Synopsis by Hal Erickson
While he was still teaching at New York University in 1970, Professor Richard Brown conducted a class called "Movies 101," in which classic films were exhibited and dissected. One evening, the scheduled film proved unavailable, whereupon Prof. Brown invited his Greenwich Village neighbor, comedian/director Mel Brooks, to engage in a question-and-answer session with the film students. From this grew a regular "interview" class at NYU, with Brown trading words with a different showbiz celebrity in each class. This was also the format followed by the weekly, half-hour AMC cable series Movies 101 With Professor Richard Brown, which debuted September 30, 2005. The first of the series' interviewees was Whoopi Goldberg; later subjects included Martin Scorsese, Liam Neeson, Jennifer Aniston, Sigourney Weaver, and Jeff Bridges. Those critics who carped that Prof. Brown's show was a rank imitation of James Lipton's Inside the Actors Studio were no doubt unaware that "Movies 101" had been up and running nearly a quarter of a century before Lipton ever set foot in front of a TV camera.