Going to the Dogs with the Talented and Witty
John O’Hurley’s resume is long and impressive: award-winning actor, accomplished musician, game show host, avid golfer and bestselling pet author. You may remember him as the eccentric J. Peterman on the Seinfeld show or a character actor who has popped up in more than 50 television shows. But each Thanksgiving, O’Hurley teams up with David Frei to host the must-see National Dog Show Presented by Purina airing on NBC-TV right after the Macy’s parade. O’Hurley and Frei will spotlight 168 dog breeds, including the newest, the Dogue de Bordeaux. Discover the life lessons O’Hurley has learned from his dogs and more on this special OH BEHAVE! show with host Arden Moore.
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Man 1: Oh Behave! with your shagadelic host, Arden Moore. What’s happening, Arden? Yeah, baby, yeah, yeah tell us.
Arden Moore: Welcome to the Oh Behave! show on petliferadio. I’m your host Arden Moore. Our special guest today sports many successful identities: the eccentric J. Peterman, Elaine’s boss on Seinfeld, one of the first celebrity contenders on Dancing with the Stars TV show. The host of the popular game show Family Feud. He’s an award winning actor who has appeared in more than 50 television shows, a best selling author and here’s my personal favorite identity, a man who embraces and celebrates his connection with dogs everyday. Count yourself dogon lucky for tuning in as our special guest is a man who puts the d in debonnaire, the o in outstanding and the g in grace. John O’Hurley. Welcome to the show, John.
John O’Hurley: Nice to talk to you. How are you?
Arden Moore: I’m great. We’re going to chat with John and discover what feast he has in store for us on Thanksgiving Day and more, right after this commercial break. So sit and stay. We will be right back.
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Arden Moore: Welcome back to the Oh Behave! Show on Pet Life Radio. I’m your host Arden Moore. Our guest is the witty and wonderful actor and best selling author, John O’Hurley. Hey John, it looks like Thanksgiving is going to be extra special for you and all of us pet lovers. Please let us know what you are going to be doing once again on Thanksgiving Day.
John O’Hurley: Well, we’ve established something of a holiday tradition now. This will be our seventh year straight of hosting The National Dog Show presented by Purina on NBC, from 12-12 nationwide following the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and it continues to be not only one of the premier dog events in the country but one of the most special days on television drawing an audience of over 20 million people each year.
Arden Moore: Wow. That’s a lot of folks tuning in and you are teaming up again with David Frei who happens to be one of the world’s authorities on dog breeds. So you’ve got a pretty good tandem act there going right?
John O’Hurley: I couldn’t have a better partner in crime.
Arden Moore: Now who dances better, David Frei
John O’Hurley: [laughter]
Arden Moore: or your Dances with Star gal, I guess was Charlotte.
John O’Hurley: I’ll take that. I’ll take the crown there. [laughter]
Arden Moore: OK. OK. OK. Well, in this special show, I guess you are going to also have a couple of special guests, Uno the Beagle?
John O’Hurley: Uno was the winner of Best in Show there at Westminster last year who was actually, believe it or not, has retired from the show’s circles. That was announced this year. I don’t know what a dog does when he retires or even if the dog is aware that he is retired.
Arden Moore: Yeah, that’s kind of interesting. I’m like, I wonder if he has got an AARP card or Arf card now. I don’t know. It’s when they retire. Now there’s this new dog breed. I guess you both will be introducing to us, the Dogue de Bourdeaux, a French mastiff.
John O’Hurley: The Dogue de Bordeaux is there, a Belgium dog. It’s a mastiff style dog and it’s a beautiful dog. I actually took quite a few pictures with a couple of them promoting the show and they are enormous. They are 165 lb. lap dogs.
Arden Moore: Oh my gosh. Wow.
John O’Hurley: Yeah, they are just lovely. Oh, they are as sweet as they can be.
Arden Moore: That’s great. Now I understand that if we are keeping tabs and you are into the American Kennel Club, this is number 168 on the recognized list of dog breeds. Is that correct?
