0 comments
 

The name Mickie McGowan may not be familiar to you, but you’ve certainly heard her voice before, or at least those of the talents she’s gathered together when doing ADR casting for films from the 80s to the modern day. I first came to know of Mickie McGowan via seeing her posts on the Facebook walls of some of my other friends, and when I looked up her filmography, I was stunned. Name an animated movie of the past 30 years, and she was most likely involved, either as a voice-over talent or ADR coordinator. Her live-action resume is rather impressive as well. I interviewed Mickie McGowan on Tuesday, December 5th, about her long and varied career, and I hope you all enjoy getting to know this unique talent.

Say hello to Mickie McGowan!

Johnny: Hi, Mickie.

Mickie: Hey, Johnny. How are ya?

Johnny: I’m doing good. Thank you for taking the time to speak to me. I have my questions ready to go, starting with this: What were your pop-cultural likes growing up, like favorite movies and music?

Mickie: Well, my dad was a writer and director. He wrote and directed Our Gang comedies, so I was really indoctrinated into watching those, even though, by the time I came along, he wasn’t doing them. He was blacklisted. I’m an old bat, so we didn’t have TV when I was a little kid. We had the radio, and so I listened to all the standard serials, like Captain Midnight and The Shadow. “The Shadow knows!”. That was a big one. I loved that, and I Love A Mystery with Jack, Doc and Reggie. I love all that old stuff still, and people are still interested in that now. That was it.

Johnny: Okay. What were your high school days like?

Mickie: Not very cool. My dad got blacklisted, and there was a lot of strife in the family. They got a divorce, so I stayed with mom and it didn’t work out really well. I went to 7 high schools, but never graduated from high school ever. I would just go from one to the other. She sent me to live with relatives and all that. I think of one school as my alma mater because I spent more time there and I lived in that town, which was Venice, California, but I actually didn’t go there that long. I’m not in anybody’s yearbook. I think I was in Venice’s yearbook a couple of times, but it was not a great time for me, yet I made up for it later. I just made up my mind that I was going to get past all of that stuff, get out there and let them all do their thing. I was going to do mine and that’s what I did. I moved out when I was 17, and started working and taking classes, doing what I could and getting involved in radio. That’s what started it, and then I was still living and working in the LA area, even though I moved around a little bit. When I came back and landed, that’s where I was. I met a lot of people. I was trying to be a singer, but that’s really a tough road to hoe. I went to Palm Springs and sang in a club there for a little while, and got fired (laughing) for eating clams that weren’t mine. Anyway, I went from there to working in a club called The Horn in Santa Monica, which was a variety show that’s claimed to be the forerunner of The Comedy Store. In fact, Sammy Shore was a big entertainer in there, and I’d never met so many people. Several of them said, “You should try stand-up”, so I did that for a while, and from there, I did voice-overs. I think, when you get in this business, it’s like a big butterfly. Everything keeps opening and opening. You just have to watch and look and stay aware, and be prepared to make another move. Don’t be afraid.

Johnny: Alright. According to the IMDB, your first voice-over work was on the 1983 English dub of the 1979 anime Captain Of Cosmos. What do you recall about that project?

Mickie: IMDB says that?

Johnny: Yeah.

Mickie: Well, I’ll be damned because I never worked on it. That’s odd. Maybe I did. I don’t remember that. That was supposedly my first voice-over job?

Johnny: Well, IMDB pages are often updated by people who may not necessarily have connections to the talents themselves. I don’t know if that credit was accurate or not.

Mickie: I began doing VO in the early 70s. I saw a TV guide with an article about Mel Blanc, teaching cartoon voices to some people in a synagogue, someplace in LA. I was so intrigued…I loved watching cartoons with my kids…and here was THE MAN! It didn’t say which synagogue, so I called them ALL…and a nice lady finally told me that she was NOT supposed to tell anyone…but…the classes were being held there on Wed. Nights around 7:00 PM.  Scared to death, but too intrigued to back down…I showed up and sat in the hallway on the floor, listening to all of the students BARKING!  Next thing I know, Mel opens the door and I am looking at his shoes. He asked me what I was doing there, and I stammered, “I want to be in your class!” So?  He let me come in and sit in the back and listen…I was HOOKED.  I did get in a class, and got my first agent after that. I struggled along, but thanks to The Voicecaster, a man named Bob Lloyd, I got up and running.

