INTERVIEW WITH ACTOR BARRY MEYERS
(BIZARRO ON THE SUPERBOY TV SERIES)
Barry Meyers was a stage name and he currently goes by the name Douglas B. Meyers. The interview was conducted by Sam J. Rizzo of the Superboy Homepage on May 7th, 2010. The interview has been transcribed by Rennie Cowan, the webmaster of Superboy Theater.
Sam Rizzo: Can you talk a little bit about your background before you got the role of Bizarro on Superboy?
Barry Meyers: It all started from a character I started doing in 1987 called Mr. Silver. But it goes back even further, from the first time when I saw Michael Jackson do the robotic moves of the moonwalk on Soul Train, in like 1973 or 1974. So I started doing the robot then, and after I was a Cruise Director I got off the ship looking for something really fun to do. I created a robotic character then changed it into a silver robotic character. I was in Miami and I became a very famous character there, so I think it was 1989 when they were looking into the second season, and wondering what other kinds of villains and nemesis could we bring into Superboy.
Barry (Douglas) Meyers as Mr. Silver.
Sam Rizzo: How long did it take you to get into make-up each day?
Barry Meyers: Make-up was about 2 and 1/2 hours, and just to put it on by Rob Burman. As a matter of fact, Rob Burman’s brother just won the Oscar for Star Trek, which Rob and his brother both worked on. His brother of course got all the credit.
Sam Rizzo: Star Trek was just unbelievable. The make-up that Rob did was fantastic, him and his brother.
Barry Meyers: They do good stuff; Oscar winning stuff. But it took about an hour and ½ just to get all the make-up off. The face was where the prosthetics were. There were six pieces of prosthetics on the face. The neck and the hands were a latex make-up that had rubberized stuff put in it so that it would flex with my hand.
Sam Rizzo: Did they put latex gloves on you, or were they just painted?
Barry Meyers: Latex paint is what they did.
Sam Rizzo: I see. You said it was six pieces, the mask. Did it get hot in the mask, or just hot in the suit?
Barry Meyers: You don’t get hot in the face because the mask is geared to your face. When you are wearing a Halloween mask, there is a gap between your skin and the mask. That’s where you get heat. So when you put the mask on it’s like your skin almost. So you would certainly sweat but not like you think you would, not like with a regular mask; not at all. The suit was more hot and I had to wear the cape and the cape was uncomfortable. So the suit was much hotter. And being in Florida and shooting in Orlando was much hotter outside.
Bizarro in full make-up.
Sam Rizzo: What was it like working with Gerard Christopher, Sherman Howard, Stacy Haiduk; well working on the set?
Barry Meyers: Stacy was a blast…well everybody was great, as far as how it was to work with them. Sherman was kind of a big character actor at the time, so he hung out by himself a lot. But Stacy, I and Gerard, we used to go out and have dinners and we hung out once and awhile. Stacy was a fun, crazy girl and Gerard was a very dedicated writer, actor and producer.
Sam Rizzo: Yes, he did write a couple of episodes. He was very committed to that role.
Barry Meyers: Absolutely. He still would be a big part of it I guess (laughs)….
Sam Rizzo: Looking back, you were on there for three seasons. You did eight episodes. Looking back, what was your favorite scenes; or scene from a particular episode that you did?
Barry Meyers: One of my favorite scenes was -- and I couldn’t tell you about the name of the episodes. I mean as an actor, we just do the part and then move on. So it’s you the fans that remember more than we do. But as we were talking about it the other day, when I was on top of that roof talking to Superboy and at the very end…I was watching a clip of it the other day that someone put up there, I think it was Rennie, and at the very end I go (GROWLS like Bizarro) “LUTHOR!” and I remember very distinctly in my heart and in my soul -- my whole body just went out, when I screamed into the night air that I wanted to go get Luthor (growls lower this time) “LUTHOR…” and that was a very cool moment.
Bizarro on wires with Kryptonite props.
Sam Rizzo: Like the “To Be Human” episode where you got to act out of the make-up. Did you feel better out of make-up, or did you want to be in make-up?
