These transcripts were computer generated and have not been edited.

Brad Shreve [00:00:00]:

This is where we are Hollywood’s golden era, Katherine Hepburn, Lucille Ball, Carrie Grant, Landmarks, movie studios, TV sitcoms, the list goes on. My guest, actor host producer writer, author Toni Maietta, has done it all And, boy, do we have a lot of fun talking about the old days of Tinseltown and some of the new. Like me, you’ll learn a thing or two. Depite the documentaries and shows he’s hosted and talked with and about celebrities, he doesn’t consider himself a Hollywood historian. But you’ll hear this charming man knows his shit. On Queer We Are, we don’t ignore the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ people, but briefly, each week, you’ll get a break from it. My guests share positive stories that will motivate you and keep the world from dragging you down. And maybe mach forward with pride just like they do. And I’m not gonna make you wait one more minute to hear some great tales. So, I’m Brad Shreve, and my guest is Tony Maietta, and, queer, we are. Tony, you are an author actor and a host. And as a host, am I correct that they have been nearly entirely shows about TV and movie history?

Tony Maietta [00:01:31]:

Yeah. Pretty much. I mean, I don’t really talk on politics. It’s all pretty much TV and film. Yes. Some theater, a little bit of theater. I am an actor after all. So but, yeah, mostly TV and film.

Brad Shreve [00:01:46]:

And you don’t have film historian on your headline on your website or in your bios, but that seems like a big part of you.

Tony Maietta [00:01:54]:

Well, it is, but I go back and forth about that. What is a film historian? I always think of some guy in some musty library, somewhere looking over some old film book. And the first time someone mentioned that to me, I was like, what? That’s not me. I’m a guy who loves movies. So that’s all. But since I was an actor, I learned how to play a film historian. So I you know, It is something that I wear. It’s a mantle that I’m very proud to wear, but I just don’t to me, it just sounds a little too academic for for what what I love about what I do and what I try to do when I talk about movies and when I talk about TV is pretend like I’m having a cup of coffee with you or another kind of libation if you’re, you know, a glass of wine or something. And we’re talking about this movie we just saw, or we’re, you know, we’re talking about this TV show we So I try to make it that casual. So, that’s always my goal for anything. It’s like two buddies sitting around talking about this movie they just Kevin Brownlow, who’s an incredible, incredible source of knowledge, who’s just one of my idols, and I’ve had the fortune to meet once or twice. He’s a film historian. People who I never studied film. I didn’t go to NYU film school. I’m an actor. You know, I studied theater. I just always love movies. And I’m kind of like Robert Osborne in that way, if I may make be so bold as to make that comparison, and the fact that this was something he did his whole life you know, and it was just a hobby of his. He would go to he had these index cards. He would keep he told me one time that he would keep of films he had seen or films he was researching and he had these boxes. I would go to the library at my home in Meadville, Pennsylvania where I grew up in my hometown. and go through the microfiche. Remember those things? where you’d go through, you’d, like, pick a newspaper. Like, I — put the New York Times up and I go to July 1964 so I could see what was playing in the theaters, what was playing on Broadway. That’s what I did, or I would get every book I could. And that for me, that was just fun. It wasn’t a scholarly endeavor. It was just what I loved. So that’s kind of the approach I take as far as film goes. If I’m a historian, okay, whatever. So be it. I think of myself as a film buff.

Brad Shreve [00:03:57]:

I don’t know if you have to have training to be a film historian. I will just say this. I’m gonna I hate to put a moniker on somebody else. But based on the work that you’ve done and just our casual conversation before we had this started, I’m gonna call you a film historian.

Tony Maietta [00:04:12]:

Okay. You can do that.

Brad Shreve [00:04:13]:

You you got that label and you’re stuck with it now. Now you your bio says Tony Maietta arrived in Los Angeles in the 1990s as a fresh faced 20 something eager to discover classic Hollywood that he found love with as a child. We know tons of people that come out here to reach their dreams. What was your goal? What was your dream when you came to LA?

Tony Maietta [00:04:39]:

Oh, god. To be a movie star. Absolutely. Actually, to be a TV star. You know, I love the movies. Obviously, duh. We’re sitting here and talking about them, but I always saw myself as more of a sitcom person. In fact, I I remember saying to my friend, Brad as we were driving. His name’s not Brad. Brad, I remember saying to this friend of mine, as we were driving out here, you know, I’ll have us at coming a year. Yeah. Maybe an Emmy in a couple. I mean, it’s just so silly, but you have to have that kind of insane ambition. Otherwise, why bother leaving your hometown? But I came out specifically with the desire to be an actor, loving film, but absolutely wanting to be an actor, but also wanting to be an actor in an era which was sadly gone. I remember I always say that I wanted to go to the Brown Derby and see William Holden, like Lucy did. Or meet Rock Hudson, you know, at the Beverly Palms Hotel. Like, we said, none of that happened. It was a sad time in Hollywood when I was at when I first came out here. It was not a good time. Like, early nineties. Not a good time.

Brad Shreve [00:05:39]:

You got here, I think, right about the time I did. maybe a little bit earlier, and the Brown Derby was still around, but it wasn’t a thing.

Tony Maietta [00:05:44]:

It was, but wow. Is it on its last legs? And the one on Wilshire was gone. Yeah. Yeah. The one in Hollywood in Vine was was still there, but the one on Wilshire, which is the one that Lucy went to, allegedly, was long gone. As you know, what was still there too was, the Ambassador Hotel, which god. I wish I had had the awareness then. I knew what the Ambassador was, but I didn’t really know Coconut Grove and Bobby Kennedy and all that. I mean, I knew it, but I didn’t click. Yeah. Until it was gone.

