Focus on Youth Part 2

Part two of Stewart’s interview with Mitch Semel was broadcast on April 20, 1980. The show credits and sponsor were the same as the first part aired the previous week.

To begin the second part of the Stewart interview show, Garth Ancier again outlines Stewart’s history. Although the second part of the interview is mostly conducted by Mitch Semel, Dave Weems also asks a few of the

Semel begins by asking Stewart if he has any techniques for the very different forms of acting needed for film and stage. Stewart replies that it’s a very difficult question to answer, but that if anyone can answer it, it would be Hank Fonda (Semel had mentioned Fonda when asking the question). Dave Weems now asks if it had been difficult to be Elwood Dowd on stage, film and TV. Stewart says that he “always thought it was only suitable for stage.” Mitch adds that Stewart seems to be permanently identified with the Dowd character and asks why. Stewart says that you have to act in a way that it doesn’t look like you’re acting at all and that you have to be both Dowd and the rabbit.

Semel continues, asking if after doing Harvey for a while on stage, if he actually began to see him. Jimmy says that he did and adds that “he’s become a very good friend.” He says that lots of times when he’s alone, he talks to Harvey. Dave Weems then asks if Harvey is in the room with them right now. Stewart says, “He’s not here, he’s at home.”

Semel asks if when he returned to Broadway in 1970, it had changed. Stewart replies that there was not as much excitement and activity as there had been in the 1930s. But added that he thinks some of that is
returning now. Semel now wanted to know if Stewart thought commercialism had changed the Broadway theater, to which Stewart replies, “I think it’s changed as much as it’s had to change.”

Weems asks if there is enough theater around today for actors to gain experience. Stewart’s answer, “No, there can never be enough.” Mitch asks if awards are important to actors. “They are a pat on the
back from fellow performers,” says Stewart. Dave says that competition for awards has created immense egos in the industry and wants to know if Stewart thinks those egos take away from the art of acting. Jimmy says that he thinks a certain amount of competition is a good thing.

Semel asks if there was any one thing professionally that Stewart enjoyed so much that he’d want to go back and do it again. Stewart gives a long, “Hmmmmm…no.” But then adds that maybe he’d want to redo the flops.

Finally, Semel asks if there were any roles that he regrets never having gotten to play. And, with Stewart’s simple, “I don’t think so,” the interview is completed.