Episode 114: “Remington Steele: Making it Happen with Jerram Swartz”

Susan and Sharon sit down with “Remington Steele” assistant director Jerram Swartz. In a career spanning 5 decades, Jerram has worked on movies including “E.T.: The Extraterrestrial” and “The Blues Brothers” as well as 80’s TV classics such as “The A-Team”, “Cagney & Lacey” and “Riptide”. In this episode, he shares stories about the fun, excitement and controversy of working on the fifth – and final – season of “Remington Steele”.
Read Transcript

The Conversation

  • Susan and Sharon’s fav Season 4 & 5 episodes and guest stars (Louie Anderson and Terry O’Quinn!).
  • Pierce and Stephanie and the “Cancelled-and-then-NOT-cancelled” blues…
  • How Stephanie Zimbalist almost starred in “Robocop”!
  • What really happened with Pierce Brosnan’s whole “James Bond Thing” (and yes, he really was upset….)
  • Jack Scalia as Laura Holt’s new love interest “Tony Roselli”. Was the plan to eventually replace Pierce with him??
  • Shooting Season 5 in Dublin, Ireland -- and Pasadena, CA…
  • Learning to tap dance from “Barnaby Jones” star Buddy Ebsen.
  • Getting punched by Robert Shaw on the set of “Swashbuckler”!
  • Hanging with Kevin “the smart one” Tighe and Randolph “the sexy one” Mantooth on “Emergency!”
  • Crashing cars into toy stores for “The Blues Brothers”.
  • Being Mae West’s date to a studio screening of “Jaws”.
  • Good times over the years working with TV ladies favs: Stephanie Zimbalist, Tyne Daly, Christina Applegate, Melissa McCarthy, Ellen Burstyn, Jacqueline Bisset and many others…


Join Susan, Sharon and Jerram as they talk Buck Rogers, Walt Disney and traveling the world with a very special Kermit the Frog!

Our Audio-ography

Emmys.com -- https://www.emmys.com

California Film Commission - https://film.ca.gov

DGA.org -- https://www.dga.org

Book: “Backwards and in Heels” by Alicia Malone  -- https://amzn.to/3XBUYuH

All 5 seasons of “Remington Steele” are now available on Amazon Prime and AppleTV!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3QLcYAA

Apple TV: https://tv.apple.com/us/show/remington-steele/umc.cmc.6fm9czhcocxofzk7xbe90inn8

Help us make more episodes and get ad-free episodes and exclusive content on PATREON.


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80s TV Ladies™ Episode 114 – “Remington Steele: Making it Happen with Jerram Swartz” Produced by 134 West and Susan Lambert Hatem. Hosted by Susan Lambert Hatem and Sharon Johnson. Guest: Jerram Swartz. Sound Engineer and Editor: Kevin Ducey. Editor: Chris Stachiw. Producer: Melissa Roth. Associate Producer: Sergio Perez. Music by Amy Engelhardt. Publicity: Sullivan Lewis. Copyright 2022/2023 134 West, LLC and Susan Lambert. All Rights Reserved.


80s TV Ladies Theme Song  00:39  

80s TV Ladies, I’m so sexy and so pretty.  80s TV Ladies, I’m steppin out into the city. 80s TV Ladies, I been treated kind of sh#*ty. Working hard for the money in a man’s world. 80s TV Ladies!

Susan Lambert Hatem 00:17

Good morning 80s TV Ladies! I'm Susan Lambert Hatem.

Sharon Johnson  00:20

And I'm Sharon Johnson. 80s TV Ladies is our podcast where we get to talk about female driven television shows from the 1980s. Today we're diving into the last couple of seasons of Remington Steele. We have a special guest today who worked on some of the final episodes of the show. And if you don't know by now, Remington Steele starred Stephanie Zimbalist, Pierce Brosnan and Doris Roberts. It ran from 1982 to 1987 on NBC.

Susan Lambert Hatem  00:47

And I know today we're going to be talking about both Seasons Four and Five. But all my questions are about Season Five.

Sharon Johnson  00:53

I don't know that I have any questions about Season Four, but still looking forward as always to talk about it. But we have a special guest today who worked on Season Five. Is that why it's the one where you have all the questions?

Susan Lambert Hatem  01:04

Well, that and because Season Five is infuriating, confusing, and just plain weird.

Sharon Johnson  01:09

It may have suffered some Season Five, the-show-was-canceled-and-then-it-wasn't, blues.

Sharon Johnson  01:15

Before we get started with Season Four. Just to recap at the end of Season Three, Remington Steele takes off because of immigration issues, state license issues, and Laura Holt has said things were easier without him. So, he disappears to the UK. And then in Season Four, we pick up with Laura and Mildred showing up in the UK to find him. And they do in the first two episodes. Then they all reconcile, and Laura spills the beans to Mildred on the Remington Steele secret truth. So, Mildred now knows that the man she knew as Remington Steele is not Remington Steele. By the end of Season Four, Laura and Steele have a fake marriage to keep him in the country.

Susan Lambert Hatem  01:58

A lot of the fans were both excited and unexcited by that, but it was the end of, it was the end of the Series. At that point, then the show was canceled, and they think it's over. Season Four... just to to concentrate a little bit on stuff that I really found a challenge in Season Four is... Some of, some of the episodes felt like Oh, here's the wrestling episode. Right? You know? Um, but also Laura Holt really is... And and Stephanie Zimbalist is doing a beautiful job... But she, Laura Holt keeps sort of having to insert herself and assert herself into her own show, (guffaw) is what it felt like to me. That it was a lot of the Pierce Brosnan show. Again, hard to fault the appeal of him but it becomes the struggle of the show. The struggle of the show becomes not them working together, but him dealing with his immigration issues. And him struggling to kind of win her over. And him doing this, and then Laura being mad at him for it.  (guffaw) And then Laura basically going No, but it's my agency! You know, and It's my this. And so it felt more like she was sort of always on the defensive in in Season Four a lot. Even though it started I think, pretty well when she shows up and it's like, Okay, I'm coming to get you because you're an idiot for running away.

Sharon Johnson  03:13

I wonder to what degree some of that had to do with the fact that Television and certainly Remington Steele is more episodic at that time. And they with that, they have a tendency to write and rewrite certain beats of the relationship where, because because I think from research, they know that most people don't watch every episode. So for those of us that do watch every episode, it does become repetitive. You're thinking didn't they resolve that already? But okay, we'll go, we'll move on.

Susan Lambert Hatem  03:41

This happened in the 80s a lot, because if you missed an Episode, you missed it till the Summer. Right? Or a re-run. And so they didn't do a lot of tracking relationships so carefully as you would kind of have to do now. Now, it is about watching, you know, one, then two, then three, then four, then five, and you just consume them all, almost like a Mini-Series.

Sharon Johnson  04:02

And I'm also not trying to to give the Writers too hard of time, because writing that many episodes of Television every Season is really hard under the best of circumstances. And I, it's easy, it was probably easy, if you will, for them to fall in the pattern of, Okay. That we've we, we’re gona write about this conflict, whatever it is. Instead of trying to be a little bit more, for lack of a better word, creative in the way that they dealt with the situation, the circumstances between them, maybe they felt like they've kind of, I don't know. There's, there could be a lot of reasons for it.

Susan Lambert Hatem  04:34

I think it was one of the shows that was kind of inventing how to do that, somewhat for the first time on Television.

Sharon Johnson  04:41


Susan Lambert Hatem  04:41

A lot of people I think that would then do uh, will they-won't they? Uh, Jim and Pam are a thing, really had had those forerunners. They stood on the shoulders of giants... (laughs)

Sharon Johnson  04:50


Susan Lambert Hatem  04:52

... like Remington Steele.

Sharon Johnson  04:56


Susan Lambert Hatem  04:58

Season Four, I actually like the first couple episodes of of London, because because I liked it when they went on location. But also, there's an Episode, Forged Steele, Episode Five where Remington stuffers a memory loss and it turns out apparently he he lost the Agency in a poker game. And I just thought that was actually very clever. You know it uh, it becomes a case, and I thought it was a pretty clever clic, case. I loved when Louis Anderson came on and guest starred. I thought he was really just adorable. And that was for Steele Spawning, Episode 12. They had to chase down some missing you know, Russian Caviar as you do for the American Caviar Czar, which was Louie Anderson's father. Like he had made some deal and he didn't want his Daddy to find out, because he was like the son that was always messin' up. And then I also, another Episode that stood out for me was Suburban Steele, Episode 13. Kind of in the, in the dead middle of the Season, and a dead man shows up in Laura's Sister's kitchen. Laura and Remington have to take care of Laura's nieces and nephews and I think there are direct nods in that Episode to Scarecrow and Mrs. King because Laura's Sister's car is basically the same station wagon as Mrs. King drove.

Sharon Johnson  06:10

One of the ones that stand out for me that Season is, Coffee Tea or Steele, which is set on a luxury Airline. And to be honest, I think it it stood out for me more because of the depiction of air travel as being this potentially, this this luxurious experience where you have Stewardesses, as they call them at the time, walking around with trays of drinks and all the space up in the the the...

Susan Lambert Hatem  06:10

It was so glamorous.

Sharon Johnson  06:10

... First Class or wherever this, these people were sitting. And lot, you know, chairs, and I, it, I had frankly never experienced that and it certainly isn't the case these days, that you would see something like that on a plane. So.

