Episode #119 — Christmas with Scott Schwartz

Well, it’s the second to last week in December. It’s been an intense kind of year, so maybe you’ve forgotten to get ahead of your holiday gift giving. You’ve missed the Festival of Lights and the Winter Solstice is happening as you read this. (That’s if you read this blog on the day it’s posted… Let’s face it, if you haven’t purchased gifts yet, you probably don’t read blog posts in a timely manner, either.) Christmas is a few days away, or if you want to buy that someone special something in commemoration of the Great Conjunction, you’re pretty much out of time. That’s right — we’re big fans of the night sky and all its wonders. Captain has to guide his schooner by the stars after all.  

No matter what, we’re not here to shame you. As evidenced by our podcast thus far, shame isn’t really in our vernacular. We’re here to support you by sharing our gift-giving guide on our website. Check it out for some great gift ideas, and if anything gets to your loved ones by mistake, just blame it on the mail. (Side note: After making the mail your scapegoat, be sure to praise the carriers of all the various services for their hard work over the holidays!)

Come to think of it, you don’t really need to buy anything for the holidays. Just direct your friends and family to this week’s podcast for the gift that keeps on giving: our interview with actor Scott Schwartz. He is filled with amazing, behind-the-scenes Hollywood stories, so gather the age-appropriate family around, ladle out some of that mulled wine you’ve been warming in the Crockpot all day, and start wishing you had been friends with Richard Pryor.

Scott starting working as an actor in commercials, and on Broadway, when he was a kid. By the time he had his audition for the 1982 movie The Toy at age thirteen, he was already a disciplined, well-seasoned professional. Scott explained why he wasn’t overly nervous at the prospect of starring in a movie with Richard Pryor and Jackie Gleason, two absolute legends. And the story of his audition for The Toy will have you laughing and running to watch not only that movie, but also another that was arguably the funniest movie of 1980.

Scott had a strong and lasting friendship with Richard Pryor, and he shared some great stories about it. We’re not going to spoil his tales, but they revolve around things like Frogger, advice, and James Earl Jones. As if that wasn’t enough, Scott had a lot of great anecdotes about things like confusing casting calls, which 80s kid actors were the best criers, and changing the production schedule for Kidco. (Yet another side note: Kidco didn’t take off like it should have, but one of our willing producers was obsessed with it as a youngster. Kids take on the man over a manure business. Watch it.)

Most people probably recognize Scott from his role as Flick in the holiday classic, A Christmas Story. Chances are it’s running on TBS right now and you can watch him get his tongue stuck on a frozen flagpole. Scott gave us the lowdown on the audition process, how his acting instincts led to an unforgettable scene, and whether he knew right away this movie was something special. He also shared how a VHS copy of A Christmas Story contributed to its legendary status.

If it seems like we’ve just given you a bunch of teasers to read, it’s true. Scott was unbelievably entertaining and gave us all the stories we could ask for, and more. In fact, we have so much great stuff that we’ve included some extras on our YouTube page. There are two outtakes from our conversation. In one, Scott talks about his friendship with a fellow child actor, Corey Haim. And in the other, he tells an amazing story about an unforgettable night at the Comedy Store with Richard Pryor and Robin Williams.

So there you have it, a podcast gift from us to you. Don’t worry, we don’t expect anything in return except your external listenership and undying loyalty — that, or a nice box of assorted holiday chocolates. Now go outside if it’s the 21st and check out the Great Conjunction. Jupiter and Saturn haven’t aligned like this at night in almost 800 years and you can see it while listening to this week’s podcast. If you happen to see Captain sailing among the stars, tell him he forgot his sweater.

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