Friday, November 30, 2012

Old School Lane's Nickelodeon Tribute: Interview with Wally Wingert

To conclude our discussion of Invader Zim, we have another special interview! This time is actor/voice actor/Batman fan Wally Wingert. In Invader Zim, he was the voice of Allmighty Tallest Red, one of the leaders from the planet Irk. Wingert has voiced in many TV shows, cartoons, and video games such as Jon Arbuckle in The Garfield Show, The Riddler in the video games Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, the announcer on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, over 100 small roles in Family Guy, and more.

Kevin and I had the opportunity to interview Wally so I hope you enjoy it.

Patricia- Who were your influences growing up?

Wally- Definitely Adam West in Batman. Also Don Messick, Daws Butler, Howard Morris, and many other voice actors. Can cartoon characters be influences? If so, Popeye for sure. I also drew great inspiration from Henry Winkler and Paul Michael Glaser.

Kevin- Who are your favorite cartoon characters?

Wally- I think my first word was “Pipe-eye.” (As a babe I became a huge Popeye fan) I also loved The Archies, Groovie Ghoulies, The Impossibles, Space Ghost, Frankenstein Jr., Roger Ramjet, Jungle Book, and more.

Patricia- How did you get started on voicing acting?

Wally- I started as a radio DJ when I was 16. I had always loved doing voices and playing radio at home, but now that I had a public forum on the AM radio waves. I would write bits using some of my characters and impressions, and interweave them into my radio shows. It was great training!

Kevin- How did you get the part on Allmighty Tallest Red?

Wally- As I recall I went into Nickelodeon to read for a variety of characters for Casting Director Donna Grillo. Apparently I was the second choice for Red and got the role when the guy who was the first choice decided to move out of the L.A. area. Lucky me!

Kevin- What was it like working with the cast of Invader Zim?

Wally- It was some of the most fun I’ve ever had! Richard Horvitz and I had previously worked together on a series of Popeye CD-Roms and had a great time. So we went into it with a lot of our own inside jokes. But then getting to work with the great Kevin McDonald, and of course working under Jhonen were also real treats!

Patricia- How did you get to be Jon Arbuckle in the new Garfield show?

Wally- There were auditions for a new Garfield CGI direct-to-DVD film that was in the works, and I think I auditioned for every character other than Garfield, Jon and Odie. But unlike other auditions, which are just recorded on audio files, they had a video camera running at this session. I guess Mr. Jim Davis saw something in me on-camera that gave him the impression that I would make a good Jon. (I’m not sure if that’s a compliment or an insult come to think of it.:) I guess I had the same dorky sensibilities that Jon does. And for that I’m eternally grateful.

Kevin- Did you speak to Tom Huge about voicing Jon Arbuckle before starting on voicing for the Garfield cartoon?

Wally- No, but I asked the director Mark A.Z. Dippe if I should watch old Garfield cartoons and try to approximate what Tom did. He said it wasn’t necessary, so I just basically copped the same attitude and voice I used when I talked to my own dog and cat.

Patricia- Who is your favorite Batman villain?

Wally- Whyyyyy….The Riddler… of course!

Patricia- What is your favorite/least favorite Batman show, both live action and animated?

Wally- Without a doubt my absolute favorite is the 1966 Batman TV series starring Adam West and Burt Ward, followed closely by the animated series from the early 90’s. My least favorite would be the current Dark Knight series of films.

Patricia- What is your favorite/least favorite Batman movie?

Wally- My favorite Batman film is the 1966 feature film based on the TV series, followed closely by the film Val Kilmer was in. My least favorite was Batman Begins.

Patricia- What was it like voicing the Riddler on Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City?

Wally- It was an absolute dream come true! To be in the history books as anything related to Batman was a lifelong fantasy fulfilled! And it’s always fun to work with the amazing Collette Sunderman!

Kevin- What Batman action figures do you have?

Wally- I have many of the old Mego figures, with the actual cloth clothes. I wasn’t so much a fan of the 3” plastic figures. I like action figures that have actual fabric costumes. I used to adore the old Captain Action line!

Kevin- You did the documentary for the show Groovie Ghoulies. Who is your favorite characters and why?

Wally- I like Frankie best, because he’s just so darn cuddly and loveable! (And a little bit slow)

Kevin- What it is about Groovie Ghoulies that you liked? As a kid, that show was everything I wanted in a Saturday morning cartoon. It was animation, monsters and rock and roll! All balled up into one!

Wally- Did you see the Daffy Duck and Porky Pig meets the Groovie Ghoulies? Yeah, I saw a bootleg of it awhile back. It was…uh…odd.

Patricia- What is it like doing the voice announcement for The Jay Leno Show?

Wally- After two years of announcing The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, it’s still a gigantic thrill! Just as much today as it was the day I started! It’s a great group of professionals and I’m proud to be on the staff with them.

Patricia- How is Jay like in person?