Johnny: As with many talents in the animation field, you did work early in your career with Hanna-Barbera, providing voice work for The New Scooby And Scrappy-Doo Show and Superfriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show. Considering the mixed reputation the studio had, what do you recall the most about working for Hanna-Barbera?

Mickie: Very family-oriented. They were very, very friendly people. I just really, really enjoyed them. I just think of the people who were influential in getting me to other areas. The first day that I worked was on Scooby. You sit down and have a table read with the cast. We were all out in the lobby, and I didn’t know anybody at that point who was there. I knew their names, but I didn’t know OF them, yet I was trying to not show it. As we went in to sit down at the table, this one actor that was really well-known came up to me and said, “Nice leather bag you have”. I said, “Thank you”. He said, “It matches your leather shoes”, and I said, “Thank you”. He said, “Did you eat the animal you killed it for?”. I was like, “What? I bought these in a store”. He said, “Well, I know you did, but the point is that’s the only reason for killing an animal: To eat the meat because you’re hungry, and you go out and buy leather stuff just to encourage people…”. He goes on this big rant, and I’m like, “Oh, my God”. This is my first day on the thing, and one of the big stars on the show came up and said, “Don’t worry about that. He does that to everybody”, and I said, “Jesus!”. You know?

Johnny: Was it Casey Kasem?

Mickie: No, it wan’t. Was Casey a big vegan, too?

Johnny: Yeah, he was. He was also a major vegan, to the point where he stopped voicing Shaggy for a couple of years because they wanted to do Burger King commercials…

Mickie: Oh, my God.

Johnny: He came back when Warner Brothers, who owned Hanna-Barbera at that point via the Turner buyout, agreed to make Shaggy a vegetarian. Casey came back to voice the character up until 2010, and now that he’s passed away and been replaced with Matthew Lillard, they have Shaggy eating meat again.

Mickie: Wow. I had no idea. He seemed to be a very nice guy, but maybe I wasn’t wearing leather shoes (laughing). I’ll tell you what I’ve learned. I never wore them again. I went out and got some canvas Keds and a straw bag. I was like, “I don’t know when I’m going to run into these guys”. I don’t think I committed a big sin by buying a leather bag and leather shoes. Everybody and his brother was wearing leather, but that doesn’t make it right, and since then I’ve become more involved with animals. I’m more conscious of what I wear, but I still have some leather shoes (laughing).

Johnny: Alright. One of your first ADR jobs was being the ADR group coordinator for the 1984 movie Moscow On The Hudson. Considering the wide array of accents heard in that movie, was that a difficult job to put together, or was it easy?

Mickie: No, that was tough.

Johnny: How did you come about casting all the different dialects?

Mickie: I had to Taft-Hartley a bunch of Russians, and it turned out really well, but one of them was deaf. I didn’t even realize he was deaf. I talked to him, and he was answering me in Russian. I said, “How do I know?”. He was probably reciting The Lord’s Prayer. I don’t know what he did, but I put him on the job and found out he was deaf. Something fun happened. Robin Williams wanted to come in. We’re working away in the afternoon, and I’m struggling with these lines. Some of them were actors, but not most of them, so it was a little rough. There’s this guy up in the control room. He’s got a hat on, a big beard and a big jacket. He looked very Russian, that’s for sure.  He said, “Excuse me. Would it be alright if I could get in there and play around with them? That looks like so much fun”. I said, “Are you in SAG?”, (laughing) and he said, “Oh, yes. Yeah, I’m in SAG”. I said, “I don’t have a contract for you”, and he said, “Well, I don’t care. I just want to have some fun, and I’m fluent in Russian”. I said, “Okay, go ahead. What the Hell?”. (Laughing) I didn’t realize it was Robin! He got in there and he played around, and he was the highlight of the day. He did learn to speak Russian for that film, and he did it very quickly. My first ADR job was a picture called How To Beat The High Cost Of Living.  I was asked by an editor I knew to bring some friend. It was fun, easy, and got me into that arena, so THAT was my first ADR group job!  I got the brilliant idea to form a group from that one…a nice improv group. “Lip-Shtick” was my name, improv was our game! I think that was 1978….I also did E.T in that time frame. IMDB doesn’t go back far enough. By the 80s, I was pretty seasoned.

