Pod People is a regular feature in which Abby Olcese explores the world of podcasts, introducing you to work-friendly listening options beyond This American Life and Radiolab.

I Was There Too

Ever wondered who voiced the two-headed podrace announcer in The Phantom Menace? Ever wanted to know more about the actress who played Vasquez in Aliens? Maybe you’re just curious about what it’s like to get offed in a horror film, like Lynda in Halloween.

Well, actor and movie-lover Matt Gourley has wondered about these things, too. He covers all of it and much more on I Was There Too, a podcast about the people who play small roles in big movies. It’s a ton of fun, and there’s a lot to love about the show, whether you’re a casual film viewer, or own every single disc in the Criterion Collection.

Every two weeks, Gourley sits down with an actor or actress who had a smaller supporting role in a famous film, with an emphasis on performers whose scenes were essential to the movie–for example, the woman with the baby carriage during The Untouchables’ train station shoot-out, or Kevin Costner’s father from the final scene of Field of Dreams.

Gourley’s enthusiastic personality and interaction with his guests helps set I Was There Too apart from other podcasts. His interviews are less question-and-answer than conversation, and his genuine curiosity about his guests’ careers and experiences lead to some great anecdotes (for a sampling, check out the “Collected Stories, Vol. 1” episode).

Some of the guests are well-known, like veteran character actor Stephen Tobolowsky. Others, like Doug Benson and Greg Proops are better known as comics than actors. Still others, like The Untouchables’ Melody Rae, might only be recognizable by the roles they’ve played. But no matter their level of fame, or the host’s relationship to the guest, Gourley treats each one with the same level of interest and respect.

While most of each episode is dedicated to Gourley’s interviews, there’s a portion at the end of the show that allows the host to explore other movie-related topics. Sometimes it’s a conversation on film scores with composer James “Jimmy Blades” Bladon. Sometimes it’s trivia about the film featured in that week’s episode. Other times, it’s something totally different, as in one recent entry, where Gourley visited two of the locations used in John Carpenter’s Halloween, with a hilariously weird twist.

I Was There Too just finished up a stellar first year, and is going on hiatus for the rest of 2015. However, it won’t be time idly spent. I Was There Too’s parent podcasting network, Wolfpop, will be re-releasing earlier episodes of the show for the duration of the break–episodes that are currently behind a paywall–so there’s no time like the present to get caught up.

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