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Hi, I'm Jon Voight, and I'm on the set in Burbank, California. I'm looking at the beautiful face of Ted Cruz. And this is Michael Knowles, who's the boss. We're on verdict with Ted Cruz.
Welcome back to Verdict with Ted Cruz. As John just said, I'm Michael Knowles. It is so good to be here because we're in a time of great tension, lockdown, plague, riots. Everyone seems to be very tense. And in this town in particular, it is so nice to be among friends, including one of the great American actors, Academy Award winner and and more importantly, I would say, John, great American Jon Voight. Thank you so much, Michael.
I thought you're going to say. I usually say I say the man who did, you know, Midnight Cowboy coming home, Runaway Train and of course, the great Anaconda. Yeah. And people laugh when they say that. And with two little girls, the national treasures, I've got to tell you, I bet that that is popular in the Cruz household.
Well, I'm very pleased about that, because, as you know, I'm crazy about you two gals.
By the way, I do need to ask the president the next time at the White House if I can check on the Resolute Desk to see if anything is hidden. Aha. Yes. You just kind of wonder we could go in together that be Ford and get her screwdrivers and fool around. So this is this is not the first time that you guys have met, obviously. Senator Cruz, you've spent a bit of time in Hollywood. Jon, you've spent a lot of time in Hollywood.
And you you're one of the few big Hollywood stars who has been open about your political views and increasingly so over the past few years as we face these national problems. So actually, the first time John and I met was 2013. And I was newly elected to the Senate. And I came to to California to speak to friends of AIP. Yeah. Which is, you know, was a group of conservative libertarian right of center people and entertainment. And it was, you know, was a big crash party for 500 people came out and.
And I have never I've never been in in any other group where people were afraid, like there was a rule, no cell phones, no pictures. And and there were a handful of big stars. And John was the most notable who was like open. He was willing to be there. And and Jon's a big enough deal that it was like, all right, to hell with it. I'm here and deal with it. But it made a real impression on me that the people who were there, the gaffers, the carpenters, the the writers, the lighting folks, they were terrified of someone got a picture of them at that gathering.
They'd be unemployable. And it was really a you know, I sort of joked if we were at a Satanist gathering that was murdering kittens, it wouldn't have been more dangerous. Yeah, and that's. Look, I mean, you've you've demonstrated a lot of courage to speak out in in a town, an industry that it's not easy to do.
Well, I mean, that's. Look, we all know we're in a very serious situation. It's an historic situation that I've been, you know, born at this time and come to this point where this country is being threatened in this way. Yeah, I never would have been able to put that together, but I. But I saw the beginning of it anyway. I mean, is the beginning of the open hostility in the 60s. Yeah. And and and that that has that had been produced by a lot of work with the communist system, with the KGB working overtime to try to infiltrate that.
Now when did you start acting? How old were you when you started in the movie business?
Who battled? I don't want to talk about it. I was I was eight when I was a young fellow ism. I mimicked some of the things I saw on television and and stuff and wanted to make people laugh and all of that, you know. So that's when it really started. And. And a great, wonderful comic actor. My name is Sid Caesar, was somebody I went to school on. And I have to credit him with giving me the instructions because the stuff that he did was so indelible.
And we just lost Carl Reiner, you know, a couple weeks ago and. And Imogene Coke and those guys, they were really wonderful. And and so that was the beginning. And then I, I really didn't know I was going in that direction. I just was, you know, smitten with those characters and. And. And then later on, I made a serious effort to be an actor. This was right before my senior year in college when I realized I was walking around with a book that was a book of criticism for the British theater.
And I was looking and I'd earmarked all the work of Laurence Olivier. Yeah, well, the heroic roles of Laurence Olivier. And I suddenly said after three years driving people, mostly girls crazy asking, and what do you think I should be when I get out of car? And. And I said, I know what I want to do. I want to be him. Laurence Olivier. And that's that's where it started then. And once I had made that decision, I was such a relief that I knew what I would I could do something.
