Hooray for Hollywood
assignments are just better than others. And often, that has less
to do with the people who have been kind enough to open their world
and let us in, and more to do with location. After all, that simple
word didn’t become its own mantra without reason.
So, when Dr. Phil’s publicist finally approved an interview
with the man himself and said Phil only does interviews face to
face, this story immediately became a "better" assignment.
And it had everything to do with the fact that Phil’s world
revolves around a soundstage in Hollywood. And in my book, any day
I get to board a plane and fly to a different part of the planet
is a good day. What a bonus that the part of the planet we were
headed to was sunny California — a definitive location, location,
On a beautiful spring day last April, Angilee, the photographer,
and I packed our bags and our story-gathering gear, and headed out
west. It was to be a quick trip, with most of our time spent on
the Dr. Phil set. But, with an 8 a.m. call time —
as they say in the business — and a two-hour time difference,
we did have the night before the interview free to explore the offerings
of the city. As it turned out, Hollywood came to us. The premiere
for X2: X-Men United was held the night we arrived, and
our hotel, which we chose because it was near the Paramount Studios,
was right next door to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre — site
for Hollywood premieres. So, we spent our time in the midst of the
glitz and glamour that is summer blockbusters.
The next morning, after passing a union-based security clearance
for our cameras, we set off for our daylong adventure on the studio
lot. Other than the wall of sky we parked next to, the lot seemed
to be a bunch of warehouses. Of course, the occasional actor in
period costume would walk by, and people covered in credentials
hurried about. But other than that, it could have been Business
District, Anytown, USA.
Once inside the warehouse that is home to the Dr. Phil
show, which we spotted only because of the modest blue canopy above
the door, the world was even more surreal. Just inside, we were
confronted with a makeshift hall created by black drapes. At the
end of the hallway was an opening, and once through that opening,
the world changed and what millions of viewers see from home every
day was right in front of us.
We sat through two tapings, watched the crew work, and afterward
sat down with the man himself to talk North Texas. That experience
was everything one might assume — fast-paced and intense,
fun and funny, and overall exhilarating. But in many ways it was
just like every other interview we do with the alumni we feature.
We explore their particular story and we reminisce. Since Phil is
frequently explored in other outlets, we figured it would be better
to simply share his memories and ponderings on all things green.
And, as it turned out, Phil wasn’t the only alum we met while
in Hollywood. The incredibly friendly concierge at our hotel spent
some time in the classrooms in Denton. He, too, remembered the Texas
Pickup and its fries. And that just goes to show that, no matter
the location, Eagles abound.