Julian Schlossberg Talks Hollywood Legends On Two New Podcasts

As a producer in Hollywood and on Broadway, he worked with legends like Elaine May, John Cassavetes, Woody Allen and Luis Buñuel. Now he looks back on his career in two different podcasts.

Producer Julian Schlossberg attends the Mike Nichols: American Masters world premiere at The Paley Center for Media on January 11, 2016 in New York City. D Dipasupil/FilmMagic

In this day and age, a return to radio might not seem the way to go, but Julian Schlossberg sees it different. He’s genuinely thrilled to be making his radio comeback—or at least his audio comeback, on not one but two podcasts. 

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Schlossberg—a producer of both Broadway shows (Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical) and films (Orson Welles’ Othello)—was on New York radio for eight years as the host of Julian Schlossberg’s Movie Talk. The show ran WMCA from 1974 to 1980, with Schlossberg playing The One Who Knows All for inquiring minds from eight to midnight. In 1991, Movie Talk returned for a year on WOR, but at just an hour it didn’t offer Schossberg the same enjoyment. “But now,” he tells Observer, “I’m dying to do it again,” 

When it comes to talking movies, Julian Schlossberg knows his stuff. In his heyday as a movie distributor, he was the king of Castle Hill Productions. How many times have you seen that lighthouse throw its calming light over choppy waters before a Schossberg film begins? Castle Hill distributed classics from Elia Kazan, John Cassavetes, and Woody Allen and foreign films from Fellini and Buñuel. 

Schlossberg’s return to the microphone was sparked by the audiobook of the memoir he published last year, Try Not to Hold It Against Me: A Producer’s Life. The audiobook company, Audivita, liked his voice and asked him to be part of the podcast Tales From Hollywoodland with two other Tinseltown vets, Arthur Friedman and Steve Rubin. “ I said, ‘Well, let me think about it,’” Schlossberg remembers. “I didn’t think too long. I told them, ‘Yeah, I do. I do want to.’” 

Tales From Hollywoodland launched last year. The trio are a veritable living history of film and television, with experience in everything from Academy Award winners to exploitation films, and they talk about everything from Milton Berle (“before television he was playing in a theater in New York, getting $25,000 a week—in the 1930s—that’s how big a star he was”) to Tarantino. 

Julian Schlossberg (second from left) with podcast guests Marlo Thomas, F. Murray Abraham, and Laila Robins Courtesy of Julian Schlossberg

This year brought a revival of Julian Schlossberg’s Movie Talk, with Schlossberg talking one-on-one with guests like F. Murray Abraham, David Mamet, and Marlo Thomas (“my pretend sister and longtime best friend,” says Schlossberg). It’s available, as the saying goes, wherever you get your podcasts. “Spotify, Apple, iHeart, Amazon. We’re on all those places,” Schlossberg says. “Just plug us in.”

The concept is simple: in-depth discussions of careers worth discussing. “The most important part of it is the interview itself, who you’re talking to and how much of an in-depth interview you hope to get,” he insists. “A lot of people just can’t do that on radio or television. They’re only there to plug a movie or a book. I’m trying to do what I did on radio years ago—to go beyond that.”

He continues, “We started with F. Murray Abraham. Then, we did two shows with Richard Benjamin because of his vast career and also because we had so much to talk about.” Future guests include Martin Sheen. “I’m very excited about that. Isabella Rossellini did one show, but she’s coming back for a second.”

Last month, Schlossberg served as a guest host on Turner Classic Movies and interviewed actress Elaine May, having produced all of her plays and been a friend of hers for 50-plus years. The four films that she directed (Ishtar included) were aired between their chats. “I was introduced by Ben Mankiewicz, who did a wonderful job,” Schlossberg reports. “I’ve just taped him for my podcast.”

At present, he has projects stacking high, including recording the audio version of his second book. “It’s called it My First Book, Part 2,” he says.

“Doing two weekly podcasts, being interviewed and doing the interviews of others, writing and recording my book, I have a pretty secular existence right now,” he says. He’s happy to have a hectic schedule, thank you very much. “It’s been really a lot of fun, making no money but busy as hell. I see so many of my friends vegetating because they’re just not working. They don’t seem to want to, but I do. I hope to keep working. It keeps me alive.”

Julian Schlossberg Talks Hollywood Legends On Two New Podcasts