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Episode 49

My Three Sons & The Brothers Livingston

Episode  49
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While you grew up turning on your TV set, Stanley and Barry Livingston grew up turning onto the set of your favorite TV shows. Both brothers starred in the two longest running sit-coms, first on Ozzie & Harriet and then on My Three Sons. Stan as Chip Douglas and Barry as Ernie. Oh, have they got stories. You’ll hear about Paul Newman, Raymond Burr, William Frawley, Lucille Ball, Ozzie Nelson and of course, Fred MacMurray. Plus, Fritz and Weezy are recommending The Tulsa Race Massacre on PBS/ABC, The Panama Papers on Prime Video, The Me You Can’t See on Apple+, The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien-Charles and The Importance of Being Ernie by Barry Livingston.

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Louise Palanker (00:00:06):

Welcome to Media Path. I'm Louise Palanker.

Fritz Coleman (00:00:08):

And I'm Fritz Coleman.

Louise Palanker (00:00:09):

Awesome. Today, our path takes us through the 12 quality years of my three sons and beyond with our guests, Stanley and Barry Livingston. But first Fritz and I heaven scouring the media landscape to bring you the finest of viewing and reading suggestions. So, Fritz,

Fritz Coleman (00:00:24):

Okay. Well, this is time important and it's really, uh, important just in a general sense. My first offer is Tulsa's Buried Truth. This is an ABC news investigation part of their soul of the Nation Series podcast. They do, uh, as part of ABC News documentaries. Today is the closing day, 100 years later of one of the most horrible racial events in the history of the United States. Actually, there are a few documentaries about this incident that can be streamed. The one I saw as the ABC News Soul of the Nation Series called Tulsa Berry Truth. Today marks the exact 100th anniversary of this notorious race conflict. The Tulsa Race Massacre took place over this weekend in 1921, May 31st through today, June 1st. It started in a way very similar to the Emmett Till incident in Mississippi. A 1955, a 19 year old African American shoe shine person was accused of attacking a 17 year old white female elevator operator in Tulsa.


The boy was taken into custody, put in a city jail. Words spread quickly, and a rumor started that a band of white men was headed for the city jail to lynch this young man. And as a result, a group of 75 black men showed up to protect the boy. Shots were fired and all help broke loose. This was an area of Tulsa called Greenwood, which was known as Black Wall Street because of all the enormously successful African American businesses in the area. And it was said that it wasn't just Black Wall Street, it was Black Main Street because it was considered the greatest example anywhere in the United States to that point of African Americans living the promises of the American dream. But in this incidence, there were gun battles on the ground. And even this is hard to fathom, bombs dropped on the neighborhood by private aircraft.


Finally, on June 1st, Marshall Law was declared. The National Guard was deployed. When all was said and done, 300 black people lost their lives. 800 people taken to hospitals, 35 square blocks of Tulsa destroyed. This is a piece of American history that few people had ever heard of. I had never heard of this incident, and I love American history. It doesn't appear in history books, particularly in schools. There were people quoted in this movie that were born and raised in Tulsa who had never heard about this event in their city. Not until 75 years later, 1996, was a bipartisan government commission set up to investigate event. The commission decided reparations should be paid to the descendants of the victims. So the descendants were given scholarships, money was set aside for economic development in the Greenwood area, and the Memorial Park in the town was created. But it was a stark example, Weezy of the selective history often taught in our school system. I couldn't believe I'd never heard of this, and, and the most horrible racial event in the history of the United States.

Louise Palanker (00:03:25):

Well, I, I'm kind of fascinated by revisionist history and the, uh, incentive to rewrite history. So, for example, you know, you hear about the Confederate statues that weren't built until the, the 1930s mm-hmm. <affirmative> or something mm-hmm. <affirmative>, because they wanna somehow justify their point of view in the first place and remind black people to be afraid. And by covering up this, or not even allowing the people of Tulsa to imagine that it happened, or Holocaust deniers, like, you know, what is in it for these people? Is it that, you know, cuz you would think racist would be really proud. Like, look what we did. We tore this up. But instead, if they kind of wanna behave, even, even the insurrection at the Capitol, they kind of wanna behave as if this didn't happen, so that somehow they can do it again. I, yeah. What are

Fritz Coleman (00:04:12):

Your thoughts? That was the sad irony in Tulsa because once this event was over, white and black residents that lived in close proximity had to live with one another with this 800 pound elephant hanging over their heads for the rest of their lives. Really, uh, um, horrible circumstance.

Louise Palanker (00:04:28):

Well, I, I'm hoping that here at the hundredth, uh, anniversary, and I think, uh, president Biden is there today, and he gave a beautiful speech that I heard, uh, a little bit of before we came in here today to record the show. You know, he's giving voice to this, and this is something that school kids from this point forward will know and understand. Absolutely. Is my turn to talk about something. It is. Okay. So I watched something Fritz.

Fritz Coleman (00:04:48):

You always do.

Louise Palanker (00:04:49):

Yeah. I watched it. It's called the Me. You can't see it. This is Apple streaming Apple Plus. And in this groundbreaking and important Apple TV series, Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry Guide discussions about mental health and emotional wellbeing while opening up about their own often fraught journeys towards mental wellness. Participants in this series include Lady Gaga, Glen Close, and Robin Williams, son Zach, along with successful athletes and inspiring citizens who share their stories. This show is the most open and raw conversation about mental health I have ever experienced. We just don't all fully understand the extent of people suffering. And it's so important to de-stigmatize a highly misunderstood health concern and give hope to viewers who face similar battles. It's just so hard to imagine that your thoughts are not always able to heal your thoughts, but that's just not how the brain works. And we need to better understand it and accept help when we truly need it.

Fritz Coleman (00:05:44):

Especially Prince Harry. You know, we think Royals are royals and they're on that plane and, but wow. They all, and if you watch The Crown, you get a sense of that. They all have, um, their own issues, especially psychological.

Louise Palanker (00:05:56):

Well see, the, the royal family remind me of the Amish in that it's very insular and it's like, our problems are gonna stay in here. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> like no one else is gonna know about. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, if someone gets raped, we'll handle it ourselves. And, and so, you know, people, whatever problems, I don't, I'm saying you're saying they, they don't really want any, they don't wanna ask for help because they don't want anyone to know that there's anything wrong. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So that is twisted, and

Fritz Coleman (00:06:20):

That's what I got out of the Crown. Every single one of those people, and I'm sure there are people that would, oh, if I could be a princess or if I could be a queen,

Louise Palanker (00:06:27):

You'd be a lovely

Fritz Coleman (00:06:28):

Princess. Oh my God. Well, I've, you know, for a couple of nights I've done that. But, but, uh, but, but every single character in that show, the Crown I'm talking about now, uh, pointing out that every single, uh, member of that family, the Windsor, is a lonely, singular human being with literally no connection to anybody else. It's, it's depressing as hell. And they, and I'm not surprised they have problems. And Harry is the first to admit his,

Louise Palanker (00:06:54):

And he jumped himself out of the cult.

Fritz Coleman (00:06:56):

Yeah. <laugh> he did.

Louise Palanker (00:06:58):

Pretty brave. What else you got for

Fritz Coleman (00:06:59):

I got the Panama Papers.

Louise Palanker (00:07:01):

Ooh, I love that.

Fritz Coleman (00:07:02):

Did you see it? Yeah. Oh man. This is on Prime Video and Hulu. Uh, a few years ago, 11.5 million encrypted, confidential documents that were property of a Panama based law firm were leaked. The law firm was Mosack Fonseca. Now, Mosa Fonseca specialized in finding offshore tax shelters for wealthy people and other groups with shady intent. It exposed 214,000 tax havens, most of them offshore, involving 200 different countries. Now, the whistleblower, the person that released the documents was never identified after the leak. 100 investigative journalists from around the world worked simultaneously to expose the setup. They all published their findings on the same day, and it became a firestorm around the world. Suits were filed, threats were made. One journalist was killed. Wealthy people at all levers, uh, levels were implicated. Vladimir Putin, Syrian President Bashier aad, prime Minister David Cameron lost his job. He ultimately resigned. The prime minister of Iceland resigned all the way down to cocaine, traffickers, and global soccer stars. Even former treasury secretary Steve Minuchin, makes a brief appearance.

Louise Palanker (00:08:20):

<laugh>, he seems like such a good guy.

Fritz Coleman (00:08:22):

Oh man. He, he's questioned by Congress about his offshore holdings. It's one of the first combined efforts by global journalists. It it's a look at the monstrous, insurmountable problem of offshore tax shelters. A topic that became, uh, really important during President Trump's administration because he gave controversial tax breaks to the top 100% or top 1%. And, uh, corporations as well. And, and it, it's a look at duplicitous politicians who publicly proclaim, we have to do something about tax cheats only to be implicated in exactly the same activities. Fascinating Doc. Like

Louise Palanker (00:09:00):

Hashtag tag projection. Yeah.

