Happy Turkey Day, everyone. It’s been a while since I was here, but that’s for good reason. Life’s been busy for me. Anyway, I’ve got a great interview with you today with Louise DuArt.
And guess if you know who the man is beside her. As you may know, she was the host of the short-lived Lifetime game show Rodeo Drive. I edited this for proper capitalization.
Greg Palmer: Hi, Louise. First off, how did you get involved in show business?
Louise DuArt: I was attending L.A. City College I was performing in a show. an
agent came up to me and asked if i wanted to auditon for the part of
Witchiepoo for the live show of H.R. Pufnstuf. I Auditoned and got the
GP: You started your career working with Sid and Marty Krofft. I’ve seen H.R. Pufnstuf and the 1991 version of Land of the Lost, but I haven’t seen The Krofft
Supershow. What were some of your roles?
LDA: I was part of a rock group that wrapped around the ABC Saturday
morning lineup called Kapt. Kool and the Kongs. I played the part of
GP: What was it like working there?
LDA: They were great. And I have remained friends with them for over 30 years.
GP: You also were a panelist on the John Davidson version of Hollywood
Squares. What was it like working there? Do you have any experiences
you’d like to share?
LDA: I loved Hollywood Squares. It was a great bump for my career. It was a
lot of fun.
GP: I’ve interviewed Mr. Davidson and the only logical explanation he
could come up with for why Squares was cancelled was because of “The
Wheel“. In your opinion, would you agree? If not, why do you think
Squares ended after 3 years?
LDA: I don’t know. It was a successful show and I know the audience enjoyed it.
GP: What’s really interesting is your run on D.C. Follies. You did
characters ranging from Cher to George Burns. Being the somewhat naive
person that I am, I’m going to assume you did almost all the female
characters. How many did you do?
LDA: I did all the female characters and some of the men like George
Burns, Michael Jackson and Woody Allen.
GP: Have you been approached by any of these people you’ve
impersonated? I bet your trips to Washington were very interesting.
LDA: People seem to enjoy the fact that I do an impression of them like
Joan Rivers, Cher, Carol Burnett and Shelly Winters loved it.
GP: And now the meat of the issue, as it were. You did only 1 game
show for Lifetime, Rodeo Drive. How did you get involved with this?
LDA: Jay Wolpert had created a show about Hollywood. The more the
contestent knew about the dirt in Hollywood the better they did
winning cash and prizes.
GP: Interestingly enough, this format was tested 9 years prior to your
version with the late Peter Tomarken as host (and you know where he
ended up). I know it gave you an opportunity to showcase your talents.
What was it like working on this show? Do you have any experiences
you’d like to share?
LDA: I loved working with Jay. I also loved the fans that wrote letters and
expressed how much they enjoyed it.
GP: You also worked with Burton Richardson, now the announcer on
Family Game Night. What was it like working with him?
LDA: He was a great guy and very talented.
GP: The executive producer and creator of this show was Jay Wolpert.
He’s created many game shows, most of which lasted less than a year.
Whew! lasted from late April 1979 to late May 1980. Blackout and Hit
Man went off after 13 weeks, as did this one. Even when he did a
syndicated version of The Price is Right, it went off after 16 weeks.
In fact, his longest running show was Shopping Spree for The Family
Channel. In your opinion, what went wrong? Why does Mr. Wolpert have
all this bad luck?
LDA: I never looked at Rodeo Drive as bad luck. Jay and I had a wonderful
relationship and I thought the show was fun.
GP: Would a revival of Rodeo Drive be feasible in today’s market?
LDA: Absolutely. I think Jay was ahead of his time. People can’t get enough
of the rich and famous.
GP: Now, here’s something interesting that isn’t mentioned on your
Wikipedia page. You hosted Living the Life on the CBN block of ABC
Family. How did you get involved with Pat Robertson and his crowd?
LDA: My husband Squire Rushnell (who ran children’s TV for ABC) and I felt
that kids these days needed to learn the values in the 10 Commandments
so we asked the president of CBN who Squire knew to help us give away
a DVD that he produced while he was at ABC called Kingdom Chums. They
helped us and they also saw that there was chemistry between the host,
Terry Meeusen and myself and they created a women’s talk show for us
which ran for 8 years. I absolutely loved doing the show and Terry and
I and all of the people at CBN, including Pat Robertson are still good
GP: You know, sometimes after going fully Christian and devoting yourself to that media sub-group (like Kirk Cameron has done), it’s hard to go back to a secular career. Now that Living the Life has been pulled, has that been the case for you?
LDA: I never looked at it that way. I loved working for a Christian network. The people at the network had such a heart for those who are hurting and I hope I played a role in helping them understand that God is always there to help.
GP: What are you doing now? Is there anything you’d like to promote?
LDA: My husband and I are doing many different things. we are co-authors on the Godwink devotional book. We work together in a show we do called Inspiration and Comedy and I work on the road with Tim Conway….a comedic genius.
GP: Finally, do you have any advice for people who want to follow your career path?
LDA: Follow your heart. If you feel led to go into this business then just go for it. Don’t let anyone discourage you. Listen to your inner voice.
I don’t know why this is, but for some reason WordPress isn’t letting me put YT videos up here. I’ll have to investigate.