Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Former Child Star (sort of)

It's ironic that growing up I always wanted to be an actress - yet was painfully shy and never got my 'big chance'. Meanwhile two of my best friends both spent their youth auditioning for movies and television. Parker grew up in California where she made appearances in local commercials and played a schoolgirl being eaten alive by angry bees in the 70's disaster flick Swarm (click here to read her account). Meanwhile in Arizona, my elementary school best friend Viv would often miss school in order to film scenes for "Little House on the Prairie" and at the age of 7 landed the part of 'Girl in the Road' in the Steve McQueen western "Tom Horn". (Ironically both "The Swarm" and "Tom Horn" had cameos by Slim Pickens. Total 6th degree of Slim Pickens). When Viv landed this part, I was beyond jealous - sure that she would be living in the limelight attending parties with Michael Jackson and Sean Cassidy while I suffered through 2nd grade math.

Only recently I discovered my husband Tom also had his 15 minutes (ok seconds) of fame in yet another flick. The early 80's was not especially a good time for movies (think "Xanadu" and "Staying Alive") but Tom saved his acting ability for perhaps the worst movie of all time: "Kidco". The plot in a nutshell is this (taken directly from  Kids who live on a horse ranch decide to sell the excess manure as fertilizer, but their new company soon comes under fire from the state tax board.  Yes, it's true the craptacular movie known as "Kidco" actually had a plot that revolved around .... crap. 

Last week, while rifling through the channels I couldn't believe my eyes. The HBO Family channel was airing "Kidco" (and not just once, but several times throughout the month!) I grabbed my DVR controller faster than Lindsay Lohan grabbing a vodka and Red Bull at an open bar and recorded the next showing. A few days later I rounded up the kids and  Tom for the big surprise: a screening of "Kidco". The lead in the movie was played by Scott Schwartz, who was riding high off his success in "The Toy" with Richard Pryor and playing a bully in "A Christmas Story." Sadly, for Scott, "Kidco" was the beginning of the end - he later went on to star in such classic pornos as "New Wave Hookers" and "Dirty Bob's Xcellent Adventure 35". (Once again thank you 

Tom has approximately 7 scenes and although he never mutters a word, his non-verbal acting skills were nothing short of spectacular. In  the opening scene he plays a kid involved in an underground 7th grade gambling/bingo ring. As the camera pans by his face I  immediately paused it while my kids laughed at their dad - aged 13, with a bowl cut, trying to look like a bingo-playing thug. Later Tom has a reaction scene which called for him to look 'relieved'. Cut to Tom sighing and quietly mumbling the words "Phew". It was Oscar worthy. Tom also has a few scenes in the courtroom and later at the end of the movie is shown prominently clapping with excitement as the manure-selling hero (Scott Schwartz) gives a speech to thousands of cheering adolescents.  

Kidco was the end of Tom's acting career. But, luckily for me I have it forever on my DVR queue, so he can relive his brush with stardom any time he wants. In retrospect it's probably a good thing he got out of the acting game when he did. I could never marry someone who had filmed a porno.


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