Over the years I was fortunate enough to be granted small interviews and allowed to use material from others. A fan also shared their encounters with guest-stars. I compiled them for everyone to read and enjoy.
The following excerpts are from an interview with Meeno Peluce conducted by writer Jeff Pearlman and used with permission. Read the entire candid interview here.
By the time I was cast in Voyagers! at 12 I had been a successfully working actor for almost half my life. I was an old pro. I seem to remember somehow skipping the whole cattle call process of early interviews. I was probably shooting something else and the casting was quickly rounded down to two kids and two swashbuckling guys, all of us dueling it out for the parts of Jeffrey Jones and Phineas Bogg.
The four of us made very different pairings the day we went in to audition for the network brass. The other kid was blond and nerdy with glasses. The other guy who didn't get the show was older, more Harrison Ford. He and I read together first and it was solid. Then Jon-Erik and the other kid went in and I'm sure they were fine.
Picture it, we're in these stolid network offices with the decor of the 70's aging in the cubicles around us and we're running lines, pretending to be actors in the midst of all the other shows, eras past and present, staring down at us from framed posters.
You have a sense that you're about to have a shot at contributing to that same pantheon of telegogic puff and you're not sure which you want to be more real, the sandy banks of the Nile River that you're conjuring up in the scene or the nubbly brown upholstery that you're actually sitting on. That could be high stakes, unnerving.
AUDITIONING FOR VOYAGERS!
Unless you're just a kid and you don't take any of it seriously, it's all just play to you and you've been doing it so long that you know that if you don't get this show today you'll be rollerskating, fast, downhill, in the tuck you've been perfecting all week and that's what really matters, getting that tuck just right, and then next week you'll probably be shooting something else. But then there's also that possibility that there'll be magic.
And that's what happened. The other two went in and Jon-Erik and I started running the lines. We knew we had it licked right then. We were just too perfect together. We went in to the room full of execs with their chairs pulled into a semi-circle all staring at you, waiting on something great that they've certainly got all their hopes and dreams pinned on, and we gave it to them, served it up steaming, hot and golden. Jon and I looked at each other as we went out. We knew we had it and we did. It was that glance between us that the whole show was based on.
It was the most amazing working relationship I've ever known. We were like two jazz virtuosos constantly riffing off each other, and add to that we were total naturals. I had no formal training and he had no experience: his entire resume was faked. The first day on the set he took me aside and asked, "How come you're on the other side of the camera?"
"Jon-Erik, I told him, "this is your close up."
ON TV'S DARK SIDE
TV rarely did that back then, things were so prickly safe and when they got the slightest bit actual prickly. See my episodes of Eight Is Enough or better yet, The Love Boat where Captain Stubing rips off my shirt only to find the bruising of parents rotten enough that I'd stow away to be done with them? Drama!
In the Titanic episode it was me that wanted to stop the disaster. And then, even after being counseled by Bogg that you absolutely cannot change history, I try anyway. I run with news of the impending iceberg to the bridge to tell the Captain. This time not the cocky young boy's clothes ripping Stubing, but the actual Captain of the Titanic herself, and he wont hear it, writes it off as just the rantings of a kid. Only one old lady listens to me, Molly. I turn to her, "The Unsinkable Molly Brown?"
"Considering the alternative, I certainly hope so," she says. And we make it to the life boats.
*(In Silver Spoons, Meeno also played a child who gets abused by his father. In an episode of Punky Brewster, he played a homeless teen that Punky befriends and wants to live with when she runs away from home.) – VG.
TIME WITH JON-ERIK HEXUM
The best working relationship I ever knew. The most seamless and fun interaction. The work was all pure bluff and goof and all the while we were shooting at Nazis or fighting alongside Spartacus. Towering good nonsense. The crew was infected by our special camaraderie and we all were one big family. It was an interesting situation in that it was a big production but with only two main characters. Everyone else was a guest star, coming into our uniquely working machine for a few days. Even the directors changed with every show. But the writers, producers, crew and Jon-Erik and I had this way of playing off each other. Each new person was ushered in and encouraged to engage in the same improvisational simplicity.
