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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
July 20, 2023 3:00 am

From Animal House to Belushi and Seinfeld: Mark "Neidermeyer" Metcalf's Story

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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July 20, 2023 3:00 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, Mark Metcalf from Animal House shares his story. 

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For each person living with myasthenia gravis, or MG, their journey with this rare condition is unique. That's why Untold Stories Life with myasthenia gravis, a new podcast from iHeartRadio in partnership with Argenics, is exploring the extraordinary challenges and personal triumphs of underserved communities living with MG.

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Send them to OurAmericanStories.com. They're some of our favorites. Mark Metcalf 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 Metcalf 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, and said you were conceived in that house.

So it's nice to know where you started. 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 had graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in engineering. He graduated early. I think he was 20 when he graduated.

He 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 when 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's 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 congregationalist minister, or a librarian or an engineer. So I went from that rather dry atmosphere to this 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 – 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 said, 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 $17.76 is fast becoming a favorite option for supporters. Go to OurAmericanStories.com now and go to the donate button and help us keep the great American stories coming.

That's OurAmericanStories.com. For each person living with myasthenia gravis or MG, their journey with this rare neuromuscular condition is unique. That's why Untold Stories Life with myasthenia gravis, a new podcast from iHeartRadio in partnership with Argenics, is exploring the extraordinary challenges and personal triumphs of underserved communities living with MG. Host Martine Hackett will share powerful perspectives from people living with the debilitating muscle weakness and fatigue caused by this rare disorder. Each episode will uncover the reality of life with myasthenia gravis. From early signs and symptoms to obtaining an accurate diagnosis and finding care, every person with MG has a story to tell. And by featuring these real-life experiences, this podcast hopes to inspire the MG community, educate others about this rare condition, and let those living with it know that they are not alone. Listen to Untold Stories Life with myasthenia gravis on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. This spring, Hyundai introduced the all-electric IONIQ 6.

It has a range of up to 360 miles and can charge from 10% to 80% in as little as 18 minutes on a DC ultra-fast charger. But are there any drawbacks to the EV lifestyle? Yes, there are. You can unlock and start it with a digital key, which means you'll have to get rid of that giant keychain that holds a special place in your heart. You know, the one with every key in your life since high school? Another one, Castation beef jerky. I'm talking about the shredded kind. Oh wait, you can still get that.

Ooh, scratch that one. The all-electric Hyundai IONIQ 6. When it comes to the minimal drawback electric vehicle lifestyle, we're thinking of every mile. Hyundai, it's your journey.

Extremely limited availability. EPA estimated 361 mile range for IONIQ 6 SE Long Range RWD with fully charged battery. Actual range varies based on trim and other factors.

Actual charge time varies based on charging unit output, temperature, and other factors. Call 562-314-4603 for complete details. War, inflation, and over $31 trillion in debt. It's looking like 2008 all over again. Millions of Americans watched their retirement savings disappear, while those who invested in physical gold and silver were protected. And if you have $50,000 or more in your IRA, 401k, or savings, you could be at risk again. Visit Goldco.com slash IHART to get a free gold IRA kit and learn how thousands are diversifying their retirement savings with gold and silver. IHART listeners could get up to $10,000 in free silver with a qualified account. Goldco is the number one rated precious metals company recommended by Sean Hannity. With over $1 billion in gold and silver placed, an A plus rating from the Better Business Bureau, thousands of five-star customer reviews, and seven-time Inc. 5000 winner, you'll be in good company. Visit Goldco.com slash IHART to get up to $10,000 in free silver.

That's Goldco.com slash IHART. And we're back with our American stories and with Mark Metcalfe's story. Starting off as an engineering major, an English major, a forestry major.

