Frank’s Shadow: Battling Demons and Uncovering Family Secrets

Our guest for today’s episode is Doug McIntyre, a first-time novelist and a principal opinion columnist for the Southern California News Group. Doug has over 30 years of experience in television, radio, and hosting events with icons like Jane Fonda and George W. Bush.

Join us as we talk with Doug about his novel “Frank’s Shadow” and delve into the themes of identity, family secrets, and the search for purpose.


In this episode of “Hey, Boomer!”, host Wendy Green invites author Doug McIntyre to discuss his novel, “Frank’s Shadow.” The story revolves around Frank McKenna, whose life is overshadowed by the legacy of Frank Sinatra. As Frank’s son, Danny, returns home to give his father’s eulogy, he embarks on a journey to uncover his father’s hidden identity, sending him into emotional turmoil.

Wendy and Doug explore the themes of love, identity, and generational secrets, while also delving into the moral complexities of World War II.

Join the conversation as they discuss the descent into darkness, the healing power of truth, and the impact of family secrets.


  1. Uncovering generational secrets: The exploration of family secrets and the consequences of hidden past mistakes is an essential theme in “Frank’s Shadow.”
  2. Truthfulness and openness about who we are can foster deeper and more meaningful relationships.
  3. Moral complexities of history: The conversation delves into the moral ambiguities and contradictions of war.

Join host Wendy Green and guest Doug McIntyre as they unravel the tangled web of family secrets and the healing power of truth in this engaging episode of “Hey, Boomer!”

Call to Actions:

1. Connect with Doug McIntyre on social media and stay updated with his latest works.

2. Join the live conversation or listen to the podcast recording to delve deeper into the topics discussed in this episode.

3. Visit the Road Scholar website to explore educational travel opportunities for boomers and beyond.

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Wendy Green [00:00:09]:

Hello, and welcome to the Hey Boomer Show. My name is Wendy Green, and I am your host for Hey, Boomer and Hey, Boomer is the show for those of us who believe that we are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream. My guest today is Doug McIntyre, and Doug is the author of a captivating new novel titled Frank's Shadow. Frank's shadow, which refers to Frank Sinatra's shadow, hangs over the story of Frank McKenna like marquee lights. The shine is on Sinatra, but who is Frank McKenna? When the novel opens, Both Franks have just died. Danny McKenna heads home from his honeymoon to be with his family, And he is asked to give the eulogy for his father, but he realizes how little he knows about his father while he knows almost every detail of Sinatra's life. So his life is thrust into emotional turmoil, and he descends into alcoholism and and worse as he tries to answer the mystery of who his father was. This book really captured me.

Wendy Green [00:01:30]:

The characters were so realistic and so damaged, but so realistic that I had to keep reminding myself this is a novel. This is not a true story. And and as I go through the interview with Doug today, I'm gonna do my best to not give the whole story away. There's so much to it. It's compelling. It's poignant, and I really do recommend this as a read. So take a moment now. Text your friends.

Wendy Green [00:01:59]:

Tell them to join us live so they can be in on a conversation. And if they can't join us live, encourage them to listen to the podcast later, which will be available by tomorrow. But before I introduce Doug, I do want to thank our sponsor, Road Scholar. Road Scholar is the not for profit leader in educational travel for boomers and beyond. And if you would like to check them out and see what the trips are that are available to you. You can go to road, r o a d, scholar dot org slash hey boomer, and please put the hey boomer there so they know you heard about it on this show. I also am trying to put together a women's trip with Road Scholar for this summer. We're looking at 3 different destinations.

Wendy Green [00:02:53]:

We're looking at a trip to Quebec or Vermont or Oregon. All of them are gonna be educational, and there will be some hiking or walking involved. They're fabulous trips. So if you are interested in being part of one of those trips, please drop me an email at wendy at and let me know what trip you might be interested in and if you have any questions! So with that, I wanna bring Doug on and introduce him to all of you. Hey, Doug.

Doug McIntyre [00:03:30]:

Hi, Wendy. How are you? Thanks for having me.

Wendy Green [00:03:33]:

I'm so glad to have you. Let me do a quick introduction. Though, although there's a lot to say, I have shortened it some. So Doug McIntyre is a principal opinion columnist for the Southern California News Group, Which includes the Los Angeles Daily News, the Orange County Register, Long Beach Press Telegram, Pasadena Star, San San Bernardino's son and others. In addition to his work in print, Doug has been active for over 30 years as a television screenwriter and producer, including works on the hit series Married With Children, WKRP in Cincinnati, Mike Hammer, Private Eye, and the critically acclaimed PBS series, Liberty Kids. Doug has had all kinds of experience in radio, from local in Los Angeles to a red eye radio show and then WABC in New York City. And he has hosted memorable evenings with showbiz icons. I'm just gonna name a few, like Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Steve Martin, as well as public figures such as George w Bush, Colin Powell, Lequilisa, and Bob Woodward.

Wendy Green [00:04:53]:

But today, we are here to talk about Doug's debut novel, Frank's Shadow, which was published in July and is now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, as well as on his website, which we will share with you later. So you have been a writer, like, in so many different arenas. Did you always know that was something you wanted to do?

