George, Ed Begley Junior, Jeff Goldblum discussed on Off the Red Carpet with George Pennacchio
I'm here right now with a guy who has been in show business for fifty two years by my calculation on my right. I can't believe at fifty two years. It's true nineteen sixty sixty seven. I started George and you were in an episode of my three sons. And we're talking with. You may recognize the voice. Ed Begley Junior. I look at your resume. A and I am stunned at the amount of work you have done you did the. FBI mannix nanny and the Professor Adam. Twelve the Doris Day. Show Baretta Medical Center and and I'm trying to figure out as I'm looking through this entire resume. What do you consider your big break? Were saying elsewhere at that was fifteen years in. I know now I been an actor for a decade and a half and a wonderful day player kind of an actor occasionally getting a nicer role but never really breaking out but I got lucky break. I did not get the part I wanted. Wanted the part of a regular character contract player of Peter White and I did not get that part that threw me a bone gave me this recurring possibly recurring character Ehrlich and proved to be one of the main characters in the show. Wow and that lasted a long time. Six wonderful years eighty to eighty eight and it also had one of those endings that people still talk about. Yeah it all took place in the mind of an autistic child in a Snow Globe and that was when no one was talking about autism. And now it's so much. A part of our daily conversations is a big bold thing in nineteen eighty two hundred eighty eight and they dealt with very well but the ending was kind of a puzzle. I'm not Richard a real crowd pleaser. George what about the idea of medical shows being popular since TV was in its infancy. We saw Dr Kildare correct. And and then Casey Casey and Marcus Welby and you're on an episode of Medical Center. So I was marcus. Welby love medicine so much on TV. It's way way it's the same reason we love cop shows so much at stake. It's life and death stuff and then you see people have these wonderful human lives and real lives kind of like ours. But then they're you know our saving people and cops are saving people. Doctors are saving people so they'll always be cop shows a medical shows. I believe there are a lot of people who might be listening to this right now. Who Want to the actors and I look at your resume and I see what's listed anyway as three hundred and twenty four different gigs over the course of these fifty two years? So do you have a really good batting average in this town don't you. I'm very lucky I won the lotto. That's for damn sure. My Dad was an actor and I want to do what my dad did but George hadn't a clue what was involved. I was literally resentful silently. Thank God resentful of my dad. Why he didn't just get me a gun? Smoker wagon train or something like he could pick up the phone and do first of all and like more importantly I deserved it which I did not because I had no training imagine the son of a plumbing saying the son of a plumber. Saying I'M GONNA do some plumbing ride in the truck today. You you have to learn how the pipes together you know. Is that copper. Pipe or steel galvanized pipe. There's a lot to it and I had no training whatsoever. I just had that wake me when I'm famous attitude when I was quite young. Were you getting roles that were kind of like the good-looking teenage kid with the blonde hair and blue eyes always always the nerdy guy. Had Thick. Glasses is at the time and there are a little less thick today because of improvement improvement in Lens quality but I had thick glasses so I always got the nerd in a computer world tennis shoes and now you seem now you don't all those Disney movies. I was a nerd and Kurt. Russell's pack of misfits and some of those movies. Who are some people from your past? That are still part of your present in your now. Well I wish Bruno Kirby still was. He was my best friend and we lost him years ago. But I'm still quite friendly with with Jeff Goldblum and Michael Richards Richard and with lots of people that I've known since college and around that same time. I have friends for many years Jerry Burns and I've been friends for many years Buck Henry and I are friends for many years and very fortunate to have a lot of friends that I still say. Isn't that Nice that those people still exist and you were all once upon a time. Something else trying to Make it in this town. I'm guessing so. Did you get excited. Were there reasons to celebrate when say maybe you were before Jeff Goldblum and Jeff Goldblum got something great. Did you gather we did. We'd always gather and celebrate the other successes and I've had a lot more celebrating. Jeff Une- as for me but he's always been great when I got she-devil with Meryl Streep who is very kind and celebratory with me when when that happened and you know we support each other Jerry Burns a good friend of mine too and he gets this part and I get that we always celebrate Bruce Davidson. I are often up for a lot of the same roles always. He's always so kind when I get one and I try to return the favor when he gets one. Is that weird when you go up against a good friend and you're both want the same thing. Yeah but it's it's kind of all in the family. When Michael mckean gets a partner I do? He's always quite nice about a two. I'm thinking of all all these friends. That have this relationship with friends. Like James Jeremiah's who's a writer who wrote the original script for lost boys and we see each other like twice a week. We have lunch and we're like great friends and I'm not competing with him as a writer so there's great cause to celebrate. Have you ever blown audition because you wanted a friend of yours to get the role. I never went that far. I ah blew it onto my own steam with my own left to my own