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Tim: Hi it's Tim
Rob: Hi Tim, sorry to bother you!
Tim: Heyyy! How are you Rob?
Rob: I'm fine, I'm fine you alright?
Tim: I'm doing fine, sorry I was hooked up in a meeting, now I'm done, I forgot to tell Vicki you were gonna call like an idiot, so I'm sorry!
Rob: That's alright man, don't worry about it.
Tim: Fire away let me know what I can do?
Rob: Alright man what influenced you to become an actor?
Tim: I don't really know, that's a good question, I think I was a kind of a quiet shy kid and I was a kind of fat overweight kid, and I think I just found I could make people laugh, and then when I finally started in high school, actually as a lighting designer, that's how I first got in to it, and then what happened was we did a show where I did the lights, and it was kind of a successful show. We took it around the city for a little bit, and you know, actors got sick, I went on and I was just really comfortable, and I felt like I finally found something that I did well for the first time. I just fell in love with it and I just wanted to do it more, and more, and more. That's pretty well how it happened, I seem to be much more confrtable in front of a crowd then I was one on one.
Rob: Were you referring to the Spike Jones Junior Band?
Tim: Oh no, this was way before that, this was when I was in high school, Spike Jones was gosh I don't know. Actually Rob, I was working at an amusement park, called Six Flags or Magic Mountains, and they had one in Saint Louis, and you could work in the shows out there, like they did little musical reviews and stuff. I got a job up there for the Summer when I was about seventeen. You know, we were excited because we made almost two dollars an hour, and we did seven shows a day, six days a week, it was a great training place.
But while I was there, Spike Jones came to perform, and I guess I don't know what happened, they lost a band member or something, and the guy who was my boss recommended me to them. I went and did an audition, and a week later I was in a van driving across the country to California.
So that was it, I took that and did it for maybe seven or eight months. It wasn't really for me, but I did enjoy it, it was fun to perform in a band that was for sure. But while I was in the band that's when I decided I wanted to go back to school and pursue acting a little more seriously, which is what I did..
Rob: You were reported as saying that was a challenge?
Tim: Yeah, yeah, it was ok, I knew his dads music, I knew Spike Jones music, I was in to it, so I thought it was kind of cool. We did that, and we did his dads stuff, and I got to sing and do comedy and have a lot of fun. But, Spike was a difficult guy to work with at that time and I just decided the best thing for me to was go back to school and finish my education as far as Classical training was concerned, and that's what I really wanted to do and that's what I did.
Rob: I read "The Three Stooges" were a contributing factor to your decision?
Tim: I think The Three Stooges were the contributing factor to anybody that was my age, and that was a kid at the time, I mean in St Louis where I grew up, their movies were run like seven hours a day or something! It was on the local Channel 11 station, it was on all day. I mean how do you not like guys smacking each other around, and making stupid noises! I mean I have a pretty juvenile mind!
Rob: They were in shorts weren't they?
Tim: They did a lot of shorts back in the 30's you know the stooges ran forever you know. Usually you find most women don't like it, but guys love the stooges. I always use them as an example too, because people go "Well you know kids today are influenced by this and that", you know I have a problem with that. I watched the stooges all the time and I understood that if you took a hammer to someone on your head that you couldn't do that, but it was just pretend. I always think they don't give people enough common sense. Then I grew in to "Monty Python" and "Kids In The Hall", "Second City", and those all became like the people I wanted to be like.
Rob: You obtained a degree, a theatre degree, from the University of Webster?
Tim: Webster University yeah, at that time it was Webster College, it's now Webster University. Yeah theatre arts, major and I was lucky because they worked hand in hand with the professional repertory company there. I was lucky when I was a junior I got a lead in one of the rep shows, and I think I was one of the first students to ever do that. Then I ended up doing about three shows there, so by the time I left school and went to New York, I had three pretty nice credits on my resume from the repertory theatre of St Louis and that certainly did get my career started somewhat, it got me in a few doors I'm sure.
Rob: So what was your first production and how did you do in the audition?
Tim: I went on the first audition in New York, for "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat".
Rob: East Coast Productions, right?
Tim: Right, it was done up in Fort Kenetiket, which is about an hour and half on the train out of New York. So on the weekends, I would meet another good actor, good friend of mine, called Mike McKenzie, we both were in that show, and we would hop a train, go up and do the show, and come back about one in the morning, then get up and do the next day, and I think we made about a couple of hundred bucks a weekend which was great! We were just loving it, that was more money than I'd ever seen! Then while I was doing that show, a manager came to see Mike, Mike got this manager to come up to Connecticut to watch the show and you know it's the old story, where the guy came up to me and said "Here's my card, I would really like to represent you and I said well I'm not really looking for a manager, and he said well let me introduce you to some really good agents, that you need to be seeing. That guy at the time got me in to see one of the biggest agents in new York, called Hessletine Baker, and I went in and did a classical and contemporary monologue for him, and they signed me on the spot. They sent me over to CBS about two days later, did a reading for them, and bang about a week after that I was on a plane to California. It happened that quick, yeah it was cool. It was a really fun time in my life, I didn't have to struggle too much, but obviously I was living in a run down apartment before and didn't have too much money to my name, and now I look back on it, it really wasn't very much money at all! I was making a living, doing what I loved that's all I cared about. You know how many people tell you, when are you going to really do something, get a real job, and I'm one of those people, you want me to do something, just tell me I can't do it, then I'll go out and do it.
Rob: Hey man, at least you had confidence in yourself.
Tim: If you don't believe in yourself, no one else will. Like I said I was confident in my talent and my abilities. I got great support from my family in my career. You know there's a whole group of us in high school that wanted to be actors, and I was the only one who ever ended up doing it, and I'm a firm believer that a great part of that was that I always got support. Especially from my mum and dad, and my brothers and sisters, just everybody you know. They were always telling me I could do it, none of those phone calls that my friends would get saying when are you going to come home and do this.
