While Harry Shearer is most popular as the bassist from This is Spinal Tap and nearly half of the voices of on The Simpsons, he's also been extremely prolific in other areas during his half-a-century in showbiz. In advance of the screening of his documentary The Big Uneasy Thursday night at the Denver FilmCenter, we take a look at five of Shearer's obscure roles over the years.
Frankie Bennett on Leave It to Beaver In the 1957 pilot of Leave It to Beaver, Shearer played the prankster Frankie Bennett, who convinces Wally and Beaver that if they collect 1,000 bottle caps, a dairy will give them free bikes. Yeah, television was a lot more dull in those days. While Shearer only played Bennett in the pilot, the role was the precursor to the iconic role of mischief-maker Eddie Haskell on the series.
George H.W. Bush on The Golden Girls Though he's never actually shown in the episode "The President's Coming! The President's Coming! Part 2," Shearer voices the part of George Bush Sr. as the Golden Girls line up to meet him, shake his hand, and ask silly questions like "Is the Oval Office as hard to vacuum as I think it is?" while Blanche makes eyes at the Secret Service men.
In this iconic classic, Shearer has a small role as clueless radio host Handsome Dan who interviews Wayne and Garth. The pair realize that Dan is paying no attention to what they're saying, so begin to call him things like "a complete tool," "freak with a microphone" and "sphincter boy." Excellent.
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Dr. Baldharar on Friends On an episode where Ross has to get rid of his monkey, Marcel, and is trying to get him into a zoo, Shearer shows up as the weirdo Dr. Baldharar. The doctor says he runs an "interactive wildlife experience," which Ross soon realizes is some weird animal fighting circus as Baldharar asks him questions about how handy Marcel is with a blade.
Charles Caiman in Godzilla Remember that weird 1998 version of Godzilla with Matthew Broderick? Yeah, we barely do, too. But Shearer had an appearance in it, as jerky news reporter Charles Caiman, who plays the tape of Godzilla's origin on national TV. In this video, which seems to be some sort of promo for the movie, Shearer goes to Japan to interview some of the original Godzilla creators and see the old props. Unfortunately, this six minute clip is a lot more interesting than the lame 1998 film ever was.