Fritz Coleman (00:09:02):

<laugh>. Exactly.

Louise Palanker (00:09:03):

So I have two, uh, books here before I introduce our guests. Fritz, is, is that gonna work for you?

Fritz Coleman (00:09:08):

It's gonna work great for me. Okay. Awesome.

Louise Palanker (00:09:10):

Go anywhere. So, the first book is called The Paris Library. It's by Janet Skeen. Charles, this book is a library reads pick. And it's been named a most anticipated book of the year by Library Journal and Good reads, based on the true World War II story of the heroic librarians at the American Library in Paris. This is an unforgettable story of romance, friendship, family, and the power of literature to hold us together. The book toggles back and forth between Paris just before the World War II occupation by the Germans, where the bookish and scrappy Odeal lands her dream job at the Paris Library. And it toggles to a small town in Montana in the eighties, where a lost and lonely girl named Lilly befriends the mysterious lady next door. Odeal O'Dell helps lil how easily the betrayed can slip into becoming the betrayer and how we can best value, honor, and protect our friendships and our integrity. So Fritz, I read another book that you might find interesting. It's called The Importance of Being Ernie by Barry Livingston, one

Fritz Coleman (00:10:10):

Of the great titles of all

Louise Palanker (00:10:12):

Books, yes. But not to be confused with the importance of being Ernie and Burt, A Best Friend's Guide to Life by Burt and Ernie Uhoh. Now, I would like to point out that the Sesame Street Book came out in 2019, clearly lifting their title off Barry's book, which was released in 2011. Our lawsuit's pending Barry

Barry Linvingston (00:10:31):

<laugh>. Yes. I've got, uh, some real high powered attorneys working on this.

Louise Palanker (00:10:36):

I would, I would imagine so. I mean,

Barry Linvingston (00:10:38):

What can you do? It's the way of the world. And, uh, Oscar Wild, I'm, I'm sure is, is still trying to find me and, and get in. Touched in

Louise Palanker (00:10:45):

<laugh>. That's right.

Barry Linvingston (00:10:46):

Ripped him off. Uh, but nonetheless, uh, it was a great title. I wish I could take credit for it. And, um, hopefully the book is as good as the title.

Louise Palanker (00:10:54):

Well, it is. So, Barry's book recounts fascinating anecdotes. It's a unique childhood spent on sets with Fred McMurray, Ozzie and Harriet Lucille Ball and Dick Van Dyke. Barry has ridden in a limousine with Elvis, attempted to upstage Opie, and shot a Super Bowl beer commercial with Brad Pitt. 50 years later, Barry is still going strong with feature film rolls opposite Adam Sandler and Robert Downey Jr. This most excellent read explores how one child star beat the odds and survived the dark side of the Hollywood dream factory with charm wit and determination and big horn rim glasses. This is the importance of being Ernie. So we're gonna introduce our guests, Stan Lee Livingston and Barry Livingston, who are in fact, not coincidentally, in possession of the same last name, like in Duran Duran. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, which where there's three guys named Taylor and they're not related. These two are you guys are brothers, right?

Barry Linvingston (00:11:47):

That's who would've known. Yeah. We just found that out a week ago. <laugh>.

Louise Palanker (00:11:50):

Yeah. So yeah, the power of and also that he had the next door down in the hallway back home. So Barry Livingston is an American television and film actor known for his role as Ernie Douglas on the television series. My three sons, he is the younger brother of actor, director, producer Stanley Livingston, who played Ernie's older brother Chip on the show. He is also known for War Dogs Argo and Jersey boys. Stanley Livingston is an actor and producer known for my three sons attack of the 60 Foot Centerfolds and the aftermath, along with Fred McMurray. Stan is the only actor who performed on my three sons for all its 12 seasons. So Stan, you went from how old to how old on, on the show?

Stanley Livingston (00:12:34):

Uh, well, we did the pilot in 1959, so I was eight turning on nine, and that was about almost 23 when it was over.

Louise Palanker (00:12:43):

So was this weird sense of like, I don't know who I am outside of this show?

Stanley Livingston (00:12:49):

No, uh, primarily because my parents had made the decision, uh, even though, you know, we were child actors, uh, the entire ti our entire youthful career. We returned to public school every year and got beat up every day <laugh>. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> by students who were jealous that we were on tv. Um, but it wasn't quite that bad. But our parents thought, you know, you should be with real people. That's where you're gonna live your life when you grow up and you better learn to deal with them. Mm-hmm.

Fritz Coleman (00:13:16):

<affirmative>, were you born and raised in Los Angeles?

Stanley Livingston (00:13:19):

Born at Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital on Vermont. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And we were, uh, raised in Hollywood right off of, uh, well

Fritz Coleman (00:13:28):

I gotta

Stanley Livingston (00:13:28):

Tell you, Cox in Santa Monica. Mm-hmm.

Fritz Coleman (00:13:31):

<affirmative>, yeah. For boomers

Stanley Livingston (00:13:32):

There. Formosa Avenue before that. And, uh, then we moved to the Valley in 1963 to Studio City.

Fritz Coleman (00:13:40):

That's why you have your feet on the ground. You're from the Valley. That's why <laugh> Well, but you know, we

Stanley Livingston (00:13:45):

Didn't like moving to the Valley. All our friends that we grew up with lived in Hollywood. Yeah. So every day after school, I'd have to take a bus to go visit them.

Fritz Coleman (00:13:53):

Oh, well, you know, for, for we boomers, uh, who, who were obsessed with your show, uh, that didn't understand how TV really worked in the magic wall between TV people and real people. We felt like you guys were related to us. And, and you know, the Nelson's on Ozzie and Harriet and I felt so connected to this show. And another reason why it was so ultimately important to me was that my father, when the show would start, would do that foot thing. He wore Wink kiss <laugh>. And he would do that and he would do it every time and, and treat it like it was a joke he never told. And he did it for years.

Louise Palanker (00:14:31):

Did his hands make letters go in and out?

Fritz Coleman (00:14:33):

No. No. <laugh> but he did

Stanley Livingston (00:14:34):

Absolutely annoying your dad's

Fritz Coleman (00:14:37):

<laugh>. Oh, no, no. But it showed, uh, um, I, I'm, I mean it was, it was

Stanley Livingston (00:14:41):

Such got into his

Fritz Coleman (00:14:42):

Head for sure. A part of our

Stanley Livingston (00:14:44):

Did he do it smoking a pipe? That's the question. <laugh>.

Fritz Coleman (00:14:46):

Yes, he did do it. Smoking

Louise Palanker (00:14:48):

A asking. He,

Fritz Coleman (00:14:49):

He did smoke a pipe.

Louise Palanker (00:14:50):

So what I'm wondering is, were your characters based on your actual personalities?

Stanley Livingston (00:14:56):

Uh, well, you know, once they got to know us a little bit, I think the scripts got tailored to some degree to not only our personalities, but our interests. You know, um, when I was younger, wasn't interested in girls as interested in baseball, you know, the girl thing didn't come along till later or skateboards or horses or, you know, whatever. Uh, you know, they would talk to us and find out what we were interested in mm-hmm. <affirmative> and then somehow work a script around that.

Louise Palanker (00:15:22):


Fritz Coleman (00:15:23):

Barry, you were, uh, you made an interesting transition on the show cuz you started out as a neighbor and then ended up being an adopted brother. Describe how that worked.

Barry Linvingston (00:15:32):

Um, yeah, you know, it was an, it was an odd thing because prior to my three sons, we both were on the adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. And, uh, Stan was sort of the main, Ozzie's main dude to go to the mall shop with. And then he got the gig on my three sons. And so I sort of slid into that slot in the, into Nelson's u you know, universe. Just the kid who would go with Ozzy. So, um, you know, I was already acting and I, I had done a bunch of films My Six Loves with Debbie Reynolds and Aaron Boy. And, and I spent a lot of time on the set of my three sons as well, just hanging out. My brother, you know, was cheap babysitting. My mother would just drop me off there, <laugh>. So they knew I was acting, uh, they were aware of other things I was doing and, and I was just that, you know, that brother in the bullpen that when, uh, when Tim Considine decided to leave the show, um, you know, I, I was asked to come on as the friend next door and Chip's friend really.


And, um, that's how I kind of, you know, kind of snuck in through the back door into, into becoming a brother.

