Do people still make disparaging comments about the internet? About how it’s ruining the ability of mankind to interact on a human level and so on? If so, then I counter, say what you will! Tonight, thanks to the internet, I experienced something akin to what a time machine must feel like–I heard the theme song from TAXI. I had this amazing flashback of hiding upstairs in the loft above the living room in my childhood home. My parents would have the TV just loud enough that I could hear the theme; for some reason, I loved that song. It was lonesome, yet urban, and gave me the idea, even at the age of five, that life was going to be simultaneously sad, funny and beautiful.
Eventually, my parents let me stay up to actually watch TAXI with them. I felt so privileged. I experienced my first crush, on Andy Kaufman as Latka Gravas. Later, Andy had some competition when my parents started letting me watch M*A*S*H. I fell in love with Alan Alda’s Hawkeye. Are you sensing a pattern? Another crush was on Tom Hanks in BOSOM BUDDIES.
Sure, I could look at Indiana Jones and appreciate that he was a handsome man with a cool story. I knew I was supposed to be dreaming about John Travolta (truth be told, I was more of an Arnold Horshack fan myself!).
As a pre-teen, my unabashed love for the funny guy was cemented when I found myself attracted to Herbert Viola on MOONLIGHTING. Forget Bruce Willis! I mean, Curtis Armstrong, people! He played Booger in REVENGE OF THE NERDS!
And we haven’t even gotten to the crushes I had on cartoon characters…hello, Shaggy? Even as a little girl I remember thinking, if only he’d keep his mouth shut.
I think the only age appropriate crush I had on anyone on television was my undying love for Meeno Peluce’s Jeffrey Jones from the heartbreakingly short-lived series VOYAGERS!. I can’t believe the show only ran from 1982-1983, in my memory it was such a big part of my childhood. Maybe it’s because I filled notebooks with episodes that I wrote for the show, episodes, of course that incorporated a young girl, who looked just like me.
Here he is, the little guy with the giant afro, alongside his co-star, Jon-Erik Hexum who tragically died in an accident on the set of a program that followed VOYAGERS not long after VOYAGERS was cancelled. As a joke, he played Russian Roulette with a prop gun loaded with blanks, not realizing blanks were actually deadly at close range. When I was a kid I blamed him for the lack of subsequent episodes of VOYAGERS!…thanks to the internet, I now know that I have CBS’s 60 MINUTES to blame.
Although Meeno was in not only THE BAD NEWS BEARS, but in plenty of great television, including THE LOVE BOAT, STARSKY & HUTCH and PUNKY BREWSTER, alongside his half-sister Soleil-Moon Frye, you don’t see much of him anymore.
Turns out he’s behind the camera, busy taking gorgeous pictures all over the world. You can see some of his remarkable images here.
So, without the internet, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to confess to the world that one of my first celebrity crushes was on the guy that played Booger OR find out what happened to one of my first muses, Meeno Peluce, who inspired spiral-bound notebooks full of adventures through history. As Meeno’s voice over said at the end of each episode of VOYAGERS!, “If you want to learn more about (whatever the historical element in the episode was), take a voyage down to your public library! It’s all in books!”
And, now, on the internet.