John O’Hurley: And we will have, I believe, we will have all 168 there at the show. We have upwards of 2000 dogs registered. So it’s quite a day and, of course, this is a benched show which means that all of the owners and the handlers have to stay backstage there so that the public, we have numbers that total between 20, 30,000 people that come through there to see the dogs and walk backstage and actually meet the handlers and ask questions about them. So it’s a very informative day, as well as a fun and inspiring one, as well.
Arden Moore: It’s nice that we have it on Thanksgiving because there are a lot of families getting together and people are thinking about pets. How, does this, when you talked about the benched with the dogs, it’s kind of nice to be able to get up close and personal with the corgy or a mastive or a poodle, don’t you think?
John O’Hurley: Yeah, it’s really wonderful and most of us, I have said time and time again that the average person knows about 4 or 5 or 6 different breeds of dogs and that’s when they run out after that. And there are 168 of them now that we recognize there at the AKC. And it gives people an opportunity to see that there are so many different types of dogs that represent a different style of breeding and this is a way, the show is a way to celebrate the rich history of breeding in this country because dogs were at their heart always, they were bred for a function and the rich history of dogs goes back thousands and thousands of years to the way they were cultivated for use because we needed extra hands around.
Arden Moore: But you’ve got to admit of all the different species that walked this earth, I wonder what God was thinking when he created dog because there is such a diversity in size, shape, drool, tail, no tail. What’s your take?
John O’Hurley: Everything. Everything you can imagine. And again, it goes back to breeding. Dogs were bred to be smaller. Some were bred to be faster. Some were bred to be brighter and herders. We have dogs that did drafting responsibilities by carrying or pulling things. As I said, there is a functionality to the rich history of breeding. It is fun to celebrate it. It’s fun to see what it is, to discover what it is and to keep those breeds alive, as well.
Arden Moore: You know you are a man who is dog’s best friend but you have many, many talents. You are a musician. You are a chef. You have single digit handicap in golf. You make me envious. The only thing I can tell you I am sync with you on golf is that I named my dog Chipper.
John O’Hurley: Ah
Arden Moore: [laugh] But I wanted to ask you now, you and your wife, Lisa, both share a love of pets and a love of golf and I was doing some sniffing around on your bio and you are quite the Romeo when it comes to popping the question to Lisa a few years back.
John O’Hurley: Oh, I did. Yes, I was.
Arden Moore: Come on set us back to Pebble Beach, the 7th Hole. Tell us.
John O’Hurley: Pebble Beach, the famous 7th hole the Par 3 that extends out into the ocean, the Pacific there. Inside the hole, on 7th hole at the famous Pebble Beach, the ring was waiting for her in the hole. I popped the question right there on my knees. It was quite a time. It could not have been more perfect surroundings.
Arden Moore: Wow. Congratulations. You are quite a Romeo. I like that. Let’s talk a little bit about your love for pets. You have been a proponent of dogs, I think, ever since a little child growing up back East. Correct?
John O’Hurley: I have had a dog in my life ever since I was four years old. Yeah. In fact, I don’t remember a time in my life when we didn’t have a dog actually. They have been always my partner all along. I was always the one who took care of the dogs. That was my joy. I have such a love for them. We have three now. Sadly, we’ve gone through the experience many people have. We lost one this year who was the inspiration for my first book. Her name was Betty. So we had to go through that grieving process but we ended up with two new puppies actually a Cavalier King Charles and a little Havanese in addition to our little old man who Scochie who is going on 19 years old now.
Arden Moore: Oh my gosh, that is great. I guess his middle name is Methuselah, isn’t it?
John O’Hurley: He’s an old [xx] sergeant. He will go down kicking and screaming.
Arden Moore: Good for him. Now what are the names of your Cavalier and your Havanese.
John O’Hurley: We have the Cavalier King Charles is Sadie and then we have little Lucy who is the Havanese. I will tell you, these two dogs live on top of each other all day long.
