Mood Based Viewing & Four Hollywood Husbands
Joyce Bulifant’s path has led her from orphanages to Broadway stages. From dyslexia to alcoholic husbands, from co-dependency to The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and from travels with her mother-in-law Helen Hays to ultimately marrying the love of her life! It’s all revealed in her wonderful book, My Four Hollywood Husbands, and she’s here to talk about it. Plus, journalist Liane Bonin Starr joins us to discuss her beefy, new reference bible called Stream This Next: 1,000 TV Shows to Suit Your Mood. Fritz, Weezy and your coffee table are recommending it!
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Louise Palanker (00:00:04):
Welcome to Media Path. I am Louise Palanker.
And I'm Fritz Coleman.
Today's show is a celebration of television from streaming media where our choices are abundant and our attention stretched back into a time when we all watch pretty much the same thing. For example, in 1975, on Saturday nights, you could watch the Mary Tyler Moore show or swat, not a wrenching decision. But the thing about her upcoming guest, Joyce Bufon, is that not only was she on the Mary Tyler Moore show, she was also probably on SWAT or the streets of San Francisco, or the Saturday night movie or whatever they tried to throw up against. Mary Joyce has logged over 100 guest TV appearances. Her book, my Four Hollywood Husbands is an absolute gift. I adore it. Joyce is coming up. But first on the show, we are welcoming Liane Bonin. Liane is a published author, an award-winning screenwriter and a journalist. Her byline has appeared in Entertainment Weekly People, the LA Times, and her latest effort is just what we need right now to guide us through this age of many TV choices. It's a coffee table book called Stream. This Next 1000 TV shows to suit your mood. Welcome Liane, and tell us about your book. Hi Liane.
Liane Bonin Starr (00:01:18):
Hi. How you doing?
Louise Palanker (00:01:19):
Awesome. You're doing great. Thank you.
Liane Bonin Starr (00:01:21):
Um, so the book, it's a thousand and it's not just me. I edited the book, but, and we had a, a little team of freelancers who all contributed some of the, the things that they thought were really great shows. Um, but I curated the list of a thousand TV shows and it's, you, you picked by mood, you know, you wanna be cozy or you wanna be laugh and cry or whatever. So, um, and if that doesn't work, there's an index at the back, you can just look stuff up. So,
Louise Palanker (00:01:49):
So is there a mood for hostile?
Liane Bonin Starr (00:01:52):
Um, I think we have a section for horror.
Louise Palanker (00:01:55):
Oh no, I just, uh, when you're angry and you just need something soothing that's
Liane Bonin Starr (00:01:59):
Cozy, that's where goes cozy
Louise Palanker (00:02:00):
Lives coz All right. So you should be aspirational with your mood, even if you're
Liane Bonin Starr (00:02:04):
Not feeling that. Yeah. Like whatever you would like to be.
Louise Palanker (00:02:06):
Sure, sure, sure. Okay. So what was the process? Because it sounds like a daunting, like I first I wanna hear about the conversation that led to the creation of this book, and then what was the process?
Liane Bonin Starr (00:02:16):
Um, well, I was just brought on to edit the project, but the process of coming up with a thousand TV shows, I was like, yeah, that's easy. I was a TV critic, that's no big deal. Um, it actually was <laugh>, it was somewhat daunting after a certain point. And also, uh, Rosale books, who's one of the publishers wanted to have a real international aspect to it. So there were, there were a lot of shows. We have shows that are German or Danish and, and, um, you know, Colombian and Mexican and South Korean. Of course South Korea is, there's a huge font of material there. But, um, so that was hard actually coming up with the list. And then we just kind of chipped away at it.
Fritz Coleman (00:03:01):
But there's so much streaming content now. It's about time somebody came up with a catalog like this, cuz it's daunting when you open all the streaming absence. Say, what do I choose? Especially if you don't know anything about any individual presentation.
Liane Bonin Starr (00:03:14):
Yeah. And, and that was part of it too, is we wanted to win when it made sense. Like, we tried to pictures and we knew that we liked, but also, um, we, we went and turned to Critics <laugh>. And you'll find a lot of critical quotes in there about what they liked about it, what was ma made it stand out. And so, um, that, I think what made it makes it an easier tone to kind of get through is that, you know, that it's not just a, a bunch of goons like me who, well, I like this TV show, it's, we did try to turn to the critics and get their input
Louise Palanker (00:03:47):
Right. And I don't know about you guys, but I like, I like to read and do a little bit of research before I decide whether or not it's a fit, you know, for me to even try a few minutes of an episode of something. So I don't like it on Netflix when you click, when you scroll past something and it starts to play noise, people start talking. And I, that's very distracting for me. I'm very a d d I just wanna read what this is about. So this is like, you know, no one's gonna stop start talking to you, <laugh>. You can pick up the book and read at your own pace and decide whether to go in search of something
Liane Bonin Starr (00:04:21):
And Yeah. If, if you and your date, I think this is probably a book for people, for couples. Aw, no, <laugh>, you know, essentially what you wanna watch you, we wanna watch something fun, we wanna watch something, it'll make us laugh. I wanna, and or you know, if you're by yourself, you know, I want, I wanna watch something makes me a little weepy. Um, you can flip through and you'll be like, well this's Yeah. That and you can, well,
Fritz Coleman (00:04:46):
Or do you wanna
Liane Bonin Starr (00:04:46):
Fritz Coleman (00:04:47):
Yeah. Or do you wanna edit selections for your children and protect them from something that's not gonna be
Louise Palanker (00:04:52):
Appropriate? There you go.
Liane Bonin Starr (00:04:53):
And that was actually, we do have, uh, I think, um, if I wanna be a child again, and that's, that was actually a really fun section. And um, cuz I had two kids, a lot of what, um, we have in our house has to be family friendly. So, and you would be surprised how much does not qualify. So
Louise Palanker (00:05:11):
It's really, it's really stunning. I don't have a child, but I have a nephew and when he was growing up, I'd go over like, Hey, I have Goonies. And then you'd start watching it and they, there's kids, these kids are cursing at each other. Like, it, it feels like it should have been child friendly, but you didn't, I didn't pre-screen it before I handed it to my sister <laugh>. So it's, it's hard to remember what exactly is gonna upset a child when it's been so long since we were children.
Liane Bonin Starr (00:05:36):
Yeah. And I even noticed, you know, my daughters, they don't like things that are really violent, so they'll cover their eyes and it's, I won't think about it as being, you know, something that'll throw you off, but you do have to keep that in mind. But there's actually a fair amount more so than when I was young. There's a fair amount of content that isn't bad, that is family friendly, that isn't terrible. There's actually, I would say there is one show that, um, that I would recommend any day of the week to anyone, whether or not you have children, because I love it.
Fritz Coleman (00:06:07):
What is it?
Liane Bonin Starr (00:06:08):
Bluey and it's Australian animated show about a Yes. Bunch of dogs.
Fritz Coleman (00:06:14):
Yes. My grandson, I have a six-year-old grandson that loves that show, and he's watched the episode so many times, he hasn't memorized.
Liane Bonin Starr (00:06:22):
There are more episodes. I think there's two seasons that are in the US so he can keep watching. He loves, there's, there's so many and I feel like the, the parents are really fleshed out. It's funny and the
Fritz Coleman (00:06:33):
Animations, but it's gentle and they treat one another with a respect and nobody yells. It's really a beautiful piece of work.
Liane Bonin Starr (00:06:40):
Louise Palanker (00:06:41):
Good. All right. So let's start making some recommendations. There's a lot of, uh, shows that were on the air before streaming media that if you like, like, like Hill Street Blues or for example, like if you, if a friend would say to you in year four, oh, you're not watching that, you, you'd just be intimidated because am I going to know what, what's going on? Or what had happened and, you know, and now, and you can start from the beginning with anything. So my two favorites from that time period that if you never saw, but you hear them come up in conversation often that people should watch are West Wing and Gilmore Girls. So how about you?
Liane Bonin Starr (00:07:17):
I would watch either of those. Um, I don't think Gilmore Girls has aged as well as I would've hoped, but, um, I still love West Wang. I love anything sort of Aaron Sarish, which I would also tell them to go back if you want some, the shorter chunk. Uh, they're only two seasons of Sports Night. And that was the, the introduction to, to Aaron Serkin. Most of us got.
Louise Palanker (00:07:40):
Oh, that's a good pick.
Fritz Coleman (00:07:41):
Yeah. And you know, streaming television has rippled out to affect all other television, particularly broadcast. I was in the broadcast television business for 40 years and I know the, uh, origin point of the change, and that was House of Cards, which is one of my favorite streaming shows. And, and it was
Liane Bonin Starr (00:07:59):
Business. You can't really watch anymore
Fritz Coleman (00:08:01):
<laugh>. No, no, you can't. No, no. That, that ruined it. But it's still brilliant and it's brilliantly written and, you know, wonderful. But, but the thing about it is the business model changed everything because these companies would buy, go to Netflix and, and, and the production company would get paid for a 10 episode delivery. Yeah. They would deliver them the 10 episodes, they would get their money, and then their obligation was done. They didn't have to sit around and wait to see what the weekly ratings are. And if it only played well for two ratings and then dipped every, it would be canceled for the rest of the season. They made their money up. So it was a, it was a great way for production companies to, to, uh, cash in. But it's killing primetime television on network because the quality is better. There's no more appointment tv, it's just watch when you want, as often as you want, or as slowly as you want. Well,
Louise Palanker (00:08:57):
There's more creative freedom. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So for producers, that was a very attractive
Liane Bonin Starr (00:09:02):
Yeah. There. And I can understand that for a lot of people who are hoping for residuals, if they're on a TV show for six years, that is impossible anymore. Right. So I know the guilds are, are sort of up in arms about it. So it, it's, I I like Netflix. I, I like other streamers more, but I think a lot of the things that they've done are problematic.
