John was scheduled to be a guest on Roe & Roeper’s show last week, but Roe was sick so we rescheduled for this week. I took the train downtown to meet John at the studio, but he called me on the way to tell me: “Roger Ebert just died. Better call to make sure they don’t want to reschedule.”
It made sense. Roeper worked with Ebert for years, and the death of his long-time colleague was national news, so I called Roe & Roeper’s producer Mallory and she said…”The interview is still on. They are beyond excited about talking to John. They LOVE the book.”
When I arrived, I saw the mayhem first hand. Every single television station in Chicago had a crew there waiting to speak with Roeper, and at first, they didn’t really know who I was or why I was there, but when Landecker arrived he pulled me through the throng. We took the elevator to the WLS studios. John was in a hurry because he wanted to talk to the guest who was on the air before our slot–it was comedian Jeff Garlin. Garlin is friends with John’s daughter Amy.
We sort of barged our way into the studios during a commercial break, and John greeted Jeff. They exchanged pleasantries about Amy, and Jeff said, “You know, your poor daughter. Every time someone from Chicago meets her, they always, and I mean always say…You’re John Landecker’s daughter, aren’t you? This great actress has to hear that!”
John nodded sadly. “I know.”
Jeff asked John, “So why are you here?”
“I have a new book out,” John replied.
“You F*****!” Jeff said with a smile.
After Jeff left, and John was brought in, Roe immediately began talking about how much he loved the book. He couldn’t have recommended it in stronger terms. Roeper weighed in to agree. They talked about Roger Ebert too (John was friends with him as well), and radio in the 70s, and it was actually a great interview.
During the commercial break, Roeper ran out into the lobby and did a few television interviews about Roger, and then ran back into the studio to complete the interview with Landecker.
We were only there about 45 minutes, but it was a pretty exciting 45 minutes.