John Wesley Shipp
Today’s episode is special, not only because we have the original Flash to talk with, but he’s an incredible person. He tells us some deeply personal stories that not only make you feel, but in the end make you feel good.
Transcript created automatically from DeSCript. Please excuse any misspelling and grammar.
John Wesley Shipp
[00:00:00] Kenric: [00:00:00] Welcome back guys. Today on the show, we are super happy, super pleased. I’m honored to have, he played Barry Allen in the 1990s TV show flash. He was Mitch leery on Dawson’s Creek, Douglas Cummings on as the world turns. And of course, Henry Allen on CWS. Current flash, John Wesley ship. Thank you so much for coming on.
[00:00:24] John Wesley Shipp: [00:00:24] it’s good to be here with you guys.
[00:00:26] Kenric: [00:00:26] Yeah, this is exciting. I, It’s a weird time. Obviously with everything that’s going on in the world with COBIT 19 or, you know,
[00:00:34] John Wesley Shipp: [00:00:34] Julie is, it is strange with production shutdown and almost nobody on the streets being in New York city, it really has hit hard.
[00:00:46] Kenric: [00:00:46] Yeah.
[00:00:46] How was New York doing? I mean, they got, once it hit New York, it seemed like it just spread like wildfire.
[00:00:53] John Wesley Shipp: [00:00:53] You know, it’s rough. I think New York has more cases than any country other than the United [00:01:00] States. So, but we have a great governor who’s taken it very seriously from the beginning and has enforced, stay at home and, and, pause New York city, pause and shut down businesses.
[00:01:13] And, and it looks like we may be flattening the curve ahead of. Projection. So, you know, we remain hopeful and we’re following directions because in a city of this many people all on top of each other, you know, eh, you know, covert ain’t plans. So we can’t either.
[00:01:33] Kenric: [00:01:33] Yeah, we’re in Seattle. And so we hit, you know, we’re like the front line at the very beginning.
[00:01:39] And then that first, once that first person died, Jay Inslee, the governor, he here, , he jumped on it pretty good. I mean, those are some things they could have done better. Sure. We can say that against everything, but I think they’re doing the best they can and they really shut everything down. They’re like.
[00:01:55] Start doing this, start doing this, you know, yeah. Cause they didn’t want to send out those [00:02:00] draconian type measures. But at the same time, how else are you going to stop this?
[00:02:05] John Wesley Shipp: [00:02:05] I know I heard some people even putting our governor, uh, in a, uh. Almost defensive posture about the fact that it looked like we might not have as many dead people as the first projection.
[00:02:19] Sound like you’re really gonna. You’re really going to jump on this guy because he managed the citizens of New York city because we followed directions and we didn’t, we didn’t reach worst case scenario, you’re really gonna put him on the defensive, but of course the guy that he is, he handled it very well.
[00:02:39] Kenric: [00:02:39] Yeah. That guy, man, he’s been a fighter. It’s been actually kind of cool to see him on TV, just really passionate about what’s going on and how to, you know, what they need to do and really fighting
[00:02:49] John Wesley Shipp: [00:02:49] for the city of New York governor. Absolutely. Yeah. Absolutely. They’re real leaders have emerged.
[00:02:55] Kenric: [00:02:55] I like it. I like it.
[00:02:57] So I’ve been doing some background and you tell [00:03:00] me if I’m wrong because sometimes what we find is obviously not correct. And
[00:03:05] John Wesley Shipp: [00:03:05] I found sometimes I read stuff about myself and I’m like, really? Exactly.
[00:03:11] Kenric: [00:03:11] Did you grow up in North Carolina or Virginia?
[00:03:15] John Wesley Shipp: [00:03:15] Actually, it’s very funny because there are three cities that , when I do these personal appearances, Mike, Mike Broder and Sandy Martin, they do a comic book conventions.
[00:03:26] They’re the galaxy con people. I love those people, and they did a Raleigh, North Carolina show, a Richmond Virginia show. I did a Tidewater show. And there was a Kentucky show while I was born in Virginia. Uh, I was raised in North Carolina. I graduated from high school in Louisville, Kentucky. Uh, and they all claim me as a hometown boy, you know, so he said,
[00:03:54] He said, yeah, I’m doing the John Wesley Shipp tour and Richmond, Virginia claims. My dad went to [00:04:00] university of Richmond. Hitting every city and it was, every paper was like home.
[00:04:09] Well, I read, it was actually born in North of Virginia as was grad Gustin.
[00:04:15] Kenric: [00:04:15] Oh, cool. We
[00:04:17] John Wesley Shipp: [00:04:17] want them to put up a sign outside when you enter North, like we want to put home with the flashes.
[00:04:23] Kenric: [00:04:23] Yes. That’s be perfect. That’d be so cool. But keep your speed down.
[00:04:32] Cause I, I read a crazy story and I can’t tell if it happened in, in wake forest or it happened in the things, but the first thing I read, the first thing I watched was the girl in 1999 that asked you to come do a commencement speech for their high school reunion.
[00:04:49] John Wesley Shipp: [00:04:49] Yes.
[00:04:50] Kenric: [00:04:50] And I thought it was amazing. And that your dad was the next day did the sermon at the Baptist church and she said that you guys were given the key to the city, [00:05:00] but she said you guys were ostracized from that community a long time ago.
[00:05:04] And so I was like, of course, that piqued my interest. And I read about you in high school doing these, these Christmas parties every year. You had some friends
[00:05:14] that were black. Yeah.
[00:05:16] And then, and I was hoping you could tell us the story because I think the fact that it’s kinda come full circle with as much as time has gone by and the fact that you guys have, things have, you know, obviously gotten better, but still not where they need to be.
[00:05:29] I think your story is very appointment.
[00:05:33] John Wesley Shipp: [00:05:33] Well, it’s the whole full circle. You started with, with the president of the senior class, you know, who, uh, 30 years later asked me to come back and give it the commencement address. But in 1968, we were, in wake forest, North Carolina. And it was a, yeah, we would, every year we would have a, a Christmas party.
[00:05:57] My sister and I, and the [00:06:00] schools in 1968, 69 had just been partially integrated, racially integrated in wake forest. There was a white high school and a black high school, and they had just partially integrated by bringing, some black students into the white. High school. And so of course, you know, you start interrelating with people, they become your friends.
[00:06:22] I mean, that’s how society integrates, right? Right. You don’t know someone or you think someone’s different than you are, and then you are around people, whatever the difference is. And you go, Hey, this is my friend. You know, ah, this isn’t that member of that demographic. This is my friend. You know, and commonality emerges.
[00:06:42] So when we, made up the Christmas list. That year. Of course, it was our friends. It’s more of our friends were African American. So, the list, who was on the list got out and my dad was pastoring a small church outside of wake forest while he was going to the [00:07:00] seminary. And, the board of deacons got ahold of the guest list and the Wednesday before the Saturday night, they called the meeting.
[00:07:07] They told him, you. You can’t have this party, you can have an integrated party in the Parson Mnuchin. He said, I can’t tell my children that God is love, but some of their friends are welcome in our home because of the color of their skin. So after two and a half hours, he said, well, the party is on. I’m going to do what I have to do.