I didn't know there was such a thing. And ultimately, well, he becomes, as he put it, a theater jock, being bailed out by all the folks in the theater department who wanted to save him from his own academic failings. And Mark Metcalfe, by the way, well, you know him as Niedermayer in Animal House, and you've seen him in Twisted Sister videos, the maestro in Seinfeld, and the master in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Let's continue with Mark Metcalfe's story. When I graduated, I actually wanted to go to graduate school because I wanted to learn more about the theater, but also I didn't want to go to Vietnam. I didn't think the war was a great thing, but primarily I didn't want to go fight it because I thought I'd be really good at it. I knew enough about myself to know that I was good at taking orders and good at giving orders, so I fit in that military hierarchy like a cog in that wheel, and I didn't want to become that guy, so I acted him later on. When I did Niedermayer, I sort of acted that guy because I knew where that guy lived inside me, and I thought I would be good at it, but I didn't want to become him. I wanted to become something else.

I didn't know what it was, but I wanted to become something else. So when I graduated, I just took off for the West Coast, and I hitchhiked. I got one ride all the way to San Francisco from Ann Arbor. A guy, I can't remember his name, but he had a 1948 pickup truck that you had to jumpstart every time you started it. So whenever we stopped for gas, we had to try to find a gas station where you could push it pretty easily to jumpstart it.

Whenever we stopped for the night and slept in the back, which is what we did, or camped, we had to park it on a hill so we'd get up in the morning and jumpstart it really easily. And it ran out of oil about every 120 miles, so we had to carry oil with us. We were real cowboys.

We had a great time. But it took us two weeks or so to get across the country to San Francisco. He dropped me off in San Francisco because that's where I thought the summer of love was 1968. It turns out the summer of love was 1967, and by 1968 it had gotten pretty sour. The day before I arrived on Haight-Ashbury, two kids had died because somebody had sold them acid that was Drano, just a capsule, and it was Drano and ate through their stomach and they died.

So it wasn't peace, love, granola. It was the dirty side of being a hippie. I stayed there for a while, and then I hitchhiked down to L.A., and then I felt like I needed to keep moving because the draft board was still looking for me, I guess. I didn't talk to my parents, so I didn't want them to know where I was because my parents were the kind of people that would have told the draft board where I was so they could come and get me, and I didn't want to be gotten. So I hitchhiked up to, I mean, I drove up to Portland first and then took a right and went out to Mt. Hood, but I got a job as the assistant in the rental and repair shop, so I had to learn how to repair skis.

After I'd been there for a couple of months, I was skiing on rental skis, and I had a pair of skis back home in my parents' house in New Jersey. So I contacted my parents, and I asked them if they'd send my headmasters, and they did, but they put in the box with the skis, they put the letter from the draft board saying, you have to show up at a certain time and a certain date in Newark, New Jersey for your physical. And this is the kind of person that I was then and still am, probably. My figuring was that if I never got the letter, it didn't matter. But once I had the letter, I had to do it. So, but I didn't, I really didn't want to do it, so I tried to get into Canada. I tried to walk into Canada. I got a ride up to, way up in the panhandle, got a ride a little north of there, and then I got out and I just thought, well, I'll walk.

Canada's just over there on the map, you know, like an inch away, 100 miles. I can walk 100 miles through the wilderness. I'd been living in the wilderness.

But no, it's real tough country up there. So I hitchhiked back closer towards Seattle. I thought, well, I'll go across on a road rather than try to cross in the middle of the wilderness. And I got to the border and Bob Schmalz, knowing I was trying to get out of the country, had given me his driver's license and not his passport, but his driver's license. And I think I even had a birth certificate of his, but I changed my name because I figured in my stone paranoid state that the government would be looking for me at the border. That's why I had to sneak across.

So I tried to go across as Bob Schmalz, but I got turned away at the border because they found my two different sets of ID as Bob Schmalz and as Mark Metcalf. And they didn't want me in Canada because I looked bad. And I was, you know, I had long hair down the middle of my back, dirty on the road. I wore high fringe moccasins. I was, you know, I was a hippie.

So I hitchhiked back to New Jersey. I didn't have a lot of guys from my high school were there at the same time. And they all had briefcases filled with letters from doctors about their bone spurs or whatever else they might have had that kept them from going to Vietnam.

And I didn't have any of that stuff, but I was just really crazy. And they saw that right away and they gave me a 4F, so I didn't have to worry about it anymore. So they had these auditions in Chicago for regional theaters all over the country. And I did that and they got offered a job at Milwaukee Rep. So I went to Milwaukee and did a season up there.

And when that season was over, they didn't hire anybody back. And so I didn't know where to go or what to do. And a bunch of the people that had been working there were from New York and were heading to New York to try to work in the theater in New York. And I just went to New York. So for the next 25 years, I lived on St. Mark's Place between First and A from 1970 until 1993.

So I guess 23 years. The first five years I was in New York, I didn't want to do movies or TV. I just said no to all that because it was beneath me. I was a stage actor. I wanted to do Shakespeare and Chekhov and Ibsen and people like that.

But they pay you nice money. And the first movie I ever did, I was doing a play on Broadway called Streamers. And somebody saw it and they had me come in and audition for.

I didn't even have to audition. I just had to meet with the producer and the director. Fred Zinnemann directed it. It was a movie called Julia.

They were going to shoot it in England. I only had three days. It was a one scene part with Jane Fonda. And I quit the play I was doing to play Streamers in New York for Joe Papp. And I lived in England for six weeks. I worked for three days. They paid me for six weeks. I thought this is what the movies were always like.

You got to go to fancy places. They paid you way too much money and you got to do work that was just plain fun. And so I thought the movies were like that. So I started saying yes to movies.

It turns out they're not all like that, but they're mostly fun for the most part. The next one I did was Animal House. A friend of mine named John Heard, he and I lived across the street from each other. I was living with a woman named Pamela Reed, an actress.

I was engaged to marry her. And he was living with a wonderful woman named Patricia Triani. And we went to see a play in Central Park. But we took a picnic. And Pamela and Patricia made potato salad and fried chicken.

And it was a real American feast. And while we're sitting there outside the theater, this big heavy guy with long hair, big face comes walking towards us. And John Heard, who had lived in Chicago and worked in Chicago for a while, he had met John there because John had been working at Second City there. So he said, hey, John, come on over. Nobody knew who John Belushi was, but we invited him to sit down and have some chicken if you want.

What are you doing? And you've been listening to the story of Mark Metcalf. And what a story indeed.

From Hippie trying to escape the draft to actually going to Newark for all the right reasons and somehow avoiding becoming that person, that guy he didn't want to be. When we come back, more of the life story of Mark Metcalf here on Our American Stories. For each person living with myasthenia gravis, or MG, their journey with this rare neuromuscular condition is unique. That's why Untold Stories Life with myasthenia gravis, a new podcast from iHeartRadio in partnership with Argenics, is exploring the extraordinary challenges and personal triumphs of underserved communities living with MG. Host Martine Hackett will share powerful perspectives from people living with the debilitating muscle weakness and fatigue caused by this rare disorder. Each episode will uncover the reality of life with myasthenia gravis, from early signs and symptoms to obtaining an accurate diagnosis and finding care. Every person with MG has a story to tell. And by featuring these real life experiences, this podcast hopes to inspire the MG community, educate others about this rare condition, and let those living with it know that they are not alone. Listen to Untold Stories Life with myasthenia gravis on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. This spring, Hyundai introduced the all-electric IONIQ 6.

It has a range of up to 360 miles and can charge from 10% to 80% in as little as 18 minutes on a DC ultra-fast charger. But are there any drawbacks to the EV lifestyle? Yes, there are. You can unlock and start it with a digital key, which means you'll have to get rid of that giant keychain that holds a special place in your heart. You know, the one with every key in your life since high school? Another one. Cast station beef jerky. I'm talking about the shredded kind. Oh wait, you can still get that.

Ooh, scratch that one. The all-electric Hyundai IONIQ 6. When it comes to the minimal drawback electric vehicle lifestyle, we're thinking of every mile. Hyundai, it's your journey.

Extremely limited availability. EPA estimated 361 mile range for IONIQ 6 SE Long Range RWD with fully charged battery. Actual range varies based on trim and other factors.

