The Absolute Ripping-ness of the Attaboy Clarence Podcast

Once again I have to thank the terrific Will McKinley for the inspiration behind this posting.  Basically, I think I need to just consult with Will in all things classic film.

About a week ago Will celebrated his three year anniversary (Congrats Will!) over at his blog Cinematically Insane, which if you haven’t checked out yet do so now.  As part of his celebration, Will recommended two podcasts to fans of classic films.  I have yet to check out the second one, but I have listened to the first and that is why we are here today.

Both podcasts are hosted/created by Adam Roche and I have to second Will’s sentiments when I urge you to subscribe to the Attaboy Clarence podcast.  Classic film fans will recognize the title from IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, and the podcast is a real treat for anyone who loves classic films or radio.  In each episode Adam Roche talks about classic films that he has recently watched or discovered.  These films tend not to be the top ten listers or most popular or well-known ones that we might be used to hearing about.  Rather these are forgotten gems or rarely seen films, movies that you might never have known existed if Adam Roche didn’t tell you about them.  I really enjoy hearing about little known titles that I can try to add to my collection or watch for free online (Thanks Adam!).  What I like even more than the titles is the absolute enthusiasm and glee with which Adam Roche discusses them.  He is also quite witty and has made me chuckle quite a few times during his episodes, as well as dissolving in laughter himself when discussing films (just mention THE BRIGHTON STRANGLER to him).  This podcast almost feels like a conversation you are having with a friend who came in and sat across from you saying. “You have got to hear about this movie I just saw, you would love it!”  Listening to the podcast makes me want to find Adam and keep talking with him about the films we both love.  And luckily you can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and at his website.  Adam is also super responsive and friendly to messages sent to him, something else that makes him fabulous.

The second half of each episode includes one or two classic radio dramas that have some link to the films being discussed.  I love radio dramas.  True story, when I was young I used to get out my tape player and listen to cassette tapes of classic radio programs while I cleaned my room, drew pictures, wrote Christmas cards (Gert and Daisy FTW, and if you know who they are please message me so we can talk), and generally did anything that allowed me to listen without distraction.  It has been many years since I heard Fibber McGee and Molly so this surprise at the end of the episode was especially delightful for me.

So take a few moments and be sure to go and subscribe to the Attaboy Clarence podcast, you won’t regret it!  You can subscribe on iTunes and Stitcher.

A Brief Encounter with Karina Longworth

My previous post was about the fabulous podcast YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS, created by the equally fabulous Karina Longworth.  After writing the post I had an idea to write an email to Ms. Longworth and thank her for the wonderful podcast.  At the same time I would ask a few questions and see if she would be interested in a brief ersatz interview.  Imagine my complete and utter shock when she responded and agreed to answer my questions!

First and foremost, I would like to thank Ms. Longworth for this interview.  She was extremely kind, friendly, and responded to me so quickly I could not believe my good fortune!


What inspired you to create YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS?

I had been teaching and doing a few other things which sort of aligned with my interests, but left me feeling creatively frustrated. As a podcast listener I felt like there was an opening for a podcast about old Hollywood, which approached the storytelling in a cinematic way, so I decided to try to make one.

How long have you been interested in classic Hollywood and movies?

Forever! Well, most of my life. The only live action movies I was exposed to before I was a pre-teen were old musicals and things like Topper and Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, which were on the Disney channel. Growing up in Los Angeles in the 1980s, the local news was full of stories about classical Hollywood greats doing stuff that had nothing to do with movies — Elizabeth Taylor’s charity efforts and marriages, Bob Hope opening his house to the community once a year — and I think that helped spark my interest in the idea that the whole picture of stardom contains much more than just the movies themselves.

How do you come up with episode ideas? 

Every now and then, I make lists of people or films or time periods that I would like to know more about, and often when I’m researching one episode, I’ll come across a story that sparks an idea for another. And we have a forum in which listeners can suggest ideas! It’s at http://www.vidiocy.com/you-must-remember-this-forum/

How long does it take for you to make an episode of the podcast?