Brad Shreve [00:06:25]:

And, listener, if you’re not familiar with the Ambassador Hotel, there’s a whole lot of history there. And, unfortunately, the LA Unified School District leveled it. And I don’t know if they have offices there or a school there, but it’s gone. It’s a school. Like, there’s a school there. I mean, it’s gone. It’s it’s gone. As you just alluded to, your bio does go on to say that you were disappointed, and you realized that the only way to get that magic would be travel back in time. and to become a film historian. So you still have to live in the past. Can you elaborate a little more on that? What’s your Sure. What your disappointment was and what wasn’t there when you arrived?

Tony Maietta [00:06:57]:

I wanted that golden era. I wanted to see Hepburn and Tracy in Woman of the Year, and I got Bert Reynold and Liza Minelli in Rentacop. Right? Youu know, these awful early nineties movies that yeah. There was just no glamour. There was no mystique. And that’s what I wanted. And I think that’s that’s what most people anybody who watches classic movie channels or rent DVDs, We want that glamour. We want that wonderful — Mhmm. — the whole mystery of it, the whole mystique of it, which sadly left us sometime in the 1990s. When the new Turks came over in the seventies and made incredible films, like The Godfather and, like, when that whole new era, I came in with Bonnie and Clyde and new Hollywood as you will. There was a certain amount of mystique that went out with the studio system. Now I’m not saying that’s necessarily it’s an illusion. The studio system was gone for a lot of good reasons, but there was also a certain mystique and a certain glamour. that went with it. And people like me, and maybe you, Brad, who grew up watching these films, just wanting to be a part of that, kind of that era. It’s nowhere to be found anymore, and it’s really nowhere to be found now. I mean, the good thing about the films of the seventies is at least they were films about people. and relationships. And now it’s all, you know, superheroes and computer animated stuff. And I’m like, who cares? That’s one of my one great thing about television now is that you find those stories on television, that you don’t find in the movies anymore or very rarely find in the movies.

Brad Shreve [00:08:30]:

Yeah. I’m a I’m a big Paul Rudd fan, and so, therefore, out of all the Marvel movies, I love Ant Man, but I don’t know if you saw Quantumania. I see any of them. I’m terrible. The entire film had to been done in a green screen. I’m sure. — entirely CGI except for their faces. And I was impressed by wow this must have been difficult to do, but it actually it was depressing to me.

Tony Maietta [00:08:57]:

Well it is. I can’t imagine being an actor doing that. I just I can’t imagine that. Film acting is difficult enough when you have another person in front of you and you’re trying to do all the technical things you have to do when you’re acting on film. But to act with nothing, I just I don’t know. It doesn’t interest me. I’m impressed maybe I can do it. I am too. I’m stunned by it. I’m stunned by it. I I can’t believe it. — as an actor. Somebody covered up in green or, you know Yeah. Well, they do these movies, and then they so they make enough money so they can go do what they love. That’s the whole story behind it. I mean, Paul Rudd’s a great actor. Very talented actor. Very funny actor in in ageless, which is kinda crazy.

Brad Shreve [00:09:34]:

I think he’s hysterical. He’s charming. He’s sexy as hell. I have a huge crush on him, but I don’t know his agent. He needs to fire his agent because he really does make some bad movies.

Tony Maietta [00:09:46]:

Yes. Well, you know, him and Jason Bateman. So there you go. I love Jason Bateman too, but I love Jason Bateman on television. I mean, he’s incredible on Ozark. He’s incredible in Arrested Development, but I can’t remember the last time I went to the movies to see anything he did. He was pretty good in the sweetest thing, but I don’t think many people saw the sweetest thing. No. And that was a while ago too, wasn’t it? That was quite a while ago. Yeah.

Brad Shreve [00:10:12]:

I’m pausing our conversation for just a moment. Ensure you listen to more conversations like I’m having Tony on where we are by subscribing to the show. Look for the button on the app that you’re listening with now, and it will say either subscribe or follow. Go ahead and click that, and you’ll be notified when a new episode is published so you won’t miss a single want. As far as you mentioned, Catherine Hepburn, you said she you think she was still alive. She actually died right around the early 2000s, and I normally know this because I was going to the gay and lesbian – well, it used to be called the gay and lesbian center. I think it’s now the LGBT Center. Yeah. the LME in Lisbon Center. Oh, you oh, yes. You do, actually. So I was walking down Hollywood Boulevard to get there. And I knew that she had died, but it in which it upset me because she was one of my favorites. Mhmm. And I saw this massive pile of flowers, and I thought, oh, who died now? and it was right on her star. So it cried a little bit. So that’s the only reason why I specifically remember when she died.

Tony Maietta [00:11:12]:

I remember exactly where I was. You do? I was one of those people. Oh, yeah. I’m always with that. Oh, yeah. I would remember sitting in my friend’s driveway, and I got a phone call before text. I got a phone call that said, Hepburn died. And I was just like, wow. That’s that’s big. That is the — — major. Yeah. It was big. Yeah. It was a big, big moment.

Brad Shreve [00:11:31]:

And talk about the old days of Hollywood. I’ve joked a lot with many guests on this show about Hollywood Boulevard. And because every friend or family member that has come out to LA, laways wants to go to Hollywood Boulevard, and they’re always so broken hearted. It’s depressing. Depressing, isn’t it? Yeah. I — So depressing.

Tony Maietta [00:11:55]:

I live Two Blocks from it. So, yeah, it’s I’m there every day because my gym is right there, and it’s the most depressing walk. Yes. I can tell you right now. Yeah. Yeah. And it’s very depressing

Brad Shreve [00:12:03]:

I used to live near there and recently went back. I live up in the desert now. Some couple hours outside of LA. And, recently went and my husband and I stayed in the hotel down down there and walked around my old haunts, and it was weird in the sense that it was depressing and some things had not changed at all.