Louise Palanker (00:16:37):

Was it helpful, do you think that the par the producers knew your parents? And a lot of times when you're casting children, you want, you really want great parents cuz they're gonna be around and, and my,

Barry Linvingston (00:16:47):

You know, my parents were great because they hated being <laugh>. It's the most boring thing in the world to sit there and really do nothing. You know, your way, your kids are doing all the work. You're just there, you know, making sure it's a safe environment. And, and it was. Yes. So there was no sweat there. So my, my mom very early on figured this is not for me. So we had a guardian, uh, lady named June Cole, whose son was Tommy Cole, one of the original Mouse tears. So she was very set savvy and was more than willing to be our guardian on the set. Uh, and was, you know, both Stan and, and, and my guardian for the, all the, the 12 years that we were on. And she kind of, you know, picked us up in the morning, dropped us off in the evening. It, it was, it worked out well. So

Fritz Coleman (00:17:32):

Stan fess up. Uh, I, I mean, were you at all, uh, uh, angry when, oh, here comes my brother. I can't have my stardom alone now they have to hire my brother. He's gotta follow me around all day.

Stanley Livingston (00:17:42):

<laugh>? No, actually the opposite. Um, because for the first three years of the show, I was immersed in a world of adults, you know, everybody on that set was a crew guy or director or producer. They're all in their thirties, forties, some were, I think in their nineties <laugh>. And, uh, so occasionally we would have a child actor, they'd have a scene in the school and there'd be a bunch of kids there that day. So it was kind of a relief for me to be around other kids. And then it was, you know, great when Barry started working on the show as, uh, you know, kind of a neighbor and he'd be in the classroom scenes and he'd work for the day. But then when Tim left, it was even, well, not that I wanted to see Tim go, but you know, he wanted to see what life had to offer. And the show was called My Three Sons, and we needed a third son in a Hurry. <laugh>. And since there's no nepotism in Show Business, <laugh>, what about this guy over here? Well, we, and Barry had already been on the show, felt he was a great actor and brought him in. And now I had a friend on the set every day.

Louise Palanker (00:18:43):

Yeah. And he was such a distinct

Barry Linvingston (00:18:44):

Character, the best agent I've ever had. My brother <laugh>. Yeah.

Stanley Livingston (00:18:48):

Were your parents in show business? Oh, belief Face

Barry Linvingston (00:18:52):

<laugh>, you know, in a, in a roundabout way, my dad owned, uh, burlesque theaters in, uh, in Baltimore. Wow. And my mother, as we found out later, she was a fan dancer. Nice.

Louise Palanker (00:19:05):


Barry Linvingston (00:19:05):

Know, gypsy Rose, lead tradition of, uh, burlesque. And so, um, it was always, when we were growing up, she was a dancer. And I always kind of thought, well, you know, you know, the s the ballet, the Metropolitan Opera. But, uh, no, it, it was more of a, a, a fan dance with a feather and a boa <laugh> and running her on stage Chapel <laugh>. Well,

Louise Palanker (00:19:23):

I like the story

Barry Linvingston (00:19:24):

Better. Yes. We were sort of tangentially involved in show business, but, but that, yeah. Their end of the world had nothing to do with getting into television.

Louise Palanker (00:19:33):

Well, I, we've heard it's kind of legendary how Fred McMurray would film all of his scenes in one in one, you know, rapid fire stretch and then, and then he'd bounce and then you guys would film the rest of the scenes that he wasn't going to be in. So how confusing was that for you, and how did producers keep your hair and clothing consistent and keep you guys from growing? It's a continuity person. Yeah. Continuity. But it's a tricky, you

Stanley Livingston (00:19:57):

Had a great continuity person. Her name was Jean Belcher, and she didn't let anything get by her. A few times. Things got by. And I mean, where they had problems with me when I was about 13, I think within a three month period I had a growing spurt of about four inches. So Wow. That was a big deal.

Louise Palanker (00:20:13):

And what if your voice changes

Stanley Livingston (00:20:14):

Didn't anymore?

Barry Linvingston (00:20:16):

Yeah. I think that the guys, you know, we were kids, so you just roll with whatever it, it's just the way we worked and you'd work out of 10 episodes a day, meaning you'd have 10 different story lines that you'd have to Wow. Yeah. Was it, it wasn't like, you know, Dr. Shago with this complicated kinda was about the skateboard or was about a date or something, you know, learning to drive. So it wasn't real complicated. But, but nonetheless, uh, we did have to know the older guys, bill Fraley, William Dems, you know, they were old school and then back in the day they were used to doing two pages a day and then they'd off to Moose of Frank's <laugh>. You know, <laugh>. This was a little different way of working for them. Uh, cuz you, you know, they'd do 10, 12 pages a day, which is quite a, quite a chunk of work. And, and again, they, the storylines would be kind of, you know, you'd have to know what what was happening in each one to keep it straight. So it was a challenge for them.

Fritz Coleman (00:21:07):

Wheezing. You brought up Fred McMurray. I have a question about Fred McMurray cuz I was such a fan. This had to be honestly one of the most versatile actors. I mean, he did double Indemnity in the apartment where he was this menacing character, but he also did the Absent-minded professor and Shaggy dog range. He really had Range H How was he to work with? Was he patient with young people?

Stanley Livingston (00:21:31):

He was, you know, what you saw pretty much on my 3 cents, I think is who he really was. Wow. Uh, that show was kind of created for him. Uh, he and his wife, June Haber adopted twins and he didn't really wanna go out of town anymore doing movies and be gone for three months at a pop. So my three sons offered him a, you know, a job that you could drive to work in the morning at eight o'clock and be home by six o'clock, have your weekends free, have your summers off, and you get to be with your kids.

Barry Linvingston (00:21:58):


Louise Palanker (00:21:59):

Lee Jones story,

Barry Linvingston (00:22:00):

It offered him a boat load of money as well too. There you go. Yes.

Stanley Livingston (00:22:03):


Barry Linvingston (00:22:03):


Stanley Livingston (00:22:04):

And sent ownership of the show.

Louise Palanker (00:22:05):

Legend has it. He kept all the money and invested well,

Barry Linvingston (00:22:09):

He invested well and I, I guess I'm not talking out of, hopefully I'm not talking outta school too much, but, uh, I, I wrote a song faking Find it on YouTube called The Ballad of, of Fred McMurray <laugh>. And, uh, and it's kind of, I think a cute little song, but I went to talk to Julie, one of his daughters, I said, you know, I'm writing the song and I'd like to get your blessing and if you can tell me anything about Fred that I didn't know. And I found out quite a bit cuz Fred was an extremely private man. Hmm. Very conservative. And we all knew that. But, but, uh, she told me that he lost his entire fortune. Uh, and he had a fortune. He was known to be one of the wealthiest men in Hollywood through investments in real estate, through all the stock that Disney gave him to do all those movies. He, they couldn't meet his regular salary, so they gave him stock, but he had a, a business manager. And, um, the story I was told was it was the same guy that John Wayne had. Wow. And Wayne warned McMurray, get out, get away from the guy that he's no good. And, uh, you know, McMurray didn't do that. And according to Julie, she said he, he lost a lot of money. Most of his fortune was,

Fritz Coleman (00:23:22):

I I I knew Wandered away by the, was one of the founders of Child Help s a Yes. Which was a, a nonprofit organization that I was also involved with and used to go out and do their Inland Empire fundraiser every year where she and all the women who, I think there was three of them. Yeah. Uh,

Barry Linvingston (00:23:38):

And Fed's wife Don Federson

Fritz Coleman (00:23:41):

Produced. Yeah. So who was the producer of the show. Right. And I heard these, well, I, I heard, now I heard the third act of the story, which is he lost everything he accumulated, but apparently when he was flush with money, he bought huge acreage in San Bernardino County, just miles and miles of property. He owned out there at one time.

Barry Linvingston (00:24:01):

Well, and, and San Bernardino, but in Westwood, in, in all of the ritzier areas of la. And then he owned, he owned, uh, you know, huge parcels in Montana and Wyoming Cattle Ranch apparently owned. Wow.

Stanley Livingston (00:24:14):

Um, California too. Um, you know, I think they sold, cuz it, it was in wine country. They sold that to the Gallo Wine people. Holy

Fritz Coleman (00:24:21):


Barry Linvingston (00:24:22):

There is a McMurray wine. It's a very, very good wine, in fact. But it, it has, it's only because it's on his property that used to be his property. He had nothing to do with it.

Louise Palanker (00:24:30):

Oh, wow. It seemed like, you know, when I was researching and reminding myself, you know, I I grew up on this show was on for 12 years, so it be, it, I didn't know what life was like without the show either, you know, with you guys. So between you guys and Leave It to Beaver and a few other shows, it seemed like maybe they were writing more for boys because there weren't any women on the production teams that that was easier for them to write for, for boys.

Stanley Livingston (00:24:59):

Well, some of the shows had boys and girls. And to give you a piece of trivia mm-hmm. <affirmative> before my three sentence was to come, my, my three sons, Don Federson had approached Thelen Sisters mm-hmm. <affirmative> and it was gonna be my four daughters. Oh

Louise Palanker (00:25:12):


Fritz Coleman (00:25:13):

The problem is you could never tell those girls apart that was

Stanley Livingston (00:25:15):

A, a problem. Well and they didn't wanna, they didn't wanna go anywhere. So they changed it to boys and eventually became, uh, my three sons.