Wally- Imagine the coolest guy you’ve ever known, and then times it by 1000. He’s one of the most famous people I’ve ever met (known worldwide!) but yet one of the most down-to-earth and likeable. If the world was more like Jay, the world would be a better place.

Kevin- What was it like being the alien in Can of Worms?

Wally- Since it was one of my first big VO jobs, it was a real thrill. In fact, I just bought an original conceptual sketch of the Loafer Alien on eBay recently and had it framed.

Patricia- What's it like voicing over 100 characters on Family Guy?

Wally- It’s almost as fun as being one of the regular characters. In some episodes I was 4 or 5 different characters. And you can always count on the crazy writers of Family Guy to come up with wacky and challenging characters to voice!

Patricia- What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a voice actor?

Wally- First and foremost, become a REALLY good actor. Voice acting at its core is acting, but with your voice. You must have acting chops to be good in this business, but so many people believe it’s simply all about the voice. True, you need a good instrument. But you need talent behind it to drive it properly.

Patricia- Do you have to take frequent breaks to rest your voice?

Wally- Since I’ve started working on The Tonight Show, I’ve had to pass on any videogame jobs that require vocally stressful work. Other than that, I don’t take any conscious voice breaks.

Patricia- How is it that you became a versatile voice actor?

I realized the key to success in any acting venue is versatility. That goes for on-camera as well as voice acting. I aspire to be the voice acting version of Lon Chaney. He had so many great characters, all diverse. I figured that if I can come close to what he did with my voice, I’d be very satisfied.

Kevin- What are your favorite Nickelodeon shows?

Wally- I’m not currently familiar with many TV shows on any channel.

Patricia- You voiced a lot of video games as well. Do you play video games? If so, what are your favorites?

Wally- I lack the fundamental hand-to-eye coordination necessary for successful videogame play. But I love watching others play!

Patricia- When you walk down the street, do people notice you and compliment on your work?

Wally- One of the things about the voice acting world is that it’s fairly anonymous. That can be good and bad. Once in a great while I’ll get recognized, but it’s very rare. Of course that all changes when I go to a convention, because con folks are a little more hip and enlightened than your average person-on-the-street.

Patricia- Alright then. Wally, thank you so much for taking the time to interview us.

Wally- Thank you! Cheers!

To know more about Wally Wingert, check out his website at That’s all for now. Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. Thanks for reading.

-Patricia and Kevin

Old School Lane's Nickelodeon Tribute: Invader Zim

When 2000 arrived, none of the newer shows impressed me. It didn't have the same charm that the shows from the 90's had. But one show from 2001 brought me back watching Nickelodeon again with its interesting concept, dark humor, and memorable characters. That show was Invader Zim.

The show is about an alien from Planet Irk named Zim who is determined to be a great invader and make the leaders of the planet, The Almighty Tallest, proud. The problem is that he's very cocky, unaware, and a bit of a moron. The Almighty Tallest decide to send him on a "secret mission" to an unknown planet. Zim accepts not knowing the false mission he was giving. Zim is giving a very broken dim-witted robot named GIR to assist him with his "mission" and they head over to the unknown planet. They finally arrive on Earth, disguise themselves as a human and dog, go to school, and try to learn everything about the planet long enough to learn its weaknesses.

Along the way, one human is able to recognize that Zim is not a human, but an alien. The human is a young boy named Dib. He's a paranormal expert who is extremely obsessive about ghosts, Bigfoot, and aliens. He wants to capture Zim so that he can be a hero on Earth and not crazy like everyone thinks he is. Most of his plans fail, but Zim's plan of conquering Earth also fail over and over again. It's always exciting to see them go against each other.

The show was created by Jhonen Vasquez, the author of Johnny: The Homicidal Maniac, Squee, I Feel Sick, and more. His graphic novels were very dark, had adult comedy humor, and suggestive themes.

A show like Invader Zim was no other show that had ever been aired on Nickelodeon. It was dark, had adult content, and clearly not for kids. But that's what made it great! It was so awesome and funny! I really love this show! The characters were memorable, the show had very interesting animation, and each episode was strange and odd. A show like Invader Zim would have did really well if it had aired on Adult Swim or MTV, but unfortunately, it aired on Nickelodeon. The executives cancelled the show after the second season due the graphic nature despite it being one of the most popular Nicktoons that had ever aired.

But even still to this day, Invader Zim has a huge cult following and for years, their merchandice were sold by the thousands at Hot Topic. It's a bit of a double edged sword for me because I can't stand young kids younger than 14 wearing GIR T-shirts. They didn't grow up with it and most likely don't understand the references. They wear it to make themselves look cool. I think they look like fucking posers.

Overall, if you haven't seen this show, go check it out. It was really ahead of its time of the kind of cartoons that would be popular today: colorful and strange cartoons with adult humor.

