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Talkin' Talkin' Animals

If there’s one thing the world assuredly needs more of, it’s another podcast hosted by three middle-aged white guys who think they’re hilarious (of course in THIS case they obviously are). But what the world explicitly needs exactly ONE of is a podcast focused on discussing the lost and forbidden art of talking animal movies. So as a much-needed service to the world, even if the world didn’t ask for it, this is that podcast. You’re welcome. But, what makes a movie a “talking animal movie?” you probably weren’t wondering to yourself before, but are now. Good question! Quite simply, any full-length feature film (made-for-TV or released in theaters) where an animal can communicate with humans, or amongst other animals, in a language understood by humans. But here’s the catch; the animal(s) must be live-action - no animation or computer-generated imagery (CGI) - and the animal must be either the star or have a heavily featured supporting role. Prior to the turn of the 21st Century, talking animal movies were a staple of American cinema. Some became major financial successes (i.e. “Babe”) while many others desperately tried to cash in on the franchise potential and failed miserably. It should be noted that while these types of movies were once a popular genre, in order to manipulate or train the animal to perform or appear as though talking, the means to do so were often quite cruel. As such, and appropriately so, animal rights activists cracked down on animal cruelty in Hollywood, and were able to reach more minds with the advent of the internet. So, couple this with advancements in CGI (allowing productions to avoid the fickle unpredictability of live animals on set) and you get the precipitous drop in true live-action talking animal movies around the late 90’s… with the notable exception of Dean Cain’s infamous franchise involving animals “saving” various holidays/seasons. To be fair, this franchise actually spawned the idea for Talkin’ Talkin’ Animals, which is largely an excuse for us to get together, wax nonsensically, and drink copious amounts of brown liquor. So for this (and only this), Dean Cain, we thank you. But we also mercilessly critique the cinematic value of the individual films themselves while calling attention to Hollywood’s past practices of animal cruelty so as to help prevent them in the future… as well as calling attention to and hopefully preventing the unnecessary cruelty of Hollywood subjecting audiences to Dean Cain’s aforementioned franchise. The voices you hear are that of: Dr. Andrew Dewald, buffet intellectual and collector, holds a bachelor’s degree in experimental biology, advanced degrees in cognitive science, and is the psychology department chair for a local university. Garrett Hols, an eidetic mind for useless pop-culture trivia, holds bachelors degrees in areas unrelated to the podcast, but has improvisational theatre training, and a decade of live theatre experience. Kevin Keaveney, equal parts pop-culture elitist and enthusiast, holds a bachelor’s degree in film and theatre, once set the Guinness World Record for most consecutive hours of TV watched, and is the founder of the non-profit theater, Kailua Onstage Arts. Kevin’s daughter, Sage, periodically drops in to add a modern ten-year-old’s perspective on these films, most of which were made for children, but are being discussed on a podcast that decidedly is not.All three men own cats of various ages and weights, none of which can talk. Not heard (if we can help it) is our sound engineer, bird owner (possible talkers) and overall class-act of a human being, Phill Foster; and our patient, brilliant, and truly lovely producer/manager/enabler, Ahnya Chang, who owns three loveable mutts. We hope you take delight in listening to our inane, sometimes impressive, oftentimes offensive, and always good-natured ramblings as much as we take delight in providing them as we explore, together, the lost artistic universe of talking animal movies.

Talkin' Talkin' Animals

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