Looking Back and to the Future

by

Rob MayedaThe recent fire at Universal Studios brought back the Summer of ’90 to me. Nearly 20 years ago, as seen here in this embarrassingly 80s-style young actor’s photo, I once worked at Universal Studios’ former Moulin Rouge Restaurant now the Jurassic Park shop area. (No, that’s not “Zoolander” – that is actually me circa 1990) My main worry back then was the cash count at the register at the end of the day and telling tourists to lay Evian bottles flat on their trays at check out. Many explosive spills taught me this early on.

That was the bad, but the good included all the restaurant’s employees getting to be stand-in/extras as “Beverly Hills 90210 ” was shooting “EXTERIOR – France street scene” just across the street on the upper lot.

Another interesting part of the job was my restaurant manager’s connections with casting directors down on the back lot. That’s where I’d get sent running errands from time to time while getting to see all those ingenious sets up close and personal. Thanks to the ultimate stage crew – it was interesting to see what you’d find each time you were down there. Cities and centuries could literally change overnight.

I also have that restaurant manager to thank for my break into the young actors voice-coaching workshop (cue embarrassing photo again). It was here you’d also find fellow employees who portrayed “W.C. Fields,” “Marilyn Monroe” and “Frankenstein” around the park during the day working out of costume to focus on their acting skills by night (including yours truly, the Moulin Rouge cashier/waiter).

We got to know each other pretty well as scene partners in scripts from commercials to shows like “Major Dad” and “Quantum Leap.” While none of us actually made it onto one of those shows, years later we all lived out our dreams in different ways.

I caught “W.C. Fields” a couple years ago ago in a role for a Ron Popeil pasta-making informercial. “Marilyn” went on to Italy to shoot a film. “Frankenstein” is doing well in bank commercials these days. Even Moulin Rouge cashier guy got his act together eventually.

Though we’re scattered all over the place now, I had to wonder if we all thought the same thing watching the breaking news. No doubt Universal will rebuild bigger and better than before. That doesn’t make it any less sad to see an original part of it burned away.

Rob Mayeda
NBC11 WeatherPlus Meteorologist

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One Response to “Looking Back and to the Future”

  1. june Says:

    aww neat job!

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