Arden Moore: [laughter]
John O’Hurley: They could not be better friends. It is the greatest combination of two great spirits and they are such a wonderful edition to the house.
Arden Moore: People have to be very choosy, I guess when they pick the pets because like you are a testament to them. You are going to have them for 10 maybe 20 years. They go through a lot of milestones with us in life. What was it for you and Lisa that said Sadie and Lucy are welcomed to the family? What was it about them?
John O’Hurley: Well we have been lucky enough of course with my co-host there David Frei. We have access to all of the great breeders as you would if you went to the show and were talking backstage with them. So we went and talked around a little bit and David was such a fan of the Cavalier King Charles and I really was the more I had gotten to see them. I think they are one of the perfect breeds in terms of just loving, gentle temperament, beautiful dogs to look at. They were just bred to be little love buckets.
Arden Moore: [laughter]
John O’Hurley: We have a little 2 year old boy now. We wanted a dog that we knew would be gentle with our son and easy for him to acclimate to. We also thought the same of the Havanese breed. So we were lucky by combining the two they make a wonderful Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum together. Our little boy just loves them. He is just learning now to pet them and be gentle.
Arden Moore: This is William, right? Yeah
John O’Hurley: Little William
Arden Moore: OK. We are speaking with John O’Hurley and he is going to be hosting on Thanksgiving Day for the 7th year in a row, the big show. You’ve got to tune in after the Macy’s Parade, The National Dog Show presented by Purina. It airs on NBC. It’s a two-hour special. He teams up with David Frei so you can’t miss that.
We are going to talk to John a little bit about his success when it comes to being a best selling author. He’s hit two books both of them about dogs. One hit the New York Times Best Seller and if I am a betting gal, which I am, I have a feeling the new release is going to also jump up the charts. The first book is called, “It’s OK to Miss the Bed on the First Jump and Other Life Lessons I’ve Learned from Dogs.” And the second one which comes out in November is called, “Before the Dog Can Eat Your Homework, First You Have to Do It.” Both are published by Penguin. We will talk more with John O’Hurley right after this commercial break
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Man 1: We are switched back on Baby. Yeah. So let’s talk pets with our smashing host net Edu-Tainer, Arden Moore and the groovy show that is cool Baby, really shagadelic, Oh Behave!!
Arden Moore: Welcome back to the Oh Behave! Show on PetLifeRadio. I’m your host Arden Moore. We are chatting with John O’Hurley, the famous actor, author, dog lover, you name it. I think your resume, I don’t know, do you have to continue on back page, John?
John O’Hurley: It’s just tough to hit a moving target
Arden Moore: Yeah, I guess so too. But let’s talk a little bit about the books and how your dogs have inspired you. In your wildest dreams, did you ever think you would be writing about dogs?
John O’Hurley: I only do things because my imagination tells me to do that. And I have listened to my imagination ever since I became an actor and it has never steered me wrong. I do a great deal of motivational speaking to corporations around the country and I have a certain style of what I talk about and most of it is more qualitative. I am not teaching them to be better salesmen. I am trying to help people be better people. And so I ended up steering my way into the subject of dogs because I think dogs teach us so many things. They really are blessed little creatures that really are straight from God in terms of their gentility and their sense of living in the present moment, their sense of blatant honesty and their sense of 100% just pure love. I think they can teach us so many different things. So I put as many as I could together there and I wrote the first book, “It’s OK to Miss the Bed on the First Jump and the Other Life Lessons I’ve Learned from My Dogs.” It’s kind of a tongue in cheek but a very direct message about life lessons that our dogs do teach us. They are not just trivial lessons. They are fundamental lessons. They are sitting right in front of you every day of your life as long as you are patient enough and still enough to listen to what your dogs actually do teach you.
Arden Moore: Isn’t that amazing. I mean if we all acted more like dogs, can you imagine what this planet would be like?