Doug McIntyre [00:05:16]:

Yeah. Pretty much. I as a little kid, I used to scribble stories in one of those black and white speckled notebooks. And, I pretty much wanted always wanted to be a writer and always despite the, Ten gentle paths that my life has taken me. I've always considered myself, first and foremost, a writer in a when no matter what I was doing.

Wendy Green [00:05:39]:

And I understand from other things that I've read and listened to that the the origins of this novel started quite a while ago.

Doug McIntyre [00:05:48]:

Yeah. Literally, 25 years ago, the night that Sinatra died, which was coincidentally or completely coincidentally, it was the Last episode of Seinfeld, the 9 back in 1998. And, everybody was talking about that, and then they woke up to the story that Sinatra had died. And then everybody was shifting to talk about that in our pop culture centric universe. And as it turns out, I had a a friend of mine whose father died the same night as Sinatra, and he was also 82 years of age. And that got me thinking about, the hierarchy of life, how one life is satellite news ricocheting around the globe and the other guys in the back of the paper by the mattress ads, and you had to pay to put them there. So that was kind of the kickoff for the book. And I started writing it almost right away, and then I had no outline, so I wrote myself into a dead end.

Doug McIntyre [00:06:39]:

And, For years, it just kinda sat there because I needed a deep, dark family secret that Danny could discover about his father's, life in World War 2. And everything I came up with was either, stolen or awful or both. And then, like, what frequently happens, if you wait long enough, The light bulb went off, and I said, ah, that's what I need to do. And then I couldn't wait to do it. So so it it was a long path to get here, but finally, it's, it's available, and I'm very happy to see it out in

Wendy Green [00:07:09]:

the world. Oh, I loved it. So so when you started this 25 years ago, you didn't have an outline, But did you know who the characters were at that time?

Doug McIntyre [00:07:19]:

Yeah. Pretty much. There's a book, that came out in the mid seventies called, A Fan's Notes by Frederick Exley. And it was billed as on the cover, he called it a fictional memoir. And in that particular book, The author made himself the lead character. And, as it turns out, he had gone to USC at the same time that the football legend Frank Gifford was there. And and his life is this really debauched life with circling the drain, and it's a par he uses Frank Gifford's glorious, you know, life of celebrity as a parallel to his own life. And I didn't realize how indebted to that book I was Until after I had written Frank Shadow, and they start asking you for comps, what they call comparisons.

Doug McIntyre [00:08:06]:

It what what is it similar to or what a fan of this book might like your book for whatever reason. And when I had to answer that question, all of a sudden, I realized, wow. That Fans notes by Fred Exley was really imprinted in my brain because that's what Sinatra is in my book. It's not about Frank Sinatra. He just serves almost as a timeline to the events of Frank McKenna's life, born on and died on the same day as the famous singer, and then Danny trying to rec reconcile. Well, Danny's a historian, and he his touchstone, you know, are things in the past. And he looks at Thomas Jefferson and John Adams dying on the exact same 4th July, the 50th anniversary of the declaration of independence. A coincidence that Hollywood wouldn't even touch it.

Doug McIntyre [00:08:53]:

So Right. Outlandish, and yet it happened. And he wants to know, well, what possible connection could there be to Frank Sinatra and my father? And that's kind of What sends him on this quest? And that's the question he's trying to answer throughout the course of the book.

Wendy Green [00:09:10]:

It's interesting that you mentioned that it was almost a historical biography, the the that Frank Exley wrote.

Doug McIntyre [00:09:20]:

Fred, actually. Yeah. In my memoir, it's very much in the style of a memoir.

Wendy Green [00:09:24]:

Because, like I said in the opening, as I was reading this, Doug, I I kept saying there's this there's gotta be some some personal stories in here. I mean, you have got to have known people or known situations like some of these characters because they were so honest and so real. Did you base any of these people on people you knew?

Doug McIntyre [00:09:51]:

Not the principles. I I you know, everybody always asks every novelist, Is that did that really happen? Did that is it you and people have jumped on the fact that my name is Doug McIntyre, DM, and the lead character is Danny Mckenna, DM, and tried to read something into that. And I don't believe that I could explain it, but it's tedious how we came up with that name, Danny McKenna. But the bottom line is, I think the book is emotionally autobiographical, if that makes sense. That they're the the the the feelings, and the Insights into life or the experience of life's peaks and valleys, that Danny goes through, I certainly felt, but not because of the incidents that are depicted. The incidents that are depicted with rare exception are fictitious. So but but I did try to write it. I I wrote it in the 1st person present tense as much as possible so that The, the reader is experiencing the events at the same time Danny is experiencing them.

Doug McIntyre [00:10:54]:

And I've what what I like about that as a technique is I think it makes it it Gives it a propulsion and and energy, to the story. And, you know, I like the idea that protagonist is as surprised at what's happening at both the situations he finds himself in and the consequences that he has to dig out of, as the reader does. So I and I do think that that gives it an almost a a more of a memoir feel to it than than if you had a, an omniscient narrator, just telling the story.

Wendy Green [00:11:28]:

Yeah. It does. And I'm glad to hear that, some of the events that happened in

Doug McIntyre [00:11:31]:

the book were not I am too. I I

Wendy Green [00:11:33]:

pretty awful, some of them.

