Sundays With Snyder No. 37

Darren McGavinYou can be forgiven if you don’t immediately recognize the actor seen in the photo at left, but I think you could figure it out if you took a good long look. It’s Darren McGavin.

There was something so earnest in McGavin’s work – his personality jumps off the screen – you feel as if you know him. Like Frank Morgan’s unforgettable performance(s) in The Wizard of Oz, McGavin’s turn as “The Old Man” in “A Christmas Story” bestows on him no small degree of immortality.

He was a hard-working guy. His massive credit list in theater, television and film shows he didn’t allow himself much downtime.

This brief excerpt from a Tom Snyder interview (from the collection of Bryan Olson) is an odd little conversation about cancer and life expectancy that’s occasioned by the deaths of Sammy Davis, Jr., Jill Ireland and Jim Henson.

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Sundays With Snyder No. 35 - Adam West

Michael  Keaton as Batman? You’ve got to be kidding! The guy who played “Mr. Mom”?

There is only one Batman, and his name is Adam West. Adam had a real career going before he decided to do a commercial hawking Nestle’s Quik. Cast as an ersatz James Bond, West was spotted by the folks at Warner Brothers and cast as TV’s Caped Crusader. For his voice, if you ask us. After all, when your face is hidden behind a mask, you’re essentially doing radio. And Adam West had the voice to pull it off.

Adam is in NYC, Tom is in L.A., and it’s tough to tell much. Is Adam West playing it straight? Does Tom like Adam?

You be the judge.

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Sundays With Snyder No. 34 - Roger Corman

From the files of Bryan Olson: Tom’s guest is filmmaker Roger Corman, author of the boldly titled How I Made 100 Movies in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime.

Corman, who has made more than 100 movies in Hollywood and lost his share of dimes on his duds, seems perfectly happy with the level of success he’s achieved, but Tom suspects that Roger really wants to make a big budget movie and pursues this line of questioning rather relentlessly.

Corman is still doing very nicely, thank you… or did you miss last night’s SyFy airing of Corman’s Dinocroc Vs. Supergator? Yes, I admit, I did, too. But Entertainment Weekly called it “impeccable Saturday-night junk entertainment.” And no special effects whatsoever – all shot on a Florida golf course with real dinocrocs. (YouTube trailer from Dinocroc Vs. Supergator).

Just Corman doing what Corman does best.

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Sundays With Snyder No. 33

Cary Grant IS James Bond.


Hoagy Carmichael IS James Bond.

Lee Pfeiffer, author of  The Incredible World of 007 says that Hoagy and Cary were both considered. Pfeiffer is the guest on this Sept. 1, 1992 edition of the Tom Snyder Radio Show, which again comes to us courtesy of Bryan Olson.

This is interesting stuff – even if you’re not a die-hard fan of the series. Most of the talk is about the early days, including a well-deserved nod to Maurice Binder, designer of the’”gun-barrel” opening sequence. Binder is also responsible for the credits for two of the hundred or so films in my official Top Ten List: Bedazzled and Two For The Road.

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Sundays With Snyder No. 32

This one’s all about the OJ trial.

Vincent Bugliosi is so smart… so right… and so outraged… that he can’t get the words out fast enough or emphatically enough.

The recording of this Tom Snyder interview – from television – does not speed up as it progresses. It is Bugliosi that spits the words out faster and faster; Bugliosi whose voice gets higher and higher in pitch.

It’s catching – Tom’s delivery sometimes speeds up to match Vincent’s… or perhaps just to get a word in edge-ways. But if all this had gone on much longer, only dogs would be able to hear the discussion.

I believe Bugliosi is correct in his contentions, but his contentiousness switch seems to be locked in the “on” position.

He remains an outraged man. The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder was published in 2008.

Another recording from Bryan Olson’s collection.

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Sundays With Snyder No. 31

James Coburn

James Coburn (shown at left wearing Steve McQueen’s hair) is the guest. He discusses the difficulties in making Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists Of Avalon, a TV mini-series which eventually aired on TNT in 2001, roughly two years after this interview. James and Tom commiserate on the financial implications of divorce and discuss their careers in the military.

Also a bit about Bruce Lee, Robert Evans, and The President’s Analyst. The last couple of seconds are missing.

This is yet another program from the collection of Bryan Olson.

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Sundays With Snyder No. 30 - Jack Benny Clips

Every once in a while – or so it seems – Tom’s personal interests and hobbies Tom Snyder 1998were catered to by the guest-booking department on The Radio Show. It’s hard to imagine that radio network executives desperately wanted an hour of “The Best of Jack Benny,” but Tom did that show, and more than once, with able assistance from Marty Halperin of Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters. (Another show preserved by Bryan Olson – thanks!)

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Sundays With Snyder Number 29 - Jerry Lewis

Hey – we’re live again! And, depending on how you look at it, we’re either about 24 hours late… or six days early with this.

Jerry LewisOf course, at the moment, our post headlines are still too big, the pictures aren’t all in yet, and the rotating images in the header have nothing whatever to do with the content of this blog. But those aren’t reason enough to delay new posts.

It’s March 15, 1995 – Jerry Lewis’s 69th birthday, and he’s appearing  on Broadway in Damn Yankees, which is damn ironic, because major league baseball has been closed down by a strike.

Hoist a colortini for Bryan Olson – this is from his collection of CBS shows.

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Sundays With Snyder Number 28 - Our Gang's Spanky McFarland

After 27 consecutive weekly Sundays presenting Tom Snyder’s The Radio Show, Isn’t Life Terrible ran out of raw material (i.e., no more cassettes in the collection) and it appeared we had reached the end of the road.

But turn, if you would, toward St. Paul, Minnesota and tip your hat, send good karma, and make a toast with your very next Colortini to Bryan Olson, a Video Producer at Real Life Video who also saved tapes of Tom Snyder’s Radio Show. Bryan kindly offered to share his programs with us, and he’s put time and effort into getting them here in the proper format.

Bryan, speaking for all of us who appreciate good radio, great interviews, and the unique perspective and presence of Tom Snyder… we’re in your debt.

The first program from Bryan’s collection dates from May 30th, 1989, when Tom welcomed George “Spanky” McFarland, star of the Hal Roach (and later, MGM) Our Gang Comedies. (At right, a sad Spanky sports his signature chapeau in the company of fellow Hal Roach star Charley Chase). Spanky started his movie career at age three and appears in many of the Gang’s best shorts as well as its only feature, General Spanky.

Bryan removed the commercials from the hour-long segment. It’s priceless.

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Sundays With Snyder - Number 26

A fascinating hour with Tim Phelps, one of the authors of Capitol Game, all about the Anita Hill – Clarence Thomas scandal which almost precluded Thomas’s ascent to the Supreme Court. The interview is complete, and is followed by a partial hour of open phones.

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