Rob: So did you always want to be an actor, or did you have other plans to pursue other lines?
Tim: Well what happened was I did it to make a living you know, I got in to my forties, got married, got divorced and then right after that divorce I ended up being with another woman who I lived with for about ten years who was a good friend of mine, and at that time I just felt there was always something in me that said I'm somebody who needs challenges and I liked attacking. You know if I'm afraid of something what I'll usually do is I'll dive in to it, I was afraid of the ocean so I went and took diving lessons, that's usually what I do. I was afraid of business but I knew as I got older, I didn't want to end up like those actors in their fifties or sixties pretty much in the same boat they were when we were in our twenties, you know, just praying for the next job to keep me going and hoping they make it through the year. I said I don't want to do that, so I ended up over the years making a lot of good friends in different business, and one of them is the guy who actually owns this company right here, and he said you'd be good in the mortgage business. I said I don't know anything about that, and he said I'll teach you, it's all about sales and personality and that's definitely what you do so that was about five or six years ago. Now its turned in to a great business where my specialty is people in the film and television industry. I do loans for Jon Cryer, Bill Masey, Peter Stullmer, a lot of big producers and directors, like Marc Johnson and that's my business. I could still go back and act, I still teach, I do some private coaching which I very much enjoy doing that. I'm doing some writing, I just wrote a script with a friend of mine. You know my goal is to have this business get to a point where it will kind of run itself, I get good people and hire nothing but out of work actors who will work for me, to teach them these skills that they can learn, that you can have two careers at the same time. I teach the Screen Actors Guild here in Los Angeles about finance, about investing, about having a second career, and teach them why do you feel bad that you can't do something else. Most people other than actors hold down two jobs, everybody thinks they're great, we all hold down two jobs, everyone thinks we're failures. I said it's a silly mindset and I'm going to change that, so that's what I do on those seminars and we've had really good success with it. I think that's my thing now, you want to be an actor, great, but the first question I ask is how many people have a business plan. Of course none of them do, and of course you have to remember this is a business, and you're selling a product, the product is you. What's your marketing scheme, what's your goals, what are your plans, how are you going to achieve what you want to achieve, what are you doing to achieve what you want. You know a lot of people will say I went to school and went to auditions, but this is a business and it's cut throat, and you better get in there and learn how to cut some throats or else you're not going to work. I learned that at a young age and I was lucky enough to have some talent, and be at the right place at the right time too.
Rob: You got in to "The A Team" didn't you?
Tim: Yeah I was the original guy in The A Team and they fired me, yeah! They fired me after the pilot.
Rob: Faceman Peck?
Tim: Yeah I played Dirk Benedict's part, Faceman.
Rob: Yeah, apparently they deemed you too young for the part?
Tim: Well there was a lot of controversy, but that was the standard answer and it was true. I mean I'm 6'5, a big tall guy, and I stood next to Mr T and made him look little, plus I filmed very young at that age, I was technically old enough to be a Vietnam Veteran, I remember getting a draft card at one point when I was about eighteen, but I never went to the service or had to go to Vietnam. But I filmed and looked too young they felt and the real reason behind it Rob, was that Dirk Benedict and Steven Cannell were very good friends, they've always been very good friends and the part was written for Dirk. Dirk didn't take it, because Dirk had a bout of cancer, and he bowed out I guess, they gave me the part, they then saw between looking young and being too tall and Dirk going in to some sort of remission, they brought the part back for the guy and that's fine.
Rob: Did you feel any discrimination against your age and height?
Tim: Well, a little bit. But I don't believe in that stuff, you're either right for a part or you're not. It's their production and if they don't want me to do it, then that's fine, they've still gotta pay ya, you know!
Rob: It didn't cause you to step away from acting did it?
Tim: No, never once did that enter my mind, the only thing I had to learn, the lesson from that for me was having never been fired from any job in my life, whether it was washing dishes, you know I come from Midwestern America, where we have a good ethic so I'd never been fired from anything. My whole thing was what did I do wrong, but then Steven Cannell was nice enough to bring me in his office and sit me down and say "Look, you didn't do anything wrong, you did fine, it's just that this is how it is, we're making the change, we're made the mistake, I'm very sorry, but you know I promise you some day I'll make this up to you. Then I learned the second lesson in Hollywood, you know never believe that, because I've never talked to Steven Cannell since that day! So that's how it goes, but you know I went out of that and I went right in to another series, I worked constantly.
Rob: What were the other actors like to work with on and off set?
Tim: On "The A Team"?
Tim: I mean Dwight Schultz is a really great actor, I mean I saw him off Broadway, he did a Shakespeare play, I forget what it was. But I mean the guy is a trained, incredibly good actor, and you know he's mainly known for that crazy Murdock and all that stuff now. Dwight and I got to be very good friends, also Melinda Colay and I, I think we were very close. Mr T was a great guy, I shared a dressing room with him down in Mexico, helped him put on those gold chains every day, and I liked T very much. George was a mean son of a bitch to tell you the truth! I didn't like him, he didn't like me, and I think that's another reason why I wasn't on the show. He was a mean spirited man I thought, he was not a very supportive guy to a young actor. He seemed bitter to me, he seemed jealous, I don't know why with that quality and resume he would be jealous but he seemed to be and we didn't get along. But as I understand it, from my friends I talk to on the show, no one got along with George, so that's the way it went. But that's all water under the bridge now, and I was sorry to hear of his ;passing a while back. When I found out I was going to be working with him, I didn't sleep for three days. Because when I was a kid "The Blue Max" was like my favourite movie of all time, I thought that was the coolest movie ever. So when I heard George Peppard I was like everyone talks about "Breakfast at Tiffanys", but for me it was "The Blue Max", I remember after that I wanted to be a World War One pilot, I thought that was pretty cool film.
