Monday, November 16, 2009

Unearthed! My Film Debut In 1989's "Worst Of Enemies"

"Take 3. Scene 22. Sound 4."
"Slate it." Crack!
It's true. They really do say "Action!" and snap a slate before each scene. Everything is just the way it's supposed to be in the movies.
Except for me.
I'm a reporter, masquerading as an actor.

I used to do some crazy things in the name of journalism.

I was a newspaper editor and reporter for the "Syracuse Herald-Journal" in Syracuse, New York, from 1986 to 1995. I'm not sure how it started, but around 1989 I began writing a series of Plimpton-esque articles in which I inserted myself into some ridiculous situations for which I was ill-suited and then lived to tell the tale.

I was a stand-up comedian at a professional comedy club and a roving actor in a Renaissance faire. I rode in a hot-air balloon and bungee-jumped off a giant crane over a parking lot (although someone else in the newsroom beat me to the punch and filed their first-person account first).

I also auditioned for, and won, a small part in "Worst of Enemies" (original title "Constant Reminders"), a $240,000 film that was being filmed in Syracuse in 1989, co-written and directed by, and also starring, 26-year-old Garrett Abdo, a Syracuse native. It's about two best friends and the woman who comes between them.

Now it's time for makeup. Makeup. I'm having makeup put on my face. Eyeliner. ("Ouch!') And lipstick. (Eeewww!) I've never left a lipstick mark on a Styrofoam cup before.

I played a waiter named "Bob," who's good friends with Abdo's main character, "Mitch." I had nine lines over two scenes -- a bit more than I bargained for when I came up with the idea of being an "extra."

I'd only seen the movie once, at its Syracuse premiere on the giant screen at the opulent Landmark Theatre. From there, I think it went straight to VHS and ended up in video rental shops across America, courtesy of infamous distributor Raedon Home Video.

I've been trying to find a copy ever since, but only recently had any luck -- courtesy of Amazon -- after hooking up with Abdo on Facebook. He's now managing a comedy club in Atlanta and says he recently finished his second feature film. He's doing well after all these years.

"The most amazing thing to me is that this idea I had in my head is coming to life," Abdo told me at the time.

Part of my original story in the Syracuse Herald-Journal on May 4, 1989.

The copy of the film I received in the mail left a bit to be desired. The music's all woozy and the picture quality is pretty bad, but it has been 20 years, after all.

I had one of my scenes from "Worst of Enemies" transferred from VHS and uploaded to YouTube. It's posted above. See what you think. (Abdo is the guy in the moustache. I'm the guy dressed like a waiter.)

I had a fantastic time those many years ago and I am so glad I finally found a copy of the movie for my library.

All the best to Gary for allowing me to enter his world for a few days so many years ago.

And now, you'll have to excuse me. I've got to finish creating my page on IMDB.


  1. It might be just my perverted self, but that poster (or whatever it is) from the film looks like something for an 80's porno...:)

  2. Having watched the clip i can confirm that it is an 80's porno movie! Just listen to the music and look at the hair!

  3. Now you know the real reason I was hired! I had no acting experience, but ...

  4. Whoa, that is cool!

    How did Mitch do in his new job? Did you and that gay waiter ever hook up?

  5. Is the guy who oh-so-casually leans on your shoulder and says, "Oh how I wish!" Bronson Pinchot?

  6. His name was Louis Balestra, and her name was Jessica Phipps. And I don't kiss and tell. You should know that by now.

  7. hey I still have the contract to this film since I worked as a PRODUCTION assistant or PR on it good memories of driving back from HANCOCK AIRPORT with the negatives in the can so to speak in my 1980 DODGE MIRADA haha take care jon