Thursday, October 30, 2003

Thank God For Cable

Anyone who knows anything about hockey knows that watching it on TV isn't as fun as it used to be. When I was growing up, I rooted for the Chicago Blackhawks and could list for you most of their line-up. And I could list for you most of the Montreal Canadiens, even though they were the dreaded enemy. I could list for you a lot of the players from a lot of the other teams.

Today, I wouldn't be able to name a single player from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Or the Minnesota Wild. Or even the Los Angeles Kings. Part of it is that there are so many players on so many teams. More, it's because all of these "extra" players aren't as good as Hull and Makita and Esposito and even Lafleur and Dryden and et cetera and et cetera. The talent pool is diluted and so it's not as much fun to watch.

But it's great if you are a hockey player.

So, thank God for cable.

Because I got to star once on a TV show. Me.

Way up on the cable dial, on the Comedy Network, was the show "Liography". Starring Leslie Nielsen. I auditioned a couple of times for a few different parts. My favorite was for a mafia lawyer. I never got any of those parts. The last audition, I had finished doing the stuff I'd prepared for two different roles when suddenly the director became very animated. He asked me if I wouldn't mind doing a cold read for another part.

In this business, remember, you never say no.

And from the cold read, I won the title role for "The Dale Throbbins Story". The show was a Tony Robbins parody, cleverly written by Ed MacDonald. I had a great two days, doing both the filming and shooting still photos in front of a green screen. And one of those photos....

But back to that in a moment.

The way they filmed the series was like this: First, the character scenes were filmed in their entirety for all of the years' shows. Next, over the course of two weeks, all of the host scenes were filmed for all of the episodes. The result of this was that like every other actor on that show, I can say that although I starred in a TV show with Leslie Nielsen, I never had the chance to meet him.

Months later as the series was set to debut, Leslie Nielsen was featured on the cover of TV Guide. On the table of contents page, there was a second picture of him holding up a book titled, "Wake Up Your Giant Self Inside You" by ... Dale Throbbins. The picture on the front cover was one we'd taken in front of the green screen. Although we'd never shared time on set, there we were through the magic of Hollywood, together in TV guide.

Years and years ago, I graduated military college and was made an officer in the Armed Forces. My commissioning scroll was signed by the Minister of National Defence, Eric Nielsen. For two years I've been trying to get a copy of that picture so that I could have it autographed by Leslie Nielsen and hang it next to the scroll that was signed by his brother. I keep calling the production company to get a copy of that photo and they keep saying "Yes" ... which by now you know means "Not a chance in hell."


Still to Come


  • 3rd Trip to Reversible Errors
  • The old "Carrot Up the Bum" trick.

  • Christmas with Valerie Bertenelli 

  • Stuff I haven't done yet but hope to.

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