Susan Lambert Hatem  06:48

Yes, it felt like a cruise ship.

Sharon Johnson  06:50

Yes, exactly.

Susan Lambert Hatem  06:51

Yeah, liked that episode because also in that episode is, you know again, Laura goes undercover as an Airline Stewardess and is, and is treated poorly because of it as a woman. Also Terry O'Quinn guest stars on that....

Sharon Johnson  07:05

That's right.

Susan Lambert Hatem  07:05

... from Lost. So at the end of Season Four, the Series is canceled. Looks like Pierce Brosnan is gona, is gona to be cast as as James Bond. And Stephanie Zimbalist actually is cast opposite Peter Weller in Robocop. But summer repeats happen. Remington Steele ratings go up, and they reboot the show and they call everybody. We need our, everybody back. And they had shut everything down. So they call everybody back. Stephanie doesn't get to do Robocop. Pierce Brosnan has to wait to do James Bond. He does that crazy People Magazine Cover where he's like, I hate them. (guffaw)

Sharon Johnson  07:42

Pretty much.

Susan Lambert Hatem  07:44

And we come back for basically three TV Movies, sort of six Episodes or three TV Movies, we're still not sure. They have a bad honeymoon in Mexico meets Romancing The Stone kind of episodes. They introduce a romantic rival for Remington Steele to try and make a love triangle happen. Jack Scalia, we'll talk about him in a minute. And it's still all about the immigration. So Remington goes back to LA and then has to go back to London, and then finds out he inherited a Castle with a lot of debt. And then suddenly we're in Scotland, and then suddenly, we're wrapping up the show. But at least they bring Daniel Chalmers back, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr, which I thought was quite lovely. And then they kind of wrap up Remington-Laura pretty well. It's kind of nice.

Sharon Johnson  08:26

And also, it's very clear that Season Five is about him. It's really not about Laura. It's all about HIM. And the Season, I mean the Series is really tipped from being initially about her to being about them. And now it's all about him, and it's the, everything that's going on is revolves around him, and she's just sort of there.

Susan Lambert Hatem  08:47

Well, and then and then they introduce a guy character, and Mildred has nothing to do.

Sharon Johnson  08:51

But even what they do with the guy character is, first he starts out as one thing, and then suddenly, he's something else. And then he suddenly something else again, and it's very confusing and don't really care. Because they're not at all consistent with what or who he's supposed to be, which I just found a waste of time at the end of the day, as much as I like Jack Scalia from that time. So, you know.

Susan Lambert Hatem  09:09

Yes but, you know who could answer maybe some of these questions? Not all of them, and he's not responsible for any of the writing of this Season, or any of the conceptual stuff. But I want to introduce our guest, Jerram Swartz, who worked on some of the final episodes of Remington Steele. We've known each other for years, he and I, since he worked with my husban, Richard Hatem on an incredible Mini-Series called The Lost Room in 2006, starring Peter Krause, Julianna Margulies, Dennis Christopher, Peter Jacobson, and Elle Fanning. It is a beautiful underrated, not many people know about it Mini-Series, that everyone should see. The Lost Room.

Sharon Johnson  09:46

Jerram is an Assistant Director and Production Manager with over 100 credits that include E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, The Blues Brothers, and The Walking Dead. He has filmed on locations throughout the US and Europe. Jerram left the glamorous 16 hour work days for the comparative sanity of the life of an analyst at the California Film Commission. He is also an occasional Lecturer and Producer-Director-Lyricist for seven Seasons of the Pasadena Follies.

Susan Lambert Hatem  10:14

So welcome to the show Jerram! How are you?

Jerram Swartz  10:16

Fantastic. Thank you.

Susan Lambert Hatem  10:18

I'm so excited to have you on. Jerram, tell us a little bit more about yourself. I mean, we of course, we have your Bio, but how did you get into movies and television in the first place?

Jerram Swartz  10:26

I took a class in college about Movies, and went to a college in England called Sussex University.

Susan Lambert Hatem  10:32


Jerram Swartz  10:33

And the assignment was to write a screenplay. And so I did that and they said, Okay, now go produce it. It's like, Hummina, hummina, hummina. And so we built our own lights. And we took our 16 millimeter film camera and pushed it three stops, so that. I mean, we just invented it with some guys from school. And we had little green screen little things, and it was terrible. But that was fun. And when I graduated, I came to America and got into the Universal Studios mailroom. And there, I started delivering mail to people whose names are now on the buildings, the Alfred Hitchcock's and the Verna Fields and the people like that The Lew Wassermans.

Sharon Johnson  11:09


Jerram Swartz  11:10

And from that, I found that about a thing called the Assistant Director's Training Program. And I went down to USC one morning and took the test and I did not get in. And then the next year, I went down to USC and got in. And the rest is history. I've done that for years and years and years and years.

Susan Lambert Hatem  11:10


Susan Lambert Hatem  11:27

That's amazing. That's through the Director's Guild.

Jerram Swartz  11:29

Through the Directors Guild. Yes.

Susan Lambert Hatem  11:31

And they still have that program, yes?

Jerram Swartz  11:32

They do.

Susan Lambert Hatem  11:32

Okay. All right. Let's just, you know, cut to the chase of how you ended up on Season Five of Remington Steele.

Jerram Swartz  11:39

You know, the life of, as an Assistant Director. When I started, if you worked at Universal Studios, they would put you on show after show after show, and you'd just stay at the Studio. But um, Sharon Gless and I presided over the very end of the Studio System. I think she was actually the last Contract Player in Hollywood.

Susan Lambert Hatem  11:55

She was! I just read that.

Jerram Swartz  11:57

For both of us, it was the end of the Studio System, which meant that once I was through the training program, I had to find my own work. And that meant going from place to place, Studio to Studio, Independent to Independent, depending on who liked you, who didn't like you. And eventually over 40 years it became who died and didn't die. But.

Sharon Johnson  12:16


Jerram Swartz  12:18

So from time to time, I would find myself working at CBS Radford on shows. And uh, what was different then, is that the people who hired the Assistant Director in Television, were basically the Producers and the, the ah, oh I can't think of the guy. Oh, Abby Singer was there at that time.

Susan Lambert Hatem  12:37

Oh, okay.

Jerram Swartz  12:39

Is that a name that means anything to you guys?

Susan Lambert Hatem  12:41

It is, it is familiar to me.

Jerram Swartz  12:42

He was, Abby Singer is the man after whom the shot, "the Abbey Singer' was named. May I tell you about that?

Susan Lambert Hatem  12:49

Yes. Please explain the 'Abby Singer shot'.

Jerram Swartz  12:51

This is something as an Assistant Director, you learned very quickly you had to announce when you're on the next to last shot of the day, We're on the Abby Singer.

Sharon Johnson  12:59


Jerram Swartz  12:59

And the reason for that was back in, when I knew Abby, he was in his 80s. 70s or 80s. Way back in the day, probably the '50s or '60s, he was an assistant director, and he was famous for saying, Okay, this is the last shot. Okay, this is the last shot. He never actually got the last shot correct. So the next to the last shot is historically "the Abbey Singer'. So when you know that you have two shots left, you make the announcement to the crew.

Susan Lambert Hatem  13:23

It is crazy because I guess I assumed that Abby Singer was an actual person, but I didn't, never actually knew that anybody knew Abby Singer.

Jerram Swartz  13:31

He was a total sweetie pie.

Susan Lambert Hatem  13:33

Aww, that's great.

Jerram Swartz  13:35

There's actually one other old soul that I'd like to do a commercial for because his name is largely forgotten at this point. And that is Wally Worsley Jr. And when I was a Trainee when I was a young pup at Universal, he was an old dog there. He was the, and I I worked with him. I knew him when I was in the mailroom and then later I worked with him. On E.T. He was the Production Manager on E.T. The Extra Terrestrial. He had been the Prop man on Wizard of Oz.

Susan Lambert Hatem  14:03

Come on.

Jerram Swartz  14:04

He and his dad, Wally Worsley Sr., had been the Director of the original Lon Chaney of,  Hunchback of Notre Dome.

Sharon Johnson  14:11


Jerram Swartz  14:12


Susan Lambert Hatem  14:13

That is pretty amazing. So you you started when like old Hollywood's was still around, but the end. The end of it. The end of the Studio System, like like you said, and Sharon Gless talks about that in her book.

Jerram Swartz  14:25

I did have a Camera Assistant say to me on a, on a Movie set, Are you the same Jerram Swartz that working in the '70s?

Susan Lambert Hatem  14:30


Jerram Swartz  14:33

And it's like, Okay, I'm gonna have to kill you.

Sharon Johnson  14:34

(Laughs) I think most people like me are familiar with the Studio System as it applied to actors and actresses, but not as much to the production crew that that was something similar in that regard. So that's really interesting, that that was also part of the system.

Jerram Swartz  14:51

And really, when I started everybody was, everybody looked like they were in their 50s and 60s and they were all white guys, and they all smoked. And coffee a Craft Service cost a nickel or are a dime or something.

Susan Lambert Hatem  15:00

You had to pay for coffee at Craft Service?

Jerram Swartz  15:02

You had to pay for coffee at Craft Service. And it was very crude. It was very crude. So you asked me how I got on to...

Jerram Swartz  15:10

Remington Steele. And it was really just one of those calls. I've worked, I guess, was there a Kevin on it? No, I don't think so. It's just one of the guys at CBS called me. And sure, you know, I went in and I met the Director is a guy named Chris hip, Christopher Hibler, who came from a, a Line that was well regarded at Disney in particular. His dad was oh, he had a cool first name. Do you remember?

Jerram Swartz  15:10

Remington Steele.

Susan Lambert Hatem  15:35

Oh, no. I don't remember anything at Disney. (Laughs)

Jerram Swartz  15:39

Okay. So I've worked actually, I've worked with Chris so it's possible he put my name in at some point. On a Disney movie, I'd been a Second Assistant Director on something called, Hot Lead and Cold Feet.

Susan Lambert Hatem  15:49

Yeah, I saw that title!

Jerram Swartz  15:51

With Jim Dale.

Jerram Swartz  15:52

And, you know, it was kind of an old timey Disney kids movie. It was Western. And the guy who was the Head of the Studio was run somebody who had been Walt Disney's Son In-Law. And they still remembered Walt. And Chris Hibler, he told me stories about how he had had to work with Walt teaching him how to sign his name, the way it looks on the TV Show.

Susan Lambert Hatem  15:52

Okay. Yeah.

Sharon Johnson  16:16


Susan Lambert Hatem  16:17

Oh, my God.

Jerram Swartz  16:18

Christopher directed did a promo at Disneyland. And they had all kinds of ways and, and complicated routines that you had to go through. And there was a giant shot of things happening and things happening and people doing things, and dancers, and they were screening it for Walt. And Walt said, What's that little triangle of grass there? That isn't green. What's wrong with that? So he was relating how extraordinary attention to detail Walt Disney had. And it's like, there was still at a time, and I can't remember what year it is probably '77-'78. That, you know, this was still a name that was spoken with reverence.

Susan Lambert Hatem  16:57

For sure.

Jerram Swartz  16:57

You did not make a joke about about Walt being in a, you know, cooling chamber somewhere. Somebody said it while I was there, this would have been '77-'78... Walt who?

Susan Lambert Hatem  17:09

No way.

Jerram Swartz  17:09

That somebody actually said, you know, that's not the way Walt would have said it, done it or done it. And somebody said, Walt who? And it's like everybody's, everybody went nuts.

Susan Lambert Hatem  17:18


Susan Lambert Hatem  17:18

Yeah. No. I think you'd get in trouble for doing that now.

Sharon Johnson  17:23

So when you joined the crew of Remington Steele, I would imagine that the crew was maybe half folks that had worked on the show before. To what degree were there people who had worked on the show before it was cancelled?

Jerram Swartz  17:36

They were all new to me.

Sharon Johnson  17:37

Oh, okay.

Jerram Swartz  17:38

And I mean, it wasn't clear about anything. I can't, here's the thing that I remember about it. First, I get to go to Ireland. Well, I have my wife and I have my new baby. Kate is six months old.

Susan Lambert Hatem  17:48

Oh my god, Kate was six.

Jerram Swartz  17:50

So what I'd like to do, I asked...

Susan Lambert Hatem  17:51

Hold on, hold on. I just have to picture that for a minute, because I know Kate. Okay, go.

Jerram Swartz  17:55

What I'd like to do is, I'd like to take the First Class ticket that you give me as an Assistant Director, as member of The Guild, and change it into two, you know, steerage tickets. You know, there we were with this little six month old baby, and she'd already been on location. When she was six weeks old, we went to Texas to do a movie, Adam, the sequel to the movie, Adam.

Susan Lambert Hatem  18:17

Oh, okay. Yeah.

Jerram Swartz  18:18

In fact, she has an appearance in TV Guide being held by JoBeth Williams in the Ad Art.

Susan Lambert Hatem  18:24

Oh that's so funny.

Jerram Swartz  18:25

They'd have a little baby there. So she was there. And she was, so this was her second location. And uh.

Sharon Johnson  18:30


Jerram Swartz  18:31

So what I remember was the excitement of going someplace fantastic. And we hadn't been to Dublin before. I had been as a student, but Abey and obviously Kate had not. But we started off filming in town. And the only part of the filming that I remember is that we did a car chase and it was in the little alleys behind in Pasadena. We were not we were not centered in Pasadena. But this was, you know, before Pasadena really happened. We had. We were living in Altadena at the time, so we were very familiar with the Pasadena and the little alleys between Union and Colorado.

Susan Lambert Hatem  19:10

Oh. Okay. All right. All right. I know what you're talking about

Sharon Johnson  19:12


Sharon Johnson  19:12


Jerram Swartz  19:12

And we had like a London Cab and a car that we were gona double over there.

Jerram Swartz  19:16

And we did some some Chase stuff here, which we later did there.

Susan Lambert Hatem  19:16

Oh that's do funny.

Susan Lambert Hatem  19:20

Alright, I'm goin' back and looking at that, the that last Episode. I know what your, I know what chase you're talkin' about.

Jerram Swartz  19:25

Okay, good. I don't.

Sharon Johnson  19:27


Jerram Swartz  19:27

The other thing I remember is once we got to shooting, is that it was clear that there was a cloud. Remember Pigpen? In...

Susan Lambert Hatem  19:35


Jerram Swartz  19:35

There was a cloud over, uh, the name of the star...

Susan Lambert Hatem  19:39

Pierce Brosnan?

Jerram Swartz  19:40

... Pierce Brosnan's head, and that was all around James Bond. I mean that that he was just perpetually in a bad mood because he would Never, Ever get to play James Bond now.

Susan Lambert Hatem  19:49

It looked like that at the time.

Jerram Swartz  19:50

I mean, that's what it looked like.

Jerram Swartz  19:50

That, that was like clearly, that was never ever going to happen. mean,

Jerram Swartz  19:51


Susan Lambert Hatem  19:51

For sure. It looked like that, that that ship had sailed in some ways.

Jerram Swartz  19:57

So I think that, and I and I took have that as a great life lesson. You know, the great life lesson is if you’re Pierce Brosnan and they say you can't be James Bond, that it doesn't mean you're not ever ever gona do James Bond. It just means you're not going to do James Bond this time. And I've, I've referred to that in my life, actually.

Sharon Johnson  20:17

So were you aware of all of the drama around Pierce Brosnan not getting to play James Bond at the end of Season four before you started working on the show? Or was that something you learned when you got there?

Jerram Swartz  20:28

No. I mean, no. I might have, might have known about it. I didn't care. You know, he was-- He was professional. He was fine. Stephanie, I liked. We met her dad. At one point he came. Was he in my Episode?

Susan Lambert Hatem  20:40

He's in. He's in your episode. Yeah.

Jerram Swartz  20:42

I remember at that point, doing some research and finding about his father.

Susan Lambert Hatem  20:46

Yes, the violinist.

Jerram Swartz  20:48

things, some bricks there. I mean, that was very impressive. I mean, that was probably the most impressive celebrity aspect of it for me. It was, you know, the--  What was it? The violinist to the, to the Tsar, right?

Susan Lambert Hatem  20:59


Jerram Swartz  21:00

Yeah. And not bad for a nice Jewish boy, right?

Susan Lambert Hatem  21:02


Sharon Johnson  21:02

Right. (Chuckling)

Susan Lambert Hatem  21:05

So I will say this, the performances are not lackluster,

Sharon Johnson  21:09


Susan Lambert Hatem  21:10

They are working really hard. So I'm gonna give some like I-- It, it was clear to everybody that he was really bummed that he lost. I mean, and who wouldn't be? It looks like you just lost playing James Bond, a role that, quite honestly, you were kind of built to play and thought you were gonna get to play. And then you lose it because they want to just take a slight advantage of your contract. (Chuckles)

Jerram Swartz  21:35

Well, and I'm sure that helped them, right? That the notoriety around-- Oh, he could play-- His value went up to the, to the show people.

Sharon Johnson  21:43

And we surmise that that's exactly why it was brought back because it was cancelled. And then literally at the last minute, when it became apparent he was going to be cast as James Bond, they said, "Oh, no, we need to do this. We need to do more of this."

Susan Lambert Hatem  21:54

Because everybody got excited about watching Remington Steele. Like they were like, "Whoa, with the new James Bond." So we have questions.

Sharon Johnson  22:02

So many questions.

Susan Lambert Hatem  22:02

So many questions. Were you part of the castle? Was there a castle where you were?

Jerram Swartz  22:06

No. We were filming Dublin for London. We brought a red bus up, red double decker bus up from England to Dublin. They don't belong in, in Ireland.

Susan Lambert Hatem  22:15

Oh, that's so funny. Okay, so I just assumed you were filming Dublin for Scotland. So you were on--

Jerram Swartz  22:20

How stupid is that!

Sharon Johnson  22:21


Jerram Swartz  22:23

They had a great studio there, by the way. A very old studio, way out in the boonies. You can look it up and find out the name. I can't think of it now. It's still there. But I remember we were filming a police squad room there. And there was-- In every squad room you go to, there's like pigeonholes filled with papers and stuff. And I happen to look at it. And it was timecards from guys working at the studios in the '50s and '60s.

Sharon Johnson  22:52


Jerram Swartz  22:53

I mean, it was just you know, it's just random paper that happened to be around that the art department had access to and jammed them in and jammed them in and jammed them in. Oh.