That's all for now. Tune in next time as we interviewed one of the voice actors from Invader Zim. Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Old School Lane's Nickelodeon Tribute: Interview with Peggy Sue Clay

When it comes to classic Nickelodeon shows, people mostly look back fondly at the 90’s with shows such as Doug, Rugrats, Ren and Stimpy, Clarissa Explains it All, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, All That, Rocko’s Modern Life,etc. Finding people who gush 90’s Nickelodeon shows isn’t hard: check on my blog post “90’s Nickelodeon Shows: Classic or Overrated” and “Casual Chats” episode 1 on YouTube.

However, looking for fans of 80’s Nickelodeon shows wasn't that easy. In fact, most people don’t even remember Nickelodeon shows from the 80’s at all. The earliest show that most people remember on Nickelodeon from the 80’s is Double Dare. Kevin and I decided to look for anyone who can tell us fond memories of Nickelodeon shows that date back even before Double Dare.

Little did we know that there was an entire blog that talks about 80’s Nickelodeon shows such as Pinwheel, Kids Writes, Today’s Special, Special Delivery, You Can’t Do That on Television, The Third Eye, The Tomorrow People, The Adventures of Black Beauty, and much more. The blog “Classic Nickelodeon Fan Blog” dedicates itself of discussing these now forgotten Nickelodeon shows from the 80’s.

Kevin and I interviewed the founder and blogger of the site Peggy Sue Clay. I hope you enjoy it.

Patricia- What were your favorite shows growing up?

Peggy- The Tomorrow People – both the original Series (OS) and the Big Finish Audio Dramas (AD) which were a continuation of the OS, The Adventures of Black Beauty, Kids’ Writes, Nick Rocks Video to Go, Today’s Special, The Third Eye, Spread Your Wings, The Monkees, Matt & Jenny, Standby...Lights! Camera! Action!, Studio See, Vegetable Soup and Hocus Focus.

Kevin- What was the first Nickelodeon show you ever saw?

Peggy- I don’t know that I specifically remember what show I saw but some of my earliest memories are of Vegetable Soup, The Adventures of Black Beauty, Spread Your Wings and Adventures in Rainbow Country. But I can tell you about another early memory that I have.

Back in the very early 80’s Nickelodeon would sometimes show music videos in between shows, along with their commercials, not the regular commercials like you see now. One cold winter’s day I came home from school and turned on the TV and they showed either “Get Up And Go” by the Go Gos or “Shoppin’ From A to Z” by Toni Basil. I can’t remember which one it was, or perhaps it was both but since they were two of my favorites anyway it didn’t really matter and maybe that’s why I remember that so vividly.

Kevin- What are your favorite and least favorite Nickelodeon shows?

Peggy- My favorite was The Tomorrow People; I had such a big crush on Peter Vaughn-Clarke who played Stephen Jameson. I think I had two least favorites, Against the Odds because I’ve never liked history (still don’t) although looking back I can see how educational it was. The other was Reggie Jackson's World of Sports only because I’ve never been into sports.

Patricia- What made you decide to start your blog discussing about late 70's, 80's Nickelodeon shows? 

Peggy- The blog grew out of my Yahoo group called A NewBeginning For Classic Nickelodeon. I knew that with a blog I could reach a different audience than I could with a Yahoo group and it was that thinking which ultimately let me to create my Facebook pages and groups in honor of Classic (80’s) Nickelodeon. (See links and Google “A New Beginning For Classic Nickelodeon”, everything that comes up under that name is mine.) And it was another way to advertise that I was going to (attempt) to host the very first Classic Nickelodeon Fan Meet. I posted my very first blog on Monday, April 20, 2009 about the fan meet, which was to be scheduled for July 31 - Aug 2, 2009, but unfortunately due to lack of interest it was canceled. I kept trying and trying and finally last year one guy showed up and for me that was a huge victory.

Patricia- What, in your opinion, is the difference between Nickelodeon from the 70's, 80's, 90's, and today?

Peggy- 70’s – When Nickelodeon first launched on December 1, 1977 as The Pinwheel Network on QUBE in Columbus, Ohio it was more or less a basic cable channel. They showed programs like Pinwheel, Video Comic Books, Children’s Classics, America Goes Bananaz, Hocus Focus, First Row Features, Nickel Flicks and By the Way. It wasn’t until their national relaunch on April 1, 1979 as Nickelodeon that they really became a household name. Then in 1980, new shows were added to the lineup, including Dusty's Treehouse, First Row Features, Special Delivery, What Will They Think Of Next?, Pop Clips and Livewire.

The 70’s and 80’s were both about fun and education. One good example of this was The Adventures Of Black Beauty, which taught us all how to respect our elders and others around us. They taught us about helping our neighbors and to show kindness both towards our fellow man and to animals. They taught us to always tell the truth no matter what the consequences would be. They taught us how to work hard for what we want and to stand up for the things we believe in. But all of these concepts were lost in the 1990’s show and has continued right on though today’s programming on all networks not jut Nickelodeon.

Kids’ Writes taught children how to use their imaginations, how to write and how to spell because after all, as it says in their title song, “We don’t change a word you write, we do just what ya say. And if ya hear a funny word, well, ya spelled it that way.” Mr. Wizard's World and What Will They Think Of Next? taught kids about science and Against the Odds taught kids about historical figures.