I was going to do this. And I knew I would never I would never give up. I knew I knew at that moment that was it for me. And probably that's true for you guys, too, in some way that you get something you love and, you know, you can put yourself to work at it and that's it, you know, and it is going to be difficult. And then I have to start from scratch and then all of that I'm going to have my ups and downs like everybody else.
And I certainly have had my successes and my failures. And I've had long periods of time without money and all of that. But I knew I wouldn't I wouldn't put it aside. I knew I would go. Go.
That was there a moment that was your big break. That that it was like a part you got. Did you start theatre, TV or movies or what was when did you get started? Well, I, I.
These are just you know, I worked on a on a play after I'd study for two years in a freshman class. Was Sanford Meisner, one of the great, great teachers. And then coming out of that, I was just saying a prayer that I would get a some kind of work where I could test my abilities. And I got a role and a view from the bridge, which was a wonderful play by Arthur Miller. And Arthur Miller was kind of producing it, too.
And. And Dustin Hosp Hoffman. Came the assistant to the director because he knew Lou Grosberg, the director, and Bobby Duvall was playing the leading role. I was the second lead and Dusty and I got to know each other before I ever saw any of his work as an actor. I had heard that he was a genius, but we got to know each other and we had some fun. So you and I share something I just learned, which is we've both been at Arthur Miller plays.
So in law school. I did The Crucible. Wow. And was Reverend Paris. And all politicians are frustrated actors like like I in high school, I was convinced. I told my parents, I'm dropping out of school, I'm moving to Hollywood, I want to be an actor. And and look, it's a good thing I went the path I did because I didn't have the talent you had. I didn't have the talent to make it, but I envy and love.
You have said that before. I mean, there is a line they always say that politicians are politics, rather is show business for attractive people. I think that says that that ain't how it goes. That's not our goal. That's similar to. Thanks for that. Well, you listen, you're. You're plenty talented. You've both had plenty of talent. And I was saying before we started this thing that my son, James, who is James Haven, as he calls himself, is now working on human trafficking, is very, very astute in that area.
And he's helping out. And but he's political to some degree, but he's crazy about you. He says when this guy talks, he says, that's it. I everything everybody listens to him. And he said, And that's true. And the way you phrase things in the way you prepare and you gather the focus. Nobody's better, you think for it. You both raise an excellent point here, which is it does seem to be a lot of actors are interested in politics and politicians are interested in acting.
There does seem to be a similarity in these two businesses.
And I've always thought there's like remember what Reagan said when someone asked, how could it how could how can an actor be in politics? He said, well, how could someone in politics not be like, how could they not be an actor? And it's look, at the end of the day, you're trying to communicate with them. And it one way or the other. One of the frustrating things. Yeah, go ahead. Just say, you know, a lot of conservatives, we're not doing a lot of communication.
The whole point of this podcast. I mean, we're seeing an assault on our whole country. Was that on our Constitution? On our founding principles. Right. And and young people. I mean, it makes you weep. The schools aren't teaching the principles that built this country. And if we don't explain them, how can we fault the young people for not knowing? I mean, they've been getting that fed to them, you know, for more than a generation.
Several generations have been brought up on Common Core. And this is a disaster, a teaching against our country. So it was an end. And they don't teach. They don't teach history. Well, they teach. They teach a sort of fiction. I've noticed actually reminds me of a line from your acting teacher, Sanford Meisner, who famously described acting as living truthfully in imaginary circumstances. That's very good. Increasingly, the history of go to school, this guy.
Thank you. But increasingly, it seems like the history we're being taught is imaginary circumstances. So I'll give in. It's interesting. My girls who you've met crazy about that. They are right. Wonderful little girls. They're nine and twelve. We were recently with two other friends of theirs who are about the same age. And the topic of Christopher Columbus comes up and all four of the girls are being taught in school that Columbus is a genocidal maniac that murdered people.