John O’Hurley: Well, I will give you an example. Dogs live in the present moment. I think that is one of the greatest gifts that they give us. They have no sense of future. They have no sense of past. They have no sense of expectation or regret. They live basically in full eye contact with you. Whatever you are thinking of doing is much more interesting than what they were thinking of. It is not as though they ever have another agenda. They are not thinking of another conversation they should be part of across a room. They are always present with you because you are their focus. I found that as human beings we gave each other the same courtesy how much deeper and richer our relationships would be if we weren’t always having an agenda while we are talking to somebody or trying to move onto another conversation, or worrying about the future or thinking of the past. I think if we just lived as dogs do in the sense of the present moment, our lives would be a lot less stressful.
Arden Moore: I have to agree. I think far often we make the human mistake of thinking the could of, would of, should ofs and it is so blissful just to be in the now.
John O’Hurley: Absolutely. That’s where, if you believe in God, that’s where he exists. He has no sense of future or past either and dogs don’t either. They just have a sense of now and never. When you leave the door they think you are never coming back but until then, they are with you in the now.
Arden Moore: Let’s talk a little about your two books. “It’s OK to Miss the Bed on the First Jump and Other Life Lessons I’ve Learned from Dogs” and then the new one coming out, “Before Your Dog Can Eat Your Homework, First You Have to Do It.”
John O’Hurley: The second one was a lot of fun. The first one did really well. It’s up to the top of the New York Times Best Seller List. It did really well. That was a surprise to me. I just wrote it really because I wanted to empty my hard drive upstairs of a lot of things that have been occurring to me and I wanted to write a good book that I would always have that I felt was a testimony of the things that I truly believed in life and a celebration of the dogs that were in my life.
Then on the heels of my first book I thought I do have another book in me. We were enjoying the birth of our first child and only child and I thought how interesting. The premise of the book was I found a series of secret little notes that were written by my dog Scochie, the little old man there who is 19 and these were little secret letters that were written from him to my son William and hidden under the foot of the big blue elephant next to his feeding chair. I found them and I read each one of them and I used that as the premise for a book. Each one is a little letter on manhood to him because he totally distrusts that I will ever teach him anything on the subject.
Arden Moore: That’s true. That’s true. Now the timing of the birth of your son and you got an amazing call I understand from your publisher Penguin when you’ve been in the hospital. Let’s go back to that day.
John O’Hurley: Yeah, it was December 6 two years ago when I got a call in the morning on my cell phone saying congratulations. Our son had been born just six hours earlier there at about midnight. I was sleeping in the room next to my wife so I quietly took the call and I said, “Hello.” They said “Well congratulations” I said, “Thank you.” I said, “Mother is resting very quietly and comfortably, and the little one is quite healthy and we are very happy.” They said, “That’s lovely but that’s not what we were talking about. We called to tell you tour book hit the New York Times Best Seller list.” It was a wonderful coincidence and I certainly will remember that day for two blessed events in my life.
Arden Moore: That’s not bad. That’s better than winning the lotto don’t you think? You can’t put a price on those two milestones, I guess.
John O’Hurley: No you really can’t. They really are singular.
Arden Moore: Now we do have some listeners that just really love the Seinfeld show. Let’s talk a little bit about you playing the role of JPeterman and what kind of things that maybe people may realize about playing the part of a real person.
John O’Hurley: Yeah. Most people don’t realize there really is a JPeterman and a JPeterman company. It is a single, romantic, one of a kind not only clothing but merchandise, antiques, furniture from all around the world all bent on a sense of adventure, a sense of wonder and a way to celebrate kind of the way you wish life was. That’s always been the philosophy of the JPeterman company. And then in 1999, a year after Seinfeld ended the funny and the very strange PS to the story is I actually bought the JPeterman company.
Arden Moore: Oh my gosh.
John O’Hurley: He and I actually own it together. We have for nearly ten years now. It is quite an enjoyable avocation of mine.
Arden Moore: How hard or challenging or just amusing is it to portray a real person and then Oh my gosh, partner with him? Do you guys look alike?
