The Celebrity Walk of Fame

What's Planet Hollywood got that I haven't got right here?

Science Fiction/Fantasy Celebrities

Bruce Campbell as "Ash" at the opening night of Evil Dead 2 back in 1986. I'm the blue Deadite to his left. Bruce is quite possibly the coolest actor alive.

 

 

Two photos of Doctor Who's Mary Tamm, who played the Time Lady "Romana." Hubba, hubba. The right one was taken at a time when we both had more hair. Ah, to be young again.

 

 

Slightly more than half the cast of Blake's 7, a show that kept that title throughout it's run despite eventually winding up with eight characters, none of whom were named "Blake."
Ann Robinson, from the classic film War of the Worlds. Check out my cheap jacket. This photo was taken at a 1986 birthday celebration for famed Famous Monsters magazine editor Forrest J. Ackerman.

 

Mystery Science Theater 3000's very own "Dr. Clayton Forrester," Trace Beaulieu. This was taken at the second (and sadly, final) MST3K convention. I look like I'm drunk in this photo, but I'm not.

 

Two views of Robin Curtis, Lt. Saavik from Star Trek III. I might've preferred Kirstie Alley's version of Saavik, but Curtis is a charming convention guest. Besides, Kirstie's got that creepy Scientology vibe these days. Plus, she's responsible for Veronica's Closet and those annoying Pier 1 ads.

 

 

Dirk Benedict, star of The A-Team and Battlestar Galactica. He's pretty much out of the acting biz these days, though he's written a book which he'll tell you all about...

 

 

Erin Gray, former star of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. Erin, of course, was well-known for her skin-tight Lycra spacesuits. Nowadays, she's known for overcharging for photos at conventions. She has held up remarkably well.

 

 

Anne Lockhart played "Sheba" on Battlestar Galactica. Anne is the daughter of June Lockhart, who played Mrs. Robinson on TV's Lost in Space.

Here's Chase Masterson (Leeta from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) and her bountiful cleavage. Gotta give her credit, she knows precisely what accounts for her popularity.

Another DS9 celebrity, James Darren. He played holographic lounge singer Vic Fontaine.

 

 

Star-crossed lovers from Deep Space Nine...Nana Visitor and Rene Auberjonois. DS9 was the one sci-fi series in which the names of the actors were weirder than the aliens they portrayed. Siddig El Fadil? Armin Shimerman? Cirroc Lofton?

 

 


Public TV Celebrities

I love nothing more than a good hoedown, particular when it involves Barney, B.J. and Baby Bop.

"Loonette the Clown" from the kids' series The Big Comfy Couch. I found her strangely attractive.
It's Carol Brady! I wound up sharing an elevator with Florence Henderson. Despite being old enough to be my mom, she's still full of "Wessonality," if you know what I mean. Florence isn't on public TV these days, but she briefly hosted a bad cooking series.

With John Inman, "Mr. Humphries" of Are You Being Served? fame.

That goofy-ass look on my face can only be explained by the fact that I'm sandwiched between the Landers sisters, Audrey and Judy. Or is it Judy and Audrey? Whatever. This photo always brings back memories of B.J. and the Bear. The Landers also had a brief flirtation with public TV, via a kids' series called The Huggabug Club. Seriously.

Here's "Ranger Gord" from The Red Green Show. I attended the 4th Annual Red Green Live event in Toronto, Canada.
Again from the Red Green Show, this is Jeff Lumby as Winston Rothschild III.

 

Finally, here's Red Green himself, Steve Smith. All of the cast were as pleasant as could be, and they've helped U.S. public TV raise a great deal of money over the years. You may not suspect it from the show itself, but these guys are a class act.

 

Mister Rogers at the piano, making my day a special one. Fred, who recently passed away, was every bit the person he portrays on TV...perfectly nice, perfectly gentle.

 

 

Following is a tribute that I wrote on the morning of Mr. Rogers' death. It was published, among other places, in the March 10, 2003 issue of public broadcasting's newspaper Current.

 

Mister Rogers was one of the first programs that I can remember watching. I was, of course, part of the showís target demographic back then. I canít recall much from my preschool years, but I do know that I loved the trolley, I loved the neighborhood and I loved Fred Rogers.

Like many early loves, it faded with age and distance. I moved on to programs intended for older kids: flashier, action-oriented, violent in the ways that caregivers and watchdogs lament and children adore. For the most part, I forgot about Fred and his neighborhood, reminded only on occasion by the parodies that proliferated in the í80s as yesterdayís innocents grew into sarcasm and despair.

Letís face it, it was easy to mock Fred Rogers. He had a simple style and a cadence that invited imitation. He stubbornly retained old-fashioned production values in an era of hydraulic-powered Muppets and computer-generated dinosaurs. Further-more, one could assign all sorts of hidden motivations to his soft-spoken manner and his devotion to children. Comedians, fools and cynics wondered aloud whether a beast lurked within such a seemingly humble man of God.

Mister Rogers re-entered my life once I began my career in public television. I worked as a master control operator for WYIN in Merrillville, Ind., in the late í80s. One day, working the afternoon shift, all heck broke loose: The transmitter was down, the chief engineer and the program director were shouting and frantically hitting buttons. I was still very new, and very nervous about keeping my first broadcasting job. As my anxiety mounted, I focused on the eye of the storm, the oasis of calm, the 17-inch screen in front of me: the one on which Fred Rogers offered words of quiet reassurance. It was a moment I hope Iíll never forget.

Over the years, I became fascinated with the program, deconstructing its messages and marveling at the bizarre flights of fantasy that often emerged from the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. Mister Rogers had a way of tying together everything, making connections that defied adult logic. A segment on silverware inspired an opera about a trip to Spoon Mountain. In Fredís world, your friend might be a Purple Panda from Planet Purple, and your king might sing "Row, Row Your Boat" in the most complicated manner possible.

Several years ago, Mister Rogers made the keynote address at the PBS Annual Meeting in Miami. As always, he spoke of simple, but important ideas: acts of caring, the need to love and the need to be loved. When the speech and the conference concluded, many ran to catch their planes and to return to their worlds of adult responsibilities. But a great many lined up for the opportunity to spend a few moments with the kind old man who had greeted them each morning so many years ago. Grown men and women were moved to tears as they hugged their childhood friend.

For his part, Fred waited patiently, shaking hands, posing for photos, signing conference program books and giving each person all the time they needed to express their feelings. He stayed for at least an hour, long enough for me to get through the line, then to run to my hotel room and fetch my wife so that she could hug and cry as well.

People have subsequently asked me, "Is he really the way he acts on TV?" My response has always been, "Heís exactly what you see on TV."

Thatís what I remember most about Fred Rogers. He was a man who could temporarily wipe away years of bitterness with a few words reminding us that We Are Special, each in our own way. Fred would probably reject this notion, but I feel that he was perhaps the most special of all of us. The world needs more people like Mister Rogers. There can never be enough love, acceptance and affirmation.

 

Back to Dave's World

 

This page, and all associated text pieces and photos are © David Thiel. No celebrities were harmed in the creation of this page.