Tony Maietta [00:12:29]:

I mean, when you think about Hollywood Boulevard, especially back in the quote, unquote golden era, The Hollywood Hotel, right where Hollywood in Highland is — Uh-huh. — was this place called Hollywood Hotel, and this was mostly in the twenties. And this is where many of the silent screen stars of the time this was in Hollywood was a very insular place. That’s where they socialize. That’s where some of them lived. I mean, right at Hollywood in Highland, you know, when they would have parties there and they would have dances there. It’s a really fascinating idea, all along Hollywood Boulevard, orange groves, and pepper trees. And, boy, you see none of that now.

Brad Shreve [00:12:53]:

Well, that’s back when there were actually studios in Hollywood. I mean, now I think — Yeah. — there’s Gower, which used to be Desilu. I think that’s still there. Jim Henson. which was Charlie Chaplin. Yeah. And then there’s one more, I think, that kind of small, and the rest are all out in the valley. Yeah.

Tony Maietta [00:13:26]:

Well, yeah. Well, Warner Bros was always in the valley, but, there’s one that’s called. It used to be Renmar. Right now, it’s called something else, and I can’t think of what it’s called, but it was Desilu Cuenga, and it’s right down there on Cuenga, near Melrose. and Sunset Gower is still there. And you’re right. And what’s the other one? It’s called the lot now, or it was called the lot but that was a bunch of different studios. It was originally way way back. It was the Fairbanks Pickford studio. It’s right on Santa Monica. and Formosa. Mhmm. It was where Pickford and Fairbanks made all of their films in the twenties together, and then it became the Samuel Goldman Studios. And then it became Warner Brothers, and now it’s the lot. So, I mean, it’s still there, but you’re right. the majority of the studios in Hollywood are not in Hollywood. It’s always funny, I think. Do we say Hollywood? But everything’s, you know, out of Hollywood. You know, they’re in Burbank, Studio City, Culver City. Yeah. Yeah

Brad Shreve [00:14:16]:

Exactly. And listener, I’m gonna go off on a tangent. Please forgive me. I heard some really depressing news the other day and it has me so upset. The Warner Ranch is being torn down and they’re gonna put in sound stages, which means to Bewitched house, the Partridge Family house, the — Oh. You pretty much name all those old sitcoms that were actually filmed outside they’re tearing it all. The Friend’s fountain is there. The friend’s fountain is at the Warner Ranch. How would they do that. They’re turning it all down. There’s a YouTube video where a guy is given a tour. He’s driving around. It’s pretty much looks like a ghost town right now. He’s driving around because he says it’s gonna be the last time you’ll be able to see it. I stumbled on the video, and I went, oh my because my dream has always been to go you have to get to go tour the ranch. It’s not as popular as, like, Universal Studios, but for me, I always wanted to see the Bewitched house.

Tony Maietta [00:15:12]:

Yeah. You know, it’s funny. It’s you have to be out. you’re absolutely right. You have to be invited. I’ve been on a couple times. I don’t know why. I was invited or I had an audition or something. And I remember walking down Mockingbird Lane, uh, Mockingbird Lane. Whatever street that Samantha and Darren lived — Morning. — on. Morning Glory. Morning Glory Circle. and seeing the house. And, you know, it’s always a depressing experience to see these sets because, first of all, it’s old. So it’s been weathered and and the time has done what it does to it. But it’s just so much smaller than you imagine, and it’s just not. It’s the never it is what is in your head. Yeah. It’s like what I say about going back in time in my head because Hollywood never existed anymore. Let’s face it. It never really did. Yeah. exist in the way we think of it in our mind.

Brad Shreve [00:16:00]:

I think this thing that surprises me about the whole Warner Ranch thing is the very first Lethal Weapon movie. There’s a scene where police were raiding the house, and the house blows up and pretty much kills half the cast. That was actually the old Kravitz house, which I think was also the — Oh, yeah. — I think that was also the Partridge family house. Yeah. They’ve reused those a lot. I think it was on dry dream of Jeannie too. Yeah. the Nelson’s house was a little bit different, but maybe, yeah, by the way, they blew it up for that scene and people were outraged. that they had the nerve to blow up that house. That’s terrible. The fact that there was so much blowback from that, and now they’re just tearing it all down. I’m like, Anyway, anyway, not for the board depressing stuff. Let’s get it. That’s not what this show is about. You just hit you hit me, in the heart there. Yeah. You have 65 videos on YouTube, and I think most of those were from when you were — Right. Really? Wow. Yeah. I counted them for a reason. Most of those, I think, were from when you were on Here TV. Is that right?

Tony Maietta [00:16:54]:

Oh, there’s only no. There’s only 4 that were from Here TV. There was only I think there’s only 4 or 5. The majority of them are I mean, my Lucy show stuff is up there because nobody buys DVDs anymore. So it’s like, you know, who can see these anymore? A majority of those are actually documentaries that I’m working on currently. I work with a wonderful French production company called Wichita, ironically enough, Wichita films. And we do They do a lot of the stuff that I post up there. They’re 2 incredible French producers who we did the Bearmore stuff together the the Jack Lemmon stuff, the William Holden stuff, where we talked about network, most of my stuff up there, the gossip, the Hollywood gossip stuff is a lot. That’s a lot it. And some of my other stuff here and there, some of the stuff I do with TCMs up there too, until I take it down, we can do.

Brad Shreve [00:17:34]:

I have a very close Facebook friend. You know, we have to clarify those now. The person I consider a great friend, I’ll probably I may never see him in my life. He has a huge old school movie buff and TV buff. And I sent him the link to your YouTube page, and he was like in heaven. Oh, nice to hear. Sometimes you wonder if anybody sees anything. Oh, he demanded. I let him know that when you’re gonna be on the show. Oh, that’s so nice. I appreciate that. There’s a reason why I counted why there’s 65 videos there. Yeah. Because I wanted to know 30% of those videos teen of them are focused on Lucille Ball. What is it about Lucy?

