Saturday, October 08, 2005

Wherefore Art Thou, Ubiquitous '80s Characters?

I was watching a rerun of Saturday Night Live the other night on E!, and it happened to be from the Colin Quinn/Adam Sandler era. It got me thinking about how my introduction to both of them came via the old MTV game show, Remote Control. What a stupid show that was! Yet somehow, I was completely hooked on it. Especially the "Sing Along With Colin" segment. Anyway, it got me to thinking that a lot of people who started out on that show went on to have pretty decent careers, except for the host. Thinking about Ken Ober for too long caused me to start dwelling on many folks who were ever-present in the '80s but have all but disappeared since. You can consider this post my version of VH1's "Where Are They Now?", without all the annoying commentary from the new millennium's semi-celebs who are destined to follow in these forgotten stars' footsteps.

Wherefore Art Thou.....

Ken Ober? As I just mentioned, many careers were launched by Remote Control, namely those of co-host Colin Quinn, recurring players Adam Sandler and Denis Leary, and hostesses Kari Wuhrer and Alicia Coppola. The latter two didn't hit it quite as big as the guys, but they both landed several roles on TV dramas and soap operas. (Personally, I always preferred the original hostess, Marisol Massey.) While most of the supporting cast seemed to benefit from the show, Ken Ober's star fizzled out after it went off the air. I haven't found much in the way of info on Ken, but it looks like he's worked fairly steadily since then. He was in a few low budget movies in the '90s, hosted another game show called Smush in 2001 and was most recently one of the producers of Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn. I'd like to see Ober back on TV. He was very engaging in the role of game show host. Maybe he should host Family Feud? I used to love that show, but it has been completely ruined by the last two hacks, er hosts, Louie Anderson and Richard Karn. I'm just hoping that MTV doesn't try to resucitate Remote Control. I loved the show then, but I'm sure they would completely ruin it if it was brought back. This generation needs to start finding their own identity instead of constantly trying to recreate the older generations' pop culture memories.

Stephen Geoffreys? Geoffreys is probably best remembered for his role as "Evil" Ed in the campy vampire flick, Fright Night. He was usually always cast as the creepy, horny and/or nerdy guy in goofy movies such as Heaven Help Us or 976-EVIL. I hadn't heard a peep from this guy since the '80s, but he's been working very, uh, hard since then. Hold onto your hats kids because, in case you didn't know, Evil is a porn star! The former movie geek, now going by the pseudonym "Sam Ritter", has quite a string of gay porn films under his belt, including Butt Blazer, Latin Crotch Rockets and Mechanics bi Day, Lube Job bi Night. I have never watched a gay porno, but those fantastic titles certainly make me feel like I'm missing out. However, Stephen will always hold a special place in my heart simply for the fact that he starred in one of my favorite movies, Fraternity Vacation. Yes, it's a mindless Spring Break flick about guys trying to get laid, but it's the funniest one of all. It was also one of Tim Robbins' first movies. It's just one I never get tired of.

Michael Berryman? Most people either remember Berryman as a horror-movie staple or from Motley Crue's "Smokin' in the Boys Room" video. Berryman's trademark strange looks are caused by an incurable disease which prevents the formation of hair, sweat glands and fingernails. His career actually started out pretty promising, as he landed a part in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, but eventually he became known for his odd roles in horror and sci-fi films like The Hills Have Eyes, The Highwayman and Double Dragon. He also had a pretty memorable bit part in Weird Science, as one of the mutant bikers who broke up Gary and Wyatt's party. It appears that Berryman has worked steadily since the '80s and continues to make movies, most recently appearing in The Devil's Rejects. I like horror films, but I gravitate more towards psychological thrillers and supernatural tales, which may explain why I haven't seen much of this actor in recent years. His roles generally don't stray too far from the mutant/monster/mental patient variety. Whether he's been relegated to B-movie status or not, it's good to hear that his career is still kicking, since everything I've read about him suggests that he's quite a nice guy. Nice guy or not, I don't understand how he got through that Motley Crue video shoot without putting a cigarette out in Vince Neil's fat face.