By the end of the 1980’s Nickelodeon started airing “outside commercials” as I call them. These were regular commercials like you see on your favorite television shows every night of the week but the reason this is so significant for Nickelodeon is because it meant that the network was gradually beginning to change. They were no longer a simple local network, they were beginning to make their presents known on a national level and by the end of the 1990’s Nickelodeon had started to drift away from their live action format by introducing “Nicktoons” such as: Doug, Rugrats, The Ren & Stimpy Show (a vile program in my opinion), Rocko's Modern Life, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, and many, many more.

Not only were they leaving behind the live action programs they had come known for they were also digressing in the quality of their programs. Now while you may research their history and find that it was during that time when they really became a national household name the 80’s children such as myself were reeling. (Perhaps this doesn’t apply to everyone but it certainly did for me.)

Sadly today’s Nickelodeon looks NOTHING like it use to, in fact I would go as far as to say that it should now be called “The SpongeBob Network” since that is the only show they seem to focus on. I can find nothing redeeming about the regular Nickelodeon channel (save House of Anubis and Victorious) since it is dominated by SpongeBob and The Fairly OddParents, both of which have been flagged by the Parents Television Council as having sexual references, bullying, swearing and much more. (See Wolves In Sheep’s Clothing – A Content Analysis of Children’sTelevision from March 2, 2006 )

In January 2012 my city’s CableOne upgraded and they added roughly ten new channels with Teen Nick being one of them and for the first time I got to see some of the 90’s shows that (some of) my members grew up on. I didn’t like all of them but the ones that I didn’t mind sitting though are Kenan & Kel, Doug, and I had already seen Legends of the Hidden Temple so I knew I liked it. Currently I watch House of Anubis (I’m sooo excited for the third season!!!), Drake & Josh, Victorious, H2O Just Add Water and sometimes I watch Alien Surf Girls although I can’t seem to get into it.

Patricia- What shows from Nickelodeon have poorly aged? Which shows aged the best?

Peggy- I think a show is measured, or aged, by how well the fans remember it. Certainly shows like Double Dare, You Can’t Do That On Television, The Tomorrow People, Today’s Special and Legends of the Hidden Temple will be around for a very long since their fandoms are still very strong. But then here are other shows like Against the Odds and Going Great that both scored very low viewer scores in the 80’s which led to both of them being canceled. I think shows that lasted only one season are the ones that have aged poorly.

Patricia- What are the most underrated and overrated shows on Nickelodeon?

Peggy-  Probably the most underrated show would have to be Pinwheel. So many people try to compare it to Sesame Street just because it had both human actors and puppets but really that’s where the comparison should end. Sesame Street was, and still is, very much a “teaching mode” type program were children learn their alphabet and how to count. They also deal with issues such as death and other current situations. Pinwheel taught children how to use their imagination, they learned how to respect each other’s different tastes in music and how to have fun and be children. (Or at least that’s what the six remaining hours of the show have helped me to remember.)

But by far the most overrated show on Nickelodeon today is SPONGE BOB SQUARE PANTS!!! I’m sorry if this offends anyone who reads this but I BLOODY HATE THAT SHOW!!! I mentioned above that the Parents Television Council has already sited it for using swear words, sexual references and a lot more. Trust me, read the article you’ll learn a lot about the different programs that were on when the study was conducted and that are still on the air.

Back to Bob. Nickelodeon didn’t even celebrate their 30th anniversary because they were too worried about celebrating Bob’s 10th anniversary. In my opinion both the 80’s and the 90’s fans were robbed because of Bob!

Patricia- I did a podcast of the top 20 Nickelodeon shows that need to be remade. What shows from Nickelodeon do you want to see remade?

Peggy- This is such a great question because I had already started thinking about this around 2008 when I first saw H2O Just Add Water. Now these are in no particular order so here we go.

The Third Eye

I totally agreed with you on this one. I think they should either remake the original shows that aired on it or add new ones or both. That being said did you know that Under the Mountain has been remade into a new movie? I’ve seen it; I own it and I love it! It’s a little different than the original with the twins being older and Sam Neill now plays the mysterious “Mr. Jones”. The Wilberforces are back in full force and just for us Classic Fans, Kirsty Wilkinson, who portrayed Rachel Matheson from the original "Under the Mountain" on television, made a cameo appearance in the film as Mr. Jones' Neighbor and Bill Johnson, who portrayed the original Mr. Wilberforce also made a cameo appearance in the film as Mr. Carpenter. I have to admit that even I had to go back and check that one. LOL The one, and pretty much only, problem I have with this new film is that almost every scene with the male cousin he was all over his girlfriend! And I don’t care if it is an update, that kind of behavior was totally uncalled for in this movie especially when it was supposed to be (more or less) a kids movie!!!