Tony Maietta [00:18:22]:

Wow. Well, hello. I mean, there’s there’s question of the century, isn’t it? What is it about Lucy? I mean, we’re still fascinated with Lucy. I mean, just last year, you know, that hideous movie with Nicole Kidman came out and but there was an incredible Amy polar documentary. I don’t know if you saw that. Lucy and Desi, that was fantastic. It was on Amazon, and there was a TCM at Lucy podcast. What is it about Lucy? You mean for me personally, or what do I think about — Yeah. Yeah. You — — everybody? Well, I think for me, for me, probably, you know, well, it could be for me personally. You know, I was, like, many people, like many, I’m sure many of your listeners, Irmit, you know, I was a lonely gay boy. I I wasn’t good at sports. I didn’t have a lot of friends. I had a couple close friends. But I had 2 really great friends that I saw every day after school, and their names were Lucy and Apple. Or sometimes they were Lucy and Viv. and Mister Mooney was there occasionally, or Ricky and Fred were there. So to me, they were a real Lucy was a real lifeline. or a real comfort. In a sometimes, not always. I mean, I had I had my childhood was fine. I was not a grim childhood at all. But for many people, She brought joy to my life. She was like there was just something child like you know, there’s something child like a wondrous about her. And when you’re with her, And you when you’re watching her, you’re kind of a participant in the joy of her being. You know, now I’m not talking about Lucy Obama, the actress. I’m talking about the character. Mhmm. Lucy. I mean, we all know they’re in 1, you know, 2 different entities. Yeah. Lucille Ball, the actress was a very, very, very driven woman. She could not have achieved what she achieved. if she had been Lucy Ricardo. I mean, that’s just the way it is. Lucy Ricardo is the lovable clown. Lucy O’ Ball is the incredible technician and actress and genius that allowed her to come into creation.

Brad Shreve [00:20:21]:

You may be able to clarify this. I’ve I’ve heard she was unpleasant to work with, not because she was a nasty person, but because she was such perfectionist.

Tony Maietta [00:20:29]:

Well, I think that a lot of people talk about it. I think that she was driven. I mean, I didn’t work with her, so I don’t know. But from from, obviously, from what I’ve read and I’ve read a lot and I’ve talked to a lot of people, I prefer not to think of her as in negative terms. She was an achiever. She would I mean, and, you know, you can’t get around it. You know, there’s a certain misogynistic bent to this idea if she was a man, they’d think of her differently. Yeah. She was a woman who knew what she wanted. Was she tough? Yeah. She had to be tough. Yeah. You know, people who aren’t tough don’t get things done in this town, particularly in that era. This was a woman who went through the studio system. She started as a show girl and became the 1st woman president after Mary Pickford. Gotta put that in there. the first woman president of a major Hollywood studio, how do you travel that path if you’re gonna be some, you know, cutesy pie know, everybody gets along with, no. You gotta be a tough broad. I admire that about her. I I admire the fact that she was tough I don’t think she was from everything I’ve read and everyone I’ve talked to. She wasn’t unfair. I think she was she called it like it was. I wish I could be more that way in my dealings with people. You know, she but did she at lack a little bit attacked? Maybe. I’ve heard that before, but She got things done. It was her show. She knew what she was doing. Clearly, she called the shots, and she didn’t waste time. Maybe sometimes worrying about people’s feelings. Yeah. Unfortunately,

Brad Shreve [00:22:01]:

So that’s the way I can look at her. That is why I clarified that I never heard that she was a nasty person, but that she was just hard to work with. There’s a there are 2 very different things. She knew what she wanted.

Tony Maietta [00:22:10]:

She was right. Her daughter said to me, and, you know, her daughter’s a great, resource. You know what I mean? She was a task master. but she was always right. Mhmm. And if you’re gonna have somebody be a taskmaster, make sure they’re right, and she was. That’s what’s amazing about her. So she cut through all the bullshit, and she said, no. This is the way it has to be done, and this is the way it was done. Now the fact that she could create a beloved character like Lucy Ricardo that touches people still to this day — Mhmm. — is just part of her acting genius. I think it’s important to point out, and I try to point out when I talk about Lucy, the brilliant actress here, people think she’s yes. She was a clown and she was funny. But this was an actress. This was a woman who played gangsters’ molls. This is a woman who played showgirls. This is a woman who played the gamut through her entire career. She just hit upon this persona, which was gold. And so everybody thinks that’s who she is. She was a brilliant actress, and she doesn’t give enough credit for that. brilliance, in my opinion.

Brad Shreve [00:23:11]:

Something that really endears me to Lucy, and then I don’t know if there’s many people that know this. Barbara Pepper, not many people remember the name. Barbara Pepper. she played Doris Ziffel on Green Acres.

