Before They Were Stars: Yannick Bisson on “Learning the Ropes”

I don’t know if many of you non-Canuck readers are familiar with Murdoch Mysteries, but it’s a pretty popular TV series here in Canada that has been on the air for several seasons. Anyway, Yannick Bisson plays William Murdoch, the title character on the show, and it was quite a surprise to discover that during the 1980s, he had the misfortune of starring on Learning the Ropes, the world’s only attempt at a sitcom about professional wrestling. Lyle Alzado portrayed a schoolteacher who moonlighted as a masked wrestler and Bisson played his teenage son. The whole show was atrocious and represented everything that was bad about hackneyed 1980s sitcoms, but I do remember liking it as a kid since several wrestlers from the National Wrestling Alliance made guest appearances. Where else are you going to see the star of Murdoch Mysteries act alongside Hawk and Animal, the Road Warriors?!

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Gill’s On Vacation – Part 41 – Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl

Here’s another Fantasia-themed movie for you to enjoy! This one is probably the best representation of the movies I’ve been watching at the festival.

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Before They Were Stars: Gary Oldman on “Dramarama”

Dramarama was a British teen drama anthology series which aired on ITV during the 1980s and some of its stories often featured supernatural elements. A young Gary Oldman had an early role in a 1984 episode, but alas, it appears to be one of the non-supernatural ones. Oldman plays a slacker living off his parents’ inheritance who gets a new outlook on life when he befriends a homeless punk rocker. Hmmmm, you could almost say it inspired him to take on his star-marking role of Sid Vicious in Sid and Nancy.

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Gill’s On Vacation – Part 40 – Exit Through the Gift Shop

Sorry about my absence yesterday! The festival is busy and I don’t have steady access to wifi. So to apologize, here is one of my favorite documentaries of all time.

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Before They Were Stars: Andy Serkis on “The New Statesman”

Want to catch a glimpse of a young Andy Serkis long before he was the king of motion capture performance? His first onscreen role was appearing in a 1989 episode of The New Statesman, a satirical British sitcom which starred the late Rik Mayall as an ultra-right wing Conservative MP named Alan B’Stard. You can see Serkis pop up at the 20:44 mark of this episode as a reporter. As if this episode didn’t have enough British acting legends, Stephen Fry is also in it, along with Hugh Laurie in a brief cameo as a waiter.

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Before They Were Stars: 12-Year Old Julianne Hough as an Extra in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”

Given that the casts of the Harry Potter movies are pretty much exclusively British pedigree, you wouldn’t expect a Utah-born future country music star to pop up in it. However, when she was 12 years old, Julianne Hough was living in London, so she was able to get herself a gig as an extra in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. She plays a student from Gryffindor House during the Quidditch sequence and you can her standing close to Ron at the 3:20 and 4:41 marks of this clip.

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Gill’s On Vacation – Part 39 – Prom Night

Why Prom Night, you ask? Because it’s playing at the Fantasia Film Festival! Watch it with me, won’t you?

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Before They Were Stars: James Garner in “Man from 1997″

Since the legendary James Garner passed away this weekend at the age of 86, I decided to dig up some early footage of him and was pleasantly surprised by what I found. Conflict was an anthology TV series which ran during the 1950s and many of their standalone episodes wound up functioning as pilots for future shows. One of those episodes became Maverick, the TV series which made James Garner a star, but he also had a supporting role in an episode entitled Man from 1997. The storyline involves a guy discovering an almanac which was accidentally left behind by a time traveler from 1997. He decides to use the information from the almanac to bet on sporting events and make himself rich. Hmmmm, does this plot sound suspiciously similar to the second movie from a very popular time-travelling trilogy starring Michael J. Fox? Anyway, Garner plays the lead character’s brother and makes his first appearance at the 6:50 mark.

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Gill’s On Vacation – Part 38 – Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky

Posting is going to get spotty over the next couple of weeks while I’m saturating myself in copious amounts of Fantasia Festival films. So here’s another movie for you to watch in my absence, and if you haven’t seen it, you OWE IT TO YOURSELF TO WATCH IT. Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky is one of the most incredible movies ever made.

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Before They Were Stars: 10-Year Old Elisabeth Moss Does a Voice in “Recycle Rex”

Well, in addition to the likes of Batman: The Animated Series, Frosty Returns and Animaniacs, here’s some more footage from the extensive childhood animated voice-over career of Elisabeth Moss. Recycle Rex is a 12-minute short film which is an unlikely collaboration between Disney and the California Department of Conservation. Basically, a bunch of cartoon dinosaurs extol the virtues of recycling and while I can’t be 100 % certain, I’m pretty Moss does the voice of the hyper yellow pterodactyl.

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