Country clubs, senior living communities and more have enjoyed the humorous and informative talks. Each presentation is one hour, and fully audiovisual: Clips and images keep the content dynamic and engaging throughout. Topics include film, Broadway, and music; see below for descriptions of presentations that are available. If you’d like a sense of how the in-person presentations look and feel, this link shares Dan Hudak giving the annual Best Picture Oscar talk in Feb. 2020. To learn more about the presenters, click here.
Please e-mail Dan@HudakOnHollywood.com for bookings and other inquiries. All presentations are available via Zoom and in person.
Hall of Fame Actresses
It brings a smile to any movie lover’s face to remember the greatest actresses the silver screen has known. They’ve demanded our attention, inspired us, and broken our hearts. Young or old, rich or poor, these actresses have stood the test of time to become icons of their profession. In this hour-long discussion clips and images showcase what made them unforgettable, and why we still revere them today.
Hall of Fame Actors
They’ve been heroic, downright nasty and as sweet as can be. But the greatest actors of all time share one unique quality: their humanity. These larger-than-life stars had the uncanny ability to morph into a variety of individuals from vastly different walks of life, and did so with what appeared to be the greatest of ease. This hour-long presentation celebrates the men who’ve moved us, and in one instance, changed acting for the foreseeable future. Clips and images from these great performances make this a presentation you will not want to miss.
Hall of Fame Directors
Great directors know how to emotionally stimulate, manipulate, and even tease their audiences for maximum effect. This hour-long presentation looks not just at the greatest directors of all time, but also at how these directors were often able to work in a variety of genres and maintain success over the span of decades. Clips and images will showcase each director’s unique style in a way that’s sure to be eye opening for anyone who loves movies.
Hall of Fame Comedians
The greatest comedians made us laugh hard and often, and did so over a long period of time. Why they were so funny and what stirred their creative juices will be discussed in this celebration of the funniest people in film history, including clips from their most memorable performances.
Breakout Roles: The Movies That Made The Stars
They all had to start somewhere. This hour-long presentation looks at the early hits of Hollywood’s biggest stars, and examines what, if any, qualities were on display early on that would become their iconic trademarks. Clips from the breakout roles of Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Barbra Streisand and more will be shared as we attempt to answer the question: What makes a star?
Great Musical Moments I: The Hollywood Musical from the late 1920s to the mid-1950s
The dawn of the “talkie” in the late ‘20s didn’t just bring spoken words to the big screen – it also brought songs! This hour-long presentation chronicles the era of the “traditional” Hollywood musical, highlighted by Busby Berkeley’s choreography, Fred Astaire dancing with Ginger Rogers, the great Gene Kelly, and many more. Clips and images will be shared in what is sure to be a toe-tappin’ and informative good time!
Great Musical Moments II: The Hollywood Musical from the 1950s to the Present
With the era of the Hollywood musicals complete, the mid-1950s saw a shift in production. No longer were song and dance sequences stuck inside a studio; now musicals were shooting on location with bigger budgets, which allowed the genre to get bolder, more experimental, and in some cases, more satisfying. But like many good things, it didn’t last. Clips and images from the greatest musicals of all time will be featured in this hour-long presentation that covers great changes both in the genre and the industry itself.
Game Changers: Five Movies That Changed The Film Industry Forever
Some films are so revolutionary that they change how movies are made. Some provide audiences with such a thrill that they change what viewers demand. This hour-long presentation focuses on five notable titles – The Birth of a Nation, The Jazz Singer, Citizen Kane, Jaws, and Avatar – and how each changed the film industry and audiences forever.
Famous Moments, Famous Movies: Behind The Scenes Of The Most Iconic Moments In Film History
The shower scene in Psycho. The flying bikes in E.T. The title song in Singin’ in the Rain. All are memorable movie moments that have been cherished for generations and will be cherished for years to come. In this hour-long presentation, you’ll enjoy an insightful look at these scenes and more, sharing the stories, backgrounds and secrets that made them so unforgettable.
Note: More famous movie scenes are chronicled in part two and part three of the “Famous Moments, Famous Movies” series.