And and look, as a dad, you're try. You're trying not to, like, be too overbearing with your kids. And so I've, like asked Caroline, I said, well, okay, look, we have a federal holiday in this country called Columbus Day. Do we typically name holidays after psychopathic murderers? Like like, yes, there may be another side to this, and I know I'm not invested in defending Christopher Columbus's as the greatest person to ever live.
But I was. But it it's the degree to which our children are being fed propaganda. And, you know, you see this and the mobs that that are tearing down and attacking George Washington and Jefferson and Madison and Lincoln. You know, they attacked Frederick Douglass, the great abolitionist, and they don't even know who he is. But if there's a statue of him, he's got to be bad. That's we're facing a real insanity here. But as I say, they it's been this destruction as has a source.
And and now it has many sources because there's there's Islamists there. Yes. There's originally a Russian. You know, Marxism. And now there's Chinese Marxism. Chinese. Absolutely. Incursions and. And a lot of people in the United States are really wanting so badly to take down this president that they're falling in with anything. And there's just nothing. But there's a there's a real lack of compas morally, and they'll do anything and say anything to get to power.
So we're in a tough spot here. Now, was there a time when you saw Hollywood, when you saw entertainment get. Get worse. Get get markedly more intolerant. I mean, is there a point that sort of stands out to your mind as it's a shifting point or was it more gradual?
Well, to us, I mean, it's it's a good question, Ted. I think the movies that I love. I was I was raised at a time of war in 1938 and I was raised on the Golden Age movies, the movies of, you know, of Capra and the movie, you know, all these great when they talk about actors in the air. And they said, John, you're a great actor.
You're one of the you fellas look. What well, look what we came from. I mean, you know, we had Bogarde and Tracy and and Gable and Jimmy Stewart and all those fellows were, you know, I was going to school on those guys. And then Marlon came along, of course, and then we just threw in with Marlon. But at the end, the gals of that age are fantastic performers. And all of a sudden we were at some point we felt, oh, we're a little we're more sophisticated.
We have more complex techniques to bring to the fore. You know, Fred, you look at that other stuff that was before. It's fantastic. But we lost. What did they have in a golden age when Hollywood invented the happy ending? The Hollywood ending, they invented it, who invented it? A group of Jewish people who were saved came here to save their lives and to build their lives. They know what a happy ending is because they were all people who were ready to please.
We'd freed the world from from from the evil of Hitler. I mean, that that was a powerful. Oh, your bet. You bet. But the other thing is, you see that in the Bible, the Jewish people at the end of every chapter, you have to end on a positive note. So if you know, if it's coming to the end, like if you've read Isaiah and there's some bad stuff is being stated, they are telling you that the future's gonna be pretty dumb, but then they go back and reiterate something on the positive side, you know, that did.
There will come a time when the zone so involved in the changing and we've reached the land of Israel or whatever. Now you see talking about movie greats, did it. Did you get to know John Wayne? And what do you think about the recent efforts to rename the airport? I mean, there there's that there's a real that the left is married. Well, I think they should call it the Redskins reason they're used in Iraq on it. Listen, you know, there's I have I'm very close to the Indian community, and they'd they'd love it that they have a football team.
They should give that. They should keep the name and they should give these guys, you know, 75 percent off of tickets or may give them tickets to every game. The better deal of the record and then celebrate the natives. I suppose this is the fear, though, is you had this Hollywood ending that you know, that Hollywood invented. Increasingly, though, it seems to me people don't like a happy ending. People seemed I mean, well, that's that's what's happened.
You see, how did it leave? It's a negative strain. The because it's a loss of. It's the loss of a spiritual base. Really, we're meant to be happy. Human beings are meant to be happy. God is saying be happy. And. Let go. Let God do. You know. And and this is the way you approach problems. This way I approach problems. I say, what are we doing? What am I getting of.