I love the charm of The Haunting of Cassie Palmer and Children Of The Stones; I don’t have a problem with bad acting or perhaps a few moments of thin scripting because that’s what makes them classics. I own all four of the original stories, including the Under the Mountain remake and except for Into the Labyrinth, which I didn’t care, for I love them but I do think that with today’s technology they could all be updated and made even creepier than the originals.

Now here’s my twist to this, I would also like to add new programs to this line up. I think H2O Just Add Water, House of Anubis, The Sarah Jane Adventures and Alien Surf Girls would all fit very well into the creepy style of The Third Eye. In fact that was the very statement I made to my mom when we started watching all of these shows. (Yes she watches all of the same shows I do and she loves them all just as I do. I have such a cool Mom!!!)

Also one quick note, The Witches and the Grinnygog was announced as part of The Third Eye lineup but never aired, it was actually shown as part of the Special Delivery program.


This long time favorite is a perfect candidate for an update, but not just an update, I think it should be a continuation of the original series. I think all of the new characters should be related to all of the original characters but with one small change. Defiantly bring back an “Aurelia” type character to run Pinwheel House; perhaps her great niece except that she should be a human character not a puppet.

Jake and Kim’s nieces, cousins or even their children could come to stay at Pinwheel house just like their family members before them. (Not have Jake and Kim married to each other but to different people and their children come back.) Just the same as Sal and Smitty’s son with is new wife could come back and revive the old “Daily Noodle” that his parents use to run.

Puppeteers Craig Marin and Olga Felgemacher could easily reimagine new puppets for the show and could recommend others to fill in the other characters. But I think The Muppets should be left completely out of it; this needs to be totally separate from The Muppets organization. 

I also think that the cartoon / stop-motion shorts could all be updated and refreshed. I would still want to see traditional animation, very few computer cartoons, and we should defiantly keep all of the various stop-motion animations, “puppettoons”, claymations and all of the building block sequences. They all have such a charm to them and it would be ashamed for a new generation of children to loose out on them.

Today’s Special

Just think of how many new things Jeff could lean in the world today!!! 

You Can't Do That On Television

This show screams “update” because again, like Jeff, think about how many new things they’d have to talk about these days! But stick to the “real kids” cast like the original cast was. One of the things I didn’t like about the 1990’s version of The Mickey Mouse Club was that the kids were all singers and dancers and I would HATE to see that happen to YCDTOTV. Also, keep the slime thick and lumpy!!! None of that neon green oil that they try to pass off as “slime” these days! – WE WANT OUT REAL SLIME!!!!!

Double Dare & Legends of the Hidden Temple are both perfect for updating but yes keep the “bare bones” of the shows. Update the rooms and the giant props and of course the stories and questions. Find a great host and they’d have it made. Both are still awesome even to this day but they could also stand a little refreshing.

Kids’ Writes

I would LOVE to see Mr. Mairs bring back this show on any network. It was so innovative and creative and it really helped children to learn how to use not only their imagination but also their writing and spelling skills. Have the exact same type of set, bring back Mr. Mairs and have a new cast. This show could ABSOLUTELY work for today’s kids and now that we have the Internet kids would be able to email their stories in as well as physically mail them in.

An Out Of Control movie would be fun. The cast could get word that their old studio is about to be torn down so they go back to save it? Hummm, I’ll have to email this to Marty (Schiff who played “Hern Burford”) and see what he and Dave (Coulier) think about it.

The Tomorrow People

Now this is a tricky one since there have already been two updates to this show and a third one has now been scheduled.

The first update came in 1992 and was very unsuccessful. The show had none of the charm of the Original Series (OS) and indeed seemed to go in a totally new direction. The characters were flat and undeveloped, there was no Lab, no Jaunting Belts or Bands, nothing that tied it to the original show and it was canceled after three years. 

Big Finish did the second update in a series of Audio Dramas (AD) that were, in my opinion, very successful. They returned to the roots of the show, brought back several of the original characters, brought us new characters and brought us storylines that were thought provoking. When I listen to my ADs I can “see” the story in my mind and it’s so brilliant. Yes they are a bit edgier but they are so very well written and because of that I didn’t mind it. If you are a fan of the OS TP, and if you can find them, I would highly recommend this series.
Now the CW Network has announced another update of this series and it both excites me and terrifies me. I’m excited because if the producers are true fans as they claim to be and will cater to both an old and new audience and if they stay true to the basic story, I think it will be wonderful. However the idea of an American network taking over is that they will try to turn it into another teenage soap opera with slutty teenagers (male and female) with no morals, no values and who do nothing more than sleep around and back talk their elders. If the CW follows this route, the show will be an epic failure; or at least in my eyes it will be.

Patricia- Why do you think that Nickelodeon shows from the 70's and 80's aren't as highly regarded as the ones from the 90's?

Peggy- Well unfortunately it all comes down to demographics. The simple fact is that the 90’s Kids (Generation Y) far outnumber the 80’s Children (Generation X) and therefore we, the 80’s Children, have been sadly overlooked; and the fact that most, not all, 90’s Kids won’t even acknowledge us doesn’t help. Most of them have never seen “our” Nickelodeon so they think we should be forgotten and I’m sorry to say that even the Nickelodeon executives agree with them.