Tony Maietta [00:23:23]:

Mhmm. She and Lucy were dance partners together. If you can believe Doris Ziffel was a dancer, she was. And then Lucy, I guess, hurt her legs or whatever, and she couldn’t dance anymore or something of that nature. Well, she and she and Lucy came out to Hollywood together. They were both gold wing Oh, I did get — Yeah. They came out. I think Lucy came out in 32. spur of the moment was was spotted on the street. She was Chester for a field girl, said We have these girls who are going to be in the Sam Goldwyn film. 1 of the girls dropped out. We need somebody. You wanna do it. This agent said it. So it was by chance, if you will. Barbara Pepper is one of those women. Here’s the amazing thing about Barbara Pepper, and this is the amazing thing about Lucy. The loyalty. She use Barbara Pepper Her entire career, she gave Barbara Pepper work. Barbara Pepper will be in the Isle of Lucy. She’ll pop up. Mhmm. You know what I mean? She was no longer looking like a showgirl. Yep. You know, she was a zaph dig kind of character actress. Lucy was so loyal to these people. Yeah. If you were in Lucy’s orbit and Lucy trusted you and I talked about this, with Carol Cook, actually, when I interviewed Carol Cook, if Lucy liked you and she trusted you, you had a job for life. because she used you again and again. And again, she was so loyal to people who she felt

Brad Shreve [00:24:38]:

were, you know, to her friends. to people she felt indebted to where people she felt close to. And it’s a good example. And I don’t wanna get too much into Barbara other than to say she had a troubled life. She had some issues. And the fact that Lucy continued to help her and support her, that’s what I was I’ve been allude to that that that says a lot to me about Lucy.

Tony Maietta [00:24:58]:

Lucy did that with so many people. You know, you can watch and I love Lucy and then watch a here’s Lucy, and you’ll see the same actor. Oh, yeah. She’d be like, wait a minute. I just saw him 20 years ago, and I love Lucy because that’s what Lucy was. And so when people say, you know, difficult to work with, a hard edged woman, Okay. But, hello, incredibly loyal, incredibly trustworthy, incredibly I mean, this woman greenlit star track, she greenlit mission impossible?

Brad Shreve [00:25:29]:

She I mean, come on. She was running show when these things were developed. And she said, yeah. Let’s keep that on. Okay. What a genius, really, in so many ways. I was actually just gonna touch on Star Trek because I don’t know. Many people know that. Star Trek was not gonna happen, and Lucy’s the one that kinda made it happen. So — Not at all. Too expensive. Yeah. If you guys wanna look it up, if you start truck fans, thank Lucy.

Tony Maietta [00:25:50]:

So — Absolutely. Absolutely. Lucy was, yeah, was too expensive. They didn’t wanna do anything after the pilot. And she said, I think there’s something there. Yeah. Let’s go ahead and do it. Jean Rodberry. Go ahead. We know there was I love Lucy. Everybody knows I love Lucy, but her other two shows

Brad Shreve [00:26:06]:

the Lucy show, and here’s Lucy. All three of those shows ran for 6 seasons. Mhmm. Why? I talked to people. They don’t even know the Lucy show, or here’s Lucy exists. I remember watching them with my mom. It’s a knife in my heart, Brad. Yeah. And you really have Obviously, a deep love for the Lucy show. What is it about the Lucy show? I have a deep love for the loose the 1st 3 seasons.

Tony Maietta [00:26:31]:

Yeah. I know it changed. Of the Lucy show, I think that if you talked out practically any Lucy fan as we’re called, our Affinities for the 1st 3 seasons because of Vivienne Vance. Yeah. Because the Lucy show is, in essence, part particularly in its 1st year, particularly in its 1st year, is like Lucy Ethel distilled to a fine wine. because there’s no Ricky and Fred to get in the way. Now I love. I love Lucy. I am a huge. I love Lucy aficionado. But there are times when I would rather watch the 1st season of a Lucy show because you’re getting that relationship distilled to its purest form. These two women were as much a comedy team as Lerone Hardy, you know, as Abbot and Cassello. I mean, these women worked so brilliantly together. And in the Lucy show, in particular, you find that because there’s no distractions of husbands or anything else. You know? It’s them together. here’s Lucy, not so much. The thing is is that un the unfortunate thing about Lucy is, and the unfortunate thing that happens with a lot of people, I think, who are successful, is she didn’t wanna stray from the formula. Mhmm. You know, she even though times were changing, it was more and more difficult as the years went on, for her to change with the times. And the big thing is is she lost a very crucial element in that whole thing, which was Desi Arnez. Desi Arnez created there would be no Lucy without Desi. I mean, he was the mastermind, the genius behind of I love Lucy, as we all know, along with Jess Oppenheimer. But when the Lucy show came about, even though they were divorced, and Lucy was remarried to Gary Morton. He was still the executive producer. He was still very much in his mind because he still ran Dezzy Lou. They were still working running the studio. It was very much in his mind that this new series, without him being Ricky, without him on air, would be launched in the proper way. and then he left after a few weeks, and sold Desi Lou to Lucy. She bought him out. So when she lost Desi, as a executive producer, that’s when the series really started to go downhill. But it’s still, you know, it’s still there in its essence. So I don’t know if I answered your question.

Brad Shreve [00:28:51]:

I went on off on a desi Arnez tangent, but that’s how I feel about it. No. No. It it actually does answer the question. And for those unfamiliar, Lucy, I love Lucy. I think ended around 1958.

Tony Maietta [00:29:00]:

