The fall season for NBC in the 1978-79 season was a disaster. It was such a wreck that virtually of their fall debuts were gone by the time January rolled around. However, hope was on the horizon. For the last place network, they had an ace up their sleeve that they could not wait to play. That was called Supertrain, a super expensive, super marketed, super show that couldn’t miss. Until it did. The failure of Supertrain is of legendary proportions. A failure that all other giant television failures would become measured against. Was it really that expensive? Was it really that bad? And did it really almost bankrupt NBC? We talk to Supertrain Superfan Tony Cook to sort out the truth.
Visit Tony’s Supertrain website here.
In 1977 actor Cliff Robertson received a notice in the mail saying he owed taxes a $10,000 payment he received from Columbia Pictures. The only problem was he hadn’t worked for Columbia Pictures in the previous year.
What followed uncovered embezzlement, a corporate power struggle, and the blackballing of the man who started it all and would not stop talking about it.
Director William Richert had a dream set up for his first feature film. It was based on a new popular novel from the author of The Manchurian Candidate, he had a hot leading man in Jeff Bridges, and he had an all-star supporting cast made of up Oscar winners, legendary character actors, and one bonafide member of Hollywood royalty. What could go wrong? As it turns out, everything! William Richert helps tell this story that involves shotguns, drug dealers, and a repossessed mink coat.
Visit William Richert’s homepage here.
After earning massive success in the early 1970’s with the movies The French Connection and The Exorcist, William Friedkin could call his own shots. For his next movie he decided on a remake of the 1953 French thriller The Wages of Fear.
What started out as a small budgeted movie turned ballooned into a never ending production with casting issues, unwelcoming locals, and uncooperative rivers.
Toby Roan of the Sorcerer Blog helps explain the mystique of this movie, which Friedkin considers his best.
When Menahem Golan left Cannon Films for 21st Century Pictures, he brought with him a grudge that would propel both companies into direct competition over the Brazilian dance craze, the lambada. From this sprang a crazy race to the theaters between competing lambada movies.
J. Eddie Peck, star of Lambada (for Cannon Films) and Greydon Clark, director of The Forbidden Dance (for 21st Century Pictures) help tell the true story of this cinematic grudge match.
Get Greydon Clark’s autobiography here.
The Rural Purge is legend of television history. A landmark time and a watershed moment when TV decided to leave behind the down home fun and wholesomeness of Mayberry RFD, Green Aces, and The Beverly Hillbillies for urban skewing shows like All in the Family and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. But what was it that prompted mass cancellations and a television revolution? In this episode we explore the history of The Rural Purge with author Telly Davidson.
Telly Davidson’s latest book is available here.
Announcing The Industry. A new podcast about some of the stranger stories of Hollywood and how things got made. The first two episodes of the six episode season starts next week.