Box Office Champs: The Real Top Ten Movies Of All Time
You may know that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the all-time domestic box office champ at $936 million. But when you adjust for inflation, it’s actually #11. What’s in the top ten? This hour-long presentation looks at the real top ten highest-grossing movies of all time after you adjust for inflation. Clips and images, as well as a discussion of why these were hits in the first place and how they’ve endured through the years, highlight this fun and engaging presentation. You may be surprised at what’s on the list!
When Oscar Gets It Wrong: Best Picture Winners That Should’ve Lost, And The Movies That Should’ve Won
Is Ordinary People better than Raging Bull? Is How Green Was My Valley better than Citizen Kane? According to the Oscars, yes! This hour-long presentation examines the politics, voting patterns, and cultural influences that led the Academy to overlook movies we now consider classics.
Note: “When Oscar Gets It Wrong Part II” focuses on the actors/actresses who won, and the better remembered/overlooked performances from those same years.
Best Picture Oscar Talk
Journey into this year’s Best Picture Oscar nominees in this discussion of why each film was nominated and which is the odds-on favorite to emerge victorious. Clips and background information about all nominated films will be shared, and a discussion of the Academy’s voting process and habits will lend perspective to choosing the likely winner. Oscar history, trivia, and other major categories will also be covered! It’s a lively, insightful and fun hour-long presentation that’s not to be missed! Attendees are encouraged to see as many of the nominated films as possible before the presentation.
Note: Due to Covid-19, the next Oscar ceremony will be held April 25, 2021. Therefore this presentation can only be done in March/April 2021.
Top Five Years For Movies
A year in the life of movies can be groundbreaking, transcendent, unforgettable. At best, it captures the zeitgeist of a time period through a variety of genres, and by showcasing the talents of a number of terrific stars and directors. This hour-long presentation looks at five of the single greatest years in film history, and explores what the movies told us we valued, and what was clearly on our minds, in each year.
You Can’t Show That! The Story Of Film Ratings And Censorship in America
In 1922, The Motion Picture Producers and Distributors Of America was created by studio executives to stave off government censorship and ensure the wholesomeness of Hollywood films. It later morphed into the MPAA ratings we have today, and is now known as the MPA. How did we go from a couple not being allowed to share a bed to steamy sex scenes? This hour-long presentation explores how and why the MPA has evolved to where it is today, and what else it does besides film ratings.
Hollywood Scandal: The Most Salacious, Notorious And Awful Events Of Hollywood’s Past
If there’s one thing the media loves more than championing the virtues of Hollywood’s biggest stars, it’s exposing the sleazy details of stars’ indiscretions. This hour-long presentation looks back at some of Hollywood’s biggest scandals – some true, some not-so true, some downright criminal. Every effort will be made to discern fact from speculation, whenever possible, in the interest of discovering the truth surrounding these sordid events from Hollywood’s past. The stories of Charlie Chaplin, Gloria Grahame, Lana Turner and more will be shared.
Great Movie Monologues
It’s an actor’s dream: A long monologue that allows them to lose themselves in their character, and showcase their talent by keeping us captivated. We’ve been moved to tears, led to laugh, think. This hour-long presentation examines some of the best and most famous monologues in film history, including why they have endured so well over time.
The Worst Movies Ever Made
No filmmaker sets out to make a terrible movie, but sometimes things simply never come together. Or the filmmaker had no business making a movie in the first place. Through a combination of terrible reviews and poor box office, these ten films stand above (below?) the rest as the most awful we’ve ever seen. In some cases, a cult-like fondness for how bad it is has led to infamy. This hour-long presentation examines what made them so bad, and why they’re still known today even though they’re terrible.
The Top Ten Longest Running Shows in Broadway History
One measure of a show’s success is how long it runs on Broadway. Oklahoma!, which ran more than five years (2,212 performances), led the list in the 1940s. Now it ranks a mere 32nd. Today the top thirty shows are all musicals, and include popular titles such as The Phantom of the Opera, Chicago and The Lion King. Do any of those crack the top ten? This hour-long discussion that examines the ten longest running shows Broadway has ever seen.