or so? 50s 57. 50s. And then there were 3 years of specials. Yeah. They ran those 1 hour of specials. And — They divorced in 60. Yeah. And then the Lucy show ran in 62 is when it started. Right. 62 to 68. And then here’s Lucy. The only reason that You say 6 seasons. It just kinda worked out that way. Mhmm. The reason that the Lucy show stopped at 6 seasons and then became here’s Lucy, is because Lucio Ball sold Dessi Lu. So because Lucio Ball sold Dessi Lu, she no longer owned the product. So she had to create a new series in order to own it. Otherwise, Paramount would have owned it. And the series was still a pretty big hit when that happened too. Oh, it was the Thai trade in this last year. the loose season, the last season of the Lucia was as high as, like, number 2. Doesn’t mean it was quality wise. It was necessarily, but it was the highest rated. It was it’s highest rating. she also wanted to work with her kids. You know, she wanted a new format. She wanted to work with her kids. She had these 2 kids who were clearly very talented. and, you know, she wanted to keep them busy. And so that’s how here’s Lucy came about, and she worked with the kids. And I always heard that that’s the whole reason why she stopped the Lucy show. I didn’t know I had to do what selling the studio was. She wanted — — more. Yeah. She wanted to work with her kids. Well, that’s a story for the press. She wanna work for the kids, but the reality was was that she no longer owned the show. So she’s not going to be turning out this product for somebody else. You know, she needs to so she created Lucille Ball Productions and Lucille Ball Productions produced. Here’s Lucy. Not desi Lou, because desi Lou no longer existed. So it’s really fascinating when you look behind the scenes at the real things that happen. I mean, yes. Of course, you wanna work with the kids. They’re very town kids, and that let’s face it. The format pretty much had run out — Mhmm. — of steam. But if you watch the early, here’s Lucy’s, It’s still pretty much Lucy Carmichael and Mr. Mooney, except their names are now Lucy Carter. Oh, yeah. It’s a total — — inherison Carter. Yeah. It’s the same format. It’s just different names. And there’s now there’s 2 adult kids as opposed to 2 teenage kids or teenage ish. Yeah. And to catch some of you up, on here’s Lucy

Brad Shreve [00:31:05]:

Desi Arnez Junior and Lucy Arnez played her children on the show. Her real children played her children’s new show. Desire Nes junior was on for a few seasons, and then he left. And I think they only referred to him now and again. Lucy Ernest stayed through the whole thing though. They did do a pilot. for her own show. Lucy Junior. Yeah. Yeah. They did. They did what’s called a backdoor pilot where you do one episode of the show that’s really kind of a pilot. It was awful. Right. I don’t know if you saw it. It was awful, and then Lucy broke her leg. So that there’s, you know, there’s the back story to that was the pilot was was happening, but you know what? it’s Lucy Ball. If she wants to do a pilot, it’ll happen.

Tony Maietta [00:31:42]:

You know what I mean? Even if it wasn’t a great pilot, if she’s behind it, CBS is gonna put it on. But Lucy broke her leg. So suddenly, Lucie Arnez was needed very much to be back and here’s Lucy. And that’s why The one of the real reasons that pilot never happened was because Lucy broke her leg. So Lucy Arnez had to kinda step up and be a guiding force in the here’s Lucy shop. this way. because I didn’t even know when I first read that there was this pilot, I had to look it up on YouTube. And I’m like, oh, I see why that didn’t make it. Yeah. It’s not a good pilot. She’s amazing. She’s always amazing. She’s she’s one of the most talented people and sadly well, not maybe, sadly under use, but I love you know, as she’s an incredible woman, she’s a force. I’ll tell you. to interview her is is something, but as I imagine her mother was, she knows what she wants. And she, you know, she’s not afraid to tell you. She’s very kind. in a very lovely woman, but she’s so funny. And, I mean, just talking with her in normal conversation, you get this humor. And you’re like, why aren’t you? Where was your sitcom? Where was your, you know, but you liked the stage. She did some amazing stuff on stage. And she still does, you know, in Palm Springs, in your area, she does a lot of great stuff. You have, like, a 20 minute documentary with her, don’t you? Well, we have an interview. When I did, the Lucy show, when CBS decided to release the Lucy show on DVD, I was hired to be the host by a wonderful man named Tom Watson, who was the producer of them, and we had never met before. He’d seen some of my stuff. but ironically, he was the president of the We Love Lucy fan club, back in the seventies, and I was a charter member. So I knew who he was, and so we formed this, great partnership. He’s an incredible producer, and he produced these DVDs of the Lucy show. And season 1, I interviewed Lucy Arnez, and I interviewed Jimmy Garrett, who played, Lucy’s son, Jerry, in the Lucy show. And this season 2, we, I interviewed Carol Cook and Barry Livingston, and then we started to run out of people because There weren’t a lot of people around by this point to talk to, you know, which is unfortunate. So we only did 3 seasons of that. But, yeah, that was an incredible interview. The woman’s insight into her mother and her frankness and her honesty

Brad Shreve [00:34:05]:

were really wonderful. Well, I wanna make sure we talk about the book that you co wrote with Jerry Tory. Mhmm. But I do have to say one more thing. Gail Gordon, who played TJ, Theodore Jay Mooney in the, the Lucy show and later went on to here’s Lucy as a different character, a different name, not a different character. Different name, same character, different name. A little more bombastic. But, yeah. Yes. He and Lucy were friends. They were back in radio together. Were they not? Right. They were friends for yours. Oh, yeah. He was supposed to be playing merch. she wanted him to be Fred Mertz, but he wasn’t available. And also, Desi was very insistent William Frowley, as I understand.

Tony Maietta [00:34:42]:

Yeah. Well, the Desi loved William Frowley. thought William Farley was perfect, but Lucy wanted Gail Gordon again. If Lucy liked you, you were with her forever. Yeah. If she respected you, she wanted you with her. And she loved Gail Gordon. They were friends, and they did radio together, but he couldn’t do he couldn’t play Fred Murt. So they got William Frowley, who Lucy had worked with at MGM. so she knew Bill Frowley. But Bill Frowley was an alcoholic. It was well known, and he was irassable. He was exactly like Fred Mertz. And as he said to him, look, Amigo, you know, if you miss more than, you know, a few episodes because you’re drunk, you’re out of here, and he never missed an episode. He was, I mean, letter perfect always.