Jerram Swartz  23:01

Ardmore, yes. And memorably, memorably, I had a production meeting to lead at Ardmore, and they gave me a rental car. And I was like, 45 minutes late because I got totally lost in the backwoods of driving around. There was before satellites, of course,

Susan Lambert Hatem  23:01

Ardmore Studios?

Susan Lambert Hatem  23:16

it was all real time, real-life stuff. There's no cell phones, there's no, you know, there's no video. You're filming on film.

Jerram Swartz  23:26

Even for a long time-- I'm not sure, I'm not sure when. What's that-- Reflex cameras came in. I remember when I started as a trainee, that not even the camera operator could see exactly what image was going on to the film. He had to rack over, right?

Susan Lambert Hatem  23:41


Jerram Swartz  23:42

It's like you had to look through here and then kind of assume what was going to be there.

Sharon Johnson  23:45


Jerram Swartz  23:46

Now, you know, any idiot on the set can see exactly, you know, on his iPhone.

Susan Lambert Hatem  23:50


Jerram Swartz  23:50

You can see exactly what the shot is. But then even the operator couldn't see.

Susan Lambert Hatem  23:50


Jerram Swartz  23:50

Sometimes they broadcast, right?

Sharon Johnson  23:56


Susan Lambert Hatem  23:57

All right. So you were on like four and five, then? Or you--

Jerram Swartz  24:01

No, I think it would have been one and two, three and four, five and six, right?.

Susan Lambert Hatem  24:05

So you were on three and four.

Jerram Swartz  24:05


Susan Lambert Hatem  24:06

So you were on three and four. So--

Jerram Swartz  24:08

I accept that.

Susan Lambert Hatem  24:09

Okay, I'm gonna--

Jerram Swartz  24:09

No castle,

Susan Lambert Hatem  24:10

I mean, no castle.

Jerram Swartz  24:11


Susan Lambert Hatem  24:11

But I think when we were watching it, your name came up on four or five.

Jerram Swartz  24:16

It would have been four. It would have been-- I mean--

Susan Lambert Hatem  24:18

It came up on five or six. It came up on one of the ones--

Jerram Swartz  24:20

Okay, maybe somebody owes me money then.

Sharon Johnson  24:21


Susan Lambert Hatem  24:21

Yeah. All right. All right. All right. So no castle, but I am glad you got to meet Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. He's wonderful in the show.`

Jerram Swartz  24:29

And I have favorable feelings for Jack Scalia too. That was a nice guy.

Susan Lambert Hatem  24:33

Well, that's good that he was a nice guy.

Sharon Johnson  24:35


Susan Lambert Hatem  24:35

It was the wrong-- It was the wrong show and the wrong part, I think, for him

Sharon Johnson  24:39

Well, it would have been-- If they had been consistent with what, who this character was supposed to be--

Susan Lambert Hatem  24:43

They changed what he was--

Susan Lambert Hatem  24:45

...every episode.

Sharon Johnson  24:45


Sharon Johnson  24:46

There were only six episodes or three hours and-- But he's, he's this and-- It was so confusing.

Susan Lambert Hatem  24:53

He does a fine job.

Sharon Johnson  24:54

It was the writing.

Sharon Johnson  24:54


Susan Lambert Hatem  24:54

It's not him. He's got, he's got a great career. He's what, was totally the hunk of the '80s, you know. One of the hunks of the '80s and is still working and worked a lot. Did a lot of cool stuff.

Susan Lambert Hatem  25:04

And was an actual, you know, major league baseball player. And I also think that in some ways, they were like, "Okay, well, we're not going to have Pierce, but maybe we'll get Stephanie and a new guy." Like for a minute, it feels like that's what they're trying to do.

Susan Lambert Hatem  25:18

In that Season five is like, "Oh, okay. So we, you know, he had to come back for Season five. He's not going to stay. Maybe we can carry this show through." That's what it feels like. And that may have been Michael Gleason. That may have been somebody at the studio.

Sharon Johnson  25:18

Oh, I hadn't thought about it from that standpoint.

Sharon Johnson  25:20

Which would have made sense if at some level, if the show weren't called Remington Steele, because how do you continue the show without Remington Steele? You can't put another guy and say this is now Remington Steele.

Jerram Swartz  25:46

It's the spin off, right?

Susan Lambert Hatem  25:48

Your job as the first assistant director is just to keep things rolling.

Jerram Swartz  25:51

My job as the first assistant director is to prep the show within an eyelash of its being. And to take the script, break it down, figure out how long everything's going to take to film. Put the strips in order. We still had cardboard strips then.

Susan Lambert Hatem  26:05

Cardboard strips. Okay, so--

Jerram Swartz  26:06

Cardboard strips wouldn't--

Susan Lambert Hatem  26:08

Can you explain this to our listeners.

Jerram Swartz  26:10

This is a technology that was invented, according to lore, by Charlie Chaplin and his secretary. And that was they would take strips of emulsion and write on it with a grease pencil what this what the scene was.

Susan Lambert Hatem  26:25

An emulsion is filmstrips.

Jerram Swartz  26:26

Film strips, exposed film strips. So it's like not, not reactive. And pin it on a bulletin board. And evidently, this woman came up with the idea of giving each actor a number, Charlie Chaplin being number one. And that's where 'number one on the call sheet' comes from, from that moment.

Sharon Johnson  26:43

Um-hmm. Nice.

Jerram Swartz  26:43

And having a list of the different characters, not the actual, but the characters and numbers that go down. And every time a character number one is in the scene, you put a one there. And every time number two is in the scene, you put it to a little bit lower. And so you can see by this array on your cork board, where one works. And for example, you don't want Charlie waiting around. So you don't have a scene with one at the beginning of the day and one at the end of the day. So it's a graphic way of looking at the information. And that became-- By the time you get into the '30s, you have the technology that I was brought up on, which is cardboard strips of different colors. Daytime, nighttime, interior, exterior, There's a whole-- Actually, each studio had its own coding of that.

Susan Lambert Hatem  27:31

Code system.

Jerram Swartz  27:32


Susan Lambert Hatem  27:32

Well, I mean, that's how I learned in film school 19, mid 80s.

Jerram Swartz  27:37

So well, that's how it was. That's how we did it for years. And for years, even after we had computers, I still kept a board that I felt that I was able-- And to this day, I will tell you that my boards were five to seven percent better, because there was a tactile aspect of moving the strips around to get the correct schedule that you don't get when you're dragging and dropping on a computer.

Sharon Johnson  27:58

Just to have the visualization of it in front of you. For me, I could see that being better for me.

Jerram Swartz  28:04

But what you can't do on a computer is you can't get the whole movie in front of you.

Sharon Johnson  28:08

Yeah, that's what I-- I think that's what I mean, to see the whole picture of what's happening.

Jerram Swartz  28:13

And to have to walk to the end of the movie and pick strips and bring them to the front of the movie.

Sharon Johnson  28:16

Yes. Yes.

Jerram Swartz  28:18

So it is different. And I remember some big movies we worked on had multiple boards, had boards that you know, stretched run and-- And I worked with a director who said that the-- And what would happen is every time you, you have a list of strips that are going to be your day's work followed by a black strip. It says okay, everything before that is this day, Thursday, day seven, right. And there was a director that I worked with, he said that the act of putting the strips that you've shot behind the headerboard is the headerboard moves down is better than--

Sharon Johnson  28:49


Jerram Swartz  28:52

We still do the board exactly the same way. Movie Magic is really kind of the go-to technology. Other people have-- Other people have tried to come up with things. It really is the standard. It's a very effective way of manipulating information, being able to print out vast amounts of incorrect information very quickly.

Susan Lambert Hatem  29:14


Sharon Johnson  29:14


Susan Lambert Hatem  29:14

(Laughing) We heard that!

Jerram Swartz  29:14

That by the time I got to RIPTIDE, we had gotten it down to the point where I would finish prep-- this is the night before the production meeting at seven o'clock. I would finish at Cannell's office, which is still at high-- The office isn't there; the building is there. Hi-- La Brea and Hollywood Boulevard.

Jerram Swartz  29:15

Drive down to Barbara's Place on Santa Monica and drop it off to them and they would work all night and generate the--

Susan Lambert Hatem  29:39

And generate the--

Jerram Swartz  29:39

The shooting schedules for the production meeting.

Susan Lambert Hatem  29:42

I'm sorry that Rich isn't here to talk about RIPTIDE. I think he wants to do a whole podcast on RIPTIDE. That I'll leave to you and him. You also worked on a lot of cool '70s shows. EMERGENCY. One of the first shows you worked on

Jerram Swartz  29:54

it was literally the first show I worked on. I worked so much, so many hours on that that I sometimes slept in the firemen bed on the set.

Susan Lambert Hatem  30:03

Oh, that's so sweet. I was Randolph Mantooth and Kevin--

Jerram Swartz  30:09

Tighe. Yep.

Susan Lambert Hatem  30:09

Tai. Alright, so say that again. Kevin--

Susan Lambert Hatem  30:09

Teege? Tighe?

Jerram Swartz  30:09


Jerram Swartz  30:12

Kevin Tighe.

Susan Lambert Hatem  30:13

Kevin Tighe. Randolph Mantooth and Kevin Tighe. They were so adorable. They were saving lives all over town.

