I grew up in the Poconos near Blakeslee Corners. There was no Blockbuster yet, or at least not in my area so the video store was owned by a local man. Dot’s Video was located on Route 115 in an old Texaco station a few miles down from my house on the intersection (if you can call it that) of Depner’s Road and Route 115. The man would post the new releases on his sandwich board-ish blinking sign — you know the kind– shaped like a big arrow pointing to the store, where you could change the letters in and out.
Word spread that Dot’s Video was moving to a bigger location– right next door to my house! I remember the day clearly. I was playing outside with some friends and we saw a truck with a trailer pulling the big sign, and “Dot” (his name is escaping me and I feel bad) was on the trailer holding the sign, waving to us. The man driving was honking the horn. His new location was in front of the junk yard (Delease’s) in a white house, but I am not sure if they lived there or not. Every time I had friends or cousins over we’d cross the little creek and go to Dot’s to get a video. We’d rent the same ones over and over and over. It’s the first time I learned what late fees were too, when I hid The Lost Boys so it never had to be taken back. When I moved away from that house I didn’t get to rent movies as much so I started to tape them from the TV. It was new technology at the time and I was a smart kid.
There was nothing cooler in the 80s to actually videotape a movie off the television. I didn’t do it often because we never had any blank tapes. (Do you remember blank media storage? I miss it.) But one of those movies was Ski Patrol (another was Teen Witch) which I think came out in 1989 but officially hit stores in 1990 so there’s the debate if it’s 80s or not. Given the style, we should categorize it 80s. I’d watch Ski Patrol over and over again. I skied at Big Boulder as a kid and my mom worked there as a ski instructor and even before that, she’d DJ there. So I was always at the ski hill. I think that’s one reason I liked it, and of course I loved comedy.
I just could not get enough of Ski Patrol. As an adult, I sometimes make pop culture references to Ski Patrol that I know no one gets, for instance snow tubing with friends at Big Boulder I said, “I think I lost a contact lens.” And friends thought I really lost a contact lens. (I learned quickly that pop culture references only work when the audience, or majority of the audience, get it.) But, at any rate, some of my childhood friends and I grew up to work at ski resorts in high school, so I imagine that’s why so many kids in the Poconos knew about and loved the movie Ski Patrol.
The Dutch version is called Ski Academy.
So what happens when Donna comes across something she liked as a kid? First of all, I was thrilled to find the trailer on Youtube. (Over the years when I mentioned this movie, people tried to tell me I was talking about Ski School, another 80s movie. Huh! This’ll show you for not believing in me!) Well, I get sucked into imdb.com, then Wikipedia (which this blog post already has more info than), and Google searches for actors which leads me more primary sources, such as official websites. And that’s what happened to me today. Morning turned to afternoon as I research the old 1990 movie, Ski Patrol, which is still considered an 80s comedy. And let’s not forget about then going to eBay and buying things. I should mention that I know own a Goonies coloring book from 1985.
I dug up some stuff… . It’s just funny as a kid how we don’t pay too much attention to actors or are old enough to get a lot of the jokes, so rewatching this as an adult is sure to be a whole new experience!
Ski Patrol Actors: Where are they now?
Roger Rose - Roger Rose’s main career is not an actor. He’s more of a voice guy. In Ski Patrol, he played leading man, Jerry Cramer. Jerry was both funny and the ensemble’s heartthrob, vying for the attention of ski schooler, Ellen. Roger Rose had lots of guest starring roles on popular 90s comedies, such as Seinfeld. In fact, in an interview I link to at the end of this blog post he says he’s still recognized for that episode. Roger Rose was also seen in Mr. Belvedere, Knight Rider, and others.
But, perhaps Roger Rose is best known for voice work. He’s worked on one of my all-time favorite cartoons, Tiny Toon Adventures, as well as The Tick, Pinky & the Brain, and hundreds more characters and voices. Today, he does a ton of professional voiceover work for networks, shows, and brands as his official website touts. In fact, he did the voice work for his former co-star George Lopez. Neat to see all these connections.
Leslie Jordan – Leslie Jordan played the head of the ski patrol, Murray. He was the butt of the patrol’s pranks and was really a lovable character. I found this picture on a movie animal website. The fella here is named Rascal. Leslie went on to many great acting roles, including winning an Emmy for best guest star on Will & Grace, where he played Beverley Leslie. He guest starred on a slew of shows throughout the 90s and still does today. He’s also a playwright and stage actor as well. His official site, www.TheLeslieJordan.com has lots of fun info, including his new book, “My Trip Down the Pink Carpet.”
Paul Feig – This guy played Stanley who seven years standing cannot make the ski patrol try-outs. Stanley was always my favorite. He was just so aloof and lovable in his role. And my favorite scene in the movie is was his lip syncing of “Dancin’ in the Streets.” I didn’t look him up first because Martin Mull and Ray Waltson were the “household names” that I knew. But boy was I wrong in my guess at who did the most since Ski Patrol... But first, a video of Paul Feig in his memorable Stanley role:
Kick Me, a memoir by Paul Feig who played Stanley in Ski Patrol
When I did look Paul Feig up on IMDB, I was so surprised where he ended up. Not surprise; excited is a better word. Paul Feig is one of the producers on The Office.