It takes two weeks to one month to do the research, and then a couple of hours to record and about a day and a half to edit. I do everything myself; if the podcast ever becomes a money maker, perhaps I’ll hire help, but right now it’s hard to imagine ceding control of any aspect of making it.

How has your previous experience as an author, editor, and film critic affected the making of YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS?

I don’t know if it has, other than that everything I’ve done previously hasn’t quite felt right, and the podcast is like Goldilocks finally finding the right fit.

What has been the most surprising thing about making this podcast?

That anyone likes it! There was no reason for me to think that this weird handmade thing that I was making to please myself would connect to an audience of any size, but it seems like it’s gathering a small, very devoted fan base, and that’s awesome.

What is your favorite episode of YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS and why?

That’s tough, because each one is special to me in its own way. I suppose I’m most proud of the episodes in which I’m doing something a little more sophisticated in terms of the storytelling, such as the use of voice talent in the Frances Farmer and Rita Hayworth/Orson Welles episodes, or the recent Lena Horne episode in which I used a lot of archival audio of Lena telling her own stories. And the Carole Lombard story just breaks my heart.

What are your plans for the next year of YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS?

Obviously, I would like for more people to listen to the podcast, but I also just want to feel like it’s constantly getting better in terms of the storytelling and the technique. I think it’s possible for podcasts to be and to do a lot more than replicate different established modes of radio, and what’s exciting to me is being able to try new things to suit the telling of each new story.

What is one thing that you have learned while making an episode that surprised you the most?

So many things, but probably the biggest surprise came while doing the Bette Davis episode. I had no idea that there was an actual secret communist plot behind the scenes of the Hollywood Canteen.

If you could go back and interview any star for an episode of you podcast who would it be and why? What would you ask them?

This is probably not the answer you want to hear, but: I don’t particularly like interviewing stars at all, because in my experience, they’re always performing. Part of what I think the podcast is about is sorting through a star’s performances off-screen as well as on, and all of the information produced around a star, and all the ways in which the star has presented themselves to the world, in order to try to figure out something real about what it was like to be them during these times. So I don’t know that going back in time and doing an interview would help my end goal, when it comes to most stars. However, after doing the Lena Horne episode, I would love to travel back to 1950 and come over to her house for afternoon cocktails with Lena and Ava Gardner.

Finally, why do you think that Howard Hughes had his finger (among other things) in so many pies of classic Hollywood?

Yikes…that’s a hell of a question. For all of my research, Hughes is still something of an enigma to me. It’s possible all of his affairs had to do with proving his manhood, which was called into question the moment he inherited his father’s estate when he was a teenager. But I think that reducing any person’s motivations in regards to anything to a single answer is a dangerous thing to do.


Please take the time to go and follow Karina and YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS on Twitter, and like them on iTunes!  You owe it to yourself!

The Fabulosity of the You Must Remember This Podcast

One day on Twitter, a person that I follow linked to a podcast celebrating Ida Lupino.  Since it was Ida’s birthday I decided to check it out even though I had never heard of the podcast before.  Thirty minutes later I was completely and utterly hooked on a podcast called YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS.

If you have never listened to this podcast, or even if you have, let me give you a little back story.  Written, edited, and narrated by Karina Longworth this is a podcast for every true classic Hollywood fan.  Longworth was a former editor at Spout.com, had worked defending bloggers and online journalists at Cinematical, and held the position of chief film critic at LA Weekly before leaving it all behind to author several fantastic books.  So when I tell you that this podcast is her brainchild you know that it is going to not only be good but also extremely well-written and researched.  Touted as a podcast about “the secret and or forgotten histories of Hollywood’s first century”, YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS is a podcast that should be neither of those things.

Each episode features a different star and focuses on different parts of their history.  Ever wonder how Ida Lupino became a director?  Curious about Bette Davis and her role in the Hollywood Canteen?  Itching to learn more about Marilyn Monroe when she was still Norma Jeane Baker?  And yes, pretty much every young woman ended up on at least one date with Howard Hughes.  Most recently Longworth has issued a series of podcasts about Hollywood stars during wartime entitled, aptly enough, Star Wars.  Every episode details the history of the featured star or stars with the storytelling ability of the finest screenwriter of Hollywood’s heyday.  The great writing, Longworth’s immense talent, and skill all add up to create a podcast that is as addicting as SERIAL ever was.  And lest you think that this is a podcast that would only interest classic film fans, each episode brings to life such entertaining and fascinating history that anyone who has even a spark of curiosity or intellectual desire in them will be sucked in.