Louise Palanker (00:09:26):
Interesting. Yeah. What is the best show that people are missing?
Liane Bonin Starr (00:09:29):
Louise Palanker (00:09:31):
Tell us about that. <laugh>.
Liane Bonin Starr (00:09:33):
Um, it's a Dana show. It's been, it's, it was on p b s for a minute, and now Netflix has it. And I love it unconditionally. And I actually have a recommendation on how to watch it. Um, do not just read the subtitles, do not go with the dubbing, which is, yeah. Terrible. Um, but it's, it's about a female politician. I won't say anything more, but it's smart. It's, it, it will grab you and it will not let you go. It's a great series. So that is speaking
Fritz Coleman (00:10:04):
Of Northern European product. How about Young Wallinger? Do you like that one?
Liane Bonin Starr (00:10:08):
Oh, I haven't watched on Young Wallinger.
Fritz Coleman (00:10:10):
It's really good. It's like Bosch, but with young Honer guys. All right. And it's, it, it's, but it's great. It's a slow procedural. It's not, it doesn't have the short American attention span edited into it. It, it just allows things to evolve at their own pace. And it's really good. Well shot. I like it.
Liane Bonin Starr (00:10:27):
Yeah, I mean, there's some really good stuff. And, you know, to go back to Netflix, one of the, the assets of Netflix is they have got a lot of content from all over the world. Netflix is everywhere. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And if you search around for stuff, you can find it. You know, obviously Squid Game came up and was huge, but they have more content than that as far as South Korean content. And, um, I think they had Sweet Home for a minute. They had some stuff that was really like weird and totally unexpected and worth watching, so. Hmm.
Louise Palanker (00:10:59):
Yeah. And maybe it's, does Netflix have a, have a, um, timeframe within which you have to watch things before they're taken down? Like, are, are things purchased for a three year period of time? Or, so you have to find things and then where do they go when they leave Netflix? Are they just gone?
Liane Bonin Starr (00:11:16):
You come through streamers, streamer, <laugh>, nothing goes away. Right. Um, that is what I've found. It'll go onto, um, if it doesn't go, it doesn't usually go to Apple. It'll go to, maybe it'll go to Amazon, maybe it'll go to, um, I think there's a couple other that are pre or low priced. I mean, like, you can find everything. Nothing ever goes away anymore.
Fritz Coleman (00:11:38):
And you know what they do that really makes me mad. They misrepresent the freshness of the product. You go into Netflix and it says new releases, and they have something that's been up there for nine years. And the new release category, that drives me nuts.
Louise Palanker (00:11:51):
Yeah. Maybe it may. Is it new to Netflix?
Fritz Coleman (00:11:54):
Louise Palanker (00:11:55):
Liane Bonin Starr (00:11:55):
Louise Palanker (00:11:56):
No, it's like, like breaking news, really. This is not breaking news. Yeah. So I, I what, um, if people are on a limited budget, what streaming services should they have?
Liane Bonin Starr (00:12:08):
Disney Plus? Um, and, and it also depends on who you are. Okay. Like if you have a family, Disney Plus and Dun, honestly. Um, and I hon as far as new content for adults, I actually have been watching a lot of, which I was surprised by a lot of Apple. Apple Plus. Um, I really like, I don't know if you've been watching Severance, but it has a wonderful surprise. Like, I think in episode four or five, um, as far as casting and I, I was hooked on that one. And it's, it's pretty short from what I can tell. I don't know if there's a second season, um, as far as other networks, other streamers to definitely get, um, God, I don't know. Like,
Fritz Coleman (00:12:59):
It's, how about Hulu? Isn't it less expensive because of the commercials?
Liane Bonin Starr (00:13:02):
That's true. You ca you do have a, I think there are a couple places that have like a commercial option for cheaper stuff. And I think for Peacock it's so inexpensive. It's like, it's a no-brainer to just get Peacock. You just throw it into your mix. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, but as far, and I'm, I'm, I would say Netflix because they have so much content, but they have a lot fewer mo uh, movies than they used to. Hmm. So it's, it really depends what you're interested in and what you wanna see. Um, but Hulu, I mean, that's great for pretty much everything. And they do have live television as an option. So
Fritz Coleman (00:13:41):
They have a great series, like Dope Sick and The Dropout. They do great. Like, based on reality series that I really enjoy Draw that draw me immediately over to Hulu.
Liane Bonin Starr (00:13:52):
Yeah. I, I, I'm don't, I'm not mad at Hulu.
Fritz Coleman (00:13:56):
Louise Palanker (00:13:57):
Yeah. And I like that on Hulu. I, I, and I can't keep track of where to find things, but I like that on Hulu you can find Survivor and American Idol.
Liane Bonin Starr (00:14:06):
Uh, yeah. I'm surprised. Is it like, I actually have a hard time going back to reality shows. Even like, you know, the great, uh, British Bake off with some of those, I'm like, oh, I know who wins. I don't wanna watch
Fritz Coleman (00:14:20):
Louise Palanker (00:14:21):
<laugh>. Well, for me, I, I like it if, if it's a contest. I like seeing the gameplay on Survivor and Big Brothers. So I'm kind of like, we're all different, right? We all have, we all, you are drawn to different types of content. And on American Idol, it's, you know, it's all about Lionel, right? From, I mean, it, and I just like watching people who happen to be very good at something like singing, get a chance to show us what they can do. So
Liane Bonin Starr (00:14:45):
Yes, I guess I, and I mean, for me, I like full, uh, I don't know. You ever watch Fools with Penn and Teller? Um, because I, I'm a member of the Magic Castle, so Oh. Seeing a certain number of the people who rotate through, I'm like, oh, I've seen you and I know you and <laugh>, you know,
Fritz Coleman (00:15:03):
I know your tricks.
Louise Palanker (00:15:04):
Oh, that's how, that's great. Yeah. I like people who are good at what they do and, you know, and these people on American Idol, they can't bake. You know, they're, they're not trying to bake the boy. They, they can sing, they can sing. Maybe they can bake and sing, you know.
Fritz Coleman (00:15:16):
Alright. I'm gonna give you my list of the best streaming shows of all time. And in your next, a additional publication of this book, you can include it at Note Charge
Liane Bonin Starr (00:15:24):
Fritz Coleman (00:15:25):
But now if I could get your in perimeter on this and get you to sign off for at least React not negatively to my list, it'll really make me feel better as you.
Louise Palanker (00:15:32):
Right. So before he reads his list, what you're gonna say at the end of the list is, my goodness, Fritz, what? Excellent taste.
Liane Bonin Starr (00:15:38):
Ooh. Okay. My goodness. Fritz, what? Excellent taste. Don't,
Fritz Coleman (00:15:41):
Don't put words in her mouth. Let it come from a real place. <laugh>. I think The Crown is the best show ever on television streaming or otherwise. I really do. Every episode is a movie. So The Crown is my number one pick.
Liane Bonin Starr (00:15:52):
I do like the Crown
Fritz Coleman (00:15:53):
Queen's Gambit Bosch on Amazon Prime. Pretend it's a city. The friend Leitz interviewed by Mark Scorsese. Okay. Yellowstone on Paramount House of Cards. Dope. Sick on Hulu, inventing Anna the Dropout. Super pumped. Those are my best streamers of all time.
Liane Bonin Starr (00:16:11):
Why, Fred? You have excellent taste. Yeah.
Fritz Coleman (00:16:13):
See, that's what I'm saying. That's, thank you for that quasi.
Louise Palanker (00:16:17):
All right. So let's talk about the recent one. He just mentioned super pumped. Is that yes or no?
Liane Bonin Starr (00:16:23):
Um, yes. Let's go up. Yes.
Louise Palanker (00:16:25):
Because do you, is it about an obnoxious person?
Fritz Coleman (00:16:28):
It is about the most intensely obnoxious human on the planet, but beautifully played by Joseph Gordon Levit.
Louise Palanker (00:16:34):
And I love him, but is it tolerable? Are there other people in there that you can root
Fritz Coleman (00:16:38):
For? No, no. I just wanna ring his neck through every episode. And But you, you hang for the thing because you wanna see him get his comeuppance. Cuz I guess he gets blown out as a ceo Right? And they bring somebody else in. I don't know. But you, you're waiting for that to happen. So
Louise Palanker (00:16:51):
You're rooting for him to hang, just like, you know. Yes. We wanted Trump marched outta the White House in handcuffs. Yes. Okay. Got it.
Liane Bonin Starr (00:16:57):
So you should watch re crashed as well
Louise Palanker (00:17:00):
Liane Bonin Starr (00:17:00):
Talk about it that he really wanna hang which one we crashed, which is the story of WeWork failure. And Jared Lado is the Oh, right,
Fritz Coleman (00:17:08):
Right. Oh my god. Gosh. I'll take, what is that? Is that on Netflix?
Liane Bonin Starr (00:17:13):
Um, a I think it's on Apple.
Fritz Coleman (00:17:17):
Louise Palanker (00:17:18):
So is this the latest thing, Liane, watching these tech geniuses be horrible a track to their, okay. Yeah. So what's coming next?
Liane Bonin Starr (00:17:28):
Um, I think we have, it's already on, is the, um, the story of Elizabeth Holmes and I, I think there's several permutations of that.
Fritz Coleman (00:17:36):
The, the Dropout is great with Amanda Siegfried. She, her, she even looks like almost identical to this woman.
Liane Bonin Starr (00:17:42):
And I think she did the Deep Voice too.
Fritz Coleman (00:17:45):
Louise Palanker (00:17:46):
Ooh. Yeah. That voice,
Liane Bonin Starr (00:17:47):
That creepy weird. She's
Louise Palanker (00:17:49):
Like, kind of like, she's
Fritz Coleman (00:17:49):
Really, really good.
Louise Palanker (00:17:50):
Almost like she's possessed.
Liane Bonin Starr (00:17:52):
And I think you could even, you could throw dope sick into that cause it does. Yes. Focus on the Sackler family. Yes.
Louise Palanker (00:17:59):
Liane Bonin Starr (00:17:59):
I hope you already mentioned <laugh>. Yeah. I really like that too. I liked it for Michael Keaton.
Fritz Coleman (00:18:05):
I was so happy. It was a beautiful role for him. Yeah. Especially when you get in the throes of his addiction and everything. It was just a great acting thing for him. And then it's another thing he wanted to see the Sacklers go to Siberia into a gulag for the rest of their lives,
Liane Bonin Starr (00:18:19):
Which you don't get quite <laugh>. Yeah. You don't really get that satisfaction in the show. No, but I was okay with it, like mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I, I was, I wanted that. I didn't get it. And we didn't real life either, so
Louise Palanker (00:18:32):
They took their name off buildings. Yay. They were punished. <laugh>. All right. So we're get, we have the Oscars coming this weekend. Yes. What should people see? Because I know I like watching the telecast having seen a lot of, so that I understand the inside Hollywood jokes. And so what should people see to prepare themselves for the, for the Oscar tv show?
Liane Bonin Starr (00:18:52):
Part of the dog, in part because it's really easy <laugh> because it's right there on Netflix. <laugh>. Right. You don't have to go to a theater. Um, you know, one of the, the bonuses this year is for many of the streaming, um, shows that were for nominated, they didn't have to have any kind of theatrical release. They could just go straight. Oh. And that was this year and last year. And it, it's a pandemic, you know? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, it, you know, inclusion mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. That rule. I'm, I'm assuming they'll lift it after the, the pandemic is considered over, but yeah. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So, um, but I would say Power of the Dog or, and, um, maybe King Richard.
Louise Palanker (00:19:32):
Liane Bonin Starr (00:19:32):
Fritz Coleman (00:19:33):
You know, so good. The brilliance of that movie is how did they find these young women who were not only spectacular actors, but great tennis players. They must have called 10,000 people to find those kids. They were unbelievable. Yeah. Unbelievable. They were
Liane Bonin Starr (00:19:50):
Great. Yeah. And I, I think, you know, will Smith is like, he's a favorite to win best actor. Um, wow. And then Jessica Chastain, I don't feel there's been a lot of talk about the eyes of Tammy Faye, but Right. That kind of just totally remaking herself. She is unrecognizable mm-hmm. <affirmative> in that role. And I think that's, you know, that's worth watching. And I'm sure there are going to be a lot of jokes,
Fritz Coleman (00:20:13):
<laugh>. And if you, if you wanna, if you wanna realize the brilliance of her performance, you should watch the documentary about Tammy Faye first, and then watch it and see the, the incredible similarities and, uh, how they dramatize. It was great. Right.
Louise Palanker (00:20:27):
Liane Bonin Starr (00:20:27):
Foster likes anything where there's a transformation and she is mm-hmm. <affirmative> totally transformed.
Louise Palanker (00:20:32):
Yes. Yep. They like crying and drooling <laugh>. So <laugh>, if you can bring that, bring it in general, uh, what are some shows that people would really love that they can just turn to that page in your book and, and read about? Oh my God.
Liane Bonin Starr (00:20:45):
Into my God, we divided things up into sections. Um, I will go, keep going back to Borgan mm-hmm. <affirmative>, because I do love that show so much. Borgan, Borgan, Borgan, B O R G E N, Borgan, um, severance. I've really been enjoying that. And then, um, you know, like I, I, this is so hard. This is like picking favorite children. It's really not fair. I really enjoy Boys The Boys, um, which is, what's that? Which Amazon Prime, which is sort of a revisionist take on superheroes, which I just think is delicious and crazy and over the top and fun. And, um, God, I, uh, and I, I want it to be better than it is, but it's such a great concept as Kevin can f himself
Fritz Coleman (00:21:32):
<laugh>. Okay. Which watch this for the title.
Liane Bonin Starr (00:21:36):
Yeah. Yeah. I think there's asterisks or blanks or something, but
Louise Palanker (00:21:40):
It's why, what is up with Kevin that's so disturbing?
Liane Bonin Starr (00:21:43):
It is a, it's basically, it's splitting it into two. It's, you know, part of it is sort of a traditional three camera sitcom with a, a beleaguered wife and a wacky husband who's unattractive and she's attractive. And so they play on all those tropes. And then the other side of it, which is also, um, an play on sort of the misogyny built into all the true crime genre. And so they have, it's such a great idea. They haven't delivered it as well as I would've hoped, but I think it's a really fun idea. And I think there are only two seasons of it. Okay.
Fritz Coleman (00:22:17):
Your book is just awesome. It's so much fun just to leave through it a, a great coffee table book. And I think it'll be a revelation coffee table. Yeah. That's okay.
Louise Palanker (00:22:28):
Well, you may wanna have to reinforce it, but it's, it's not actually that big of a book. You just have to move some time magazines aside and you've got room for it. Yeah. But it's so much fun. And your guests are gonna come sit down and pick it up and leaf through it, and then you'll, they'll come up with ideas of reasons they wanna come back over and watch something together. So it is a, it's not just a great reference guide. It's a, it's a great conversation starter. So, uh, it serves a lot of wonderful purposes. And we're just so thrilled that you spent this time with us, Liane. Yeah.
Liane Bonin Starr (00:22:56):
Well, thanks for having
Fritz Coleman (00:22:57):
Me everyone. Thank you so much. It was fun. Really. A lot of fun. Thanks, Liane.
Louise Palanker (00:23:00):
All right. Take care.
Liane Bonin Starr (00:23:01):
Louise Palanker (00:23:02):
Okay. So, Fritz.
Fritz Coleman (00:23:05):
Louise Palanker (00:23:05):
Are you ready? Have you watched all 10 movies in the best picture category at least?
Fritz Coleman (00:23:09):
Um, I, uh, no, there's one missing. Is Dune in the best picture category? Yes, it's, no, I haven't
Louise Palanker (00:23:16):
Seen that. So I, the only one I haven't watched is the one called something about an alley,
Fritz Coleman (00:23:22):
Louise Palanker (00:23:22):
Alley. Nightmare Alley. Yeah. Have you watched that? I have. Okay. So what is that about
Fritz Coleman (00:23:26):
It? I'm, I'm not sure, but the acting is fantastic. Um, it's just a dark, it's a Nawar movie. Uh, there's, there's no daylight in this movie at all, but it's spectacular performances by, uh, the two leads. And, uh, uh, I, I, I loved it. It's a gorgeous, gorgeous film, and I think it's a remake of a European movie from the forties or fifties. And, uh, so I, I, I liked it. I, it didn't catch me as one that's likely to garner a lot of, uh, awards. Help me with the, what, what's the lead actor's name? I can't remember
Louise Palanker (00:24:00):
His name. I don't know. It's the one I haven't seen. Bradley.
Fritz Coleman (00:24:02):
Bradley Cooper. Right. And then Kate, uh, blanche. And they have a great pod to do in the middle of this thing, and where they use closeups on both of their faces, and they have a, a manipulative love entanglement with empathy. Acting is really good. I think that's the strongest part of the whole film. Plus the lighting and the costumes we're good in that movie
Louise Palanker (00:24:23):
Too. Well, I watched back to back this weekend, west Side story. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, which is all singing, all dancing, all knifing mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And then I went from there to Dune. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> more, more knifing like, could people please stop stabbing each other? No, I'm trying to eat You
Fritz Coleman (00:24:39):
Don't have a movie with that kind
Louise Palanker (00:24:40):
Of stuff? Well, it just, it gets to be a lot of, a lot of like, broy kind of. I, I, I'm just done with people marching into battle. I'm just done. People sit down, have a coffee cake, relax.
