Saturday, June 22, 2013

“The Bloodhound Gang” (“3-2-1 Contact”) cast interviews, 2 of 4

Part 1.

“The Bloodhound Gang” was a series of short, live-action mysteries that may have been the most popular segment of the 1980s PBS science show 3-2-1 Contact.

What did you think of the series at the time?

Nan: I thought it was a great way to teach science to kids. I was very happy to be a part of something that did not talk down to children. It felt very worthwhile.
Seth: Huge fan. I was even a subscriber to the CTW magazine, which featured a “Bloodhound Gang” story in each month’s issue. The only shows I was watching back then was 3-2-1 Contact and Mork and Mindy. I was certainly a nerd.
Glenn: I loved it and was proud to be a part of it.

Kelly: I thought it was a great show.

Marcelino, Seth, Nan, filmstrips; 
photo courtesy of Seth Greenspan

What did your parents think of it?

Nan: My mother was very proud of me and happy for me, even though she still wanted me to be a lawyer.
Seth: My parents were super supportive and probably prouder than I was.
Glenn: They thought it was a wonderful show for youth.

Kelly: They thought it was great and my dad loved to brag about me at his work.

What did your friends think of it?

Nan: My friends, I think, were happy for me. They were also in show business so maybe…they…weren’t…?
Glenn: They liked it, too. Many would ask how we came up with solutions to the cases. I had to explain it was just a show. We weren’t real and didn’t come up with anything. LOL.

Kelly: Not sure. Where I lived in Massachusetts, it was hard to get good reception of the PBS channel.

How did you balance doing the series and going to school?

Nan: I was a working actress and wife at the time. I was not going to school.
Seth: I had a complete 7th and 8th grade month-long lesson plan, [including] homework, to submit to my regular school. I usually wound up doing my studies for the day in an hour or two at night. I was a quick reader for a kid.
Glenn: I had a tutor on the set throughout my childhood.

Kelly: I went to a private school in NYC for my ninth grade since I would miss a month of school filming the show. They were very accommodating, but I wasn’t very good about getting my work done.

Did the show ever affect your love life in any way?

Nan: Huh?
Glenn: No. I was just a kid. No love life. LOL.

Kelly: No, it didn’t.

[to be clear, I meant when they were old enough to have a love life!]

Did you receive fan mail? If so, do you still have any of it?

Nan: Yes, I did receive fan mail. Unfortunately, I do not have any of it as I have moved several times and those kinds of things I guess just get left behind or lost in unopened boxes. I believe I still have the red jacket that Vikki wore.
Seth: No, but I was recognized once. When I was 15 I took a job at the carny [carnival] when it came through my town. Certainly an interesting four days—the underbelly of entertainment. When I was running the bouncing balloon building, two girls kept staring at me. Turns out one babysat a kid who watched the show, and she recognized me and wanted an autograph. But that was it.
Glenn: I did receive fan mail but I do not have any of it now. My home burned to the ground in 2008 and I lost all memorabilia from my entire life. I had great pics but they are gone, too.

Kelly: No, I don’t remember receiving any.

Did you ever meet the writer of the series?

Nan and Seth: No.
Glenn: Yes.

Kelly: No.

Did you ever come up with ideas for stories or parts of stories?

Nan: No. We were never asked and I never thought to make any suggestions.
Seth: No, but the Executive Producer, Linda Marmelstein, recognized I was a curious lad, and she instructed the crew to be patient with me and answer any questions I had. I ate it up. I learned everything I could about every job on the set. I found it wonderfully interesting and very appealing. I thought people generally liked me, but little did I know they were being intimidated into it!

The director of the last season, whose name escapes me, really liked me and encouraged my creativity. At one point, he invited me to “collaborate” with him on directing a scene. He was very kind to humor me, but from what I remember, he asked how I would start it, and I said, “establishing shot over here, two singles from over there and a two shot, and then a reverse from over here...” And that’s how we mostly shot the scene; he had only one correction.
Glenn: No, I was very young and the writers certainly didn’t need any help.

Kelly: No.

Tell me about your co-star, Marcelino Sánchez.

Nan: Marcelino and I became good friends as a result of our work on the show. He was funny and made me laugh all the time. He was a very kind, talented, and giving soul. We kept in touch after the show was over. He moved to LA.
Seth: One of the most creative, funny people I have ever met, and truly beautiful inside. He was inspirational, patient; a great friend on the set. He taught me how to impersonate celebrities, but all the celebrities he taught me were women. I was blessed with blinders at a young age and saw him as the person he was, not a sexual preference. I didn’t connect the dots between things like female impersonation and his orientation until he was infected with AIDS in one of the first waves.
Glenn: I loved Marcelino very much. He was kind and giving. He became a great friend. I always thought he was so talented…even when he was in Warriors. I loved him in that movie. To this day, I often think of him.

Kelly: All I remember is how nice he was.

photo courtesy of Seth Greenspan

How did you find out he died?

Nan: Marcelino had actually contacted me months prior to his passing to let me know that he was sick. We met and spent an entire day together while he was here in NYC, basically to say good-bye. He had a friend to whom he had given the names of some of his friends to call upon his passing to let us know. That friend was very dutiful in carrying out his wishes. I still think of Marcelino often.
Seth: When the AIDS epidemic was first being reported out of San Francisco, with a few dozen confirmed dead and hundreds more sick, we were in the middle of filming the second season. Every night, the news kept reporting on this strange “gay disease” and Marcelino became more withdrawn and seemed very concerned. Again, I made no connection. It was only months after the end of the last season when I found out. I honestly cannot recall how I found out, but part of me has the notion that he called me to tell me himself. I may be completely wrong in this, but I have that nagging feeling that’s how I learned. What’s important was not how I learned, but the sadness it instilled in me.
Glenn: I was in a supermarket and read it in a newspaper. “Warriors Star Dead at 29” or something like that. Made me so sad. I ran home to cry.

Kelly: I heard about it on the news.

What were you paid?

Nan: I don’t remember.
Seth: Scale.
Glenn: I have no clue. When I was a child, I never even asked what I was paid. It didn’t matter to me. Maybe other kids asked; I just didn’t. I act because I love it!

Kelly: Whatever scale was at the time, but my mother did tell me that I made extra money during the four weeks of filming due to all the overtime we worked.

Were you ever recognized in public? How often and when last? Any stories about that?

Nan: I am still, to this day, recognized by grown people with children of their own who used to watch the show when they were little kids. Yikes! It may happen four or five times a year. Sometimes on a bus, walking into a store, passing on the street, or at an event. They all seem to be very excited to see me as it brings back their fond childhood memories, I guess. Of course I feel ancient but it is still very flattering and I am happy to acknowledge and take time to talk. The last time was when I did a day player role on one of the soaps and a crew member saw me on set. He came right over and asked if I was the girl from
“The Bloodhound Gang.” I couldn’t believe it. I was looking as grown-up as I possibly could and he still recognized me. Very flattering.
Seth: (see “fan mail” answer above) 
Glenn: Yeah, but way more folks recognized me once I got on One Day at a Time.
Kelly: I used to have younger kids come up to me at other auditions and ask for my autograph. Just a few times and I would say within three years.

Part 3.

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