Cool down then just watch what happens to the best you can celebrate today. Be grateful for your gifts and the many gifts and stuff like that. And that's that's an a proper and positive way to be. Like when you see, I came into this group and you can't see everybody can't see all the people around here. We're all in a positive note, you know. Everyone's happy, we're cheerful. We're saluting each other, making each other feel good.
And and we'll have a nice experience here. And that's the way we're meant to be. And we've lost that to some degree. We think we're smart, Alex. We can be more sophisticated. We can. And and Marlon didn't help. Sometimes he could have created this dark image. And it was so attractive that everybody was a bit dark and mean and, you know, whatever it was. But. But listen, Marlon was magnificent. Let's, you know, a legend.
No, I'm still crazy about my Marlon. I'm crazy. Well, in in people communicate with storytelling. I mean, that's what's so powerful. And the left, they've seized culture. They've they've seized education K through 12. They've seized colleges and universities. They've seized journalism and in movies. I love movies. I love stories. I mean, when I was a kid, my dad. So you and my dad are both both the same age.
You're both eighty one. And my dad would tell these incredible stories and I would just sit and listen to them and and you think about the stories that are told now. I mean, I look at these protests. Are we ever gonna see another cop, Billy, again? Right. Can any of all the great movies of heroes who are police officers? Can they be told anymore or. I think we need him more than ever. We absolutely do.
And let's take something like the great debate right now in this country between free enterprise and socialism.
You look at the movies coming out of Hollywood, when's the last time someone in business was portrayed as not a villain? Like like I'm actually happy. What a small business owner is not murdering kids. If they're just a crook and stealing that, that qualifies for a positive portrayal. And what about all of the epic stories of our nation, of people with nothing who made it big? And that's why people come to America. And and. Well, you know, there's still the positive thing.
Is there still coming to America? That's true. The Neil Diamond song, you know, coming to America. And why? Because there's nothing else out there, fellas. And anybody who wants to is listening to me. You kids, you're listening to me. Why does everybody want to come to America? Because the other side is socialism. That people are saying is a good good thing to ingest and and speak for has never worked, ever has never brought about anything but misery and death.
Yeah. But John, on this every time on this point, on immigration, it is over. I am telling your kids, listen, high returns are locked up, fights, everything. But this is such a great point. People are still coming here. They're coming your. To that country so much more than to any other country on Earth, and yet it's this problem you've identified, which is that people no longer have gratitude for their country, for their family, for their God.
It seems like we're in more of an entitlement society than a grateful society. People want us to be an entitlement society. That's what the Democrat Party is selling so for. And and they have really sold out completely. I remember I said this before, but there was a moment when Veha rugosa our mayor, who's a good guy by the way, was asked to go out and correct the Democrat platform.
This was a 70 year beginning of the Democrat convention with for Obama I think. And he was sent out. You see as a sacrificial lamb to, to put God back in the platform. Yep. And to put the idea of Jerusalem being the capital of of Israel into the platform because they felt they couldn't sell the tickets given the state. Well, a lot of votes won't go their way if that. And that's all they're interested in. They care what it is, if they you know, they would say anything in order to get a vote than they have in an anything.
Three times the delegates at that convention voted no. That's right. Is it so. Mayor Villaraigosa. So that's it. So all in favor of putting this new platform, say I, and they go high, you know, and pretty good. And then and the nays nay. And they go, Yeah. No, they had it was one was more dominant. Nays were more dominant. Much so. And then he does it. Let's do that again.
He could have used better acting. He didn't do a good job. We do that again. You understand what we're saying now? Zones only says the God in the platform and foot capital of Israel's Jerusalem. OK. All in favor. I. Hi again. Same sound here and nay, nay. And could go. And you see the people are going to have the axe throwing things over there. Really. Is this the beginning of that movement of Kelly that we saw on the streets?