Johnny: Returning to Robin Williams’ Russian accent and Moscow On The Hudson. that accent was something he was very good at. In some of his early stand-up performances, he would introduce himself by speaking in a Russian accent, and then he would switch into other dialects, like California surfer or Southern redneck, and then just slip back into the Russian accent. It was very impressive.

Mickie: Yeah, he’s got a great ear, or did have. God, what a tragedy to lose him.

Johnny: Well, on a lighter note, you’re the second person involved in 1985’s Transylvania 6-5000 that I’ve interviewed, the first being our mutual friend Teresa Ganzel, whom I interviewed in 2014. Were you working in Yugoslavia like the cast was, and if so, what was it like to be filming there?

Mickie: No, they bought it back and we worked here. That was a fun day. It was a lot of fun. It wasn’t a particularly memorable film, and it didn’t seem to do very well, but it was fun to work on. The people were super-nice. We worked here. We didn’t go on any location. We have had to go on location on some things, but not that.

Johnny: Alright. According to the IMDB, you began your long association with Disney in 1989. Like my friend Kimmy Robertson, you provided voice work for both 1989’s The Little Mermaid and 1991’s Beauty And The Beast. When working on these movies, did you have any idea that they would become the classics they did?

Mickie: No. This was before we had CGI animation, and they took so long to make, like three years or more, that I never thought they would become a big thing because it took too long to produce one. The first one that just blew me away was Who Framed Roger Rabbit. I did work on that, so with Roger Rabbit, we did the animation and I bought in animation people for that part. The picture editor from Disney was very impressed, and that’s why they gave me The Little Mermaid. On Mermaid, I was just blown away. I couldn’t believe it. I loved “Under The Sea”. I was just fascinated by the music, and the lyrics were so darling. I mean, it was just brilliant, and I would’ve sat down and watched that thing 10 times in a row, over and over. It was just amazing, and one of the actors said, ‘”Too bad it takes so long to make these. Wouldn’t it be great if we could have other films like this?”. I said, “We probably can’t, but this will sure be a classic”. Well, boy, was I wrong. They started taking off. The same directors sent me back for Beauty And The Beast, and that also blew me away. All these top animation people wanted to work on them, you know, just because of the experience of it. They were just bigger than life. I treasure those days at Disney. I worked hard, and I did tons of their animation, like most of their classics.

Johnny: I’ll return to that later, but in the meantime, in the early 90s, you did ADR work for two Steven Seagal movies, Marked For Death and Hard To Kill. I asked this of Magdalene St. Michaels, the actress in both mainstream and adult films who appeared in the 1996 Seagal picture Executive Decision, and now I’d like to ask it of you as well, especially with the stories that have been coming out about him in recent times:  Did your path cross with Steven Seagal, and if so, was he the jerk a lot of reports have made him out to be?

Mickie: You know, I don’t think he is. I liked him. In fact, he went out of his way to do a nice thing for me. The editor was freaked out. He was scared of him because he packed a gun everywhere he goes. He said, “That guy’s got a damn gun on him”. I said, “Well, you know, he’s not going to shoot you, Larry. He’s not going to shoot anybody on the stage. Let’s just forget about it”. I mean, probably security minded. He said, “I don’t want a damn gun on my stage”. I said, “Well, are you going to argue with him?”. “No”. I said, “Well, let’s just go to work”. The director on one of those? I liked him, too, oddly enough. He was a likable guy, but he was tough to get along with, and the producer was on him because he kept over-directing every little cue, and running out of time so that we’d go into overtime and keep spending more money. The producer called for me on the stage and he said, “You’ve got to make him move it. You’ve got to make him get going”. I said, “I’m the voice director. I can’t tell him what to do”. On and on and on, and Steven was on the stage. He said, “Are you having a problem?”. “No, I’m not having a problem. We’re doing what we’re told. That’s what we do. If there’s a problem, it’s not with us. It’s higher help, and you guys will have to try it without me”. This director kept putting me in the middle. He looked at the producer, and I said, “We’re just here working”. Steven eventually did cause a problem on the show, but the next day, I’m working on another show over at CBS, and Steven tracked me down over there. He called to the stage. He said, “I really am sorry you had to go through that. That really wasn’t your problem, and I’d like to invite you and a friend down. We’re doing a shoot down in Orange County at a horse show”. I don’t know what they were doing because I didn’t go, but Annie Lockhart went in my place. She’s a writer, and she won a big face which she gave to Steven because she couldn’t even get it home. He was very nice to me, and I understand that he’s been jerky to other people, but I didn’t think he was.