An irony of early 80s TV lore: No preponderance of cable yet. People still wanted to get what felt like unvarnished info from the box. 60 Minutes was king. No. 1 on the Nielsen Ratings list every week. Voyagers! was up against it and thus at the other end of the Nielsen’s. Voyagers! was expensive to make and so with consistently bad ratings—and despite rave reviews and a huge fan following—we were soon canned. A little show took our time slot, the only show to ever flourish there: Punky Brewster.
I can only imagine, hope, he was just fooling around when he carelessly put that prop gun to his head and pulled the trigger. He was already on to his next series, Cover Up, where he played a male model who's really an undercover dick. You've got to unabashedly give it up to the 80's for that one. And the story goes that he was fooling around when he pulled the trigger. A blank is a cartridge with a little gunpowder in it so it goes pop. Instead of a bullet, there's a wad of paper to hold the gunpowder in. At point blank that wad coming out can bruise you as many a stunt man will attest to. But against the soft of your temple?
"Something's happened, there's been an accident and Jon-Erik's in the hospital," I was woken one Saturday morning. I can remember it well. My first thought was that he'd stupidly hurt himself, the price for always kidding around, we were always hurting ourselves, and we always healed. Especially him, he was the closest thing I'd ever know to a real-life super hero. Later that day I heard the term "brain dead" and it was the first time I'd ever heard that.
I pictured him running around, with that smile, catching a football, and those blue eyes, and just no brain, but all the other happy, lightheartedness still intact. And then that thought passed and I realized the first person I ever knew to die was now dead, and he was the best, least deserving to die, most full of life person I had ever known. You grow up a bit in that moment.
This photo of Meeno appears on the HTC EVO 4G LTE Blog post here.
These days Meeno's switched gears and went from in front of the camera to behind it. After a stint teaching history, he became a very successful photographer, blogger, and happy family man with a lovely wife and 2 beautiful daughters. They family puts considerable time and effort into promoting green, sustainable living. He might not have an omni anymore, but Meeno still occasionally travels around the world, taking in all its wonders.
REMINISCING WITH LOU MULFORD
First I want to compliment you again on your site and the professional montages and clips you have edited together. It is very impressive and well done. I'm sure Jon Erik would have been pleased. I feel honored to be a part of it all. I've been asked to share some of my memories and to give updates on my latest work and what I've been up to since my guest-starring role on Voyagers in 1983. Suffice it to say much has happened in 26 years.
Jon-Erik Hexum and I were both very young at the time I met him and he was at the beginning of his career. He was extremely professional and concerned about doing his absolute best. I remember we met prior to filming to discuss the part and our relationship for the show because it was to be the one time his character really fell in love. I think we went out for a sandwich and played foosball of all things. He was very sweet and funny. Quite a likable guy.
We filmed "Barriers of Sound" in one week. It was one of my favorite parts I ever did in television work. The writing was excellent and the director, crew, other actors were all lovely to work with. I adored the part of Mabel and felt great empathy for her. It was a bit of a challenge playing a deaf girl because I had to say my lines while looking at the other actor's eyes and then move my eyes down to appear to be reading their lips while they were speaking.
In the edits you don't really see that because the reverse shots are on the other actor and not me. I was also told that Mabel lost her hearing at 6 years old and they wanted me to speak normally. This is one of the reasons why they chose a non hearing-impaired actress to play the role. And hopefully they booked me because I was right for it as well!
ON JON-ERIK HEXUM
Jon-Erik was always up and positive. He also had a realistic grasp of the industry and when I met him he was still living in a small apartment and driving an inexpensive car. I remember saying to him "You're the star of a TV series, why don't you get a condo and treat yourself to a better car?" He told me you never know what will happen in this business and of course he was right.
We kept in touch for a couple of years and then he moved on to other shows and more work. I believe if he had had the chance he would have been a great film actor and moved on to even bigger things. The camera LOVED him and he was so committed I know he would have continued to grow as an artist.
One of my favorite acting coaches told me that one thing almost every really great star has in common is that they are generally nice people. People you enjoy being around. Jon-Erik was definitely that kind of person. It is tragic that he died so young with such promise.