Jerram Swartz  30:21

Julie London

Susan Lambert Hatem  30:22

Julie London.

Jerram Swartz  30:23

Who is the bandleader that?

Susan Lambert Hatem  30:25

That I don't know.

Jerram Swartz  30:26

With white hair. He was also in the show.

Susan Lambert Hatem  30:28

Oh, man. I don't know.

Jerram Swartz  30:30

And Robert Fuller.

Susan Lambert Hatem  30:31


Jerram Swartz  30:32

Randy Mantooth. It was so funny. He was like, he was like this idol. Right?

Susan Lambert Hatem  30:36

He was like the sexy one.

Jerram Swartz  30:38

Yeah. Nice guy. So really nice. And Kevin was more of an intellectual. So I had a nice rapport with him. And he did a lot of movies for like us in six man.

Susan Lambert Hatem  30:48

Oh, he's he's done a ton of stuff.

Jerram Swartz  30:48

No, no, really? What's the name of that Writer/Director that did a bunch of cool stuff with Kevin Tighe? Nine Men Out. Who did that?

Susan Lambert Hatem  30:58

Oh, Sayles.

Jerram Swartz  30:59

John Sayles.

Susan Lambert Hatem  30:59

John Sayles.

Jerram Swartz  30:59

So, he did a lot of John Sayles movies.

Susan Lambert Hatem  31:01

Yeah, that's right. I mean, he's just done a lot of movies, but I didn't know that he was--  I guess he is one of these go-to guys. Sure.

Jerram Swartz  31:06

So, the thing I remember about Randy Mantooth, we were shooting-- We were always shooting in really hot places. It was like, you get the script. I remember it. It's like, oh, yeah, we got a car on the roof this one and you know what other--

Susan Lambert Hatem  31:18

Horrible build.

Jerram Swartz  31:18

Whatever horrible things are happening. But I remember we were shooting way up by Magic Mountain in those days. It took a long time to get the Magic Mountain, right? And, and it was a million degrees. And he invited me into his trailer and he offered me a, an ice cold Vernors diet ginger ale. And I'd never had it before and that was like his thing that he loved and he was very generous in sharing that with me.

Sharon Johnson  31:42

Was Bobby Troup the--

Jerram Swartz  31:43

Bobby Troup! Thank you. Yes, yes. He was a big-deal bandleader. He was a big, big deal.

Susan Lambert Hatem  31:47

Big, big deal.

Jerram Swartz  31:48

Yeah. And Julie London was a great singer.

Susan Lambert Hatem  31:52

Well, Emergency was like the first time I was like, oh, that's what Los Angeles looks like, because it was set in LA. But you also worked on Barnaby Jones and Colombo. Worked with Peter Falk, Buddy Epsen.

Jerram Swartz  32:02

Buddy Epsen was adorable. He would occasionally fall asleep during takes.

Susan Lambert Hatem  32:06

You know.

Sharon Johnson  32:07


Jerram Swartz  32:08

And about 30 years later, I went to my bank in Altadena. It was the Bank of America up on Lake Avenue. And there was a security guard there, a much older guy with big mutton chop, white mustache. And he said to me, "Did you work on Barnaby Jones?" I said, "Yeah, I worked on Barnaby Jones." He said, "I remember Barnaby Jones trying to teach you to tap dance." And swear to God, it was true. He was, he was a stand-in on the show.

Susan Lambert Hatem  32:35

Oh my god.

Sharon Johnson  32:36


Jerram Swartz  32:36

That came back to haunt me many, many years later,

Susan Lambert Hatem  32:39

Adam wouldn't say hi. I think you should you should put it on a plaque somewhere that Barnaby Jones taught you to tap dance.

Jerram Swartz  32:46

No, he didn't.

Susan Lambert Hatem  32:47

He wasn't successful. (Laughs)

Sharon Johnson  32:48

He tried to, as the security guard said. But how did that come about that he wanted to--

Susan Lambert Hatem  32:52

The Tin Man.  We're gonna take a little break. We're gonna come back. We're gonna ask some more questions of Jerram and his life in the '80s on television and movies.

Jerram Swartz  32:52

Oh, of course. I mean, of course, I was a young schmuck. You know, can you teach me the tap dance or something? You know, I don't remember what it was. But it was like, of course, I want to learn to tap dance from the original Tin Man. From the Tin Man.

Jerram Swartz  33:12

Life in the '80s.

Susan Lambert Hatem  33:20

All right, Sharon, welcome back. Welcome back, Jerram. We are-- See, we're getting goofy over here. We're getting a little bit--

Sharon Johnson  33:27

Well, because we're having this great conversation. It's been so fascinating.

Susan Lambert Hatem  33:31

Alright, so again, not an '80s TV lady at all. But we have to talk about the Blues Brothers. That was your first movie as a First Assistant.

Jerram Swartz  33:40

Well, so what happened was I had started at Universal in the mailroom. And then when it came time, once I got into the training program, I was kind of seamlessly integrated into Emergency there. That was a show there. So I'm still working at the studio,

Susan Lambert Hatem  33:54

Which clearly I'm the only one that loved but okay. Melissa loved it, too.

Sharon Johnson  33:58

I didn't see it, unfortunately.

Susan Lambert Hatem  34:00

Yes, Julie London.

Jerram Swartz  34:01

I worked on a couple of features there. Start-- The first one was Swashbuckler.

Susan Lambert Hatem  34:06


Jerram Swartz  34:07

Anybody ever hear of that? That was a pirate movie before pirate movies were successful. After they were successful, before they were successful.

Susan Lambert Hatem  34:13


Susan Lambert Hatem  34:14

With Robert Shaw and James Earl Jones and Genevieve Bujold.

Sharon Johnson  34:18

I'm trying to figure out how I never knew about Swashbuckler considering the cast because wow. I'm gonna have to find it and watch it so--

Jerram Swartz  34:26

James Earl Jones was the nicest guy in the world. And Genevieve Bujold was so hot. She was great.

Susan Lambert Hatem  34:32

All right, well, okay, now we gotta all go watch Swashbuckler.

Jerram Swartz  34:35


Jerram Swartz  34:35

And Robert Shaw was a drunk jerk. And at one point, we were standing next to each other and he was, he was super intellectual. Really smart. He wrote a bunch of plays. He wrote The Man in the Glass Booth.

Susan Lambert Hatem  34:36

Oh, yeah. Okay, Alright.

Jerram Swartz  34:36

You know, he was, he was very much into the bottle at that point. This was before The Sting, but after Jaws,

Susan Lambert Hatem  34:54

Alright, so--

Jerram Swartz  34:55

Yes, it was after Jaws.

Sharon Johnson  34:56

No, but, but The Sting was '73, '74?

Jerram Swartz  35:01

Then I guess maybe it was after The Sting. We were down in Mexico. And he's standing there in this little red pirate outfit. And we're watching James Earl Jones do a thing. And suddenly he hits me in the ribs. He just goes like whap. And he takes my breath away. And I look at him. And he says to me, "And there's nothing you can do about it."

Susan Lambert Hatem  35:21

Are you serious?

Jerram Swartz  35:22

I'm serious.

Sharon Johnson  35:23


Jerram Swartz  35:24

So I got custody of the story.

Susan Lambert Hatem  35:26

You got custody of the story.

Jerram Swartz  35:27

So here we are. And I'm not ashamed. I'm not ashamed to say that. I came back to Universal. And they hired me actually, while releasing some of the other guys. They hired me for a couple of months to wander around, poke my nose around and write the manual of Universal Studios. And this is this department. And this is who's here and things like that. And they took out all my jokes and all my quotes and all my cartoons and things. And they made it corporate policy for seven years. So that was a nice gig. And then they promoted me to First Assistant Director, and I was working on a show called Buck Rogers in the 25th century.

Sharon Johnson  35:45

Oh, wow.

Susan Lambert Hatem  36:00

Also one of my favorites from childhood,

Jerram Swartz  36:01

"Biddi-biddi-biddi" This was 1979. Universal at that point, was still like a college campus. And everybody kind of knew each other, and you'd visit each other's sets. And you'd see people at the commissary and kind of, you know-- There was-- It was like, it was like a collegial sort of organization. And people started disappearing. It was like, one by one people were disappearing. And it's like, "Oh, what happened to Fran?" "Oh, she's in Chicago." "Oh, what happened to--"They sent them to Chicago." And what was happening is they were prepping this movie called The Blues Brothers there, which was just getting bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger. And they were expanding the number of people they needed to work on it. And sure enough, I got this call, "Jerram, you're going to Chicago."

Susan Lambert Hatem  36:07

You're going to Chicago.

Jerram Swartz  36:10

So I was a freshly minted First AD. I'd been a First on one or two episodes of Buck Rogers. And they were quick to tell me, we don't want you to go and run the set. There's a guy David Sosna, who's been prepping with John Landis for months, he's gonna run the set. David, by the way is to my mind, like the best in the business. The work he did on Blues Brothers is second to none. But we need help coordinating stunt men coming in and out Bluesmobiles, this security at the mall, things-- You know, they couldn't even enumerate what they needed. We just want to send you there. So, okay, well, whatever it is, it's better than Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. And so I I kiss my girlfriend, goodbye. I said, I'll see you in three months. A week later, I sent her a ticket. We've been together ever since 1979. That's my wife.

