Double-Oh-Marcus; The Spy Who Flubbed Me
by Michael R Dougherty
Marcus and Michelle Hilton
So this is how you make a movie?
What happens when you write a silly spy story, cast a bunch of well known and talented Anchorage radio and TV personalities and one local model, throw in locations in and around Anchorage, Alaska and mix it all together into a fun, tongue-in-cheek movie short?
You get "Double-Oh-Marcus; The Spy Who Flubbed Me."
Back in the 1980's Alaska was very under represented on television and on the big screen. I was working in local television and thought it would be fun to write and direct some movies that would be produced in and around Anchorage.
One day I sat down and started writing a screenplay for a short movie about a bumbling spy. I immediately started writing the script with local radio personality Marcus Lewis in mind. Marcus was on KFQD radio at the time and I had worked with Marcus once before when I directed him in a local television commercial. Marcus was fun to work with and very professional.
As I continued writing the screenplay I started seeing other Anchorage radio and TV personalities who would be perfect in the movie. Commentator Herb Shaindlin, one time KTVA and KIMO (now KYUR) news anchor Dean Berg and TV personality Chuck Talsky.
Once the screenplay was complete, I asked my wife Mary to produce, along with our good friend Alex Tatum who had worked with us on KTVA channel 11's teen dance program, The Varsity Show. While they started putting everything in place, I concentrated on casting and directing.
My first meeting at KFQD with Marcus Lewis went very well, with Marcus not only agreeing to star in the movie, but acting out a few scenes I described to him. KFQD also agreed to let us shoot a scene in the KFQD radio booth and to promote the movie.
Dean Berg was a friend and someone I had worked with at KTVA channel 11 when Dean was news anchor there. Dean had been a professional actor and had appeared in a number of movies including Steve McQueen's "Bullitt", the Blake Edwards thriller "Experiment in Terror" and was the co-star of the 1957 television series "Harbor Command." Happily, Dean agreed to be in our movie.
I had worked with local TV commercial personality Chuck Talsky a couple of times before and knew that Chuck would be brilliant in our movie. At the time, I also had another script for a thriller set in Anchorage titled "The Dracula Murders" and Chuck was perfect for the movie's villain. Chuck liked both stories and said yes.
For our female lead I turned to the local Eileen Seals Modeling Agency. Eileen thought it would be great experience for one of her models to be in our movie. She set up an audition for two of her models. One was a tall, model with long blond hair named Michelle Hilton. About a week after her audition, my wife Mary said "Michelle is perfect, cast her."
That was it, except for our villain, we had our main cast. Our Anchorage based movie was coming together.
For our villain, "Doctor Rodent" I only had one person in mind - Herb Shaindlin. I had worked with herb and Herb was very talented. His personality behind the camera and microphone was what had made him such a popular Anchorage personality. On the air he could be gruff, snide and provocative.
And he looked the part.
With his arched eyebrows, mustache, and bushy chin whiskers he looked as if he could pal around with the devil himself.
But Herb was really a big hearted guy who cared about people very deeply.
One day I went up to Herb while he was sitting by himself and I whispered "you're really a very nice guy." Herb looked at me, leaned forward and said, "yes, but don't tell anyone." Herb agreed to play the part of "Doctor Rodent" in our movie - and we were thrilled.
Rounding out our cast was KFQD DJ Tom Rivers who played "Cheap Jaws", our producer Alex Tatum played a not-so-bright N.E.R.D. (Nasty Evil Rotten Dude) and KTVA sports anchor Tom Miller played a really dumb N.E.R.D.
Anchorage TV producer George Miller and his company Takotna Video agreed to shoot and edit our movie.
Mary quickly went to work creating an incredible costume for Chuck Talsky's character "the Golden Oldie" while Alex Tatum secured a black sedan, three snow mobiles and our locations.
We shot just outside the back door of the Captain Cook Hotel in downtown Anchorage, out back of the YWCA in Muldoon, in an empty garage, an apartment building and the University of Alaska Anchorage campus.
During production, the Anchorage car dealership that loaned us the black sedan said "if you wreck it, you buy it." Tom Rivers broke his toe during a take, and our female lead, Michelle Hilton, required take after take because in one scene she couldn't bring herself to actually "kick" a target we set up beside the camera lens.
When our last scene had been shot, I said "that's a wrap" and our movie "Double-Oh-Marcus; The Spy Who Flubbed Me" was, as they say in Hollywood, "in the can."
When our movie was edited we brought cast and crew and guests together for a big screen premiere at a library near Clark Junior High School in Mountain View.
After our screening, "Double-Oh-Marcus; The Spy Who Flubbed Me" premiered to Anchorage, Alaska audiences on KIMO-TV channel 13, now KYUR. Following that premier, the movie ran on Visions. You may recall that Visions brought cable TV to Anchorage by way of an antenna system.
Some years later, we came very close to producing "The Return of Double-Oh-Marcus" but even though the entire cast agreed to bring back their characters, and George Miller and Takotna Video were ready, we never put it together.
A Very Special Announcement
"Double-Oh-Marcus; The Spy Who Flubbed Me" was a fun Alaska movie short to put together.
And now I have a very happy surprise for you -
"Double Oh-Marcus; The Spy Who Flubbed Me" is available as a Special Collector's Edition Movie Set.
Check out The Double-Oh-Marcus Movie right now, you'll be very glad you did.
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