[00:07:23] You guys do what you have to do. Figuring that he would be fired. What he didn’t anticipate. Is that a little after nine o’clock on December 13th we would get a shotgun blast through our home. Wow. And about 17 bullets rip through our house at that waist to head level sideways through the front picture window.
[00:07:45] We were in the back. Room in the den. And I say we were saved by the popcorn popper cause we had just all gone into the kitchen. First of all, a lot of kids couldn’t come because it became a controversy before the fact. And I’m not [00:08:00] sorry for that because you know, one more person, someone might’ve been hit, but 1718 bullets hit the front window and eight or nine 10 to traded that wall, living room wall and were embedded in the fireplace on the far.
[00:08:15] Side now we had just gone into the kitchen, so we weren’t in the den at that. At that moment. My sister’s boyfriend had just walked in front of the picture window. If he had been to, and you know, 90 seconds later, they would’ve cut him in half. And, uh, and, you know, shotgun blast. The wood splinters is, we’re drifting back in and yeah.
[00:08:38] Hit the floor, cut the lights. Anyway. Uh, we, uh, they were gonna move my sister, my family, my mom and us. To safety to go live in Norfolk, Virginia with the grandparents. While dad finished up his six months in and we said, Hey, wait a minute, we’ve stirred up all this trouble. Our friends can’t leave and we’re not leaving.
[00:08:58] And so, [00:09:00] uh, we stayed for that six months. At that point, the white Southern Baptist convention absolutely turned its back on my dad, and the only way that we were able to eat was he was invited. As it went out on associated press, the state Bureau of investigation, the FBI investigated governor, uh, uh, uh, Scott at the time, offered a $3,000 reward.
[00:09:24]but the town paper of wake forest kind of slanted everything to making it our fault. Yeah, of course. , so anyway, it was a very interesting dad. It was Saturday night. We slept on the floor. Sunday. He gave this incredible sermon. It’s some seminary students came out to support us afterwards. A business meeting was called and he was fired and was told to be out of the community by sundown or they couldn’t.
[00:09:48] Account for our safety. And that’s when Bob and Liz for algebra teacher at the high school invited us to come live. And part of this big, I would call it a Southern mansion that they had bought, [00:10:00] and we’re fixing room by room. And part of it was an in-laws quarter. So that was a very interesting six months being threatened at ball games and not being able to go anywhere.
[00:10:11] And then dad was called. Two. Two, the first, one of the first racially integrated Southern Baptist churches in the Southern Baptist convention. My father called the first African-American, associate pastor to 23rd and Broadway Baptist church. in Louisville, Kentucky, where he went to minister and, and we went there in 1970.
[00:10:32] Okay. Now, flash forward, if you’ll forgive the pun, it’s 30 years later, I’m on Dawson’s Creek, which is incredibly popular. It’s shooting in North Carolina in Wilmington. And Sally Headrick, the president of the class, did a guest starring role. On Dawson’s Creek. Well, she knew Liz in Bob Ford who we saw at shelter [00:11:00] with after the shooting.
[00:11:01] They told Sally the story and it was something of an urban legend in the now fully integrated forest rolls Hill high school. And so she, I was doing road rage with Yasmeen bleeds and Jerry Burns up in up in Canada and I got this phone call. And I was horrified to hear her ask me to come back and to give the commencement address and to tell the story and pull it forward with implications for a graduating class and students.
[00:11:35] And I was even more horrified when I heard myself say, okay, I’ll do it, you know? And so, I told those shooting people, I said, I have to be out. On such and such a time on Friday cause I’ve got to get this commencement address on Saturday. So I flew there in front of 2,500 people, gave this commencement address, told the story.
[00:11:58] I didn’t know what the reaction would be, [00:12:00] but it was incredible. It’s one of the most phenomenal experiences of my life. I was very emotional and I brought it. Forward about, you know, tying in all phobias, racism, homophobia, trans, but whatever phobia it is, and how each group sort of has a responsibility.
[00:12:19] When you climb up the ladder, it’s your responsibility to reach. And lend a hand to the next group. You know, that’s, you know, society always needs a witch to burn, right? So there’s always going to be somebody that society has it out for, you know? So anyway, a standing ovation, it went on and on. A state Senator that was on the stage passed me a note.
[00:12:45] Written on the program lease, mealy mouth, graduation speech I’ve ever heard. And the next day my dad was invited to the first Baptist church in wake forest on the campus, not the church that he was fired from right outside of Wayfair, and [00:13:00] he took it, he picked it up where I left off and talked about his multicultural, multiethnic, multi-denominational ministry going forward for the next 30 years.
[00:13:10] At the end, they called our family down front. The wake weekly, which was the paper that was not friendly to us, followed us during that weekend, wrote the most beautiful story about honoring my family. Bob Mackie, the mayor of wake forest, presented my mother with , the key to the city, and they offered us a pub, public apology.
[00:13:33] The church was packed to the rafters, the balcony, I mean, it was like a movie of the week healing. Oh, come on. It’s like I still get it.
[00:13:47] Kenric: [00:13:47] I want to cry with you right now. That is incredible.
[00:13:49] John Wesley Shipp: [00:13:49] Talking about it. And then I went back, you know, so funny. It’s so many full circle experiences. Cause I went back to Raleigh.
[00:13:59] It was super [00:14:00] con at the time. It’s galaxy con now. And I went there and the news and observer, which is the only reason. That that case was ever investigated because they picked it up and then the story exploded on associated press. Well, they wanted to do an interview with me all along the lines of what we’re talking about now, and they did a whole spread on the story and on me and on my family’s journey.
[00:14:26] And they talked to Sally and did a companion piece for her point of view. And a. You know, it’s just one of those full circle moments, you know? And it’s like wake forest, wake County in 2008 you know, they say change doesn’t happen. That same County that ran us out of town went for Barack Obama in 2008 not for nothing.
[00:14:54] You know what I mean?
[00:14:55] Kenric: [00:14:55] Yeah. The fight really made a difference.
[00:15:01] [00:15:00] I love it.
[00:15:01] I love it. That’s fine. I mean, cause we can talk about the will and we’ll get to the flash and all that, but I always figure you probably get those questions all the time. No.
[00:15:13] John Wesley Shipp: [00:15:13] Lately. Yeah, much more than I ever thought I would. Listen.
[00:15:16] It’s, it’s, I’ve said before, I’m glad it’s our 30th anniversary year, I believe September 20th the 30th anniversary. I said, I’m sure glad. Yeah. well, let me see. I guess it was 28 years later. By the time I put on the flash suit again, I’ve said, I’m sure glad I didn’t know 28 years ago that 28 years later I would be getting into another flash suit.
[00:15:38] Cause I’m like not a fit.
[00:15:44] But as it’s turned out, it’s been a phenomenal journey.
[00:15:47] Kenric: [00:15:47] It’s been a, it’s a, it’s, it’s kind of amazing. You’ve had a long career. And you’re still going strong. You how? I have to ask you this. You just released night sweats back in, I think in November.
[00:16:00] [00:16:00] John Wesley Shipp: [00:16:00] Yeah.
[00:16:01] Kenric: [00:16:01] How weird is it that you made that movie and now we’re going through this?