Johnny: Okay. To jump back to the late 80s for a moment, in the Christmas season of 1989, you were competing with yourself in a way, as not only were you providing voice-work for The Little Mermaid, but your also did the ADR voice casting for All Dogs Go To Heaven, Don Bluth’s box-office competition for The Little Mermaid. As Bluth was in his golden period, what was the difference between working for him and working for Disney?

Mickie: There’s anther little mistake in IMDB’s cataloging because I did not do All Dogs Go To Heaven. What I did do for them was An American Tail: Fievel Goes West. They were very cool to work with. I realized that I had to be careful with Disney. I mean, one time, somebody from Disney said, “Do you think it’s fair that these same people go over and do animation voices for other companies?”. I said, “Well, we’re independent contractors. We’re actors. We go where we’re called to go. It’s making a living”. I was right, but that doesn’t make them happy. They apparently felt that I should bring them voices and not take them anywhere else, so after that, I kind of mixed things up a lot. I had a team of people they tried to keep from doing that, but you have your heavy guns, and they work with you all the time, so they finally kind of gave that up. They’d turn around and work on Animaniacs, which is Warner Brothers, so that’s their life. That’s what they do, and you can’t stop from working for Animaniacs. There’s no privatizing these people, so they kind of gave that up, but Disney was very good for family. The Fievel people were very nice. I rarely have had a problem on the stage. A couple of times, but not usually. I’m not there long enough usually to get into political things, though I did kind of step into it at Pixar. I worked for them for 26 years, and after a while, you’ve seen too much and you’ve heard too much and people include you in things you don’t want to be included in. I never wanted to be included. “Just leave me out”, but they don’t. You’re like family, and you start being in the middle of all this he said, she said. I was like, “Uh-uh”, so it got a little hairy towards the end, but mostly I don’t get into things like that because I’m not there long enough, you know? I just try to scoot down the middle and do my job.

Johnny: Alright. I’ll get to Pixar in due time, but first, when it came to Miramax’s hacked-up version of Richard Williams’ The Thief And The Cobbler, which you were part of the loop group for, putting side what we know about the Weinsteins’ sexual proclivities, as difficult as that is to do in light of the details of all their abuse, did you find them to be the jerks they were made out to be towards creative types?

Mickie: Yes (laughing). That was one of those miserable days, very strange, undecided…Everything was arguing. The actors were putty in your hands. Just tell them what you want, but they left a lot of it up to us, which is okay, but the they didn’t like what they got. You don’t know what they wanted. We didn’t know what they wanted all day long, and you ask them, “Am I in the right direction?”. “Well, you should know!”. “Well, no. See, we count on you for direction because we haven’t seen this before. You have”. I got a little nasty with the director. He said I called him names. I called him a scallywag, but that’s hardly a bad word to call anybody. It was in reference to a joke, actually, but then I got a call from the office, and was told, “The director said you called him a name”. I said, “I don’t think a scallywag is a bad name to call somebody”. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but they used to say that in England to people who stole things”. I said, “Oh, please. I don’t know what you’re talking about. Let’s just go to work”. Yeah, it wasn’t fun, and then we had a hard time getting paid. We had to call all over New York and all over everywhere, Miramax over and over and over again. I made up my mind that if any of them ever called us again, we’d never go back, but they never did.

Johnny: It was awkward, I must imagine.

Mickie: Yeah. It was bad news, and he thing bombed. I don’t know what it was like in the first place. I had no idea.

