Shoot This Now
The Anti-'Citizen Kane': How Art Beal Built Nitt Witt Ridge, a House Made of Trash in the Shadow of Hearst Castle
Season 1, Ep. 60
Fifteen miles south of Hearst Castle, home of "Citizen Kane" inspiration William Randolph Hearst, is perhaps a more impressive dwelling: Nitt Witt Ridge, the house that former garbageman Art Beale constructed by hand from cast-off beer cans, shells, and other cast-off materials.Beal, who once had a job hauling refuse from Hearst Castle, began work on Nitt Witt Ridge after his attempt at a normal life passed him by. In the 1050s, his neighbors mocked him as a "nitwit" as they watched him carve out his home with only a shovel and a device he called an "idiot stick."But by the 1970s, he had started to gain recognition as a non-conformist hero. And Nitt Witt Ridge, a monument to his artistic genius, still stands today.This week, we talk about why it's time to make a movie of Art Beal's life. And why only one actor can play him. (Okay, maybe two.)Here are the fascinating videos we mention in this episode:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAp3GPUo3sMhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTwg9JFOIuc&t=8s
The Story of Public Enemy's "Fight the Power," and Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing," 30 Years Later (feat. Dart Adams)
Season 1, Ep. 59
In 1989, Public Enemy broke up -- just after recording their signature song, "Fight the Power," and just before it became the musical centerpiece of Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing." The reason for their breakup, and the story of their reunion, is the subject of our latest episode.Our special guest this week is Dart Adams of the "Dart Against Humanity" podcast, and the author of the Okayplayer story "In the Summer of 1989 'Fight the Power' Saved Public Enemy & Almost Sank 'Do the Right Thing.'"Public Enemy had always been a team of rivals. Leader Chuck D managed both the flamboyant comedy of his legendary sideman, Flavor Flav, and the seriousness of Professor Griff, the group's designated "minister of information" and leader of the military-modeled step squad the S1Ws.But then Griff make anti-Semitic comments soon before the release of "Do the Right Thing." The ensuing protests threatened both Public Enemy and Spike Lee's hard-fought achievements.No one in the group condoned Griff's remarks. But no one wanted to be seen as kowtowing to critics, either, as a matter of principle. Chuck D had to decide whether to break with his friend to save the future.We hope you like the episode, and will be sure to check out the "Dart Against Humanity" podcast wherever you're listening to this.
Sacheen Littlefeather Speaks: When Marlon Brando and John Wayne Fought for the Soul of the 1973 Oscars
Season 1, Ep. 58
Marlon Brando didn't attend the 1973 Oscars, but he did enlist Native American actress and activist Sacheen Littlefeather to reject his Oscar for The Godfather. This week, we talk about why Littlefeather's speech was an iconic moment for Native Americans in Hollywood and nationwide, and why it was so cruelly misunderstood. Littlefeather says she remembers John Wayne being so angry at her speech that he wanted to attack her.Every week on "Shoot This Now," we talk about stories that should be made into films. This episode, we also talk about why it would be poetic justice for Littlefeather's story to be made into a movie, nearly half a century after her speech to 85 million people. This episode features Clint Eastwood, Angela Lansbury, Roger Moore, and a cavalcade of other stars of the 1973 Academy Awards. We also talk about the Native American protests at Alcatraz and Wounded Knee, which factor heavily into our story.
Meet Nakano Takeko, Female Samurai
Season 1, Ep. 57
Nakano Takeko was a 21-year-old martial arts instructor who came to lead a battalion of women against the Emperor of Japan's Imperial Army, 150 years ago. On this week's episode of "Shoot This Now," we talk about how her story could be "The Last Samurai," minus Tom Cruise, with a huge influx of female fighters. It's a little bit "Kill Bill" and a little bit "Braveheart," with an incredible young front-and-center, wielding a bloody naginata.We also talk about the overuse of the word "dragon," a Darth Vader-like Big Bad who wields a remote control as a weapon, and justice for Japanese pop star Maho Yamaguchi.
Season 1, Ep. 56
Maurice Ward was a British hairdresser and amateur inventor who was inspired by a horrific plane disaster to invent a material that could withstand fire, nukes, and perhaps even the sun. His invention, which his granddaughter named "Starlite," drew the attention of Boeing, NASA, and the British military. Then it disappeared.What happened to Ward's invention after his death is a complete mystery. On this episode, we talk about whether Starlite was real or a hoax -- and note that many reputable scientists appeared to take the hairdresser very seriously. (Don't take our word for it; here's a video from the BBC.) We also talk about whether Ward's desire to do good was sidetracked by other motives, and whether some powerful force may have taken Starlite underground.