Right. It's right there. Yes. And and then somebody walks up to him from long this big stage walks all the way over to him, says. And he says, OK, we'll do it one more time. All those in favor say I. I said same thing, same about all those again. Nay, the eyes have it. Yeah. Thank you. And it gets very off the stage. Well, and and as you noted, that was to put God back in the platform because they they'd removed it and three times the delegates denied it.
And I have to it, but I sort of chuckled and wondered if there was a rooster crowing somewhere. I mean, there is a parallel for that.
But Brad, right, it is some of the early beginnings in modern times of the anti-Semitism, of the anti-Israel sentiment, of the anti-American sentiment on the far left that has been manifested that are now manat manifested in in the mobs that are burning our cities and that are murdering police off.
Exactly. Exactly. And it's. And with the complicity in the support and the encouragement of the media.
And it's that the media. Donald Trump has broken the media. I mean, remember, the media used to argue they weren't biased. They used to pretend they weren't biased. They don't pretend anymore. I mean, they hate him. With an unhinged quality and I want to tell a story about John, this is an interesting story sets. So John is a careful, passionate about our country. Oh, we know that. And passionate and at risk to himself.
He's in a town. He's in an industry where speaking out carries risks. But but in 2016, as you know, Michael, I had a a tough primary against.
I think that's a diplomatic way of putting it was we we both went at each other and he won. I lost. And after that happened, John actually got on a plane. He called me and said, hey, can I come see you at your house? And you got on a plane. You flew to Houston and you came over to my house was about 10:00 o'clock at night. I said, Cherki, come on over. I'm happy to talk to you.
And you went you brought for my girls. I've stuffed animals, anchors, stuffed rabbits. And you sat in my living room for about an hour. And you were urging me at the time saying, Ted, you need to support Trump. And and I wanted to see Trump be conservative. I wanted to be and be more conservative. And you were as earnest. And you said, look, our country is hanging in the balance. And that conversation, it was powerful because it was from the heart.
It was because it was a plea. We've got to pull our country back from the brink. And I did. I supported Trump. I campaigned with him. But the fact that you flew across the country to sit in my living room and make that play, this was not just type a tweet and throw it out in the world. This was Scott, who, by the way, there were no cameras there. I mean, this was a private Interac, never told that story.
That's what I think. Is that the first time he ever said it publicly, you did it because you care about the country. Yes. And I knew the power of Ted I know was important that we can't lose Ted. And I had seen it. I had seen Ted with his filibuster. And I was so impressed with and I listened to a lot of it. He was like Jimmy Stewart. None of this was as good as a movie.
And he was wonderful, really wonderful. And the statement he made, regardless of whether he was able to sway everything at that moment, was extremely important. He was making a stand. He and he was doing it with a smile. Nothing. Not an angry statement. He was just saying, this is America, fellows. Don't lose it. Yes. This essence of what he was doing. And I saw that. And I saw this. This guy's important.
And so I actually went out of my way to say hello to him. And then when this thing happened, I knew I talked to a friend. Friends of mine said, you know, I really want to go and talk to him. Well, what did you do that call him up? You'll be, you know. And that he said, come on down and come on to spend the time. And I spent time with Heidi and the children.
And I had a wonderful time, this wonderful time. And. And we were able to connect on that filibuster on that on that very moment you're describing. I know that didn't win you a lot of friends in Washington. I think I didn't make you Mr. Popular in the Senate at PRI, won you a lot of supporters out here in the rest of the country. But I. I see the same thing with you, John, which is you've been outspoken, you've been passionate about your views not just on politics, but on religion, too.
Very unpopular in this town in Somerset. You see, it's the same thing. But but there's no religion anymore. I mean, you know, it's like look at look at what our our governor does. You say you can march in the streets, arm in arm, but you can't sing in a church. That's right. I mean, it's crazy. You can break into somebodies, you know, offices and and work and burn them down and turn over a police car or pray.