I once read that they, the executives, have called their 80’s programs, “their green vegetable time” (that was the just of the quote). So when the executives won’t even acknowledge us, then what chance do we really have? And I think that’s why the early to mid 80’s shows have been overlooked so the fans need to keep them alive. There are so few Generation Xers left out there so we need to stoke rekindle that fire and stoke it so that it will always burn strong. And we need to let Nickelodeon know that even though they have forgotten about us we have not forgotten about them, after all, it if wasn’t for them we wouldn’t all be who we are today.

Patricia- What was the nicest feedback you received from a fan or follower on your blog?

Peggy- Occasionally people will find my blog or Facebook pages / groups and email me to ask if I can help them remember a show that they only have vague memories of. That always makes me feel good but by far the most wonderful thing that has come from my blog was y’all asking me to do this interview. Now I am NOT a kiss-up person and I never say things to people just to make them feel good so I mean this from the bottom of my heart.

In every fandom there is a “go to person” that everyone turns to with their questions about that show. (For Tomorrow People everyone turns to Jackie Clark, for Fame TV show and movies everyone turns to Pam.) When I first realized that I wanted to go “full time” with the preservation of these (usually) long forgotten 80’s shows I told my Mom that I wanted to be the “go to person” for Classic Nickelodeon fans and that dream is really coming true with fans emailing me about shows and then with you and Kevin asking me for this interview. Y’all have truly touched my heart, thank you.

Patricia-What are your upcoming projects?

Peggy- I plan to keep updating my website and blog in hopes that Classic Nickelodeon fans everywhere can reconnect with their favorite childhood memories. The idea of a fan meet is still in the back of my head although I have no idea how I’d do it. I was thinking about changing the name from “Classic Nickelodeon Fan Meet” to “NickCon” in hopes that it would attract more fans. The only small problem I can find with that is I want it to be an 80’s fan meet, not a 90’s fan meet and I would still want to host it here in my home town in Oklahoma. I have no idea how I’ll do it but Marty Schiff and Davie Coulier have already promised me that if / when I finally get it off the ground that they would be happy to be my special guest. J I would also like to star a Nickelodeon Fan Club here in my hometown in hopes of building up a local base to help kick off the fan meets / cons.
Then one of my Moderators from New Beginning thinks I should do an online radio show for CN but at this point in my life I don’t see how I’d ever fit it into my schedule. Also on that “on of these days” list is a book I want to write about CN. I already have the title and the outline I’m just not sure how to exactly get started with it since it is so unlike anything I’ve ever written before.

I have written (put together) a “Book of Slime” and a “Nickelodeon Songbook” both of which I was going to sell at the fan meet but since it never got off the ground… The Slime book is a collection of slime recopies that I’ve collected from all over the Internet and the songbook contains the lyrics from several CN shows as well as many songs from the six remaining hours of Pinwheel and the Pinwheel Songbook video. I hand transcribed many of the songs in that book and a few lyrics I found online, which I also posted the links. Both were a labor of love and devotion however no one outside of my family has seen them. Sad. And the only other thing I can think of at the moment is that I’ve been considering a web show featuring all of the shows I write about in my blogs.

Patricia- Alright then. Peggy, thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions.
Peggy- Thank you so much! I'm beyond honored!
To learn more about the blogs and websites, here are the following links:

Also if you look up “A New Beginning For Classic Nickelodeon” on F/B you will find a page and a group by the same name and she owns both of them.

That's all for now! Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. Thanks for reading!

-Patricia and Kevin

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Old School Lane's Nickelodeon Tribute: Interview with Marc Weiner

A tad bit late, I know. But still, better late than never. Our next interview is comedian/puppeteer Marc Weiner. Around the 70’s and 80’s, Weiner performed his kooky and creative puppets on Saturday Night Live, The Bizarre Show, The Jim Henson Hour, Laughs, The Joey Delux Show, and many more. For kids who grew up in the 90’s, he’s mostly known for his 1993 variety show Weinerville.

For kids who grew up in the 2000’s, he’s mostly known as the voice of Swiper and Map from the Nick Jr. program Dora the Explorer. Today he still does his standup show worldwide, he’s the founder and developer of The Empathy Labyrinth Center, and he’s currently working on putting new Weinerville videos on YouTube alongside his son Max.

Kevin and I had the chance to interview Marc, so I hope you enjoy it.
Patricia- What were your favorite cartoons/programs growing up?

Marc- Little Rascals, Three Stooges, Abbott and Costello, Red Skelton Show, and Laugh-in.

Patricia- Who are your comedic influences?

Marc- Red Skelton, Stooges, Abbott and Costello, Jerry Lewis, Jonathan Winters, Lucille Ball, Robin Williams, Ray Abruzzo and Marvin Silbermintz.

Kevin- What was it like doing your puppet show on The Bizarre Show?