Doug McIntyre [00:11:34]:

No. No. Some of them are really Terrible. And it's like Yeah. I I I mean, I I must warn people too that and, I mean, actually, it's a reward is that this is a story of of recovery, of forgiveness. Absolutely. So so while it goes to very dark places as life frequently can take people. Maybe in this case, you know, you would hope you'd life would never get this dark.

Doug McIntyre [00:11:58]:

But but it is a it's a story about somebody who's trying to get heal and trying to heal himself and his relationship with his family. Right. And and, you know, most of the poison comes from keeping secrets from each other, and that's That's why the secret was so important for me in this book.

Wendy Green [00:12:18]:

And we are back, But not from a commercial break. We are back from a failed Internet. And so Doug has gratefully, gratefully from my point of view, agreed to come back and finish the show. And, I I don't know if you remember where we were, Doug, when it dropped, but you were actually talking about the secret, which was kind of funny, the timing. And you said to quote you, you said that is why the secret was so important to have something that would mean that would justify, and then you were gone.

Doug McIntyre [00:12:59]:

So Well, if you're gonna if you, As a writer, if you're go or a movie a a storyteller, if you're gonna, tease the audience with a the promise of a secret that is the is the raison d'etre of the whole piece, is uncovering this mystery, then it has to justify the journey. Otherwise, it's gonna be a very unsatisfying, experience for the reader. And, you know, what held me up was, As I mentioned, for for a very long period of time, I just couldn't come up with anything that that I enjoyed, that I thought, would be worthy of the reader's time to go through a novel to get. And then when once I did, then I couldn't wait to get back to to the story. So so, you know, I just think that in general, you can't send an set an impossible standard because, Basically, let's face it. There have been millions and millions and millions of stories told over the centuries at this point in all mediums. So the chances of you coming up with a wholly unique, never unprecedented story are pretty, you know, astronomical. Yeah.

Doug McIntyre [00:14:11]:

So so but if you find something that that entertains you that you say, oh, that surprised me, then the chances are it will surprise other people. And then The uniqueness will come from the way your characters react to it because the your characters are unique. Right. You if you have created, You know, three-dimensional characters, then, like like, every human being is a is a fingerprint. They're not quite the same. So there there will be uniqueness automatically attached to that secret.

Wendy Green [00:14:40]:

Yeah. And you'd and the secrets go throughout. Like, you started to talk about the poison of the secrets.

Doug McIntyre [00:14:46]:

Oh, yes. Yes. In in interpersonal relation, my book is really you know, it's about a lot of things, but family and the dynamic of families is a big theme of the book. The McKenna family is a loving family, but they've got problems like most families do. You know, we have those Sears Roebuck family portraits where everybody is, you know, and nobody's burping or farting at the Thanksgiving dinner table and doing all those things that happen in real life.

Wendy Green [00:15:13]:

I don't know what family you're talking about.

Doug McIntyre [00:15:16]:

But what what I this is what I discovered is that, right behind you You know, my I'm I mentioned to you all for a year that my role model for my inspirational life was a guy named Gene Shepherd, who was on the radio in New York for many, many years. So most people know from a Christmas story, which She wrote and narrated. But he he said one time, when I was 9, I didn't have secrets. I was a secret. And I think that I think that most kids have they're they're living their lives in secret. They have to follow all the rules that school says, and the parents said it's bedtime. You gotta eat your vegetables. But their thoughts, at a certain age, certainly, when puberty starts to hit, they don't tell their parents anything about themselves if they can possibly hide it.

Doug McIntyre [00:15:59]:

And the and their and the odd thing is is that their their parents are are are doing the exact same thing to us. They don't want their 15 year old to know that when they were 15, they took dad's car out and wrecked it, when they weren't supposed to be driving or, You know, their parents went away for a weekend and had a huge blowout party. But but so because they wanna set a role be role models for their kids. But all of these secrets that we keep from each other, the trivial ones and significant ones, create a gap between children and their parents and and or just individuals in general. And I just think that the quicker you can get to the truth of being just this is who I am and this is who You know? And and we relate to each other. I think the deeper the relationships and the closer we are. And and and that really this secret in Frank McKenna's life really becomes this, albatross around the McKenna family until Danny finally cracks cracks what that secret is, and the family starts to heal.

Wendy Green [00:17:06]:

Yeah. Yeah. It was amazing. And it was interesting. I was talking to some girlfriends about the story, about, you know, that we don't know all about our parents, and that's a lot of what this story is about, trying to find that out. And they said, well, I don't think I want my kids to know. Yeah. But So of my past.

Doug McIntyre [00:17:25]:

And by the way, they don't have to know everything. I'm just saying that But in some cases, I do think that we we rob our what what happens is, you know, for a lot of kids, They they have to recognize their parents are superheroes. They're they are the center of the universe. And then at some point, you gotta realize, hey. They're just trying to do this too. I mean That's right. And I think for a lot of people, especially in the therapeutic age. They they go to their graves still grinding axes against their parents for some, you know, slight somewhere along the line.

Doug McIntyre [00:18:04]:

And, look, if there's actual abuse, I understand that. But I'm talking about just sort of clinging to neurotic, You know, security blankets that enable adults, people in their forties, fifties, and sixties still angry about something that their mom or dad did 35 years ago. It's like your your mom and dad were in their forties. They were just trying to figure it out too while paying the mortgage, etcetera, etcetera.