And you can't pray in a time of crisis. People's character comes out and. And on the left that there is 44 too many elected officials, a deep hatred of religion, of religious liberty. And we've seen petty tyrants, whether it is Gavin Newsom saying you can't sing in church or Bill de Blasio in New York City saying any church or synagogue that meets we're going to permanently close that church or synagogue. And who the hell what what politician? You don't have the power of the First Amendment.
We're freedom to go. They go. It is fundamentally wrong. And that doesn't mean that they're not there isn't government power to have reasonable common sense. You can have a prohibition on large public meetings if there is a public health crisis, that there's a long constitutional authority for quarantines, for reasonable restrictions. What you can't do is single out and persecute religious faith and treat it worse than everything else. You can't say if I agree with what you're saying, it's okay.
But if it's just faith, you're a second class citizen and we're going to. Come, shut you down. You look at de Blasio, the persecution that he's directed at the Orthodox Jewish community. I mean, it has been. It's very revealing of of of the antipathy for faith that the far left, yes, for sure, this issue. Senator, I mean, you're obviously in the political fight every day. You're in the fray. And, John, you're you're outspoken and you've seen a lot of this.
But you've you've you know, you've you've been you've been one of the biggest actors in town for decades and decades now. You've seen things change. Are you looking forward, hopeful for the country or a less than hopeful? I'm an optimist. I an optimist of. VI. I mean, that's the s essential for me. Is it after this? People who know you, I know that this is true, but I feel. We've been blessed with this president.
I feel that this man I mean, you look carefully what he does day by day. You can't think of another human who's above 24 that can handle this get schedule and this kind of battle every day.
And the hate that's visited upon him, that. I mean, it's unhinged. Yes. So as so what he needs is us. You know, he needs every pat on the back he can get. He needs to see our smiles and our lack of fear in the face of this, too, because he's leading the way with that in those aspects. He's a. And so do we have the leadership? Yeah, we have the leadership. Yes, we have the leadership.
We have many brilliant people right now. And I said at one point I said, look, I said the Democrat Party and the Democrat Party is not anywhere near. It's not even an American party any longer. Unfortunate. I have to say that it's not for America. They're wed to something else. These guys are connected to Marxism and to those countries that represent Marxism. It's serious. So they're a torpedo against the ship of state. There's no doubt about that.
But I said, you know, there's no one on the other side. I said just Mark Levin. I said, Mark, they don't have anyone of stature. There are no statesmen. No one of stature. No one will look at what they've come up with as they're young, as their candidate. They've and they've gone through everything they can go through. And that's what they came out with, 27 candidates. I think it has anything. Pardon?
He's in hiding and he's not willing to take on the mob of the angry.
He's being told to hide a it's listen, it's all this is all manipulated. We're told. There's figuring what the how they can get him in. Now. On the other hand, I told Mark Levin, I said, I can give you 50 people of great stature right now. And you can give me another 50 on top of that. And I and I believe that I believe we have an army of great people, and if we are directing ourselves toward helping this union restore itself, like guys like Ted Cruz, who knows what was has been taken from the Constitution.
Mark Levin, another one like that we have to restore. We have to go back to that essential the Constitution and the and the Declaration of Independence, all of the letters of our founding fathers in support of those things. And and the history of the decisions that were made by the great people in Lincoln and Jefferson and and Adams and Jackson and all of these people right to the present. There are great people right to the present. OK, we have a tremendous history that we can fall back on and learn from and restore ourselves with.
And that's what we have to do it. And people are hungry.
I believe. For leaders who will defend America, who are proud of America, who say I love our nation, and that doesn't mean that you ignore our faults. That doesn't mean that you don't try to move towards justice. You know, you look at the great civil rights leaders. You look at right at Frederick Douglass, you look at Dr. King. Were they made explicit appeals over and over again to our founding documents in the Declaration of Independence began, you know, made the majestic promise.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. And yes, we had slavery. We had discrimination. We had that was the original sin of our nation. But we were founded on a promise of equal rights and equal justice for all. And and I agree with Dr. King that the arc of history bends towards justice. But the left, they don't teach that. They don't know that they tear it down, that we're an evil society rather than a society committed, founded on noble ideals.
