FLASHBACK! True Stories From Famous People

When I was a dorky teenager, I was sort of thrust into the spotlight by Stand By Me and Star Trek.

I've written before about how weird the whole thing was, and how uncomfortable a lot of the attention made me, but it wasn't all bad; I got to do some cool things, and meet some cool people as a result.

Being a cable TV subscriber in the 80s meant that I watched a lot of Nickelodeon, so I was a fan of You Can't Do That On Television, Double Dare, Mister Wizard's World, The Third Eye, Dangermouse, and getting slimed. Because I was a kid, and because I was on TV, I was invited to lots of Nickelodeon events over the years, where I got to meet a lot of the people I'd seen on Nick (never got to meet Moose from YCDTOT, though, which was a bummer).

Once, I even got to host the Kids Choice Awards, where I met Bobby "The Brain" Heenan (Weasel! Weasel! Weasel!) and Debbie Gibson (I still get lost in her eyes, though it was painfully easy for her to shake my love.)

I really liked the people who worked at Nickelodeon, and I guess they liked me, too, because I was always getting invited to participate in things like this, which appears to have been filmed when I was 14, or right after I turned 15:

That's even more embarrassing than my Complete Dork Who Loves Batman picture (which was probably taken 6 to 12 months after this video was shot), because I am such a dork, bordering on obnoxiousness. 30 year-old me would have wanted to kick 14 or 15 year-old me in the nuts if he had seen that, but almost 38 year-old me is willing to give that kid a break; he was so excited just to be there, and he was such an awkward nerd, he really was doing the best he could.

Doing these things was so much fun, and I genuinely loved it at the time, though I really took for granted that I'd always be asked to do them. Over the years, as I faded from view and struggled, I regretted that I didn't appreciate them more (though I don't think I was capable of fully appreciating them at the time, being fourteen and fifteen and all) … so when things happen to me now, like getting to watch a private concert by the Barenaked Ladies from about 10 feet away – where Ed Robertson fucking namechecks me in a song – you can bet your Vorpal Sword I take a moment to be grateful, and take nothing for granted.

(Thanks to Joshua C who e-mailed the link)

100 thoughts on “FLASHBACK! True Stories From Famous People”

  1. Wil, my gods, that ROCKED. I remember those bits as a loyal Nickelodeon watcher, too. And it is a shame you never got to meet Moose. She was awesome.

  2. Wow. I’d forgotten all about that. Wow. That’s all.
    Also, when you by Disneyland, can we have a private party for loyal blog readers? Huh? Huh? Can we? Can we? *grin*

  3. I really nice compound telescope. I really regret never getting one of those, and I just can't justify the expense, now.

  4. I used to watch Nickelodeon in between shows just for one of these with you in it! I still have them all on a VHS tape, somewhere. And when I was in Disney World last week, your “very very rich” quote was going through my head. STILL.
    I thought you were SO cool when I was 13.
    Still do. :)

  5. You’re supposed to take things like that for granted when you’re that age. My uncle owned a small TV station when I was young and I loved playing there. Only now in my thirties do I realize how special those experiences were.

  6. “Wait–am I famous?”
    I wouldn’t get too down on yourself, there. It sounds like even at 15 you had a pretty good sense of humor (or were at least charmingly self-depreciating).
    Very funny, though. I think I’m just a little too young to have remembered this segment.
    And holy original Harvey Dent Batman–Billy Dee Williams? Kick-ass. I also find it comforting that Heather Locklear hasn’t aged a day.

  7. I think you’re right when you say you were unable to appreciate it all back then. Teenagers tend to think they’re invincible and that things will never change.

  8. Adorable.
    Kid2 was looking over my shoulder and saw the title of the video. I hadn’t pressed play yet. He exclaimed, “Hey! I know that kid!… Wait a minute… That’s not Bronson Pinchot, is it? That looks like Wil Wheaton to me.” To which, I confirmed.
    The thing I find hard to accept about this video, is my oldest is 14 (15 beginning of Sept)and it seems like just yesterday that I was watching you on my TV when you were that age and I wasn’t much younger.
    Early Happy Birthday, Wil!

  9. Wow…someone else remembers Dangermouse?? I thought I was the only one. Every time I’ve mentioned it since the 80s ended, I’ve been met by blank stares. You rock, Mr. Wheaton. You rock indeed.

  10. You are too damn cute! Thanks for sharing that. P.S. Off the subject-you were sure a hit at the B.B. Theory and Guild panel at Con-hope you are back next year!

  11. OMG, so that’s why I had this vague memory of you discussing texture!
    I kind of pity the kids, today, who couldn’t experience Nickelodeon in what I consider to be its glory days.

  12. I didn’t have cable tv until 6 months ago. Wow do I ever have some catching up to do! Too bad we don’t have Nickelodeon in my region, seems they know what’s hot :)

  13. Aw, Wil… you were so adorable. Fourteen year old me would have gone out with 14 year old you. ;-) (Except that we would have needed a time machine because by the time you were 14, I was already 28 and in a long-term relationship and well, yeah, never mind.)
    I remember watching a lot of Nickelodeon with my daughter… we both loved it!

  14. Wow that brought back a lot of good memories from my childhood… Even though I find my self preparing for a great job at a robotics company working for a former NASA engineer, I long for those days of innocence when my dreams of being a writer were so true and unspoiled by the reality of agents and “legal reasons”. I think it’s time for me to go outside, lie in the, and look up at the summer sky and try to recapture some of that imagination I had as a child.
    Thanks Wil Wheaton.

  15. When you do finally get around to doing that buying Disneyland thing, may I please still come ride Space Mountain? I promise I won’t even insist on sitting in the first row.

  16. Ah, green slime in the pre-over-commercialization era! But Wil, did you also watch The Tomorrow People at all? You didn’t mention it, so I am curious.

  17. Wil, 14/just turned 15 year old you was adorkable. I was too young when you filmed that to remember those clips (though I know I was watching Nickelodeon at the time), but I’m glad I got to watch them now. Thanks for posting this! What a time machine YouTube can be sometimes!
    P.S. When you eventually buy Disneyland and turn it into your own private Skullcrusher Mountain, can we all have a pizza party there? Please?

  18. I had such a crush on you when I was a little girl and I swear I remember watching that video! Flashbacks are awesome! I dreamed of being on Double Dare and Fun House…or was it Finders Keepers? Hmmmm Excuse me. My age is showing.

  19. Wow… THAT’s a blast from the past. I really wish YCDTOT was still on, just so my kids could see it. They don’t appreciate sliming like I did. Anyways, if you ever decide to buy Disneyland, just know that I’d definitely make my way out there. Someday.

  20. AAAAH MY CHILDHOOOOOOOOD :D :D :D *flail flail flail*
    I watched all those Nickelodeon shows as a kid, except I was never really into Danger Mouse and I don’t know what The Third Eye is/was. But ffffff Mr Wizard’s World FRIG YES. I still remember how to tell salt from sugar without tasting it. (And that the kid from that experiment poured what fortunately turned out to be sugar into some Kool-Aid.) Also YCDTOTV, oh my god. Actually my little brother (who’s about five years younger than me) and I were talking a few years ago about how awesome all the shows we grew up with in the ’80s and early ’90s were. I posted it on an old blog of mine and if it weren’t too long I’d post it here too. (I can’t just link to the entry, it’s not a “blog site” like LJ or Blogger or whatever. But I could probably copypasta it into my LJ and link to it there.)

  21. Man, we are grownups now! What’s the point of being a grownup if we don’t do unjustifiable expenses in stuff we like?
    Unless it’s your wife who is telling you that you can’t justify that expense. Then I just ruined her christmas present. :/

  22. sooooo Cute!!! and still are. Taking things for granted is what childhood is about. You may not have disneyland but what you do have with your wife and kids is very rich. No amount of money could buy or replace. Also, I hate liver.

  23. Heh. It's my sense of responsibility and having two kids in college that's telling me I can't justify that expense.

  24. No, they were completely different ‘verses. Tomorrow People was an import from the US which had been filmed throughout the 70s, while The Third Eye was sort of an over-arching title for about a half-dozen unrelated serials. Similar themes, definitely – and telepaths in both! – but they were different shows. There’s still a number of fansites about both TP and TTE but the oldest TP one – Teleporter Take-Out – seems to be down. There’s tomorrowpeoplelab.net though, still.

  25. Ok, I’m making it official. When I win the lottery, I will pay for your kids college, and buy you Disneyland. Just out of thanks for all the entertainment you’ve given us over the years. :)

  26. At the end of the video, at the pause between “to find the real story” and “stay tuned”, all I could think of for one brief moment was that a website plug would be popping up any second. Ah, progress.

  27. I totally loved the “true stories…” on Nick and wish YCDTOT was still on the air. I have to tell my kids of the “good ol’ days” from where the green slime came from when they watch it on “Brain Surge”… the only show that features green slime besides the Kid’s Choice Awards.
    Trust me, if you were to come to the East Coast, I’m sure I could find MANY fan girls to remind you how much you are still with us.
    Thanks for the nostalgia and LOVE the new work. Can’t wait to see more.

  28. That was cool. Nic was past my time so I never saw these. You’re the only one without dated hair. Those were some big hair days.

  29. Why was meeting Moose a disappointment? I would have also thought that to be the best part of the day since she was da bomb.
    Is there a story to that? Link me up.

  30. Wil I’m afraid I didn’t see you on Nickelodeon however, I did stick with you through Star Trek and your career up until now. I do have a suggestion though…
    Once your kids finish college and get a good job suggest a compound telescope as a father’s day present. Sounds fair to me.

  31. Dude, I can not *wait* until you buy Disneyland!
    I also kind of wished I had written you and asked for an autograph like I always wanted (but I was too embarrassed to ask my mom to buy me a stamp), that picture is awesome.

  32. Two notes on the video:
    1) That was really entertaining
    2) You looked really confident while doing it.
    BTW – You were one of the few guys without 80’s hair – LOL

  33. Ed Robertson namechecked you during a private BNL concert at SDCC?! Which song was it, or was one of their improv riffs? How’s their live show without Steven Page? Big BNL fan, here.

  34. That was awesome! If you ever do buy Disneyland, please close all of the rides except Pirates of the Caribbean and turn the rest into a giant arcade filled with video games. Oh and maybe an ice cream shop or two. :)

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