Rob: You were in a series called "Wizards and Warriors" right in the role of Geoffrey? You had to igsaturate his actions to make everything big right
Tim: It was the character choice for me, I brought that to him. I'm a big guy and I thought let's just�instead of being small, lets make it big, let's make everything big, he talks large, he walks large, he boasts large, he eats large, he sleeps large. You know that was my whole kind of underlying current.
Rob: What research did you do for that role?
Tim: Hardly any, because it was one of those deals Rob, as most Hollywood are, you walk in get the part, and start the next morning you know. I went in and read for Don Rio and Julie Alison, and hit it off, they loved what I was doing. I did three episodes on that show, that was it.
Rob: Did you change anything about your character?
Tim: No, I remember it all went along smoothly, I remember I was surrounded by tremendously good people like Julia Duffy, and Walter Olkawitz, really good people, and great writing. You know Don wrote great stuff, and good directing, you know Bill Bigsby, and a couple of other guys. I really enjoyed my time working with Bill Bigsby, he was an extremely good director, especially with young actors. I told this story in an interview, where I had a line and I couldn't get it, I kept blowing it, I was really starting to panic, because you know it's my first set, my first show, and Bill came over and I remember he just made me laugh, and that was it I got it, you know. I never forgot that, and I did get to see Bill when I was up in Vancouver filming "Davy Crockett" years later, and I got to see him before he passed away and he was a wonderful, wonderful guy. I'm really privileged and happy I got a chance to spend some time with that guy because he was a really neat guy. He was a really helpful, good teaching director, fun to work with.
Rob: What was David Hemmings like as director on Davy Crockett?
Tim: Dave, I loved too, he was rocking, that was great, and you know it's a lot different when you're the lead in a series, you have a lot more input and a lot more say about the character, what you to do and how you want to do it, that's the main difference I noticed.
Rob: So you were never annoyed that Geoffrey was just a reoccurring character in "Wizards and Warriors"?
Tim: No, you know I'm a working actor, I was happy to have the job. You know my philosophy is I go by Cary Grants "I show up on time, I know my lines, I don't run in to the furniture. I keep my mouth shut, I keep my ears open, I try to spend as much time as I can not in my dressing room, but sitting on the set with my ears open and learning, learning, learning. I used to always hang out with the camera guys, I loved it, I wanted to know how to do that, I wanted to be a Director Of Photography or something like that.
Rob: So did you have any memorable moments on the set?
Tim: Many but not within that vein too much, because like I said the main thing is to keep your mouth shut, and once in a while say why do you do it like this and they say we do it this way, because of the lighting etc and I just learned. You have to remember I was a stage actor, the first day I was ever on camera, was the day they paid me to go and start filming, and I'll never for get, this pilot I did, and the guy said you've missed your mark. I said I'm sorry who is he, and he said no, the mark on the floor where you're supposed to stand! I said, I'm sorry, I had no idea! I was saying is stage left, up stage, down stage, and they're looking at me going what?!? So you know I was a stage guy, and I learned how to act on film by under fire. I literally was on camera, so it was a whole different way of acting, you know remember that stage is much broader, much bigger. Luckily I worked again and the first thing I filmed I worked with Richard Kyle, and I played his son. He was a wonderful man, and he gave me some wonderful tips about working, and also on that show a guy who I already knew and did a play with back in St Louis, named Dick Servy, who was a wonderful actor, and he helped me a lot too.
Rob: Do you still keep in touch with them?
Tim: I see Nick once in a while, not too much, and of course Mr Kyle passed away, but I never really saw much of him. He was just a very kind, and warm, wonderful guy. I see Walter Olkawitz once in a while, Walter had his knees replaced, he had a lot of medical problems, but I set him up on one of those science fiction conventions, and some friends of mine run them up in San Francisco and I got to spend a little time with Walter, he was probably my closest friend out of that show for sure.
Rob: The costumes you were wearing were really?
Tim: Fabulous well they won the Emmy award. That was a quality show.
Rob: How long did the costume take to put on in "Wizards and Warriors"?
Tim: Oh "Wizards and Warriors" was no big deal, "Captain Power" was the killer, those were the most uncomfortable.
Rob: You're reported as saying it was a bit too small for you?
Tim: Well no, I've always had a weight problem, but that costume it was no weight problem! It's going to show every little inch of you, so on "Captain Power" I would film, at lunch I would take off the costume, I'd go run six miles, come back put it back on, and film the rest, I did that every day. They were made out of neoprene, which is like diving suits? It was so hot, I mean I would lose,twelve pounds a day by just sweating. When I was doing "Captain Power" I think I weighed one hundred and ninety seven pounds, I'm 6'5, I'm a rail, but I was in perfect shape for that show, that was part of the job you know. That was part of the deal.
Rob: How long did it take to put on that suit?
Tim: Well it took me and another person.I got it down to about twenty five to thirty minutes, when it first started it took me an hour! We got it to the point where we could put it on in about thirty five minutes. Most of it wasn't too difficult, it was just the armour, you had to have somebody help you with that, , and truthfully if you watch the show, I had one of the easier costumes. Like Svens, who played tank, that poor guy, they had to build him a chair, a special chair, because he couldn't sit! We're talking about twelve hour days, the guy couldn't sit down. His thing weighed about seventy five pounds, but luckily Svens one of the strongest men in the universe, he's just a humongous man, so Sven could handle it! That was a very, very rough shoot, one of the roughest shoots I ever had because first of all, it was the first lead in a series I ever did, and I realised that when you're the lead in the series, you're in every shot, and so there isn't any hours off, or we're not going to get to that scene until then. You're in every shot, every day, and you're the man, you're the guy, and at lunchtime if I wasn't running, People Magazine wanted to do this, or Entertainment Tonight wanted to do that and you just learned that your time is very valuable. It was a wonderful experience, I loved it, and we shot that in Toronto, it definitely changed my life and my career, that whole show. I'm sure I wouldn't have got Crockett after that if I hadn't have done Captain Power.