Marc-  AMAZING! The producer of that show, Bob Einstein was and still is one of the funniest and nicest person I have ever met in show business. As well as John Byner, the host. Both John and Bob were very supportive of my work and gave me room to be funny. I will always be grateful to them.

Patricia- What funny stories can you tell us about your experiences being on Saturday Night Live?

Marc- It was after my first appearance on SNL that Joe Piscopo took me into the producer's office and made them hiring me for the following week. My head writer and dear friend Ray Abruzzo, wrote a rap song for my Afro-American puppet Weindulah to perform. We played it for Eddie Murphy and he said, "You white boys don't know how to write rap music" and re-wrote the song on the spot. It went over very well.

You can see these SNL shows on Netflix (Feb 1980)

Patricia-What made you decide to create half-human half-puppets?

Marc- I worked with a street puppeteer in Boston and then when I came to NYC, I joined the Bond Street Theater group. They asked me to make puppets for them and I just did it. I developed the Weinerville style puppet for my nightclub act because I wanted to be able to do many different puppets on stage without having to make the audience wait as I took off one and put on another. So I lined a series of puppets up each behind little closed door on my puppet set and I would put my head on one and open the door, do my routine close the door and move to the next one. It was quick and funny.

Kevin- How did you come up with the idea of Weinerville?

Marc- I was coming up with all these head puppet ideas and getting them on many different TV shows and a producer suggested that I could actually have my own show, I'll called it Weinerville.

Patricia- What were your inspirations to become a puppeteer?

Marc- When I first came to NY, I watch a street mime use his fingers to do a tight rope walking routine. I didn't just see his fingers but I saw a little man. So I sewed a little puppet outfit for my hand and asked a mask maker to help me make my first mask to fit around my wrist.  That's how I made my first hand Weinerette style puppet (Rocko and Socko).

Patricia- How did you come up with the ideas of your puppets such as Dottie, Boney, Socko, and Cocktail Frank?

Marc- Dottie, well, I think I put on a wig and just went with it and out she came. The idea for Boney came from a very funny man named Marvin Silbermintz, who was one of my writers on Weinerville. Marvin told me his idea, I came up with the voice, and puppet master David Jordon made the puppet. Socko is a younger version of my puppet Rocko from SNL. Cocktail Frank is living my dream of being a rock n roll star.

Patricia- What would be the process of getting an episode of Weinerville done?

Marc- Someone would pitch the premise for the episode, then I would ask them to add twice as much shtick and gags to it and then we would shoot it.

Kevin- If you could've had any guest on Weinerville, who would it be and why?

Marc- I never thought I could have guests on my show. The only reason a few guests appeared on the show was because they happened to be visiting Nickelodeon at Universal Studios in Florida. A PA would come running in and say so-and-so is on the Nick Tour, do you want me to ask them if they would appear on the show? Yes!!!!! Grab them and quickly get the writers.

Patricia- When Weinerville first came out, it had gotten many praises from viewers because there was nothing like it on TV. Even still to this day, there's no other show like Weinerville. What, in your opinion, makes Weinerville still a very unique show that still holds up today? Why do you think no one tried to replicate it?

Marc- I think Weinerville was kind of in the genre of The Soupy Sales Show and Pee-wee’s Playhouse: silly funny shtick for kids and adults.

Patricia- What was the audition process for voicing Swiper and Map on Dora the Explorer?

Marc- I knew the producers from working down in Florida and they just hired me.

Patricia- On January 2011, you made an announcement that you and your son Max were going to release new episodes of Weinerville on YouTube. How's the process coming along? When can we expect to see new episodes?

Marc- Max is very busy with his musical career and we hope to release a few short Boney shorts each year. We really appreciate all our YouTube fans.

Kevin- What was the nicest feedback you had ever received from a fan?

Marc- I think it was when a fan wrote to us saying that they had been watching Weinerville on TV in their family play room instead of playing in the front room of his house. All of a sudden, a car crashed into that front room of his house. If he hadn't been watching Weinerville, he would have been in that front room and would have been killed. Now that's great fan mail!

Patricia- Whenever you're out and about, do people stop and say "Oh my god, you're Marc Weiner. I was a huge fan of Weinerville when I was a kid. You're awesome!"

Marc- Back in the day.  Now it's just when I look in the mirror.

Patricia- What are your upcoming projects?

Marc- Finishing up our 8th season of Dora, teaching children and adults how communicate more compassionately with each other via my Empathy Labyrinth, touring with my stand up show, and trying to be the most empathic and loving father I can be to my children.

Patricia- That’s all the questions. Marc, thank you so much for taking the time to interview us. It has been an honor.

Marc- Thank you very much for this interview. Happy holidays.

To learn more about Empathy Labyrinth, you can check out the website at For more information about Weinerville, check it out at Also follow him on Facebook and Twitter at and @WeinervilleTV.

That’s all for now. Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. Thanks for reading.