Susan Lambert Hatem  36:13

You just take her to all the best sets.

Jerram Swartz  37:41

Well, that's right.

Sharon Johnson  37:43


Jerram Swartz  37:43

I mean, but this is obviously before 1986. So that was the first one I took her to and so we will always have Chicago as kind of a romantic-- You know. This isn't necessarily what you wanted to know about.

Susan Lambert Hatem  37:55

I'm loving this!

Sharon Johnson  37:55

This is awesome.

Susan Lambert Hatem  37:56

Because this is fantastic!

Jerram Swartz  37:57

I will tell you one story from that and that is there is a scene in Blues Brothers at the mall. You familiar with--

Susan Lambert Hatem  38:04

Yes. Yeah, I'm familiar with Blues Brothers.

Jerram Swartz  38:06

Can you tell me what the first shot, the first interior shot is after the cars--

Susan Lambert Hatem  38:06

Okay, I guess I spoke too soon.

Jerram Swartz  38:11

They crash through the wall going into the mall and they come into a toy store. And so we had a toy store set in the, in the mall. And we put a fake wall there and ran the car through, and it burst through and knocked over every shelf in the thing and knocked all the toys off the shelves. And you know when the dust clear-- Everybody okay? Everybody's okay. John Landis pull,took, picked up a Kermit doll, Kermit the Frog doll that had fallen over here and wired it to the front bumper of the Bluesmobile..

Susan Lambert Hatem  38:32


Jerram Swartz  38:39

And you can't see it. I've looked frame by frame. I've tried to see it in the thing. And then we shot for a week there. Complete mayhem. I don't think you could do that scene today. Certainly not the way we did it. Because we were all working in this interior thing, cars with exhaust, actual glass, not breakaway glass. I mean, how hazardous, how dangerous by today's standards. Back then it was like, oh, yeah, we'll take one for the team. We're gonna, we're gonna, you know, it's gonna be fine. And by the way, John Landis would later go on in 1980-- In 1982, to kill three people at the, at Indian Dunes on Twilight Zone.

Susan Lambert Hatem  39:24

Twilight Zone.

Jerram Swartz  39:26

And I'd be happy to come back and talk about that all day long with you. But what I will say is that if David Sosna had been the First on Twilight Zone, it would not have happened. That he would have had the wherewithal to say, "John, let's stop the shot. Let's do this properly, we'll get the shot. It will be where you want it to be. But we're not going to do it unsafely." So I just want to do that shot out. So anyway, at the end of the week of shooting, and the place was trashed, right. There was nothing there. I found the Kermet doll. And so I took that home and that has become them our icon for Debie and me. The-- Every location I've been on-- Poland Italy, everywhere-- Kermit's come with us.The portrait of our children has them holding Kermit, and it's just-- That really became a kind of an icon for us, our first child.

Sharon Johnson  40:15

Wonderful I love that story so much. Oh my gosh.

Susan Lambert Hatem  40:20

My favorite thing about Blues Brothers is, is it sweetness. Like it's, it's got a lot of heart for a movie that's about--

Susan Lambert Hatem  40:26

You know, it's about the music.

Susan Lambert Hatem  40:26

It's about the music.

Jerram Swartz  40:29

You know? And I tell you, Cab Calloway. I was, I was just-- I met him. I was just, could not have been more knocked out.

Susan Lambert Hatem  40:36

That is fantastic.

Jerram Swartz  40:37

More than Aretha Franklin, more than anything. Now I only did the Chicago portion. They came back and did an awful lot of it here, which I was not on payroll for, unfortunately. But I had a great time. We had three months there. It was fantastic.

Susan Lambert Hatem  40:50

It has a lot of that recklessness, revolutionary like rawness of the '70s movies and television. And yet it also is the beginning of okay, really, let's just do a, you know, 25-minute car chase and, and crash things.

Jerram Swartz  41:07

Well, you know, I guess what they had in the '70s, for a brief shining moment, is when they were letting auteurs do studio movies. And they were letting, right to is that the stream is crossed. And you had the Chinatown and you had The Godfather and you had right. And there-- Harold and Maude and you know that, that kind of group of things. And then it just became clear that that's not the movie the studios-- That's not the business studios wanted to be in.

Susan Lambert Hatem  41:37

Well, and again, it was also Jaws and Star Wars that turned into, everything into a blockbuster, right? Like, like suddenly, that's, the that's the business we want to be in.

Jerram Swartz  41:48


Susan Lambert Hatem  41:48

And I love both those movies. But in some ways, their success marked the beginning of a blockbuster era that has never ever, ever left us.

Jerram Swartz  41:58

I've got to tell you my Jaws story, even though it's completely off the track.

Susan Lambert Hatem  42:01


Jerram Swartz  42:02

You've heard it, I think but this is just--

Susan Lambert Hatem  42:04

But our viewers haven't. All those viewers out there.

Jerram Swartz  42:07

Okay, let me paint you a picture that in 1974 we'd all been-- I was in the mailroom at Universal. And we were aware that there was this movie that they were shooting that was really in trouble. And it was Jaws, and there were a number of reasons that it was not shut down, that are not particularly well known. One is that Marsh Green, who was the film executive. His brother Hilton Green was the TV executive. They had both grown up as part of the Universal family. Their dad had been Doug Green, had been Mary Pickford's director. Right? They came by it honestly. So anyway, Marsh was out with a heart attack, and John Oser who was the head of the budget department was also out for health reasons for a particular amount of time. So it's-- They were not--My perspective's they were not getting the information amalgamated correctly to shut down the movie, they would absolutely have shut down. So anyway, so Jaws was going on. We're aware that there have been issues with it. But you know, it's also there's the big shark. At one point we'd actually snuck out from the mailroom to see where the shark was being built and seeing Bruce. And you know where he is now, right?

Susan Lambert Hatem  43:13

He's in, he's at Universal.

Sharon Johnson  43:14

On the tram tour. Isn't that him?

Jerram Swartz  43:17

No, he is-- You know something, there might be more than one Bruce, but I'm under the impression that the real Bruce the shark is hanging in the Academy Museum.

Susan Lambert Hatem  43:24


Sharon Johnson  43:25


Jerram Swartz  43:26

When you go up to the top floor--

Jerram Swartz  43:27

He is, he is there in space there for -- So anyway, the movie's getting ready to to open and it's about a month before the movie opens. And I can't remember if they've had the Dallas screening where they got the idea, oh, yes, this might be successful movie. But there's going to be a screening this Wednesday coming up. And I go to my friend Stan Musgrove, because, you know, I've been schmoozing him for a year in the mailroom, and I say, can I get into the screening? Can you, can you help me get into the screening on Wednesday? He said okay. I came back the next day. "Okay, here's what you do. The screenings at eight o'clock. At a quarter to eight, you stand outside the main gate. A white limo will pull up, the back door'll open, you get in and you can go as Mae West's guest."

Sharon Johnson  43:27


Sharon Johnson  44:08


Susan Lambert Hatem  44:08

Hello. Hold on. We're sitting up, go.

Jerram Swartz  44:11

For your listeners, Mae West was the first Madonna. I don't know. Even Madonna is probably dated now.

Jerram Swartz  44:11

Who is the Lady Gaga? Before there was Lady Gaga there was Mae West.

Susan Lambert Hatem  44:18

There was Madonna. And then before there was Madonna. there was Marilyn Monroe. And before Marilyn Monroe, there was Mae West.

Susan Lambert Hatem  44:18


Jerram Swartz  44:27

May West was a creator. She was a playwright. She was, she was much more than Marilyn Monroe. Right? And she was arrested and she had a play on Broadway called Sex. I mean, she was really, she was the real thing.

Susan Lambert Hatem  44:37


Jerram Swartz  44:37

In 1974. She's 83 years old. She is still making movies. She was in a movie called Sectet-- Sextet that very year. And I, you know, I can't believe it. Yes, I will go there. That-- I absolutely can do that. So there it is quarter to eight. I'm there. The car pulls up, door opens, I get in, and there she is. Right?

Susan Lambert Hatem  44:57

You are going--

Sharon Johnson  44:58


Susan Lambert Hatem  44:59

To see Jaws.

Jerram Swartz  45:00


Susan Lambert Hatem  45:01

In a white limo--

Jerram Swartz  45:02


Susan Lambert Hatem  45:02

With Mae West.

Jerram Swartz  45:03

The shortest ride in the world and a white limo because they've already arrived at the studio.

Susan Lambert Hatem  45:07

That's okay,

Jerram Swartz  45:08

And there's two or three other guys in addition to the driver. It's not a one-on-one date, you know? Nothing, I don't expect anything's gonna happen.

Sharon Johnson  45:13

You're part of her entourage.

Jerram Swartz  45:15

Absolutely. I probably the worst-built guy there. Okay, and so we go into the Hitchcock Theater. Right? Park, get out, walk in. And I'm sitting next to her. And we're a few minutes early, right? Waiting for the lights to go down. And she started to tell me some stories about the 1930s, how she discovered Cary Grant, how she had a, an all0white apartment, that she had a pet monkey, and he threw his feces all over the place.