[00:16:05] John Wesley Shipp: [00:16:05] You know what, I just talked to Andrew Leiman Clark, who is the director and co-writer that script, and he was like, Oh my God, you know, we had no idea we would be going through an epidemic. On the heels of that movie coming out. It is bizarre.
[00:16:25] Kenric: [00:16:25] It is bizarre. It was like, um, you guys like telling the future here I’m, I’m just waiting for some evil company to come out, you know?
[00:16:33] John Wesley Shipp: [00:16:33] You know what I mean? Absolutely.
[00:16:37]Kenric: [00:16:37] Jeff’s got quite a few, he has a couple of questions for you and I’m going to give him a chance to ask them
[00:16:43]Jeff Haas: [00:16:43] hello. Mr has been a pleasure to talk to you, been hoping for this for a while now. one question I did have, and you kind of gave me some background on the cartel I’m going to be asking,
[00:16:54] but how did you,
[00:16:54] um, your Facebook page is loaded with, um, great activism and it’s something [00:17:00] I’ve actually enjoyed reading of yours and I’ve been reading it regularly.
[00:17:03] So my, one of my questions is
[00:17:04] how important and how personal has activism been for you
[00:17:08] and how have you found your celebrity. As a way to help
[00:17:14] spread your word further.
[00:17:15]John Wesley Shipp: [00:17:15] You know what? I don’t consciously think of it that way. I am who I am. You know my sister and I. Constantly through school, whether it was when we continued high school in Louisville, Kentucky, and there was a controversy, we would keep making ethical decisions, which would put us on the less than popular side of an issue in which there would be violence and school walkouts and stuff.
[00:17:41] And we would be, you know, Well, not on the popular side, you know, and point my dad’s side. And he looked at my mom and he said, well, surely our parents cursed us with ethics and get onto our children. That’s awesome. [00:18:00] So go ahead. I can’t not, I can’t not write about these issues. I don’t think about it. In terms of, I hate the word celebrity anyway because what does that mean?
[00:18:11] I’m an, I’m an actor. I do have a wide audience. I try to address the things that I believe and I feel strongly and think deeply are important. Other people. Are absolutely free to disagree. What I don’t understand is people who come on my page and try to invalidate everything I’m saying. I’m like, look, man, I don’t, I don’t go around the internet looking for people’s pages to go on and you know, it validate what they say.
[00:18:47] But, uh, yeah, Twitter can be quite an experience. Facebook, I do keep Instagram as the one place. Where I do no politics because I think we all need a [00:19:00] respite and if somebody has views that conflict with mine, I say, you know what? We’re done. We’re not going to agree here, but I so appreciate you that you enjoy my work.
[00:19:14] Which is, you know, so meaningful to me because it’s, it’s also part of who I am, big part of who I am. So why don’t you come on over to Instagram? Because you will be spared my opinions in my ass over there. Uh, and as a result, I have what, six times six, seven times more followers on Instagram than I do on Twitter?
[00:19:38] Because, you know, people get angry, they get tired. You know what I mean? Then I sand it, but it does. It’s funny. I love to my periods when I’m, I’m most intense. I watch my follower count on Twitter, go up and down. No. Now I as an as an actor, do you ever have either your manager or a pub publicist. [00:20:00] Uh, warn you to either not say this or back off this issue, or do you feel, you know, or, or you been supported on all sides to continue to, um, be an activist?
[00:20:12] I pretty much have been supported on all sides because by the time someone knows me well enough to represent me, they know that it’s something. That is so wound up in my childhood, in my faith, in my identity as a human being. You know, who was raised on Christian principles and I mean Christ’s teachings, you know, the least of these my people.
[00:20:45] And the last shall be first, and it’s, it’s, it’s the responsibility of the halves. Toward the have less is, you know what I mean? That that’s deeply ingrained and part of my person that they’re not gonna. If they tried to [00:21:00] cut that out of me, they would cut out a part of my creative soul and I would be able to do what I do to the extent that I do it.
[00:21:11] So, no, I, I, yeah, yeah. Yeah. It’s interesting. I just did a hallmark, um. Movie and mystery, and we just filmed it in February before they shut all production down, or April 5th, Sunday night. Ruby herring mysteries, which, uh, I’m contracted to do 12 if they make them. Wonderful cast Taylor Cole. Steven Huizar is a fantastic cast.
[00:21:38] Um, and, uh, Andrea canning. From NBC Dateline. She’s our head writer, wonderful writer. We have the most fun. And I was wondering thing, you know, because hallmark avoid controversies. If someone would tap me on the shoulder and say, I’m maybe cool, but nobody has. [00:22:00] And I got into the most fascinating series of conversations in February, the executive producer and I, Beth Miller, who runs a fabulous set.
[00:22:08] She and I were. Riding to and from the set. Sometimes it would take an hour. And we got into some really deep, philosophical, discussions about, life and, and meaning and politics. And she talked about this. We didn’t agree about everything. It’s not necessary. I mean, where did we ever get. The feeling or the thought that we had to agree with everything in order to be friends.
[00:22:33] May I insert one thing here? I’m working on a play that has been optioned by Tony award-winning Broadway producers and we just had a staged reading. In new Orleans called Hank and Jim building, and it’s about the lifelong friendship of Henry Fonda and Jimmy steward. Despite vast political differences, I mean major political differences [00:23:00] and romantic rivalries.
[00:23:01] And the thing is, they would always get together on a Sunday afternoon and build model airplanes, whether they were fighting, whether they weren’t, sometimes they wouldn’t say a word for three hours, but that becomes the metaphor. For? How do you meet that? Maintain in relationship with someone who you love, with whom you had major disagreements.
[00:23:26] It’s like we’ve lost the ability to talk to each other, not to get too heavy and everything, but yeah, that’s, that’s kind of the answer. No one, no, I’ve never felt the pressure except from sometimes the, you know. Some of the audience members, they’re alive. It’s like, it’s like, you know, shut up an act. It’s like, it’s like the most commercial on TV is when they showed the commercial and they put on screen real people, not actors.
[00:23:58] Yeah. I feel like [00:24:00] me are people too, right? I
[00:24:05] Jeff Haas: [00:24:05] mean, I mean, right now we’re, we’re obviously heading towards or barreling towards a very contentious time in our history, both within parties and across parties. So based on your play with, um, Henry Ford and Jimmy Stewart, what is the key to. Getting past this divisiveness and try to come together both within a party and across from the party.
[00:24:31] John Wesley Shipp: [00:24:31] I don’t know that we answer that question except to say, I mean, there’s one big dramatic part in the play and it’s over the house on American activities committee. Jimmy’s on one side. Henry was on the leaning left, I think Henry Fonda and um, you know, he realized that Julie’s Stewart’s been talking. To the house and American activities, and they had this huge argument in the garage and one of them smashes the airplane and then the rest of the [00:25:00] plane is spent trying to put the Martin bomber.
[00:25:04] It’s called back together, and that’s the metaphor. You piece it back together. It will never go back. It’s like I tell Barry as Jay Garrick. I take the cup and I break it and I say, you know, this is, this is reality here. And if you break it, it will never go back exactly the way it was before. I’m talking to him about changing the timeline, right?