Barry Meyers: Well, you know what that is a very good question because when you are in make-up you can become the character and I remember especially towards the third season when Rob would be doing my make-up for two and ½ hours and I would have to be there at like 4:30 am 5:00 am in the morning so that we were ready and on time at 7:30 am to 8:00 am to shoot -- I’d fall asleep sometimes because I was just so used to it and I’d wake up as Bizarro. I’d wake up, look in the mirror and (growls like Bizarro) and I would feel it. It was crazy. But out of the make-up there was a difference because now all of a sudden I was Barry with black hair. It was fun trying to be a different character and to be somebody different and that was a question I put up today, or this morning, “What other characters did I play?”
Sam Rizzo: You were Caliban in the season 3 episode when they brought back IIan Mitchell-Smith.
Barry Meyers: That’s right.
Young Barry (Douglas) Meyers without a mask on.
Sam Rizzo: Did it take longer getting into make-up for Caliban than Bizarro I mean because you had all of these prosthetics. You had the garb, the robe you wore, and everything…you had the teeth. Did it take longer to get into that character than Bizarro?
Barry Meyers: I’m going to say no. Probably not; just because…well I mean, I’m not really sure. I want to say maybe two hours. It was close. Because actually after the prosthetics was on Rob had to go in and paint and do the details, you know the painting, the scars and the acid marks that were in the face. The teeth just popped on. They just went in within half a second, right over my teeth. And the garb was almost easier to get on because it was just a suit. As Bizarro I had a Dresser every day dressing me every day with the Superboy suit.
Sam Rizzo: Looking back do you wish the writers did anything different with Bizarro or is that how you wanted to portray him?
Barry Meyers: I guess I didn’t know any different, but the difference between Bizarro in the comic books and the Bizarro in the TV show was that the Bizarro comic books were from the fourth dimension. So that is where he got his angular face and body, and Bizarro world was like that too. It was a square world not round. In the TV show Bizarro was actually an imperfect duplicate of Superboy. So you know when somebody says ‘why isn’t the “S” backwards?’ it wasn’t the Bizarro from the comic books, it was the Bizarro that they created for the show. They just went with a loose adaptation, so some of this stuff people thought he was going to talk backwards. I mean I was noticing the other day when I was watching the first episode when I come and the little boy – or a guy and a girl come out of a dress shop right before I kick the cop car in. Oh, my other favorite part is when, right after that was coming through those double doors at the furniture store. When I had to smash through that and then turn over a cop car. Killer! All that kind of stuff was absolutely fun as hell. And all the stunts I did. I probably did about 95% of all my own stunts. I mean all of that kind of stuff was fun, being up there kicking Gerard’s ass was always kind of fun (growls like Bizarro).
Barry (Douglas) Meyers done up as an Ice Man (a paid gig).
So it was fun being the villain; being the nemesis. But Bizarro is not the backward guy. I guess physically how we kind of described it was that he had a scrambled brain. That’s what it was. It wasn’t the backwards kind of Bizarro; the one we knew from the comic strips. And so when he was talking and that couple comes out I say, “hmm, neat dress. That am nice. Me like.” The Bizarro from the comic books would have actually said that in the opposite. So there were moments like that. But I mean you know when you are dealing with kids that were anywhere between 6 to 12 years old, which was kind of the target market, they’re more likely not to catch that.
Sam Rizzo: Yeah, they’re not going to get it. They are going to think straight. Play it as straight as you can.
Barry Meyers: Right. And they wouldn’t understand it. They would get confused.
Sam Rizzo: Have you kept up with any of the recent incarnations of Superman, like Superman Returns, Smallville…have you seen any of the newer stuff?
Barry Meyers: I don’t watch Smallville. I maybe watched one episode. And I saw the last movie, which was cool. I always thought they should, and they talked about it at one time, but I think they should bring Bizarro back for, you know, a movie.
Sam Rizzo: And that’s what a lot of the fans are griping about, is that Superman really hasn’t had another nemesis other than Lex Luthor. It would be perfect to see somebody on Superman’s level that you could fight, or you know, even on the Superboy series, have a brother, which would be really interesting.