Actual charge time varies based on charging unit output, temperature, and other factors. Call 562-314-4603 for complete details. War, inflation, and over 31 trillion dollars in debt. It's looking like 2008 all over again. Millions of Americans watched their retirement savings disappear, while those who invested in physical gold and silver were protected. And if you have $50,000 or more in your IRA, 401k, or savings, you could be at risk again. Visit Goldco.com slash IHART to get a free gold IRA kit and learn how thousands are diversifying their retirement savings with gold and silver. IHART listeners could get up to $10,000 in free silver with a qualified account. Goldco is the number one rated precious metals company recommended by Sean Hannity. With over $1 billion in gold and silver placed, an A plus rating from the Better Business Bureau, thousands of five-star customer reviews, and seven-time Inc. 5000 winner, you'll be in good company. Visit Goldco.com slash IHART to get up to $10,000 in free silver.

That's Goldco.com slash IHART. And we're back with our American stories and the story of Mark Metcalf. Let's pick up where we left off with Mark telling the story of a bumping into then unknown John Belushi, while enjoying a picnic with his friend John Heard, who, by the way, is the father in the movie Home Alone, and their girlfriend in New York City. Here again is Mark Metcalf. And he starts to tell us this story about how they wanted him to do this live sketch comedy show on television, late night, 1130 on Saturday nights.

And Lorne Michaels, this crazy guy, wanted to do it. And Belushi said, I don't want to do I went in there to see him and I told him I don't want to work in the system. I want to work outside the system. I want to tear the system down because the system is is evil and bad. And Lorne Michaels said very calmly, while Belushi is ranting and raving, said, well, the best way to tear the system down is to work inside the system. So why don't you do this?

Because this is not a system kind of thing. So he was he was trying to make up his mind whether to do this thing or not. And he must have talked for 45 minutes.

We sat there for an hour listening to him. We'd say, John, it's TV. It's money.

How can you turn it down? It's live TV. And you do sketch comedy.

It's just like doing theater. What a great thing. He'd say, yeah, I know, but I'm working for NBC and I want to work for those guys. And we noticed he finally got up and just kept going.

He hadn't made up his mind about anything. We hadn't changed his mind. We were just listening and talking and having a conversation about this kind of what this theater would be like.

This thing would be like. And but we noticed after he walked away that the fried chicken was all gone and the potato salad was all gone. He talked all this time and eaten everything that we had. That was the first time I ever met John Belushi. And then I when I did Animal House, I was sent in to audition for the Matheson part for Otter, the guy who got all the girls.

I thought that would be great. That's who I really wanted to be. But as soon as I walked through the door, Landis, the director, looked at me and said, do you know how to ride? And I said, without missing a beat, I said, yeah, I was practically born on a horse. My mother's water broke when she was out on a trail ride in our ranch in Montana and she slid off the horse. My father helped her off.

He delivered the baby right there in the shade of the horse. And then we got back on the horse and I was in my mom's arms and we rode back in and Landis looked at me and said, yeah, sure. He knew I was lying. I'd made the whole thing up. So I told him five more lies about how I knew how to ride. And the next day he called me and said, I want you to do this part. He must have liked the way I lied or something. But I said, oh, great. OK, good.

Do you think you can get Universal to give me some money so I can learn how to ride? So Landis cast me without me actually having to audition. I didn't have to read lines, but I did have to prove that I would be all right to the executives at Universal.

So he said, it's just a formal thing. You just got to come in and do the audition. And I read with Michael Chinich, who is the casting director, who was a great guy. And it was his casting that put all these people together, him and Landis, that put this group of people together. The chemistry was so good. So I got he played Flounder and I got to and I had the script in my hand, even though I didn't need it. I knew the lines, but I got to beat him with the script. And and he had fun, too, because I always remember him trying not to crack up as I was beating him and yelling at him and spitting on him.

Because we did that scene, tuck up those pajamas. Is that a pledge pin on your uniform? Yeah. So we did all that. So that that was the process.

And then and they told me I had it. Fat, disgusting slob. Redo those buttons. Dress that belt buckle.

Straighten that cap and tuck up those pajamas. What's that on your chest, mister? It's a pledge pin, sir. A pledge pin on your uniform.

So you can't go away. John Landis had all the Delta House guys, Belushi, Jamie Widows, Bruce McGill, D-Day, Matheson, Otter, Boone, Rieger. Had them all come out five days early before they started shooting.

And then had the Omegas, myself and Jimmy Daughton, come out later. And Kevin Bacon, I think, came out just for a couple of days near the end. But I was there for the full 32 days. I didn't shoot every day. I had a lot of free time. But when you get to a movie set, the first thing you do is go to the production manager's office and get your per diem.

So you've got some money to get out of town if they change their mind. So I went in there and Peter McGregor Scott, who was the production manager, gave me my per diem. And then he said, John Landis is over in the coffee shop in the roadway in across the parking lot from where we were staying. He wants to see you right away. So leave your stuff here and go on over there and see John.

You'll recognize him because you saw him when he auditioned, right? And I said, yeah, sure. So I went across the parking lot, went into this crowded coffee shop. And I see John in the corner at a table at a booth and I start walking towards him and wave to John. And John waves and waves me. Come on over.

I get about 10 or 15 feet away from the table. And Landis says, that's him. That's Neidermeier.

Get him. And they start throwing food at me, real food at me and yelling at me, calling me names in the middle of this crowded. It was my introduction to Animal House. So I went, knowing it was all a gag and understanding immediately what Landis was doing, that he was separating the two houses and creating this tension between them right away. I sat down and said hello to my friends.

And but, you know, I knew I wasn't wanted and I didn't want to be wanted by these guys anyway. So I left early. And then later on, a couple of days later, a day later, McGill stole a piano out of the lobby of the roadway and wheeled it across the parking lot to his room. And his room became party central. So I had the hotel move my room. So it was right above his room. So I because I wasn't going to go to party central because Neidermeier would never do that. But Neidermeier would want to be close and take notes on who was there. So I had to move my room to right above his room.

So the noise kept me up and it would make I'd sit up all night long. As long as they went on spit polishing my boots and studying my script and just getting madder and madder and taking names and writing notes down to myself and developing my characterization. That was.

Yeah, that was a great shoot because it was we were all the same. The genius of that movie is the script is really smart, really good. But also Landis and Ivan Reitman, they didn't cast any stars. Belushi wasn't really a star yet. He was doing I think it was we shot in seventy seven. I think seventy six was the first season of Saturday Night Live. So he was in the second season.

People knew who he was, but he wasn't a big star yet. They everybody wanted us to put all wanted them to put all Saturday Night Live people. They wanted Chevy to do the Tim Matheson part.

Danny to do D-Day. They wanted to stack it that way. That was they didn't like it at Universal. So that the only way to make it get this thing to make money was to stack it with with a lot of stars, a lot of movie stars. But Landis didn't want to do that.

He held to his he stuck to it. But he cast it all with actors, with real people who had the craft and people who knew what they're doing. When it hit, it was you know, there was a lot of Universal hated it and really thought they were going to just going to dump it. It wasn't going to last at all. Universal hated it and wanted to dump it.

They didn't think it would last at all. And so often you'll hear about these artistic instincts of not stacking a movie with stars. And think about a lot of your favorites, whether it's Breaking Bad or it's The Sopranos. No stars.

They were stars after, but they weren't stars in the beginning. And that's The Office and that's Seinfeld and on and on. When we come back, more of this remarkable storytelling and a fascinating life. Mark Metcalfe's life. His life story here on Our American Stories. . For each person living with myasthenia gravis or MG, their journey with this rare neuromuscular condition is unique. That's why Untold Stories Life with myasthenia gravis, a new podcast from I Heart Radio in partnership with Argenics, is exploring the extraordinary challenges and personal triumphs of underserved communities living with MG. Host Martine Hackett will share powerful perspectives from people living with the debilitating muscle weakness and fatigue caused by this rare disorder. Each episode will uncover the reality of life with myasthenia gravis from early signs and symptoms to obtaining an accurate diagnosis and finding care. Every person with MG has a story to tell. And by featuring these real life experiences, this podcast hopes to inspire the MG community, educate others about this rare condition and let those living with it know that they are not alone. Listen to Untold Stories Life with myasthenia gravis on the I Heart Radio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. This spring, Hyundai introduced the all-electric IONIQ 6.