[00:25:32] You tried to. Put it back together and in the metaphor of the airplane so that no, it is going to be exactly like it was. No, but by God, we’re going to make it fly again because we’re committed to our friendship and our love for each other, and, uh, no matter what. Uh, and so it’s, I don’t think there’s a magic answer. I think it’s just a commitment to do it.
[00:25:57] Jeff Haas: Now the the your fans, including myself. Who do, I said, read your Facebook page all the time. What would it be? Maybe two messages that you would hope your listeners do get out of following you and reading all your posts and whatnot about, you know, in general life beyond acting.
[00:26:20]John Wesley Shipp: I would hope that, you know, there’s so much shit. It’s such a sticky subject you know, because clearly I was raised a son of a minister and a very progressive minister who brought it down a lot of change, uh, first in the Southern Baptist convention until they took the hard turn to the right, and then he became an American Baptist union, United church of Christ.
[00:26:46] But. I have a very deep, I’m very deeply rooted in the teachings of Jesus, of Nazareth, and I would just like to remind people what those teachings for, and it wasn’t about making as [00:27:00] much money and accruing as much power on the backs of middle income and lower income and poor people as you possibly can.
[00:27:09] That’s the opposite. Of what Jesus of Nazareth taught, you know, love through people that go back to Testament. The first five gospels, they used to put what Jesus, who’s is reported to have said in red. They used to put it in ready and to stand out. And at one point I said to somebody, go back, go back and read the red parts.
[00:27:30] You know, let’s go back. What is he report it to have actually said the most about? And it was love. It was your responsibility to those who have less than you do. And uh, and it’s the responsibility and it, it goes through the prophets in the old Testament talk. It’s also government. Government’s responsibility to protect the most vulnerable people in society as an instrument [00:28:00] to protect.
[00:28:01] So I would just hope that they get compassion. They get, uh, the responsibility of the haves toward the have nots. Um, that’s the most important thing. That’s, that’s the thing. That I think is the most important for us as a society, and that we’ve gotten so far away from, you know, uh, both with the income, the wealth gap, you know, it’s like, uh, it’s like we’ve abandoned a lot of, uh, the people who need the most care.
[00:28:38] Yeah. So I hope that’s what they’d see.
[00:28:40] Kenric: [00:28:40] We got a lot of
[00:28:41] John Wesley Shipp: [00:28:41] potters.
[00:28:43] Kenric: [00:28:43] Like potters from a, from a, it’s a wonderful life. We’ve got a lot of potters, not a lot of,
[00:28:53] John Wesley Shipp: [00:28:53] yeah.
[00:28:54] Kenric: [00:28:54] That’s just, it’s, it’s just to watch, uh, I [00:29:00] work a lot, you know, and I try to make the money I can do to provide for my family, and I’m lucky to have a job that allows, uh, for me to do stuff like this.
[00:29:09] And to work remotely and to do those types of things. Uh, I’m reeling for my friends that are auto mechanics that, you know, work for a small shop that can’t stay open. And
[00:29:21] John Wesley Shipp: [00:29:21] it’s heartbreaking. It’s like, let’s get, you know what I just read, uh, in Canada, small business owner had to shut down, had trouble contacted the Canadian government.
[00:29:34] Two days later, they mailed the check out to him within a week he had the assistance. Now, why are small businesses, I don’t want to get into the weeds too far here, but why are our small businesses still waiting. For the 2 trillion tax money that was voted to help them to get to them.
[00:29:57] Kenric: [00:29:57] And those fortune 50 companies, they can weather the [00:30:00] storm.
[00:30:00] They’re okay. They don’t need it. Like, like they want to say they need it, you know? And, but those little mom and pops, those restaurants. All those restaurants that can’t stay open and just like, and like for us, we love comic books. Your local comic book shop, you think the
[00:30:15] John Wesley Shipp: [00:30:15] local comic bookstores? We have a comic book.
[00:30:19] Uh, there is online, and I wish I could think of the name of the website, but it’s to actually help, I think it’s a New York city comic book shops that are, there’s a fund that are struggling, uh, to stay open. Yeah. Not not to stay open, to stay a going concern so that when this is all over it, they can reopen.
[00:30:40] Kenric: [00:30:40] Yeah. It’s, it’s, it’s crazy. It’s crazy time right now. And this is the time when everybody needs to buckle together and you know. Promote good citizenship,
[00:30:50] John Wesley Shipp: [00:30:50] you know? And, and on the other hand, I really, it hurts me when I hear people say all politics and all politicians are bad [00:31:00] because we have heroes. We have people who are fighting for the most vulnerable in the situation right now, who are fighting for the, I don’t want to say the little guy, because some of the little guys are much bigger than the big guys ever.
[00:31:14] We’ll hope to be, but. You know those who, who materially has less, you know, there are heroic, there are politicians out there and politics is just the art of government. I don’t know when, when we gave it such a bad name or when we let people who hate government. Take over government. It’s like, for God’s sake, if a candidate hates government and wants to, don’t put them in charge of it, would you take someone who hated football and make him commissioner of the NFL?
[00:31:53] Kenric: [00:31:53] We had a Christopher goals yesterday, and he’s a, he’s a writer and he’s written a bunch of stuff, [00:32:00] and his, he has a great, yeah. Want. One of his greatest fears when he was talking about was when politicians are able to lie, and then we know they’re lying and they know that we know that they’re lying, but nobody cares.
[00:32:15] And that’s when he goes, that’s when people really need to be afraid,
[00:32:18] John Wesley Shipp: [00:32:18] you know?
[00:32:20] Kenric: [00:32:20] But you’re, like you said, there are some real fighters out there. You know? Look what look at Bobby Kennedy. That guy was a fighter. You know? And there’s, and there’s people out there that are like that. And even if you don’t agree with everything, like I tell people all the time, look, I, I, I try not to vote so much on, on party lines if I can, if I don’t have to, because I want to see what the, what the person is, you know, and see how they’re, what I think are, they gonna do what they think is best.
[00:32:48] And then on top of that, I, I. Gained so much respect for somebody that says, I messed up. I thought this was a good plan. It didn’t work through, we’re trying [00:33:00] to develop a new thing, let, we’re going to move forward. This is what I’m doing. You know? Nothing but respect for that. That’s one of the things I hate about this current administration is, is just the, the, the full, it’s just, it’s just full of, it’s not, well, it’s not my fault.
[00:33:13] I think it’s this guy’s fault, you know? Isn’t,
[00:33:16] John Wesley Shipp: [00:33:16] it’s the concept to take responses. Yeah.
[00:33:20] Kenric: [00:33:20] It’s like, just takes that responsibility and move on.
[00:33:23] John Wesley Shipp: [00:33:23] The inability to apologize. Like if, if you say, I’m sorry, it’s a sign of weakness or something, but it’s also, you know, they play the game that we set up. Yeah. If we said money out of politics, if we said public financing of campaigns.
[00:33:43] You know, if we said no more cook corporate donations, if we really had meaningful campaign finance reform that put the power back into the hands of the people in public finance, it would totally change, but we can’t [00:34:00] blame them for playing the game. That we set up during Reagan when corporations became people, but only in so far as rights are concerned.