Rob: Do you ever recall walking out of a high office building on to a Hollywood Boulevard and letting out a terrific scream?
Tim: I do, because I knew I had it.
Rob: What happened, apparently the tape screwed up?
Tim: The tape didn't work, I kicked it, I totally kicked the scene, it was perfect, I wanted to kill them, so I went back and did it again, that's the life of an actor. You know there's a wonderful story about the American comics, Abbot Costello,. But Abbot and Lou Costello,Lou Costello was the heavier guy, who used to do all the falls, so they're doing a shot one day when Lou Costello's in a hammock and he's supposed to flip out and hit the ground, he's gonna fall, so he does it and they do it, and they do it again, and they do it again, and finally they do it and the director yells, cut that's perfect lets do it one more time, and Lou Costello turns to him and said print it twice, which is the old story of I did it right, you got it on film, we're done. I did a lot of action series and let me tell you, you're worn out by the end of the day. Between Crockett and Captain Power, it was all action stuff, I broke my hand during Captain Power, during a stunt there.
Rob: What did you have to do for that?
Tim: I don't know what I did, I fell,we was doing a location thing outdoors, and I had to jump over something, I was in the suit, I just tripped, put my hand down and broke a bone in my hand. I didn't say anything about it, but I did end up breaking it, and continued filming! What happened though, after a while was that the straps holding on the armour,they would cut your blood flow, and you just start getting really achey. You know I remember at night, to wake up in the middle of the night with cramps and stuff. That was from dehydration also, you were mostly dehydrated. I mean I used to drink water all day long, I never went to the bathroom, because you were just sweating so much, . So, it was a weird experience, that was a tough shoot, a lot of smoke, a lot of dirt, just a tight shoot but really fun. I especially loved everybody connected with the show, like the crew.
Rob: And Morris Dean?
Tim: Morris Dean, yeah, he played one of his first things up there, he was a young guy, Peter McNeil, who's a well known actor in Canada, and of course Jessica Stephens was pretty popular, so we all got along great, and that was probably the tightest cast I ever worked with. We were really good friends, I mean we hung out together, which is kind of unusual.
Rob: Are you still in contact with some of them now?
Tim: Yeah, Jessica I talk to once in a while, and Peter McNeil I talk to. I saw Sven not long ago, of course anything Arnold (Schwarzenengger) was in Sven was in it. In fact Arnold came up and we had a great night out with Arnold, and had a lot of fun. The coolest part about "Captain Power",you know there was a lot of the controversy about the toys, that it was a kids series, blah, blah, blah�but it had some great writers, and some real good people involved in that show, like Landmark and all those guys up. We kind of broke a lot of ground on "Captain Power" with interactivity, and computer animated characters, we were the first show to do that. I'm real proud of that show actually.
Rob: Was it the complication of interactive toys that destroyed the "Captain Power" era?
Tim: I think if it wasn't for the toys, the show would have been renewed personally.
Rob: What happened with them exactly, what was the problem?
Tim: I guess it was Mattel, you're working for a toy company, they don't understand, they don't care about quality, they don't care about making something that's of value, they just cared about selling toys. Then they wanted us to promote those toys, and I was not really keen on doing that, and I'll be quite honest about it, on the business sense, I didn't get any money on the toys, why should I promote it? You want me to promote the show�great, I'll promote the show, you want me to promote your toys then you need to draw money that's the deal. You're making money on it, then you need to pay me, that's the business side and you got to do things like that, so we had a run in with Mattel and all us of said we wouldn't do anything for them because they wouldn't pay us enough money. So what they ended up doing was hiring some people to put on our suits and take pictures, and we didn't care. That was pretty well the end of it, but other than Mattel, working with landmark Entertainment and Alliance up there in Canada, all those people were fantastic, great crew.
Rob: So when you auditioned what was your reaction to being surrounded by bizarre futuristic concept sketches?
Tim: It was totally alien to me, if I may use that term, it was an extremely alien genre to me, because I wasn't really a science fiction buff, as a kid.
Rob: Did you have any regrets?
Tim: Not at all, I mean it was one of the best times of my life, filming that show. Without a doubt, I met my wife there. It didn't last, but it was still a wonderful, great year in Toronto, probably the happiest time of my life. Well you're working hard, you're proud of what you were doing, I was working with people I really enjoyed, and I loved Toronto, the city of Toronto was beautiful, we lived in a nice place. Life was good, life was alright. When you're an actor, if you're working and you can eat, it's a good deal you know. Then we went from there in to "Crockett" and that was a big deal here in the States. We did a lot of promo, learnt a lot, had to work for Disney, which is not always a joyous occasion, and really tough locations on that. Again we were up in Canada, but we were in the middle of nowhere in British Columbia. We would helicopter in to locations. There was a lot of rain on locations, all the time, that was a tough shoot, but again something I'm very, very proud of.
Rob: You were saying that Captain Power sounds too good to be true, at the beginning he was a realistic, and he was like Flash Gordon, but you didn't want him to be that artificial?
Tim: I felt that I didn't want him to be stereotypical, that's what I liked about it, the directors and everybody up there, we wanted to make sure that there was always a darkness to that show, because it was an ugly and horrible time you know. The Earth was being taken over by machines and we were the last.
Rob: It was apocalyptic?
Tim: Yeah, and I don't think that's a happy time, and I felt that John Power needed to have some depth so I didn't want him to be flat, I didn't want him to be your typical Flash Gordon heroey guy.
Rob: So do you think he had a dark past?
