Friday, August 9, 2013

Saved By The Bell's Troy Fromin talks with TV STORE ONLINE


Actor Troy Fromin talks with TV STORE ONLINE about his work on such 1980s and 1990's television series like The Wonder Years, Saved By The Bell, Married With Children as well as his roles in films like PHANTASM II, SHRUNKEN HEADS, and CLASS OF NUKE'EM HIGH PARTS 2 and 3.

TV STORE ONLINE:  Hey Troy!  Thanks for your time today.

TROY FROMIN:  Not a problem.

TV STORE ONLINE:   I discovered your YouTube channel today and watched all of the great clips of you in some of those fun television commercials that you've done over the years....I really like the ON-COR commercial that you did with "Al" [Al Molinero] from Happy Days [1974-84]...


TROY FROMIN: Glad you noticed that one.  That was a thrilling day for me because I was such a fan of Happy Days growing up.

Fromin (C) on ABC's
THE WONDER YEARS

TV STORE ONLINE:  One of the things that I wanted to ask you about right off the bat was your experience working on the ABC television series The Wonder Years [1988-93]...

TROY FROMIN:  It was great.   I knew that the show was big at the time.   When I got that part I was working on Saved By The Bell.   I did nine episodes of Saved By The Bell over two months time but I wasn't working everyday on the show so on my days off I got to go and work on The Wonder Years with Fred Savage.    It was fun driving around in that car  because we were rolling around and the police were following behind us.

TV STORE ONLINE:  I really appreciate what you did in that episode of The Wonder Years "Road Test" where you and Fred Savage and some others in that car have to get out  and you do that wonderfully subtle thing where you put your hand on the driving instructor's shoulder...

TROY FROMIN:   Yeah, that just felt natural to me and that's why I did it.


  
TV STORE ONLINE:  It seems like you were sort of typecasted over and over as a dunder headed football jock in a lot of the work you did...We see that in The Wonder Years, Saved By The Bell and also in something like Jeff Speakman's THE PERFECT WEAPON (1991)...

TROY FROMIN:  Well I guess I'd owe that to my manager back then.  She was always sending me out on auditions to play parts as a high schooler because back then I looked like I was that age.   For THE PERFECT WEAPON....I wasn't into sports, at least not after the age of twelve.  I had never really played football as a kid.

TV STORE ONLINE:  So where do you think your initial interest in acting came from?

TROY FROMIN:  Well, when I was a little kid I loved Sci-Fi and horror movies and all I wanted to do when I got older was to be in just one horror movie.  That was my goal.  My dad owned a restaurant and after I graduated from high school I said to myself, "What am I going to do work in my dad's restaurant my whole life"?   So I started answering ads in "Drama-Logue" and  I went out and did extra work and starred in student films and worked for free.  I was cast in a student film called MONSTER HIGH [1989] and eventually that got turned into a feature film and I was cast in that as the computer nerd.



TV STORE ONLINE:  So tell me about working on Saved By The Bell?

TROY FROMIN:  I just got a call from my manager for that.  I hadn't even heard of the show before I got called in for it.   I went in and I got called back the next week, and then the next week and I said to myself, "Hey this is a pretty cool gig."   I ended up doing nine episodes of the show.  I first did the episode "No Hope With Dope" where I played "Skud" and that's a pretty popular episode then I played "Ox" and did more episodes like "Drinking & Driving".

TV STORE ONLINE:  So what was the vibe on the set of Saved By The Bell?

TROY FROMIN:  It was fine.  Everyone was really happy to be there.  The only person I didn't really get along with was Bridgette Wilson.   We were at lunch one day and I was sitting next to her and I made a joke and she got up and moved away from me and she wouldn't come near me after that...laughing     Saved By The Bell was shot on a stage at NBC in front of a live studio audience.   Every episode I worked on was shot in front of a live audience except for one.    What they did one day was squeeze in the scenes for the episode "Day Of Detention" in between the scenes for the one that was done in front of a live audience.  They even had a funny comic warm up the audience before we started to shoot and after we would finish I'd go out and take a bow in front of the audience and they would give you applause.  It felt so great.



TV STORE ONLINE:  Then you also had a part in PHANTASM II (1988)...

Troy Fromin in
PHANTASM II

TROY FROMIN:  Right, what happened with that was that I was a huge fan of the first PHANTASM movie so when I heard that they were making a new one I wrote Don Coscarelli a letter telling him how much I had loved the first one and that I wanted to work for him and I would do anything he asked and I would do it for free.  So they gave me a job in Craft Services  making forty-dollars a day to make coffee and give out snacks.    They shot the film in Chatsworth which is the town I grew up in and I was on the set everyday for two months when one day Don said to me, "OK Troy, here's your chance...."   So they put me in a grave digger's suit and gave me a rubber pick ax and Don told me that when he yelled action that I should start digging and I loved every second of it.  I'm so happy to had been in that scene.