Barry Meyers: And as a matter fact, I was in eight episodes but there is more because I was in all the flashbacks. My likeness has been in 13 episodes, either Bizarro or Caliban. Caliban also reappeared in another episode in a flashback, which is important for us because we get paid for every episode that we are in.
Gerard Christopher gave the Webmaster this authentic autograph B&W photo signed by himself and Barry Meyers.
Sam Rizzo: Exactly. I think you were in one of the episodes, towards the end, where there is a flashback and Lana is trying to figure out who Superboy is. I’ll tell you Douglas, it has really been 20 years since the Superboy series ran and it’s tough that it’s sitting in a vault somewhere and nobody is seeing it; other than the first season that came out. My next question is how do you feel about the fans’ efforts to try to get Warner Brothers to release the last three seasons?
Barry Meyers: I think they should, I mean it’s…this is the kind of show that also told a story and kids and fans would enjoy watching it again. This show doesn’t have a time. It doesn’t have a time element so it’s good for anytime and this show was a little campy, so I think it is good for a laugh. I think we could all use a show that has a point, a message and can help you laugh a little bit at some of the stuff. As parents now, I mean some of you guys might be, or just as adults you look back on it and think “Oh my God I actually laughed and thought that was funny.” And you go, yeah it was, because back then when I was six and eight years old it was funny. So yeah I think it would be an awesome thing if they brought it back and let the Superman saga continue.
Sam Rizzo: A lot of people look at the Superboy series as kind of the forgotten series because of everything that has been going on within the last twenty years. You know, like legal liens against the series. It being buried at Warner Brothers because nobody wants to touch it because it’s a Salkind production, you know, it’s just kind of disconcerting to the fans that it is just kind of sitting there.
Barry Meyers: Well maybe a petition to Warner Brothers would be a hand.
Sam Rizzo: We’ve started it, the Superboy Homepage has started it, and slowly we are getting people to sign it. The fans are working on it.
Barry Meyers: Well in the last few days I probably have more fans on my Barry Meyers fan page than I do than on my Douglas Facebook page. In just three or four days which is great.
Sam Rizzo: So looking back on the series what do you think the Superboy series legacy should be, or you want it to be in the future. If and when the Superboy series is released on DVD; I mean, would you be up to doing featurettes, you know, like behind-the-scenes stuff?
Barry Meyers: Oh sure, I mean I’m behind it 100%. I mean as an actor it was the show that gave me my Screen Actor Guild card and it gave me the opportunity to do everything else after that. So I’m 100% behind it. It was fun. It was great. The fans have been wonderful. I mean I’d love to do appearances. I’d love to bring Bizarro back to one of the conventions. If they brought it back out let’s do a six city tour with Gerard and Bizarro and Stacy, you know. What the hell.
Sam Rizzo: It would be cool just to get it back out there. That’s what we’re trying to do. There is a handful of people who remember and love the series and speaking as one of those fans you know I grew up with it that’s what got me hooked on the Superman mythology was the Superboy series. And like I told you, it’s just sitting somewhere and collecting dust. It’s ridiculous.
Barry Meyers: Right. I mean they put the money out there to produce the show and it’s a good show. I mean most of anything else is out there. Put it on Nick at Night, or Nick in the Morning, or you know, something. But put it back out there for the fans to see. I think they would be surprised as hell if they put it out and let it run for a little while. That’s how it would get picked up again.
Sam Rizzo: Well talking about the costume. Did you get to keep any of your – I mean like the mask or the boots, your costume at all; your Bizarro costume?
Barry Meyers: I had a pair of boots that were going to be thrown away because they were kind of trashed. They were the stunt boots. They just let me have them, so I said what the heck. So they gave me those. Which I actually kind of fixed up because I grew up in the shoe repair industry with my family believe or not, but I fixed them up and donated them to the Superman museum. I have a mask. I mean, every day was six new pieces. So every day we threw a mask away. Because it wasn’t – they are not good afterwards; and those kind of foam latex things they break down. Mine is in really sad shape. I think Rob has one in his home museum and it’s covered with glass and sealed so the air doesn’t get to it as bad. But yeah, I have scripts. And they actually gave us, I found not too long ago; I have, and I’m probably one of the few who still have it but it’s a Superboy gold medallion that goes on a chain. And they made those just for us.