Brad Shreve [00:35:25]:

And, that was a real friendship. Those 2, I thought that was very touching. It was a class the cast. So I will admit Fred was way too old to be Ricky’s friend, but that’s a whole different story. And also too old. Invivian Vance would have agreed with you because he went way too old to be his husband, and she wasn’t too happy about that either. Yeah. I know she wasn’t too thrilled with that whole situation, but the only reason I wanted to bring up Gail Gordon is I liked him so much as an actor. My second novel, I I write mysteries. Mhmm. The one of the main characters is a producer, a big Hollywood producer, and I I originally wrote him as a being kind of rough rumbling individual. And I named him TJ Moody and his deceased ex wife was named Lucille. and only one person caught it. Only one person wrote. This is Theodore J. Mooney and Lucy, and I’m like, yeah, anyway, in in the end, the guy was not bumbling. He’s still gruff, but I took out the bumbling part. He was wonderful as Mister Mooney. I loved him as Mister Mooney in the early season. He was awesome. they played off for each other really well. They played out for this really, really well. Yes. They were dream team. So let’s talk about your book.

Tony Maietta [00:36:30]:


Brad Shreve [00:36:31]:

what do you wanna know? The marble fawn of gray gardens. Right. Right. The marble fawn of gray gardens, which I co wrote with Jerry Tory, who is the marble fawn. The one and only. And those I’m familiar with the gray gardens, give us a run because I know there’s been a play, and I believe at least 2 movies have been written about the gray gardens. Yeah. There’s been, yeah, gray gardens Greg Gardens.

Tony Maietta [00:36:51]:

We’re the few people out there who don’t know about Greg Gardens. Greg Gardens is a 1975 documentary by David and Albert Maisel. that is basically one of those fly on the wall documentaries about Edith, Boovyabeel, and her daughter, Edie, also named Didi. So one is Big Eady, 1 is Little Eady. And they are the cousins of Jacqueline Kennedy, onassis. And they live in absolute degradation and squalor in this dilapidated mansion in East Hampton. So it’s kind of a mind blowing look into the private lives of these 2 iconic classic women who speak like their Tennessee Williams heroines. whose command of the language is beyond anything. But meanwhile, their, you know, cats are going to the bathroom around them, and there’s cat food cans piled up, and there’s raccoons running around. mean, it’s absolutely mind blowing. This is the documentary, and it has it inspired the documentary sequel. There’s, the Drew Barramore, Jessica Lang film, There was a Broadway musical. There’s hopefully gonna be a TV show of our book, which we’re trying to which we’re pitching right now. So, yeah, it’s they’re very much iconic class and touch stones for a lot of a lot of gay men too. The gay men love the lady very much. She’s an icon. And your car author, Jerry, he has he’s the fawn. He actually worked in the garden chair. Is that correct? For anyone who’s seen The documentary or the the musical, Jerry, is the handyman. Jerry is the caretaker of the house. He’s this young, adorable sixteen year old, runaway, basically, who helps the women out of the house. Eady calls him the marble fawn she comes up with this nickname, which is a Nathaniel Hawthorne book about and in this book, there’s a stat there’s actually a real statue of the marble fawn. And it looks like Jerry. It’s got, like, the chin length hair, and he’s a really cute little young boy body, you know, like teenage boy body. So so so he gets that nickname because he resembles them. And Jerry’s just kind of like an adjunct to these two women and their story. So in our book, Jerry has an entire story about his life before and his life during. You know, I like to say there’s so much to happen before the camera showed up. What we see at Greg Gardens, there’s a whole backstory everything. So in our story in the book and the story, it’s about his dealings with these women, but it’s about his entire life. And it’s kind of like a universal story, in my opinion, because Jerry’s a out and proud gay man. He was closeted during that time when he was a young boy, but it’s about reclaiming your identity. It’s about accepting yourself it’s about the family you create versus the family that you’re born into. It’s all the it hits on all these subjects. You know, he also dealt with the AIDS crisis in the eighties. He’s HIV positive, but, you know, he deals with that every day. And he also has his, issues with, substance abuse. So it hits all these things, this little book. And it’s he’s an remarkable guy. He’s a remarkable human being and, a remarkable character. as Edie said, an extraordinary character.

Brad Shreve [00:39:49]:

So the TV show that you’re proposing or or I don’t know if you were talking about a movie or a TV series. We were talking about A series. Are you looking at at it being more focused from his perspective?

Tony Maietta [00:40:00]:

Right. It’s his story. So, basically, it’s his story with Greg Gardens as the centerpiece. because, his story is in the book. In like I said, encompasses so much more than just gray gardens. Yeah. Kinda got this cool background on these 2 iconic women that everybody in most gay men know, but it’s his life with them and his life up to that point in his life afterwards. He also had incredible happenings his life. He had an affair with whale and flowers and madam. I don’t know if you you’d probably know whale and flowers was. He was this crazy, I hate to call him a grandfatherquist because he was so much more. Mhmm. But he had this puppet named Matam, who was kind of this foul mouthed hand puppet, which he would he was on Hollywood Squares. He has his own TV show. You know, he had dealings with them, but it’s really about It’s really a personal story of his acceptance of who he is that we all go through as gay men. We all go through as people, I think, accepting who we are as opposed to running away from it. And for many years, he ran away from his identity in his connection to Greg Gardens, And then he began to embrace it when he realized what it meant to people. When he realized the joy that this these two crazy, individualistic women have for a lot of people. You know, there’s their story was very could have gotten a lot of people down, but they never they never say die. You know, the beals are survivors in the most ludicrous of circumstances.

Brad Shreve [00:41:27]:

And I think that’s what makes people so drawn to them. Well, I like the whole idea of it from him being a different perspective than has already been betrayed. Yeah. If you will come back as my guest, I’d love to have you back, but there is because I could go on for this could be a mini series But I do have one question for you of the men that I wanna ask based on lgbtq actors and portrayals. from the not too distant past to today. Where do you see things have gone?

