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Minute 14 and Still Counting

Original Station Break item:

So I'm watching the E! True Hollywood Story about Growing Pains, and about ten minutes in they mention that Kirk Cameron got his acting start on a He-Man commercial. Naturally, my ears perk up. And a few seconds later, yes, there I am in the lower-right corner of the screen, resplendent in my bowl haircut and jaunty black turtleneck.

The bastards cut out my big line ("Skeletor is His Enemy!"), but I can now say that I have been on an episode of E! True Hollywood Story. So there's one more important life goal checked off the list.

Now if I could just meet Carrot Top, I could die a happy man.

Philip Michaels:

"Skeletor is His Enemy!"

Is he, Steve? Is he really? Or does Skeletor just get a bad rap from the He-Man-biased media?

After all, what was Skeletor really after? Power, riches, fame? Well if that's a crime, then maybe we're all mortal enemies of He-Man. All Skeletor wanted is the things we all want -- to make a name for himself and to find his own particular niche in this crazy, knockabout world. Maybe his methods are a little extreme. Maybe he cuts a few corners here and there. Maybe he's summoned the forces of Evil to aid him in his quest. But Skeletor wasn't born into a life of luxury and privilege like He-Man. He didn't grow up with the Power of Greyskull at his beck and call. He didn't have Man-At-Arms and BattleCat to do his dirty work. He didn't have the support of a good woman like She-Ra. All Skeletor had was Skeletor -- and he did the best he could do.

Skeletor is his enemy? Maybe. But maybe there's a little bit of Skeletor in us all.

Monty Ashley:

There certainly is a bit of Skeletor in me. I've seen the X-rays!

And not to harsh your groove or anything, but I'm pretty sure Skeletor had plenty of minions of his own. Just because they were sold separately doesn't mean they weren't loyal.

Steve Lutz:

This is true. I have one of the first retail Skeletors ever sold, courtesy Mattel. It came packaged with a little full-color book describing the Skelster's exploits, and in said book he's already hangin' with Beast-Man. I'm not sure what having a "close personal henchman" named Beast-Man implies about Skeletor's sexuality, but the dude did generally wear nothing but a furry purple loincloth. You can draw your own conclusion.

And it's official. I am the only person involved in a He-Man commercial that did not go on to at least a moderate level of fame and fortune in the entertainment industry. Those ads spawned Kirk Cameron, Barret Oliver (of "The Neverending Story," "D.A.R.Y.L.," and "Cocoon"), and, I just found out, Stephen Dorff (of "Blade" and "Dorff on Golf"). In fact, there's a good chance that may be Dorff gawking stupidly over Kirk's shoulder in that clip. Where's my piece of the pie, dammit?

Frankly, I never really understood the appeal of He-Man. He's got one of the dumbest names of any toy ever (when I read the audition script, I initially thought it was a typo), and his big selling point was that you could rotate his torso independently of his groin and watch in awe as he sluggishly spun back around.

Oh, boy! If I spend 45 minutes setting up these action figures at exactly the right angle, I can make He-Man knock the sword out of Skeletor's hand! Or at least tilt it into an uncomfortable position!

I didn't write the script. They just handed it to me and said, "Here, kid, read this and shut up." I was ten, man, I didn't think I was qualified to question the motivation of my character. Only now that I'm older do I realize, that motivation was hatred and fear.

You think I don't know I contributed to years of discrimination against half-naked blue men with skull faces? That because of my narrow-minded declaration, Skeletor spent every damn day of his life being buried under avalanches, trapped in Castle Greyskull, set upon by Eternian flora and fauna, or otherwise very nearly killed? All for the price of a paycheck plus residuals. It haunts my every waking hour!

Skeletor is his enemy, damn you. But it's not Skeletor's fault. It's mine.

Philip Michaels:

As I recall, Stephen Dorff made "Dorff on Golf" somewhere between "Backbeat" and "S.F.W."

But really, the question that's been bugging me during this whole e-mail exchange: why wasn't Steve interviewed for the Kirk Cameron E! True Hollywood Story?

NARRATOR: Even at the earliest stages of his career, it seemed like Kirk was getting too much too fast. One co-star remembers.

LUTZ: So we finish making the He-Man commercial. I nail the line about Skeletor being He-Man's enemy, the director says cut, and then Kirk turns to me and says, "You wanna do a line of blow?"

INTERVIEWER: But... but you were just little kids!

LUTZ: Yeah, that's what the hookers kept telling us.

NARRATOR: It wasn't just He-Man commercials where Kirk's wild side came out.

JEREMY MILLER: It was the first season of Growing Pains. Kirk was on his best behavior for most of the year, but round about the 13th or 14th episode, he started showing up late on the set. Stinking of booze, too. I've never seen Alan Thicke so pissed off..

INTERVIEWER: Excuse me. Who are you?

JEREMY MILLER: I'm Jeremy Miller. I played Ben. Ben Seaver on Growing Pains.

INTEVIEWER: I thought that was Leonard DiCaprio.

JEREMY MILLER: No... no, I get that all the time. He was added later. I was there from the beginning.

INTERVIEWER: Uh, huh. Right.

JEREMY MILLER: No, really, I was on Growing Pains!

INTERVIEWER: Sure, you were, pal.

JEREMY MILLER: I have a clip reel right...


JEREMY MILLER: Goddammit. Not again.

Steve Lutz:

The reason I haven't been interviewed by E! is probably because the only thing I have to say about Kirk Cameron is that I showed him how to solve his Rubik's Cube. (Note: This statement contains no thinly-veiled sexual connotation.) That, and that his hair is naturally straight. That pubic coif he sports in Growing Pains is a perm. Scandalous!

The truth is that he'd be a lot more likely to turn to me and say, "You wanna do a line of Jesus?" Kirk's big vice was that some time around the third season of GP (as we Hollywood insiders refer to it) he became a born again Christian.

That episode of E!TTHS (again, insider-speak) is actually pretty hilarious. The show lives and dies on drug addiction, homosexuality, and eating disorders, so it had a hell of a time making Kirk Cameron look disreputable.

NARRATOR: When Kirk returned to the set for season four, the cast immediately noticed that something seemed different. (Cue synth-heavy musical piece that I usually refer to as "Ode to the Downward Spiral.") Then, in November, the cast confronted Kirk, who revealed that he had... (musical crescendo) turned to Jesus!

JOANNA KERNS: Kirk's Bible-reading had really gotten out of hand. He was going to church. Praying. Passing out pamphlets to the crew. I finally went to the producers and told them, "This has got to stop before he... becomes a priest!"

Poor Jeremy Miller. Poor Danny Pintauro. Poor, poor Jeremy Licht, Danny Ponce, Brice Beckham, and Michael Fishman. Surely there must be a place for them on the WB.

Additional contributions to this article by: The Vidiots, Steve Lutz.


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