Wendy Green [00:18:30]:

Exactly. Exactly. So in this story, Danny is The main the main guy, Danny McKenna, and he is pretty damaged. Yeah. Did you initially, when you came up with the background of the story or the outline of the story, did you Imagine Danny being as damaged as he was.

Doug McIntyre [00:18:55]:

I think so. I I think so because, you know, It's a story of redemption and forgiveness. So, ultimately and I don't mind spilling the beans on that because the this This book goes to very, very dark places, but, it's about recovery. It's about a second chance, through honesty. And and and you can't you can't heal, yourself and certainly anybody. I don't think you can heal anybody else anyway, but you can't heal yourself unless you are truthful and honest. So once he starts to recognize where he would what his real problems were, then he can get better. And he does, ultimately, by forgiving his dad and himself.

Doug McIntyre [00:19:44]:

But, yeah, I I I think that I always, thought that it would I always thought that it would be, he would be a dark character, but I also thought that it would have a light ending. It would have a satisfying ending, but he has to earn it. I mean, that's a that's a challenge Because not every redemptive story a lot of times, you could read a story of redemption and say, well, they didn't earn redemption. You know? Then I find that as a reader or So somebody watches a movie or something and said, well, they did nothing to merit retention. Mhmm. So I almost feel like they got away with something.

Wendy Green [00:20:17]:

So can I ask you about 2 other characters without giving away too much of the story?

Doug McIntyre [00:20:22]:

Yeah. Yeah.

Wendy Green [00:20:22]:

So what was the reason for the wife? She was kind of a mess.

Doug McIntyre [00:20:29]:

Well, when you're when you are when you are, when you're a mess, Those are the choices you make.

Wendy Green [00:20:37]:


Doug McIntyre [00:20:39]:

You know? And, I mean, that's basically what happens is you know, there there's a old cliche that says you can't get love until you love yourself. Right? I mean, how can you love others, in a in a in a nurturing and, healthy way if you're filled with self loathing.

Wendy Green [00:20:57]:


Doug McIntyre [00:20:57]:

And I think that what happens is you know, that's why we've all had friends that have just gone from 1 disastrous relationship to the other, and eventually, they end up crying over stand why I always end up with these. And he said, well, you know, go look in the mirror, pal. Right. Right. So so I think that in the beginning, that's really what it is, that that he's looking for love in all the wrong places. And and and and, you know, she she's out of his life, and you realize, You know, most people, if you have a relationship that means something and the relationship fails, there's a, there's still a piece of that person in your life. In this case, She could be withdraw she's withdrawn from his history almost as an embarrassing accident.

Wendy Green [00:21:45]:

That's exactly that's how I saw it. He was like, oh my gosh. I can't believe I did that. Yeah. Yeah. But he did. And the family too. The family was like, what the heck, Danny? Yeah.

Doug McIntyre [00:21:55]:

Exactly. Right.

Wendy Green [00:21:56]:

Right. The other character I'm curious about is Sean.

Doug McIntyre [00:21:59]:


Wendy Green [00:22:00]:

What was his role in all of this? He was quite quiet.

Doug McIntyre [00:22:04]:

Yeah. Sean is, it's a you know, it's an Irish Catholic family, set in the, in 1998. So They're all boomers, basically. But, in that culture, being gay was still, it was a strictly don't ask, don't tell policy. I mean, the head of the Clinton administration, it was don't ask, don't tell. And everybody in the family knew that the young the the brother, Sean, was gay, but it was just the unspoken. And then the that actually, that's the the key thing that the inappropriate first wife brings. She just blurts it out, as the outsider, and and there it is.

Doug McIntyre [00:22:44]:

Now it's it's it's on the table to be dealt with. But, even that, that Secret only gets dealt with honestly after Danny uncovers his father's secret, and and deals with his own, troubles. And now there's no more pretense for for, you know I I had a, and this is based on I had a cousin. He actually wasn't a cousin. We called them cousins, but they were he was the son of of neighbors of my aunt and uncle. And he was He's gay. He's he's been gay his whole life. And He

Wendy Green [00:23:18]:

should be born gay. Yeah.

Doug McIntyre [00:23:20]:

Yeah. He's gay his whole life, and and everybody knew it. Everybody knew he's gay. He was 52 years old and, you know, coming back from the Midwest with his roommate. You know? And no one would ever just say, hey. Yeah. You know? So and I just think that there were a lot of families, especially at that time in that culture that treated these issues this way. And it's just another example of, It's a family that's got secrets.

Doug McIntyre [00:23:46]:

They keep secrets from each other. And and once they're uncovered, you realize it wouldn't make any difference.

Wendy Green [00:23:51]:

Yeah. You know? Yeah. It's a it's a secret that probably couldn't have been uncovered though until Frank McKenna had

Doug McIntyre [00:23:59]:

Yeah. Once once Danny, in particular, realizes why are we doing this? You know? He missed out, basically, on all those years of a relationship with his brother that could have been more, more fulfilling for everybody. And and and as part of the quote, unquote happy ending, he, He actually becomes friends with his brother who is a mystery through his whole life.

Wendy Green [00:24:23]:

His whole life. Yeah. So I wanna talk about what's going on now in the world with war and Mhmm. And not, again, not give away the story, but Some of the moral and ethical dilemmas that are faced by all of your characters and by Frank McKenna are playing out right as we are sitting here. And I'm I'm wondering what you think about What's going on and how people face war with all of this stuff going on?

