All the time. I couldn't wait! It was one of the great things [we got to do]. ... We couldn't go all the time, it would cut into our schoolwork, but we had two or three days a month where we went, and if we had days off from school, and he was working, I was there as often as possible. I thought it was like Disneyland. Because it was. Think of it. ... "Star Trek" was shooting there, and "The Brady Bunch." ... We knew the freaking "Brady Bunch"! Unbelievable. "The Odd Couple" was shooting on the lot at the time. Just so many things. It was just a magic, magic time in television. I couldn't wait to get there. I was enamored with the process of movie-making. I'm enamored with it now. I just loved being on set. I loved going to the Paramount lot.
Is that what led to your cameo in one of the original "Star Trek" series episodes?
Yes! My sister and I both. Iona, my sister. It was just a stunt-casting session. There was an episode called "Miri" with Michael J. Pollard and Kim Darby. There was a planet where the children, if they grew to a certain age of maturity, developed this disease. They literally had an arrested development. The kids were hundreds of years old and never matured to a certain age or else they would get this disease. They needed kids that weren't actors but who knew how to handle themselves on set, knew when to be quiet when the red light was on, knew what to do, and could take direction. Who better than actors' children, who have grown up on set, know when to shut the hell up? (Laughing)
So I was in it. My sister Iona was in it. Jon and Cary Gries (whose father, Tom, was a director on "Mission: Impossible" and "I Spy"). Then Vince McEveety, who was the director of the episode, his children were in it. Lisabeth Shatner was in it. Dawn Rodenberry. Who else was in it? I don't know if any of the Landau kids were. I can't remember. Yeah, it was a bit of a stunt casting, and there are pictures of me all over the place. I go to conventions sometimes. People show up with pictures of me. I was literally billed as "Boy in Combat Helmet."
Did you wander around the lot? Were you allowed to? Did you play with the "Brady Bunch" kids and watch their show film?
Oh, yeah, and we would walk over to the "Star Trek" set. Now remember, this is 1968, '69. These are the days of no hot sets. There was no security. The security guard was at the gate, but there were not security guards on the lot. They didn't think about people sneaking on the lot. We would literally walk on to the "Star Trek" set, and if they were (not filming) that day, we would sit in the captain's chair. I'll never forget pushing a button in the chair, and it wasn't a real button. I'd push my finger all the way through. (Laughing) We would pick up the papier mache rocks and pretend like we were really strong. We would open the doors and do the "beep," and try to make a sound. It was awesome.
Friends of mine who were other actors' kids would say, "It's boring. I don't want to go." I'm like, "Are you kidding me?!" (Laughing) There's no mystery of why I do what I do today.
Other noteworthy TV DVD releases this week:
"JAG: The Complete Series Collector's Edition" (Paramount Home Video)
Another gorgeous package from PHV this week, the "JAG" set is housed in a navy-blue cloth-covered box with epaulets that unsnap to reveal the contents, all 10 seasons of the 1995-2005 David James Elliott Navy legal drama on 56 discs. All bonus materials on the individual season sets are included in the "Complete Series Collector's Edition," along with "The Jagged Edge," a new documentary that includes behind-the-scenes scoop on the show's production and interviews with Elliott, co-stars Catherine Bell and Patrick Labyorteaux, and executive producer Donald P. Bellasario. The box set also features a photo-laden booklet with trivia and info on the real JAG Corps, as well as a Challenge Coin, just like the one Elliott and Bell's Harm and Mac used to determine their future in the series finale.
"Girls: The Complete First Season" Blu-ray (HBO Home Video)
It's one of the most polarizing shows on TV: Is star and writer Lena Dunham's take on 20-something life in New York brilliant or just plain grating? Before Season 2 premieres on January 13, see what all the fuss is about with this set of all 10 Season 1 episodes, plus interviews with Dunham and series producer Judd Apatow, audio commentaries, a gag reel, deleted and extended scenes, cast auditions, table reads, making-of featurettes, an NPR "Fresh Air" interview with Dunham, a booklet with series photos, and a collection of Dunham's tweets.
"Futurama: Volume 7" Blu-ray (Fox Home Entertainment)
Spring for the Blu-ray version -- fantastic animation like "Futurama" demands it -- with the first 13 episodes of Season 7, including guest appearances by "Star Trek" legends Patrick Stewart and George Takei and plots involving Bender's vending machine babymama (guest star Wanda Sykes) and Leela's parents getting divorced and her mom rebounding with military man Zapp Brannigan (in the cleverly titled "Zapp Dingbat"). Bonus materials on the set include fun audio commentary for every episode, plus deleted scenes, a featurette on the show's music composer, and "Futurama" karaoke with the Planet Express gang singing along with tunes like "Welcome to Robot Hell," "That Was Then and This Is Too," and "The March of the Non-Union Elves."
"Gordon Ramsay: Cookalong Live" (BFS Entertainment)
It won't be "live" for DVD viewers, obviously, but it's still a chance to see Ramsay -- whom American audiences usually see yelling at people, not actually cooking himself -- in action. He and a lineup of celebrity guests prepare dishes like salmon en croute, duck breast, angel hair pasta with crab, tiramisu, and rhubarb and ginger crumble, in a limited-run 2008 British series.
"Gunsmoke: The Seventh Season, Volume 1" (Paramount Home Entertainment)
Season 7 marked the beginning of the classic western's expansion to an hour-long format, making it even more impressive that the cast and crew produced 34 episodes for one season. This set collects the first 17 installments of the season, which includes guest appearances by Harry Dean Stanton, future "M*A*S*H" star Wayne Rogers, and Spock himself, Leonard Nimoy.