Susan Lambert Hatem  45:41


Jerram Swartz  45:41

And I am in hog heaven. This is the greatest thing. I mean, I'm a big fan of the movies of the '20s and '30s. So I'm well aware of who she is, and I am having such a great time. Then the lights come down. And none of us has ever seen Jaws before. Right? We don't know. Everybody knows now that there's this poor stunt girl that goes out from the, from the party and is gonna get eaten immediately. Mae West has not finished. She is still telling me the story.

Sharon Johnson  46:06


Jerram Swartz  46:07

Because once you start her at age 83, she finishes when she's ready to finish and she has this arc. She has the whole thing down to a science. And no shark is going to stop her from telling a story. So it's like, "Mae West, shut up! I'm trying to watch the movie." So that really it just made my 21-year-old head explode. It was, like, one of the greatest nights of all time.

Sharon Johnson  46:27

(Laughs) When you get into the limo, though, what does she say? Does she say anything to you? Or does--

Jerram Swartz  46:33

You know, it's  "Hello, I'm Jerram." I don't even remember. That part is not known to us. Now--

Susan Lambert Hatem  46:36


Sharon Johnson  46:38

That's one of the most amazing stories I've ever heard.

Susan Lambert Hatem  46:40

There's so many parts of that are amazing. That's the best part.

Jerram Swartz  46:44

That's right. That's right. Shut up, Mae West!

Jerram-Susan-Sharon  46:51


Sharon Johnson  46:51

Oh my goodness.

Jerram Swartz  46:52

Okay. So it's a little off topic.

Susan Lambert Hatem  46:54

It isn't. But it's a great off topic.

Jerram Swartz  46:56

One thing about Blues Brothers I'm going to say--

Susan Lambert Hatem  46:58


Jerram Swartz  46:59

Is my assistant whom we found in Chicago-- I interviewed a few-- was a gal named Katterli Frauenfelder.

Jerram Swartz  47:06

Who was brilliant. She was so smart. And she has been Tim Burton's Assistant Director and Executive Producer for about 25 years.

Sharon Johnson  47:06

That's a name.

Susan Lambert Hatem  47:13

That is fantastic.

Sharon Johnson  47:14


Jerram Swartz  47:15

I mean, her career is so much better than my career. But I was lucky. Very lucky to have her on Blues Brothers.

Susan Lambert Hatem  47:21

Oh, that's fantastic. Your career has been pretty good.

Jerram Swartz  47:24

Yeah, but it's not Katterli's career.

Sharon Johnson  47:26


Jerram Swartz  47:27

But I do, but I do have the Kermit doll and she does not, so--

Sharon Johnson  47:30

There you go.

Jerram Swartz  47:31

So there.

Susan Lambert Hatem  47:32

Alright. So Cagney & Lacey. We got to talk about Cagney & Lacey, because this is '80s TV Ladies, after all. Let's bring it back into our sweet spot. And you worked on a couple episodes of Cagney & Lacey. How was that? What was going on?

Jerram Swartz  47:44

Oh, it was fun. It was great. I liked the ladies.

Sharon Johnson  47:48

What season was it? Do you remember? Had they been around for a while? I mean--

Jerram Swartz  47:52

Oh, yeah. It was one of their very last seasons.

Sharon Johnson  47:54

Oh, okay.

Sharon Johnson  47:55

It was-- Obviously then it was, it was Sharon Gless playing--

Jerram Swartz  47:55


Jerram Swartz  47:58


Susan Lambert Hatem  47:59

Yeah. There were three Cagneys. We've talked about that before. We're gonna get-- When we get to Cagney & Lacey, we will, we will dive further into that hole. THREE Cagney's, which I'm very excited about. But yeah, so what it also looks like-- And again, we haven't, we haven't examined it closely. But it definitely was a show that in the '80s felt like it was trying to be a feminist show. It was clearly like--

Jerram Swartz  48:23

Oh, absolutely.

Susan Lambert Hatem  48:23

Here there, there are two ladies and they're cops

Jerram Swartz  48:28


Susan Lambert Hatem  48:28

But they're--

Jerram Swartz  48:29

One's a single lady.

Susan Lambert Hatem  48:31

One's a single lady.

Jerram Swartz  48:31

And the other's a nice married lady with a lovely husband.

Susan Lambert Hatem  48:33

And don'tworry. She still likes to have sex with him.

Jerram Swartz  48:35


Susan Lambert Hatem  48:36

That-- (Chuckles) It's fine. But it's, you know, again, it-- More than the other shows we've yet really talked about or looked at closely, this was a show that had an agenda and was also an issue show. Like, it was, like, you know, the, the, you know, Hill Street Blues the hospital show.

Jerram Swartz  48:53

it was all Barney Rosenzweig. He was really the, the genius behind that. And for every episode, what we would do is we would come-- The director and I and production designer would sit in Barney's office in a small office, kind of crowded around. And he would take us through the script beat by beat and explain to us exactly what the intention was. That was always very useful.

Sharon Johnson  49:13

And it was really the first show we're going to be talking about that is about the two female leads. It's their stories and they're the ones that are driving story without having the counterpart who is a man. Obviously there are men in the show, but the show is really about their relationship.

Susan Lambert Hatem  49:30

They are driving the story. It is their journeys to their end and that female work friendship. So particularly unique, even now. Like there's not a lot that is that is focused on these are two people who work together and they create a relationship that is a friendship but also a working friendship.

Jerram Swartz  49:51

And they didn't hang out together.

Susan Lambert Hatem  49:52


Jerram Swartz  49:53

I mean, because, because Lacey went home, she went to church, she went to her husband,

Sharon Johnson  49:59

And her kids and had stuff to do it. And Chris went out to wherever it was that she went to and lived her life as a single woman in New York, you know. So good for her, good for both of them. And I think that's one of the things I like about the premise in the show that it does show that balance, that there isn't one way to be a feminist. It's, it's a combination of things.

Susan Lambert Hatem  50:19

All right, but that was shot in LA.

Jerram Swartz  50:20


Susan Lambert Hatem  50:21

It's set in New York, shot in LA.

Jerram Swartz  50:22

That was a-- they always said that was their biggest mistake.

Susan Lambert Hatem  50:25


Jerram Swartz  50:26

It was not shooting it in New York, as we were like fighting it. I remember this is the first time I found, I saw this particular gag. It was that our camera truck said New York Times on the front and New York Post on the back so we can park into the shot. But it was always, it was always guys rushing around putting license plates on to real cars. (Chuckles) Because you didn't have the CGI, you know, you couldn't just do that.

Susan Lambert Hatem  50:49

Oh my god. All right. That's fantastic.

Susan Lambert Hatem  50:51

I have

Jerram Swartz  50:51

one memory that has nothing to do with Cagney or Lacey, but it was just a funny thing that happened. We were shooting in the Alexandria Hotel.

Susan Lambert Hatem  50:59


Jerram Swartz  50:59

Downtown. At that point, it was one of its terrible periods. It's come back. It's gone away. It's come back. It's got-- I don't know where it is right now. So we were shooting a scene where Cagney & Lacey come out of the elevator and they run down the corridor for something. So the cameras set up in this little landing opposite the elevator, and we're ready to go. And the other elevator door opens. And you know, we all look over, you know. We're controlling the elevators. I'm in charge of you know, okay, it's, it's on hold. But unexpectedly, the other elevator door opens. And this guy looks out and he sees the camera pointing essentially at him. And as the door is closed, he goes Stella!

Susan-Sharon  51:37


Jerram Swartz  51:43

What was great about it, and of course, the late episodes was that we were filming at this, this lot on Lacey Street, as it happens. There's actually, there's actually a lot there, right. And what was great, it was so close to downtown, that it was very easy to make moves to and from the studio. We could go out do running shots and then come back in and have lunch and shoot the rest of the day. And also it was unusual in that is we shot I believe seven and a half days per episode.

Susan Lambert Hatem  52:09

For the-- Okay.

Jerram Swartz  52:10

We didn't, we did not cross board. We shot seven and a half days an episode. That meant that lunch on the eighth day, we changed directors.

Susan Lambert Hatem  52:18

Oh, okay. That's a little bit crazy.

Sharon Johnson  52:20


Jerram Swartz  52:20

Well, you know, it was fine. But it was always funny to have like an extra director's chair saying director on it hanging around for the guys that-- We didn't always finish exactly at lunch.

Susan Lambert Hatem  52:28

Yeah. How you doin'? Oh, you're gonna put the timer there.

Jerram Swartz  52:33

It's probably more directors than we're used to seeing at a time.

Susan Lambert Hatem  52:38

All right. And so more recently, you've worked on Mercy Street and Astronaut Wives Club. And yeah, some what I would call like 2015 TV ladies shows.

Jerram Swartz  52:49

Is Mercy Street something that you guys are familiar with?

Susan Lambert Hatem  52:51

I was familiar with it. It the PBS show about Civil War nurses.

Jerram Swartz  52:55


Susan Lambert Hatem  52:55

Yeah. All right.

Jerram Swartz  52:56

It was a great show. I thought ,I thought that was a terrific, underrated show that never found its audience and, and finally, what happened after two seasons, the people would not work for PBS money anymore.

Susan Lambert Hatem  53:07

And so you work with the Film Commission? What are you doing now?

Jerram Swartz  53:10

So I'm helping with the films that get tax credits, movies and TV.

Susan Lambert Hatem  53:13

In California.