Tim: I think so, I think the loss of his father, his love for pilot that was never talked about, and he felt like he couldn't because of his rank, those were things I keyed in on as an actor for sure, and I think there's moments of that that worked when I watch the tapes, there was some great work in that show, some great writing, great acting.
Rob: So with the exception of the killing of the only regular female cast member in the final episode, it was an all round outstanding piece of work?
Tim: Yeah, you know, and that was her choice. I mean Jessica wanted to leave. She had no intention of going beyond the first year anyway, she was going to leave the series no matter what, so they killed her off. You know it's been done a hundred times, you kill off a character and you're gonna get ratings.
Rob: I suppose you got more time to focus on individual characters?
Tim: Absolutely, and it was a team effort, I liked the concept of a team effort, and it was a joyous experience on the show, and I'm very proud of the show. I collect some of the memorabilia, in fact I just found on E Bay some of the only sold in Japan action figures, that are a little bigger than those they sold here in the United States. I just had the guy ship them from Singapore. I have a little collection of the Captain Power stuff that came out, none of the actual toys, but the lunchboxes, action figures that I keep and pass on to my family I guess. When I hang out with my famous acting friends, like Peter Stormare talks about being in Fargo with Coen Brothers.
Rob: You see I think Captain Power never took off in England, I don't think?
Tim: Well I don't think it was big there, I'll tell you where it was, Japan, Cana was real good, US it did alright, and I got, believe it or not, I've gotton a bunch of e mails from Russia. I write to a young guy who's actually in college there, he said he loved it when he was a kid and in Russia, I didn't even know it showed there. Like I say its fun to hear from people all over the world, who say I used to watch you and I really loved it. I get a big kick out of that, because you know on the set you're just thinking about when are we going to eat dinner, and when are we going to go home.
Rob: You don't know how big it's going to be afterwards?
Tim: Yeah, you have no idea, you do the best you can, and most of the time, by the time it hits the air, you're done filming it, it's in the can for three or four months, You've moved past it, and then you gotta come back and people say what was that like, and you say I don't even know or remember you know. Now after twenty something years, it's even harder. But the good parts always stand out in your mind, especially on those two shows. That and Crockett were my two big things, I mean I was a working actor, I wasn't the big deal, I was the guy who worked who made a living as an actor you know. Nobody knew who I was, I was real comfortable with that, then it kind of changed when I started doing those two shows, and I said it's time for me to do something else for a while and that's what I did.
Rob: You're well known for playing Davy Crockett as you said, you won the role against a thousand other actors, how did you feel about taking on a historic figure, beating other actors in the process?
Tim: I felt good about it, any time you go for a major role like that and you win out, there's an ego thing involved in that for sure. I was very proud of that, and I also think I was ready for the role, it was a long process, you know Disney actually put me on retainer at that time. They said well we're not going to give you the role, but we're going to pay you not to take anything else, which was great because right then the Actors Union went on strike, so we wouldn't have worked anyway, so I got paid basically for doing nothing, so I got my handicap on my golf game down about five strokes in that period of time and that was good. Then all of a sudden, they said we want you to test one more time with you and a couple more guys, we went out, they put all three of us in costume, hired a bunch of extras, hired this film crew, filmed us all, and they said okay you're the guy.
Rob: It was an energetic role you said?
Tim: It was a wonderful role.
Rob: You run up the mountain, you run down the mountain, you jump in the river and came out of it?
Tim: That was it, yeah!
Rob: Then fire a gun was it really like that?
Tim: Yeah, yeah!
Rob: Must have taken you a long time to recover.
Tim: You just kind of keep going, your day would start at four thirty or five in the morning and I would get back to the hotel about nine o clock at night and that was my day and that's how it was. That's what I'm saying, when you're the lead, it's not just the filming, its like now let's go watch some dailies, or Tim here's some auditions for the three guys we've narrowed down to play your uncle in next weeks episode, what do you think, Entertainments here tonight, can you do an interview between these scenes, you know that's the life and people go how did you memorise these things, you just do. It's like typing the more you do it.I was always gifted, and it came out of my training in that being a classically trained theatre actor, you got to get the book out of your hand or else you're never going to get anything done. So I was always off book quickly. Plus the writing, you know Bill Glynn is a killer good writer, the guys written so many good things, "Purple Rain", "Brians Song", the show "Fame", and Bill's a quality writer. What was really nice was after the initial two hour film, I felt like the writers were starting to write for me, so it fit, it felt like a glove. I wasn't churning for lines anymore, the lines fit myself, they started watching the character, they started understanding the character that I was choosing to play and they kind of wrote for that character which made it a lot easier, but yeah that was a very physically demanding show.
Rob: How do you feel you added to Davy Crockett's character?
Tim: Well in America, Fess Parker is the guy, I mean he's Davy Crockett, that's who we all remember, and he's Davy Crockett to me too. Even when I played the role, I thought of him. I think what I brought to the role was a sense of the common man that he was. You know he was a guy who wanted to be with his family, but he did what he felt was the right thing to do. He's moralistic, he believed in the country, he believed in the cause and he believed that there's great men that do things on a common day in a daily basis, and I think that's who he was, I think he was a common man. I think Crockett was just a guy who did the job he was supposed to do and I played him that way.
Rob: Kind of like a "Due South" character isn't it?
Tim: Yeah, he's just a guy who does what he's got to do, he wasn't looking for glory, fame or money or anything, he was looking to get the job done to go home and be with his family and that's how I played him on a daily basis.
Rob: You borrowed your cousins coonskin cap for the show?