John O’Hurley: No. I’ll tell you running a business, especially one that is successful as this one is, it’s a lot more difficult than playing it on television, let me tell you, especially over the last ten years we’ve had quite an upheaval in economical times for the good and for the bad. It’s always a challenge but it’s a wonderful, wonderful company, that they really have a grasp of the authentic and I think that’s what makes this company so successful and so singular. In fact, if you go to jpeterman.com you will see the catalogue there that we parodied on Seinfeld. It’s a lot of fun. It has some very unusual things all with a romantic story for each
Arden Moore: I am assuming he can take a joke pretty well.
John O’Hurley: He does indeed.
Arden Moore: We have the big event coming on Thanksgiving and that is the show that you will be hosting for the seventh time running. It is called The National Dog Show Presented by Purina. You are co-hosting with David Frei. We are going to be getting a chance to look at every dog breed on the planet. How does this differ than, everybody seems to tune in February for the Westminster Show and that lasts like three days. It’s like a little doggie Olympics. Set the stage for this show.
John O’Hurley. This is a 2 hour presentation of a seven hour dog show. So we do clip it to play live tapes so that you get the essence of the show and the enjoyment of the show without the moment to moment and the drudgery that sometimes accompanies the longwinded three-day version of it. So it’s just as popular and just as prestigious. But it gives the viewer a real good sampling of what one of the great dog shows in the country is like and that’s I think the enjoyable part of it. And it also gives America a great piece of television that the whole family can enjoy on what really is the most spectacular family day of the year which I believe is Thanksgiving and a chance for everybody to get together and watch something that they all have a visceral and vested interest in. Everyone has their favorite dog and, of course, the best way to watch it is with your own and rooting for your own breed there as they sit there on the couch with you.
Arden Moore: Well that sounds good. Now how do you manage to do all the different things that you do? At the beginning of the show, we introduced just a snippet of some of the things you do. You are hosting a game show, Family Feud. You somehow found time to learn the cha cha and other things on Dancing with the Stars. You are on a zillion different television shows as a guest.
John O’Hurley: You can add to that, I still have my two Broadway shows, Chicago the Musical and Spamalot
Arden Moore: Oh my gosh
John O’Hurley: that I tour with the company when I am not doing television. I live in an airplane is what I do. I just flew in tonight from Philadelphia and I just flew back to LA yesterday to repack and fly out today. That’s what my life is.
Arden Moore: How do you keep yourself fresh and how do you keep yourself from being worn out? What role do the pets and certainly Lisa and William play in this?
John O’Hurley: We travel everywhere together. Sadly, the pets do not travel with us. For long stays they do when we are not doing a show where I sit down for two or three weeks we won’t bring the dogs with us. They have to stay home, unfortunately. So we do miss them a lot but they are very happy and well cared for back there.
Arden Moore: How are you unveiling your newest book? What’s the game plan for that?
John O’Hurley: I am doing another book tour. Actually starting tomorrow, I will be doing a book signing there right at the dog show which should be fun. I have a bunch of them in New York. I have a bunch in Philadelphia where we will be doing the dog show and then all around the country, as well. If you go to amazon.com, you will see the book right there. Just look under John O’Hurley and you will see both books.
Arden Moore: Well you also have a little 16 minute video. I was tuning into it. I was laughing how you said you are the grim reaper of TV shows. Explain.
John O’Hurley: [laughter] I killed a bunch of them.
Arden Moore: [laughter] Really.
John O’Hurley: I killed a bunch of them. I make a joke about it. No actor has gone
scott free. Everybody has killed a show or two in their life. I just happen to have more fun with it.
Arden Moore: Do you ever see yourself on a show where you can actually be teamed up with a dog? Has that happened?
John O’Hurley: You know it’s funny actually, Fox was going to give me a talk show where I insisted that if I was going to do the show that my sidekick would be a dog.
Arden Moore: That would be a very loyal partner.
John O’Hurley: We never came to terms on it unfortunately. You never know. You never know.
