Saturday, July 28, 2012

Latest episode of "Fantastic Forum" discusses the comics-based animated series we love

"Batman: The Animated Series" came up in conversation the other day. So did "Batman Beyond." And "Justice League," with its fab Hawkgirl-Green Lantern romance. Add in a little Scrooge McDuck -- even Darkwing Duck. A touch of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. What's the context here, you say? The latest episode of the Washington, D.C.-based TV show "Fantastic Forum," produced by Ulysses Campbell. Billie Rae Bates of BRBTV continues her work for Campbell's award-winning TV series, hosting this one from Victory Comics in Falls Church, Virginia, with fun 'n' lively panelists Abby Pritchard, Bryan Lyles and Roberto Ortiz ...

Remember, you've got all kinds of ways to catch this great show:

  • Washington, D.C., on DCTV Comcast channels 95 and 96 and RCN channels 10 and 11 and Verizon FIOS 10.
  • Montgomery County, MD, on Montgomery Community Media (MCM-TV) Comcast channel 21.
  • Fairfax County, VA, on Fairfax Cable Access (FPA-TV) Cox channel 10.
  • Arlington County, VA, on Arlington Independent Media (AIM) on Comcast channel 69 and Verizon FIOS 38.
  • Prince George's County, MD, on Prince George's Community Television (CTV) Comcast channel 76 and Verizon FIOS 42.
  • Baltimore City, MD, on Community Media of Baltimore (CMBC) Comcast channel 75. 
  • YouTube, NCC1727 channel
  • Vimeo, Ulysses Campbell's channel
  • And the episodes are now even featured on Daily Motion!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Steve Geppi talks with BRB for "Fantastic Forum"

He's a very accomplished businessman, born and raised and still based in Baltimore, and he's a titan in the world of comic books. He's Steve Geppi, one of the owners of the Baltimore Orioles and owner of Diamond Distributors, Gemstone Publishing and the Geppi's Entertainment Museum, most notably. He's a true rags-to-riches success story, and in a new interview with BRBTV's Billie Rae Bates as part of her continuing work for the "Fantastic Forum" TV show, you'll learn more about that.

BRB talked at length with Geppi about his approach to business, what he values most, what comics he loved as a kid, and even just how he went about acquiring the amazing collection of pop-cultural entertainment memorabilia on display at the museum, where the interview was conducted, along with "Fantastic Forum" producer Ulysses Campbell. Read a little more at the "Fantastic Forum" blog, and watch for clips from the interview on the show, which you can catch in all kinds of places:

  • Washington, D.C., on DCTV Comcast channels 95 and 96 and RCN channels 10 and 11 and Verizon FIOS 10.
  • Montgomery County, MD, on Montgomery Community Media (MCM-TV) Comcast channel 21.
  • Fairfax County, VA, on Fairfax Cable Access (FPA-TV) Cox channel 10.
  • Arlington County, VA, on Arlington Independent Media (AIM) on Comcast channel 69 and Verizon FIOS 38.
  • Prince George's County, MD, on Prince George's Community Television (CTV) Comcast channel 76 and Verizon FIOS 42.
  • Baltimore City, MD, on Community Media of Baltimore (CMBC) Comcast channel 75. 
  • YouTube, NCC1727 channel
  • Vimeo, Ulysses Campbell's channel
  • And the episodes are now even featured on Daily Motion!

Photo by Ulysses Campbell / Fantastic Forum

Friday, July 20, 2012

Spotted: Powers Boothe

We know his calm, authoritative voice as villain Gorilla Grodd on the "Justice League" animated series, lending far more intelligence to that crafty character than his animal nature would afford. He also voiced Lex Luthor in the "Superman: Brainiac Attacks" animated movie. But Powers Boothe has had a big career in front of the cameras, too, starring as the vice president on "24" and in many other roles over the years (and even just appearing the "Avengers" movie).

We got to see his handsome face in the 1996 movie "Dalva," starring Farrah Fawcett. Here, he plays it rough-hewn and edgy, but somehow poetic, as Sam, the love interest for Farrah's lead character. In the story, Dalva had a child at age 17 and was forced to give him up for adoption, only to seek him out later, on his 21st birthday. Sam, the polite-talking rancher type, helps the process.

While Farrah plays it much younger, about 37 to her real-life 49, Boothe acts more his age, which was 48 at the time. And while Farrah pulls off her young-switch by acting flighty, girlish, quite out-there, Boothe is straight, logical and tough, despite the womanizing he does in the film. A bit of a Marlboro man, he is, and he wears it well, though you can't help but think he's better suited to a suit -- and the more crafty indulgences of Gorilla Grodd, who's a study in contrasts.