Fritz Coleman (00:24:55):
Louise Palanker (00:24:56):
So, yeah, I mean, I liked, I liked the, what? I liked Spielberg's. The photography is insane. It's,
Fritz Coleman (00:25:03):
I, I'll tell you something. I, uh, Spielberg's movie, uh, was like him saying there is not anything in the history of motion pictures that given an opportunity I can't make better. And he made this film more contemporary. I loved it because he was more culturally sensitive in the movie. Like the, in the dialogue there would be a sentence or two of Spanish, then English to sort of give you the flavor of the pattern. Uh, the acting was wonderful. The singing was wonderful, the staging, um, uh, and it was violin, but it was gritty. It was street. It was supposed to be, but I, I, I thought it was, I really loved it. I thought, uh, bef it's one of my favorite movies of all time, the original version. Um, and I thought, how is he, he, this is gonna be either spectacular or it's gonna be a tragedy. And it turned out to be a beautiful remake of this movie. I really loved it.
Louise Palanker (00:25:58):
And look who's with us? It's Joyce.
Fritz Coleman (00:26:00):
Oh my God. Look at, I love your bedspread. That's beautiful.
Louise Palanker (00:26:04):
I, it just like, it looks so warm and sunny in this room. I'm gonna introduce you properly, if that's okay. One of the most recognizable faces on television. Joyce Bulifant is best known for her roles in the Mary Tyler Moore Show Airplane and the Happiest Millionaire. Joyce is also such a delightful personality. She was a regular on the favorite game shows of our childhood, the match game, Hollywood squares, tattle tales, et cetera. And with there was much going on beneath the surface, she was grappling with a lonely childhood dyslexia, codependency, and through it all, exhibiting a resilient insistence on finding her true north. Her story is beautifully documented in my new favorite book, my four Hollywood Husbands by Joyce Bulifant, there is so much to worship in this book. Helen Hayes was your mother-in-law. Lillian Gish was your godmother. And your love story with Roger is all about two people who had to first find themselves before they could be happy together. And we would love for you to talk about that with us.
Joyce Bulifant (00:27:01):
Well, thank you,
Fritz Coleman (00:27:02):
<laugh>. Well, you know, I, I, uh, I I was grabbed by your book for a number of reasons, because alcohol is the overarching theme in my life with parents and grandparents and everything. And I was really moved by your description of some of these scenarios. But also, I grew up 30 miles from your school in New Hope, Pennsylvania. I grew up in a community called Wayne, Pennsylvania, which was southwest of New Hope, Uhhuh <affirmative>. But we used to go to the Bucks County Playhouse, which was one of the preeminent summer stock theaters in the United States. And I learned about your Salisbury school. So is it called Salisbury School?
Joyce Bulifant (00:27:37):
Fritz Coleman (00:27:38):
And that's where I met your first, anyway, I, I ca I geographically connected to you even before I read your story. So it was fun.
Louise Palanker (00:27:45):
One kind of clarification that I would ask is that you wind up at that school because your mother, your stepfather had the kind of money, cuz all of a sudden you're, you're a, you're, you're kind of almost an orphan. And then you're at a fancy school going out with James MacArthur. Like, I know <laugh>. What happened?
Joyce Bulifant (00:28:01):
I know, well, he wasn't quite my stepfather yet, but he was very much in love with my mother. And I often wondered how I could be taken to SACS and get some school clothes <laugh>. And, and suddenly I was in this lovely, wonderful school. My mother had wanted me to go to Miss Hewitt's school for girls. Oh. And I didn't find out till later that my stepdad, that I called Dad very lovingly, had really taken care of me for all those years, uh, from the time I was in seventh grade. And he said, when I said, you want me to go to a place called Miss Hewitt's School for girls? Forget about it. I just started to like guys <laugh> and he was this co-ed boarding school, but we were a mile apart the girls campus and the boys campus, but we had classes together mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And it was indeed one of the happiest times of my life.
And really, um, was a perfect school for dyslexic me because they had very small classrooms and individual help. And at night, if I needed help with things, I could go to a teacher who was on, uh, duty and ask her for help. And it was just when we were learning about poetry, we, we'd sit out of the field of Dils Oh. And read Long Fellow. And it was very, very good for dyslexic because it had a, um, a MultiSENSE approach to learning mm-hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And that's what dyslexic need, plus the individual health that I needed. Mm-hmm.
Fritz Coleman (00:29:48):
<affirmative>. So you discovered your dyslexia at a fairly early age. Wei and I both know people, Henry Winkler, Jay Leno, who were dyslexic but suffered and had to work their way around it, not understanding what this was. That was their problem until they became adults. But you, you discovered it at a fairly young age.
Joyce Bulifant (00:30:06):
No, I didn't, I didn't discover it till I was in my forties. And my youngest son, John Asher, was in a special school for dyslexic. And one day the headmaster guy was working with the children and trying to get them to do theater because I learned to read by doing theater because the words on the page in a play had meaning. And you, you, you moved to the words you you had business to do. And suddenly just, they weren't just black letters on a white page. They were black letters that had feeling and meaning. And I, whenever I lectured all across the United States for the Dyslexia Foundation one year, and I said, teach dyslexia children theater, because you, you learn really words and, and meaning you, it's a multi-sensory approach. I was doing that with the children at Landmark. And the headmaster called me in one day and he said, Joyce, did you have problems in school? And I said, me <laugh>. <laugh>,
Fritz Coleman (00:31:14):
Yes. No, but the reason I brought that up was you, you said that when you were going to that private school, that you had a sense that things were different and you struggled in that area. It sounded like you had an awareness of something
Joyce Bulifant (00:31:26):
Being wrong. I just said I was stupid and Yeah. You know, I really did. And that's the problem with children who grow up, who have a different learning style. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, they grow up with this terrible lack of self-esteem.
Louise Palanker (00:31:40):
Your whole sense of worth is based so much around your grades, no matter how good you are at other things, it all comes back to your grades. And at what year did they start to diagnose dyslexia and make sense of
Joyce Bulifant (00:31:52):
All? Well, when my son was going through, we're trying to figure out why he had trouble, why he couldn't copy from a blackboard, why he had trouble reading, why he had all these different problems in school. Um, they would call it. And I started learning more about it. They called it a garbage term. It's a child who's lazy. They're not trying, you know, every school, every school, every child goes to school wanting to get a gold star or a smiley face or a, they don't go to school to fail. And when they're in school and they're not doing well, they can't leave and get another job. They're stuck. Yeah. Yeah. And I liked calling it a teaching disability because people didn't understand.
Louise Palanker (00:32:44):
Ha ha. I love that.
Fritz Coleman (00:32:45):
Did your dyslexia make it harder for you to memorize dialogue?
Joyce Bulifant (00:32:49):
Not so much memorized dialogue, but spelling was impossible. And you mentioned the match came. Yeah. Uh, and I looked like a complete dummy on that because I couldn't spell the words and you had to hold up the sign and still, like
Louise Palanker (00:33:07):
Oron be where you draw
Joyce Bulifant (00:33:08):
A picture. Anything I could think of that might work. Right. And it always seemed a little askew. And that's because I was afraid and embarrassed to hold up something I couldn't spell.
Louise Palanker (00:33:21):
Right. Right. Right. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> And talk about when you went to see your dad in Florida after not having seen him for 17 years. And that was a, that was just a beautiful, heartbreaking description of you coming full circle and, and, and getting this, uh, epiphany.
Joyce Bulifant (00:33:38):
Well was because I had been divorced twice and I thought, oh boy, this is awful. I was getting some counseling cuz I was so down on myself. And my counselor said, I think you should go see your, your daddy. I differentiate. Daddy is my biological father. Got it. Dad was my stepfather. Got it. One was a diamond and one was a diamond in the rough mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but they were both diamonds. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I was very lucky. But when I saw my daddy, I asked him, we were drying dishes, he was washing, I was drying. And I said, do you mind telling me what happened? Why you and my mother were divorced? Cuz I was so young and, and I've been trying to go to therapy and find out, not make the same mistake again. And she thought I needed to know, and I wonder if you wouldn't mind telling me.
And he said it happened when he was, he was a wonderful craftsman. And he worked in the shipyard in Newport News, Virginia and Bill chips during the war. And then he was promoted and we moved to Jacksonville and he was in charge of a thousand men. And he couldn't write the reports, he said, and he would go into his supervisor and he said, well, let me tell you what happened with this guy in the, let me tell you. And they'd say, Irvin, you've gotta write it down. And he said, no, no, I'll, I'll, I'll tell you what's much better if I tell. And they got after him and they said, you can lose your job. You've gotta write the reports. And he said he started drinking. And he said it made it very hard on, he said, when he was telling me it made it very hard on your poor mommy. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, um, and that's why we got divorced. And I showed him the film I did called Gifts of Greatness. Wow. All about Einstein Edison, Hans Christian Anderson. And I, uh, and he said, sitting there watching with his, he had three daughters, um, and me. And he said, that's my problem. I couldn't read and write. And his family,
Fritz Coleman (00:35:49):
Oh my gosh.
