Ep. 209 | Dan Bucatinski & Paul Fusco
Emmy Winning Actor/Writer/Producer Dan Bucatinsky (Scandal, Web Therapy, The Comeback...) & Voice Actor/Writer/Producer Paul Fusco (ALF...) join us on The Matthew Aaron Show this Wednesday (10/22) as we broadcast from Chicago starting at 5pm PT / 7pm CT.
Dan joins us to discuss the fourth season premiere of the Showtime comedy series WEB THERAPY and the return of the HBO comedy series THE COMEBACK, both starring his producing partner Lisa Kudrow.
Paul joins us to discuss his career, how he got into puppetry, the origins of his most famous character ALF, and the recent DVD release of his 1983 special SANTA'S MAGIC TOY BAG.
Show starts at 5pm PT (7pm CT / 8pm ET.) Subscribe for free and download the show on APPLE PODCASTS. You can also listen on the go on your Android/iPhone/iPad device via SPOTIFY.
DAN BUCATINSKI won a 2013 Emmy Award for his portrayal of James Novak on the hit ABC series ‘Scandal.’ Bucatinsky will be back on the air this fall on in the NBC comedy ‘Marry Me.’ He and producing partner Lisa Kudrow also have their recently Emmy-nominated docu-series ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ back on the air for a fifth season on TLC. In October the pair will be back on Showtime with the 4th season of their Emmy-nominated web-to-TV series ‘Web Therapy,’ created with Bucatinsky’s husband, acclaimed filmmaker, Don Roos.
In 2005 Bucatinsky and Kudrow produced the cult, Emmy-nominated HBO comedy The Comeback co-starring Bucatinsky as publicist, Billy Stanton. Nine years later and back by popular demand, an eight-episode second season is scheduled to premiere on HBO on November 9, 2014
Television audiences will also remember Bucatinsky from ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ ‘In Plain Sight,’ ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm,’ ‘Will & Grace,’ ‘Weeds’ and more. Film roles include his indie romantic comedy ‘All Over the Guy,’ ‘Under the Tuscan Sun,’ as well as ‘Bounce’ and ‘The Opposite of Sex,’ both directed by Roos, with whom he has two kids, Eliza and Jonah, who inspired him to write the book ‘Does This Baby Make Me Look Straight?,’ his best-selling, autobiographical tales of parenthood.
PAUL FUSCO (born January 29, 1953 in New Haven, Connecticut) is an American puppeteer, voice-over artist and character actor who is best known as the voice, creator, and puppeteer of ALF. He formed the production company Alien Productions with Tom Patchett and Bernie Brillstein.
As a student, Paul worked in the audio-visual department of Hamden High School in Hamden, Connecticut where his interest in television and film began. His early career included a stint performing on a local children's television show and various other work which included both puppeteering and stage magic/ventriloquism. In the early-1980s, he met puppet builders and fellow puppeteers Bob Fappiano and Lisa Buckley who were both embarking on careers within the industry and they joined his team. Together they made various television specials for HBO, Showtime and others including The Crown of Bogg and The Valentine's Day That Almost Wasn't.
Fusco created the ALF character in 1984 using an alien-looking puppet that was hanging around his house which he used to annoy his family and friends. He wanted to create a television show based on the character and through Bernie Brillstein he met Tom Patchett, and together they came up with the concept behind the ALF sitcom. They pitched the idea to NBC's Brandon Tartikoff, who loved the idea and commissioned the show. ALF was a huge success, beginning in 1986 and lasting four seasons, during which 99 episodes were produced.
Fusco also created and produced two animated series for NBC: ALF: The Animated Series and ALF Tales. A co-production of DIC, Alien Productions, Lorimar-Telepictures and Saban Entertainment, the cartoons portrayed Gordon Shumway (ALF) and his family in their days on Melmac prior to the planet explosion. Animated segments were hosted by the live-action ALF, who read letters from viewers and told stories about life back home. Space Cats, a Paul Fusco-produced show in association with Marvel Productions, also ran on NBC in the early 1990s, which was another mix of live action puppetry and animation. The episodes would begin with the live action puppetry where Captain Catgut (voiced by Fusco), the leader of the Spacecats, would receive a mission briefing about the trouble at hand. Space Cats lasted one season and produced 13 episodes, being cancelled after NBC withdrew its commitment to Saturday morning cartoons.
NBC unexpectedly cancelled ALF in 1990 after production wrapped for Season Four, leaving the final episode ("Consider Me Gone") as an unintentional cliffhanger. ABC offered Fusco closure to the story arc and produced a television movie in 1996 called Project ALF co-starring Martin Sheen. The movie (produced by Paul Fusco Productions) saw ALF escaping from the military base where he had been held for testing, but the scientist who he thinks will help him is really plotting to expose his existence to the world on a television talk show.
Fusco kept ALF in the public eye as much as possible after Project ALF. Between 1996 and 2001, ALF made many television guest appearances including The Cindy Margolis Show, Talk Soup and The Love Boat: The Next Wave. Fusco continued the trend by featuring ALF on NBC's 75th Anniversary Show and the 2003 TV Land Awards. During 2004, he revived his guest spot on Hollywood Squares, and also became the "spokesalien" for phone company 10-10-220. ALF merchandise also returned with posters, figures and T-shirts. The U.S.-Canadian DVD release of the original sitcom was the recipient of much critical and fan backlash due to distributor Lionsgate Home Entertainment's insistence on utilizing syndicated/edited versions instead of remastering the original uncut NBC-TV broadcast versions, resulting in poor sales. Conversely, the German DVD release included complete episodes for all but three of the 99 entries.
The ALF renaissance led to ALF's Hit Talk Show in 2004, created and produced by Fusco for TV Land. The show was a mix of celebrity chat and skits filmed in front of a live audience from Hollywood's Sunset Boulevard. September 2006 marked the 20th anniversary of ALF's debut on U.S. television; in November 2007, ALF appeared as "TV Icon of the Week" on The O'Reilly Factor.
In August 2012, Fusco confirmed that Sony Pictures Animation has acquired the rights to ALF and will develop the property into a CGI-live action hybrid feature. The Smurfs producer Jordan Kerner will also produce the film, along with Tom Patchett and Fusco.