TV STORE ONLINE:  So what were some of your favorite horror or Sci-Fi movies that you saw growing up that influenced your decision to wanting to become an actor.

TROY FROMIN:  PHANTASM was my favorite movie.  I liked it so much because Michael Baldwin was the same age that I was at the time that it came out.  

(R) Fromin with Sam Raimi
on set of DARKMAN (1990)
TV STORE ONLINE:   I was a huge horror fan as a kid too...Was Fangoria magazine something that you read as a kid?

TROY FROMIN:  Oh yeah.  It was my bible.  I used to take it to school and read it.

TV STORE ONLINE:   What about your involvement in the strange and obscure B movie FORTRESS OF AMERIKKA (1989)?

TROY FROMIN:    I just answered an ad in Drama-Logue for that.   I went to see the producers at their office and William J. Kulzer who played the Commander in the film asked me, "Are you gonna be in shape for something like this?"  I told him, "Listen man, I'll run around the block with you right now!"   He said, "OK, you're in."   I actually didn't get paid to be in FORTRESS but it was a vacation and I got to go sleep in a tent in Washington National Forest.  The writer and director of FORTRESS Eric Louzil didn't live to far from me so when he needed to shoot a pick-up I'd go over to his house and we'd go and shoot in his back yard.



Fromin on NBC's
Saved By The Bell
TV STORE ONLINE:  You're also in CLASS OF NUKE'EM HIGH 2 (1991) and 3 (1994)?   Did you go to Jersey to shoot those with Troma?

TROY FROMIN:  No, those were shot here in California.  Those were directed by Eric Louzil who had done FORTRESS OF AMERIKKA.   We were talking one night and I told him to watch me on Just The Ten Of Us [1988-90] and I said, "You should make that character the sidekick of "Yoke" in CLASS OF NUKE' EM and we just made his lines up as we went.

TV STORE ONLINE:
  I'm a huge fan of Richard Elfman's sick and twisted little kid's movie SHRUNKEN HEADS (1994). How did that all come about for you?

TROY FROMIN:  My manager called me and told me that I had an audition to be a film called THE CALL OF MR. SUMATRA.  I went in and auditioned and they liked me and I got the part.  It was so much fun to do and I really felt like a big timer there because we got to shoot on the back of the studio lot.

The actor who plays "Mr. Sumatra" in the film is named Julius Harris but he was cast as a replacement for Screamin' Jay Hawkins. I met Screamin' Jay the first day of shooting I was there but something happened and they let him go.  I think it had something to do with his drinking or they had a misunderstanding or something but I can't be sure.   So don't qoute me!  I worked on the film for about a month.   Last week I got my first residual check from SHRUNKEN HEADS.   I got seven dollars and ninety-seven cents.  That's three cents a month since it's been released!

TV STORE ONLINE:  Then you were in an episode of Married With Children [1987-97]?

TROY FROMIN:  Yeah, I was but they cut me out.  I was really disappointed with that because I had really loved that show and afterward I had told everyone that I knew that I was going to be on it and they should watch and when it aired I wasn't in the episode.    When I first went in to audition for Married With Children they had told my agent that they were looking for a heavy guy so when I went in I took a pillow from my sofa and stuffed it into my jacket to make me look even fatter and when I went in they said, "That doesn't look like a real stomach."  I said, "Well I wanted to look fatter."  When I pulled the pillow out everyone in the room laughed and I got the part.   Even though I was cut out of the episode I still got the credit for being in it and I get residue checks for it.

David Faustino & Troy Fromin
from Fox's Married With Children 
 
TV STORE ONLINE:  I know at a certain point you decided to stop acting...Why did you decide to take a break?

TROY FROMIN:  I knew you were gonna ask me that...It just came time to pay the bills.  I was working for my dad at his restaurant and it came to a boiling point where I just couldn't come and go as I pleased to auditions, so slowly and slowly I just had to phase that aspect out.   Then I joined Facebook and people are contacting me from all over the world asking me where I've been and what I've been up to and my interest in all of these old films that I did has been sparked again.

TV STORE ONLINE:   What about THE ADVENTURES OF KUNG FU RASCALS (1992)....Before I let you go you have to tell me about that crazy film?

TROY FROMIN:  Well Donald F. Jackson the guy who directed me in KILL KILL OVERKILL (1993) and  HELL COMES TO FROGTOWN (1988) introduced me to Steve Yang who had did the sculpting of the creatures in FROGTOWN.   He told me that Steve was looking for a "heavier guy" to play one of the Kung Fu Rascals and that I should work with him because he was going to be famous one day.  So Steve and I spent a year shooting it silently and on Super 8mm. The things that Steve did with forced perspective and his sculpting are just incredible.  Some of the movie look sort of grainy but after we finished it we went into a studio and overdubbed the sound with Les Claypool from the band Primus.   It's one of the things I'm the most proud of having done.  If people haven't seen it they really need to check it out.

For more with Troy Fromin please visit his official Facebook page HERE:
Also check our Troy's official YouTube page HERE
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