Doug McIntyre [00:24:59]:

Well, you know, Frank McKenna is a World War 2 veteran, And, the book has a big passage of of his experience in that unbelievable time. And, you know, Studs Terkel wrote a book called The Good War, about the great quote, quote, unquote, the greatest generation. And, and it's an oxymoron, of course. That may have been a necessary war in the sense that the evil that was unleashed in the world had to be exterminated. There's no question about it. But look at the look at the moral, ambiguities and contradictions that were made during World War 2. We We we allied with Joseph Stalin who killed more people than Hitler did in order to defeat Hitler. So, The atomic bomb brought an end to that war, but it created a whole other moral dilemma, which, of course, they they just covered rather well in in in Oppenheimer.

Doug McIntyre [00:25:54]:

So so the idea, you know, What's going on right now, obviously, with the Israeli Hamas situation and Gaza is an unbelievable atrocity. I mean, the attack in Israel was unspeakable. And by any measure, the the the the reprisals And the, the answer to that may be necessary, but let's not kid ourselves that there's any such thing as Humanitarian, you know, warfare just isn't. It it's it's it's mechanized murder. It's organized homicide, and that's just what it is. Maybe at some point look. I don't I I I do know, Wendy. I do not have the answer to this.

Doug McIntyre [00:26:39]:

At some point, maybe we will evolve to some higher plain where you can a a nation state or even individuals can suffer some kind of egregious attack or assault in some way and are and we don't respond to it with greater force. Gandhi tried it. He got shot. Alright? Martin Luther King He

Wendy Green [00:27:03]:

tried it.

Doug McIntyre [00:27:03]:

And, you know, the track record of of of turning the other cheek is not great, in terms of in the face of of violence. So, I what you know, without getting into the politics of it, I, what it baffles me is is trying to figure out what the objective was on the part of Hamas when it was so obvious that the response would be a massive military. I mean, how how the Israeli government no government could take that hit and not respond, period.

Wendy Green [00:27:39]:

Right. Right.

Doug McIntyre [00:27:41]:

The bigger issue there also though is that, you know, and this is something that in the postmortem maybe we'll we'll get to the higher place, is that, The the rage that's is at loose in the world, and it's here at home. We see it in the, you know, the polarization on every issue, everything. Minutiae. People are angry about everything. And all around the globe, you're seeing this. It's a very turbulent time in history, And it's usually the result of, unaddressed hurts. When people are wounded in some way, either physically or, spiritually or economically, and they try to get redress of this legitimate grievance and the systems turn them down or shun them, Then that can metastasize into something very violent, or they'll seek out a leader that you don't necessarily, you know, the the choice may be worse. So, I mean, that's just what history teaches, that this has happened over and over and over again.

Wendy Green [00:28:39]:

Well and I think the interesting thing about, Frank, in this book was you brought it down to the individual level. You know, the governments wage war or terrorist groups wage war, But individuals are the ones that have to ride it and suffer from it and be impacted by it. And the way that impacted Frank, Your character was significant and was part of the secret and was very powerful. It was very powerful. So I appreciate it when you did that.

Doug McIntyre [00:29:13]:

Well, thanks. I can't you know, I spoke to I have a In the acknowledgement, I think, a friend of mine who was in the Iraq in the 1st Gulf War, in the Iraq War. And he had a an incident in his, unit, and I spoke to him about that extensively to try to, to get a understanding of how soldiers react to these. I mean, you take somebody from civilian life, from their life, especially in its in in World War two where it was a draft or Vietnam, any place where you get drafted and you're plucked out of Suburbia or whatever your life is, and you're dropped into this totally, surreal and inhuman environment. And, you know, the other thing too is there there's only 14% of the millions of American soldiers in World War 2 actually were in combat. I mean, that's the other yeah. It's a tiny, you know, it's a tiny percentage whoever see bullets. Most are filling out paperwork.

Doug McIntyre [00:30:11]:

There's a lot of people in the rear with the gear. There's a lot of people, stateside who are putting things on trucks that go to ships, that get put on, and so So on top of everything else, if you're one of the people that ends up in a rifle company in the Battle of the Bulge, yeah, there's a lot of people involved in that, But there's a lot of people not, and there's a lot more that aren't involved in that.

Wendy Green [00:30:32]:

I didn't know that. I wanna switch gears for a moment Because you have written for so many TV shows, successful shows, and I wanted to ask you about the writers strike.

Doug McIntyre [00:30:46]:


Wendy Green [00:30:47]:

One of the concerns that I understand about the rider strike was the fear of losing jobs to artificial intelligence. Right. And so I wonder if you could explain, like, what makes a successful TV show, and could that really be written by Artificial intelligence?

Doug McIntyre [00:31:07]:

Probably. And I think, in fact, inevitably, and and and immediately, by the way. Now this isn't some far off thing. This is you know, AI is mushrooming from chat GPT when we first said, what the hell is this? It's like Google in 1998, which goes back to Frank Shadow that When I was writing this book in 1998, I realized Google was not in our lives in 1998. So when Danny McKenna goes out find out his father's secret. He has to go to libraries. He has to go to Ellis Island. You can't just go on your phone.