BONUS: Listen to 'Inside Star Wars' Revisit Day 1 of Shooting 'Episode IV: A New Hope
Season 1, Ep. 55
It was March 22, 1976 -- the first day of shooting "Star Wars." As Mark Ramsey's new "Inside Star Wars" reimagines that day in the Tunisian desert, it included hours of falling droids, an unlikely cameo by Jesus Christ, and lots of doubt from Sir Alec Guinness.Ramsey, who also created "Inside Jaws," "Inside Psycho" and other podcasts, recently joined "Shoot This Now" to talk about Carrie Fisher's incredibly odyssey from reluctant actress to galactic icon. Ramsey also loaned us this brief excerpt of "Inside Star Wars," which you can subscribe to right here: https://wondery.com/shows/inside-star-wars/With meticulous research and George Lucas-like levels of imagination, Ramsey and producer Jeff Schmidt take you back to the start of "Star Wars": Inside George Lucas' doubts, Carrie Fisher's apprehension, and Sir Alec Guinness outright bewilderment. If you've forgotten why you loved "Star Wars," Ramsey's latest will remind you.And Tim and Deirdre will be back next week with an all-new "Shoot This Now."
Carrie Fisher Didn't Want to Be an Actor. She Became an Icon (Featuring Inside Star Wars' Mark Ramsey)
Season 1, Ep. 54
This week, Mark Ramsey joins us to preview "Inside Star Wars," which debuts Wednesday, May 29 and which you should subscribe to right here. But he also tells the Carrie Fisher story, a tale of a nervous 19-year-old who doesn't know she's about to star in the biggest movie in the world.Carrie Fisher suffered a series of indignities for her role in "Star Wars" -- from scenes with a character everyone called "the dog" to a series of weird hairstyles to a pre-shooting trip to an icky 1970s institution known as a "fat farm."But through her performance as Princess Leia, she became a cultural icon. A month after her death, the 2017 Women's March included many posters Leia Organa -- and her famous headphones-style hair -- accompanied by slogans about rebellion and "The Force."She was also known for wit, humor, and dedication in the midst of struggle. She overcame her resistance to Hollywood and acting to fulfill her destiny as a movie star, writer, and symbol of the power of struggle. Her struggle with addiction set an example for many more people -- if someone as cool as Carrie Fisher could quit drugs and booze, so could they.She died in December 2016, one day before from her mother, Debbie Reynolds. But her force will be with us, always.
When Santa Cruz Had Two Serial Killers
Season 1, Ep. 53
There aren't enough content warnings in the world for the story of Ed Kemper and Herbert Mullin, two serial killers who simultaneously stalked Santa Cruz in 1972 and 1973. Kemper posed as a wanna-be cop and Good Samaritan to lure hitchhikers into his car and do horrific things to his victims. Mullin believed his murders were human sacrifices to prevent earthquakes. Their paths eventually crossed.This episode, clinical psychologist Dr. John Meigs joins us to talk about how to stop the next Ed Kemper or Herbert Mullin. Both men have been diagnosed with the same mental illness, and we discuss whether better detection and treatment of serious mental illness in this country could prevent mass killings.We can't stress enough that most people with mental illnesses will never behave violently. As Dr. Meigs explains, they're far more likely to suffer a stressful and difficult effort to manage or overcome the situation. Illnesses don't discriminate, and any of us could suffer mental illness. So we need to remove the stigma attached to seeking help.But Kemper and Mullin are extreme outliers. And the failure to diagnose and treat similarly dangerous people could be calamitous. The mental health group the Treatment Advocacy Center reports that "at least one third of mass killings are carried out by individuals with untreated serious mental illness" -- a finding that cries out for better treatment.We talk this episode about whether our current emphasis on punishment over prevention makes sense.
His Parents Destroyed His Porn, So He Sued Them
Season 1, Ep. 52
You may have read news stories - or heard jokes - about the Indiana man who sued his parents this month for destroying his massive collection of porn. But his backstory is more complex and nuanced then the headlines and punchlines suggest. It's a complicated family drama we think is worthy of the big screen.On this episode, we delve deep into his life and his unapologetic about his love of porn. And we try to understand the family dynamic that we think led to his interest.As always, we have five segments: Why Now, Comps ("This story is THIS meets THIS!"), Key Scenes, Development (who should direct and star), and What Should We Call This Thing.Also: If you'd like to learn more about Paul Gonzenbach, the singer-songwriter we mention near the end of the episode, start here. He's fantastic.