[00:34:14] Money equals speech, which means free, but some have a whole lot more of it than others. What, you know, so we have to take responsibility. To pay attention and read Chiate who’s helping whom and who most clearly aligns with what we believe in.
[00:34:32] Kenric: [00:34:32] Yup. Yup. So like Jeff just got done texting me because he didn’t want to interrupt, but he was like, you know, he hates the term flip.
[00:34:40] Flopper you don’t know, cause he expects those leaders to admit when they’re being wrong.
[00:34:46] John Wesley Shipp: [00:34:46] I mean, Ken, please, can we please have is, can we make it okay to evolve over the course of a career? Can we make that okay? Can we not be so bad? What to present purity that we [00:35:00] allow people to evolve and change their minds.
[00:35:05] Kenric: [00:35:05] Well, John, I think you and I could be sitting here talking all day about this. We’re of the same mind. We could be a danger.
[00:35:15] So before we get into too much with the flash, cause I know a lot of people that are probably listening are eager to hear about your, your, your experiences. I want to ask you, you won two Emmys in the 80s for your, your soap opera
[00:35:32] And. How much did that help you prepare for the rest of your acting career?
[00:35:39] John Wesley Shipp: [00:35:39] I’ll tell you how it did. I’m actually, this is one of my proudest achievements. I was an answer on jeopardy.
[00:35:49] John Horsley: Awesome.
[00:35:49] John Wesley Shipp: They time actor to win back to back Emmys from two different shows. One was world turns. And one was, Santa Barbara, you know, I played a good guy. Uh, first [00:36:00] of all, I did, uh, the first movie for Showtime in 1979, if you can think back that far, um, called the dirtiest show in town. It was a best of off-Broadway series.
[00:36:11] And so that was their first show times, first original movie for television. And then right after that, I was on guiding light for four years playing a really good guy. Well, the head writer who knew there was more to me than that went to, as the world turns and wrote this brilliant. 11 months story about a guy who starts off as the same image I had played on guiding light, but then becomes, it’s such a convoluted story.
[00:36:35] I’m not going to waste time setting it all up, but I become the center piece of murders happening on one. Side of town, a secret admirer, stalker on another story that’s unfolding and it all ties in and becomes me. And I got to play that character all the way out to break down stark raving psychotic, mad who was stabbed in the back [00:37:00] during a rape attempt.
[00:37:01] Okay. And that allowed me to break type. Right at the right out of the gate. Then I went the next year to Santa Barbara and I played this sort of jerk, professional tennis player, woman abuser, a Martinez threw me through a plate glass window, and I had surgery on my knee, would never be able to play tennis again and cried and uh, and had some sympathy for the character even though he was a jerk.
[00:37:29] Right. That was mine. My second Emmy. And so I’ll always be grateful to Douglas Marlin. You know, back in the early eighties man, we were getting like eight 8.5 million viewers on daytime. That was the youth explosion and Kevin Bacon was my dressing roommate on guiding light. My leading lady on, as the world turns, was Julianne Moore.
[00:37:52] And also in my story exactly in my storyline was Steven Webber and Julia put [00:38:00] Ghana, you know, uh, who is this great stage actress? I mean, it was a golden age of day time. So in the early eighties I was, in fact, I got to say, I’ve been lucky. Yeah. I’m mindful of my good fortune because I was on daytime. When daytime was being redefined, it was the youth explosion.
[00:38:23] Um, I did Broadway and then I landed in superhero dumb at the beach at the dawning of a new way of telling these stories for adults. In other words, not spoofing them, right. Taking them seriously, saying, these are real people. Ordinary people caught in extraordinary circumstances. And then I wound up on Dawson’s Creek at the beginning of a different way of writing for young actors.
[00:38:54] In other words, not writing down to a young audience, but writing up to a young audience. I [00:39:00] remember one very famous actor who shall remain nameless at a dinner party. Uh. Was talking about Dawson’s Creek. Kevin Williamson was there and they said, yeah, well look, young people don’t talk like that. And without hesitating, Kevin snapped back.
[00:39:12] Maybe not, but they’d like to,
[00:39:14] Kenric: [00:39:14] yeah,
[00:39:15] John Wesley Shipp: [00:39:15] yeah. Where they really thought about things and really, and then I, I circled back into a role that I had done or, or our universe that I had been in 24 years earlier to play the father. Oh, the new guy, assuming that so awesome. Then I ended up playing three different roles on that show, but I, you know, I’d been very Allen.
[00:39:42] I did voice professor zoom on Batman, the brave and the bold.
[00:39:46] Kenric: [00:39:46] Oh, that’s cool. I didn’t know. Hi.
[00:39:48] John Wesley Shipp: [00:39:48] Played Henry Allen, Henry Allen died. I was resurrected as Jay Garrick. And then when they said they wanted to bring flash 90 back to the new show, I said, are you out of your frigging mind? [00:40:00] That was 28 years ago.
[00:40:02] Right. So we pulled it together, you know, and, uh, uh, I think it turned out okay.
[00:40:11] Kenric: [00:40:11] Back in, I guess I would assume it was 89 that you got the call that you got the role for the flash. What was going through your mind? I mean, you’re like, is this flash Gordon or what
[00:40:21] John Wesley Shipp: [00:40:21] are you talking about? Dude. When they first mentioned that there was this project out there, and April Webster, little Thai Emmy award winning casting director lost in a whole bunch of other shows.
[00:40:34] She was the casting director for flash 1990 and I, she called me. Because they wanted to see me and I was like, ah, I’m just coming out from New York. I’ve, I’ve went to him. It’s for daytime. I’ve been on Broadway. I, I’ve done a lot of theater. I, I sort of, I may be delusional, but I have pretentions of being a serious actor, you know, and all of my training is in truth at the moment and [00:41:00] trying to make things as real as possible.
[00:41:01] She said, you don’t understand, John. That’s why we’re coming to you, because that’s. We’re not going to spook the material. She said, I’ll tell you what, just read the script. That’s all I ask. Read Danny Bilson, Paul DiMillo’s treatment. Wonderful. And I read it and I’m like, Whoa, wait a minute. Here’s this guy who’s a, you know, born into a family where real cops work the streets, but he.
[00:41:27] Becomes a CSI before CSI was cool, so that his mother would have to worry that all of her men might not come home that night. So he’s kind of the unblessed son Emmett Walsh. As my father gave me a hard time, I told grant, I said, let me tell you, I give you a lot easier time than Emmett Wallace gave me, let me tell you.
[00:41:49] But he was, uh, he was kind of the unblessed son. In a family where real cops work the streets, and what I loved was when they hooked me was when [00:42:00] he is in this explosion and he gets this power, his reaction wasn’t, okay, I’m going to go beat you Hollywood hero. His first reaction was, I don’t want to know from this.
[00:42:10] I’ve accepted my position in the family, my role in the family and my position in life. I’m coming to Tina McGee at star labs to get rid of it. I don’t want to know from superpowers. I’m just an average guy. This is not me. And it’s only when his brother played by the great Jay, Tom, Tim, Tom Thompson, my brother’s name was Jay, and that story, um, Jay Allen, when he’s killed, then it’s on.