Tim: Oh yeah, my cousin had one back in the fifties, I remember it. I got the whole outfit. I got the whole buckskins, yep I got them in my closet. Yeah, you know you hang on to that kind of stuff, I had a guy offer me about three grand for them one time. I told him no way, no way I'd never sell it, that's mine, its part of my history. When I die you know, maybe they'll bury me in it! That would be so sad wouldn't it! I always had this fear when I was doing it, there was this show on over here, I don't know if it was on in England, back in the sixties there was a show called "Gilligans Island", do you remember that show?
Tim: okay and it was this funky really shitty show, and there was a guy who was a pretty big actor called Bob Denver who was in it, I don't know when it was but I saw him, he was at some show or something and he was signing autographs, as Bob Denver, Gilligan, and he was in that Gilligan outfit at sixty years old. I was thinking, oh god, please don't let me have to put on that Crockett outfit when I'm fifty five or sixty years old! You know I never want to do that! I just don't ever want to be remembered like hey you know, I'm TV's Davy Crockett!
Rob: So what was it like to work with the director David Hemmings?
Tim: It was brilliant.
Rob: He was involved in the "Quantum Leap" series wasn't he?
Tim: He was involved in a lot, he was a brilliant,you know Davids not only a brilliant director, he was also a brilliant actor, That was was the fun part about it, he also played the older Jefferson, and I got to watch him work that day, and went over and took some pictures of him and Johnny Cash, which was great as I was a huge Johnny Cash fan, so that was one of the highlights. In fact right here in my office, one of my most treasured possessions is my picture of him and me together. Johnny Cash to me is an American Icon, he's a man who changed American music, he changed music in the world, he changed everything, he was one of the original Sun records guys with Elvis, and those guys, and Johnny was an amazingly nice man, so working with him and David was wonderful. You know a lot of directors don't direct, but David directed, he would sit down and say let's talk about this scene, which on TV you have to understand Rob, on a film you can sit, you can rehearse it, you try different ways, whereas on TV, we're losing daylight, let's get this thing in the can. We'll go over this once and we'll shoot it, you better come on the set, there's no time to rehearse, you've got to come on the set, know what you're doing, let's get it in the can, and let's move on. But David always took the time, he always would sit down and go Tim about this scene.I feel like,do you think that,I don't feel he's feeling the movement or the horror of what he's seeing here in the war you know and David was a great guy, a fun guy to work with too.
Rob: I mean being an actor himself, he might have a unique perspective.
Tim: Well you know what, I've worked with some actors who are directors, they're not always good directors, it's a whole different programme, David was one of the few who was just brilliant. After he left and we started getting other directors come in, I missed him.
Rob: Well Davids been in some excellent movies like "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen�, "Gangs of New York� and "Equilibrium".
Tim: Saw him in every one of them, wonderful man.
Rob: If you ever wanted to get back in to acting again, would you ever contact him again?
Tim: Sure of course, even if I don't I'd love to see David, I don't know if that's going to happen, but maybe, whenever now, I've got some offers.
Rob: Well I mean there has been a few comic book movies that have been hits recently, when do you think we will see "Captain Power" appearing in one?
Tim: Well, I actually heard that there's a rumour, that they are trying to make a feature of "Captain Power�, which I tell you right now if they did it, it would be a hit, especially with the technology they have today to use that. I've always said I'd love to do a cameo or something, as I'm way too old to play the part now.
Rob: No way Tim, you could do it.
Tim: No I'm too old, I'm an old man buddy, those days are over, those action fitting in to my suit days are way behind me! I'm a big healthy man and I'm happy as hell but.
Rob: What if they made it in to an anime, like a Japanese Manga?
Tim: Yeah, I thought they would do that!
Rob: I mean do you do voiceovers?
Tim: I do voiceover work a lot now, I just did a voiceover job yesterday. I enjoy that a lot, and it's good work when you get older, as you just walk in, you use your talent, and then you walk out, you don't have to worry about it, but I would love to. I always tell them, I saw the creator guys of Captain Power, maybe a year or so ago, I had lunch with them, and I told them if they did make the movie, I would maybe like to come back and play the mentor, maybe like the father. He said sure, if it ever goes ahead, we'll throw something at you, and I said oh that would be cool.
Rob: You were involved in a project called "Century Hill"?
Tim: Yes, that's the one with Richard Kylee.
Rob: You were reported as saying it had a real terrible plot?
Tim: Well it wasn't a terrible plot you know what it was, it was a soap opera, it was like a prime time soap opera.
Rob: Was it fun to make?
Tim: It was fun, because I got to work with Richard Kylee, but it was like weird, it was a soap opera that had music in it and it had dancing, it was set in place that's supposed to be like well here it's called Century City, which is an office building, entertainment complex and it has movie theatres, it has a wide stage show, and it was supposed to be a place like that set in Milawake, which I thought was a really interesting choice. That was it, I was supposed to be a young Law student who's at odds with his father, you know it was stupid crap,
Rob: So what do you think made it go down, made it fail?
Tim: It just never got sold, I don't think it was a sellable item. Back in those days they used to make a lot more pilots than they do now. They made a ton of pilots, then they just pick a couple. That was the problem you know, now days they make as many pilots any more, and with all the reality, and I use that term very loosely, because I am of the opinion that any time you put a camera in front of anybody you are not getting reality, unless the camera is hidden, then that's reality. But all these TV shows like Survivor, first of all they're taking prime spots for other shows where actors get work. I'm against them, I don't think they're entertaining, I'd much rather watch a good half hour sit com, or a good drama, with some acting and writing.
Rob: People are more erratic, emotion is always erratic, sometimes they can change really quickly, whereas I guess these soap operas are all planned out.
Tim: They are, and I hate them too, believe me, I turned down many soaps over my life. I did "Young and Restless" for a while, I got offered to do "All My Children" in New York, and I just said no. I said you know why, because life's too short. Yes it's a good paying job, you make good money, you're acting every day, but you know what, it's not what I want to do, so I didn't. Again, I'm a little maybe different than most actors.
