Friday, May 30, 2014

Motor City Comic Con: Terry Kiser

Terry Kiser liked BRB's hair. We're talking the hair she wore on Friday of this year's Motor City Comic Con, a look that friend James once politely referred to as "Swiss Miss" (she's got the red plastic Swiss Miss mug, too, so look out!!!) Yea, the braids over the top of the head. Kiser was a bit bummed she wasn't wearing it in this interview on Sunday, after he saw it on Friday. We're pretty sure it will catch on, but in the meantime, it definitely has one fan in this actor, star of just about every classic TV show you could ever name if you spent all week trying ... except one. Can you guess the one? Hint: It's one of the very shows BRBTV has had the pleasure of covering for the past decade and a half.

Mr. Terry Kiser was kind enough to talk to not only Billie Rae Bates of BRBTV at said comic con, but also buds Andrea Melchiori and Don Covell Jr.. And when we say he was charming, we mean it. He was just adorable. Once BRB got to chatting with him, and had a look at the photo offerings at his table, she gained a whole new appreciation of his body of work. Kiser has a distinctive look about him. The eyes, the mannerisms. You've seen him in lots of things. Notably, he was in "The Six Million Dollar Man," "The Bionic Woman," and at least one of their reunion movies. How did he like that Bionic thing, we had to ask at the outset????

"I liked it at a lot," Kiser said. "I ended up being best man at his wedding." Really? "Yes, Mr. Lee Majors and Faith Majors. When I first came out to Hollywood from the New York stage I guest-starred on 'The Six Million Dollar Man.' And he was very gracious to me, because I was dying on his show, and I was dying like I was in New York, watching the balcony of 1,500 people. I died big," he said with a flourish. "And he said, 'Get down, it's television.' So I appreciate that wonderful gesture by Mr. Lee Majors, and he has been a friend ever since."

One of Kiser's episodes of "Six Mill" also starred Cathy Rigby, popular gymnast of that era. "She was very nice. She was a lovely lady," Kiser said. "This was kind of her first acting debut, so she was very nervous. But we were very gentle with her. And she was polite. Very nice lady."

Kiser's memories of "The Hardy Boys / Nancy Drew Mysteries" series were not quite as pleasant, when thinking of the producer, but, he said, he turned out to be that producer's "good luck charm." "So every time he did something, he put me in it," he joked. "So that turned out to be good."

Kiser did a fun episode of "Three's Company," portraying, as he said, "a head of the mafia trying to eat spaghetti like his mother used to make. And so they made it very hot, and it turned out to be the longest take in television history without saying anything." What? Really???

We had to ask Kiser, given his resume spanning the decades, how he feels television has changed over the years. "I'm not proud of this, but I haven't watched television in 30 years," he said. "I'm a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which I vote for the Academy Awards, so they send me movies. So I get like 75 movies a year. So between movies, and I love sports, and a little bit of news, that takes up my time. So I admire the makers of television series, but there are too many commercials for me now." Yea, surely the hour of television is shrinking in actual story minutes all the time. "And a lot of our cable and Netflix and things like this are changing this."

We had to ask about the "Weekend at Bernie's" movies, where Kiser got to "play dead." "It was a very live experience," he joked. "I was very happy that none of the checks bounced. That was very thoughtful of them. No -- it was a wonderful experience. Here you play a dead guy and you're recognized all over the world, which is kinda kooky. But I was very proud of that movie, because it wasn't schtick; it was real, honest-to-goodness comedy, out of situations. And so you could watch that movie 100 times and you'll still laugh. Like slipping on a banana. The ninth time is funnier, watching some guy slipping on it, than the first time. So yea, 'Bernie' 1 and 2, thank-you."

And that single classic TV show he wasn't in? It was "The Dukes of Hazzard," we jokingly note. OK, maybe that wasn't the only one, but it sure seemed like it! Kiser had no idea why he never got to do that show -- he said he would've loved to have driven the car!

"I love acting," he said to sum up his longtime career. "And so every time I'm on a set, I feel happy and it's a good experience."

And with that, BRBTV has just about have wrapped up our coverage of this year's Motor City Comic Con! There's just one more installment, in two days, and it's a special one ...

Screenshots by BRBTV;
copying with credit is OK; a link would be grand

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