Joyce Bulifant (00:35:50):
Remember his family said, what, what are you kidding? What are you talking about? He said, no, I have a terrible time reading I can't spell. And I had a few letters from him when I was in, uh, foster care. And, but you could see where he's erased and erased and written over the, the words. Wow. And, uh, it is something that, uh, the the hidden ha the hidden, um, heritage of it.
Fritz Coleman (00:36:20):
The, there's a hereditary component.
Joyce Bulifant (00:36:22):
He hidden heirloom
Fritz Coleman (00:36:23):
<laugh>. I have a very similar, uh, set of circumstances, and I won't make this about me, but I I I'm just, um, it's just resonating with me so much what you're saying and making that discovery. My older son has had, had more intensely but has a d d. Right. And we got 'em diagnosed and went through this whole program. And certain triggers happen in the school where they're given longer to take tests and they can take tests separately and all those things. And this school where he went, had a six week program for the parents of a a d d children to teach you about it and how to react to it as a parent. So I went to the school religiously for six weeks, and at the end of the six week program, I went up to the teacher and I said, I want to thank you. I learned a little bit about my son, but I learned everything about my, myself, <laugh>, I just, you were, you, you weren't just describing my son's struggles. You were describing me. And, and, uh, it you, you finally put a face on this thing. And it was a revelation to me. You
Joyce Bulifant (00:37:25):
Need I understand. Exactly.
Fritz Coleman (00:37:26):
And, and, and I had to do the same. My, my parents misdiagnosed it. They, they used to say there was no such thing as a d d when I couldn't learn what I was supposed to, they called it reading comprehension. He has low reading comprehension. They sent me to speed reading classes and all this nonsense that did nothing. But then, you know, years later when it was too late to do me any good, I discovered in my son's class that there's a hereditary component to it. And then of course I went and apologized to my son for giving him a d d and, but we had a better relationship. Right.
Joyce Bulifant (00:37:55):
You know, a lot of that goes hand in hand with dyslexia.
Fritz Coleman (00:37:59):
Yes. It's all in the same fringe.
Joyce Bulifant (00:38:00):
My son would sit, I, I'd go to the class and watch him, so, and he'd do like this mm-hmm. <affirmative> with the pencil and, and look him around. Oh yeah. When I thought, oh boy, he's not getting this at all. But he was, you know, just to explain it, if you are driving the car and you get sleepy, what do you do? You tap on the steering wheel, you roll the windows down, you do anything to keep yourself away. That's what a lot of a d d children are doing. That's how they pay attention. They need that movement. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>.
Louise Palanker (00:38:36):
It's hard. Yeah. Well, it's, for me, I'll probably also add d d but for me, you know, you, we recall Daydreamers, we would think about things that were more interesting than this arithmetic, you know, because my, I had a big imagination, so there was always something I could be thinking about that wasn't that. So maybe that kind of stimulation, you know, keeps you in the moment, you know where you are. And I get that
Fritz Coleman (00:39:00):
Exactly. You know, anyway, it was a hereditary component to yours and it probably was a great release for you knowing that there was a biological reason why you had this.
Joyce Bulifant (00:39:09):
Oh my God. Absolutely. It's so, you know, um, it, it's just so important. And so many adults have grown up with parents saying, you know, they're big c e o people and, and very successful people. And they're saying, what, what's wrong with you? Why can't you get it? You know? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I had trouble in school, but I got, but they don't realize they had a special tutor. They now have a secretary, I mean, speak Stephen Cannell, a prolific writer. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, his secretary said, you know, it'd be easier in if he just fell over the keys instead of trying to
Fritz Coleman (00:39:46):
Louise Palanker (00:39:47):
I was thinking that maybe that was the original reason for dictation. And you know, a lot of these guys that would big wigs had someone that would type it up for them.
Joyce Bulifant (00:39:55):
Louise Palanker (00:39:57):
So, um, dyslexic master the Art of the workaround, and you were masterful at employing the workaround in all aspects of your life. Your book tells of much smiling and remodeling, which are wonderful, but they don't get to the root of the problem. And that is what you needed to figure out. And you did that in, in a lot of different ways. You know, you were determined to figure, to figure this, this thing out called happiness. So talk about that a little bit. And, and the revelations and your daughter helped you by fir first going to Betty Ford for being just a family member of an alcoholic. Correct?
Joyce Bulifant (00:40:33):
Yes. That was, well, my daughter Mary, she was, I just give her so much credit. You know, the, the alcoholism, how it affects children, uh, is the thing that upsets me the most as a mother who married alcoholics and brought that to my children. And being codependent feeds into the disease of alcoholism. And I learned so much. Mary went to Betty Ford Family Week on her own with her own money when she was 20 years old. And she would call me and she'd say, mom, I think I'm helping the parents with the who had children here. I think I'm being helpful. And I said, that's great, honey. Every night she'd call and report what she'd learned, what she was doing. And the last night she called and she said, mom, you know what I've learned? I've learned that I am a good person. Oh man. Oh my God. I was just, my heart just broke and said, don't do that way. I can't hug you
Fritz Coleman (00:41:39):
Joyce Bulifant (00:41:39):
But that's the problem. Having an alcoholic father who belittles you and says, what's wrong with you? Why are you acting stupid? Why are they Well, that it, that hurt doesn't go away. No. And and for me as a person, that's the hardest, hardest thing in my life is that I have three children who had fathers who were alcoholics and, and the hurt they will carry with them all their life.
Fritz Coleman (00:42:09):
But the one thing, uh, not in your favor, but the one thing that sort of helps, one to understand the situation you find yourself in is back when your first two husbands James. And
Joyce Bulifant (00:42:23):
Fritz Coleman (00:42:24):
<laugh>. No, please don't, you know what people are gonna take so much away from this. There's so much interesting information in your book about people that have exactly the same circumstance. I think that's the value of your book. I really do. It's really wonderful. You were so honest about that. And I think there's a lot to be learned. And I have alcohol, alcoholism throughout my family, but the, the, uh, the, the thing that was missing from your life at those early stages was Al-Anon, Al-Anon wasn't even a thing back then, which is a 12 step program for the family and peripheral people in the lives of an alcoholic that help them. And it's so invaluable. And that's where you learn, you're codependent. That's when you learn what you bring to the equation. So you exactly didn't have the benefit of that back in the fifties and sixties.
Joyce Bulifant (00:43:08):
Yes, exactly. And, uh, and you didn't talk about, you didn't talk about, you didn't dare I wouldn't, I remember when Jimmy and I got divorced, um, I went to this attorney way downtown in Los Angeles. A little guy didn't charge much and I wasn't, and Jimmy was not being very nice about the whole thing. And, uh, different magazines, fan magazines and Time Magazine even, they wanted an interview. And I said to the lawyer, you don't say anything. I was still protecting Jimmy right up to the end. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, which maybe would've helped him to say, wait a minute, you know, this is what happened. Uh, but I wanted to always protect and take care of and nurture my problem was my ego said, if I love an alcoholic and I take care of them mm-hmm. They're gonna be just fine. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, they just need my love. <laugh>,
Fritz Coleman (00:44:06):
Let's run. But the flip side of what you're saying is, and I found one of the most moving things in the book, and it was something I practiced in my own divorce, uh, was that you never say anything negative about the other parent because it will come back to haunt you and you protected the children that way. And I think it, it, it, i, it, it took until my sons and I got divorced when they were three and one until they were 18, when they finally came to me and said, we appreciate Yes. Uh, that you protecting us from your ill feelings about mom and we understand. And it was a great release for me.
Joyce Bulifant (00:44:43):
You're absolutely right. I would say that's the most important thing, uh, for parents, uh, to not talk ill of the other parent. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and, and luckily my children, they're all wonderful, healthy, have wonderful lives, and I they've struggled with, with everything and with their mother <laugh>. And they, they've just come out on the other side. They've brought all on their own into their life. Wonderful children. And they're terrific. I'm very blessed in that way cuz I sure, um, have looked at other families who've had the same circumstances and the children just can't make it.
Louise Palanker (00:45:27):
Well, I think that you can give yourself a lot of credit there. First of all, if we're, if we're just gonna be, you know, big picture about this, if you hadn't been with those men, you would not have those exact children. And you know this Second of all, I I think one of my kind of takeaways from your book was that it's possible that toxic masculinity is, uh, passed down from father to son. And it could be that, you know, Helen wasn't able to protect Jimmy from his father the way you were able to temper and buffer your children from, from Jimmy. What, what are your thoughts about that?
Joyce Bulifant (00:46:05):
Well, I, um, that's a good point. It was very hard because Jimmy and I had been sweetheart since we were 16. And I, his mom and I were just, she was like my mother. She was, I called her mom and she would, sometimes when she'd introduce me, she'd say, this is my daughter, Mary Joyce. And cause she had lost her daughter Mary. Oh, wow. Uh, when she was 19. And our relationship was all through the book, I think you can tell it's, um, very up and down and very loving and very, um, meaningful. Um, I, I do a play called remembering Helen Hayes with Love. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And that's all with that. I, I loved her very much. Um, but it was tumultuous. And I forgot your question,
Louise Palanker (00:46:56):
<laugh>. I'm just wondering, I'm just wondering if, if let's say Charles MacArthur, Jimmy's father wa was calling him, you know, a, a little fairy or an idiot or stupid
Joyce Bulifant (00:47:06):
No, not that, no. He was very close to his father.