Jerram Swartz  53:14

In California. And part of the process of getting tax credit is you have to submit your script, your budget, your schedule, you know, a number of different things. And I'm tasked with going through evaluating, correcting the budget, certain things qualify, certain things don't qualify. And then we throw a bunch of mathematics at it and we figure out, your show is going to provide more jobs in California than your shows. It's mathematical, you know whether it's accurate, who can say but it started out as a lottery. And it's conceived that this is more fair than a lottery. Every show that receives a tax credit also needs to give back in the sense of having and hiring an intern, bringing a class of students on to the set to visit and nebb around doing a teacher externship, things like that. And I, I'm in charge of that. That's the career readiness requirement. And so I put shows together with schools, you know. With whether it's the Fashion Institute, whether it's John Muir High School, whether it's Ghetto Film School, you know, I get them together. And we've been doing a lot of panels lately, where the director and the producer-- We had people from Macbeth, the show Macbeth, do a very generous panel for I forget who it was. And so we're eventually going to be linking to them on our website so other people can see those and enjoy them.

Jerram Swartz  53:17

Alright, so we have three questions that we ask all of our guests.

Jerram Swartz  53:48

So first question. What's the '80s Ladies-driven TV shows that most resonated with you? Think back to the '80s and--

Jerram Swartz  54:46

I wasn't watching TV in the '80s; I was shooting. I was, you know, I had a time only for my career and for my family. Can you give me a hint?  What shows were on?

Susan Lambert Hatem  54:57

You know what? Because you were working with people, I'm gonna give you what '80s Ladies actress was fun to work with?

Jerram Swartz  55:04

Fair enough. On Cagney. & Lacey there was

Susan Lambert Hatem  55:07

Tyne Daly. Sharon Gless.

Jerram Swartz  55:08

Tyne was my favorite. I love Tyne.

Susan Lambert Hatem  55:11


Sharon Johnson  55:11


Susan Lambert Hatem  55:12


Jerram Swartz  55:13

And actually I became friendly with Ellen Burstyn for a while. She wasn't really an '80s lady on TV. But I did a, I did a show with her in the would have been late '70s. And she and I became Scrabble buddies and we corresponded for a while.

Susan Lambert Hatem  55:27

All right. I love that..

Susan Lambert Hatem  55:27

Oh, that's--

Jerram Swartz  55:27

I really liked her. We were taking an airplane to Texas to do the show, and I was sitting next to her. And, and as we started our descent, she says, "Hang on. I have to help land the plane." And then we landed, she was okay.

Jerram Swartz  55:41

I loved her.

Susan Lambert Hatem  55:42

Oh, that's fantastic. All right. And what are your current-- Any current television shows with ladies leading the pack? TV movie?

Jerram Swartz  55:52

Well, there's some good ones on Game of Thrones, there's some ladies that I liked on Game of Thrones, which I recently caught up with. We also recently watched Treme.

Susan Lambert Hatem  56:03


Jerram Swartz  56:03

And do you know that one?

Sharon Johnson  56:05

You haven't seen it, but yes,

Jerram Swartz  56:06

I thoroughly enjoyed it. And there were a couple of wonderful ladies in that. There was a gal who ran a restaurant that her travails were terribly interesting, and I liked the ladies in that show a lot. Oh, and Hacks!

Sharon Johnson  56:19

Oh, of course!

Jerram Swartz  56:20

And that's wonderful. I think both leads are good. Although I think the young writers a bit of a jerk.

Susan Lambert Hatem  56:25

The young writer's a little hard. Jean Smart's amazing.

Jerram Swartz  56:27

Jean Smart. I've done a number of shows with Jean Smart. She was in Samantha Who.

Susan Lambert Hatem  56:33

Samantha Who!

Jerram Swartz  56:33

I did Samantha Who.

Susan Lambert Hatem  56:34


Jerram Swartz  56:35

And Melissa McCarthy was in that too.

Susan Lambert Hatem  56:38


Jerram Swartz  56:38

And she was fanta-- And I love Christina-- And Christina Applegate is tops in my book. She-- I love her. One weird thing. After I got a cell phone-- After I got an iPhone, and I kept trying to try automatic dial. For whatever reason the cell phone decided it would always call Christina Applegate, "Calling Christina Applegate." I'd have to hang up real quick. I don't know why it just got it into its head.

Sharon Johnson  57:01

(Laughs) They do have a minor their own sometimes.

Jerram Swartz  57:04

I, I loved her. She was just so much fun. I was the Production Manager on that; I wasn't on the set. So I wasn't really connected that closely to them. And we all thought Melissa McCarthy was fantastic.

Susan Lambert Hatem  57:13

It's fantastic. That great cast, great cast on that.

Jerram Swartz  57:16

That was a show that really was I think overlooked, unfortunately.

Susan Lambert Hatem  57:19

Yeah, but did it-- Feels like it ran for a while.

Jerram Swartz  57:22

I think only two seasons, maybe a little more.

Sharon Johnson  57:24

I think two seasons if that, so--

Susan Lambert Hatem  57:26

Yeah. When my mind was like three seasons, that third Season was amazing.

Jerram Swartz  57:32

Yeah, when we went to Ireland.

Sharon Johnson  57:33

(Laughs) Going to Ireland is always the best. So third question is what's the most action hero slash television moment you've experienced in real life?

Jerram Swartz  57:46

Okay, so we were doing a movie called The 13th Year, a TV movie about, for Disney about a kid that turns into a merperson. It was kind of, it was kind of a metaphor for adolescence. And we were filming down in one of those Newport beaches or sort of places and two things happened in quick succession. One was we were on some rocks or something overlooking the bay. And I walked out in front of the crew and I was holding the board in front of me to explain something and I suddenly realized I was doing Moses. Right? With my tablets in front of everybody.

Jerram Swartz  58:24

And then just as that happened, the location manager played a prank on me, which took me so by surprise, it made me think I was crazy. And that was there was a ferry going by. And this must have been 300 yards away. And everybody on the ferry suddenly went "Hello, Jerram!"

Susan-Sharon  58:24


Sharon Johnson  58:45


Susan Lambert Hatem  58:49

Oh my god.

Jerram Swartz  58:49

And it was just like-- It just you know, I just--

Jerram Swartz  58:52

So those two things happened at almost the same moment. And so that was kind of weird.

Susan-Sharon  58:52


Sharon Johnson  58:59

Oh, that's--

Susan Lambert Hatem  59:00

Okay. That's a good one. That's a good one. Oh my god. It has been such a pleasure to have you on the show and hear all these stories.

Jerram Swartz  59:06

Thank you very much. I had a good time.

Sharon Johnson  59:08

Thank you so much, Jerram.

Susan Lambert Hatem  59:09

Thank you.

Sharon Johnson  59:13

Hey, Susan, what time is it?

Susan Lambert Hatem  59:15

It's audioaugraphy time, Sharon.

Sharon Johnson  59:18

Whoo-hoo! You can find out more about the Television Academy at emmys.com. That's E-M-M-Y-S.com. They have really cool events, some of which are open to the public.

Susan Lambert Hatem  59:29

And Jerram mentioned the Directors Guild of America DGA training program. And you can find out about that program and other director development programs through the directors guild at dga.org. And there will be links on our website to those resources.

Sharon Johnson  59:46

And if you want to watch Remington Steele on streaming, breaking news, all five seasons are currently available on Amazon Prime and Apple TV. We're not sure for how long all five seasons will be streaming, so go watch them while you can.

Susan Lambert Hatem  1:00:02

And, Sharon, I'm not saying that the last three seasons are now available because of '80s TV Ladies and our fans, but actually that is what I'm saying. Because I'm telling you when we started this podcast only Season one and two were legally available anywhere online.

Sharon Johnson  1:00:17

And now we've got them all.

Susan Lambert Hatem  1:00:19

I think it's us and our fans. Thank you, '80s TV Ladies fans. And a book I want to tell you about-- Backwards and in Heels by film reporter and critic Alicia Malone. This book highlights stories of specific women in film from Alice Guy Blanché to Ava DuVernay, while exploring the past, present and future of women working in film. It's really quite good even though it's not just about TV ladies.

Sharon Johnson  1:00:42

Next time on '80s TV Ladies, the amazing, adorable and ever-surprising '90s TV Babies will be back.

Sharon Johnson  1:00:50


Susan Lambert Hatem  1:00:51

Meghan and Sergio were assigned three episodes of Remington Steele to watch, so we are looking forward to hearing the thoughts of the youths. If you're a Remington Steele fan, I'm curious what three episodes you would pick to represent the show to someone who has not watched it? Let us know at 80sTVLadies.com.

Sharon Johnson  1:01:07

In the meantime, please follow, rate, and review on your favorite podcast player or on Apple podcasts.

Susan Lambert Hatem  1:01:14

We love your suggestions and questions. Keep them coming. And as always, thanks for listening.

Sharon Johnson  1:01:19

We hope '80s TV Ladies brings you joy and laughter and lots of fabulous new and old shows to watch all of which will lead us forward toward being amazing ladies of the 21st Century.

80s TV Ladies Theme Song  00:22.  

80s TV Ladies, I’m so sexy and so pretty.  80s TV Ladies, I’m steppin out into the city. 80s TV Ladies, I been treated kind of sh#*ty. Working hard for the money in a man’s world. 80s TV Ladies!