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The Retro Room

The Retro Room

By Joe Strupp
A fun and informational look at past television, movies and other media from those who have covered it and helped create some of the most memorable moments. Do you enjoy sitting around with pals and discussing why Felix and Oscar met six different ways? What happened to Chuck Cunningham? and the best lines from Goodfellas? This is your show. Also read my new book, Killing Journalism: How Greed, Laziness and Donald Trump Are Destroying News: And How We Can Save It. It's available today at
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Currently playing episode

Episode 9 - Christmas TV Time

The Retro Room

Episode 14 - Sidd Finch Revisited
It's been more than 30 years since Sports Illustrated pulled off the greatest April Fool's prank ever - The Curious Case of Sidd Finch, which told the story of a New York Mets rookie pitcher who was raised by Tibetan monks, played the French Horn and threw a 168 mile-per-hour fastball. It was a joke, of course. But it has became legend. We decided to honor this year's April Fool's Day by speaking with former SI Managing Editor Mark Mulvoy about how it came about, how they kept it secret and why it wouldn't happen today. Listen in.  
April 2, 2019
Episode 13 - Confessions of Nellie Oleson
Little House on the Prairie's Alison Arngrim was the most hated child on TV in the 1970s as bad girl Nellie Oleson on the popular family drama. She reveals much of the ups and downs in her book, Confessions of a Prairie Bitch, which is now in a new audio version. During our lengthy discussion she goes beyond the book into her life today, how it was on the set, and which plotlines were rejected back in the day.  And could a gay character have existed in Walnut Grove? Also, which fellow actors were nice, aloof and drinking on the set? Listen in. 
March 4, 2019
Episode 12 - The Soprano Sessions
Rolling Stone Chief TV Critic Alan Sepinwall spent years covering the mob show for Tony Soprano's hometown paper, The Star-Ledger. Now he has co-written a great book on the show with episode guides and inside info. He spoke with us about the book, the show's background and what creator David Chase meant to say. Listen here.
January 30, 2019
Episode 11 - TV Shows And Movies That Couldn't Be Made Today
Veteran entertainment reporter and author Jennifer Armstrong joins me for a deep discussion on which past shows and films would not be allowed today, either due to sexism, questionable jokes or outright sexual assault disguised as humor. See if you agree. 
January 17, 2019
Episode 10 - Child Star Pamelyn Ferdin
You know her face if not her name. Pamelyn Ferdin was in numerous 60s and 70s TV shows - from The Odd Couple to CHiPs to Barnaby Jones and more. But what was it like? She discusses the shows that she enjoyed and others that were difficult. Also how her parents treated, or mistreated, her career, and her current animal rights work. Listen here.
January 3, 2019
Episode 9 - Christmas TV Time
Holiday specials on television are as traditional as Santa Claus and re-gifting. But why do they return year after year and how did many of the favorites come about? And was the most famous Christmas movie really a box office dud when it first hit theaters? We tackled all of these questions, and more, with TV Christmas historian Joanna Wilson, author of several books, including The Christmas TV Companion. Check it out and Ho-Ho-ho!
December 20, 2018
Episode 8 - Batman's Robin, Burt Ward, on the iconic show, its impact, and his new healthy dog food
Famed Batman actor Burt Ward, who played the teen idol Robin, offered great insight and stories about life on the popular 1960's TV show, and working with star Adam West. He also revealed some behind-the-scenes tales of censorship and inside humor on the set, as well as an update on his current efforts to save rescue dogs and provide them with a healthy food alternative.
December 13, 2018
Episode 7 - The One About The Book About Friends
Friends, the hit NBC show of the 1990s, has been off the air for more than 10 years. So why is it still popular? And how did the cast and crew go about creating such an iconic sitcom? I spoke to Kelsey Miller, author of the new book, I'll Be There For You: The One About Friends, who discussed the backlash from having an all-white cast, the long hours put in to make a joke work, and why the historic lesbian wedding did not include a groom and bride kiss.
December 6, 2018
Episode 6 - The Odd Couple Revisited
I am not shy about admitting I have been an Odd Couple super fan for years. And apparently so has Bob Leszczak, author of The Odd Couple On Stage and Screen, a great look at the wonderful 1970's show that surprisingly never reached above #30 in the ratings. But it has endured with remakes, reruns and several movies. Bob spoke about the show and offered other great surprises from its memorable run. Give a listen
November 29, 2018
Episode 5 - When The Movie Is Inaccurate.
The recent Bohemian Rhapsody film, which chronicles the rise and fame of Queen and lead singer Freddie Mercury, also contains some historic inaccuracies (When he was diagnosed with AIDS, for example). Many non-fiction bio-pics fall into this same trap. Why and how does it happen? And does it really matter? I spoke with veteran movie critic Stephen Whitty about the issue and examples from many past films.
November 15, 2018
Episode 4 - John Boy, Captain Stubing and famous movie victims at Chiller Theater.
We traveled to the semi-annual autograph and celebrity show, Chiller Theater, in Northern New Jersey this week and spoke with some great vintage stars, from Gavin Macleod to Richard Thomas to The Sopranos' Johnny Sack, and even the boy who played Jaws' victim Alex Kittner. Hear how they got their roles, what it was like and who still gets residual checks.
October 31, 2018
Episode 3 - TV Reboots and Revivals
The TV reboots are becoming more common than ever with new versions of everything from Will and Grace to Murphy Brown and, of course, Roseanne (now The Connors). We discussed those and many others with Mr. Television Marc Berman, editor of The Programming Insider and a long time television expert. Hear how and why they are happening, and what works and doesn't.
October 23, 2018
Episode 2 - Halloween - 40 years later
It's been 40 years since Michael Myers first scared Jamie Lee Curtis. and he is back in yet another sequel. I spoke with New York Times TV and film writer Bruce Fretts about how the original film came about, why it worked and continues today, and some behind the scenes stories. But how did William Shatner get involved?
October 19, 2018
Episode 1 - Triple Decker Sandwich - Mary, Seinfeld and Carrie
The first episode of the Retro Room includes an interview with veteran Entertainment Weekly writer and author Jennifer Armstrong, who has written three books on three classic American TV shows - Mary Tyler Moore, Seinfeld and Sex and the City. We chatted with her about what made them great and must-see TV for many.
October 18, 2018