pop culture fan. Being a member of the first generation raised on and by television, I was forever influenced by Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, the shot at a free bicycle on Art Linkletter's "House Party" and the frustration over why I couldn't just move in with "The Brady Bunch." I got caught up in the adventures of the stranded castaways on "Gilligan's Island" (when it was a first-run show!) and longed to travel to unknown places if only I could step into "The Time Tunnel."

I'm not old; I'm experienced. And experience (and a career in the business of acting) has taught me a tremendous appreciation for the people who brought escapism into my life during my formative (and not so formative) years. I know I'm not alone.

I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity, and an outlet, starting when I was just 15 years old, to meet and interview so many of the people and personalities I had become in awe of. Moe Howard of "The Three Stooges," June Lockhart from "Lassie" and "Lost in Space," Desi Arnaz, Margaret Hamilton (the Wicked Witch of the West in "The Wizard of Oz"), and so many others.

Having recently unearthed this massive archive of audio and video tapes, I have discovered a history that I wasn't aware of previously. In their own words, actors, authors, personalities and others who have helped shape and define American pop culture, talk about their work. I became in awe all over again.

The result of the passion this project has unearthed in me can be seen on the new Web destination we have just launched at

At the site, you can view clips from hundreds of hours of these interviews that date back to the 1970's. You can also have an opportunity to purchase DVDs, CDs and books associated with every guest featured on the site to begin or to enhance your own personal collection.

Please check the new site out. There is also an Audience Page where you can share memories of your favorite shows, favorite actors and favorite moments from television that was meaningful to you.

It's about the business of acting from another perspective.

We got to where we are today because of the hurdles faced, challenges met and achievements earned by those who came before us and laid the ground work for what we watch and what influences our lives today. We've come a long way since black & white TV in the 1950's. But without the pioneering spirit of this amazing group of people, YouTube and all of the other media sources that provide us "entertainment content" today couldn't exist. is my way of saying, "Thank you" to that generation of media pioneers.

I hope you'll check it out.


Can I Have My Excedrin Back?

What a waste of two tablets. I was on the verge of a migraine wondering how us managers, my agent friends and all of the actors I know (and those I don't) could survive another work stoppage (read: strike) in the business of acting. Then the results of the new AFTRA contract vote were announced and then ... nothing!

It feels a lot like gay marriage. It became the law in California (at least until November) and the clocks still tick, the traffic lights still work, and gas prices are still too high. Now, we have a new AFTRA contract that, according to the SAG leadership, would, if passed, have been the ruination of all things we have come to know: Actors would stop seeking work as actors; sportscasters and newsmen in Peoria would start to dictate how much "top of show" on a sit-com would be; why, it looked, for a time, that had SAG prevailed in its mission to derail the new AFTRA contract, that we might even have seen the end of talking pictures!

A little sarcastic? Well, maybe. A lot sarcastic? Definitely, though all in the journey of making a point.

There was so much negativity circulating in the business of acting community about what union members should do, what they should not do, how all would suffer if the new AFTRA contract was ratified by its members. And what was accomplished, really?

It's been a month since the vote and it's been business as usual -- and while AFTRA has a new work agreement in place, SAG, still, does not.

Both unions need to be (back) in the business of representing the best interests of all of their members and not in the business of politics. There has never been a level playing field in the business of acting; there never will be. It's hard enough in a business where talent has little to do with who gets the jobs. Both unions need to focus on bridging the divides that exist. That's in the best interests of the members of both unions. Going out on a limb, it might even be time to perform a "gay" marriage of another kind and merge these two entities so that they can move into the future as one, united force. In the end, we're all in the same business. Let's behave that way.

If you have a comment about the "new" landscape as the dust settles from the Battle of the Unions -- and how both unions should proceed from here, post your comments here or e-mail me at and I'll share them.