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January 23rd, 2008

One side benefit of Vicky’s current obsession with the Australian Open tournament is that we needed to buy a DVD recorder to dub off some of the non-tennis stuff taking up valuable space on our TiVo-Like Device. While it’s certainly useful in that regard, the bonus for me is that I can finally tackle the problem of my deteriorating VHS tapes. While I’ve substituted many of my old off-air recordings with shiny, store-bought DVDs, there’s still a lot of stuff that would be otherwise impossible to replace.

So, while the tennis balls ping back and forth in the living room, I’ve set up a DVD duplication facility in the basement, attempting to digitally preserve this old video before the tapes (some more than twenty years older) become unplayable.

Another benefit is that I get to share the “wealth.” Here then are a couple of clips that I dubbed to DVD, ripped to AVI and uploaded to YouTube PDQ. Both are from a mid-’80s TV show called Stingray, starring Nick Mancuso as a mysterious hero who helps the helpless in exchange for favors, which he then uses to help other helpless people. It was kinda clever, in that a guest star victim could reappear in a future episode as a favor-provider.

However, it also bore the sign of its times: an unbearably cheesy Miami Vice vibe. Here’s the opening sequence.

The reason I bring it up is that during the year I spent in Los Angeles fresh out of college, I was an intern at Stephen J. Cannell Productions at the time they were simultaneously producing The A-Team, Riptide, Hunter, Hardcastle & McCormick and, yes, Stingray. And while my duties as intern consisted almost entirely of standing around the set attempting to bond with the crew, I got to be an extra in a couple of shows.

That’s quite a long introduction to this brief clip, in which I can be seen in quite possibly the last place on Earth you’d likely find me: a revivalist tent meeting. The video’s a bit dark, but that’s me in the front row, pimped out in a ten-dollar thrift store suit and passing the collection plate with elan.

It wasn’t my last appearance on national TV, but it was the only one involving a 12-foot, illuminated cross.

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