Kelly LeBrock? Another Weird Science alum, Kelly was basically the Elizabeth Hurley of the '80s. She got her big break in the Gene Wilder movie, The Woman in Red. All I remember about that movie is that its soundtrack spawned the horrific Stevie Wonder tunes, "I Just Called To Say I Love You" and "Don't Drive Drunk". However, Kelly's most famous role was Lisa, the 1985 version of the Bride of Frankenstein, in Weird Science. I love that movie. And as much as we all probably expected her to be another talentless bimbo, she was actually pretty funny in it. She was no Susan Sarandon, but it wasn't a movie that really required that kind of acting heavyweight. Then sometime in the early '90s, Kelly married talentless himbo, Steven Seagal. They later divorced amid rumors of spousal abuse, but if you ask me Kelly just got tired of the ponytail and all the squinting. Who wouldn't? She's been in a few other movies, but nothing really well-known or well-done. They're generally the kind of movies that you see on the shelves at Blockbuster with a cover photo involving two or more of the following elements: a naked woman in half silhouette, a knife, a gun, a blurry picture of a couple in the throes of passion, a flower of some sort and a smoldering cigarette. Flip the box over and the plot synopsis will contain two or more of the following phrases: "erotic thriller", "passion can be deadly", "be careful what you wish for", "her only crime was falling for the wrong man", "a game of cat and mouse", and "sometimes justice is against the law". That last oxymoron was actually the tagline for LeBrock's movie, Hard Bounty.

Morganna the Kissing Bandit? I remember this lady being in the news all the time when I was younger. I never saw her at a Pirate game, but I'd often see her on TV, running out onto a field with her 60-I (no kidding) breasts bouncing and her lips puckered up for some "lucky" baseball player. She basically made a living doing this through the '70s and '80s, and it may come as no surprise that her supplemental income was earned by working as an exotic dancer. I guess the act finally got old because no one paid much attention to Morganna once the '90s rolled around. She still stuck to it, mostly showing up at minor league games and even on a few basketball courts. Finally, in 2000 Morganna decided to retire her lips for good. There really isn't much information about her out there on the web because she's apparently living a quiet life somewhere in the Midwest and declining all interviews. Not to worry, there is no shortage of blondes with big boobs in the news these days.

14 comments:

Celebrity Rant said...

Weird Science was the greatest. What ever happened to Chett? Loved his "greasy pork sandwich served in a dirrrrty ashtray..."

Johnny Wadd said...

Weird Science was one of the best 80's movies.

The Moviequill said...

that Berryman update was classic, thanks...I forgot about him

Neo said...

Beck - Great post.

God! Remote control?

Now I'm really feeling old!

It seems like a few years ago, I was living at home sitting on the couch watching that show.

Man, where have the years gone?

Lolipop Culture girl said...

I used to be madly hooked on MTV's Remote Control - and alway wondered what happened to Ken Ober (but thought I was the only one).
Kelly Le Brock is going to be on the next season of Celebrity Fit Club (host Ant told me himself) so you can have your Kelly Le Brock fix soon. Also, don't miss "I Love the 80's: 3-D" coming soon to VH1, sounds like a show right up your alley.

Bar Bar A said...

I thought that photo of Morganna was Loni Anderson. My apologies to Loni.

Bonanza Jellybean said...

I loved Remote Control. ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. I thought Colin Quinn was hot. Go figure.

I actually met Steven Seagal in New Orleans right after he split from Kelly LeBrock, and my male friend started shouting (VERY drunkenly) that he was a piece of shit for dogging out a goddess. Very funny. And not smart.

Layla said...

By the way...that rumor I heard never seemed to be validated. My friend's sister called her and said the Jessica and Nick were splitting up. I don't think that would be a shock to anyone....

Mona said...

OMG I thought Stephen Greffreys look famliar. No, I watch straight porn. I looked him up on IMDB and saw he was in one of my all time favorite movie: Heaven Help Us with Andrew McCarthy. ....hmmm Catholic school boys used to peak my interest

Teri said...

Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! *Gasp, gasp* Bwahahahahahahahaha! *Snort!* *Snurfle*
You had me at Kelly LeBrock, and then you come up with Morganna the Kissing Bandit...
Bwa-ha-ha-ha

Sangroncito said...

I was living on a different planet in the '80's!!!!!
Sending a big hug from Salvador on this rainy day.

The Zombie Lama said...

I used to have a major thing for Kelly LeBrock... then she married Steven Segall.... ew...

An80sNut said...

I've found myself thinking about Remote Control often since it disappeared and know that I would have been damn good on that show back then. Very cool. Kari really took a weird turn. Especially when she wound up acting in a Beastmaster sequel.

The Everglades said...

This is some of your best memory-lane work. I love it.

Blake

 

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