Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hollywood Days - Jason Marsden Part 2

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If you missed Part 1 of Jason's story then go check it out and come back!

And so begins Part 2:
Munsters was on Stage 44. Next to us were shows like “Coach”, and “Charles in Charge”, and a new show called “American Gladiators”. In my Eddie Munster makeup, it was easy for me to roam in and out of “Closed Sets”, because one look at me, and ‘hey, he must be in the movie business’. The summers of ’89 and ’90 were particularly memorable as I got to frequent the sets of “Back to the Future II” and “Dick Tracy”.I remember spending every free chance I had, taking a quick bike ride over to the “BTTF” set to watch Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) being chased on futuristic hoverboards!

“Dick Tracy” was also a fun film to have around. That production took up most of the soundstages and backlot. Easily recognizable because most of the sets were painted in primary colors to affect that “comic strip” look. Plus actors walking around in the Award Winning special effects make-up was a hoot. I constantly would run into Al Pacino, but in his heavy “Big Boy” prosthetics, I had no idea it was him.

I had lived right across the street from Universal in an apartment building that is now the Universal City subway station. Back then, there were no terrorist threats or the like, and Security was so relaxed, on Sundays I would ride my bike right through the Lankershim gate and spend my weekend riding around the Universal Backlot!

There’s another attraction that used to be called the Ice Tunnel. The Tram would pass through it and the tunnel would rotate giving you the sense of vertigo. I once tailgated the Tram on my bike...not a smart thing to do...if I happen to fall off the sides, it would have been like throwing myself into a tumble dryer. Not smart...but I was 15. Needless to say, I made it through and lived to tell the tale!What the tourists on the Tram didn’t get to do, was walk IN the backlot facades (the faux city streets, houses, etc.) Like an urban explorer, I scoured the catwalks of New York Street. I pretended to be Norman Bates in the famous Psycho house.

I walked Colonial Street passing by the houses built for Leave it to Beaver, Animal House, even the original Munsters house (which, ironically, we did not use in our show). It was even easy for me to sneak into the Universal Studios attractions!

Those two years were amazing! Munsters was not a ‘hit’ show per se, but it was a recognizable project. And because of that, I got the perks of being a ‘celebrity’ for a fleeting moment. Christina, Wendy, Carol Anne, and I would be treated to trips to San Diego or Magic Mountain, or the opening of a restaurant, or parade, usually promoted by whichever Teen Celeb tabloid that wanted the exclusive. We got to meet some of our favorite stars, hung out with the likes of newcomers like, oh say, Leo...or Tobey, and made memories to impress our children.

(From Wendy: A pic from a day at Magic Mountain for "Celebrity Teen Talk."
I don't remember all the names but front row from left:
a guy (Jason- do you know who that is?, then Hilary Van Dyke from Jason's show, Alyson Hannigan, me, Christina Nigra, and guy with gold chain and collar action.
Back row from left: Paul Something (Kerry Sable Villar, I know you know his last name! What is it?), Andre Gower (remember him from my other post?), Stephen Dorff, Jason, Soleil MoonFrye, Brian Austin Green)

(Wendy's Pic: Jason and I dancing at a TeenBeat weekend in San Diego)

(Me, in school. Wasn't my favorite part of the day. Could it have been the carpeted walls and ceiling???)

(The late Pat Morita from Karate Kid guested for one episode. He constantly gave me advice on how to make my bits funnier. I loved getting comedy tips from Arnold from Happy Days!)

Next season Jason will do another guest post about his experience working on "Step by Step."
*Thanks Jason for sharing with us!
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The Not So Perfect Housewife said...

How fun! I missed the first one, but I'll have to go back and check it out!

I'm loving the hairdo.. ahhh what memories.. since this is the time I grew up too..

What a great post!

Tegan and Tage said...

The carpeted walls. The typewriter. Awesome.

Rebecca said...

As the daughter of a Studio Exec, I too grew up at Universal Studios in a way. wandering the backlots and sound stages was my favorite thing to do. I loved seeing people's faces from the tram as they saw me, wondering who I was....I miss those days!!

CAP17 said...

Jason, this is great! Brought back so many memories of Universal...I was next door to you on Stage 42, but a little bit after the BTTF days. I think they were filming Jurassic Park when I was there. I remember Steven Spielberg coming to our set and telling us to come see his dinosaurs.

TDM Wendy said...

Jason - Back to the Future. Oh yea. Big deal. They filmed part of it right outside the Lassie production offices. I totally remember when I met Michael J Fox.

Heather :: AFD Jewelry :: said...

Love this!! Loved him on Full House!!

Anonymous said...

Very cute pics. It's like behind the scenes in the past world. **Twilight Zone music**

I miss TV like that. TV you actually watch with your kids in the evening... I miss TGIF! *wah* Now it's all dead bodies laid out in morgues, guys in sunglasses with pregnant pauses, and Law And Order everything. Where did the fun go?

scrapwordsmom said...

I have had a blast reading your story!! So happy I found your blog. I'll be back!


JamericanSpice said...

I enjoy reading your post :)

I hope you'll have a fun weekend!