Welcome to the second issue of the Ed Wasser Fan Club Newsletter. We appreciate the warm response to the first newsletter!
It has been an exciting month for everyone, including Ed. He just finished filming a guest star segment in the fine show NYPD Blue. See the enclosed blurb for more information. The role could be recurring, so everyone get out your pens, and let the producers of that show know that you want to see Ed in more NYPD Blue.
Also, congrats to Mark C. Mackinnon for the winning entry in our contest. You can see the results and the next contest at the bottom of this newsletter.
Oh, yes, one quick apology. At the end of each segment of the interview, we feature 'teasers' on the next part of the interview segment. We had not finished editing the interview when we wrote the teasers last month, so you may notice that what we promised last month is not all in here. But it is coming! And the teasers will be right in the future.
Sit back and enjoy!
(Below is the second part of a several hours long interview with Ed. It will be continued in every issue of the EWFCN.)
Well, to answer that question, you have to go waaaaay back. When I was eighteen months old, I was swinging a baseball bat. All my life that I can remember, I wanted to be a baseball player. All the way up through high school. And I was excellent, though I was not amazing. Then I had an injury. I dislocated my right shoulder. But I was determined not to let that get me down, so I worked really hard to rehabilitate myself. And then I reinjured it. At that point, I decided that I didn't want a life of constant setbacks, so I decided against baseball.
Now going on at this same time, you have to understand, I did not like indoor sports. I never could play basketball nor did I particularly revel in putting my face in some guys sweaty armpit. I didn't like indoor track - running up and down stairs never really did it for me either. So here I had my winters pretty much sportsless, and I explored doing plays.
Lo and behold, I was well received. I got an enormous amount of support. You know I never really even guessed I had a knack for acting. It's amazing how much alike baseball and acting are. In fact, acting is quite simple compared to baseball. The diving catch, the teammates, the fans - it is all about entertainment.
So during my senior year of high school, I figured out acting was what I was supposed to do. I had been pretty close actually. I had known I was supposed to be a public figure, that I was supposed to perform. I just didn't know in what capacity.
So when I graduated from high school, I tried out for three schools, NYU, Ithaca, and Suny Purchase. I was very flattered that I got into all three. However, NYU was too expensive and Ithaca was cold as could be. Then, I found out that Suny Purchase auditions 800 people and accepts 30, then only graduates about 15. And I thought, "that is impressive." A little more research on my part and I found out it was one of the finer conservatories in the country, so I signed up. When I became a sophomore, I said, "I really like this."
So then I graduated in 1986.
[Ed laughs] Not exactly. There was work for me at the beginning in New York. My first real job was a daytime drama called "Loving". Many actors starting out do other work to pay the proverbial bills, and so a friend of mine, David Greenbaum - a brilliant guy - and myself, started a business doing videotaping for people. Then David came to me one day and said "I have a great idea for a business." The next thing I knew, I had a fleet of rollerskaters in bright orange outfits skating all over Manhattan wearing sandwich boards advertising various corportations and helments with fins saying "AdSkates Inc." and passing out flyers. I thought it sounded like a lot of fun, so I took that idea and ran with it - or skated with it - and it went wild. We had an entire fleet of skaters and had customers from foot doctors to Burger King. The company was called AdSkates, and I ran it for five years. It was really a lot of fun. We paid our skaters $10 an hour - good money in '86.
Oh, no. I was doing a lot of theater. I also continued studying at Michael Howard's studio in New York. My reason for going into, and staying in, the business stemmed from needing money. Perhaps there was a little fear involved in it, too. I was probably afraid of throwing all of my energy at something I really wanted - acting - and then failing.
But after five years of AdSkates, I realized that was not what I wanted to do with my life. So I went into production. I thought I would do in-house corporate videos as a means of getting into features. But before long, I realized I was fundamentally ignoring my career, because I had two businesses going. I was making money but not doing what I really wanted to do.
You know what is funny. I didn't come to this realization by myself. As obvious as it seems looking back, I was blinded at the time. I thought I was doing the right things to prepare myself. But then one day, my matriarchal grandmother said, "What are you doing?" Surprisingly like "What do you want?" don't you think? And I said, "What do you mean 'what am I doing?' What am I doing now, what am I doing for lunch?"
