A new year is underway, and I have a feeling it’ll be chock full of exciting new podcasts. Below are some tidbits I picked up from recent shows; if you’re still missing Serial, check out my suggestions for related podcasts to try.
PEZ DISPENSERS WERE ONCE INTENDED TO HELP PEOPLE STOP SMOKING.
In this pop-culture podcast, A.V. Club senior editor John Teti discusses entertainment with his mother, Bonney Teti. The latest episode focuses on things Bonney is looking forward to in 2015 (like Better Call Saul), but I was particularly intrigued by her vast knowledge of Pez dispensers. She notes that the original dispensers didn’t have novelty heads and the candy was marketed as an alternative to smoking.
RICHARD LINKLATER’S FATHER AND MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY’S FATHER PLAYED FOOTBALL TOGETHER.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
In the latest episode of Marc Maron’s podcast, director Richard Linklater speaks about Boyhood as well as Slacker, School of Rock, and how his work explores the nature of time. He also reveals that Matthew McConaughey’s father played with his dad on the same Texas college football team, though they didn’t make the connection until years after they filmed Dazed and Confused.
GHOSTFACE KILLAH’S LATEST ALBUM HAS AN UNCONVENTIONAL HISTORY.
Tommy Boy Records
Each episode of this podcast dissects a song, and its latest subject, Ghostface Killah’s "The Battlefield," has a lot to examine. In it, we learn how the album 36 Seasons started with a script delivered to Ghostface, beats were created after the verse and A&R man Bob Perry envisioned the record “like a radio play.”
THE “THANK-YOU TEXT” IS BECOMING AN ACCEPTABLE PRACTICE.
Hosts Lizzie Post and Daniel Post Senning answer a variety of etiquette questions from listeners, but the response that surprised me most involved how a growing number of people today (including grandparents) consider thank-you texts just as acceptable as handwritten notes.
THE SONG "RUBBER DUCKIE" WAS A BILLBOARD HIT.
Matthew Simmons/Getty Images
In an episode titled “How Jim Henson Worked,” we learn all sorts of interesting facts about the Muppet man: He had a degree in home economics, Rowlf came before Kermit, Henson contributed to the first season of Saturday Night Live. I was also surprised to hear just how popular "Rubber Duckie" was; in 1970, it even landed on the Billboard Hot 100.
NOT EVERY DANCER IN CAPTAIN EO WAS A TRAINED DANCER.
Comedian Doug Benson is the perfect guest for this podcast about minor players in major movies. Benson worked as an extra on Blade Runner and Fast Times at Ridgemont High as well as Michael Jackson’s 3-D sci-fi extravaganza, Captain EO. Though credited as a dancer, Benson can’t dance, and he shares how EO went so over-budget other non-dancers like him were hired to, well, pretend.
SOME MEN HAVE TURNED CATCALLING INTO A CAREER.
Love + Radio
Most women run the other way if a stranger yells out to them on the street, but 26-year-old Ana decided to stop and interview one of them, a 51-year-old man named Jerome. He tells her why he has been catcalling for decades and doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon.