Monday, April 20, 2009

police academy revisited


i interviewed michael winslow this morning. who? you ask. him! i say. the man of 1,000 special effects, who starred in the police academy movies. (newsflash: word is they're working on No. 8!).

winslow is in town this week for the hali comedy fest. i caught up with him at his home in florida, which means i now have his home number, which is kinda strange.

he told me he got into PA by accident, when someone associated with the then-a-dream-only franchise heard his act and wrote him into the script. for most of the 80s, he was one of the most famous comics around. since then, not so much. he seems okay with that and was excited to come to halifax and about a project he's doing with bill cosby.

he was recently a guest of a sci-fi show in new zealand and seems to produce a steady stream of straight-to-dvd movies, which actually look pretty good.

if you check out his website, you can hear a sample of the music CD he's releasing this summer.

“For a while, I was just going to leave (music) alone, but a lot of rappers and beat boxers have been getting on my case,” he said. as one of the first to mainstream beat-box music, he's revered by many modern day rappers/hip hop stars.

i asked him about his years at the top in the 80s: “I’m sitting here scratching my head, trying to figure out what prompted me do this? I still don’t know,” he says. “It was very strange."

he reminded me of pete best, who i briefly met a few years ago. he was the beatles drummer up until about 2 minutes before they went global. he got fired under murky circumstance, replaced by ringo. best spent the rest of his working days staffing an EI office. rumour is he's never spoken to his fellow beatles since he got canned. he was touring as 'best of the beatles' when i saw him and he was upbeat - he seemed happy that his link to greatness meant he could now tour the world playing songs he played as a kid, and have a great time.

i asked winslow if he ever pranks people with his startling sound effects. “I don’t use them for evil purposes, though the thought does occur,” he told me. “The kids tend to stare, especially if they think there’s an invisible dog in your suitcase.”

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