It has a range of up to 360 miles and can charge from 10% to 80% in as little as 18 minutes on a DC ultrafast charger. But are there any drawbacks to the EV lifestyle? Yes, there are. You can unlock and start it with a digital key, which means you'll have to get rid of that giant keychain that holds a special place in your heart. You know, the one with every key in your life since high school. Another one, Cast Station Beef Jerky. I'm talking about the shredded kind. Oh wait, you can still get that.

Oh, scratch that one. The all-electric Hyundai IONIQ 6. When it comes to the minimal drawback electric vehicle lifestyle, we're thinking of every mile. Hyundai, it's your journey.

Extremely limited availability. EPA estimated 361 mile range for IONIQ 6 SE Long Range RWD with fully charged battery. Actual range varies based on trim and other factors.

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That's Goldco.com slash IHART. Music And we continue with our American stories. Let's pick up where we left off with Mark Metcalf telling the story of how Universal Pictures hated Animal House and were ready to dump it before its release in theaters. Here's Mark. They did a screening and then a test screening in Denver. And it happened to be on the same weekend that there was a big conference with the Greek fraternity organization conference.

And they invite a lot of these guys, these Greeks, these fraternity people got invitations to come to the screening. And they laughed so loud you couldn't hear the jokes because it was all about them. And Landis ran to the phone and called the people at Universal and held the phone up to where the audience was and said, listen to this, and they're laughing their heads off and Universal suddenly changed their mind and decided they had to hit.

So as I said, I lived in the Lower East Side of Manhattan and I would walk across St. Mark's to get on the subway. But every time I'd pass the corner right by the Gem Spa there, a panhandler would say, you know, he'd reach for money and I wouldn't give money. And he'd say, you're worthless and weak. And I was really hurt by this. I mean, I'd already done a couple other plays and was producing this movie and doing a lot of different things.

So it never occurred to me that he was quoting this movie. And I just thought he was just he's mad because I don't give money. And I had made a decision because so many people have their hands out in New York and you can't give money to all of them.

So I had made a decision to not give money to any of them unless they were playing a violin or really told me a good story. Every day he was there, I'd say, no, sorry. And I'd look right at him and say, no, I didn't ignore him.

I'd say, sorry, I haven't got candidates. And he'd say, you're worthless and weak. And weeks later, I was sitting in a bar drinking a rolling rock in the West Bank cafe with a friend of mine. And I tell him the story about this guy who keeps telling me I'm worthless and weak.

We're talking about the homeless problem in New York. And the guy said, you idiot. He's quoting the movie. And I said, oh, yeah, I had that line, didn't I? You're all worthless and weak.

Drop and give me 20. So I didn't realize how big it was. Probably really. See, we made it came out in 78. So six years later, 84 is when D. Snyder called me and asked me to do the Twisted Sister video. And I didn't I didn't have a TV even. I didn't have I didn't know what MTV was. I didn't certainly didn't listen to that kind of music, as I always say. After Beethoven died, I stopped listening, listening to popular music, which isn't true.

I listen to a lot of blues, but I didn't know what that heavy metal rock and roll was or hair bands or any of that stuff. And when he called me and said, would you do this thing? We've been doing your lines and our band and our act all up and down the Hudson River and all over Long Island for years. We love this movie and we love this character.

We want you to be in our video. And that's when I think I realized then that it was a big thing. And then a friend of mine, the son of a friend of mine, had gone to Annapolis and visited. And he came over and he was saying, yeah, in Annapolis, we used to call our drill instructors tol.

But now we call them Niedermeier. I figured I'd done something good then. Yeah. So first of all, D asked me to do it. I said, yeah.

So they flew me out Sunday after I did the matinee and then we flew out on the red eye and D picked me up at the airport. But there's so there's this big guy, six foot two, six, three, really kind of I call him the ugliest man in the world, which is not true. But he's he's pretty ugly and long blonde hair with, you know, I found out later is a lot of it is extensions and he's a big muscular guy. And he met me. But he's like this big puppy dog.

He's so excited to meet Niedermeier. And he drives me back to where I'm going to stay, which I didn't know where I was going to stay. I thought I'd stay in a hotel, but they didn't couldn't afford a hotel. So I slept on Marty Kollner's couch.