And she said, "What are you doing with your life? I thought you wanted to act."
And I explained to my grandmother, the way you explain things to your grandmother, that I was preparing myself. And she looked at me and said, "No, I think you are playing it safe. Time is passing you by, and you are not doing what you want. You had great success in things you do not want to do, put your energy towards what you want to do."
And then I realized she was right. And I had to leave New York. Leave my safety net. Leave everything. Throw myself at my career. So I sold my company, bought a new car, drove across the country to Los Angeles, and here I am. That was 1991.
Every day - it's scary. But I believe that this is my calling. Sometimes you don't know whether you really believe in it or are just talking yourself into it. Today I believe!
We will be adding to this section every issue to give you more background about Ed. However, we will start off this issue with a brief overview.
Early this month, Ed was called in for a guest spot on NYPD Blue. He played a narcotics detective named Kowalkski. Ed tells us that it was fun and intense and reminded him of home, of New York.
The episode is set to air on November 29. The role does have some recurring possibilities, and nothing would help the producers of NYPD Blue to bring back Ed Wasser / Kowalkski than to get some letters from Ed's fans asking them to bring him back. A few letters really will make the difference.
Please write to:
Remember, hand written letters are the best, and be specific about what you want them to do.
Well, last month's challenge was pretty much ignored by everyone, so I guess it pretty well sucked. Sorry! This month I will publish a real editorial. It is not about Ed specifically, but about TV in general.
In this month's editorial, I want to talk about Voyager and Deep Space 9. Is it just me, or are those shows, especially DS9, becoming more B5ish? I cannot help but believe that the producers of DS9 are watching B5 - I mean it is 'the competition' - and I am beginning to see things in those shows that seem like deja vu. Don't get me wrong here - the best DS9 still isn't the worst B5 (well, maybe the WORST), but recent events like the Bashir-O'Brien conflict, the arcs like the Dominion and the Klingon situation, the overall darker atmosphere, etc. lead me to believe that B5 is having its effect on the sterile world of Trek.
However, it is still too little, too late. We were all told DS9 would be a 'grittier' Trek. But aside from having a few more command level disagreements and generally lowering the lights on all the sets, there is little of substance there. Odo will always be Odo, Sisko will always be Sisko (to the extent Avery Brooks can act), Kira will always be Kira. In short, nothing will HAPPEN.
B5 has shown us how good TV can be. And in doing so, it has also shown us how bad other shows are. My wife and I are down to three hours of TV a week. Voyager, DS9, and B5. Voyager and DS9 are merely habits. Can't quite bring ourselves not to watch them. Occasionally we are pleasantly surprised, but generally we go "Yawn, yawn" and wait for Babylon 5.
Will Babylon 5, an amazingly high-quality show, have a lasting effect on science fiction TV? I doubt it. For two reasons - first, shows like B5 are hard to do. Five-year stories are harder to write. Few shows will go the extra mile when mediocrity is the norm. And second, and this is going to sound harsh, most people don't have the desire to think. The popularity of half-hour sitcoms over hour-long drama is telling enough of the general attention span deficiency and overall desire to 'veg' in front of the TV.
B5 will be over in less than three years. Over. Done. No more. (Maybe another five year series in the same universe, but I doubt it.). That might be the time to chuck the boob tube once and for all.
Special thanks this month to Jeannette Simpson who below gives us a first-hand report of Ed's appearance at WOLF 359:
I was asked. I agreed. So, through the fog of indistinct memory, I bring you images, impressions and thoughts from WOLF 359, Sachas Hotel, Manchester, September 1995.
If memory serves me correctly, Ed had the dubious pleasure of breaking in the audience on the Saturday. As a self-confessed convention virgin this must have been daunting. Ed appeared nervous, obviously not knowing quite what was expected of him. Dressed in jeans, open-necked shirt and jacket, he presented a picture of a very fit young man. Fairly short in stature, dark, slim and handsome, Ed reminded me of a model on a catwalk as he prowled the low stage, surrounded by an eager audience.