And we've had a long and at times bumpy journey. And we fought a civil war where 600000 lives were lost to end slavery. And and that, you know, you reference the Obamacare filibuster. You know, I think that was a moment where people wanted someone to stand up and fight you about a president. The best characteristic of President Trump is he's got a backbone and he will stand and fight. And there so we need that. We need people who will defend America, will stand up and defend police officers who are here about heroic and recipes.
And you bet you're gonna bet that's that's a good affirming line, too. This is the strange thing. I hate to play devil's advocate here, gentlemen, but I'm looking around. I'm seeing statues falling down. I'm seeing the country rioting. I'm seeing a whole young generation, my generation go towards socialism. How do I get your optimism? I mean, John, all of your peers in Hollywood. How on earth do you end up being one of the very few to defend our country and look with with hope and its future?
I've had a lot of support in my life. I've had a noble father told stories. Great storyteller, just like your dad. And, you know, I've been helped and I've helped been helped by other people right to this day. And I really rely on those friends who tell me the truth and have straighten me out when I've been out of line and all of that stuff that I've gone through, you know, and. And that's where I get my stuff.
And also, I'm a fellow who says a prayer every day. Many prayers. And I really and I meditate and I try to get there, you know, I mean, I try to get there. It is hard to meditate. People say it's easy. True prayer is hard to get to that tone where it's really just talking. So. So let me give you a moment of optimism. We're in the midst of a year unlike any other.
We've got a global pandemic. We've got the Great Depression. We've had race riots. On some level, it's it's horrifying. At another level, look, I got to tell you. Like look like the shut down we had in March and April and May. In our family, there's never been a moment that has been better. So if you were to ask his parents and it's it's it's it's hard to be a parent. It's all about.
With our girls. There I am again. This is the single biggest thing. If I could have prescribed what our family needed more than anything else. It would have been cancel every event, cancel every dinner party, cancel every play date, cancel every basketball game, cancel everything. Put all four of us, Heidi and me and both girls in the house 24 hours a day with nothing but each other for about three months. And we've never had so.
So Heidi and I, we began during the whole time of of the Cobbett covered lockdown. We did lunch every day with the girls and dinner every day. We've never gone in there and it's great. We began doing something I've wanted to do for a long time.
We've never done we began doing a devotion at night where we would read together. We would read three chapters of the Bible each night and just start with three. And I'd wanted to do that. But look, it's hard. You're busy. You're on the road. Everyone's doing something around. And we were all at home. And I got to meet the first week or two. We did it. The girls went nuts. They didn't want they wouldn't stay still, they were I mean, they were pushing back and it's been a wonderful widget.
We just finished Second Corinthians, so we started Matthew. We move made it through Second Corinthians, though, actually in Galatians when Galatians Chapter two right now. But it's been every night and we have conversations.
We live vey near downtown Houston. Every night, Heidi and I would go for a walk, we'd walk her dog at about sunset. And thought the whole town we turned into Mayberry, people were out, you couldn't get close to each other, so you'd walk socially. And it was it was a beautiful thing. And it was a reminder this is still a great country. I mean, I point to that as a source of optimism.
I have heard so many people who say our families grew closer and that say. That's a wonderful thing. Let me Segway. To a different topic, which is just. The world of movies, you worked with lots of actors. Is there an actor like in in all your time who you were just like, wow, that guy is incredible, that woman is like like who took your breath away? I mean, is there someone who stands out? Well, I have to say, you know, when I look at people, I just see talent.
I see everybody as unique. I see, you know, like some people remember this, a rabbi called people and said, how can you do it? He was giving dollars to people all day long. All day long. Oh, man. And he said, How can you do this? He says, Well, I'm counting diamonds. How can you get tired of counting dance? And he's. Talking about human beings, the value of human beings and the potential of each human being, I believe everyone is as has superpowers.