Doug McIntyre [00:31:43]:

It's such a part of our lives now. We don't even think about it, but it's a whole other world. And AI is growing as fast as Google did. It never takes 1 microsecond off. It's sweeping up data. And as a strike issue for the writers, What their objection was that the writing that AI will do is stolen from people who have already written. That's all it's doing is sweeping up scripts and sweeping up novels and sweeping up poetry and sweeping up writing So that when when somebody makes a request to to do, you know, write a script for a Marvel movie, And what it's doing is it's basically just stealing the work that was done by the writers on the earlier Marvel movies. Now here's the thing.

Doug McIntyre [00:32:32]:

I don't know that it's I don't believe personally that it's you're gonna be able to stop this. And the actors have a an even bigger problem because, you know, you know, what the studios were asking for was to digitize their their bodies, their faces, and use it in perpetuity. You you know, people who work as extras in movies with that profession's gone. They'll just CGI them in. And, you know, we need a fat guy. We need a skinny guy. We need a a blonde woman. We need a and they could just type it in, and it'll be there in the background of the movies, and it can and for forever.

Doug McIntyre [00:33:06]:

So, but but, the reason I say I don't think it's possible to stop this is that we've never stopped a technology that had practical utility and saved money for we just don't. I mean, you know, we still have nuclear bombs. Right? So we still have leaf blowers. You know? And the reason and the reason we have leaf blowers is because the the people who wanna ban leaf blowers haven't cut their lawn in 40 years. That that's the reality. Because if you cut your lawn, you understand why people have leaf blowers because they're a tool of great practical utility. I mean, they're loud and irritating and why you can't get everybody's gardener to show up on the same day. It's one of the great mysteries of life.

Doug McIntyre [00:33:49]:

But the bottom line is is that we still have them because they work. And, so I if AI can do these things, I don't see how you're ever gonna stop it from happening.

Wendy Green [00:34:03]:

So do you think that the, Steve asked, do you think that the audience would be able to tell If a script was written by humans or a

Doug McIntyre [00:34:10]:

lie The audience doesn't know who wrote things. The audience doesn't pay attention. I mean, you know, people know who wrote books, But they rare and they know who wrote wrote plays. It's Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. You know? But but, it's Eugene O'Neill's. You know? But in in Hollywood started without writers. It started as a director's medium. It was DW Griffith's Birth of a Nation.

Doug McIntyre [00:34:36]:

And then that little, guy with the mustache in the derby, Charlie Chaplin, they started to realize, boy, people really like to see him, and the star system was born. But because talkies didn't come in until the late twenties, the the culture in Hollywood was already built where the writers were in the 3rd position at best, because they came in later. They were scenario writers, and they were title card writers, but, Basically, the films were were director and star driven. Whereas theater, it's exactly the opposite. Like I say, Neil Simon is a superstar name on Broadway. But not a lot of people can name Broadway directors Right. Even to this day.

Wendy Green [00:35:16]:

And not many people know Doug McIntyre wrote WKRP and Cincinnati.

Doug McIntyre [00:35:21]:

And and and they, you know, and they don't care. They they they they know the stars. And and, by the way, I will say that TV directors don't get a lot of, you know, street cred either.

Wendy Green [00:35:32]:

Right. That's true. That's

Doug McIntyre [00:35:34]:

They don't. They're they they don't. The showrunners, by the way, on television shows are all writers. I mean, when you I mean, a David Kelly or people like that, are are, you know, they're quote, unquote producers, but they're but they got there by being writers who could shape and create series and direct the the arc of the stories, and the best of them, you know, have amazing careers.

Wendy Green [00:35:59]:

Yeah. Well, AI is gonna be interesting in in some watch

Doug McIntyre [00:36:03]:

of us. Yeah. Not just, you know,

Wendy Green [00:36:05]:

students, are they do they can they even write an essay anymore? You know? They just Pop in what they need to say, and there it comes. Change a word here and there. Well, you know, here's what I know.

Doug McIntyre [00:36:16]:

I we used to talk about this, about these kids with their video games. But I know that if we had had Xbox when I was 13, that's where I would've been.

Wendy Green [00:36:24]:

Right. So it's easy

Doug McIntyre [00:36:25]:

to look back, you know, or, You know, from this vantage point, and, you know, say, woah. Well, that's these kids and, you know, all that stuff that Right. Right. Right. Boomers are famously saying which our parents were saying about us anyway, and that'll go on forever.

Wendy Green [00:36:39]:

Sure. So what's next for you? Are you gonna write another novel?

Doug McIntyre [00:36:43]:

Hopefully, you know, in January, I'll start the next project, And, and I'm just gonna keep doing this, you know, until until my time runs out because

Wendy Green [00:36:57]:

So you have an idea for a new story?

Doug McIntyre [00:36:59]:

Yeah. I've I you know, at this point, one of the great things about being this age is, I'm not chasing other people's dreams or other people's idea of success. It's it's like, I know that I only have a a small window, of viability. And in fact, even that is largely, at this point, self created because the business is done with me. I mean, it has been for a long time. It's just, you know, it's there's a clock ticking on all of these things. You have a generation of peers that know you and you kinda come into the business with and I think this is true of most businesses. And then you age out.