Louise Palanker (00:25:24):

Yeah. Because when you watch the writing, I mean, maybe it's just me as a, as a woman now looking back on the shows, you know, cuz you can see these as much of these shows as you want to now used to be you had to wait for a rerun or something. Now you can just dive in and you can watch, you know, you can binge it and really get your fill, but, you know, between your show and Leave It to Beaver, sometimes the women are written a little goofy or the girls are written a little silly or a little manipulative. Yeah. And it seems like it's a male.

Stanley Livingston (00:25:51):

Right. I think that was just time and place.

Louise Palanker (00:25:53):


Stanley Livingston (00:25:53):

Yeah. That's how women were written then.

Barry Linvingston (00:25:55):

Yeah. Fathers knows Best had two pretty strong leads. You know, it was, it was er, Donahue and Lauren Chapin, so, you know, and Billy great. So there's three kids, but two of them were, were

Louise Palanker (00:26:05):

Girls. Yeah, that's right.

Barry Linvingston (00:26:06):

You're right. It it did. But, but the novelty of my three sons was the fact that it was an all male household. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, there was no nannies, there was no Anne b Davis. It was supposedly a, you know, a a family, the household in dis disarray. It wasn't a June Cleaver kind of managing the laundry in the cooking and everything. The house was, you're

Fritz Coleman (00:26:27):

Right. It was ahead of its time. A single father raising three sons, which is

Stanley Livingston (00:26:30):

Yeah. And a grandfather. We had William Fraley. Yeah.

Barry Linvingston (00:26:33):

Yeah. And I think what

Stanley Livingston (00:26:34):

Was to the mix,

Barry Linvingston (00:26:35):

What resonated with, with America was it, it was a household that was not perfect. That it was the do and this was the, uh, the brainchild of a, the director at the time in the first year, Peter Tokes Barry, and he set the tone. It's very important when you're doing a series to have somebody who sets the tone that the show followed for the next 12 years. But it was okay when you're coming down the staircase, he would go, no, this is Walk j Leap over the banister. And and he would go, okay, put the dog on the sofa, let the dog on, you know, and have a pile of laundry sitting over here. And, and okay, when, you know, we do a kitchen scene, let's do some dishes. So I, you know, it sounds crazy now, but that, that was all very revolutionary in presenting an American family in 1960 that really, you know, people related to. And they go, that's, that's really much more like us. Mm-hmm.

Stanley Livingston (00:27:24):

<affirmative>. Yeah. Look like their house with the laundry everywhere. Yeah. Nobody, uh, nobody doing the vacuum in Pearls <laugh> when he wore

Louise Palanker (00:27:31):

Purse <laugh>. Yeah. I mean, that was the interesting thing about Leave It to Beaver was like the one female character who was strong and smart and funny was June. But pretty much every other female that they bring in is, you know, kind of a trip and, and your show kind of like, as the years go on, you sort of, you start casting women, you know, Tina Cole comes in and then Beverly Garland comes in, and then she has a daughter and stuff. So how was that on the set for you guys? Was that fun?

Stanley Livingston (00:27:54):

Well, yeah, it changed, you know, the tone, but it seemed to be a progression of life. You know, we were getting older and I guess they very, Hey, we better get some girls around here, <laugh>. You know, it was kind of even worse, some Benaza those guys were already grown and there weren't any women <laugh>. So, yeah. I think they thought we gotta get some women in here. Don was the oldest, so he was the person to get picked off by Tina Cole and married her. And then they thought, well, what about Fred McMurray? He's never been married. So they brought Beverly Garland. He got married to Beverly Garland who had a little girl. Uh, finally I had met Pauly and we'd gone another year, probably Barry would've been married. Uh,

Louise Palanker (00:28:30):

I mean, they were marrying you guys off

Stanley Livingston (00:28:32):

Was Tramp

Louise Palanker (00:28:33):

<laugh>. They were marrying

Barry Linvingston (00:28:34):

Forever, forever hooked at Tramp. Is

Stanley Livingston (00:28:36):

That tramp in back of you in that photograph? That's Tramp, is it? Yes.

Barry Linvingston (00:28:39):

Yes. It's the only kind of picture that I have of me and my three sons. But it's Tramp. It's

Louise Palanker (00:28:44):

Like, oh man. Oh, that's so cute. That's

Barry Linvingston (00:28:46):

Bigger than I was licking in the back in the day. The, the trainers would put a little butter behind your ear to make the dog jump up and look like he's giving you a big loving kiss. But he was actually just, uh, flipping, flipping licking, uh, butter off or a baby food or something. <laugh>, you know, the other Iron, iron, the thing that introducing women to continue with that theme into the show. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it, it presented new issues of when Don got married and, and to Tina on the show, uh, you know, they never had to encounter, what is it like to have two young people married, commingling, you know, in the same bedroom and, and the start of season six or whatever it was, where Tina came on, uh, they had the bedroom set up. Don and Tina's, uh, you know, uh, bedroom robbing Katie's bedroom with twin beds.


Oh wow. Wow. And Don came in and said, oh, come on now let's, let's, I get it. It's the sensors. They don't want any kind of in, in insinuating we might be having sex here, but this is, this is outrageous. How, how can you have three babies with two beds? <laugh>. Yeah. So anyway, they, they, they did a little research and apparently I think Bewitched might have been the first sitcom that that introduced the idea that a married couple could actually have a king size bed or probably a queen size or whatever it was. But the, but the rule was, according to the sensors, is that only one person can be under the covers if they're both in the bed. You know, one has to be outside the covers, one can be under the covers. Oh, wow. And, and the person outside the covers has to have their foot on the ground. So it made sex kind of very difficult, but they, they somehow worked

Fritz Coleman (00:30:20):

It out. That was the motion picture code too, right? I mean, it was the same.

Barry Linvingston (00:30:23):

Uh, yeah, they had the Hayes code

Fritz Coleman (00:30:24):

Back. Yeah. The Hayes cover.

Barry Linvingston (00:30:25):

No, they were, they, they're still struggling with the sensors. But I, I always, I always thought that was brave of Don to just go, okay, come on guys, let's, let's do a reality check here. Now, I know we don't wanna, don't wanna offend anybody in the Midwest, don't want, you know, but let's have a little bit of nod towards the, what real couples are like in America these days. Young people. So very,

Fritz Coleman (00:30:47):

I, I have a special affinity for men with corrective eyewear, uhhuh, because my glasses are my only distinguishing physical characteristic. <laugh>. And you were cast in 1958 in a Paul Newman movie called Rally Around the Flag Boys, but ended up not doing it. And why was that?

Barry Linvingston (00:31:05):

Well, again, just to decide, Tostan was in that movie First <laugh>. He, he was cast as the other son. We were both cast as, uh, Paul Newman and Joann Woodward's kids. Uh, and in fact, um, I was on the set filming a scene. Paul Newman's our dad walking in the door. This is what the scene was, wanted us to do. And Stan and I were supposed to be on the, on the sofa watching tv, big old boxy, kind of gigantic television, you know, of the era. Anyway, the director was a guy named Leo McCay who had directed Duck Soup. Uh, you know, like a real old timer. And, uh, and that, by that I mean a screamer, you know, when things like Go Rocket, blow his top. And so anyway, I'm looking at the tv. They go, you know, Paul comes in the door, hi kids. And we're not supposed to look, pay him any attention, just focus on the TV while my eyes to the camera look like I was looking off to the left instead of straight at the tv.


So McCaury goes, Scott Barry, you know, look at the tv. I told you, look at that darn TV <laugh>. Don't take your eyes off that tv. Let's do it again. Okay, action. Paul comes in, hi kids. And you know, cut Barry, you're not looking at tv. What the hell is around with it? Hey, three or four more times, Newman finally intervened. You know, God bless him, said, Hey, take it easy. You know, you got the shot, you got this immediately established walking in the door right now, let's do a closeup of just the kids looking at the tv. And he got inside the empty box they had, and the TV literally crawled in it. <laugh>, you know, it was big enough in those days with a puppet and was waving at me and, and, you know, I, to get my attention cuz he thought I was just, just, you know, distracted and it still wasn't working. <laugh>.