Louise Palanker (00:47:08):
So you don't think he picked up how, what made Jimmy Jimmy what made him so mean? You, you talk about how, but before
Joyce Bulifant (00:47:15):
Alcohol first Jimmy was adopted. Okay. And that always, I think plays into a little bit of, of a problem of lack of self-worth. And then he had a sister, um, he and, uh, Charlie and, um, and Helen had a daughter, Mary MacArthur, who died at 19. And he was very close to her. And, um, I I think that, I don't know, maybe having a very famous mother, um, and just not feeling worthy of maybe being in that family. He didn't ever wanna know anything about his biological family. He liked being the son of Helen Hayes and Charles MacArthur. Now his role model. And some people think that Charles McArthur was his biological father. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, which could be, which means Helen did an incredible thing taking another woman's baby with her husband and raising it. If that's true, we don't know the truth. Um, but Charlie was a womanizer and Charlie was an alcoholic.
And I think that, I did not realize this until I was doing the play, remembering Helen Hayes. And I was also working on my book and the editor of my book, I, I got to the part where Helen says, I don't think you should marry Jimmy. He's not good enough for you. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I said to the editor, I, I had such a hard time writing that, and I thought it was maybe why Jimmy was the way he was because he didn't feel loved or, and I, I remember saying that day to Helen, but if, if I love him and you love him, he's gonna be fine. He'll be fine. No, he's done some things that aren't you shouldn't do, and by drinking and things when he was young. But if I love him and you love him, he's gonna be fine. And I realize all through our engagement period and everything, she would say these really cutting things to me about Jimmy.
Louise Palanker (00:49:30):
Including, does that mean that she pro that, that she probably said them to him when you weren't present?
Joyce Bulifant (00:49:36):
I don't, I don't know. But um,
Fritz Coleman (00:49:39):
Yeah. Where did that come from? Was she trying to protect you?
Joyce Bulifant (00:49:43):
That's what I think. And I didn't get it until I was talking to the editor. We were so close. I think I really felt she loved me and that she was trying to protect me from having the same life that she had with Charlie, whom she loved very much.
Louise Palanker (00:50:01):
Right. But maybe she wasn't there enough to protect Jimmy from Charlie if he was drunk in the same type of way that Jimmy was over. He
Joyce Bulifant (00:50:10):
Was, she one night got fear furious when Jimmy was drinking. I never saw her, anyone get that angry? It frightened me. And Lil and Geisha was her really good friend, <laugh> mm-hmm. <affirmative>. She said, oh, Darlene, don't worry about her when she's like that. And she has a temper like that. It's just the Irish in her <laugh>
Fritz Coleman (00:50:31):
<laugh>. Let, let me ask you a question about your mother-in-law, Helen Hayes. Uh, uh, I mean, she was not only your mother-in-law, but she was also one of the most iconic figures in the, uh, career that you had chosen for yourself. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So that was a hell of a amount of pressure on you. First of all, all mothers in-Law of Sons are judgmental from the get-go. But was she judgmental of your career or was she supportive of your career?
Joyce Bulifant (00:50:59):
She was very, uh, well, she was supportive when I was, uh, she only gave me one note ever, one acting note <laugh>. And that was when I was doing my graduation play at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. I was playing, I was in the hat full of rain. I was playing very serious person. And before they'd always cast me in comedies. And her only remark, and I'll never forget it because it has to do with life, she said, whatever you are doing, no matter how serious it is or how serious a person you're playing, don't forget the funny Bone <laugh>. And I think, and that was gonna be the name of my book at the beginning, it had many titles. It certainly didn't have my four Hollywood husbands <laugh>. I took a whole nother turn. Okay. But, um, she was very supportive until I was married and had two children. And I called her on my birthday and I said, mom, you're not gonna believe what just happened. But I just got the lead in a Broadway play. And there was a long pause and she said, how dare you? And it was like, somebody sucked me in the stomach. I said, what, what do you mean? And she said, how dare you go out and leave your children. And Jimmy,
Louise Palanker (00:52:29):
That's kind of what made me feel like it was, it was mm-hmm. <affirmative> that she wasn't home enough. That, that she kind of was worried about that. That's what happened to Jimmy was that she could have done more. I don't know. I just, I
Joyce Bulifant (00:52:43):
Think that's exactly what it was. She just, yeah. She just saw me falling into the pattern of her life. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> that had made her unhappy. The parts of it. I mean, she dearly loved Charlie. Oh boy. She was crazy. Who wouldn't? He was wonderful guy and fun and everything. And, and Jimmy was the same way, but she was very protective of me. But it didn't come out like that.
Louise Palanker (00:53:10):
It came out mean, like it came out like it was scolding.
Joyce Bulifant (00:53:13):
Oh, yes. Yeah. That was the Irish Iner <laugh>
Louise Palanker (00:53:17):
Fritz Coleman (00:53:18):
Okay. So you're talking about patterns. Let's look at the pattern of marrying three alcoholics in a row. And as you reflect back, and you've done a lot of work on yourself, emotional and psychological work on yourself, uh, do you see the selection of these husbands as a subconscious way to sort of revisit something from earlier in your life, your, your relationship with your dad or something like that? Well,
Joyce Bulifant (00:53:40):
That's a very interesting question. Um, I just, I loved all of them. Um, but I knew that I couldn't have a life with them, uh, because it wasn't healthy. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but that took a lot of learning. Uh, I, I don't know. That's a good question. I wondered that. And, um, and I don't ever remember seeing my father, my daddy drunk. Um, and I, I don't know, he was very sensitive. He had a voice, a singing voice, like Bing Crosby, he was just sing to me as a little girl. I remember him taking me out and walking and singing, and I just thought he was, so, there's something about the alcoholics that I did marry the very sensitive mm-hmm. <affirmative> Creative,
Fritz Coleman (00:54:32):
They're like an open wound. My older son struggles with addiction. He's the most sensitive person in the world. He's almost too sensitive for the planet. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Exactly. And so he would anesthetize himself. So to not have these feelings,
Joyce Bulifant (00:54:43):
And I thought I could be the nurse, nurse Knight. Sure,
Louise Palanker (00:54:47):
Sure. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, because in, in so many areas of your life, you are, you know, you, you are a maker and a doer and a healer, and you're all these wonderful things. But I'm wondering if you think that alcoholics have a knack for identifying co-dependence when they're seeking
Joyce Bulifant (00:55:02):
A department? Oh, I'm sure they do. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, they say there's one <laugh>, you know? Yeah. I always thought if I went into a room with a thousand people and one alcoholic, I just <laugh> ram onto 'em just like that.
Fritz Coleman (00:55:15):
Yeah. Cause you're the path resistance.
Joyce Bulifant (00:55:18):
And a lot of my girlfriends have drinking problems or had or passed away. And
Fritz Coleman (00:55:24):
Your, your, your father was not, uh, even if he did have a drinking problem, and you, you said you discovered that later having reunited with him after 17 years, and he told you the story, but, uh, but, um, he, he wasn't verbally and psychologically abusive. Like James was your first husband. He wasn't daddy, your, your
Louise Palanker (00:55:41):
Joyce Bulifant (00:55:42):
Oh, no, no, no, no, no.
Fritz Coleman (00:55:44):
And, and you said a very interesting quote in your book about, uh, about this type of abuse. You said verbal abuse is so different because you can't see the scars, but they never go away.
Joyce Bulifant (00:56:01):
Exactly. And I can see it in my, my children. I can see them try trying so hard to, to be Charlie, to be the hero, uh, Mary, to be the nurse, and, and John, my youngest to be the clown. Um, I, I, and they, I, I, I'm always telling them how proud I am. I'm, I, I could cry, um, that they've overcome so much. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> so much. My daughter to me today was talking about somebody she was worried about. And she said, I know mom, just like you say, every soul has its own journey. <laugh>. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I wish I had, um, been the one to come up with that, but it was a Tibetan book of living and dying that kind of helps me with the bad things that happen to people are things they have to go through, that every soul does have its own journey
Louise Palanker (00:57:05):
Within that. Can you talk a little bit about your love story with Roger? Because it, it, it did feel like you both
Joyce Bulifant (00:57:10):
I, my love story with Roger,
Louise Palanker (00:57:11):
It's, it's mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it's so beautiful. And, and, and it's, it's just such a, a gift of learning about one when we're ready for each other. And, uh, and you both did a ton of work to become ready for each other. Talk, talk
Joyce Bulifant (00:57:27):
About that. Yes, it's true. And I, that's nice of you to recognize that. Um, well, we, we did a pilot together in 1962, by the way, when Roger was alive, he'd say, Joyce takes two hours to tell this story. I can tell him 15 minutes. <laugh>
Louise Palanker (00:57:45):
<laugh>. I love that. It sounds like 90%
Joyce Bulifant (00:57:47):
Of relationship you there with me. I promised not to bore you with two hours. Um, and it is, that love story is all through the book. Yes. But we did meet in 1962, we did a pilot together. I was unhappily married. He was getting separated. There was never a word spoken about the attraction, but boy, it was thick. It was in the air. I was afraid to go to work. I thought, oh, boy, is he gonna see this written all over me that I just think he's the most wonderful person? And then one day I said, I know what it is. I'm absolutely crazy. He's in the, in the pilot we're doing, he's playing this young, wonderful, caring husband. It, it's, I don't even know the man. Get over it, Joyce. And then the producers would have us in and they'd say, oh, the chemistry between the two of you, and I wanna say, be quiet.
