For the past several years the popular web series "Old Dogs & New Tricks" has reminded people that love and romance don't end with middle age – and that men never change. "Old Dogs" has been enthusiastically received by gay men of a "certain age" who are thirsty to see relatable images of themselves onscreen – sharp and insightful writing has helped draw in not only a sizable audience but an impressive array of guest stars.
As "Old Dogs" prepares for what creator/writer/star Leon Acord says will be the fourth and final season, a new "Old Dogs" mini-movie has been produced. "Old Dogs & New Tricks: Where Were You When the Rights Went On?" is now available for free viewing at YouTube – the special was produced in conjunction with the one year anniversary of the historic SCOTUS' ruling which legalized marriage equality nationwide.
"We're a serialized dramedy that tries to take a humorous look at the perils and pratfalls of living in the shadow of the big five-oh in the gay world, and in show business," Acord said. "Originally the show just focused on the four guys' love lives. But after 5 years, 3 seasons and 2 specials, we've expanded to include their work lives, and in Muscles' case, family."
Al 'Muscles" Carter (Jeffrey Patrick Olson) is "Old Dog's" resident hunk. Beginning with season three, his storyline included his relationship with his mom (Dark Shadows' Kathryn Leigh Scott).
"I think because we all have, or hope to anyway, good friends who are like family," Acord said, reflecting on "Old Dogs'" success. "Because we all age. And because, hopefully, we make folks feel just a little bit better about some of the adjustments and compromises we all make in order to age healthily."
Old Dogs' cast includes a gay community favorite. Rutanya Alda, best known for her role as faithful housekeeper Carol Ann in the camp classic "Mommie Dearest," is on hand as the equally loyal, if somewhat bitchy Barbara Fierce, who's fierce in her devotion to her villainous boss Nelson Van Eddy (Bruce Hart).
"It's fun to do because I could play the person that can be nasty to support my boss and give him an edge whenever I can," Alda said, speaking from her New York City home. "I love the series because it depicts gay people as human beings in real challenges and situations. And it’s not hard to be loyal to Bruce Hart, a real sweetheart."
Alda was helping to promote the "Old Dogs" mini-movie while she was also plugging her recently published book "The Mommie Dearest Diary."
"I wrote the book because so many people were interested in what happened and there were so many rumors that were not true," she said. "It is the only book written about the making of this cult classic."
Alda promises that the "Diary" tells the true story of what that infamous film shoot was really like. "It's a diary of my four months on the film," she said, adding that the book also reveals some unknown facts about her early life, coming to the USA as she did from a displaced person's camp after World War II.
"I love working with Rutanys," Acord said. "She's old-school cool, with none of the pretense. A total trouper and an absolute doll--the anti-Dunaway!"
Acord said that the "Old Dogs" mini-movie includes remembrances of past guest stars, including openly gay Olympic Diver Greg Louganis and gay soap opera stud Thom Bierdz ('The Young & the Restless"). He also said that the series' fourth season, now in pre-production, would indeed be the last.
"The season is written, and the last episode is a proper finale that is a definite end to the series," he said. "We're still raising money for season four, and that is enough. I can't keep asking people to fund the show. So unless I win Powerball--unlikely since I never play--I don't see any way for me to change my mind."
Though Acord did drop a hint that there might--MIGHT--be more "Old Dogs" adventures down the road. "Bruce Hart will not let up on me," Acord said. "He very much wants us to do a feature film version of the show a few years down the road. Sometimes I resist, but most of the time I like the idea."
We shall have to wait and see,
"Old Dogs & New Tricks: Where Were You When the Rights Went On?": YouTube.com/watch?v=G_TljccVZu8&feature=youtu.be
Series website: www.odnt.tv/
The Mommie Dearest Diary: Amazon.com/Mommie-Dearest-Diary-Carol-Tells/dp/1515260607