I believe everyone has potential like that. So it's just a matter of encouraging them, getting them to discipline things and do these things and think positively all of that. Then something comes out, you know, and I've worked. And the actors I worked with, I worked with great actors. Are there people stand out? Yes. All the people with the movies that have been successful for me. Like starting with Midnight Cowboy. Nobody was better than Dustin Hoffman.
Dustin Hoffman is when when they said he was a genius on the set of of the Arthur Miller flay a view from the bridge. They were right. He was a genius. And we got along. We liked each other and we got along together. We were perfect for each other. We helped each other and we were left with each other. We invented. OK, that's that. And then every other one you know of certainly was with Burt Reynolds in Deliverance.
Burt got the role of his life. Well, one of the great movies of all time. I mean, it made it iconic. Yeah. And Burt was. Sensational. It was his role. Yeah. You know, when anybody gets animated, when every individual has that kind of every individual is just filled with potential. I remember I ran a class for a couple of years. For a year. A year. I said, I'll take over the class as somebody is leaving.
And the teacher was leaving. They said, John, would you take over class? I said, Okay. And my purpose in the class, I set my as my purpose that I was going to get every one of those kids in their class, which was about twenty four kids. To achieve that moment where they took the class over, where it became their moment, their class where everybody walked was, oh, wow. And I remember this one fellow right down to the end.
We couldn't get him on the last the last class that I had. He broke through and he was fantastic. And it would not that. He could do it every night. Not that he went on to have a great career, but that night he was a superstar. Different question. Do you have a thought?
Is he is one harder than the other drama versus comedy? Or I mean, they're both.
Well, I've never done a real comedy comedy. I've done some stuff that was funny. Like when holes when I played Mister Sir. Know is a funny character. And I. I have a pretty good sense of humor and all in every role. Like with Cowboy Midnight Cowboy. There's a lot of humor in that. Yeah. And the thing that actually sustains Anaconda is humor that that care. Every line I say in that movie is funny to me.
Right. I love it. I love every light is so it's so crazy. So anyway, there's humor in the work that I do. But I haven't done comedy comedy. I think comedy is very specific. You know, it's a it's a different and different aspect, different technique in a certain way. But we have we and we have people who are doing wonderful, wonderful work. I grew up in a time when we had Sid Caesar, as I said, Jackie Gleason Jr.
, I Love Lucy and Lucille Ball was a genius. And, you know, we tried his game on Americans Ricky Ricardo. I mean, it was hard. Oh, yeah, it was. And he was quite brilliant, Ricky. So anyway, so. It's Jackie Gleason used to. They say he didn't rehearse. He would have somebody else read lines for him. And he had a kind of photographic memory, but he was absolutely. He knew what it was.
And he knew this character so well. And then he would come on and do it. And they loved because that's why it was so spontaneous. That's why, though, people were listening to each other. He had this little cluster, you know, with Art Carney and and the gal which was in Audrey Meadows there were fantastic. But he came on and they didn't know quite what they he hadn't rehearsed it. So he was just. You know who's going?
Who's ready, you know? On the subject of comedy, there are many jokes about politicians and actors, which I'm sure we've all heard. They're very negative. But but I am struck by a positive version of it, which is that a similarity between actors and politicians is they've got to be concerned with truth. The truth about public policy, public philosophy. We're getting the truth about a character, truthfully, a measure of circumstances. And you've got to like people.
You know this. If you don't like people, you can have a horrible time on the campaign trail. If you don't like people. Why would you dedicate your life to building characters? You know, that that's the that's the bright side of good. And I thank you very much. And I got to tell you, gentlemen. Thank you. You both exhibit the bright side of both of those professions. And I wish we could go on another five hours, but we'll have to just do it again.
Senator, next time you're in town, John. Thank you so much for being here today. I'm Michael Knowles. This is a verdict with Ted Cruz.