Saturday, November 12, 2005

"Other Guy" of the Month

Every month I pay homage to or catch up with some poor guy who had his chance to be a star but was overshadowed by someone else's fame instead.

Mr. November - Charlie Schlatter
This month's other guy happens to be one of my more random celebrity crushes. I say random because I've somehow managed to develop a crush on him without ever having seen one of his movies or watched an entire episode of any television show he's starred in. He's not even really famous, so it's not like I could see his adorable face in the celeb rags or on Entertainment Tonight with much frequency. Still, I think he is just the cutest thing. I find Diagnosis Murder to be a rather boring TV show, yet when I come across it while flipping through the channels I always wait about ten minutes to see if he shows up. You can imagine my frustration when it turns out to be one of the earlier episodes with Scott Baio. (Unlike Joanie, I do not love Chachi.)

Most people recognize Charlie as the young Diagnosis Murder doc or from the movie, 18 Again, if they recognize him at all. Now, when I started this recurring topic I was thinking of actors who could've had their big break in one particular role, only to have their dreams of fame dashed by a better known, better looking or just plain luckier co-star. Poor Charlie here was upstaged twice. And by senior citizens, no less!

In 18 Again, Charlie was basically supposed to pretend that he was George Burns. The premise of the film was a modified version of Freaky Friday, where Burns' and Schlatter's characters switched bodies. I never could bring myself to watch it. I have no desire to see a cute, young guy puffing on a cigar and telling jokes from the '40s. From what I understand though, Charlie had the bigger part so I'm not quite sure why everyone considered the movie more of a George Burns vehicle.

After that role, Charlie landed the part of Ferris Bueller in the TV version of the popular film. Bad, bad move. Those movie spin-offs rarely work, and to try to recapture the humor and magic of a (now-classic) movie like Ferris Bueller's Day Off is just a horrible failure waiting to happen. Compounding the problem was the fact that it came out in 1990 - the same year as Parker Lewis Can't Lose, another high-school comedy about a charming kid who skated through life and had lots of fun doing it. And while Parker and Ferris may have had a lot in common, most viewers were more interested in getting to know Parker because they already knew Ferris Matthew Broderick played him. Matthew is, was and always will be Ferris. The producers should have just called the show Charlie Schlatter Can't Win. I don't know that any actor would've stood a chance in that role. It would've been like making a TV version of Fast Times at Ridgemont High and casting anyone but Sean Penn as Spicoli. Oh wait a minute....that did happen. It's not surprising that I didn't immediately remember it. I think the series lasted for about five seconds.

While Parker Lewis hung around high school for three years, the Ferris spin-off was bagged after one season. From there, Charlie starred in a few movies I've never heard of and then he joined the cast of Diagnosis Murder in 1995. He was on the show for about five years, but it seemed like he just played second banana to Dick Van Dyke. Do people actually tune into that show to watch Dick Van Dyke as a crime-solving doctor? Or do people watch in the off-chance they might catch his son, Barry actually do some acting? Do people watch it at all?? I know the show went off the air a few years ago, but it's alive and well in reruns over on PAX. I would think if the show has any appeal to the under-60 crowd, it would be cutie-pie Charlie. Yet, he was never able to parlay that role into a bigger career.

After Diagnosis Murder, Charlie didn't get too many great parts. He was in the monkey/Matt LeBlanc "comedy", Ed and now it appears that he is doing less acting and quite a bit of voice-over work for animated films and video games.

I keep thinking that Schlatter is like a much cuter, less frenetic version of Matthew Perry. It's too bad that he wasn't cast as Chandler Bing on Friends instead. Not that I don't like Perry, but if I had my pick between the two I'd take Charlie any day of the week. And I just read that he used to date Jennifer Aniston, so he should've had the inside track on that Chandler role! Jeez Jen, you could've hooked the guy up.

I suppose after crushing on the guy all these years, I should head on over to the video store and pick up something that he's been in. My God, I just found out on the Internet Movie Database that he was in Police Academy 7: Mission to Moscow. SEVEN?? I had no idea that franchise was stretched out quite that long. That movie must be worth watching just for the purpose of fine-tuning my sarcasm. But I wouldn't even enjoy making fun of it if this doll face is in it. Can someone please recommend me a movie of Charlie's that I might like?

C'mon BeckEye, I've got the whole Police Academy series on DVD. You can make all the sarcastic comments you want. Just bring the popcorn.


Mona said...

gosh I love your blog. All my old 80s crushes are rekindled.

Have you done an entry on the Outsiders? C. Thomas Howell was my guilty pleasure

Teri said...

You can add me tot he list of people who don't recognize him at all. The 80s were all about the music for me.

Lee Ann said...

I have never watched Diagnosis Murder or the other things he has been in. He is a cutie pie for sure, so I definitely agree with you.

LoraLoo said...

I looked through the entire IMDB listing for him, and I didn't recognize a single thing I'd have seen him in. That's too bad, he is pretty damn cute. Why is it that some actors never catch that break, I wonder? Timing? Bad representation? Not a Hollywood schmuck? Too many selling the same product? I know, all of the above.

Doggie Extraordinaire's Mom said...

Well, he's no Michael Schoeffling, but he's definitely a cutie.

Riss said...

I wrote a post last week about how I sometimes watch Salsa and lust after the guy who plays his best friend. So I decide to Google him since I've never seen him in anything else. His name was Rodney Harvey and he fricken died 8 years ago and I've been lusting after him. Kind of puts a damper on it.

Melanie said...

I came across this article and thought you might find it to be good blog fodder:

Alice said...

man, i do NOT know my b-list (m-list? q-list?) actors. never heard of the poor guy... so close to being a chandler bing. poor charlie..

Shelly said...

If you decide to branch this category into music, I nominate Andrew Ridgely (aka, the other guy in Wham!)

He's my favorite lost boy from the '80's.

BadGod said...

Who else was in that show "Parker Lewis....."? If I remember right that big guy from "ER" was in that.

Kube? I think his character name was.

Oh yeah, if Eddie Veder had a TV show it would be me a second...."Diagnosis: Bad Music"


Heather said...

My best friend watches "Diagnosis Murder". It's just wrong.

You had to have seen his first movie - "Bright Lights, Big City"

An80sNut said...

I was a consistent viewer of Parker Lewis Can't Lose. They actually had characters. The Ferris Bueller series failed in that respect. I did enjoy 18 Again and am happy he has gotten a few jobs especially voice-over. Sometimes it gives an actor a chance to not focus on the look but bring out the character.


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