[00:42:37] Then I want a mass to cover my face and know that he knows who I am and I want a symbol to strike fear in the hearts of. The motorcycle gang. That was the billing of the pilot, you know, and uh, and I, and then I agree. And I said, okay, okay. So he wants to avenge the death of his brother. Uh, I, I can play that.
[00:42:58] I can play, I can play that, [00:43:00] you know, and then it went on. And, uh, of course the invitation was the invitation. Oh, I, you said flash Gordon. And when they said first mentioned the flash to me, that there was. Script. I said that,
[00:43:16] and they went, no, the flash, of course, I act highly insulted now,
[00:43:24] Kenric: [00:43:24] but I could see flash Gordon cause like in 89 90 you know, flash Gordon was that movie that had come out with, Oh, what’s his name? I can’t remember his name off the top my tongue, but it wasn’t even 10 years old yet. Right. You know? So that’s what, when someone said the flash flash to me, that’s what I instantly thought back in the 80s.
[00:43:45] I thought flash Gordon. I thought a queen. I thought of that movie. Me and my brother watched it all the time, so
[00:43:51] John Wesley Shipp: [00:43:51] absolutely,
[00:43:51] Kenric: [00:43:51] I wouldn’t, you know, I, I don’t begrudge you that at all,
[00:43:56] John Wesley Shipp: [00:43:56] but the invitation was not, they didn’t offer me, the [00:44:00] party offered me an opportunity to audition and I think they saw 60 other guys.
[00:44:06] And they took two of us to the network. I’ll tell you, that whole process took years off my life. You know, it’s like, eh, they took two of us to the network, and then after seeing some additional film and tape and, and discussions, uh, they decided on me. I heard, I heard, and I hope this isn’t true. But I heard that the president of CBS at the time has said in a meeting, you know, that guy’s head would look good on a lunch box,
[00:44:45] but who knows?
[00:44:46] Kenric: [00:44:46] It’s the million dollar smile, man.
[00:44:51] I loved that show. I was 15 when it came out. Me and my brother sat religiously and watched it. It helped me through a big part of my childhood. My [00:45:00] dad, my father had passed away that year,
[00:45:03] then we got to sit and watch, you know, I didn’t even, I didn’t know what the flash was until I saw the TV show.
[00:45:09] And then I went back and read comic books and then I was like, Oh, this is, this guy’s been around forever. And, but that TV show was my first introduction into it. And. It was great. I was sad when they didn’t bring it back for a second season and a third season and everything else.
[00:45:26] John Wesley Shipp: [00:45:26] I have to tell you, that was one of those, we have some good news and we have some bad news.
[00:45:31] The bad news is you’re not going for another season, and the good news is you’re not going for another season. It was the hardest thing physically in 1990 to produce an hour. We were essentially doing a movie a week. You know, and in those days it took us nine days, two units running simultaneously to get our hour.
[00:45:55] Now, I think we did the forest season, we did a really heavy speedster episode [00:46:00] in which, uh, you know, there were a lot of special effects and we shot it where we were diffusing a nuclear bomb. I think it was called enter flash time. And, uh, I think we shot that principle photography in seven days. But then the post-production.
[00:46:16] I mean, what they can do now with, uh, uh, CGI. We didn’t have those spots. I mean, if we wanted to, we were all night long blowing stuff up, all over every back alley in Hollywood. Yeah. It was all practical effects, hours and hours or and hours of lighting, you know? And uh, yeah. So that by the, I mean, more relationships broke up, new relationships were formed.
[00:46:47] They broke our guest stars. About three days into the episode, we’re walking around looking like. Circles around their eyes and blaze going to, can’t believe you do this every week. You know, it was, uh, [00:47:00] it was a bear.
[00:47:01] Kenric: [00:47:01] So the rest probably was a welcome thing. At the end of the day.
[00:47:04] John Wesley Shipp: It was welcome. And then the, I went to back to Broadway and I had the honor to do take over when the American cast went into the Irish play, dancing at Lunesta by Brian Friel that won the 1992 Tony award for best drama.
[00:47:22] And, uh, we were playing it. During the Tony awards. Interesting story. Uh, the guy high up corporate CBS was also at the Tony awards that year, and he came up to me, introduced himself and apologized for how badly they had mismanaged the show that it was such a critical hit. It was an industry hit, but how they had put us on, pulled us off for baseball, put us back on, pulled us off for the first Gulf war, changed our night, changed our half hour, threw us into the hardest time slot on television opposite Cosby in the Simpsons at their [00:48:00] peak, you know, and, uh.
[00:48:03] I thought that was, that really impressed me, you know, he said, but you’ll be back. I’m still waiting.
[00:48:14] Kenric: [00:48:14] So now we, we, we, we, we, we flash forward, unintended pun intended 24 years, and you’re, you’re back on the flash. And, and now it’s, it’s bigger than ever. I mean, the arrow verse. CW has done something that, you know, for lack of anything else, the DCE you couldn’t do, which is bringing the shared universe together in a way that, you know, people really love
[00:48:42] John Wesley Shipp: [00:48:42] and
[00:48:43] Kenric: [00:48:43] you know, they really get behind and it’s sad to see arrow end, but it’s nice to see the flash being really in the meat of his series. And hopefully he goes on for quite a few more before they, they move to something else. But it’s, it’s been a revelation in a lot of ways.
[00:48:58] John Wesley Shipp: It really is different. It’s, it’s, well, first of all, you know, in 1990 there were like four networks, so in order to stay on the air, you had to carry 20 million viewers.
[00:49:14] Okay. Our first, we were between 15 and 18 million for when we premiered. I know that because when I was going through some stuff at my parents’ house, I came across an article that said flash lifts, CBS to strong ratings, weak, and they talked about us. That we had is 15.8 it was in between 15 and 18 million viewers.
[00:49:38] Well, now there are 300 channels, so you can have a hit with between four and 6 million times less. And you couple that with the fact that. I tell my Q and a audiences, aren’t you proud of yourselves? The rest of the entertainment world has finally caught up with you, and it means a [00:50:00] lot to people who have been lifelong.
[00:50:02] Comic fans indicated maybe you were pushed around and ridiculed because you were, you felt like the pimply faced kid that was reading comic books and you weren’t the cool guys and you know, well, now you’ve taken over the world. So good for you and a grown up.
[00:50:20] Kenric: You know, I was, I played sports and you know, I, I had friends and, but I still had a love for comic books.
[00:50:29] You know what I mean? And I read them all the time. I didn’t care what anybody thought. Cause I was like, if you just actually sat and read some of these storylines, your attitude towards what you’re reading would change. You know? But it’s hard to get someone to sit down and take it seriously sometimes.
[00:50:44] And this wave is.
[00:50:45] John Wesley Shipp: When I’m at a comic book convention with the great artists, the great writers, the great inkers, uh, who basically none of us would be here if it weren’t for them. The flash, [00:51:00] as you say, was 50 years old when I got to it in 1998. This is the 80th anniversary of the flash in comics, and it’s the 30th anniversary of our show.
[00:51:13] Kenric: [00:51:13] Yeah.
[00:51:14] John Wesley Shipp: [00:51:14] Isn’t that coming back?
[00:51:16] Kenric: [00:51:16] Is there something different that you guys did in 90 that you think, you know, we really nailed it in 90 and I wish they would do it now and then vice versa. They do something now besides obviously like the CGI that makes things a lot easier that they do now that you wish they would have done then.