And then so they, they said, uh, oh, some, there was this whispery kind of conf going on, going, I don't know. They go and they go, I think he's having a seizure or something. And they, so they, they literally took me from the set to a hospital. What? And they diagnosed me, uh, as having an astigmatism cuz I, I wasn't wearing glasses at the time. Okay. Came back to the set, whatever it was, two, three days later. And the doctor said he needs glasses. He has an astigmatism he needs. And so, uh, I was unceremoniously, uh, escorted off the lot. I was fired from my very first job cuz they said, well, we don't see Paul Newman's son having, you know, it was enough that I had a, you know, a bowl cut like Moe Howard and Buck Teeth <laugh>, and now he's got glasses. Okay, that's, that's it. We gotta recast. And, uh, and I was let go from, and I was, I'm still in the movie, in a very, very first scene. Did you see me? I'm upside down. Literally upside down that, uh, Percy Kilbride, who was a character actor of the day in it. And Joan Woodward had me by my feet. And they're swinging me back and forth cuz I swallowed some coins. Well, that's me. But in the rest of the movie, it's, it's, it's another kid.

Louise Palanker (00:33:45):

All right. So that you got, you're

Fritz Coleman (00:33:47):

Stuck, but you stuck credit the humiliation that all kids with glasses suffered, but you did it in a grander scale.

Barry Linvingston (00:33:52):

I did, yes. I love

Stanley Livingston (00:33:53):

That. Yeah. But that, that opened a door for him because every kid back in those days kind of looked like me. They had that blonde Arian kind look and mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, after that Barry got glasses and everybody wanted him too, you know, cuz he had a different look. And he, yeah, he's cute as a bug. Oh yeah. Glasses and the buck teeth and the Mr. Moto look or whatever he had was, and it worked great.

Louise Palanker (00:34:16):

The kid could act.

Barry Linvingston (00:34:17):

It was a prototype nerd. And, uh, I'm, I'm proud of that actually.

Louise Palanker (00:34:21):

So I have a question for you guys. Having grown up in the business, is it difficult to transition from the adorably precocious delivery of a child actor to the maturity and diversity required of an adult actor? Was there a period where you just really didn't even know what, what was expected of you on the set as an as now suddenly an adult?

Stanley Livingston (00:34:41):

Well, it's hard to make that transition out of, out of our era. Barry's like a miracle. <laugh>, you know, I had the fortitude and, uh, you know, just kept pushing till they finally found work again. And his look changed. But for most kids out of our era, the, the casting people didn't even wanna see you after a show was over. They thought you were typecast. And that was pretty much the nail in the coffin of, of a lot of actors, unless you reinvented yourself. But there, there's so few that you can point to. Uh, Barry's one of the ones that you can point to and said, Hey, he went on successfully.

Barry Linvingston (00:35:13):

I I was,

Stanley Livingston (00:35:13):

I went behind the camera. I, I thought it was better for me to go behind.

Louise Palanker (00:35:16):

Yeah, yeah, for sure.

Barry Linvingston (00:35:18):

Yeah. I, I was prepped pretty early on for, for impending doom once the show went off the air by my parents who really were very insistent on getting an education, making sure if you're gonna be an actor, you gotta study, you gotta work hard, you gotta don't expect it to be just handed it to you like a, like a young, you know, child actor gets lot of times. So I, uh, you know, I went to, uh, did, you know, I studied immediately, I went off and went to New York and worked in, in New York and studied in New York and worked with some acting coaches out here, uh, at the actor studio and, uh, the actors and director's lab. And, and I was lucky enough to kind of get some breaks r right out the shoot. And, um, so, you know, yeah, it, it, it was important to, to have my head straight when I came off the show to, to not not rely on your cuteness, cuz that certainly wasn't that cute kid that I was when I, I went, I was done when I was 18, so I didn't clearly was not 10, 12 years old anymore.


And, uh, and you know, and, uh, I kept at it and, you know, uh, it was a challenge. But I I, you know, it's a challenge today. So nothing's changed.

Fritz Coleman (00:36:24):

I I've asked this of every person who had early success in their life. Is there a part of you, uh, because you had to do these long days and be taken away from your friends, when you in any way regretted, uh, missing and normal childhood to do all your hard work at the studio?

Stanley Livingston (00:36:41):

Not, not really. Um, you know, as best we could, we actually did have a, a normal childhood. Of course, we worked on the set for, you know, 10 hours a day, came home and, uh, you know, my parents were smart. They bought a house by a park. So when we got home, they didn't have to go drive us somewhere and go meet our friends. We literally could climb over the fence and till it got dark, we'd be playing baseball or whatever, you know, we were into in those days. And we had all our childhood friends, you know, non showbiz friends. So I think that kind of helped us grow. A lot of kids, uh, that I knew grew up that were on tv went to Hollywood professional schools. So they were pretty much with their own ilk three hours a day. And my parents go, well, we don't really want you to do that because, uh, you're gonna live with real people, <laugh> and normal people. And you might get a big hat if you go there. Uh, and yeah, I think that was part of the problem for some of those people too, is that you come out of there, you have this sense of superiority or there's something better about you. And unfortunately that breeds a feeling that the business owes you a living just because you were on a show and, you know, we were always of the mind, you had to go out soon as something was over and you're starting back at square one every time.

Barry Linvingston (00:37:54):

You know, I had to make a commitment to not, to not fall in that trap. I mean, I, I bristled at that concept of there's no future for you. Cuz there was, there was many guys that I knew that were my peers that, you know, wanted to, uh, identify as some sort of damaged goods. And this is it. And it's, you've been, you know, the mark of cane now as the, the big ass for, you know, dar sea for child actors on your forehead. And I, I just, I just couldn't swallow that. And I, I got into a, a mindset that I want, I, I don't, I don't accept that. And, and it was, you know, maybe a challenge for me to prove everyone wrong that I, I, you know, that I, I wanted to persevere and I had encouragement for people that I, they felt I had talent. So, um, that was, that was all motivating me to push forward and, yeah, still have a, a pretty good career today.

Louise Palanker (00:38:43):

So what was the first job that you landed that had no kind of like, uh, acquaintance with or resemblance to the way you looked as Ernie Douglass?

Barry Linvingston (00:38:53):

I did, uh, I did a, a Hallmark Hall of Fame, did a, uh, a television version of the Broadway musical. You're a good man, Charlie Brown. And I played Linus, so I had to sing and dance and had a solo, my blanket with, and me and, uh, you know, play a character of a 12 year old little guy with his pals. Uh, you know, it wasn't this, this was not, uh, you know, death of a Salesman by any means, but it was certainly a, a departure from anything that I'd ever done before. And it was, uh, exciting and a challenge to do, to fit into an ensemble. And, you know, like I said, I had a thing in dance, uh, which, which, which, which was a great challenge. But I, that was a lot of fun.

Stanley Livingston (00:39:37):

I knew Barry nailed it. Uh, he did a play down at the Ahmanson called Ka Celeb. And so I went to a matinee to see him. And, um, watching the play watching, I kept thinking, when is my brother gonna show up at the, he hadn't show up yet. And it was little, a few minutes later, one of the people I was watching on stage, I suddenly realized was my brother. He had completely lost whatever earns that he had. Wow. And had, you know, created this character that was so different than who he was. That, I mean, I was blown away. You know, I, I knew he had it at that point. He was

Barry Linvingston (00:40:14):

Very British and I was very gay <laugh>. So, uh, yes, it was a little, another departure from, from the realm of Ernie. Uh, but what a, what a great time and what a, you know, it was, it was lovely to do something that, that far out and different. It was, it was really a blast.

Louise Palanker (00:40:29):

Uh, are you guys ready to play some My three sons trivia? And I, I just wanna tell you the rules up front. You guys give Fritz a moment to answer <laugh>, because you might know, you guys might know the answers having been,

Stanley Livingston (00:40:42):

I never watched the show. Yeah. So I don't know if

Louise Palanker (00:40:45):

I'll, you may not, you may not know the answers, but let's give,

Fritz Coleman (00:40:47):

And I'm elderly, so I'm working in a

Louise Palanker (00:40:49):

Disney, let's give Fritz a moment and then, all right. And we'll see how we do it. Okay. Now, question number one, my three sons is the second longest running sitcom in history. Which show is in first place?

Fritz Coleman (00:41:03):

Does The Simpsons count? No.

Stanley Livingston (00:41:06):

Should we give him a hint?

Louise Palanker (00:41:07):

Yeah, give him a hint.

Stanley Livingston (00:41:08):

We were also on that show. Yes.

Louise Palanker (00:41:10):

That's an excellent hint.

Fritz Coleman (00:41:12):

Dick Van Dyke?

Louise Palanker (00:41:14):

No. What show were they

Stanley Livingston (00:41:15):

On? We didn't talk about Dick Van Dyke.

Fritz Coleman (00:41:16):

They were both on his Dick Van Dyke show. Weren't you? Didn't you both make appearances?

Barry Linvingston (00:41:19):

I was, I did.

Fritz Coleman (00:41:20):

Sudden, okay. No, I really don't.