Special thanks to Tracy for passing the movie along to us!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Are we in the "Golden Age of Geeks"? Tune in to the discussion on "Fantastic Forum"

Is geekiness now in style? It sure seems to be, with the popularity of shows like "The Big Bang Theory" and the immense mainstreaming of comic cons in recent years. It's the topic tackled in the latest episode of the Washington, D.C.-based TV series "Fantastic Forum." Billie Rae Bates of BRBTV continues to be blessed by her work on this show, serving as a panelist in this episode and also featured in the special segment on Free Comic Book Day, which we showed to you last weekend ...

We taped this episode at Victory Comics in Falls Church, Virginia, and it really turned out nice! And remember, "Fantastic Forum" is a show you can catch in a whole lot of places:
  • Washington, D.C., on DCTV Comcast channels 95 and 96 and RCN channels 10 and 11 and Verizon FIOS 10.
  • Montgomery County, MD, on Montgomery Community Media (MCM-TV) Comcast channel 21.
  • Fairfax County, VA, on Fairfax Cable Access (FPA-TV) Cox channel 10.
  • Arlington County, VA, on Arlington Independent Media (AIM) on Comcast channel 69 and Verizon FIOS 38.
  • Prince George's County, MD, on Prince George's Community Television (CTV) Comcast channel 76 and Verizon FIOS 42.
  • Baltimore City, MD, on Community Media of Baltimore (CMBC) Comcast channel 75. 
  • YouTube, NCC1727 channel
  • Vimeo, Ulysses Campbell's channel
  • And the episodes are now even featured on Daily Motion!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

"Shazam!" set for September 18 DVD release

At long last, the big-bro show to our beloved "Secrets of Isis" is getting its due. "Shazam!", the half-hour, live-action Saturday-morning TV show of the '70s, is scheduled to be released on DVD on September 18.

The DVD set will contain the full series, all 28 episodes airing across three seasons from 1974 to 1976. It will retail for $34.95. Fans have been asking about this one for a long time, even before the 2007 DVD release of "Isis." Warner Bros. will release "Shazam!" via their Warner Archive Collection. This is a manufacture-on-demand (MOD) release, according to TVShowsonDVD, available exclusively in the U.S. and only through Warner's online store.

We're glad to see Jackson Bostwick was chosen for the cover! BRBTV got a chance to interview Bostwick, who portrayed Captain Marvel in the first season and a half of the show, at last year's GMX event in Nashville, Tennessee. Catch the interview on our BRBTV YouTube channel as you prepare for this fall's release of the series!

Also, BRBTV has been working on an installment of the popular BRBTV Reports series focusing on "Shazam!" so look for that soon!

DVD image from TVShowsonDVD.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Nicholas Walker, Part 2: Beyond Frank Goodman

In the first part of our interview with Nicholas Walker last week, we discussed his approach to the role of Frank Goodman on "Santa Barbara" -- and it couldn't have been an easy task, we know. Walker lent a certain amount of humanity to Frank's persona -- a marked woundedness -- that provided much more depth to a character that could have just come off as flat. In the second half of our interview, Walker talks a bit more about that, but also about what he has going on these days -- and if there's a chance we'll see him on the small screen again soon ...

Is there anything you would've done differently with the Frank Goodman character, if you were one of the show's writers?
"As a soap it's really interesting, because the writers write what I call a skeleton script, and because the medium is so fast, the main core of the ensemble of actors take the skeleton script and infuse their own personalities and sentence structuring during the rehearsal process. I've experienced it in different ways. You might see Frank going ape in the situation, and it was written as just anger, but I, as an actor, I love surprising and showing that behind the rage there's this hidden pain that fuels the rage. So the written anger in the scene is infused with real pain as depicted with real tears. We have a symbiotic relationship with the writers. Hopefully they would say we didn't write the scene anticipating the wounded part but the actor brought an interesting contribution.

"It's so fast. In an hour show like 'Santa Barbara,' it's just shy of 100 pages. They crank it out day in and day out. In the blocking rehearsal, the ensemble of the show, say, make the script come alive as we are standing and talking the script. All of a sudden, the script gets lifted off the page very quickly. It's so quick. ... My theatrical training did not serve me in soaps. I had to find a different approach. When I was rehearsing George Bernard Shaw, every comma, every word, must be said exactly as written. So coming into the soap world, and one hears actors saying no, I'm not going to say that, it's like, wow, I am in the Twilight Zone ... I realized there was no point in memorizing word for word before blocking rehearsal and the breakdown of the script. Then you memorize it, rehearse and you do it live. It’s more of a controlled scripted improvisation.”