[00:51:33] John Wesley Shipp: [00:51:33] Um, I can’t really say that I’ve sat back because I’ve been apart. I’ve been a part of both experiences, so I look at them both from the inside out, not from the outside in. You know what I mean? Certainly. I love that we did practical effects. I wish that we hadn’t had to all the time. I wish that we could have told more story.
[00:51:58] I loved that [00:52:00] nobody knew who Barry Allen was in 1990 but the identity was kept secret and that. There was a real closeness between Amanda Pais. Um, and I, and Alex stays there. I would say Julio, I mean, we were basically the trio that they, they hung that show on. And, uh, and so there was an intimacy in that way.
[00:52:24] Now, since we were always . BD just struggling against the clock. The new show with the possibility of CGI means they have more time to tell story, to, uh, develop the characters, to develop the relationships. You know, one thing that is so gratified when I. Was first doing conventions when I was Henry Allen is like, I’d be, the guy would be there and his wife or his girlfriend, and she’d say, you know, I wasn’t interested in comics at all, but I watched the pilot of.
[00:52:58] That’s last year in [00:53:00] 2014 and she said the story, a father son relationship, the deal with the mother and the dad has been in prison, wrongfully convicted of, you know, and the relationship with Iris and the deal with Caitlin. And I got so involved in the stories that they were telling that she said, I now watch.
[00:53:21] The show every week, and that is one thing that I was always pushing for in 1990 I was like, yes, we are doing an hour a week, but it’s also serialized drama. In other words. Yeah. Tina and Barry start over here at the end of the season, they have to be over here and you gotta be mindful of how they got there.
[00:53:41] Are they flirting one episode and then just business partners. The next, another girl comes into Barry’s life. You know, there needed to be an O. It was still serialized drama. Right,
[00:53:53] Kenric: [00:53:53] right. You wanted some more character development and what you’re getting now.
[00:53:58] John Wesley Shipp: [00:53:58] Yeah. Although I must say [00:54:00] with a smaller cast I had, and I go back now and it’s like watching somebody else and the kinds of moments that I got to play the emotionally full moments, like deadly nightshade with the great.
[00:54:13] Late Jason Barnard, you know, uh, who was my Barry’s mentor, you know, deadly nightshade, um, as a, you know, the, the scenes with Tim Thompson as Jay in the pilot, the death of my brother, uh, the future episode where Julio dies in my arms, you know, I mean, just this real Danny and Paul, they really wrote, and, uh, the Pollux episode where I died in my own arms.
[00:54:43] Yes, very emotional moment. Yeah. Crazy. But they wrote it for real and I played it as real as I could.
[00:54:50] Kenric: [00:54:50] Yeah, no, you did a wonderful job. Wonderful job. I mean that sincerely. I’m not just, you know what I mean? Saying it.
[00:54:57] John Wesley Shipp: [00:54:57] You did a great job. I [00:55:00] appreciate that.
[00:55:00] Kenric: [00:55:00] When you were on crisis and you do the great scene of you and bear you and grant being in the same scene and being on that treadmill.
[00:55:11] In the original flat suit, was that a remake or did you break out that old suit?
[00:55:17] John Wesley Shipp: [00:55:17] Oh, God, no. Oh, that suit, what they did was, first of all, they built four suits in 1994 a hundred thousand dollars yeah. And I sweated through them. They were two for the stunt man. Two for me. Yeah. And, uh, I sweat it so much.
[00:55:37] Foam latex, uh, flocked with a red material, sprayed with a sealant because I was sweating through it. It looked like the muscles were sweating, kept all the water inside. They glued the mask to my face and under my chin. So once I was in it, I was in it. I couldn’t sit down in it. Um. And those we were, we were doing repair on those suits from the third episode on simply [00:56:00] because of the wear and tear and the amount of sweating I was doing.
[00:56:03] Um, but what they did was they sent, they had one of the old suits and the fault at Warner brothers, and they sent it to Vancouver. To ocean drive leather and Cape Maine and the wonderful craftspeople at ocean drive leather in Vancouver, uh, rebuild a suit or sort of re-imagined Reaper. We, I don’t know what you would call it, redesigned it.
[00:56:32] They built it with more readable materials. It didn’t have to be. Exactly. Yeah. And they did. Uh, we worked a lot on it to get it. That was my great fear. Yeah. Because I had heard that coming. Yeah. Well, I heard there was a crew coming to New York. In the summer before Ellis worlds to scan me for a new suit.
[00:56:56] I thought, Oh, great. J Garrett’s getting a new suit, and then I saw the , [00:57:00] the drawings. I was like, wait a minute, what stupid we talk about
[00:57:09] it really kind of blew my mind. But you talk about me and grant doing those scenes. One thing I will, it will always be one of the most meaningful arcs. In my career as an actor is going on for season and playing his father and both as an actor who had played the role. And the young actor who is assuming this iconic role, he knew that I was the flash.
[00:57:35] I knew maybe what some of his insecurities and hopes and dreams might be. And plus the fact that I just loved the guy from the beginning because he’s so real and everything was so from the heart. You know, and that we made that kind of a connection, and then I had to come out of that and reset the temperature for Jay, which was more cynical.
[00:57:56] It’s like, okay, this is my speed for us. What are you going to do? Change the timeline [00:58:00] every time you have a fight with your girlfriend. Yeah. I look like you’re dead dad. Sorry about that. Good. You know, which is a totally different feeling coming back. I’ll never forget Ellis worlds when I walked on this sec in the flash.
[00:58:14] And, and grant said, one of the things that, yeah, this is the coolest thing we’ve ever done. That’s the ASM and that kind of support. You know, it’s rare and that cast has it in spades. But by the time I was doing crisis and those scenes with him, I had had such a full journey. Through Henry Allen, through Jay Garrick, circling back to flash 90 that, uh, it really felt like a fur on the 30th anniversary of the show.
[00:58:50] Felt like a full circle moment and I could not be more delighted with the way they wrote it. It wasn’t sentimentalized. [00:59:00] It was like, there’s a job to do here. My world’s destroyed. My wife is dead. This is my sacrifice, not yours. I’m stealing your speed. This is the way it’s going to go down. You know? And uh, and I went and did it and then they came up in post production with the brilliant idea of, cause there were a couple of ideas that thought, okay, is he going to have a flashback montage?
[00:59:24] From the 1990 show, which would not have been as effective. But they found the moment where I’m telling Tina that I have faith in her and she’s telling me she has faith in me too. So it ends on, here we are right at the beginning of our interview tonight. It ends on faith because Barry knows what he’s running toward.
[00:59:46] As well as what he’s trying to start. And I thought, this just feels so right. Feels so right.
[00:59:53] Kenric: [00:59:53] Yeah. I know Jeff has one more question for you and he’ll ring my neck, but I don’t let him ask it.
[01:00:00] [01:00:00] John Wesley Shipp: [01:00:00] Yes. Sorry. I definitely got to ask this one. Um, but one of my favorite things that the original flat TV show did, and you guys, and they did it again in the on current flash, is you guys had Mark Hamill as the trickster.
