This week’s show features an interview with 80s movie icon Eddie Deezen, who is best known to many as “Menlo Schwartzer” in Surf II, “Wesley” from Midnight Madness, “Eugene” from Grease (1 & 2). “Eddie Lipschitz” from The Whoopie Boys and several other characters. Our discussion kicks off the second half of the show; we also feature tracks from some of his movies.
Deezen started out as a stand-up comedian and soon switched to acting, mainly because he did not like to memorize lines.[amazonify]B0000DZ3GQ[/amazonify] That, apparently, was an excellent career decision. He is credited with creating the archetype “geeky” character that was very popular in 80s movies; his portrayal is (as Deezen puts it) a successor of the similarly-played type originated by Charles Martin Smith, who played “Toad” in the movie American Graffiti. Despite where the idea originated, Deezen’s persona was copied by many actors but never matched.
After the 80s, Deezen became much more prominently known for his voice, which was prominent in several commercials, television cartoons and animated movies. His most famous roles of that variation to date are “Mandark” from Dexter’s Laboratory and “Know-It-All” from Polar Express.
During the interview, Eddie and I talk about:
- His early years as a comedian
- How he got his first role of “Eugene” in Grease
- What he took from working with several comedy greats over the years
- Eddie’s thoughts and insights on some of his characters
- Interesting behind-the-scenes discussion while starring in the movie Mob Boss opposite Morgan Fairchild.
- His transition from movie icon to one of the most in-demand voices in Hollywood.
While he is a star to many fans of all ages, Deezen is extremely humble and grateful for his success.[amazonify]B0016LFG42:right[/amazonify] He is very positive and complimentary toward his co-workers, as evidenced in our discussion, and a genuinely good fellow. >br>
Eddie also has an interesting website, eddiedeezen.com, where he posts his thoughts on various subjects, offers some challenging trivia and has information on his movies.
While most of Eddie’s movies and features can be purchased on DVD, one of his best performances, that of Surf II‘s Menlo, his first great villain character, is not. Fortunately for us, it is posted on Youtube, here is the first part of the movie (there will be links to other parts at the end):
We also played music from other artists including Mondo Rock, The Divinyls, The Clash and Kate Bush.
About the Author: This is Chris Cordani, host of the "Revenge of the 80s" Radio Show 709pm Fridays (premeireing on March 14th on Q99.1FM). This blog and the show are here so we can relive the decade where New Wave, thin ties and cheap sunglasses were king. The show is also simulcast on wtbq.com.