Behind The Silver Screen

Jacqueline Meszes

Brave.  That’s what they used to call me.  It was everywhere, up in lights!  But what am I now?  A shmuck. Yeah I remember back in the day, back when we were all stars.  You couldn’t go downtown or into a kids store without seeing our picture.  Heck, appliance sales went through the roof that year! 1987… that was when it all began.  Back before then, I was a nobody.  Hell, Lampy was just a college dropout and Blanky couldn’t even get a gig doing soft porn.  I remember when I was approached.  “I’ve got something good for you kid,” Jerry said.  “It’s gonna make you a star!”

Yeah I had done little things before, just here and there.  You’d see me in some kitchen scene on a low budget movie.  Even when I heard about the casting call for the movie, I didn’t think much of it.  Not until Jerry called me directly.  I’ll admit, I gushed a little on the phone.  But he talked me into it. It took off like…well…like a vacuum cleaner to mars!  The movie was a hit, everyone wanted to break a piece off of my toast.  Hell, I even got a call from Dan Aykroyd asking me to be in a scene for the second Ghostbusters movie!  It was all going so well!

After a few years, the spotlight started to fade.  Soon, too soon really, movies about a framed Rabbit and Dinosaurs that were going extinct were plaguing the theatres.  Comedy, that’s what they were calling these movies.  Yeah, I saw them.  I didn’t think they were nothing special.  Then the nineties hit.  That was probably the worst, in the beginning.  Disney competing with 20th Century Fox for the best animation.  Hits like Aladdin out grossing FernGully while The Lion king butted heads with The Page Master.  I tell ya, at that time, it was cut throat.  I was glad I unplugged myself from the business.

Things got bad fast.  Blanky was getting a little over his head.  All the fame had gotten to him over the years, and as the crowds changed, he…well…he didn’t take it so well.  Started making public scenes.  Yeah, it was just a few misdemeanors here and there.  Urinating in public, drunk and disorderly.  We thought it was just a rough patch.  But none of us even saw it coming. I remember it like it was yesterday.  I would never forget the day.  It was the premiere of Disney’s new movie, Toy Story.  A blatant rip off of our movie, just with damn toys.  I got a call in the middle of the night.  It was The Radio.  Told me Kirby found Blanky up in Toronto.  He was piss drunk, head in a toilet with about a kilo of coke on him.  I’ve never seen him so messed up.  By the time Jerry got around to getting us a second movie, Blanky was out of the picture for good.  He was replaced with some kid, and to tell you the truth, none of us really like him at first, but he grew on ya. 

Ten years.  That’s how long it took.  We we’re just kids back then, when the first movie came out.  Shiny and right out of the assembly line. Time does something to you, though.  After ten years, we were outdated.  We all knew it.  Replaced by love stories about crooks and thieves.  That damn Walt, that bastard was all to blame.  Well, when ‘97 came around, Jerry had pumped us up just enough to be excited about the new movie.  He had high hopes; he thought this was going to put us back on the market.  I tell ya, I’ve never been so let down in all of my life.  Apparently no one really cared about us going to Mars.  I had to watch Kirby cry himself to sleep.  It was pathetic.  When the reviews finally came in, it was full of scorn and distaste.  I can’t tell you how Jerry was able to convince us to make the third movie, which was really the second movie.  Let’s just say, we all needed the money.

I guess in the end, it was a good run, however short it was.  We were running off of a fuse, and when it blew, we just couldn’t accept it. 

I don’t think I’ll ever get back in the business.  It’s not for me.  I’ve got a good thing going now in commercials.  I’ve got a cushiony gig doing Pop Tarts and Eggos stuff.  Trying to get my cord in Toaster Strudels, considering everything.  It’s a better life.  No one expects much out of me, and the checks are enough to keep the electricity on, which, come on, what more can I ask for?  I still see Kirby from time to time.  He hasn’t got much power left in him, but when the time comes, I’ll be there.  No one really knows what happened to Blanky, he fell out of contact with everyone, never got back into movies.  Lampy and The Radio are appealing for marriage rights in Washington, and I hope the best for them.  And as for Jerry?  He still does stuff from time to time.  Bless his heart; he calls every year on the anniversary of the first movie.

There’s not much left in this world for a little guy like me, but what can I say? I don’t got a lot left in me.  But at one time in my life, I was a brave son of a bitch.  The bravest damn toaster you’d ever meet.