"The Renegades" a primetime show I was hung out to dry in back during the last century, was a Dog From Hell with fleas,mange and tick-rot that was put down in the back of the Vet's Office after 7 abysmal shows in the winter of 83'. It was nearly my Austerlitz. The end of the road before the road had even been paved. A hackneyed and feeble attempt at resurrecting an old 60's chestnut called "The Mod Squad" which was in itself a pathetic slice of mondo-hippie fantasy complete with hokie car chases,negroes with enormous Afros, willowy white girls in pasley and the requisite blonde guy working on his Steve McQueen imitation.
"The Renegades" simply had nowhere to go when the starter pistols fired off and it limped out of the dog cage like a sick greyhound in a steel -cased muzzle with a sheet pasted to its side that read 'loser' in bright red across its shrunken rib cage.
But I suppose you are hungry for an explanation so here it is. This show was a classic case of what often goes wrong in Hollywood when far too much money is thrown at a wall like so much over-boiled linguine Starring 6 or 7 'new stars' from the ABC talent stable, all blow-dried,primped and mascared into unreality, very few of them had any real experience with acting,the technique of acting,discipline or the nature of a drug-free life. If one were to drop acid just before tuning in, by the 2nd commerical, if you lasted that long, the show might begin to be marginally funny.
A dancer turned film star who shall remain nameless headed this august crew of wannabes. This guy had all the charm of a Texas sidewinder and took an early dislike to me for some unknown reason. Sometimes there is just no chemistry between actors and sometimes there is just antipathy. Such was the case here.
Now it is several days later and I have recovered from my first attempts at discussing 'The Renegades'. I was overcome with noxious fumes and had to be admitted to an emergency room in the neighborhood but I have regained enough strength to complete now the embalming of said show which I regard as necessary. Otherwise the Renegades shall walk amongst us as the Undead Zombie that it is and continue to haught my dreams with shrill defecations. This would be unthinkable and, therefore, is not an option. The wooden stake is out and I will drive it home thru the magot-infested innards of this beast once and for all.
Why did it all go so terribly wrong? The answer lies in a biopic of how shows are often done in Hollywood. From the beginning several of the 'stars' who beleived themselves to be the 2nd coming of J.C. himself and quite possibly even Elvis manipulated their way into the editing room of this show after hours and lobbied for their own closeups and camera angles. Instead of rehearsing and studying the script and maybe even engaging an acting class or coach on weekends many actors will work the politics of a set and try to jockey for the most favorable postion around photographers,publicists,directors and producers. It is shameless and unethical to say the least and nakedly fraudulent when you consider that alot of the talent is paid easily 100 times as much as the effort and ability that they exhibit. Mind you this is not always the case but it is not infrequent and on "The Renegades" it was rampantly apparent.
Now all the politicking led to infighting between the 'stars'. One moron thinks he's getting short changed so he backbites another moron and pretty soon you get something resembling 'The Three Stooges' with one exception: its not funny. But there was redeeming story I can tell that made the whole thing barely palatable, if only for a day. One evening when they were spending 250,000 dollars to water down a street on the lot and film the opening introduction to the show ,all of which amounted to about 45 seconds worth of soft porn nonsense, a guy from another set wanders up behind me and asks how I am liking it. I rolled my eyes and started bitching when he stopped me and said, "your from New York and the theatre, right? Well let me tell you, its all about the money out here and the rumor is that your in the winner this year and I'm in the turkey." So I asked him what show he was doing and he said in a barely audible tone under his breath,"Cheers,... but they're thinking of changing the name and I can't imagine it will run past 7 weeks." The actor I was talking to that night was Ted Danson, a little known performer from the East Coast. I'm glad he was wrong and that my show "The Renegades" was sacrificed on his altar. A good bloodletting and I was back out on the street again, unemployed but relieved, unsalaried again but free to roam and whistle.
And now the coup de grace. It is rumored in mystical and clairvoyant circles that Hitler,Eichmann,Stalin and Goebels who all share a small cell together in the 7th rung of Hell deep within the bowels of Lucifer's kingdom are forced by God's orders to watch reruns nightly of all 7 episodes of "The Renegades" commercial- free and without interruption at maximum decibel levels equivalent to the din a jumbo jet makes landing in ones backyard. I am praying that this is true. And it leaves a big smile on my face.