The Jewish Composers of Broadway
As they sing with tongue-in-cheek in Monty Python’s Spamalot, “You Won’t Succeed on Broadway (If You Don’t Have Any Jews).” It is in fact true that the vast majority of the musical theater’s composers have been Jewish. From Irving Berlin to George Gershwin to Richard Rodgers to Stephen Sondheim, they have shaped this uniquely American art form, yet rarely until recent years have they written about the Jewish experience. This hour-long talk is a survey of the evolution of the Broadway musical, with a celebration of the creative individuals who made it happen.
The Hamilton Phenomenon
Hamilton has been a hot ticket since it debuted in 2015. But what possessed composer-lyricist-playwright-original star Lin-Manuel Miranda to write a musical about the first Secretary of the Treasury and his Founding Father contemporaries, and set their history to a hip-hop beat? For those lucky enough – or wealthy enough – to snag seats to the show, this hour-long talk will deconstruct the musical to increase your enjoyment and appreciation of the highly acclaimed – and highly profitable – Broadway sensation.
Handicapping the Tonys
Since 1947, the mark of excellence on Broadway has been the Antoinette Perry Awards, and ever since they were televised in the early 1960s, the annual broadcast became the prime marketing tool of the commercial theater to the nation. Moreso than the Oscars, a Tony Award win can mean the difference between success and failure at the box office. This hour-long talk reviews the history of the Tonys, looks at the biggest winners, and identifies the correlation between Tony wins and the length of the Broadway run.
Broadway Hall of Fame Actors
A celebration of eight male performers who sang and danced their way into our hearts with memorable star turns on the Broadway stage. Career summaries of eight luminaries including Robert Preston, Richard Kiley, Zero Mostel and Joel Grey will be shared. Illustrating the talk will be video clips from the productions that showcase their unique qualities.
Broadway Hall of Fame Actresses
An affectionate look at some of the most celebrated, larger-than-life female performers whose careers were forged mainly on the Broadway stage. Eight celebrated female stars, such as Ethel Merman, Carol Channing, Chita Rivera and Patti LuPone, will be profiled, with an emphasis on their most memorable shows. Includes video clips from their award-winning performances.
Stephen Sondheim: Broadway’s Greatest Musical Innovator
The musical theater was often lightweight entertainment until a protegee of Oscar Hammerstein II came along to challenge our perception of what a musical could be. An ethnic clash of street gangs (West Side Story)? A jaundiced look at marriage through the eyes of a perennial bachelor (Company)? A revenge thriller of a cannibalistic barber (Sweeney Todd)? An exploration of the creative process and a 19th century pointillist painter’s obsessions (Sunday in the Park with George)? Through his intricate music and lyrics, Sondheim changed the breadth and depth of musicals, as this talk will explore, with video examples from his landmark productions.
Songs That Changed The Game
The tech world would call them disruptors. Every so often a song comes along that heralds something new, a shift in pop music’s cultural landscape that will have an impact long after it’s replaced on the charts. In this presentation, we’ll look at five songs that changed music permanently. Drawing from a number of publications and sources, this presentation takes an entertaining look at songs that changed the way we listen.
Albums That Changed The Game
An album can be a collection of tunes, or it can take on a life of its own, with all the drama and impact of a great novel or film. Some are acclaimed upon release, others after years in obscurity. Drawing from surveys from a variety of respected publications, this presentation looks at five albums that showed us music’s future.
Music’s Most Romantic Songs
Love may be the most common topic in popular music, but only a few songs capture that exhilarating feeling of romance. When the lyrics and melody and performance are all in sync, well, it’s almost like being in love! This presentation surveys lists of romantic songs from a number of sources to find the most popular tunes that have made hearts skip a beat for generations.
This past season, we had the pleasure to add to our program presenter, Shelly Kaufmann with Hudak on Hollywood, Inc. Shelly exudes confidence and passion with each talk he presented. As an Assistant Lifestyle Director, you want presenters that can truly understand their audience and deliver a talk to their expectation. I can honestly say after each one of Shelly’s presentations, “he is a keeper” was just one of the many positive responses we received from our residents. We will definitely welcome Shelly back for another season.
The Hudak on Hollywood Film Series has been a wonderful addition to our Watermark University program. Presenter Bob Ross delivers the various monthly film topics in an energetic, clear and engaging manor that keeps those in attendance enthralled from start to finish. We’ve truly enjoyed having this monthly course since this past Fall and have learned more about the film industry, especially of early years, than we could have expected.