Don't say that. People. And then I went away afterwards and I thought, what am I gonna do if the show sells? This'll be, how am I gonna deal with that? It didn't. And I was sad, but I was with Jimmy, and one day we were, uh, both under contract at Universal, and he was doing a show called Arrest and Trial. And I was doing one called, it was a Tom, Dick and Mary. And our trailers were right. Uh, the stages were right next to each other, and we'd always make excuses to go back and forth, <laugh>. And it was always, I think he is coming to see me and he'd say, hi, Joyce. I have a friend who's doing the show this week. And go, oh, <laugh>. And then I make an excuse to go over to his head, hi Joyce, and say hi, you know, the copy is so much better on your set, <laugh>, but nothing, you know, just this thing.
And then one day he knocked on my trailer and he said, um, I have something to tell you. And I thought, he's gonna tell me that he loves me. I should leave Jimmy and we're gonna run off and get married and everything's gonna be great. And he said, congratulate me. I'm having a baby. It's like, oh God. What I mean? And to this, we said, often I kept saying, what made you come and tell me that? He said, I felt I had to tell you mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And he'd gone back with his wife and had a baby. So what did I do? I went off to England with Jimmy was doing the Bedford insulin. And I thought, well, Roger can have a baby. I can have a baby <laugh>. So, so I had married mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So that was all wonderful. But finally when things were so bad in my marriage with Jimmy, and we were divorced, uh, Roger and I dated for a year, and we had so much fun.
We went camping with the children. We, it was just wonderful until he wanted to move in with me and have a baby and not be married. And it was, I was very square about those things. And I said, I, I have no way. And they got a little testy between us. And so he said, one night we went out to dinner, opened the car door across from me and said, uh, goodbye forever. Wow. And I thought, well, I guess I pushed him. I was kept saying, what are you gonna do with your career? All this? And, and then I was very, very sad. And he thought he'd come back six months later and I would be fine, and we'd be together forever. But instead, I married one of his best friends.
Fritz Coleman (01:01:25):
Joyce Bulifant (01:01:26):
And that served him. Right.
Fritz Coleman (01:01:29):
<laugh> <laugh>. There, there's another thing. And I, I, I love to see the smile break out in your face when you're talking about the great love of your life, Roger. But I do wanna reflect, because again, as I mentioned before, I think there's so much to learn from your experiences and what people would take away from this book. Another time when I really felt your pain and your, um, horror was when you, you had joint custody of, uh, Charlie and Mary with Jim. And then he would be working on Hawaii five Oh and Hawaii or whatever he was working on there. And you had to relinquish your children, sending him back to this man who had been verbally and physically abusive and wondering if your kids were gonna be safe. But there was nothing you could do about it because you had joint custody. So I just felt so much for you in that moment, having to wave goodbye to him on the plane as they're taking off
Joyce Bulifant (01:02:20):
Her dad's house. It was terrible. My mother ended up moving over there.
Louise Palanker (01:02:24):
<laugh>, I love that
Joyce Bulifant (01:02:24):
Story. And, uh, getting an apartment. Yeah. Which she could look right into.
Fritz Coleman (01:02:28):
Jimmy. That's fantastic. Mom.
Joyce Bulifant (01:02:31):
He came out one morning. Hi, Jimmy. Oh, that's great. Yeah. Dan came the vice <laugh>. Wow.
Fritz Coleman (01:02:40):
But you know what? She didn't have to say anything more, cuz that just said, I'm over here. Don't mess up. Yeah. <laugh>,
Joyce Bulifant (01:02:47):
It was, it helped. It helped me. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I'd always go over while they were there to visit mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And it, it was, well, I hated it. Mm.
Fritz Coleman (01:02:57):
Was Charlie Everett to reestablish a good relationship with his father? I know he had a break where he ran away from home over there because his dad was being abusive to him and to his new
Joyce Bulifant (01:03:06):
No, he didn't. They loved their father very much as they should. And, um, y you talk about my letting the children go and joint custody, because I didn't have a father in my life, my father mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I thought it was very important that the children did. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and I just tried to protect them every way I could when they were with them, right. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I had the same housekeeper go with them. So they had some sense of continuity. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, oh shoot. There I go again. I forgot the question.
Fritz Coleman (01:03:39):
No, it's okay. You made a good point.
Louise Palanker (01:03:40):
Just you, you did answer the question. Yeah. But I, I think we need to talk a little bit about the Mary Tyler Moore show. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and what it was like on the set for you. What was the mood like on the set? Because everybody just wants to have been there with you. <laugh>.
Joyce Bulifant (01:03:53):
<laugh>. That's nice. I wish they all could have been. Yeah. Um, it was, it was incredible because first of all, I have to give credit to the writers. The writers were just wonderful. You go in for a table reading, um, on Monday and everybody be laughing. It'd be wonderful script. And everybody say, oh wow, this is great. And you come back the next day. It was even better. They never stopped right up till shooting date on rewriting, polishing, making it perfect. And the characters, Valerie, the first time I was on the show, she said, if you need any help with your lines, I'm here to help you. And, uh, they all became, they, they all became the characters on the show almost. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, especially Ted Knight, became Ted Baxter <laugh>. He was so funny because I was doing the Bill Cosby show and I was doing another show I was starring in called Love Thy Neighbor. So I couldn't always be there to be Marie when they wrote it in. So I think that's maybe why they had Georget come on as Ted's wife, because I, I couldn't, they didn't have that dynamic. But when I did come, I mean, they would all be a little bit more who they portrayed. And, and
Louise Palanker (01:05:15):
Joyce Bulifant (01:05:16):
Interesting. Said to one day, Joyce, they got, they redecorated my dressing room. Would you like to see it?
Louise Palanker (01:05:23):
<laugh>? Oh no, it's not. It's a trap.
Fritz Coleman (01:05:26):
Lemme ask you something. You brought up the fact that you were on the Cosby Show. It wasn't the one, the most recent one. You were in the 69 to 71 Cosby Show. But I have to ask this because it's a contemporary topic and it's controversial. Did you ever notice any of the behavioral traits that we're discussing about Bill Cosby now, including how you might have been victimized yourself?
Joyce Bulifant (01:05:46):
I, no, I wasn't. He was perfect gentleman with me. Um, he, I, I, he was invited me up to his room to have lunch one day because his cook used to come in and make lunch for him right there. And, uh, who was there? Quincy Jones. Wow. And Samia Davis, Jr. Oh my God. And Bill called me the Token White <laugh>. But I have heard, um, I have heard stories from other women who, um, I would believe and, uh, you know, I wasn't there. I luckily, he was very much a gentleman with me.
Louise Palanker (01:06:26):
Mm-hmm. <affirmative> Well, watching you guys on the game shows when I was a kid was sort of my peak into grownup cocktail chatter. And I didn't get all of the innuendos, but I felt the energy of it all. You, you described some uncomfortable moments, and how body did it get?
Joyce Bulifant (01:06:43):
Oh, um, only funny body <laugh>. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I mean, during dinner I would not let my children, I, I used to with shot on Sunday. So I would try to alternate children who came with me, <laugh> so that I would have individual time with them. But during dinnertime, they had their own dinner in my dressing room.
Louise Palanker (01:07:04):
Joyce Bulifant (01:07:05):
Um, it was just fun. It wasn't, uh, anything, I think it's been made to be more salacious or that there was drinking and all. I never saw that. I just,
Louise Palanker (01:07:15):
It seems like there's a, there's a whole culture of, of people who are obsessed with these game shows from the seventies and there's, there's channels that show them mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so the I'll see on Twitter, they'll freeze frame it and they'll, you know, they'll, it's just something that, that people have been able to now celebrate now that all the, all of this content is, is available because it really captured an era.
Joyce Bulifant (01:07:37):
Fritz Coleman (01:07:38):
Plus you were with one of the single funniest human beings on the planet. Charles Nelson Riley <laugh>. He didn't even have to say anything, and he made me laugh. I just looked. He was the world's best talk
Joyce Bulifant (01:07:47):
Show guest. You know, Betty White said, whenever I tell a naughty joke, it sounds like a nursery rhyme. <laugh>. So I take advantage of that, I'm afraid. Well, you got to make people laugh,
Louise Palanker (01:08:00):
But you got some great lines in and that's why they loved you because it was disarming. Right.
Joyce Bulifant (01:08:04):
Well, you know, the thing is about that show no one wrote for us, like on Hollywood Squares. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Okay. It was all ad lib and that's what made it so good, you know, the, uh, yeah. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> people were very quick witted who were on the show. And, um, I, it it was, that part was lots of fun to do. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Lots of times I got beeped.
