I completed the final Notes From The Avalon post over three months ago. To say that it’s a pleasant and humbling surprise to see so many people still reading my Hillside summaries each day would be one hell of an understatement. While most readers choose to remain anonymous, one emerged from the shadows and identified himself as Randy – the one and only “original Filth Pig”. Short of a direct endorsement from Ryan Reynolds as part of a Golden Globes acceptance speech, Randy’s message to me represented the pinnacle of this page’s possible achievements.
As soon as I realized that I was communicating directly with a cast member from the show, I put up a temporary post here entitled “Big News From The Avalon” but, as is the unwritten rule here at NFTA, I removed it after a week or two because the Episode Guide should be the first thing people see when they visit the blog. However, I need to rise above my techno-fear and figure oot how the fuck to keep this as a permanent post on the site while retaining the Episode Guide at the top position. In other words, your intrepid “webmaster” is aboot as computer savvy as your average tapeworm.
For those who missed it, here is Randy’s initial message via the Contact page:
I am the original, one and only, season one “filth pig”, there were other Avalon workers, but I was the original one with the dirty rag and apron. If you want to know anything about the show when it was filmed in Canada, feel free to ask away, I recently found call sheets from the show that have all the names of everyone on it very cool pieces and I would say very rare, anyway, love what you did here, take care.
Of course, I enthusiastically “asked away” and this guy is so fucking cool that not only did he answer my silly questions, he sent me an email full of awesome reminiscences of the audition process along with a ton of other fantastic Fifteen insider info.
Here are some of the more interesting takeaways from Randy’s generous trip down Memory Lane:
- Although Randy has now hilariously taken to calling himself “Filth Pig” in our correspondence, everyone’s favorite hygiene-impaired waiter had a name: Jerry. Now, Randy was not the same actor who played the much older and larger Jerry in Season 2, mind you – but in the Hillside universe, it’s a near certainty that mute/Filth Pig Jerry and non-mute/band-auditioning Jerry are one and the same character, sort of like the two Darrin’s on Bewitched or the two Becky’s on Roseanne.
- Randy initially auditioned for the role of Olaf. Perhaps you think that Aubrey Nealon came oot on top in this situation, but did he really? Was Olaf’s picture the first visual aid on the very first episode post on this page? No, it wasn’t. It was Filth Pig’s picture that ushered in our extended visit to Hillside over nine long months ago.
- The audition process was open to any kids within a certain age range, regardless of whether they had any acting experience. Commercials were run on BCTV inviting anyone interested to show up at the studios on a certain date and time with a bag lunch. When Randy arrived, there were literally hundreds of kids lined up to audition, so a guy named Garth Lewis began bringing in aboot 30 at a time where he instructed them to form a circle and deliver a pre-written line, one by one. Those who displayed the requisite enthusiasm in the delivery of the line were asked to step forward, so Randy belted it oot with as much gusto as he could muster and was therefore given a script of Olaf dialogue to take home and memorize. Of course, Aubrey Nealon ultimately landed the role of Olaf, but I take issue with Randy’s assessment of Jerry the Waiter as an “extra”: as far as I’m concerned, Filth Pig was just as essential to the show as anyone else, setting the entire tone of the next 65 episodes with his very first on-screen appearance. For all of my tongue-in-cheek mockery of show creator John Binkley, I’ve gotta admit: opening auditions to any interested kids, regardless of experience, is pretty fucking cool.
- Those fucked up sets? That nauseating apron and dishrag? Randy’s elucidation of these conundrums is priceless, so rather than continue to paraphrase, I’ll let him take it from here: “Try imagining a massive gymnasium, now imagine in that gymnasium all the sets you see on the show. They were all literally built side by side, one leading to another; the Avalon to the garage, the bedroom to the lounge area, locker room to the stairs hallway area, stairs led to no where, just behind plywood walls; there were several of these at this studio. Next to us was a talk show, there was a news room, a cafeteria, offices, etc. It was massive. The soda machine wasn’t plugged in and I remember hearing the actor put in change and it making the noise it makes when it goes straight to the coin return slot, and a soda can was just placed there to be picked up by the actor. I was told to make the apron look like it was a bit dirty but all I had to work with back there that I could find was some ketchup and mustard so that’s what they got, filth pig was born!”
As if all that wasn’t cool enough, Randy also found some old call back sheets that were given to the actors each morning on the set and sent me JPEG copies of these instructions from September of 1990, which is beyond fucking awesome. I’ve appended these priceless artifacts to the bottom of this post.
I’d like to extend my sincere gratitude to Randy for taking the time to send all of those great stories and for having an excellent sense of humor.
Now how aboot a reunion show? If someone can get Ryan Reynolds on board, I’ll write the script, free of charge.