Doug McIntyre [00:37:39]:

Your people start to To retire or die, move away. And now there's another generation. If I go to a a TV meeting these days, I'm in a I'm 60 6, and the guy I'm talking to is 32. Mhmm. And and, frankly, I don't know his cultural references, and he doesn't know mine. Mhmm. You know? I mean, you can try to learn it, but but it it people and also as a general, people don't wanna, You know, when you got a 35 year old who's interviewing someone for a job and someone their dad's age comes in, and and this is on us for a lot, a lot because the older people tend to say they start to say, well, when I was your age and when we this is We used to do it, and it's like they don't care. Right.

Doug McIntyre [00:38:25]:

It it's like it's like parents are trying to tell their kids to to get offline and go out and look at the clips. Mhmm. And and the kid is saying, why would I do that? I can see it through a Webb Space Telescope image right here. Better the. Right. Been looking up to the back end of a shoe box with a pinhole in it. You know, all the stuff that we were told to do or holding it. You know you know? Go look at the eclipse, but don't look at it.

Doug McIntyre [00:38:52]:

Turn your back to it and look at Yeah.

Wendy Green [00:38:53]:

You remember that. I remember that.

Doug McIntyre [00:38:55]:

Yeah. To try to tell a a kid whose whole world has come with a charger.

Wendy Green [00:39:00]:

Alright? Right.

Doug McIntyre [00:39:02]:

To to go play with blocks the way Abraham Lincoln played with blocks and Copernicus. You know, I mean, it's just they they don't understand what you're it's not their world. It's just not their world. I mean Yeah. I think that our generation is really kind of a unique transitional generation because we had an analog childhood and a digital adulthood.

Wendy Green [00:39:23]:

Yeah. And

Doug McIntyre [00:39:24]:

I think we're gonna be the last to have had that.

Wendy Green [00:39:27]:

And there's a lot of there's a lot of work trying to build some intergenerational bridges to, Particularly between our generation and Gen z, who is also very socially aware and, you know, realizes that if they don't save the environment, There may not be a planet for them. And so there seems to be some synergy between the younger ones and the older ones and understanding how to do things, learning their language.

Doug McIntyre [00:39:55]:

They have a better chance of understanding us than we do of understanding Because they will they will get older too.

Wendy Green [00:40:02]:

They will.

Doug McIntyre [00:40:02]:

And as and as they get older, then they'll start to realize, maybe they weren't totally crazy about some things. But but, it's gonna be very difficult. It is very difficult for older people to understand the next generation, because the next generation's job is to change things. They they just will. Whatever is I mean, talk to Talk to a 16 year old about the Beatles because this sounds like heresy, but a lot of them said it's a boy band Because it was. It was a boy. Now they were they were brilliantly talented, but they were they were on the cover of Teen Beat, and, you know, They were a boy band. They were, you know, in sync.

Doug McIntyre [00:40:46]:

You know? Like like, I mean, brilliantly gifted. They had, you know, geniuses in the band, But the but but also what they resent is they resent in having it shoved down their throats. They resent people saying, Beatles are the greatest band that ever was, Period. And they said, no.

Wendy Green [00:41:04]:

Say that.

Doug McIntyre [00:41:05]:

Well, but people do say it. But people do say it. And and the thing is they resent it. They have their own taste and their own life. I mean, it's talked to, I asked on the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination, I asked my kids What JFK what what does he mean to you instead of black and white president? Really? Yeah. Well JFK had been dead longer than William McKinley was dead from when I was born. Alright? And I how much grief did I have for the assassinated president William McKinley? 0.

Wendy Green [00:41:40]:

No. I know. And I know. I mean, like, I saved newspaper clippings when we landed on the moon, and I saved news paper clippings when Nixon resigned. And I was like, my kids are gonna use this in sign and art and and history. They're gonna be so excited to take these Clippings in the history class, they never did.

Doug McIntyre [00:42:00]:

Not only that. What's a newspaper? What's in the world would you why would you want A newspaper. It's crazy. And and if you think that's bad, what are you gonna do with your grandmother's silver service? Yeah. I know. Right? Because there's nobody nobody wants that giant tea kettle and the big silver plate that it comes on. I think great, and you gotta get the tarnish off of it. Nobody wants that stuff.

Wendy Green [00:42:26]:

Alright. So let's Let's get to kinda wrapping this up. So one of the things I heard you talking about, like, you know, nobody wants you anymore. What happens when you're over 50 in the Hollywood? And so I think you need to find a sense of purpose, and that's one of the things that we talk about. Uh-huh. And hey, Boomer, is that everybody needs to find a way to stay involved, feel relevant, have that sense of purpose. So I'm I'm curious as to what you you would recommend to people as they're aging To find ways to stay involved and relevant and find a purpose. Well, first of all, you have to define success.

Doug McIntyre [00:43:08]:

And the, relevant to who, I mean, is the first question I would ask. And and, ultimately, as long as you're relevant to yourself, as long as As long as that purpose is, fulfilling to you, then mission accomplished. It doesn't matter, you know, whether you have an audience of, 3,000,000 or one. It doesn't you know, if you're if you're found now if you have to pay the bills, If you're relying on that sense of purpose to to pay the bills, that that puts a that now all of a sudden, Other people's judgments are enormously important because, you know, the customers and the employers, the bosses are right. But if you're talking about somebody who is reaching retirement age, their career is coming to an end, It's it's really helpful to have another thing. The great the great Tony Bennett, in addition to being one of the great talents as a singer, was a wonderful painter, and it's almost like he had an alter ego. He signed all of his paintings with his real name, Antonio Benedetto. So there was Tony Bennett, the singer, but there was Antonio Benedetto, the painter.

