Ben Mankiewicz‘s “The Plot Thickens” podcast series on Peter Bogdanovich is pretty great. I’ve listened to episodes #1, #2 and #3. Chapter two covers Peter and Polly Platt‘s early New York days, driving across the country in a beater, getting started in Los Angeles, making Targets, etc. Chapter three is about The Last Picture Show and the years-long affair with Cybill Shepherd and the breakup of Peter and Polly’s marriage.

Mankiewicz knows Hollywood lore, of course, but episodes are aimed at people who aren’t all that hip. (Excerpt: When Carroll O’Connor is mentioned, Mankiewicz uses a dialogue clip from All In The Family…grating.) But it’s also hugely engaging and amusing, and the backstage stories are wonderful.

“The randomness of life is so strange…”