Archive for June, 2012


My Interview With Joe Pantoliano aka Joey Pants

June 21, 2012

Joe Pantoliano And John Bathke

Joe Pantoliano is at home and at liberty.

That’s how I feel about our interview today in his native Hoboken, NJ, the mile square city on the Hudson River where he grew up and still keeps an apartment for frequent visits.

I asked him about his latest endeavor, the book “Asylum,” a memoir about his spiral into mental illness and numerous compulsive behaviors. And of course we talked about “The Sopranos” in which he famously played “Ralphie,” and earned an Emmy Award in the process.

He does not censor himself the way many celebrities do and that made this interview special. Along with a walk we took around his old neighborhood, with faces familiar to him popping up at each corner to come say hello.

I’ll be talking much more about the interview, which will air next month in the next ON THE  SCENE special and info on that will be announced here on the blog and on my Twitter account @JohnBathkeLive.

Stay connected because there’s a lot coming up.




The Art Of The Hudson River

June 4, 2012

Hudson River In Saugerties, NY

I’m keeping a promise made to myself long ago to explore the Hudson River in Upstate New York.

This weekend I traveled to Saugerties, located in the Catskills. The scenery and vistas on a dramatically overcast day are stunning. I see how this river has inspired painters and other artists for, well, just over 400 years now.

I’ve gotten interested in the Hudson River painters and the river’s art movement.  It’s associated, from what I can tell, entirely with the river in New York state. Does anyone know if any artists on the New Jersey end of the river in Hudson County were known for painting the river? I haven’t found any information about that. If there ever was a trend of painting in the urbanized section of the Hudson, I would like to explore that in a television piece.

I’ll be checking out other sections of this magnificent American waterway over the summer.

Hudson River in Saugerties, NY


Hattie McDaniel And Her Lost Oscar: Lore I Learned At The Gracie Awards

June 2, 2012

John Bathke And Fran Murphy Receive Gracie Awards

At the Gracie Awards in Beverly Hills week before last I met a producer whose winning work got my attention. Fran Murphy produced a television special, “Hattie’s Lost Legacy” about the missing Academy Award of Hattie McDaniel, the first African American to receive an Oscar for her performance in “Gone With The Wind.”

It turns out McDaniel, who died in the 1950s, willed her Oscar to Howard University where there is dispute over what happened to it. The University claims it never received McDaniel’s Oscar while others say they once saw it in a trophy case on campus.

The Oscar isn’t as conspicuous as you would think, either, because back then (“Gone With The Wind” was released in 1939) supporting actors didn’t receive statues like they do today. Instead, they were awarded a much simpler plaque. So it would be easier to misplace McDaniel’s award not realizing it is, in fact, an Oscar.

It was a fascinating discussion about a pioneer whose symbol of breakthrough success has vanished.