Johnny: It was basically Richard Williams’ dream project, but there’s a lot that really went wrong with it, cycling through multiple studios. It was going to be with Warner Brothers at one point, and then it ended up with Miramax, and they just hacked up Williams’ work. They added songs and wackiness in the style of Disney’s Aladdin, which was not what Williams had gone for initially with the project. I’m just glad it’s looking like the end of the road for the Weinsteins. I mean, when I was younger and reading entertainment magazines, I would read about how they would hack up movies and go against what the creators wanted. I thought that was bad enough, but then you factor in the sexual abuse, and that just really brings up the sleaze factor.

Mickie: Oh, boy. Yeah.

Johnny: Your long working relationship with Pixar’s features began with the 1995 classic Toy Story. At the time, was it more difficult to sync up dialogue with computer animation than it was with ink-and-paint animation?

Mickie: Oh, no. It was so beautifully crafted. They were very nervous when we first came in. This was their first rodeo, and all the brass from Pixar was up in the control room. John Lassetter, the producer Darla Anderson, everybody was down there, and the very first cue was a party that all the toys were having. She loved the improvs we did. Everybody did. They were laughing, and from there on, it just flew. They loved everything we did. It was so crystal-clear, and just glorious work. There was hair on the dolls. That’s what fascinated me. They made it work. They’re very creative, as you know, and they would just let us go, which was one premise that we enjoyed on all the Pixar films. Once they got to know us, they would give us an idea, a premise to go on, and we would just fill it out. I mean, there were some scripted things they wanted us to do, but the improv was fun with them because they were so open. A lot of times, they would take things that we did and animate them, and draw them, and put them in just because it was funny.

Johnny: A Bug’s Life is one of my favorites. In there, the grasshoppers are picking on the ants, and giving them an ultimatum that they’d better have all this food ready for them before the winter start,s or they’re going to trash their town and gobble up all their stores and everything. The ants have no choice but to look for some tough guys to beat up the grasshoppers. They don’t know they’re on an island, and they think they’re on their way to New York, where tough guys live. They end up going in a trash bag, and inside the trash bag it looks like the Lower East Side of New York, trash stacked up in weird places, yellow bugs were cabs, drunken bugs out on the street. They go in this seedy bar, and I’m the cockroach waitress with the poo-poo platter, remember that?

Johnny: Yeah.

Mickie: That was me. That was in all the trailers. That was John and he said, “She’s got a poo-poo platter”. That just gave me an idea, and I recorded it, and they drew it. There were other people, and we were having so much fun being drunken bugs. In fact, I got a ticket on the way home that night because I was laughing all the way home and driving a little fast (laughing). I was laughing, and I think they thought I was on something because I was all by myself. We had so much fun on that show.

A British Blu-Ray trailer for A Bug’s Life featuring Mickie McGowan’s voice-over work…

Johnny: Alright. You did the English voice casting for Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away. What was it like to collaborate with him?

Mickie: We did not get to, unfortunately. I saw him once, but did not get to talk to him directly. John Lassetter produced that for him in English, so he was in Japan, and it was strictly the Pixar bunch that we worked with. I was given the script because we did all the roles. They selected the principals, but we did everything else in English, plus the ADR, the walla. It was a very enjoyable experience, and he was very happy, apparentyl, with the dub. John called and said he was very happy. It was a beautiful piece of work.

Johnny: Definitely. Very impressive stuff.

Mickie: Yeah.

Johnny: Speaking of beautiful movies, you worked on WALL-E. Since large portions of that movie had minimal or no voice work, was your job on that film less work than your other collaborations with Pixar, or just as much work?

Mickie: Just as much. You’re right, there were a lot of scenes, where the world is basically empty, where we weren’t needed, but we did an awful lot of work everywhere else. Andrew Stanton was a delight to work with. He always is. The creativity is the thing. There were a lot of busy scenes in it, enough to keep us going.

An ADR group from one of Mickie’s Pixar projects. In the group are two of my previous interview subjects, Teresa Ganzel and Lori Alan.