devices. I blew it for reasons all my own alright so we mentioned that you had fifty two years in the business so I think think it's safe to say that you've recently celebrated a big birthday. But I look at you and I don't put a number on your face. I just feel like you've been part of my television life for as long as I've been watching television whole life because I started in nineteen sixty seven. I'm not sure you were born in nineteen sixty seven George so keep that a secret okay. But I'm seven years old and I've been doing it for low these many years and I'm so grateful. It was exciting when I got my first job because I had been auditioning and never got a thing because as I said a minute ago no. I had no training when I started to train. That's when I got work but I had a paper route. At that time that was my paying job was a paper route so george left my makeup on and went out and did my paper out. Hopefully AH hoping that somebody would recognize me and look at the makeup and go wait a minute. Does that make up are you an actor here. Signed this literally in my paper route and in a makeup hoping to be recognized recognized as pathetic. Wow but that you've continued to work in this town reputations matter Ed and there are some people who producers don't want to hire because they're trouble and I can look at your three hundred twenty four credits and realize you're not trouble. What is it about you that people want Ed Begley on their sets? You've hit upon something important to me because I have many friends who are actors and most of them are way more talented than me but like like all of them thankfully to I show up on time and I try to make everybody's job easier every soundmen every grip every electricity every follow focus. Guy Doesn't cost me on a thing to make their job. WBZ after and to know my lines to be professional. So that's what I do. I get there early as I did. Today I'm sorry I got so early. You know you're kind of crates. I mean it was fun to talk but I get I get to places early and I do the crossword. I'm always on time and always know my lines and so that counts for something and people want to have you back. You've also seen television change over the course of your time in it so as I was looking later on in your resume I see seventh heaven. Jack and Bobby six feet under you did some Veronica Mars. There's really too many things to mention. But Television was once black and white and sweet and innocent and then it kind of changed and got socially relevant and now it it it kind of almost Tests all the boundaries. Doesn't it when I was in room. Two twenty two in the late sixties and early seventies. That was kind of a bowl show. Oh James L. Brooks was the head writer on that show. I believe in the beautiful Karen. Valentine Herron Valentine Lloyd Haynes and Denise Nichols a great cast you've got a great memory for shows weren't even born born to see but bless you George but it's technically changed. It used to be so hot in the set because you needed four hundred foot candles to get an F.. Four to get a proper exposure. Oh sure on Lens you needed four hundred foot candles for those out there. They don't know what that is. That's a tremendous amount of light and heat because the lights were not. Led's or anything. There are big hot lights in Arclights. Right so what have you and the equipment was elephantine. These huge cameras and huge a sound card. was this tall and this. Why just to record sound before the Nagra tape recorder came into Ah popularity so everything was big and complicated and then it got smaller and better and filmstar got faster and everything changed technically and in many ways during your your time on saint elsewhere it was one of those moments in television? There are people. Now look back and say it was the glory days as times have changed and and the Pie has has been cut up in so many more pieces right. You remember those days on sale elsewhere where it was kind of TV superstardom because that show was so oh incredibly successful. It was George. We were kind of thought of something of a mediocre ratings. Show getting a thirteen share a fourteen share. We never got a thirty share are at twenty five or something like that. So we that was our average was in the low to middle teens and so that was nothing at the time and now it's there were only three networks Fox hadn't really had any success we were still doing saint elsewhere garden. Sierra was trying to start the Fox network and our had really taken off yet so there was really three networks. If you're on one of those there's networks on the show you were a big deal and that's just the way it was in that change and now we have we have now you're getting a You know one share your happy. So you're you're right. There are some there are some shows that struggle to stay on the air Or last that the orders are are fewer. Not every show gets twenty into episodes anymore right. That's true sitcoms or dramas but I think that's Kinda fun sometimes because you look forward to seeing it come back and I enjoy that anyways and look the quality of the shows nowadays nothing against the wonderful golden age of television with Pat. HFC and all those one at Sydney those wonderful talented people my dad. That's the Golden Age chipped television the craft playhouse and all that but now I really believe George Win The platinum age of television with breaking bad. And you know handmaid's tale of these wonderful shows. It's just just amazing. What's going on today television and I'm just glad and proud to be on? You know a lot of the shows that are really high high quality I think also many more actors get the opportunity to work. They may not be making those paychecks. That's happening in the eighties. But they are getting to practice their craft. And if you're artists I think that's what you really WanNa do..