How about hate mail -- did you get any of that? (I have to ask because I know Terri Garber got hate mail just for her character daring to pursue Cruz Castillo!)
"Yes. It was interesting that I received more hate mail when I played the role of Jimmy O'Herlihy on 'General Hospital.' I actually had death threats so the FBI was brought in. The person / persons who wrote to me knew too much personal information, and I was in possible danger. That's the other side of celebrity that people don't take in or believe. There is lack of boundaries and privacy. It's pretty amazing what people will do."

Who was the best to work with, among the "SB" cast?
"A Martinez. He was a very generous, kind actor. He's rare, because he's not ego-driven. And it was a great homecoming for me because Kim Zimmer was also a cast member with me on 'The Doctors.'"

Do you have any keepsakes from the "SB" set? Did you keep any of your scripts?
"No. To be what I call current and present as an actor, as an artist, once the role is done, it's done. I just let go of everything so I can be open for the new characters to emerge. If you lock onto things and hold onto things; it gets in the way of the work."

Your last credited role is in 2003 -- do you have any plans to return to screen acting?
'I do, actually. I took a long sabbatical for my most important life’s work. Fathering my four wonderful children. The time is a comin’ for a re-entry into the world of acting."

What role do you feel like you're best known for?
"Well, it's interesting. If I'm in Europe and specifically Italy, 'Capitol' was the number-one primetime show for five years. So I'm a rock star in Italy. And even today, if you look at my Facebook page, you'll see there's a big 'Capitol' fan page out of Italy. You'll see that they've basically resurrected the show. I've done interviews. They want to bring back 'Capitol' via the Internet or on another format, that's quite amazing after all these years. I would say in New York, it's Max Holden of ABC’s ‘OLTL.’ As you know each network has different demographics."

How would you characterize the demographic for "Santa Barbara"?
"That's a good question. I was part of the last cast for that show, so I never really experienced the demographic. The show got canceled, so it was hard to get a read on the demographic. I think 'Santa Barbara' was big in New York, as well, because I remember going to a church where there was a meltdown of fans for Marcy Walker and company."

What's the craziest thing you've ever read about yourself in the press?
"Here's the real truth. I don't read my press good or bad. I get irritated because I make the effort to be accurate, and then later I read nonsense that I didn't say. I was misinterpreted purposely or innocently. People hear what they want to hear, or they're motivated by their own agendas. ... As an actor I really try to come from a pure place. And if I'm aware of what previous critics have said good or bad. As a human, I will always shy away from where I am hurt, and then I'm not true as an actor. My job is to be true to the character, whether the public / critics like it or not. Because otherwise you have an internal editor and are therefore disconnected in the scene. All of a sudden, as you're trying to be in the creative process of bringing a life alive, you're editing and double-guessing yourself all along because of previous criticisms that have maligned you in some way. I think criticism is a necessary component of what I do, and once I enter the public arena, I become public property.”

I know you talked about being a father. What occupies your time these days?
"I love being outside. I've been blessed that I can make a living doing what I love to do. As a kid I always loved to be in the plant world, building things. So I'm a designer / builder in the landscape architectural world. That's my day job. My other job is I work as a design ambassador for Kathy Ireland Worldwide. She asked me to join her team and brand in 2001 where we launched Jardin at the San Francisco Garden and Flower Show."

"While I was doing soap operas all those years, I simultaneously ran my landscape business. I would start my landscape day from 7 to 12 and then go to the studio. I have naturally lots of energy (and you kinda have to when you have four kids, by the way), so I did two jobs. ... Thank God that Kathy Ireland came to me in 2001 and said, I want you to develop an outdoor division for my brand. She has a business that's worth two billion dollars and growing. You can check it out on You'll see my work there. I represent the green aspect of the brand, it’s about bringing the outdoors in. ... The mission statement is celebrating gardens and the outdoor experience.

"And raising my four children is my favorite and most important job. I really love it. I've had a career where I've been blessed to portray a variety of roles.”

Have you seen any of the recent web soaps, such as "The Bay," and what do you think of the trend toward Internet-based soaps?
"I have not seen them. Conceptually, I think it's great. This soap opera medium is not dead and thankfully has a new life on the Internet. Perhaps once the fad of reality TV has gone its course maybe the audience will reclaim their soaps. Thank-you for this interview; I enjoyed it.”