Stanley Livingston (00:41:22):

One of the sons on the show played, uh, guitar. I'm a traveling

Fritz Coleman (00:41:26):

Man. Oh, Rick. The, the, the Nelsons? Yeah. Yeah. Ozzy and Harriet. Okay. No, but I

Stanley Livingston (00:41:31):

Think that,

Barry Linvingston (00:41:32):

I think that no longer stands. I, I, I wish it were true, but I believe that Nash, which oh, you know, hard, that was a comedy and it was a half hour, and I guess you'd kind of, you'd have to, I think it was called a sitcom. All right. And the Simpson, I think for is right. The Simpsons is clearly the champ now. So I think they need to go back and rewrite that. Uh, yeah. For forever, everybody, if animation counts. Yeah. But they're not real people. There're just a bunch of cartoons. <laugh>. Yeah.

Fritz Coleman (00:41:57):

Hey, tell me about Ozzy and Harriet. How was that? I mean, it was Ricky Nelson because he was already an iconic rock and roll star, like a pain in the neck,

Barry Linvingston (00:42:05):

<laugh>. No, not at all. No, the entire family was great. Yeah. Most down to earth, sweetest, kindest. Ozzy was, uh, was just the best. And, and I, I'd say I got my first acting lesson from Ozzy, cuz Ozzy did everything on the show. You know, he wrote it, he directed it, he produced it, and he starred in it. And the last thing that he really ever wanted was concerned about was his performance. And so he had a teleprompter offstage. But anyway, he would go, you know, uh, lo Barry, you know, I think I was doing, the first time I did an episode, I was given a bowl of chocolate ice cream, and it was in the kitchen and we're talking, and I just, just was shoveling it in, just shoveling it in <laugh>. And I had dialogue, and it kind of came and went. And I just got into that ice cream.


He was so good. And so I was b he said, Barry cut. He says, okay, now I want you to do this. Says, whenever somebody's talking, all you gotta do is just lo look at the person who's talking, and then I've already given you the line. But you gotta listen to what they're saying. So listen to what that person's saying, and then just say what I have to say, and then go back and do what you gotta do, <laugh>. So, you know, that's acting 1 0 1 is just listen, respond. Yeah. You know, keep it simple. And, uh, and, and it, it works. And, uh, but they were, it's very Pavlovian <laugh>.

Fritz Coleman (00:43:22):

So he was a teleprompter director. He did. He, oh God.

Barry Linvingston (00:43:25):

Yeah. You

Fritz Coleman (00:43:26):

Know, I, I did, uh, and this is one of the greatest moments in television history. I did a Perry Mason episode, and I was a murder suspect in the murder of Regis Philbin.

Barry Linvingston (00:43:38):

Ah, re

Fritz Coleman (00:43:38):

Re, Regis Philbin of course, was, um, it was called The Tale, the Tale of the Telltale Talk Show Host. And I was part of an irritating morning team with my cohort, Fred Rogan, from Channel four. This was stunt casting because Perry Mason had just moved over to nbc.

Barry Linvingston (00:43:56):

I thought you're gonna say this was typecasting <laugh>.

Fritz Coleman (00:43:58):

Oh, no, no, no. It, it easily could have been. But, um, but I, I mean, and some of the other Ho Fred and I were the irritating morning team. Montel Williams was the, uh, was the, uh, sports host. Christina Ferrari was the women's issues host in the middle of the day. And Mart Hartley was the radio psychologist. And all of us at one time or another were suspected of having killed Regis Fillman, who was the general manager of the station. Well, this was at a time in, in, uh, Raymond Burr's life. He was ill. He had kidney cancer or something. And he was really suffering. So he would not act with other actors mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But he, he was so skilled. We would all, we would all do our scenes, and then they would bring Raymond out of his trailer. And, uh, you know, nurses had to be there with him. And he would do these astonishing scenes that where he used the teleprompter as the other character. And you could not tell that this man was not talking to another human being. He would even do the back and forth thing with his eyes, like he was having eye contact with the other actor. And it was brilliant. He was, he had it down to a, an art form.

Barry Linvingston (00:45:05):

Well, I did it too with him, but I didn't do, I did an Iron Side episode. Oh, there we go. And, and Raymond, you know, had the teleprompter. I don't know if this was before the episode you did or after. Uh, this was, this was after my three sons, uh, and I was playing some sort of, you know, suspect in a murder. Um, but yeah, you know, he, he right off the teleprompter. The only other person I'd ever seen do that was Ozzy Nelson.

Fritz Coleman (00:45:28):

And just made it look like the real deal. I, I had so much respect for him after that. <laugh>. Yeah.

Barry Linvingston (00:45:33):

Yeah. No, he was, he, he didn't get out of the wheelchair. He never, he never walked. And he never had to remember anything. No. He just, uh, showed up, read his lines, and, uh, crazy. What a gig.

Louise Palanker (00:45:43):

I'd like to remind you looked

Stanley Livingston (00:45:44):

Like Raven

Louise Palanker (00:45:44):

Ber that we are playing my three

Fritz Coleman (00:45:46):

Session. I know. Well, don't, can you ask somebody else a question? Cause I've already embarrassed

Louise Palanker (00:45:49):

Myself, Stan, since you never watched the show. <laugh>. Uh, question number two, Fred McMurray approved the casting of the kids. Who did he eliminate from the running

Barry Linvingston (00:46:01):


Louise Palanker (00:46:02):

Probably lots of people.

Stanley Livingston (00:46:03):

Uh, yeah, there were a couple like Fritz together.

Fritz Coleman (00:46:06):

Oh, I was outta there.

Louise Palanker (00:46:07):

All right. So it's a famous person. I'll give you a hint too. Went on to Star in, uh, program called Peyton Place,

Fritz Coleman (00:46:14):

Ryan O'Neil.

Barry Linvingston (00:46:15):

And I know that, can I, I know it.

Louise Palanker (00:46:17):

Oh, okay. I should have gone to you next, Barry.

Fritz Coleman (00:46:19):

I was so happy to have it. I blurted it out. I'm sorry, Barry.

Barry Linvingston (00:46:22):

Uh, oh, well, it was Ryan O'Neill. Yeah. And then he was, Ryan O'Neill was, uh, the cast originally in the Don Grady's Rolls Robbie. And then, uh, but there was a few other kids, too, Bobby Diamond, who was the kid on Fury, you know, now we're going way back and digging quite deep. But Bobby Diamond was, was I think another person who might have gotten cast or certainly got close. And they, and they decided he wasn't right for it to, Stan be, was the first person. Did we already say this? He was the first person cast in my three sons other than Fred McMurray.

Fritz Coleman (00:46:50):

And how did he make the judgment, uh, uh, Stan, did he, he have to work with you a little bit and see what the chemistry was, or,

Stanley Livingston (00:46:56):

Well, I think the producers, um, you know, he, he was probably relying on them for that. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> or even the casting person. What had happened before my 3 cents, just prior to that, I had done a TV pilot for Jackie Cooper, uh, called Skippy and Skippy's what got me all my work. Uh, my parents would rent a theater and invite producers who wanted to see me actually work. You know, it's one thing to go in and read. It's another if you got yourself on film. And I starred in this TV series that never was picked up, but it was a, a heck of a, you know, audition piece, let's put it that way. And, uh, you know, people sing that, uh, gave me a break, you know, said, wow, he's good. Let's get him Jack.

Barry Linvingston (00:47:38):

Jackie Cooper was a very, there there's another example of a child actor who went on to have a, a fantastic adult career, some of it in front of the camera. He actually, he did a lot, but he was also a producer director. And, uh, you know, he, he did quite well, uh, post his child actor days. And Skippy, in fact, was a movie he did as a child actor, wasn't it? Stan wasn't,

Stanley Livingston (00:47:58):

Didn't he play Yeah, in 19, uh, 34, I think it was. He played Skippy in this movie. And, um, he was nominated for an Academy Award. He was actually the youngest child actor nominated for an Academy Award until they did Kramer versus Kramer. And,

Fritz Coleman (00:48:14):

And he went on to be a great child advocate in show business. Right. Was he the one that, uh,

Louise Palanker (00:48:17):

That was Jackie Coogan?

Fritz Coleman (00:48:18):

That was Jackie

Barry Linvingston (00:48:19):

Coogan's Coogan's, right? Yeah. The Coogan Law is named after him. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> because coo cuz he lost all of his money. Uh, you know, that now the Coogan law established that, that, uh, a certain percentage of a child actor's paycheck has to be put into a, a court trust that they can, that only they can access when they're 18 years old. Uh, so yeah, that was Coogan, not Cooper, but Co Cooper was a great child actor. They both were actually. Yeah.

Louise Palanker (00:48:41):

Well, we have trivia question number three. I think Fritz is gonna like the answer to this one. <laugh>, how did William Fraley use Barry and Stan to seek revenge against former I love Lucy CoStar, an Arch Frey Vivian Vance. You guys wanna tell the story?