Doug McIntyre [00:44:19]:

And while while the singing involved audiences and musicians and arrangers and promoters and box office and all that stuff. Painting was him and the canvas or the charcoal, You know, the the the the drawing pad and a piece of charcoal in his hand. It was something that it was just 1 on 1. And I do think that, if you have for the people who are so consumed with their job that or or or their family, even. Because at some point, the kids are gonna leave the nest, and then what? Mhmm. So you really need to, have life working at a couple of different planes. There's the a, you know, a story and the b story and maybe a c story. I was very fortunate because I always was I always was a writer, basically, at heart.

Doug McIntyre [00:45:10]:

Even if and I was pretty much always thinking about If I wasn't actively writing during the years I was on the radio, I didn't have a lot of time. But I was always making notes on things saying, that that would be really fun to do, or I I'm interested in that story. This area, I think, would be a good story. So when I retired from radio at the end of 2018, I couldn't wait to start because now I had time to jump into those other things. But if I had retire or just got fired, and a lot of people just get kicked to the curb one day. They get kicked to the curb, and they've never thought about what would they do if this goes away.

Wendy Green [00:45:49]:

That's right.

Doug McIntyre [00:45:50]:

And that's a real shock. That could be a terrible blow. Now and, again, like I said, if you get kicked to the curb and you don't know how you're gonna pay November's rent, Then, you know, your dreams can go pound sand. You need a paycheck. Yeah. So that's all I so we're talking about spiritual and psychological fulfillment. But, eventually, unless you plan on dropping debt at work, and you're you plan on someday having retirement being retired, then what is your vision for that? And if it's travel, if it's adventures, if it's playing pickleball, if that's what you wanna do, all of those things can be if that's what you wanna do, then go for it. Mhmm.

Doug McIntyre [00:46:34]:

But plan for it. Yeah. You know? Figure it out. Figure out how am I going to travel. Do I have the resources to do that? Will I have the resources to do that? But if you still have other urges and itches that you wanna scratch, then prioritize them and say, okay. My bucket list is definitely getting shorter, but it's getting shorter for two reasons. 1, I'm dropping things that I once thought that I wanted to do, and now I realize I really don't have the time of the knees. Yeah.

Doug McIntyre [00:47:02]:

You know? I've got arthritis in my feet. So you know? Right. So so, you know, you start to lose some things, that that you had had in a younger day thought you had time to do. And then some of them are are going away because I'm achieving them. Certainly, the publication of Frank's Shadow was a biggie. Yes. Because because for me, everything I've done is ephemeral. Radio, it's words flying through the air.

Doug McIntyre [00:47:28]:

No one's listening to old, audio tracks from radio broadcast. It's Mhmm. You know? I I Yeah. People ask Vacation. Do you have no. I don't have any of it. There were a 100000 hours over 25 years of yammering. I keep Keep any of it.

Wendy Green [00:47:46]:

It's out there somewhere.

Doug McIntyre [00:47:47]:

Maybe or maybe not. But the thing is books are, to me, are leaving a little piece of you behind. But and for me, that was important. I don't know why. Other people don't care. My father went to his great reward with leaving 0 digital footprint. And he was perfectly satisfied. He'd I always thought that it's much healthier.

Doug McIntyre [00:48:10]:

You know, those of us who covet fame need the approval of total strangers and and frequently achieve it at the of the people we actually live our lives with. So Yeah.

Wendy Green [00:48:22]:

So there's a lesson right there. There's your next book.

Doug McIntyre [00:48:25]:

Well, that's that's a big part of of of Danny McKenna's story that he

Wendy Green [00:48:29]:

It is. Yeah.

Doug McIntyre [00:48:29]:

Yeah. That he he has this yearning for some kind of accolade, And he realizes that by the end, he's walking through his own confetti. Yeah. Yeah.

Wendy Green [00:48:40]:

Well, let me let people know, where to find you. So you have your website, dougmcintyre, m c I n t y r

Doug McIntyre [00:48:49]:

Don't spell it like that, heretic Reba Mac It's her. I'm not the cherry e in there.

Wendy Green [00:48:56]:

Right. And you can find his book there, Frank's Shadow. You can also find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and wherever I any place you find it, it's a great, Great read, so do pick it up. Before we go, I always like to give a little teaser for who's coming up next week. And so next week, my guests are Chris Brown and Jill McCausland from something called Becoming Ellie. And so who is Ellie? Ellie is the Norse goddess of old age, and she, was matched against Thor in a wrestling match. And much to his chagrin, she beat him. But Chris and Jill are friends, fellow podcasters, and their show is to encourage us to become fit and strong into our older years.

Wendy Green [00:49:46]:

So that's who I'll be talking to next week. I hope oh, well, next week, Monday, actually, since today is Thursday. I like to leave you all with the belief that we can live with curiosity, live with relevance as it means something to us, and live with courage, and remember that you are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream. Thank you, Doug, for coming back and meeting with me again.

Doug McIntyre [00:50:13]:

Well, since I caused the problem, that's the least I could do.

Wendy Green [00:50:17]:

Well, have a great weekend.

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