Johnny: Alright. You’ve done a lot of work with Pixar, but you’ve also done a lot of work with Illumination as well. When I was younger, I viewed the shots that animation studios took at each other as reflective of their genuine feelings. Of course, that’s because one of the aspects of Asperger’s Syndrome, which I have, is not being able to tell when someone’s joking and when they’re serious.With that in mind, do you feel that the competition between Pixar and Illumination is good-natured or not?

Mickie: They are so different, it’s hard to compare their work.  Both are so creative and smart…I do think Illumination is going to start taking some of that Pixar gold….they deserve to win!  Terrific to work for and very generous.

Johnny: Alright. Moving to the matter of online, we’re both members of the Facebook group Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Listener Society, where many apocryphal tales are told about people like Cesar Romero and Danny Thomas (Mickie laughs), so what’s the strangest rumor you’ve ever heard about an entertainment industry talent?

Mickie: (Laughing) Oh, God. I’d better not say. I think Gilbert’s are better anyway. They’re just unreal. Danny Thomas? UGH. Jesus! (Johnny and Mickie laugh) I don’t even know how real that is, and he’s not around to defend himself, so…

Johnny: I guess that means the chances of them ever getting Marlo Thomas for the Amazing Colossal Podcast are slim.

Mickie: (Laughing) Yeah, I would think so. I don’t think you’d better ask her. I never did get the joke about Cesar Romero. It had something to do with orange slices…

Johnny: Orange wedges, yeah…

Mickie: …But I don’t know what the joke was.

Johnny: Just that he liked to have people throw them at his bare bottom during downtime on the set of Batman.

Mickie: (Laughing) I don’t know. I’ve heard some weird stuff, but not that weird. I don’t think you could top those. He’s a funny guy anyway.

Johnny: Absolutely. Alright, I now come to my final question. I end a lot of my interviews with it, and it’s this: If you could go back to your youth with the knowledge that you have now, would you do anything differently?

Mickie: Yes. I’m glad that my life took the turn that it took. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. I never did want to be an on-camera person. I always loved being around sound, audio, singers, anything having to do with microphones. I fell into something I really enjoyed doing, but if I went back in time, which I guess we all contemplate as we age, especially, I wouldn’t spend so much time fooling around and chasing men all over the place, I’ll tell you that. I’d stay in school somewhere. I got to the point where I was so angry with my mother, and all I wanted was out of school, so I would deliberately do things that would get me kicked out. I got kicked out of four of those high schools. In Catholic school, I went to the cafeteria, in front of the Mother Superior, and stole pies. I put them right in my pocket of the lettermen sweaters, with the berries running down my leg and everything. She said, “You didn’t pay for those”, and I said, “What?”. “The pies in your pocket”. I said, “What pies?”. I was out that day by 2:00, you know, and I didn’t want to go there. It was an all girls school, and I hated it, and I didn’t want to go there. If I could go back in time, I would get my education because there have been some rough times. The directors like to get a sense of you sometimes before they start, especially the ones that don’t know us. The ones who do don’t, but we had a new one on one of the last Disney shows I did. They asked each one of us to stand up, go to the mic, and say how we liked going to college, what we did in college, what we planned on doing when we went to college. I didn’t go to college, so when everybody was up there saying, “When I was in Stanford” or “When I was in bla-bla-bla”, my turn was coming up and I thought I have no choice but to be funny about it. I said, “I didn’t go to college. I barely went to high school.”, and his mouth fell open. He said, “You didn’t go to high school?”. I said, “Yeah, I went to a lot of them, but I didn’t make it to college”. I had to laugh it off, but I was really embarrassed. I feel so stupid sometimes, and if I could go back, I would get an education, but that’s about it. I’m happy with how it turned out. I love my work. I made money on it, which is super-nice because I’m not worried now that I’m an old bat. I’ll survive thanks to residuals and SAG’s wonderful pensions and things like that. Yeah, I’ve loved it, and I’ve loved the experiences I’ve had. I’ve had some wild experiences.

Johnny: What was one of those experiences?