(SIDEBAR: Hmm. I have an instant brainstorm for an episode. I live just outside Scranton, and there’s A LOT of skiing near Scranton, including Big Boulder where I grew up around. The Office should do a tribute to Ski Patrol by taking The Office crew on a company outing to a local ski area and Michael gets people wrapped up in a karaoke contest in the lounge, and Paul Feig makes a cameo as an opponent while Dwight goes on a rescue mission with the ski patrol… . okay. It was a long shot. But the Dunder Mifflin crew did Lake Wallenpaupak! They need more Pocono things!)
Emmy-winning Paul Feig also worked on Freaks & Geeks, Arrested Development, and oh my gosh, as writer, director, or producer on so many comedies that I loved and still love, like Roseanne and Drew Carey Show. I had no idea one of my favorite characters from an obscure 80s comedy was behind a lot of those laughs. Needless to say, he is enjoying an amazing career.
And also, how could I go through an MFA program studying primarily memoir and not notice that Paul Feig wrote two memoirs, Kick Me: Adventures in Adolescence and Super Stud: How I Became a 24-year-old Virgin? Probably because I never made the connection to Ski Patrol with his name, since I just discovered who he really is today. And another reason is that they are older, 2002 and 2005. But still. I feel bad. Now I have two more to read. It’s like I am becoming a reverse Feig fan. Playing catch up, if you will.
Spanish movie cover for Ski Patrol, courtesy of Teen Movies Espana who has the mother lode of screen shots. Now I find this, AFTER I write the blog. Ha.
T.K. Carter- he played Iceman, the guy with the boom box. He did a lot prior to Ski Patrol, including Punky Brewster and a voice for Jem and the Holograms. After Ski Patrol, T.K. Carter was on the Sinbad show and another movie I totally forgot about from the 80s, He’s My Girl (I LOVED this as a kid.) Most recently, looks like he guest starred on Everyone Loves Chris.
Corbin Timbrook- Corbin Timbrook played the head of the ski school, Lance. Looks like he did some soap opera work and some guest starring roles. He’s producing lots of horror flicks, too.
George Lopez - perhaps he’s the most household name of this entire ensemble today, with his stand-up stuff and his show. But, his role in Ski Patrol was his first major acting gig. George Lopez played Eddie Martinez, and he was the guy who blew stuff up.
Ray Walston- Ray Walston left us in 2001. He’s likely best known by most for My Favorite Martian. I used to watch that on Nick at Nite all the time. He was in over 60 TV shows and movies; some I forgot about until looking them up now: Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Private School, Silver Spoons, Popeye, and more.
Martin Mull- I saved Martin Mull, who played Sam the enemy on Ski Patrol, for last because he’s what started this saga today. I was looking for a trailer for FM, which I found. It’s one of my favorite movies. It’s from 1978, but didn’t learn about it until I worked in radio in the late 90s. I own FM on VHS and the FM movie DVD is rare. (Anyone have one??) Martin Mull and Eileen Brennan are both in FM and they are also co-stars in Clue together. Nice pair! Anyway, I found the trailer to the FM movie and it made me think about Ski Patrol. So, here I am. A whole Sunday dedicated to this. Martin Mull has been in a slew of comedies: FM, Clue, Mr. Mom, Mrs. Doubtfire, and more. He’s also been all over TV. I remember him most from Roseanne (which as you know, his Ski Patrol co-star Paul Feig produced but not sure if that’s a coincidence), but he was also on Growing Pains, The Ellen Show, and more. Today, he’s pretty devoted to his painting (check out Martin Mull’s artwork – cool- really abstract), but he still does some roles, including Family Guy.
Looks like some kind of alternative movie poster/cover. Prey is spelled wrong. Not sure if that's on purpose.
Some Ski Patrol Links:
In my quest for random knowledge about this movie, I found lots of neat stuff. Far more things than I should have done on a Sunday afternoon. But hey. People may enjoy this.
A Podcast Interview with Roger Rose:
I found a podcast on a movie blog called Natsukashi. Some guys did a VERY lengthy podcast video with Roger Rose, who had the leading role, Jerry Cramer. I don’t mean lengthy in a negative way at all. Pretty interesting stuff. It pretty much takes us through the entire movie with sound clips and has Roger talking candidly about the movie, the stars, and life after Ski Patrol. It’s definitely worth a listen if you have something to do and let it play in the background. Lots of little nuggets.
I never saw this site before, but it’s called Who Dated Who? and Ski Patrol has a page.
Finally, I also found a cool YouTube video from some dudes that review 80s movies– RandomCreatureFace. This one is about Ski Patrol:
So- after all this, I will be reunited with Ski Patrol on VHS. I just ordered it from eBay. An old rental copy. Amazon had a few, but none of the sellers had a picture listed. I won’t buy anything without a picture. I can’t wait to watch it again.