Leonard Nimoy Demos The Magnavision VideoDisc Player

As spokesman for Magnavox in 1981, Leonard Nimoy demonstrates the first consumer LaserDisc player made, the Magnavox VH-8000 MagnaVision. He is introduced to and guided through this product by a glowing and beeping rock. Nimoy is kind of doing Spock, but I don’t think Spock would be confused by the concept of a Laser Disc player. Oh and ABBA!

Leonard Nimoy Demos The Magnavision VideoDisc Player – Part 1 of 2

Leonard Nimoy Demos The Magnavision VideoDisc Player – Part 2 of 2

1980s Television

The 5 Greatest Private Investigators from 1980s Television

The 1980s were a great age to be a cool private eye on TV. These were the direct descendants of the rough and tumble private dicks of the 1930s, but instead of tough talking, cigarette smoking bad asses, they tended to be well-coiffed smart asses at the top of their games. Now I am only listing those who seemed to be purely in the private eye game (the Equalizer is on the fence), so I didn’t put in characters like Quincy ME, who is also amazing. Here are five of the best Private Investigators that the 1980s had to offer.

5. Murray ‘Boz’ Bozinsky from Riptide
Pre-nerd-chic cool, Boz was an ass kicking proto ubergeek. Who was comfortable behind the wheel of whatever technology you threw at him.

4. Remington Steel from Remington Steele
The whole time you were watching Remington Steel, you kept asking yourself, why isn’t this guy playing James Bond yet? That is why Remington Steele is so cool, he exuded the same attitude that Bond did on the big screen, but he did it on the small screen week after week. I might be in the minority, but I actually preferred Pierce as Steele. It allowed him to use his charisma to make a whole new character instead of trying to fit into the Bond mold.

** Have you ever searched YouTube for Remington Steel clips? They have a crazy amount of fan edited music videos for the show. Wonderful stuff.

3. David Addison from Moonlighting
Bruce Willis brought the same smart alec attitude that would make him famous on Die-Hard, to the small screen every week as David Addison on Moonlighting. I re-watched season 1 of the show last year to confirm that the magic was still there and it definitely was. Now here is something I want you to try (and this is part of the reason I re-watched the show), try and think of a case that they worked on during the show. You can’t can you? It is easy to remember the flirting and the singing (oh the singing) and the weird special episodes, but it is very difficult to remember a case off the top of your head. Wish the writers had figured that out when they finally had Maddie and David consummate their relationship.

2. The Equalizer
While most of the characters on this list can kick ass in their own way, only Robert McCall, is ALL about ass-kicking. And boy does he do it well. I was turned onto to this show by of all people my Grandmother, who enjoyed the throwback quality of the show and I have to agreed with her. The Equalizer is like something out of the 1930s transported to an all too bright 1980s. Great show and fun character.

1. Thomas Magnum from Magnum PI
I make no attempt to hide my love for this show. Week after week it is entertaining in ways that you will never expect. In a months worth of shows you could have Magnum traveling to southeast Asia to try and rescue a POW; have a retelling Pygmalion with a British punk rocker; and end with a creepy neo-gothic romance. All the while Tom Selleck’s Magnum PI tackled each episode in a predictable and very human off-beat style. I am very glad he was not able to play Indiana Jones. Magnum PI will always be the quintessential 1980s private investigator.

Thom Bray Shines in Neil Simon’s “Jake’s Women”


For all of you Thom Bray fans out there who might have missed it. Bray rocked as Jake in Neil Simon’s “Jake’s Women”, which is running through April 5th at Theatre! Theatre! on 3430 S.E. Belmont St. in Portland. According to Oregon Live:

But this play’s foundation is Jake, who carries the thing on his shoulders — this might not be Lear, but it’s a big, technically and physically demanding role — and Thom Bray is a solid core to Profile’s production. His Jake is more enduring Sad Sack than glib wisecracker. Maybe he lacks the blinding, sharp-cornered speed of tongue of a race-car comedian, but with his voice’s heavy sharpness and his body’s nervous jabs and twitchings, he suggests the morose comic savviness of a Walter Matthau. How can you not like this guy, even when you realize what a mess he is? That’s a Simon sort of hero.

Being compared to Walter Matthau is pretty awesome and Bray lives up to that review. If you live in the Portland area you really need to check him out.

Read the Whole Review via Oregon Live

More information about the production can be found at the Profile Theatre or at Thom Bray’s Official Website.

I Wanted that Alpha Bits’ Robot!

I wanted a robot so bad when I was younger. Since their was very little chance of one showing up at my family home unexpected I took to entering contests and building simple ones from scrounged motors and cardboard boxes. When I wrapped them in tinfoil and the light was just right and you squinted they were glorious to behold. Right up to the moment they tapped gently into a wall and fell completely to pieces.

I think I can trace my robot mania to a two sources outside of Star Wars:

Roboz from Riptide:

and of course the Robot from Rocky IV…Happy Birthday Paulie

8 Questions with Thom Bray

A few months ago I got a hold of the talented actor, writer, producer, Thom Bray for my first celebrity interviews. As a big Riptide fan I was always a fan of his and when I was able to contact him on the web I was overjoyed. This is a reposting of that interview.

1. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a sleepy little subdivision called the Colonial Lakelands in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. An ideal childhood of bike riding, baseball and sledding in the winter.

2. How did you get your start in show business?

In ninth grade I was pulled from the school hallway and dragged into the band room by the music teacher who said, “here, sing this.” It was a song from the musical they were doing, “Guys & Dolls.” I got the part of Nicely-Nicely Johnson, made a meal of it, was hooked and never looked back.

3. How did you land the role of The Boz on Riptide? Was it a fun show to work on?

That’s a long story. I was the first one seen for the role and the last one cast, because it’s human nature not to cast the first person you see because hey–what if there’s someone better out there? <LOL> That meant the casting process was hell for me; I came back and came back and came back, always being compared to someone else. But I remember being remarkably calm about it all, because I just KNEW that I was absolutely perfect for this role. Finally, I was cast on a Friday and shooting started that Monday. My life was never the same afterwards!

Yes, the show was great fun, but very long hours and a lot of work. TV shows are for young actors! I doubt I could work that long schedule today.

4. Was Roboz the most difficult cast member to work with on the show?

Poor Roboz. Yes, he was difficult because the technology was so primitive. I often wonder what he would look like were we to do the show today.

4. You have worked on some great TV shows as a writer. Any of them stand out as your favorite?

Probably “Evening Shade” because it was just so darn fun to work with the writers on that show. We really had a blast together–we ran around pulling practical jokes on each other and having water gun fights with Harry Thomason and his producers. There was the excitement of the Clinton election, which Harry and Linda (Bloodworth Thomason) were actively involved with. We’d be running a TV show, having water fights, and see Bill Clinton and Hillary walking around our offices for a visit! Amazing.

Then there was the cast; Charlie Durning, Ossie Davis, Hal Holbrook–amazing people to work with. I’ll never forget it.

5. My info may be wrong but I think I read that you were a writer on Designing Women and Nash Bridges , two show that I became addicted to in reruns when I worked from home. Are my facts right? What episodes did you write?

Yes, I wrote on both shows. But forget about me naming episodes–I don’t remember! You’ll have to research that yourself! <LOL>
I did do some research on this and found that Thom was credited as a writer on the classic Designing Women Eps: It’s A Wonderful Life, The Emperor’s New Nose, The Pride of Sugarbakers, Last Tango in Atlanta, and Julia and Rusty, Sittin’ in a Tree.

6. You’re teaching now. Was teaching always something you were interested in or was it a calling that hit you later in life?

Later. While working on “Fired Up!” for NBC, I saw a 60 Minute sequence about a professor (Robert Thompson) who was teaching classes about television! Studying TV, like an art form, like movies or novels. I was fascinated, and called him, and we became friends. I told him that someday I was going to do what he did, and he said that when I was ready, I should call him.

After 9/11, I decided that I was getting too old to be on an active writing staff (I’ve commuted from my home in Oregon for years) and it was time to make a change in my life. I’m sure lots of people went through some soul searching after that catastrophe. So I called up Bob, and he gave me advice on how to get going. I now teach a wheel of classes about writing TV at two universities, and I also offer online classes to anyone interested at Script University.

It’s been so rewarding that I plan on returning to school for my Masters in Teaching. This will also certify me to teach in public school, where I hope to find a position teaching drama/film/TV at a high school. I love teaching; not that far from acting, is it?

7. You are doing some interesting things using the web (hooray) on Wordplay Audio Theatre. How did that start? You have already posted Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado for download, what up next?

I’m really excited about this project. Wordplay Theatre started as the result of a grant I received to develop short performances of Shakespeare targeted towards senior citizens. I discovered that there was a whole world of people who liked going to see live theatre, as long as it was performed at matinees and was easy to get to and affordable. We have a venue called The Old Church which is an historic landmark that only rents space for music concerts and readings, and is right downtown, so I hit on the notion of doing readings of short stories as well as the Shakespeare. The readings were an enthusiastic success, and I loved doing them! I hope to do more live presentations in the future, but my time is tight right now.

That’s why I hit upon the notion of an “audio theatre.” So I have begun recording performances of short stories and am posting them on our website, Wordplay Theater. We use a micropayment system called BitPass, and with your Bitpass you can buy our performances for pennies. Our first performance, Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” can be purchased and listened to in mp3 format for only $.49! We hope to have hundreds of stories posted eventually. Unlike normal audio books, these are acting, dramatic performances–the closest thing we can get to a live event!

8. Last Christmas you performed a one man A Christmas Carol in Portland, will this be a recurring show? Are you working on other plays? Has the theater always been a preference for you?

I always wanted to re-create Dickens’ readings of his story, “Christmas Carol.” Dickens toured the world with his story. He was a huge success everywhere he went, and by all accounts a great actor! This year, I finally did it! Working from Dickens’ original reading version of his story, I became Dickens and recreated this Victorian theatrical event. I used The Old Church here in town, itself a Victorian Landmark. And yes, I plan on making it an annual event! (For pictures, see www.pdxchristmas.com).

I’ll be in a play this spring at Profile Theatre Project here in Portland (www.profiletheatre.org). The combination of teaching and acting on stage is very satisfying to me! I started on the stage, and I’ll finish on the stage!