top of page
john astin.jpg

Even though it only ran for 2 years from 1964-1966, we all loved "The Addams Family" on ABC and it has become a cultural icon. Starring John Astin as Gomez. We left Chicago in summer of 1967, and I graduated from high school in June of 1970. I was very interested in film making, and I heard a rumor that a film was being made in San Diego shortly. I tracked it down and asked the rep if they had an extra job for an enthusiastic 17-year-old. They said they didn't, but I was welcome to come down and watch the filming. The low budget comedy starring John Astin about a taxi driver would be filming that day at a restaurant/bar in downtown San Diego. The film is known both as "Wacky Taxi" and "Pepper." It was exciting to watch this fellow I loved on TV doing a scene at a card table with three others. When they finished that scene an hour later, I happened to be standing near John Astin when the director came over to him and said, "We need an improvised scene where you are really drunk at the bar, and telling all your problems to some other drunk customer who is next to you and really out of it with his head on the counter." John agreed he could make it up. The director looked around the room, saw me standing there and said "Could you act really drunk sort of half listening to John's character?" I said "Yes, I can do that really well!" They moved the equipment over to the bar, had John sitting on a stool and me right next to him, sprawled out with my head on the counter. John did a great job of improvising dialogue and I did an Oscar-winning performance of acting inebriated, half-listening to John. I would try to raise my head, and then fall back down on the counter with great facial expression. This was so incredible for me. I was starring in a scene with John Astin, who I eagerly watched every week on TV just a few years earlier and just loved. And he was a few inches away from me, only talking to me! Apparently, the film was so bad, it only got some minor distribution, came out on VHS for a short time and never went to DVD. In the late 90's, I met a fellow that had a library of anything and everything ever out on VHS. And yes, he had a copy of "Pepper." I told him this story, he watched the film and then let me know that my scene had been cut and never made it to the final film. But the experience of my very first film role next to John Astin was incredible! They didn't pay me, but it was a thrill!

bottom of page