Marty Kollner was the director of it. And they picked me up, not in a limo or anything like that, but in a little Datsun or some kind of car. And as we're driving back to Kollner's house so I could D is telling me what this thing is that we're going to do, because I had no idea. It's like a Roadrunner cartoon. You're a wily coyote and we're the Roadrunner and you just all kinds of bad things happen to you. But we want you to open it up by doing it like a, you know, one, two minute monologue yelling at your son. I know what that is.

That's music. And the only and you've got to write this tonight, you've got to write this because we're going to film it tomorrow. The only thing you have to do is you have to finish with the line.

What do you want to do with your life? That's it. And then we answer. I want to rock.

And that's then the music starts. All right, Mister, what do you think you're doing? You call this a room? This is a pigsty. I want you to straighten up this area now.

You are a disgusting slob. Stand up straight. Tuck in that shirt. Adjust that belt buckle.

Tie those shoes. What kind of a man are you? You're worthless and weak.

You do nothing. You are nothing. You sit in here all day and play that sick, repulsive electric twanger.

I carried an M16 and you, you carry that, that, that guitar. Who are you? Where do you come from? Are you listening to me?

What do you want to do with your life? So I went and got a friend of mine, Rex Weiner, and we drank beer and talked about this thing all night. He's a writer. He created a character called Ford Fairlane that Andrew Dice Clay played. So he and I wrote to shape this sort of little monologue yelling at my son.

My favorite line of his was, I carried an M16 in the war and you carry that, that electric twanger. But after I did it and it played every five minutes on MTV, I guess. But people started recognizing me then, not from Animal House, but from that stuff started happening. And then I get a letter from Universal that basically says, you can't do that character.

We own that character. So they said, if you do it again, we'll sue you. I also get a letter from Screen Actors Guild because it was not a union gig. I got those two letters threatening me and then like the next day or something like that, D calls and said, they really like this video, obviously, we're going to do it again. I said, all right, let's go.

Twisted sister, what kind of a man desecrates a defenseless textbook? I've got a good mind to slap your fat face. You are destroying your life with that, that, that garbage. All right, Mr. Sister, I want you to tell me. Today, not better yet, stand up and tell the class. What do you want to do with your life?

I want to rock. So I didn't care. I didn't care what they said. And they never came after me. They never sued me.

They never threw me out of the union. I'm really proud of the work. I really like the work. The problem that I had with it is that I, I let myself be typecast.

I let myself just do that part. And an actor has a bigger range than what people tend to know him as. And so it's nice to have one, two, three parts, really, because there's a whole generation of young women, mostly who grew up loving Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And I play a character called the master in the first season of that, the, you know, the oldest, meanest vampire around.

Seinfeld, great bunch of people to work with, really good writers, some of the best writing on TV. Hey, Maestro. I'm in here. How's it going? Hi.

Hi, Bob. I'm sorry, Maestro. This is a surprise, huh? Look at you. I just wanted to drop off this Chinese bomb for your burns. It's supposed to be great stuff.

It's all herbal. Maestro, what are you doing? You don't have to do this. Do you believe this, Maestro? It's nothing. Oh. Hello. Well, hello. And who might you be?

I might be Elaine. This is Bob Cobb. Maestro. Maestro. It is my very great pleasure.

Oh, enchanté. So I've been really lucky getting good writers and getting those three parts. But there's three parts that are all different parts of me, but they also, they do reflect this sort of authoritarian notion, which is a thing that I've fought against all my life and really don't like authoritarians. So I guess there's a little self-loathing in my work or something like that.

I don't know. And thanks, as always, to Greg Hengler for getting us this great story. Mark Metcalfe's story here on Our American Stories. For each person living with myasthenia gravis, or MG, their journey with this rare condition is unique. That's why Untold Stories Life with myasthenia gravis, a new podcast from iHeartRadio in partnership with Argenics, is exploring the extraordinary challenges and personal triumphs of underserved communities living with MG. Host Martine Hackett will share these powerful perspectives from real people with MG so their experiences can help inspire the MG community and educate others about this rare condition.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-20 04:20:40 / 2023-07-20 04:40:10 / 20

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