Tony Maietta [00:41:56]:

Oh, I think we’ve made huge steps, huge I don’t know about leaps. I would say big steps forward. in movies and certainly in television, when I started acting, I couldn’t be a out gay actor and expect to work. You know, I had agents, managers who told me, No. No. No. No. No. You can’t you have to play the game. And that’s unfortunate, but that’s the way it was. There were no there were very, very few. I’m You know, I I wracked my brain to try to think of a out gay actor in the early nineties. I mean, Ian Macallan came out, but that was later. And that was because he was urged to by Armist at Moulton, his friend, you know, who rotels all the cities, like, you gotta come out. But it’s definitely better. Better. You have people like Matt Beaumer. You have people like Neil Patrick Harris. You have people like Jonathan Bailey. Who are out proud, and I’m I’m missing some tuck walk ins — Oh, yeah. — some really wonderful, wonderful actors who are absolutely out proud gay actors. but they can play everything. That was the thing I always heard was that, you know, a gay actor can’t play a straight person. Why? If I can play anything, I can I can play a straight person. We’ve been doing it for millennia. I’ve been doing it for a long time. I did it for a long time. And, you know, it’s funny because why they say that and that they cast straight men to play gay. So if a straight man can play a gay man, why can’t a gay man play a straight man doesn’t make any sense? You know, we had Tom Hanks. We had, what’s the names? Robin Williams. Do we and they’ve all done that. — for the whole cast. They’ve won Oscars. Yeah. For it. You know, Sean Penn won an Oscar for playing Harvey Milk. It was wonderful, but I would have loved to have seen a gay actor do it. Okay. So ex explain to me that whole double standard about a a gay actor can’t play a straight actor. You know?

Brad Shreve [00:43:47]:

it’s just it’s insane. But we’re doing better. It’s getting better despite everything. I kinda agree with the Harvey melt thing except I think he did it brilliantly, so I couldn’t even imagine somebody else doing it. you know, Rupert Everett did he’s most known for my best friend’s wedding, which was 1997, and he said coming out was the worst thing he ever did. It killed his career. Now I don’t know if that’s true, but that’s what he said. It’s like he was just a few years too early,

Tony Maietta [00:44:11]:

if that’s correct. Yeah. I heard that too, and that’s unfortunate. You know, that is, but I don’t know if that’s true. I mean, don’t you think the movie did with Madonna was more detrimental? His career than coming out was. I mean, come on. You know, he posted my best friend’s wedding, and that was a huge hit. It was a huge hit. He was a gay in that, so I don’t know that I necessarily

Brad Shreve [00:44:33]:

agree with that. I don’t know that I do either. I’m gonna put it in a category. I’m gonna really step on the line here because a lot of people aren’t gonna be happy with me. It comes And to me, I think of it similar to Ellen when Ellen came out on the Ellen show. I don’t know what went on behind the scenes, but she likes to blame the show. being canceled because of her coming out. Anybody that’s watched this show after she came out, the show got really bored. Yeah. Yeah. It was 100% focused on her exploring being lesbian, which definitely should be a part of the show, but it wasn’t funny.

Tony Maietta [00:45:03]:

Right. Right. No. It wasn’t funny. So, I mean, let’s what’s the what’s the real culprit here? Yeah. You know, is it a bad show, or is it because you came out? I don’t think I wasn’t there. I love the show till then. So I I to me, that’s the reason But, again, I don’t know what went on behind the scenes, so I can’t say for sure. I mean, Will and Grace ran how many years? And it was a it was a until it got bad. Yes. Until it ran its course, it was a brilliant show. So I don’t know that had anything to do with it. I think that that’s an easy. It’s an easy scapegoat. It’s a scary thing. you know, it’s a scary thing to come out in this business and expect to work. You probably will lose jobs. but you probably will also be more authentic to who you are, and those jobs will be more. You know, I never booked anything that wasn’t gay related, which is so astounding to me. I think about that. You know, because I did a lot of plays. I did in any movies, and they were always gay related. But if I ever got to the point where I was up against a role, against someone who identified a straight as far as I knew, and it was a straight role. I didn’t get it. Now it was that because I was gay or because I was a lousy actor? I don’t know. But that’s the way it is. I don’t think I was allowed as the actor. So — As long as Ryan Murphy around, people like Matt Bobmer Roy’s have a job. So — Yes. Well, thank you. I hope so. I I I hope so. I’m I’m, you know, I’m not really acting anymore, but I’m always willing to take the call.

Brad Shreve [00:46:24]:

if it happens. I got a lot of other things happening. So I have some, links in the show notes to your website and some of your social media. What is the best place to reach you? The best places through my website, which is my name, which is tony dash myetta

Tony Maietta [00:46:38]:

dot com, you have to have the dash in there. Otherwise, you go to my cousin’s website. And that’s perfectly well and good, but, you know, he’s gonna he’s gonna say, hey. Email this person. So that’s the best way to do it. I have my YouTube channel, which is just my name, Tony Maeta. You can IMDB me, Tony Maeta. everything’s pretty much out there as Tony Maeta. And I’ll hear from you. If you send me a a message, you know, keep it clean. Absolutely.

Brad Shreve [00:47:03]:

Keep it nice. Keep it nice. Keep it nice. And I’ll have all of that in the show notes, and I’ll have more about Tony and other things that we talked about on the website where we

Tony Maietta [00:47:13]:

Tony, it’s been a pleasure. I really appreciate being on the show. It’s been fun. Oh, Brad, thank you. I’ve I’ve really had a great time. It’s been great talking with you. Appreciate it. Yeah. Absolutely. I’ll come back sometime whenever you wanna talk about Old Hollywood. I’m here. I’m your man.

Brad Shreve [00:47:26]:

You’ve done documentaries on many shows that I wanna talk about. So, yeah, I’ll probably have you back. Great. Thank you. Thank you. Thanks, everybody. You know, there are others in your life who need a brief break each week from the ugly headlines. Help your friends and family by telling them about where we are.

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