Arden Moore: We will put it out there to the universe and who knows, maybe Sadie and Lucy will be a tag team for you.
John O’Hurley: There you go.
Arden Moore: We are talking to John O’Hurley. We want to let people know that you have to dash over to amazon.com or your favorite bookstore and pick up his two amazing great books because it’s all about the dog. The first one is called, let me get it, I had it right here. Go ahead John. Take it away. You got the titles of the books.
John O’Hurley: The first one is called, “It’s OK to Miss the Bed on the First Jump and the Other Life Lessons I Have Learned From My Dogs,” and then the second one was called, they are long titles. The second one was called, “Before Your Dog Can Eat Your Homework First You Have to Do It.”
Arden Moore: Alright. That’s good. I really appreciate it. We also want people to tune in on Thanksgiving Day, to NBC after you enjoy the Macy’s Parade. I want you to watch the two-hour special of The National Dog Show Presented by Purina. You will have Jon O’Hurley there, right there with David Fry and a zillion different kinds of dogs. What’s your take on cats? Just curious.
John O’Hurley: Well now we are getting into the red states and the blue states.
That’s a whole different type.
Arden Moore: Uh Oh [cat sound]
John O’Hurley: Yeah
Arden Moore: Ever had a cat?
John O’Hurley: I actually did. I had two Himalayans but the reason I had Himalayans is they were the most like dogs.
Arden Moore: There you go. OK. Alright. Well, you are a dog man. That sounds fine with me. I guess, I’m bipetual. I like dogs, cats and scary people, too. Is there anything else? I mean if people want to go see Spamalot or they want to go catch you in Chicago. You are King Arthur in Spamalot.
John O’Hurley: I am King Arthur in that. I also have a new album. I do compose and I have a new album that is coming out before Christmas called, “Secrets from the Lake,” which accompanies the first album that I did about two years ago which was a billboard bestseller. And again through all my piano compositions. So if you like something nice and quiet and gentle in your life and gosh knows we can use something in this hectic time that we are all in but they may enjoy that as well.
Arden Moore: Well, that sounds good. Do you ever run into the gang of the Seinfeld cast?
John O’Hurley: Oh yeah. We cross paths. Remember the business is a very small one actually so we all see each other all the time.
Arden Moore: Well, the new show “The Old Christine,” she is doing well quite well in this.
John O’Hurley: She is doing well, very, very well.
Arden Moore: I think she broke the jinx.
John O’Hurley: Yes, she finally broke away and recreated and created another character which is great.
Arden Moore: John, we do appreciate your being a guest on Oh Behave! We think you have very many talents. You are lucky that you have some dogs in your life that also help you be grounded. I think this latest book your dog actually wrote. You just, as you said, filled in the gaps. Is that right?
John O’Hurley: Yeah, I didn’t. My dog did. I just filled in the blanks. That’s all.
Arden Moore: Well we are talking to John O’Hurley [music]. He is going to be on the NBC special, The National Dog Show Presented by Purina. That’s Thanksgiving Day between 12 and 2. Tune in for that and please anytime you are doing anything on the TV, look for him. Go get his books. Go get his music and catch him in Spamalot and Chicago. Is that enough shameless promotion for you, John?
John O’Hurley: Oh, I embrace you. Thank you.
Arden Moore: [laugh] Alright. We also want to take this time to thank my cool producer, Mark Winter. He makes this show happen every week and we want you to go check out all the other shows on petliferadio.com. We have a kennel full of talented people there. And until next time, this is your flea-free host, Arden Moore delivering just two words to all your two, three and four leggers out there, Oh Behave!
Man 1: There is nothing like a shaggy dog, Baby, the shagadelic and this is the place to find out how to have harmony in the household with your pets. Oh Yeah. So stop by our pad every week and get switched on, Baby, switched on to the show which is all about attitude, Oh Behave! with your groovy host, pet Edu-Tainer Arden Moore. Yeah, Baby, Yeah. Every week on demand on PetLifeRadio.com.