And BRBTV extends heartfelt thanks to Nicholas Walker for his time!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Billy Campbell takes on the role of Abraham Lincoln next

Billy Campbell has enjoyed a prolific career in the years since he played Luke Fuller as a young'un on "Dynasty." With roles on "The 4400," "The O.C.," "Law and Order: SVU" and a whole lot more, he's kept his star shining. Lately he's been playing Darren Richmond, troubled political candidate, on AMC's "The Killing."

His next role will keep him in both politics and killing, as Deadline TV is reporting: "Killing Lincoln" begins shooting in Virginia this month and will feature Campbell in the title role. It's based on a book by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard and will air on the National Geographic Channel.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Stroll through Free Comic Book Day with BRB and "Fantastic Forum"

In our May 6 post, we showed you a glimpse of Billie Rae Bates' work for the Washington, D.C.-based "Fantastic Forum" TV show on Free Comic Book Day. A segment of that video work has been posted online, and you'll also see segments in upcoming episodes of the show, airing on several TV channels in the D.C. area.

This one really turned out nice! Thanks to producer / director / writer Ulysses Campbell, as well as Steve Conley, John Gallagher, Marc Nathan and all the folks we talked to!

Friday, July 06, 2012

Bits 'n' Pieces: New movie projects for Richard Hatch, Vincent Irizarry, and some "Dukes"

Richard Hatch, our own Dean Caldwell of "Dynasty," has a new movie in the works. It's called "Dead by Friday," and it comes from Ric LaMonte. See more at

Vincent Irizarry, who was Scott Clark on "Santa Barbara," has been posting photos to his Facebook page about filming "Worth" with Eric Roberts. Irizarry also stars in "Fall in Love Again" at the B.B. King Blues Club and Grill in New York this October; get tickets at TicketMaster.

We've reported on this blog before about the sequel of the 1950s "Killer Shrews" movie starring James ("Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane) Best of "The Dukes of Hazzard." For that sequel, "Return of the Killer Shrews," Best pulled in his "Dukes" costars John Schneider and Rick Hurst. The movie has its world premiere in Bristol, Tennessee, on Saturday, July 28. The Foundation Event Facility is the place, and it's a fundraiser for the Bristol Speedway Children's Charities. The "Dukes" stars might even accidentally be there. Get tickets at

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Spotted: A Martinez

He's got hair down to his shoulders and he's mighty young, but he has the kind of dark, ruggedly handsome looks that are identiable in any age. Mr. A Martinez, known by us fans of "Santa Barbara" as Cruz Castillo, starring in an April 1977 episode of "The Hardy Boys / Nancy Drew Mysteries."

As you know if you caught our post last week on this very blog, we've been enjoying the first season DVD set from the series (because our friend Tracy gets us the best DVDs -- seriously). And this particular episode, a Nancy Drew one called "Mystery of the Fallen Angels," is a bountiful feast of classic stars. Whereas you can't mistake Martinez, it's easy to miss Jamie Lee Curtis as a fast-talkin' carnie. And Robert Englund of "Nightmare on Elm Street" fame joins her in the scheming, his youthful blond hair just brimming with big curls.

We'll note, as well, that the mom of one of Martinez' "SB" costars is featured in the episode -- Beverly Garland, mother of Carrington, one our favorite Kellys (since there were so many to choose from, kinda like Santanas). She's Thelma in the episode. And Susan Pratt, longtime soaps star who also did a "Shazam!" episode back in the day, plays Ann. At the time she was married to George O'Hanlon, who played Ned Nickerson on these "Nancy Drew" episodes.

Martinez is a good guy in this episode, of course -- portraying a young man wrongly accused of theft who gets a little help from Nancy Drew to clear his name. He even gets to ride on the back of a motorbike she hijacks! Martinez, by the way, has a new show on A and E called "Longmire" -- have you seen it? He's joined by Lou Diamond Phillips, along with Katee Sackhoff of newer "Battlestar Galactica" and Cassidy Freeman, who was Tess Mercer on "Smallville."

And by the way ... Happy Independence Day to all of you in the U.S.!

Monday, July 02, 2012

BRBTV talks to Nicholas Walker

He was Trey Clegg on "Capitol." He was Jimmy O'Herlihy on "General Hospital," and Max Buchanan on "One Life to Live." He's appeared in "Nash Bridges," "Seinfeld," "Frasier" and numerous other TV series. But for us fans of the daytime soap "Santa Barbara," Nicholas Walker is the one who had the unenviable task of portraying the baddest of bad guys -- Frank Goodman, who had molested B.J. as a child. But Walker, a theatrically trained actor, dug below the surface and came up with something much more for Frank.