The Morden smile was ever present, the voice familiar, as Ed answered questions about the show, about his role, about himself. One noticeable characteristic was that Ed always answered directly to the person who had asked a question, pointedly searching out their face in the crowd in order to do this. He was pleasant and personable, very open and honest in his replies, very forthcoming about himself. Ed revealed that he enjoys theater as much as TV work. He says he doesn't watch much television because he would rather be *doing* something. He likes sports and initially wanted to be a baseball player but, being injury prone, he was forced to give up this idea. We learned that he had previously had his own company in New York, running a team of skaters with billboards for advertising purposes. Since he had proved himself to be successful in business, he moved into acting for a fresh challenge.
Ed got his break on Babylon 5 as a reader. In other words, he would provide a foil for auditioning actors to play off, reading the other parts. Eventually he was offered a small role and picked the part of the tech officer because it looked as though there might be the possibility of the role continuing beyond the pilot. Ed was waiting and hoping for a role in the Babylon 5 series and was surprised and delighted when J. M. Straczynski told him that he'd written the part of Morden specifically with him in mind: for which we are all grateful, I'm sure.
Everyone remember the crystal that Ed wears as Morden? Apparently Ed found this is one of those New Age shops...I've forgotten where. He revealed that he had picked up this particular crystal, and it had felt good to hold. Deciding the price was too high, he left but returned later since he felt that he *must* have it. It was Ed's idea that Morden should wear the crystal. Ed himself appears very much the New Age man...I hope he wouldn't mind me saying so. He expressed his desire to be a good role model for young people. We also learned that he has a much-loved dog called Shiloh.
We were treated to an anecdote about Ed's gentlemanly actions which left him in fear for his health. Again, memory is not entirely clear on this, but Ed was escorting a lady to lunch when a gunman started firing. Ed shoved his companion to the ground and lay over her as protection. When he realized that someone had been shot, Ed went over to help. He asked someone for a piece of their shirt to use as a pad to stop the bleeding (hey, he wasn't going to use his *own* shirt!). Meanwhile the police had arrived. Ed tells how, standing back, he noticed a spot of blood on his hand. Licking the fingers of his other hand he started to rub the blood away. Suddenly it dawned on him that the police (or was it the medics) were wearing full protective clothing....rubber gloves and the rest. Acting out his reaction, Ed stood, tongue out, one hand poised above the other. Oh, my god! What if the man had AIDS? He was later reassured that the virus dies quickly when exposed to air and, no, he wouldn't need an AIDS test. So much for chivalry.
During the autograph sessions Ed was again personable and friendly, willing to chat and pose for photographs. He had told us that he likes to dance and those who stayed up for the parties witnessed Ed's dance floor activities on both the Saturday and Sunday nights.
Besides being Ed's first convention, this was also his first trip outside of the US. I'm sure he went away with a good feeling about Babylon 5 fans and, I hope, he will be quite willing to participate in similar events in the future. He certainly turned the heads of quite a few of the ladies at WOLF 359....much to the chagrin of some of the gentlemen.
No immediate appearances to report. Ed is available for conventions. For information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Last month's contest was a big hit. There were nearly 100 submissions for the top ten list, pretty much all of extremely high quality. Several of you submitted "Morden is afraid of the dark" which means that you are either all buddies or were all institutionalized at the same mental home. Ed spent quite awhile judging the best entries and in the end picked the following winners (for drama's sake, I will repeat 10-5):
Top Ten Surprises found in Morden's Autobiography:
Mark C. Mackinnon, who submitted our number one answer, will receive an autographed picture of Ed.
In the same vein as number one, this month you will be asked the following. Back at home on Z'ha'dum, Morden probably has a pet, maybe taken from earth, maybe not. What kind of animal does he keep for a pet, and what is its name? Four winners will be selected and reprinted in the newsletter, with the grand prize winner receiving an inscribed autographed photo of Ed Wasser.
Email to email@example.com. Deadline is 12/1/95.
Contrary to the rumors you may hear, we are not on the lam from the law. You can contact us. To subscribe, email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Conversely, when you have had enough, email@example.com will do the trick. If you want to contribute anything, we will most likely print it, assuming it pertains to Ed, Morden, Shadows, B5 (i.e. doesn't ramble on about Newt Gingrinch). Email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters to Ed are also welcome, and you have his word that they will all be read and answered by him. Ed's email is, you guessed it, email@example.com. Contest submissions are sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Volume II, Issue 1|