Barry Linvingston (00:48:56):

Dan, you, you, you were there.

Stanley Livingston (00:48:57):

Yeah. Uh, well, yeah, bill had an ongoing dude going with Vivian Vance <laugh> and, uh, they would pull different pranks on us. So one day he engaged me to help him out, and I think Barry was there that day. And our, our task was to go across the street where the editorial department was and get maybe 20 or 30 empty film tins. And they're pretty big. Uh, and, uh, if you let 'em drop on the ground, they make a heck of a racket. So we put 'em all in a box, we paraded it onto the next, uh, stage. We were on stage 11, uh, the Lucy Show was on stage 12, and we brought this box of, uh, film tins in there, and we waited until we heard, uh, Lucy, uh, not Lucy, but Vivian's voice. And then Bill gave us the order to throw the box and let the tins go.


So these things started clanging and clattering and rolling all over the place. And <laugh>, you know, that was his revenge. And we heard a voice hop in the background yell, bill <laugh>, but you knew exactly who it was. <laugh>. Wow. Of course we were as minions. He could have probably blamed us for it and did <laugh>. But, uh, yeah, he, he was total prankster and fun. And I mean, most of the fun of working with Bill Fraley was never knowing, uh, what was gonna come out of his mouth. He was very creative with four letter words, <laugh>. Uh, if he didn't like a scene, he would berate the author <laugh> in the most, uh, uh, graphic way, let's just put it that way. And yeah, he was so much fun. Great guy.

Fritz Coleman (00:50:27):

Of all the historic shows you guys have worked on, who for each of you has been the most inspirational person? A person that may have changed your life or your perception of the business?

Stanley Livingston (00:50:38):

Well, I think for me still it would be Fred McMurray. I mean, not because of what happened at the time and working with him, but later as you get older and you're doing this stuff, you look back and you realize what he had done and you know, how almost impossible that would be to do today. But it was, you know, his flexibility as an actor. Uh, we were talking about that earlier. Yeah. He could segue from light comedy into being, you know, a heavy, like the Kane Mutiny or, uh, you know, double indemnity mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but at the same time, at the Absent Maya professor, um, some of the other films that he did, even back in those days, the a and i with Claude Colbert mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I mean, he was really a consummate actor. And yeah, it was kind of hurt my feelings later as an, you know, as an adult actor, somebody's still involved in the industry looking, going, this guy really didn't get a proper credit or his due, you know, he should had at least a, a lifetime achievement award. Uh, and a lot of his work, I think was, you know, Emmy Quality or Academy Award quality. He just seemed to be one of those actors that was a lot of actors like that at that time that all seemed to get those lifetime achievement awards. And there was just a lot of them in front of Fred, like Henry Fond and Jimmy Cagney and James Stewart, and they just never got to Fred. Is, is what happened. Was

Louise Palanker (00:51:57):

There something about taking a sitcom that you think, you know, me took him outta the running for that kind of an honor?

Stanley Livingston (00:52:04):

You know, sitcoms, I think still, I mean, you know, they generate, uh, Emmys and stuff like that, but I don't think they were taken as seriously as if you did the dramatic work. Dramatic work, even in feature films always seems to win out for the awards, you know, over over comedy.

Barry Linvingston (00:52:21):

Yeah. You know, I, I think I read something that Jackie Gleason said. He said, you know, it's very often you'll see, uh, a comedic actor or a comedian can do drama, but it's very rare that you see a really good dramatic actor that can jump into comedy mm-hmm. <affirmative> and do a really good com comedic role. It's, it's, uh, harder than it looks. Yeah. You know, and Fred

Stanley Livingston (00:52:43):

Could Yeah. You know, is wondering,

Barry Linvingston (00:52:45):

Fritz will tell you comedy is, is, uh, is, you know, it has a different kind of way of working mm-hmm. <affirmative> and, and, uh, you either have that gift of timing and uh, or you don't, you know, and, and it's not something you learn. I've, I've seen,

Fritz Coleman (00:53:00):

And, and Gleason was on another level cuz he hated to rehearse. Yeah. And I, I, I can't imagine doing a network show and, uh, how hard it was for the other actors to get used to the fact that the star in one rehearsal's lines. And if you weren't as, you know, as fast as he was, what that put you in.

Barry Linvingston (00:53:18):

Well, you know, I mean I, I've, I've watched the Honeymooners probably each episode 40 times, so you can see when he goes up. And Art Carney was brilliant, you know, as, as good as his, as Gleason was and, and Jane Meadows and Audrey Meadows. Um, but anyway, you know, you can see when Gleason is stumbling and, and you know, cuz he didn't rehearse and uh, you know, and Carney is there to pick it up. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you can just see, uh, there's a couple, there's a thing on a train where they're at and they're talking about going to a convention and, and Jackie Gleason is humming and high and goes, we're gonna go our Norton having Unbound fund

Louise Palanker (00:53:59):


Barry Linvingston (00:54:00):

And, and Art Cardi looks at, he goes, good, clean fun. Exactly. <laugh>,

Louise Palanker (00:54:07):


Barry Linvingston (00:54:07):

Me back. Okay. That was, that was Gleason stumbling, you know, art Carny saying the line. Yeah. And then Gleason got exactly

Louise Palanker (00:54:16):


Barry Linvingston (00:54:18):

Unbound fun. Nah, that's not anything that, uh, Ralph Cramden would've ever

Louise Palanker (00:54:22):

Said. Well, I have one trivia

Stanley Livingston (00:54:25):

Question of getting, getting training as an actor on stage is when you're doing a play, I mean, all you're doing is things are going wrong and you're dealing with it. Yeah, yeah. You know, so it teaches you to think on your feet and how to do things or how to make things sometimes funny and get around the problem. Mm-hmm.

Louise Palanker (00:54:41):

<affirmative>. Yeah, exactly. Creatively and staying sharp and knowing that you're gonna land it somehow, you know, which takes a certain courage. We have one more trivia question that comes with a visual. Do you have that visual, Thomas?

Fritz Coleman (00:54:53):

Well, he's finding that, let me ask Barry about one inspirational person you've always reflected on in your show business career. Um, well, can you you pick one

Barry Linvingston (00:55:00):

Out, you know, clearly early on, you know, uh, early on would be probably Fred McMurray and, and Ozzy Nelson. You know, I'm gonna go through stages. Uh, a director that I worked with and I'm, yeah, not trying to sound all boasting here, but my work with David Fincher, I had the pleasure of working with him four times. Wow. Um, uh, you know, and Zodiac and then Social Network and a couple commercials and, uh, just his method of working, you know, uh, you're gonna do an awful lot of takes and you have to give yourself up to that. And, uh, and you're never gonna look, you know, you're never gonna look any better than when you're working with him cuz he won't let you look bad. Mm-hmm. And he'll just drag a performance out of you. I mean, he's, you know, it's, it's, and in the end I go, well that was, that was inspirational in that his, his commitment to quality is, is so on such a high level. And, um, I I found that very, uh, very great.

Louise Palanker (00:55:55):

Okay, so here comes trivia question. Is the performer pictured here with you two? Anne Don Grady A Doty b Beverly Garland, or c co-host of this fine podcast? Louise Lanker.

Barry Linvingston (00:56:08):

<laugh>. Well, I'm gonna eliminate Doty and Beverly Gar. Okay. I'm gonna say that to you.

Louise Palanker (00:56:14):

That was me at a live from Hollywood event. I gave you guys drumsticks, it said Premiere Radio on them. Wow. Do you still have your drumsticks, Barry?

Stanley Livingston (00:56:24):

I'm not wearing that too. Pay anymore than I'm wearing <laugh>. That was,

Louise Palanker (00:56:28):

Wow. That was probably the eighties or nineties. I don't, you can take that off the screen, Thomas. I think we've, we've seen enough of it, but we do look kind of familial, you know, like we, like we hang, you know. Yeah. Usually in Drum the way we do.

Fritz Coleman (00:56:41):

Stan, you did a movie with one of the great titles of all time, the Attack of the 60 Foot Centerfold

Stanley Livingston (00:56:47):


Fritz Coleman (00:56:47):

Yeah. But you also, did you act in it and do special effects?

Stanley Livingston (00:56:52):

Um, yes, actually I, um, a buddy of mine was doing the special effects for that movie and he had sick as a dog. I don't know what happened to him. And the guy that directed the movies, a friend of mine and said, uh, you think you could do any of these things? Well there's a billboard in it that she walks by a miniature billboard. And, uh, there was a, a laws rocket that fired darts. So all these different things, I ended up building that. Yeah. They used, there was also I think a six foot long, six foot by four foot wide mouse trap because they have to, they have to catch this giant mouse that got created out of whatever the vial of solution was that they tested. But, uh, a regular mouse trap wouldn't do. So yeah, I ended up doing special effects for that. I think I did it for another film too. There was, uh, I wasn't in it at all, but, uh, it was a giant Concord Supersonic jet and uh, they needed it for a, what they call a force perspective shot, where it's like right here in the foreground and looks like it's a real jet cuz it's huge. But it actually was about eight, 10 feet long and I basically had to make that.