LIFE AND ACTING TODAY
As far as my career went after Voyagers I did a small guest star playing George Clooney's girlfriend on a sitcom called ER (the First ER) starring Elliot Gould, Jason Alexander and of course George. Who knew he would grow up to be such a famous hunk? That was a fun week working and rehearsing with such an amazing cast and taping a live performance in front of an audience.
I continued to work in commercials and other small parts on soap operas etc, screen testing for leads in series as they came up and trying to get my big break. I also took a job as a game show model on NBC's Sale of the Century. It was a steady paycheck and tons of fun. Not the most challenging for my actress goals, but I was paying the rent and having a ball with my friends on the show.
I worked on "Sale" for five years and in 1985 I met my husband and fell in love. Although I have continued steady in commercial work appearing in over 100 television commercials/infomercials over the years, I pretty much traded the film and TV acting for a settled home life and love. I raised two beautiful daughters who are now in college. In the 90's I began a drama ministry at the Christian church I attend and headed that up for about 10 years, writing, directing, teaching acting, producing, and performing. It was very fulfilling.
A few years ago I got the professional acting bug again and basically started all over. In the past three years I've had a few film roles and small co-starring parts on SHARK, LIFE, LEVERAGE, and airing very soon, YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS, COUGAR TOWN, AND MAD MEN.
I continue to audition and get out there pursuing my passions and using my gifts. I had a website built to help promote my career with the industry powers that be and will be delighted to add Ginger's montage tribute of my VOYAGERS! episode to the menu as "Vintage Lou" or something like that.
Thank you again for creating something special and for being supportive of actors and our art. We love to tell a story and make an impact. It's why we do what we do.
Lou Mulford has been one busy actress in the few years since she graciously wrote her Voyagers! memories for this website! Please check out her Website News to view her latest work and activities which include guest spots on famous Television shows like NCIS, a commercial for Verizon, and a short, funny satire film she wrote, produced, and starred in called: "Invasion of the Money Snatchers."
Lou Mulford kindly scanned her original Voyagers! Script from Episode 19: "Barriers of Sound." to share with Voyagers! fans everywhere!
FAN MEETS WITH
IKE PLAYED TEENAGED BILL CODY ON "SNEAK ATTACK." – COMMENTS BY BRIAN L.
I met him in April 2015 at the Chiller convention in New Jersey. I think he’s most famous for the Witch Mountain movies, but he also plays up his role as Scotty’s nephew in Star Trek II. But I asked him about his role that same year as Bill Cody in “Sneak Attack.” He was pleasantly surprised that I remembered it.
I asked him such a fanboy question. Did he ever get to hold the omni? No, he didn’t. I think at that point he remembered what happened to Jon-Erik Hexum, and he seemed reflective. I asked him what Hexum was like to work with. He said, and he meant this in a positive way, that Hexum was basically a big kid.He liked to have fun on the set.
I’ve heard that in other interviews as well, so it seems to fit his (Jon-Erik's) character. As an aside, Hexum’s Cover Upco-star Jennifer O’Neill appeared at the same convention. I never got to speak with her, but I did talk to her handler. Not surprisingly, Cover Up is something she is not comfortable discussing. William Lucking (Babe Ruth in "Cleo and the Babe") was also there, but due to Sons of Anarchy, his line was a mile long.
JUDSON PLAYED LAWRENCE OF ARABIA IN "WORLD'S APART." – COMMENTS BY BRIAN L.
I met him in Las Vegas in the summer of 2015. Like Eisenmann, he was also in Star Trek II, which I think is the role he’s most famous for. Though, he is very fond of his first series The Phoenix.
I asked him about playing Lawrence of Arabia (like you, that’s my favorite episode). And also like Eisenmann, he was surprised that I brought it up. He seemed genuinely flattered when I told him it was my favorite episode. He echoed Eisenmann’s thoughts on Hexum, just a nice likeable fellow with a good sense of humor. He also complimented the crew on the series as being very professional.
And as an aside, I’m convinced that the robe Scott wore as he was captured in the beginning is the same robe worn by John Colicos in the pilot episode of Battlestar Galactica, another Universal series.