Louise Palanker (01:08:28):
You got beeped. That's an honor. So talk about dancing with Fred.
Joyce Bulifant (01:08:34):
Oh gosh. Right. Between talking about Roger and Fred Stair, that's pretty good, pretty good life.
Louise Palanker (01:08:39):
Joyce Bulifant (01:08:40):
Yeah. Well, I, I thought when I got the call, I was doing a Perry Mason and I got a call from my agent and he said, how'd you like to do a show with Fred Stair? He said, yeah, I'm Ron. What's up? What do you want?
He said, how would you like to do a show? I said, Ron, cut it off. I, I've gotta get back to the set. What's going on? You don't wanna do a show with Fred Stair? I said, are you kidding me, Fred? Are you kidding me? And he said, no, I'm absolutely serious. I said, but my mother used to take me to all the R K O movies in New York City, and we'd look all over for Top Hat and all of them things he did, and Jane Powell, ginger, Roger, Rita Hayworth, and now it's gonna be Joyce Bloko and Fred
Louise Palanker (01:09:27):
Joyce Bulifant (01:09:27):
You know, I had envisioned, uh, his lifting me in a beautiful chiffon dress in a beautiful marble crystal ballroom. And you know what it was to do the twist.
Louise Palanker (01:09:40):
Joyce Bulifant (01:09:41):
And he didn't know how to do it. And right before we were gonna shoot it, he said, Ms. Bufon, come here. Come here. I said, please, Mr. Stair, please call me Joyce. Anyway, Ms. Bufon, you have to show me how to do the twist. I don't know how to do it. I said, Mr. Stair, you want me to teach you a dance <laugh>? He said, yes. And do it quick, cuz we're gonna shoot it the next thing. <laugh>.
Louise Palanker (01:10:06):
And he was a fast learner. Yeah,
Joyce Bulifant (01:10:08):
Louise Palanker (01:10:08):
Too. Oh, that's so cool. You have
Fritz Coleman (01:10:09):
Another brush with greatness that was kind of a pivotal moment in your life. Talk about your encounter with Walt Disney. Oh
Joyce Bulifant (01:10:15):
Yeah. With what? Disney? Yes. Well, I was doing a musical, the Happiest Millionaire, and I had a big dance number and I had to sing and I was very nervous cuz I was going over the recording studio to, to record the song. And lo and behold, Mr. Disney comes down the pathway from his office and he put his arm around me and he said, um, that's my phone ringing. Can you Oh, that's all right. Sorry, sorry, sorry. I forgot to turn it off. No problem. Um, he said, uh, I said, I'm, I'm really nervous, you know, I'm, I'm an actress who sings, I'm not a singer who asks. And he said, don't worry, put his arm around me. And he said, I have big plans for you little lady. And then he died.
Fritz Coleman (01:11:09):
Joyce Bulifant (01:11:11):
Fritz Coleman (01:11:12):
Nice. That's all right. But for that one brief shining moment, what a compliment.
Louise Palanker (01:11:15):
His plan wasn't in his will
Joyce Bulifant (01:11:17):
<laugh>, I found out what the plan was. He wanted Leslie and Warren and me to be guides at Disneyland and John Davidson and Tommy Steele would be our boyfriends. Wouldn't that have been fun? Am I too old to do that
Louise Palanker (01:11:33):
Now? No, I'm,
Fritz Coleman (01:11:34):
No, I would, I would apply for that immediately.
Joyce Bulifant (01:11:36):
Oh, you're so kind. <laugh>. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>.
Louise Palanker (01:11:38):
I that would be adorable. I would love that. Well, we just wanna thank you, uh, so much for, for being with us. But, you know, before you go, I just wanna ask this question. Do, uh, what does a co-dependent learn in rehab and like encourage people who find themselves attracted to people with, with substance abuse issues? Like what is, what is it that you can stand to gain and learn from going into a program or an Al-Anon type of a program to learn more about your own behavior and your own culp bit, or your own contribution to the, the toxicity?
Joyce Bulifant (01:12:12):
Well, I think the most important thing is that you are not helping the alcoholic by enabling them. You are actually enabling the disease and, um mm-hmm. <affirmative> and your codependency is another type of disease. Also, something very important I learned is that as the alcoholic needs to drink more and more in order to get the buzz, kind of, you know, wondering doesn't do it. Um, okay. Two, okay, now that's still, I'm not getting that. Okay. Three, whatever it is. Um, you, the, the codependent person gets sick right along with the alcoholic mm-hmm. Person. I mean, I had migraine headaches, I had mono, I even got typhoid fever. I think your, your immune system becomes so low, uh, from you dealing with everything that goes along with living with an alcoholic. And the, the thing you learn in Al-Anon is to love with detachment, detach with love. Mm-hmm.
Fritz Coleman (01:13:23):
Joyce Bulifant (01:13:23):
Fritz Coleman (01:13:24):
And, and, and
Joyce Bulifant (01:13:25):
It's not an easy path, but it's as much a struggle, I think, for the codependent as it is for the alcoholic.
Fritz Coleman (01:13:32):
That's why Al-Anon is a 12 step program too. I mean, you have to, it's wonder cover yourself. Yeah. Uh, there's so many wonderful takeaways in your book. I, I mean the, uh, tenacity and show business and, uh, how to be a good parent when your partner isn't with you. And, uh, you know, you're, you're navigating the alcoholic, uh, husband. It's all so much to be learned from. But I think the most, uh, significant takeaway is a phrase you mentioned at the end of the book called Happiness is a Choice.
Joyce Bulifant (01:14:06):
Oh, yes. It really is. And
Fritz Coleman (01:14:08):
That's just something everybody can learn
Joyce Bulifant (01:14:10):
From. Haven't we heard all of our life, you make your own happiness. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative>, we hear that. I, you know, we hear it. But until I had one pivotal moment, um, when I was married to Bill Asher and I was at the top of the stairs. It was a Sunday, it was a beautiful day. He was at the bottom and he said something and it didn't seem as if it was nice the way he said it and what he was saying. And at that moment, I, I thought, you know, I can take that and really be unhappy all day about what he said the way he said it. Or I can choose to not take it that way and think maybe he got off the phone with somebody, he's upset maybe when of the children did something, he's upset. I'm not gonna be unhappy today. I'm gonna be happy. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, um, I realized at that moment, oh boy, you, you can make your own happiness. You can do it.
Louise Palanker (01:15:10):
Yeah. That's profound.
Fritz Coleman (01:15:12):
Yeah. Well, well it was a wonderful discussion, Joyce. We just appreciate you so much.
Louise Palanker (01:15:16):
Joyce's book is called My Four Hollywood Husbands by Joyce Bule. I I found it on Amazon.
Joyce Bulifant (01:15:21):
It's on audio too now.
Louise Palanker (01:15:23):
And it's Oh yes, you just did the audio book. So yeah, there's so many different ways to enjoy it and I, I'm just a huge fan of this book. It's just, it's got everything. It's got it all and it's all in there and it's beautifully.
Joyce Bulifant (01:15:36):
You're embarrassing me. I love
Louise Palanker (01:15:37):
The people. No, I really mean it. I really, really mean it. I just love it. Oh, thank you.
Joyce Bulifant (01:15:41):
That's why it was written. Help other people.
Louise Palanker (01:15:46):
You know what, you had a lot to say and you said it perfectly. Thank
Joyce Bulifant (01:15:50):
You. Thank you.
Louise Palanker (01:15:51):
Gonna help people, uh, help us.
Fritz Coleman (01:15:54):
Please listen to, uh, our podcast. This one especially special for many reasons. But our whole library is on our email@example.com. Uh, we're back 88 89 episodes and there's something in there for everybody and people love our podcast and I'm very happy to be able to read to you a great review. This comes from Humming Seahorse. Who knew that Seahorse is, I
Louise Palanker (01:16:19):
Don't think that's his real name.
Fritz Coleman (01:16:21):
Well, I don't know. This podcast flows like butter. Great perspectives and guests. Good positive vibes with fascinating stories. Six stars in
Joyce Bulifant (01:16:32):
A feel effects. Well that's great. I didn't know there was such thing as six stars.
Louise Palanker (01:16:36):
Yeah. Get they drew one in, they
Joyce Bulifant (01:16:37):
Just went up to five <laugh>. I
Louise Palanker (01:16:39):
Dunno if that's
Fritz Coleman (01:16:39):
Louise Palanker (01:16:41):
All right. We would love for you to join us online on Instagram and Twitter, where we are at Media Path Pod and on Facebook where our show page is Media Path Podcasts. And our Facebook group is Media Path with Fritz and Weezy podcast community. 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 have been enjoying, so you can contact us at our social media or email us at media path podcast gmail.com. We wanna thank our guests, Liane Bonin and Joyce Oliphant. Our team includes Dina Friedman, Francesco Desmond, John Maddox, Sharon Beo, bill Fiac, Thomas Hubble, Mason Brown, and, and you. Our theme music is by me and John Madox. I am Louise Lanker here with Fritz Coleman, and we'll seat you along the media path.