-Patricia and Kevin


Friday, November 23, 2012

Top 20-11 Nickelodeon Shows That Need to be Remade

The second list of the top 10 Nickelodeon shows that needed to be remade. While not as desperate and needed as the ones that made it to the original list, it was necessary enough to mention them. Which shows need to be updated for a new generation? Well, expect a few surprises, obscure shows, and one show that makes me really angry! What Nickelodeon shows do you want to see remade? Post it in the comments below.

Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. Take care.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Old School Lane's Top 5 Nickelodeon Thanksgiving Specials

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! It's time for another countdown! As I said in the last post, there aren't as much Thanksgiving specials in comparison to Christmas and Halloween specials. However there are enough Thanksgiving specials for me to do a top 5 list. Which are the best of the best? Which ones are the specials that we tune in to watch every year after we watch football and the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade? Well, let's find out. Here are my top 5 Nickelodeon Thanksgiving specials.

5. Turkey Day from Kenan & Kel

What happens when you combine Thanksgiving with Kenan & Kel? A hilarious Thanksgiving special. It's Thanksgiving at the Rockmore house and Kel gets into trouble once again by eating the family turkey. Kenan and Kel go through crazy scenarios trying to cover up this huge mess. They try to cover it with turkey slices and mashed potatoes, they order new turkeys, one cooked, but two live ones, and they try to stall Kenan's grandparents into not thinking about the dinner despite them being really hungry. Once again, Kenan & Kel shows us hilarity and great jokes in this funny Thanksgiving special. It's, in my opinion, the best live action Nickelodeon special!

4. The Turkey Who Came to Dinner from Rugrats

It took a while, but Rugrats finally released their first and only Thanksgiving special in 1997. Grandpa Lou failed to buy a turkey for the family. All of a sudden, the babies happen to see a live turkey running around their backyard. The babies try to make friends with the turkey not knowing that the reason why its important is because the grown ups want to eat him. As time goes on, they figure it out and try to hide the turkey away from the grown ups. It's a very cute special that ends in a happy note.

There is a Thanksgiving special that has a similar concept to the Rugrats Thanksgiving special, but it's more funnier and stronger. That special is...

3. Rocko's Modern Thanksgiving from Rocko's Modern Life

Rocko's Modern Life was the first Nicktoon that had a Thanksgiving special in 1993 and it would hold that position until 1997. In this special, everyone is excited to have a delicious Thanksgiving feast, especially Ed Bighead. He has a real live turkey that he's fattening up and waiting until the day arrives. The turkey runs away and heads over to Rocko's house since Rocko's eating a vegetarian tofu turkey and he feels safe there. Rocko tries to hide him and it starts off well until every live turkey in O-Town goes to his house. It's a really nice special since it goes to show you that Thanksgiving is not just about a feast consisting of eating turkeys, it's about being surrounded by family and friends and being thankful with what you have.

2. Ten Chairs from As Told by Ginger

Not a lot of people have seen As Told by Ginger's Thanksgiving special. As I mentioned in my review of As Told by Ginger, the show went through many schedule changes and eventually went over to the Nicktoons Network. It's the most recent Thanksgiving special in my list debuting in the year 2009 and it's a really good one. Ginger, Carl, Lois, and Dr. Dave are planning a very special Thanksgiving party inviting the Bishops and Dr. Dave's mother. Ginger decides to include another surprise guest: her father. Carl is upset about it since his relationship with his father is still a bit bitter due to him leaving the family and Lois doesn't know about it. Meanwhile Carl and Hoodsey buy a live turkey so they can free it. What happens is a huge disaster to the Thanksgiving feast. This is a very well done, down to earth Thanksgiving special. It tugs in your heart strings and makes you feel good at the end. It makes you appreciate your family, whether you like them or not. Check it out sometime!

1. Arnold's Thanksgiving from Hey Arnold

Predictable, I know. But I couldn't help it. It's so down to earth and funny at the same time. It goes to show you how true Thanksgiving is. Arnold wishes to have the perfect Thanksgiving, but his unorthodox grandmother confuses it for the 4th of July and they celebrate it with dressing up as the founding fathers cooking hot dogs outside in the cold. Arnold leaves his family and wanders alone. Meanwhile Helga isn't happy with her Thanksgiving due to Olga being the center of attention, Miriam busy cooking the food, and Big Bob watching football. When the dinner is ready, Helga tells her family that she's thankful for nothing and leaves the house. Arnold and Helga walk around seeing who has the perfect Thanksgiving and nobody is, even Mr. Simmons with his crazy family.

In the end it goes to show you that Thanksgiving isn't perfect sometimes. The most important things to remember is to be thankful with what you have even if it's not what you want in life. However, it's what we have and we should make the best of it. Eventually we're happy that we do have it because once it's gone, it's gone forever. We should appreciate what we have and give lots of love to our family and friends.

Those are my top 5 Nickelodeon Thanksgiving specials. What Thanksgiving specials do you watch every year? Post it in the comments below. That's all for now. I hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Take care!