Most know him as Eddie “Donkeylips” Gelfin from the hit Nickelodeon series “Salute Your Shorts” but Michael Bower has appeared in countless roles in both film and television over his near 25 year career. Today he’ll answer a few questions for us here at BLANKMANinc.com!
BMi:Thanks for joining us today Mr.Bower. Now, most people know you from your time on “Salute Your Shorts” but you had actually been acting for years before your role as Donkey Lips, how did you get into the business in the first place?
MB:When I was 12 years young I was a part of our elementary school Glee club (Yes we were Glee before Glee) we wrote a musical play about hunger in Africa. I was the lead and we soon got major news and media attention since we were in Hollywood sorta. Quincy Jones’ producer and Michael jackson’s camp saw our news or something, came and watched the play (which gathered more attention) then we were invited to perform our play in front of the president Ronald Reagan and his cabinet as a charity dinner for Africa funds. I got so much press that when i came home I had offers from many talent agencies…so i signed with one and it was started.
BMi: Your bio says that you were in a deleted scene for Michael Jackson’s 1988 film “Moonwalker”, did you actually get to meet M.J.?
MB: As stated above yes, he started my career sorta and he put me in his moonwalker movie around that time as one of my first acting jobs. I did hang out at Neverland a few times and he was nothing but an amazing, simple, quiet, dedicated man …also many years later when I was working at the Universal Citywalk’s comic book store he shut down the entire shopping area and paid me a surprise visit as he somehow heard I was working there …Amazing moments I have had in career/life…yes Quincy Jones was in contact with me still and invited me to his funeral …sad day…I also have history (thanks to Michael) with Kenny Ortega who was his choreographer and director on many of his projects including his last. I was on a tv series with Kenny…it again was glee before glee called “Hull High”… look it up.
BMi: You also had a role in a show I consider to be one of the all-time greats “The Wonder Years” the entire season four episode “The Yearbook” revolved entirely around your character. Do you have any memories from the show you’d like to share with us?
MB:That was a fun time, one major director/creator of that show Michael Dinner also produced the original “Salute Your Shorts” pilot, so we met on “SYS” and then he went on to do “Wonder Years” and he brought me aboard for multiple episode cameos, then he wrote an entire episode for me. Funny thing is I’m a different character name in all the cameos …its weird geek tv sheik …I am great friends with Fred Savage to this day, we both have a crazy love for football cards and have been collecting together for years. He is gonna direct one of my projects soon. I also have a big history with Winnie (or Danica Mckeller). Go rent the “Sex and the Teenage Mind” movie I’m in.
BMi:You’ve recently gotten into voice acting for video games like “Grand Theft Auto” and “Halo 3: ODST” would you consider yourself a gamer? If so what games are you into right now?
MB: A Part time gamer, I grew up on Sega master system and genesis and of course Nintendo and SNES. I only loved sports games and a few others, Techmo Bowl, Madden, Zelda, Kid Niki, and Metroid but now I’m a PS3 guy with the new Metal of Honor series, Street Fighter & love Tiger Woods Golf and Madden… add me friends ([email protected]) The voice acting started as I went to the E3 Convention and met some game producers who were fans and asked me to do some stuff …so why not…now i just got a voice agent and am starting to do commercials and other voice work.
BMi: Having guest starred in shows ranging from “Friends” and “California Dreams” all the way to “the X-files” and “Tales from the Crypt” it seems you were in just about everything I liked as a kid, what was your favorite guest role?
MB:Well so many …I did not know what “Friends” was when I was on it …but later I found out it was the biggest show ever and my episode became the best voted fan episode in “Friends” history, plus I’m mentioned in the “Friends” trivia game. (awesome) X-files was a sci-fi dream as I’m a geek for sci-fi, I got to work with Chris Carter and David Duchovny, shoot major bad azz guns in downtown LA with naked chicks driving motor cycles in the middle of the night and get PAID …what a fuckin blessing. I later went on to work with David Duchovny in the sci-fi Dreamworks classic “Evolution” movie but at the end of all that I thought my acting performance in James Cameron’s “Dark Angel” episode “Brainiac” with Jessica Alba(Hot) was my favorite cause I almost got an Emmy award nod for best guest star on a series.
BMi:What was it like working for comedy legend Ivan Reitman in “Evolution”?
MB:Amazing dream come true, I mean he was the guy who made Animal House, Stripes and GhostBusters, I was thrilled to say the least. I booked that role in the “Evolution” movie over Jack Black and Dane Cook. Ivan Reitman said I reminded him of a young John Belushi/John Candy persona –SO HE HIRED ME –but sad to say the movie failed in the box office and I think somehow the cast thought I was weird and judged me harshly by the end of it and didn’t respect or enjoy my company …so no re-hire for later projects… Guess I have to prove myself again (WHATEVER).
BMi: Nickelodeon has released several of its classic early 90’s shows like “Hey Dude” and “Pete and Pete” but have yet to release “Salute Your Shorts”, what do you think they’re waiting for?
MB: They’re waiting on me to stop selling them on my site Heybower.com. (LOL) I do that for fans to relive the show and get an autograph since no release date is set. It’s on itunes, some episodes I mean, and they have never paid us for those digital downloads (F-U Viacom) that’s why I sell mine. Sorry guys i have no clue if they’re ever gonna release it on a DVD set … the market is to small.
BMi: “Salute Your Shorts” made every kid in America want to go to camp Anawanna, was your time on the set as fun as it looked to us?
MB:No it was a job to me and I was older than most, plus it’s like a crazy family you have to see everyday for little money …so it gets tough…but yes my memories are good cause you always love your family when you’re not with them anymore,but it was amazing to film and see people love our work and stuff…great moment in life.