Mickie: We did a lot of live-action film before the animation renaissance, and one of them was a Jack Lemmon/Walter Matthau film. I can’t remember the title, but we were at the old MGM lot before it became Sony. The stages were really old, and the doors to the stage were like a meat locker, with this big CLANG! BANG! CLANG! when you opened it. We’re working, and the door opens. I said, “Who would do that?”, and this old man walks in, just like right out of a movie…The shadows, the light comes through, and he’s walking in. He’s got these baggy old khaki pants on, half a cigar hanging out his face. The hair looks disheveled, and he didn’t look like he combed it yet. Sloppy old shoes, and he’s reading Variety. I said, “Funny. Even the cleaning men in Hollywood read Variety”. I thought he was a janitor or something. I wondered why the editor didn’t say anything to him like, “Don’t open up the door when we’re recording”. He didn’t say anything to him, and the man went over and sat down and read his Variety. He flipped through the pages as we were recording, and we had to stop a couple of times, and then the equipment broke down, which it did all the time. This old man said, with his funny Russian accent, asked the mixer how long it was going to be. The mixer said, “It should be a few hours before the computers start working”. It was around 11:00, I think, and the next thing I know, this old man says, “I’m taking you all to lunch at the commissary, and I want everybody out of there, because we’re going to stay at it until this stage is open. They’re not going to close after lunch”. I thought, “What? The cleaning man?”. It was Billy Wilder! I couldn’t believe my eyes. We were in the commissary, and I was sitting right next to him, and he’s telling these stories about the making of Sunset Boulevard, and about Gloria Swanson. He called her “That old twat’, and told stories about William Holden and what a gentleman he was, and how he couldn’t stand her, either, and how she paid people to toss her roses, and swoon and sigh when she went by. “Oh, Gloria!”. They were all paid by her. He told these outrageous stories about things, and I thought, “What else could I want out of my life?”. What a day to be sitting there. Billy Wilder took us to lunch for two hours, and we sat there and he told stories, and other people told stories. What a day! I walked out of there, walked to my car, and thought, “There’s nothing like show business”. There really isn’t. It can keep you in fear. It can scare the pants off you. It can send you home in tears, or it can send you out in the street flying, walking on a cloud, or laughing like I did on the way home from A Bug’s Life, all by myself, on my way up the mountain to my cabin. It’s not like any other life, and for all its’ ups and downs, and all its’ problems…They have sexual problems in the world everywhere. I’ve worked a lot of regular jobs in my life. I was a waitress, a bartender. I drove a cab for a short while. There’s always guys that stuck their hand under my shirt, and you have to learn how to handle them, grab them by the wrist and say, “Unless you want to draw back a bloody stump, I suggest you pull that out and don’t ever do that again”. Hollywood isn’t the only place that’s had those problems, but they blame them for everything. People are jealous, I think. It’s an amazing, magical place. It isn’t even a place. Hollywood is a town that does exist, but that isn’t where all of it really takes place. You’re out on location, or in people’s homes when they’re writing and working things out, and there’s magic all over the place, coming together in Hollywood. If I had to go back in time, I would not trade one day, and I’ve had some miserable days, too, believe me, where somebody was a jerk, or somebody was mean, but I wouldn’t trade any of it for one minute.

Johnny: Fantastic to hear.

Mickie: Johnny, thank you so much. I’m just delighted that you chose me, and I understand your interviews are just smashing, so I can’t wait to see it.

Johnny: I again thank you for taking the time to speak to me, and I hope you have a good afternoon.

Mickie: I will, thanks to you. I hope you have a good day, too, okay?

Johnny: Alright. Catch you on Facebook.

Mickie: Thank you, Johnny.

Johnny: Talk to you soon.

Mickie: Bye.

Johnny: Bye.


I would like to thank Mickie McGowan for taking the time to speak to me, and also for providing the pictures, as well as Chet Gordon for cropping Mickie’s head shot for this interview’s cover photo. This is my last article of 2017. I have some big things in mind for 2018, but before the year wraps up, I would like to thank Eileen Cruz for allowing me the chance to write for Pop Geeks, all the talents I’ve interviewed during the course of the past 3 years, and finally, you, the readers for coming along on these journeys to the past. It means a lot that you care to offer feedback, whether on Facebook and Twitter or in the comments section. My best wishes to all of you for a wonderful and exciting happy new year.

Like this Article? Subscribe to Our Feed!

Be the first to comment!
 
Leave a reply »

 

    You must log in to post a comment