So do yourself a big favor and check out YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS and Karina Longworth (and follow them too).  Podcasts like this are a rare and wonderful thing, much like the classic movies that we all love so much.

The Awesomeness of the Warner Archive Podcast

Being a classic film lover in these modern times often means that we are finding new and technologically advanced ways to express, share, and cultivate our collections and enjoyment of classic films.  In days past there were fan clubs, magazines, records, VHS tapes, running home to set your VCR for the movie playing that night, and radio shows.  Today we have blogs, DVDs, Blu Rays, DVRs, Twitter accounts, Facebook, and of course the podcast.  I am always on the look out for enjoyable and informative podcasts, especially those that relate to my love of classic films and television.  A few months ago I discovered the Warner Archive podcast but have only recently begun to fully appreciate the awesomeness of the thing.  For those who haven’t had the chance to experience it for themselves allow me to inform you just what makes this podcast so great.

The Films

This sort of goes without saying, but let’s say it any way.  I have been a fan of the Warner Archive for a long time, pretty much since it’s inception.  As a young twenty-something, while my friends were spending money on shoes, clothes, or dinners out…I was buying the 1929 version of THE LETTER and a copy of RIPTIDE.  I remember spending hours sitting in front of my computer with my copy of Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie guide browsing the latest additions to the Archive.  I was always able to find something that piqued my interest or captured my attention, and this still remains true when listening to the podcast.  Inevitably, at least once during the episode I will hear some movie mentioned that I have never seen before but one that just sounds too good to miss out on!  And now with the ability to watch these films on my iPad…well let’s just say that my spare time could be taken up very easily.

The Fan Interaction

Not only can you post a question on Facebook or Twitter and get an ANSWER, but it will be from a real person!  And it will be in a reasonable amount of time!  But wait, there’s more!  Fans are invited to send letters in to the podcast to ask questions, request titles, or just talk about what movies are in their DVD collection, and they will all be read on the podcast!  Not only that, but if people send a self addressed stamped envelope along with their letter, I have heard tell that they will receive a gift from the podcast in return.  This might not seem like a big deal but I have found the fan interaction a real joy and a big component of the enjoyment I get from the podcast.  Part of being a fan of anything is being able to not only share your enjoyment with other fans, but also those “powers-that-be” for lack of a better word.  It really makes the entire experience more like a one-on-one conversation with a fellow enthusiast versus lip service from a corporation.  And at the end of the day, the classic film fan community is more like a family and this easily accessible communication definitely has friendly feeling.

The Hosts

George, DW, and Matt are really the linchpin of the whole podcast experience.  If the hosts aren’t good then usually the podcast won’t work as well as it could.  Luckily, this trio is fantastic!  They each have their own areas of expertise, but they all have a great deal of knowledge about the films and television shows that they talk about.  Listening to them discuss various movies or shows, you feel like you are sitting around listening to three friends chat, argue, and share their thoughts and opinions.  But for me, the thing that really makes this podcast special is the palpable enthusiasm coming from these three.  It is a situation where you don’t always have to like the subject or movie being talked about, just the passion and glee that George, DW, and Matt have when talking about them will suck you in.  And at the end of the day, isn’t that what you want in a podcast?

Every week I look forward to listening to a new episode of the podcast, and luckily there are plenty of old episodes backed up to get me through during the interim.  It’s is definitely a podcast that all classic movie fans would enjoy and I definitely recommend it highly!  So, thanks George, DW, and Matt!  I’m a big fan!

I’m always on the look out for new classic film podcasts to enjoy so tell me, what podcasts do you listen to?  Let me know in a comment below what podcasts you think are great and what ones you think I should give a listen to!