Rob: So what other interests pursued you?
Tim: I like writing, I've got a couple of scripts that I'm gonna shop with my partner. Eventually my whole goal is to have my own production company, that's my long term goal is to form a small production company and make really good films.
Rob: What kind of scripts?I mean are these science fiction kind of things?
Tim: No, actually the script that I have right now is called "Christmas on the Newhaven Line", it's a story based on a true thing that happened to me, I spent Christmas one time stuck on a train, all day, for nine hours, and at that time I wasn't really very Christmassly motivated, I thought it was a bunch of crap, and I hated it, and yet it turned out to be one of the finest days of my life where I ended up making wonderful friends who are strangers, and by the end of the day were close friends who I remain in contact with until this day. I learned a little bit about Christmas spirit and what it's really about, and that's basically what it is. It's just this little story, and it's kind of funny and fun. I've got another script based on some healers I saw one time, down in the Caribbean, healers with the power of their own hands who can reach in to your skin and pull out tumours and things like that. Basically when I watched this, I thought that's a bunch of bull, but lets say it for real, and that would be interesting because the American Medical Association wouldn't want that to happen, so there's kind of thing where the American Medical Association is trying to put an end to this and it's kind of a who done it.
Rob: Kind of like a conspiracy thriller.
Tim: Yeah, a conspiracy thing, AMA has got their own little hit team, yeah it's a fun little script.
Rob: With Captain Power, did you ever feel pigeonholed?
Tim: No, I mean Rob, you have to accept who you are, I was an action series guy, the reason why I was a big guy, I was in shape, I could do my own stunts, I knew how to fight, I knew how to use a sword, I knew how to do a fall, I could jump off a building, I could do all that.
Rob: Where did you get taught some of that stuff?
Tim: You just do it, I took training college, I had sword for three years. I took broadsword, I took epee, I took foil, I took mime, I took dance, I took all that stuff. If you're gonna be an actor, you gotta know what you're gonna do, and I loved all that. I loved sword work and I loved stunts. Luckily I was in to it when American television was in to action shows, it was right place, right time. So that was my career, I did a lot of action shows, but I got to use my comedy stuff in a lot of TV stuff, like sitcoms like "Cheers" and things like that. You know they were never going to let me do what I really wanted to do because of my physical size and my presence. So it got to the point where all I felt I was going to do was the same thing, I said that's it, I don't want to do this any more, I want new challenges in my life, so people thought I was crazy and I just admired it. I don't think about that, I just think about what was right for me, and it was the right thing for me, I'm happy today, I love what I do and I'm real proud of what I did in my past.
Rob: I guess if "Captain Power" had continued, it would have become even more artificial, it would have become a mass franchise.
Tim: It would have become a huge thing. You know it's funny, it's exactly what happened to my friend Dwight Schwultz who was on "The A Team", you know here he is, this incredibly talented man, I can't tell you how talented this man is, and he'll always be Murdock, he'll always be Murdock to everybody, and it hurt him, it hurt his career when it was done. Here's a man who's got more talent in his little finger than I would ever have in my entire body, and he got pigeonholed, and got in trouble until he got gigs on that new "Star trek" series he did, remember that?
Rob: Yeah, I remember him in that..
Tim: So he didn't work much after that, of course now here's the other part of that, he didn't need to work much anymore after that because when you get a series like "The A Team", you'll pretty well set for life.
Rob: He became Reg Barkley I think..
Tim: That was it, but again there's a man who could do Yago and Othello and blow you out of your seat, he'd be so good, and yet we'll never see him probably do that again.
Rob: Do you have any troublesome fans?
Tim: Once, I had one troublesome fan, a woman who was a little whacked up. She showed up at my home, which was bad, I had to call the police and stuff, she was sick, she was a sick woman. It didn't bother me that much to tell you the truth, it bothered me because I was married and at the time, had a stepson, and she was there with him and that upset me, that made me a little nervous. Once that was done I realised she was basically a little delusional, but yeah I used to get fan mail, you get weird stuff you know. Some girls send you their underwear, or pictures and stuff and I didn't have any problem with that, I thought it was kind of funny! My friends who I hang out with who were lawyers, they weren't getting that, so I thought that was kind of fun.
Rob: Did you feel it was a bit pressurising on your family to have such crazy fan mail?
Tim: I always kept my family out, and any time they asked about my family in any interviews, I would say to them no thanks, I don't really comment on that, its just that they have their own lives and I'm not dragging them in to mine.
Rob: So you don't feel you've influenced members of your family to become an actor do you?
Tim: Absolutely not, my family is pretty laid back, blue collar, my brothers a policeman, been a policeman for thirty years, and my sisters a housewife, and they live back in St Louis with their quiet lives. You know I was just their little brother who was on some TV shows, that's about it.
Rob: There's a lot of ideas surrounding "Captain Power", I mean it reminds me a lot of a cartoon called "Centurions"
Tim: Oh, which I don't know.
Rob: Basically these guys wore their power suits, and when they were needed to, they were called down from their space station, and these power packs strapped on to their body would teleport down, and then the packs would give them these abilities.
Tim: Mmmm...sounds familiar. I don't know we would just hit our badges, and they would just appear, I never quiet understood that.
Rob: There were these three guys you see and they basically had land operations expert, sea and air, so when they had these power packs beamed down they had the ability to fly, or have like a tank.
Tim: Sounds pretty cool.
Rob: Also some of the characters in your show, the bad guys, they look like Borg in "Star Trek" today and you had extras that could look like "Judge Dredd".
Tim: Well, if you watch "Babylon 5", same guys that did "Captain Power", Babylon 5 was in Captain Power, I mean we used to talk about Babylon 5 in a couple of episodes. So I thought it was interesting they did a series if that for their next series, and hell I never did an episode of that either. I don't know why, they never asked me.
