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From Animal House, to Belushi, and Seinfeld: Mark “Neidermeyer” Metcalf’s Story

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
October 6, 2022 3:02 am

From Animal House, to Belushi, and Seinfeld: Mark “Neidermeyer” Metcalf’s Story

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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October 6, 2022 3:02 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, Mark Metcalf is best known for his role as the sadistic ROTC officer Douglas C. Neidermeyer in the 1978 comedy Animal House. He is also known for playing the role of “The Maestro” on the hit sitcom Seinfeld as well as for his recurring role as “The Master” on the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Mark's life story is as large as the characters he portrays.

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Download the Starbucks app. This is Lee Habib and this is Our American Stories, and we tell stories about everything here on this show. From the arts to sports, and from business to history, and everything in between, including your stories.

Send them to OurAmericanStories.com. They're some of our favorites. Mark Metcalfe is an actor often identified as playing the role of an antagonist. He is best known for his role as the sadistic ROTC officer Douglas T. Niedermayer in the 1978 comedy Animal House, a character he later emulated in the 1984 music videos for the songs We're Not Gonna Take It and I Wanna Rock by the heavy metal hair band Twisted Sister.

He is also known for playing the role of the maestro on the hit sitcom Seinfeld. Mark Metcalfe sat down with Greg Hengler and shared his story. Here's Mark. I was born in Findlay, Ohio, which is the home of Tasty Taters and where Ben Roethlisberger grew up and lived. In fact, in Hancock County, where Findlay, Ohio is, which is about 75 miles south of Toledo, I'm the second most famous person to ever come out of Findlay, Ohio, according to the Chamber of Commerce or whoever makes those things up. Ben Roethlisberger is number one and I'm number two, but that's all right.

I'll take number two. So I was born there. My mom was from Ohio and my dad was from Missouri, St. Louis, and they met during the war in 45, I guess. My mother was a wave and she was decoding messages in an office in Washington, D.C. My dad, who had served most of the war on a carrier in the Pacific, was back doing some intelligence work analysis and things like that. My mother lived in a house. She used to tell this story. My mother lived in a house with five other women, all involved in the war effort. And my father used to come up to their house for dinner and every one of the women, except my mother, thought that he was going to ask one of them to marry them. He was a good looking guy and he was in uniform and he was a smart guy and a nice guy. And they all thought, except for my mother, she thought because she was kind of tall and a little gawky.

And they never thought that he would ask her, but he asked her. And my mother one time showed me the house where I was conceived in Washington, and I was really surprised. But she proudly told me, pointed out the house on a little street in Chevy Chase. You work and said you were conceived in that house.

So it's nice to know where you started. And so after I was born, and then I went back to St. Louis because my father had a job when he got out of the Navy, he had a job in engineering. He'd graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison in engineering, graduated early.

I think he was 20 when he graduated, went to school at 16. He was a real smart guy. He worked on the crew at Sverdrup and Parcel that designed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, which is a 23 mile long combination bridge and tunnel across the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. National Geographic called it the eighth engineering wonder of the world. And he was put in charge of all the tunnel work. And he became the kind of engineer who at one point was called the world's foremost expert on tunnels.

And I hung out with him. There are two shipping channels in and out of the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. They couldn't build bridges over them because they were the Navy shipping channels. All the Norfolk warships come in and out of the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. So they had to build tunnels under these because if you build a bridge over it, the enemy could bomb the bridge into the channel and block it.

So they had to build four islands. And then they brought the tunnel tubes up from Texas on big barges and then they filled them with water and sank them, put them into the, it was kind of an amazing engineering feat. And that inspired me in a lot of ways to go to college as an engineer.

I went to the University of Michigan and quickly discovered that engineering was not really for me. It was a little dry. But I didn't know how dry it was until I got, my roommate, my sophomore year said, come audition for a couple of plays.

They're doing the three parts of Henry VI. And the girls are really friendly in the theater department. That's what he told me.

And he was right. The girls were a lot friendlier in the theater department. And I got cast in, I think, 15 different parts. And that kind of hooked me because it seemed like everybody in the Metcalf background was either a minister, a congregational minister or a librarian or an engineer. So I went from that rather dry atmosphere to the theater, backstage in the theater where everybody's yelling and screaming at each other one minute and making out passionately the next minute.

And so it's like, oh, brave new world, what creatures are there here? As Miranda says at the end of The Tempest, it was really kind of magnificent and an eye-opener. And I got stuck in it and I've been doing it ever since. So I just got to and I really got into theater. I never thought I'd get a degree in it. I changed from engineering to architecture because it was a little bit more creative. You had to claim a major. So I claimed English was my major for a while. Psychology was my major for a while.

Forestry was my major for a while. And I ended up with my degree in theater because it was the only thing I was taking classes in. I just stopped going to classes except for theater classes. In fact, they tried to flunk me out because my grades were so bad. And the theater department, all the teachers in the theater department wrote letters to the teachers in the English department, the teachers in the French department, the teachers, all the classes I was failing because I wasn't going. And they say, you can't fail him. You've got to give him get him a tutor.

We'll get him a tutor, get him a passing grade because we need him to do plays. So I became like a theater jock the way football players got to take the easiest classes and got automatic A's because they were on the football team at University of Michigan anyway. And that's how I got my degree. And I'm ashamed of that.

No, I'm not that ashamed of it, but I'm a little embarrassed by it. And you're listening to Mark Metcalf tell his story. We continue with his story here on Our American Stories. Folks, if you love the great American stories we tell and love America like we do, we're asking you to become a part of the Our American Stories family. If you agree that America is a good and great country, please make a donation. A monthly gift of seventeen dollars and seventy six cents is fast becoming a favorite option for supporters. Go to our American stories dot com now and go to the donate button and help us keep the great American stories coming. That's our American stories dot com. Hey, you guys, this is Tori and Jenny with the nine oh two one O.M.G.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-25 21:56:26 / 2022-12-25 22:05:55 / 9

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