[01:00:11] I got to know what he was like to work with and how that came about. Mark came on like a, I don’t know, like a firestorm, you know? I mean, he, I was, he did me a great favor actually, because I was very . Tentative about being in the suit. I never wanted to say dialogue in the suit. If I’d had my way, the entire suit would never have been shown all at one time.
[01:00:41] It would have been a piece. It would have been in shadows. It would have been dark. The piece of a wing, you know, half of the, you know, very menacing, very dark, very gritty, very real. In fact, we made it so dark that Carmine Infantino I understand. Said, wow, everything. They’re always shooting at night and everything’s wet.
[01:00:59] Flashes. [01:01:00] It’s supposed to be
[01:01:05] grounded in some grit, you know, after all of the spoofs of the proceeding decades. But Mark, amen. So committed to that character, you know, work in the UNITAR, no holes barred. He was 100% committed, no self consciousness as big as life. And I kind of thought I watched it and I said, man, if Mark Hamill came, commit that fully, you know, uh, in a supervillain suit, then I need to get over my bad self.
[01:01:41] You know, and really commit to being a real character in this suit. Because I was stiff at the beginning. You know, I’m, I’m stiff, I’m not comfortable in the suit. I really hit my stride in our last episode. Would he mind controlled me? And I’m not going over parking meters and throwing bullets back at the [01:02:00] police.
[01:02:00] You know, I mind controlled by the trickster and we’re laughing and high five and you know, but no, he really. And, and I’ve watched him and of course, worked with him on the new show, um, as the trickster on earth one. And then I saw what he did as the trickster on earth three and how he built that look and that makeup and how it was built on a silent film.
[01:02:24] Was it the laughing man. Well, what was the, uh, the old silent film? That was one of the first things that the trickster character evolves from. But everything he does that I’ve seen, that I’ve witnessed is so meticulously researched down to a fine detail, you know, and then he commits. 200% to whatever the action in the scene is.
[01:02:52] He’s, he’s, he’s, he’s a joy. You know, it’s Jake, Eric, you know, w at that time, what, 25 26 years later, [01:03:00] run a catching bullets in the hat. And I go up to him and I say, you’re out of bullets. And he says, yeah, but I’m not out of bomb. And he opens his jacket and he’s all wired, and then they yelled, cut. And our faces are like.
[01:03:12] About eight inches away from each other. And he said, yeah, but I’m not out of bombs. And we freeze. And they yelled, cut. And he says, we’re grown grownups.
[01:03:25] Kenric: [01:03:25] That just shows having fun.
[01:03:27] John Wesley Shipp: [01:03:27] Yeah. Yeah. And he’s also such a, again, good human being committed to, uh, you know, activism in his own way. And also I will never forget, uh, and. It. It may be something that’s so personal that I might not should share it, but I’m gonna because it was so important to me. I put something, a statement, uh, one day I was feeling down, I don’t know what was going to remember, but it was a tweet that indicated that I was in some kind of [01:04:00] distress.
[01:04:00] It wasn’t a couple of hours later that I got a direct message from Mark. Is everything okay? And if everything isn’t okay, is there anything I can do?
[01:04:11] Kenric: [01:04:11] Yeah. That’s nice.
[01:04:13] John Wesley Shipp: [01:04:13] Now that’s, that’s gold. And that’s the type of person and colleague, even though we don’t see each other, you know, and we don’t, we don’t talk.
[01:04:23] It’s like whenever we are there or whatever, we exchange messages online. It’s like we pick up right from where we left off, you know?
[01:04:33] Kenric: [01:04:33] Yeah, that’s, that’s perfect. That’s, that’s a, that’s a wonderful human being right there.
[01:04:37] John Wesley Shipp: [01:04:37] Yup. Well, he and Mary Lou and Chelsea and the whole family, you know, family is just been a, you know, we’ve gone on this amazing journey and he said it, we were in the car going back after shooting a scene on the, on the new flash, CW flash.
[01:04:53] And he said, you know, he had just come from the set of star Wars revisiting star Wars for the first time. And he said, you know, we’re [01:05:00] in very unique. Situation, you and I, he said that we are asked to come back to a franchise that we had been identified with over the years from decades ago, and participate in a meaningful way, not a token way, but in a meaningful way in passing the franchise off to the next generation of actors and it, it really has been.
[01:05:29] It’s an incredible experience.
[01:05:31] Kenric: [01:05:31] That’s so cool. Well, John, we’ve gone well over an hour. Can you believe it already?
[01:05:37] John Wesley Shipp: [01:05:37] No, we haven’t. You’re kidding. Oh my God.
[01:05:43] Kenric: [01:05:43] You’ve been wonderful. You kidding? You had great stories. You’ve told us so much. We learned so much about you that that’s my goal. Every time I do an interview is to learn about the person more than just the latest thing.
[01:05:55] You know what I mean? And
[01:05:56] John Wesley Shipp: [01:05:56] well, you caught me off. It was very good. [01:06:00] You caught me off guard. Bye. As starting with the wake forest story, and then that just opened me up for everything that came, spilling
[01:06:11] Kenric: [01:06:11] virtual high five.
[01:06:17] If you’re here, I’d give you a hug, but you know, we gotta do that
[01:06:21] John Wesley Shipp: [01:06:21] six feet.
[01:06:25] That’s right.
[01:06:28] Kenric: [01:06:28] This has been wonderful. It really, it truly, truly has. And if you ever want to come back on, our doors are wide open for you, and you’re just a joy to watch. You really are. Um, when you, when I watched it, the first, the pilot episode of the new flash. I didn’t recognize you as the original flash from 1990 you know?
[01:06:51] And so, and then when they showed you as a flash, everything started to click, and then Johnny goes, you know, that was, he was flashing 1990 and I was like, you gotta be, my [01:07:00] mind was blown,
[01:07:01] John Wesley Shipp: [01:07:01] you know? Right. I’ve heard that so many times, and it’s always so meaningful. And it’s also, you touched on something earlier that, you know, a lot of times people will come to me and they, you mentioned you’re one of, you guys mentioned your dad.
[01:07:14] Yeah. And you. Yeah. And I’ve had people come and say, you know, I used to watch your show with my dad, and now I’m watching the CW show with my kids. And you’re the thread that weaves through that experience for me. And that’s, I cannot tell you how meaningful that is for me
[01:07:35] Kenric: [01:07:35] to even imagine someone coming up and saying that to me.
[01:07:39] John Wesley Shipp: [01:07:39] It’s so that people ask me about conventions. If you open your heart and you being the actor, I mean, and I tried to go in with an open heart because we are there. It’s not about me. It’s about the audience and having an experience at a moment. And if you opened your heart to people confined, they will [01:08:00] tell you the most.
[01:08:01] They’re wide open. You know, all the ego, the political differences, whatever you may get into on the street. You check all that at the door and people will confide the most incredible things and get really emotional, which makes me emotional. You know? It’s really, it’s unbelievable. Really. I could go on and on, but I’ve talked
[01:08:26] Kenric: [01:08:26] we’re really, we really appreciate you coming on and we hope to see you soon.
[01:08:30] John Wesley Shipp: [01:08:30] Thank you so much.
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Interview scheduled by Jeffery Haas