BRBTV had the pleasure to speak with Nicholas Walker and learn how he approached and grew this character – and what he’s growing these days! As with past interviews, the full text of this one will be included in the next edition of our reference guide "Send Me to Santa Barbara," but for now, we'll run it for ya in two parts -- first half today and second half next week.

First of all, can I confirm what I found on the IMDb for you -- born in Bogota, Colombia? At what age did you come to the U.S.? 
"Yes. ... The first time we came to the States was when we were preteens. So 11-12."

Was it a culture shock?
"Yes it certainly was. I didn't speak a word of English. ... I'll always remember that everything was so big in scale and proportion in New York compared to the smaller scale of Europe. I was just so amazed at how big everything was. Skyscrapers, streets, the people, the cars, the buses. "

Your native language was French?
"I have two maternal languages, Spanish and French."

Your resume is a long one -- did you set out to be an actor when you were growing up?
"Not per se an actor. But I always knew I was an artist, and in Europe they identify you early and encourage you into your strength and put you in the applicable academic tracts. So very early on I knew I was an artist, so that's how I started. I think everything followed after that. The first time I got exposed to acting was in high school, when they wanted guys from the soccer team, which I was the captain of, to wear tights for the school play, and to me that was a no-brainer because all the pretty girls were in the theatre. I thought, I wear shorts, big deal if I wear tights! I thought if I can be near the pretty girls, I'll wear the tights. That's how it started. I saw the correlation between athletics and the theatre. I experienced the wonderful correlation of athletics and theatre. They dovetailed nicely into each other. They are performance-centric with an audience and an enfolding drama. And once I started, I thought, yea, I know and like this."

You've done a lot of soaps work, from "Capitol" to "Y and R" to "GH" to "One Life to Live" ...
"I started my USA acting career landing roles both at the Circle in the Square and NBC’s 'The Doctors' in the same week. It was pretty heady. So I was doing Circle in the Square by night and 'The Doctors' by day. My first soap was with Kathleen Turner and Alec Baldwin. Ironically Alec and I both got our start at 30 Rockefeller. It was a pretty exciting time."

"Santa Barbara" was the last soap you did. Were you intending to get out of the soaps game, or is that just the way the roles fell?
"No, that was my intention. I thought no more soaps. After all, I had done six of them pretty sequentially. I just wanted to try something else and venture into primetime television and independent films."

Did you have any reservations about taking the role of Frank Goodman on "SB," given the subject matter?
"No. Because as an actor I learn from my roles. And I feel that if I get a role that is unexpected, then I see it as an opportunity to do some exploration, to go into waters I may not have known and dared not explore. You dream of a career as your career enfolds in front of you. I was a classically trained stage actor and I was told that there's no way you can do television. Well, I like to surprise and change people’s assumptions of me. There was a time when people thought, ‘he can only play a good guy.’ I played the good young doctor Brad Huntington, and I thought, next role I'm going to play has to be the bad guy. To me, Frank Goodman was a wounded, tortured soul. And most child molesters have been molested themselves. The way the writers originally wrote him was just as a bad guy. I wanted to show his hurt, his underbelly, his humanity. I wanted the audience to understand and experience what he was doing came from a deep wounding. ... That was a tall order, but that's the reason I wanted to take that role on."

What was the audition like?
"Actually, there was no audition. They offered me the role."

What preparation -- mental or physical -- did you do for this role?
"Well, I interviewed four child molesters. When you meet convicted child molesters, they look like regular Joes and Janes. They're like you and me. There's never a look. They don't look weird. They actually look normal and friendly. You never look at them and go, oh yuck, they're kinda creepy. The four child molesters I talked to, all of them, four out of four, were molested themselves. And not just molested -- two out of four were raped. It was violent. And what was interesting, most people think it's a male-dominated thing, but it's not. Out of the four people I talked to, one was a woman child molester.

"I found that it's kinda like this mixed feeling of hatred and familiarity, and they want to recreate it for their identity. And memory. That it actually did happen and no one will or can forget. It becomes an interject for them to say yes, it did happen to me, and the way they do this is to do it to someone else. People don't necessarily act out of maliciousness; they act out of woundedness. That's what I locked onto as an actor that he was really a tortured soul. He felt prisoner within his own actions and his own world. As an actor I like to work from the inside out, so I like to bring, if you will, my brokenness, my woundedness, to Frank Goodman."

Tune in next week for the second part of our talk with Nicholas Walker ...

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Walker; please do not copy without permission