Posts Tagged Twilight Zone

Ulysses Stern, Actor Known For Playing Dave Mustaine in Megadeth, Dies at 83

Stern With Megadeth Bandmates Michael Corbin, Mark Alteri and Phillip Riesling

Ulysses Stern With Megadeth Bandmates Michael Corbin, Humberto Quintero and Phillip Riesling

Veteran character actor Ulysses Stern, who played the controversial singer and guitarist from the heavy metal band Megadeth from 1992 until 2007, died earlier this morning in his Pomona, California home of a heart attack.  Stern had been battling Alzheimer’s Disease since he retired from his role as Mustaine in 2007.  He was 83.

A veteran of hundreds of plays, movies and television shows, Stern made his acting debut in 1958 in the Broadway version of Tennessee Williams’ classic “A Streetcar Named Desire”.  From there he moved on to television, where he was featured on several hit shows including The Twilight Zone, Wagon Train and Petticoat Junction.  He briefly replaced Eddie Albert in the role of Oliver Wendell Douglas for six episodes on the television show Green Acres in 1968 during Albert’s highly publicized bout with leprosy.

He spent most of the 1970s and 80s playing colorful roles in major motion pictures starring some of the most popular names in Hollywood.  He was in four films with Burt Reynolds, including a memorable two-minute performance as a police detective in the Oscar winning film “Sharky’s Machine”.  In spite of this, by the early 90’s his career was in a tailspin.  He had reached the point where the only roles he could land were in Lifetime movies and Budweiser ads.  That was when he caught the eye of talent agent Mickey Krantz.

Krantz was so impressed by his performance as Jimmy Nolan, a Vince Neil-ish grifter, in the Lifetime movie “Baby Monitor:  The Sound of Fear”, that he offered Stern the chance to play Mustaine.  Carmine Trovatelli, who currently plays Robb Flynn in the band Machine Head, had played Mustaine through a good part of the 80s and 90s, but left the role in after a nasty contract dispute.  This paved the way for Stern to take over the role upon the release of “Countdown To Extinction”.

dave-mustaine

Although critics were often fond of Stern’s portrayal of Mustaine, the public had mixed feelings.  Megadeth achieved its greatest period of commercial success under Stern, but many of the fans believe the songwriting was far superior when Trovatelli was playing Mustaine.  “Megadeth was the thrashiest, most inventive band in the world when Trovatelli was playing Mustaine.  When Ulysses Stern became Dave Mustaine, Megadeth sold out as far as I’m concerned.” wrote Lemmy von Corpsegrinder on the “RIP Guy Who Played Dave Mustaine When They Started To Suck” Facebook page that appeared seconds after Stern’s death.

Funeral services for Mustaine are planned for Wednesday.  Hector Bayley (the actor who currently plays Mustaine), George Lemansky (the actor who plays Bruce Dickinson) and Arnold Weismuller (who recently took over the role of Rob Halford) all plan to be in attendance.  However, Victor St. Pierre (best known for his work as the post-ReLoad Lars Ulrich) has already gone on record stating he wants no part of the funeral and will not attend along with the rest of the actors playing members of Metallica.

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Robitussin Turns Me Into a Vengeful Idiot and Other Unpleasant 3 AM Realities

A Pretty Accurate Representation of My Mood on Sunday Night/Monday Morning (borrowed from popartmachine.com)

I ain’t feelin’ no sweet mystery of life nonsense this evening.  I have a miserable cold.  My throat hurts, I’m tired and I feel like I fought a 50-foot killer sea urchin all day.  I have nothing to add to your life but complaints; I am going to blog anyway. Being sick is awful.

The other night I tried to get rid of this thing by sucking down some Robitussin.  How on earth the FDA approved this substance is beyond me.  The stuff never makes me feel better, but it does always fill me with angst and white-hot rage.  I took the recommended dosage and went to bed.  Immediately I fell into hours of hellish dreaming.  I had one dream where everything was normal except everyone I saw had tremendous goiters protruding from their necks.  Just an average Saturday, I went to the supermarket….goiters everywhere…..I went to the bank….GOITERS….I got home….GOITERS on everyone. Nobody noticed except me.  It was basically what would have happened if Ken Kesey wrote a Twilight Zone episode.  You have been transported to a strange land where everything is the same, except everyone has goiters.

I woke up from that one sweating.  It was 2:58 in the morning and I was staring at the ceiling.  Being a basketball coach, I am familiar with this drill.  Usually I lay there muttering to myself about how I should have gone to a 1-3-1 zone in the second half of a game from 5 years ago.  This evening was different.  I kept thinking about orange juice.  For some reason, the idea of oranges being squeezed and put in bottles was making me insanely angry.  Why do they do it?  Who came up with the idea? Usually, I can distance myself from this sort of thing and laugh a bit, but I was full on committed to the grave injustice that was orange juice.  Then, I started thinking about raisins.  Ridiculous little things!  Absurd!

I bolted upright in bed.  My wife is familiar with these sorts of moments and has learned to not engage me at 3 AM.  Nothing I say makes any sense at that time, but with a head full of Robitussin I was bound to start yelling at her because she didn’t know the two Senators from the state of Nebraska.  I started pacing around the room looking for something to read.  I found the most boring thing I could lay my hands; a nightmarish volume I found in the quarter bin years back on how the commodities market works.  The plan was to bore the demons out of my body.  The next thing I know I am sitting out in my car waiting for the thing to heat up with the first Suffocation album, a wonderful piece of music known as “Effigy of the Forgotten”, blaring as loud as my blown out Saturn speakers could blast it.  (A side note…I am convinced that there cannot be a more bizarre vision then watching a 35 year old father of two sitting alone in a beat up car at 3 AM on a Monday morning blaring death metal and singing along at the top of his lungs)

Suddenly, I’m in a Dunkin’ Donuts.  The guy behind the counter has that “please don’t hassle me” look that any rational person would have working a nightshift would have when a wild-eyed lunatic walked in with malice in his eyes.

Boston Creme donut,” I mumbled.

“We’re out.”

Wrong answer.  “What do you mean!!!!? How are you out!!!!  What are you talking about?  This is a donut shop, man!”

“We don’t put those out until 4 AM.”

“Really?!?!!?  really?!??!!?  REALLY!!!!!!”

The poor guy was clearly feeling under the counter for the shotgun at that point.

“We have old fashions.”

“No!”

“Bear claws.”

“No!”

“Blueberry”

“NO!  NO!  NO!!!!”

“Sour cream”

“Ehhhhhh.  Give me two.”

I slunked away a defeated man.  I sat there for an hour reading the same three pages on soybean futures over and over not understanding a word.  The book might as well have been upside down.  Every five minutes or so I got up and looked at the section of the rack where Boston Cream donuts were usually kept and there was nothing.  I didn’t even want one anymore, I just felt like there should be some sense of completion, some end to this absurd journey.

I went home.  I lay there for a while longer staring at the ceiling fan.  It got light.  It goes on.

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