Graceland: Elvis has NOT left the building

What is the most-visited home in America, after the White House?

You guessed it… Graceland.

Located in Memphis, Tennessee, the famous mansion– now part of an enormous entertainment complex– is not only the place Elvis called home for the last 20 years of his life but also the site of his death and burial.   

In this summer road trip episode we (virtually) visit the King of Rock ’n’ Roll’s beloved Graceland, connecting it to the recent “Elvis” biopic starring Austin Butler

How did Elvis come to purchase Graceland, and what changes did he make to the estate over the years? What circumstances forced Elvis’s family to consider opening his home to the public, even though Priscilla felt “to open up your home was like being robbed”? What role did Graceland play in Lisa Marie’s life, and how will her tragic passing affect the future of this famous site? These are just a few of the questions we discuss in this week’s episode. 

Graceland is one building that Elvis has NOT left; it stands as a memorial celebrating the performer’s talent, achievements, and life. We hope you’ll come along for the ride as we head to one of the most famous homes in the world, Elvis’s Graceland.

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Show Notes for Episode 93!


Graceland website

A Look at the Barrymore Dynasty – and Drew’s Determination to Break the Barrymore Curse

Two things the Barrymore Family is known for:

  1. Their status as Hollywood Royalty
  2. The Barrymore Curse

Commonly referred to as Hollywood’s First Family or “an acting dynasty,” the Barrymores have entertained and enthralled audiences since as far back as the 1700s.  Yet along with fame and adulation, the Barrymores’ lives have also contained struggles with strained family relationships, substance abuse, and other personal demons. 

In this episode we trace Drew Barrymore’s family tree, highlighting successes and challenges experienced by some of Drew’s famous ancestors, including the legendary John Barrymore

We also delve into Drew Barrymore’s own personal struggles, including the circumstances that led to her institutionalization at 13 and emancipation at 14, as well as her determination to break the Barrymore Curse.

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#Film #Movies #FollowingaThread #DrewBarrymore #JohnBarrymore #EthelBarrymore #LionelBarrymore #TheBarrymoreLegacy #HollywoodsFirstFamily #Acting #Theatre #DNA #BarrymoreDynasty

Show Notes for Episode 90!


The Creation of Everyone’s Favorite Alien and the Classic Movie: E.T. Part Two

“That’s no goblin…”

Part of the massive success of the beloved film ‘E.T.” was the little alien himself, who was described by one writer as “one of the most soulful, expressive special effects ever conceived.” Steven Spielberg himself once referred to the animatronic model as “the 8th wonder of the movie world.”

In part 2 of this episode, we focus on the creation of E.T., both the animatronic elements that made it an “engineering masterpiece” and also the human elements that were required to bring the endearing creature to life. 

We also discuss other behind-the-scenes stories related to the filmmaking process, from the involvement of ILM in creating the iconic image of E.T. and Elliot flying across the face of the full moon, to the design of the spaceship, to the directing style Spielberg used with his child actors. 

So grab your Reese’s Pieces and settle in to listen as we spill the tea about one of the most iconic 80s films of all time, ‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.’ 

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“I’m keeping him” – The Story Inspiration Behind a Boy and His New Best Friend: E.T. Part One

‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’ has been called “one of the finest fantasy films ever made, and the most tender of all Steven Spielberg’s movies.” 

41 years after its 1982 release, the classic film is still celebrated for its themes, creativity, cinematic artistry, and sense of childhood wonder. 

But how did the idea for ‘E.T.’ occur to Steven Spielberg while he was filming ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’? What role did Harrison Ford play in helping bring the story to life? In what ways was ‘E.T’ based on Spielberg’s own life? And how were child actors Henry Thomas, Robert McNaughton, and Drew Barrymore cast for the project? 

We explore all this and so much more in part 1 of this 2-part episode focused on the beloved blockbuster ‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.’  

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#Film #Movies #FollowingaThread #StevenSpielberg #HarrisonFord #MelissaMathison #ET #HenryThomas #DrewBarrymore #Childhood #Wonder #SpecialEffects #IndustrialLightandMagic

Show Notes for Episode 88!


Making of ET documentary

“Smartless” podcast episode on Steven Spielberg

Han Solo, Indiana Jones, and Rick Deckard… Hollywood’s Favorite Hero, Harrison Ford

At 80 years of age, film star Harrison Ford is currently involved with 3 high-profile hit projects… one in which he plays a therapist (“Shrinking”), another in which he plays a patriarchal rancher (“1923”), and the third in which he revisits the character that took his stardom to a whole new level… the beloved adventurer, Indiana Jones

In a career that spans six decades, Harrison Ford has achieved legendary status as one of Hollywood’s favorite action heroes. And he clearly shows no signs of slowing down. 

In this episode, we share behind-the-scenes stories related to three of Harrison Ford’s most celebrated roles: Han Solo, Indiana Jones, and Rick Deckard. We also discuss the actor himself… who some have said is not totally unlike the charming rogues he portrays.  

Join us for this light-hearted look at Hollywood’s favorite action hero, Harrison Ford. 

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Show Notes for Episode 87!


Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny | Official Trailer

Harrison Ford’s First Screen Appearance

Sabrina (1995) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

Liberty Book:

“Smartless” podcast episode on Steven Spielberg

The Cultural Phenomenon of ‘Star Wars’ and the Creative Genius of George Lucas

Do you fondly remember playing with a Chewbacca, Han Solo, Princess Leia, or Luke Skywalker action figure? Have you ever uttered the phrase, “May the Force Be With You”? Are you strongly in the camp of either Team R2D2 or Team C3PO?

For the vast majority of us, the answer to at least one of these questions would be a resounding YES. 

When George Lucas brought “Star Wars” to movie theaters and drive-in screens in 1977, he did much more than share a great story… he literally changed the face of both filmmaking and merchandising. The impact of his ground-breaking ‘space Western’ is being felt to this day.

Join us for this out-of-world episode focused on the cultural phenomenon of “Star Wars.” From behind-the-scenes stories about the development of the space saga, to the reasoning behind the casting choices, to the technological innovations necessitated by the ambitious script, to the merchandising explosion that occurred after the movie’s release, we cover it all. 

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Show Notes for Episode 86!


2004 Documentary:  “Empire of Dreams: The Story of the ‘Star Wars’ Trilogy”

How Star Wars Reinvented Cinema (Looks like no new episodes since 2020)

“Inside Star Wars” Podcast

“SEAGULLS! (Stop It Now)” — A Bad Lip Reading of The Empire Strikes Back

“The King of Daytime Television” or “CIA Assassin”: Who Was the Real Chuck Barris?

The Dating GameThe Newlywed GameThe Gong Show. Chuck Barris created some of TV’s most enduring and beloved game shows, at one point supplying network TV with 27 hours worth of game-show programming a week. 

Did he also work as a contract killer for the CIA, assassinating government targets during the 1960s and 1970s?

According to his 1984 book “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” and the 2002 movie directed by George Clooney, that’s exactly what Chuck Barris did. In the film, he’s portrayed as murdering 33 people while also holding down a full-time job producing game shows. 

But was it true? Or was it a desperate bid for attention from a man sad to see his identity change from “The King of Daytime Television” to “The Baron of Bad Taste”?

Join us as we dig into the controversy surrounding Chuck Barris, one of TV’s most prolific and also wackiest figures.

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Show Notes for Episode 85!


Operation Varsity Blues, the Quirky Acquisitions of Nicolas Cage, and Other Famous Celebrity Tax Scandals

What better way to celebrate Tax Day than with a look at some of Hollywood’s most sensational tax scandals?

Which revered Hollywood star had her house repossessed by the IRS? How did a legendary actress finally receive vindication decades after she was jailed for tax evasion? What’s the real story behind the much-publicized Operation Varsity Blues? And what does Nicolas Cage have to say about the debt that has plagued him over the last 15 years (and his two-headed snake)?

You can bet your bottom dollar you won’t find a better way to celebrate April 18. 

*Cheers to Laura, a 1939 club member whose support via helped sponsor this episode

#TaxDay #CelebrityTaxScandals #OperationVarsityBlues #NicCage #MarthaStewart #AbbyLeeMiller #LoriLoughlin #FelicityHuffman #PuttingtheScandalinScandalWater #Crime 

Show Notes for Episode 84!


Felicity Huffman’s Daughters: Learn About Sophia & Georgia – Hollywood Life

Celebrities Accused of Tax Evasion Throughout The Years – Hollywood Life

The Black Dahlia Part 2: The Investigation (and the Mystery) Continues

Caution: This episode is not intended for all audiences.

Who killed Elizabeth Short, dubbed the Black Dahlia by the press?  76 years after her brutal murder, investigators still don’t know… although some people think they do.

In part 2 of this episode, we focus on the murder investigation of the Black Dahlia case. 

Who was the man believed to be the last person in Elizabeth Short’s company? What taunting notes were sent to the press, some signed by the Black Dahlia Avenger, and what items were in one of those envelopes? And what key suspects have been proposed even within the last decade, their theories defended in widely-read books?

You won’t want to miss the fascinating conclusion to this 2-part episode.

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Show Notes for Episode 83!

For complete show notes & photos, visit our page for Episode 82 (The Black Dahlia Part 1)

The Black Dahlia Part 1: The Murder of Beth Short

Caution: This episode is not intended for all audiences.

On January 15, 1947, a mother was out with her 2-year-old daughter in a Los Angeles neighborhood when her eye was drawn to something lying in the grass of a vacant lot. At first, the mother thought she was seeing a mannequin because of the figure’s unnatural paleness and ghastly pose. Horrified, she suddenly realized she was looking at the brutalized and mutilated body of a young woman.

More than 70 years later the murder case of aspiring actress Elizabeth Short, soon dubbed the Black Dahlia by the press, still remains open. In fact, Time magazine lists it as one of the top 10 unsolved crimes of the century. 

Join us for part 1 of this episode, as we share the details of the murder case and the background of the beautiful young woman, “Beth” Short, who fell victim to this brutal killer.

#TheBlackDahlia #BethShort #UnsolvedMurder #HollywoodHistory #TrueCrime #PuttingtheScandalinScandalWater 

Show Notes for Episode 82!