Fritz Coleman (00:57:58):

Wow. That's cool. You directed and produced the Actor's Journey series too.

Stanley Livingston (00:58:03):

Yeah, that's my, uh, <laugh>. Well I wanted to give something back to the industry. Uh, as we all know, you can go to acting schools all over the country. You can go to mom, pop schools, colleges, universities, Yale, Harvard, and spend anywhere from, you know, a couple thousand bucks on up to a hundred grand to get your, uh, acting degree. And you graduate and then you come to the business to work and first day, there you go, uh, what the hell do I do? They didn't teach me that part. I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing, you know, during the day. I know how to act if I'm on stage or in front of a camera. So it always bothered me. There was really no program taught in the, at the university level or college level, uh, that really taught the business side the non-performance skills needed.


They only teach this, you know, the acting skills. So I put a program together, I involved a hundred people from the industry cuz I didn't want it to be coming for me and I'm teaching this thing. But I brought a group of actors, directors, producers agents, uh, uh, casting directors. I have the president of the Screen Actors Guild, president of the Directors Guild of America as the people who teach this program. It's a 10 hour long program called The Actors Journey. And it's literally everything you could possibly encounter on the other side of the camera, meaning the business side.

Fritz Coleman (00:59:25):

Is that available to be viewed on YouTube or anywhere accessible to people that might not be in the

Stanley Livingston (00:59:30):

Business? It's, yeah. Originally it was, uh, produced and, and distributed through D V D. Um, and right now we're kind of turning it over so it can be streaming media so people will be able to access Uh, hopefully within the next month. Uh, but all the entire program will be there. Like I said, it's, I think about 45 of these people that are involved teaching the show at either one or been nominated for, uh, academy Emme, golden Globe Awards. So you're literally getting the information that you need from the horse's mouth, so to speak. Uh, cause there's a lot of people that supposedly teach business of acting, but you know, you look at, well, this guy's only been in show business for like about a year or two. How, how could they possibly know that we're almost everybody in here has got a 20, 30 year career been very, very successful. And you know, they literally can answer your most obscure question about how you go about doing this. You know, what your real job is. I mean, acting is your reward. <laugh> mm-hmm. <affirmative> for doing the job of trying to get the work.

Fritz Coleman (01:00:34):


Louise Palanker (01:00:34):

Yeah. And not just trying to get the work, but probably also protecting yourself knowing what your rights are. Oh

Stanley Livingston (01:00:40):

Yeah, absolutely. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Because bad things can happen to you when you don't know what's going on. And, you know, if you're new to the industry, more than likely you don't know anybody that's had a level of success that can impart, you know, a lot of the information. One of the things I found out just in doing it was, like I said, we uh, had a hundred people involved in this and, you know, every person sort of had a part of the puzzle. Not every single person knew everything. So it was interesting to have all of these people give you the sum total of, of their knowledge. And, you know, uh, I always like an actor coming to the, uh, movie industry and trying to learn what to do is each actor trying to reinvent the wheel, the same wheel. So why not have the wheel just given to you? You can look at it, you know, it takes you 10 hours and you're good to go and not make the mistakes that everybody else made who came before you.

Louise Palanker (01:01:31):

I, I love that cuz there's so, there's a lot of people who want it so badly that they're willing to make sacrifices in order to, you know, maybe get a, get a part or get cast and they're not really looking out for their future. They just want what they want right now. Yeah,

Fritz Coleman (01:01:47):

That's a

Stanley Livingston (01:01:47):

Good point. Well that's, that's everybody and yeah, there are sacrifices to be made, but you need to know which are the ones that are worth making. Yeah. And other ones aren't cuz they just lead the dead end road or a detour or something else, you know,

Fritz Coleman (01:01:59):

And about that same point, Wei, my business manager represents a lot of people in the business and a, a a, a large portion of her business is young people. And I think one of the great things that can be taught or warned about is success early and how to manage your money and what to, for, for someone to guard your investments and your guard your fiscal responsibility because she has these nightmare stories about kids and, and, and if their egos have already expanded because they've been cowed too on the set, then even their business manager can't give them good, uh, tips on, uh, how to guard what they have. It's, uh, it's a national

Stanley Livingston (01:02:40):

That's true. But you know, you have to realize the business manager only knows the, you know, his point of view of the business from the point of view of a business manager. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, just like a director knows it from a director's point of view and an actor knows it from an actor. And we wanted to provide a plethora point of views of the same question and how they all answered different, uh, in fact, it's funny you brought that up because one of the, the segments in there is called, you know, the troubles with the early success, which does happen to people, and it's probably one of the worst things that can happen to you because you have the success before you really learn what to do about the business. And when the show's over, you're like, okay, what do I do next? My a oh, and my agent just dropped me. I don't know why they dropped me. I just had a big hit. Now what? Yeah, what do I do? Yeah,

Fritz Coleman (01:03:25):


Stanley Livingston (01:03:25):

Exactly. Yeah. It's, it's crazy. There's

Louise Palanker (01:03:27):

So many variables and it's, you know, especially if you grow up doing it. And I guess you guys had parents that kind of made sure that by the time you became adults that you understood how to take care of yourselves and how to manage your own money and how to, uh, make sure that your interests were looked after.

Stanley Livingston (01:03:45):

Yeah, they looked after us pretty well. Unfortunately, our parents weren't, you know, starstruck and, you know, they weren't in it for themselves. The money that we earned while we worked all those years was set aside, uh, for us when we became 18 or 21, whatever it was. Um, yeah, they didn't go running off the Las Vegas with it, so the whole, you know, whatever the earnings were mm-hmm. <affirmative> were there and it gave us a head start in life. And, you know, if you don't go out and, you know, when you turn 18 by a Ferrari or Yeah. By a house you can't afford, you're in pretty good shape. So there's a lot

Louise Palanker (01:04:16):

Of, a lot of parents, they want the kids to remain dependent upon them so that even after they turn 18, they'll still need their parents as managers. So they don't teach their kids how to take care of themselves.

Stanley Livingston (01:04:27):

Yeah. Our parents were never officially managers, you know, um, you know, they handed handled their money fairly well, you know, by not dipping into it. Uh, but by the time I was 17, 18, I had a professional, uh, business manager and fortunately he wasn't one of the unscrupulous ones. Yeah. He did well by me. And, you know, um, he have

Louise Palanker (01:04:47):

Fred Murray's

Stanley Livingston (01:04:48):

Guy either let out or, you know, was guided to the right people.

Barry Linvingston (01:04:51):

Our our parents. Our parents turned down work, uh, often because they wanted us, you know, we had, um, shooting schedule for sons. It was probably seven, eight months of the years, so we had four months and rather than picking up another job and making more money, uh, they were more concerned with us just just having a, a time to go back to school and sort of integrating with our peers and learning about the real world and, uh, as adults. That's been, that's been a beneficial,

Louise Palanker (01:05:17):

Uh, it, it shows. Yep.

Fritz Coleman (01:05:19):

It really does.

Louise Palanker (01:05:21):

All right. I think we're ready for our closing credits. We would love for you to join us online on Instagram and Twitter, where we are at Media Path Pod and on Facebook where we are, a Media Path podcast. You can find full episodes with all kinds of bonus visual content on our YouTube channel Media Path podcast. We would love to know what media you've been enjoying. You can contact us at our social media or email us at media path podcast We wanna thank our guest, Stanley Livingston and Barry Livingston. Our team includes Dean of Friedman, Francesco Demond, John Maddox, Sharon Beo, bill Fiac, Thomas Hubble, and you. Our theme music is by me and John Maddox. I am Louise Lanker here with Fritz Coleman, and we will see you along the media path. Take it away, Fritz.

Fritz Coleman (01:06:03):

If you enjoyed this episode of Media Path, it would help us a great deal, uh, to be more discoverable by potential new viewers and listeners. If you would leave us a quick review on Apple Podcasts, and if you're new here and this is your first time with us, please check out our back catalog. We have lots of binge worthy stuff over and above the Brothers Livingston. We have Gary Puckett, we have the casts, we have Henry Winkler, we have Keith Morrison, we have Josh Minowitz. We have lots of interesting people, uh, that you will hear with great conversation. Thank you so much for spending an hour with us today, and we would be overjoyed if you took just a moment to share your thoughts with us or recommend us to a friend. Be safe. Thanks for listening. That was wonderful. So easy. And, uh, fantastic.

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