Rob: Do you think there's any plans for a movie or a cartoon series?
Tim: I don't think so, na they didn't tell me about it.
Rob: I hear there's a song called Digit Digitize?
Tim: Yeah, somebody said it to me, they said this was pretty popular, I'd never even heard of it.
Rob: It was definitely one of those eighties songs.
Tim: Oh was it, that was us then, the eighties, late eighties, eighty seven, eighty eight I guess is when we were doing that, it's a long time ago now.
Rob: What was your most memorable scenes on "The Fall Guy", "Cheers", "Murder She Wrote", or "Diagnosis Murder".
Tim: I guess in Fall Guy it would be wrestling a live alligator, that was interesting and scary. Also I got to make out with Heather Thomas, that was pretty good, she was hot. Cheers was just fine because I loved the show, I would have done that for free, but I didn't tell them that of course. Murder She Wrote was fun because I got to do a scene with her, and it was just cool to get to talk to an American legend in theatre, and I said to her you know, you were in one of my favourite movies, and she said oh really what was that, and I said "Gaslight", and she looked at me and said you do not remember that movie. I said oh god I loved that movie, she said that was my first film I was seventeen years old. In fact I'd love to do a remake of it, a great film, wonderful story.
Rob: What about "Bedknobs and Broomsticks"?
Tim: Oh you see, I don't know her from that, I know her from the stage too, she did Maim on Broadway, so we just got to talk a lot about acting.
Rob: What about Dick Van Dyke, did you see him?
Tim: Talked to him, he was a wonderful man. We mainly talked about computers, he was in to them and so was I. I also got to tell him "The Dick Van Dyke" show was my favourite show when I was a kid. It was fun, and the main fun I got from working on that show was I got to work with a guy called Phil Morris, I don't know what he's most famous for, but his dad Greg Morris, used to be on a show when I was a kid, called "Mission Impossible", and Phil did a reoccurring role on "Seinfield", he played Jacks lawyer, when Kramer got a tremor he was his lawyer, and he did a few episodes on that. That's what I remember about working on that Diagnosis Murder show, that Phil and I, they had to separate us because we were laughing so hard, I think we ruined like five takes, because I couldn't look at him, he just cracked me up. That's what I remember most about that, isn't that horrible, what a horrible thing to say, but it's the truth! I had to say the director, you're just going to have to separate us, because everytime I look at him I start laughing.
Rob: So as you're a theatre actor, would you consider taking on any Shakespearian style roles in the future?
Tim: I think I need to do a little training, but I think I can still do that, I still got the training for that, I still got the jobs to throw out a Shakespearian idea here and there. The problem is Rob, I don't have time, I'm so busy between this, the teaching, the writing, the travelling, I don't have the time to do it any more. But I'm sure if someone wanted to do a nice production of "Hamlet" somewhere, I'm sure I could do a role here or there.
Rob: You've done some voice work, I mean have you ever considered doing voice work for cartoons or animation?
Tim: Yeah, sure, but it's a really tough market to break in to, everybody wants to do that, so yeah I got a demo reel up. I've been doing some voice over work, I got hired to do voiceover work for this company, and stuff like that. I did a voiceover job at the National Stuntman Awards, and yeah if I could do voice over work, I'd do it all the time.
Rob: You have to be able to do a lot of different voices?
Tim: Well the truth is Rob, there are about ten people who do all the voices, and they don't hire any body but those ten people and it's really hard to break in to. Even looking at me, you know, I been doing this twenty seven years, I been in the union twenty one years and it's still hard to get a job in voice over work.
Rob: Is there any chance you can do a promotional message for the site?
Tim: Sure, I'd be happy to help out, just give me a sec to fire up my computer here. So you're based in England?
Rob: Yeah that's right, South East of London, would you ever consider coming down here to do any work?
Tim: Oh its beautiful, it's on my list of places to come back to, I loved England, I had a wonderful time there.
Rob: Have you ever been acting in any other countries?
Tim: No, only in film I guess, never have gotton a chance to do that, but I definitely want to go back there to Ireland as well if I can.
Rob: Whilst you're doing that Tim, they made loads of toys of Captain Power and stuff, but they didn't seem to make many comic books?
Tim: I tell you what, go on E-Bay, there's a tonne of them. That's where I found those Japanese ones, I didn't even know they made them, no one even told us! Okay, so how do you want me to do this message.
Rob: Just down the phone...
Tim: Oh just talk it?
Rob: Yeah just state, who you are, what characters you portrayed, and that sort of thing.
Tim: Okay. Hi, this is Tim Dinugan, it's a pleasure to be here, I am best known I guess for playing Captain Power and the Soliders of the Future, and Davy Crockett, and it's been a pleasure talking to Rob today and seeing his site and I hope everybody out there has a pleasant holiday, and thanks very much, stay in touch, power on!
Rob: That's cool Tim, thanks very much, I can use that man.
Tim: Sure Rob any time, glad to do it, now this tuff you sent me, I got a poser, I got a doll, a Captain Power doll, and a poster, you just want me to sign that and send it back to you?
Rob: What I'll do is I'll send you a return package, I've got a couple more comic books, and I might get a disposable camera, which you can take some shots of and make it authentic.
Tim: You bet, you package it all up, I'll sign it all up and get it sent to you.
Rob: Alright, is there anything you'd like to add?
Tim: No Rob, I think that's it, I'm gonna go home, catch some dinner and then go and see "Lord of the Rings" for three and half hours.
Rob: Alright Tim, thanks a lot you enjoy yourself.
Tim: Thanks a lot Rob, you stay in touch now you hear me?
Rob: Oh yeah absolutely.
Tim: Alright buddy, happy holidays.
Rob: You too.
Tim: Alright bro.
Rob: Bye man.
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