Sam Rizzo: Oh wow….
Barry Meyers: Yeah I still have that. I have a T-shirt that was the Superboy T-shirt that came out. And I had most of the entire Cast and Crew sign it; so I have all of those signatures from everybody which is awesome. I look at it periodically. And what else do I have? Well that’s about it. I have scripts. Oh yeah and I have my Superboy and Bizarro comic books.
Sam Rizzo: Oh yeah, like you were telling me you signed it yourself. That was great (laughs).
Barry Meyers: I signed it myself (laughs). Bizarro signed them to Barry.
Sam Rizzo: Do you mind if I could ask you what are doing since the Superboy series? I know you are out of the acting business, but what have you done since?
Barry Meyers: Well from before 1987 up to just three years ago, for 21 years I have been Mr. Silver the Robotic Performer. And for the last three years I now do virtual tours and digital photography and I do video commercials for the internet and stuff. So I’m still in the business of media we’ll say. I’m still in the media business. But actually I just did two episodes of “One Tree Hill” this past year; when I got here. It’s not that I quit show business it’s just that it took a back seat for a little while because after twelve years in Los Angeles, we were actually trying to produce my own kids’ TV series called “Discovery Headquarters”. It’s a non-violent adventure show for kids. We showed it to ABC Family and we even showed it to LeVar Burton who played Geordi La Forge on Star Trek for his “Reading Rainbow”. He came and saw our pitch of our show and said, “This is the next Pee Wee’s Playhouse.” So, I mean, it’s an awesome show. And that was my goal at Los Angeles to do and a year and half before I left everything just went downhill with it.
Barry (Douglas) Meyers today.
I had two meetings with Nickelodeon. And the first meeting, two weeks before the meeting they flew out of New York the CEO quit. And then a year later, I got another meeting and a week before the meeting, the CEO got fired. So it was almost like, alright, that’s enough. And since 911 Mr. Silver took a back seat in the corporate world because nobody was doing corporate business. So in LA everything is business; it was just so hard to get stuff done and do stuff, you know, which was one reason why I moved out of LA three years ago. But now I live in Hollywood East which is Wilmington. Wilmington North Carolina. It has the second largest studio in the country here. “One Tree Hill” is done here; they got two Pilot shows that are coming up so my dream of doing my kids show is not over, it’s just where do I go from here? As a matter of fact, here they also have a TV show that I’ve started doing real estate for ABC.
Sam Rizzo: It sounds like you got a lot on your plate, wow….
Barry Meyers: Yeah I do. And I have three Patens too, so I have products that I try to get out there in the world.
Sam Rizzo: That’s great. That’s great, Douglas.
Barry Meyers: And I would love to do a little bit more Bizarro. It’s been such a wonderful thing. You’ll ask yourself, or I ask myself…it’s really funny now living here in Wilmington and people are meeting me here and saying, “what are you doing here? You’re a semi-star.” Well, actually, as Mr. Silver I was the gold Oscar at the Oscars. I was a live Gold Oscar. I’ve co-hosted the LA music awards two years in a row as Mr. Silver. I opened at the Olympics, and that’s 15 nights of openings for concerts at the 1996 Olympics. I opened for Sheryl Crowe, LL Cool J, Morris Day and The Time, Chicago…I’ve been the logo for seven companies worldwide.
I’ve performed everywhere from Dubai to every South American country. To Hawaii for McDonalds; I’ve been all over the world. My passports are filled up. So it’s interesting to be here and be back in, I guess, the real side of life. It’s funny that you say to yourself, somebody like Corey Haim -- how do you feel when you become an everyday person? And you’re no longer acting and stuff like that. It’s an interesting turn around. I mean I’ve been performing since I was 15. I’m 50 years old now. When Gerard and I did that we were playing 19 year olds, sort of, or especially he was. And we were both 30 (laughs). And so now I sit back and watch some of these clips that are on youtube and some of your websites and stuff, and Rennie; and now people are calling me. It’s like going, sweet, I’m not forgotten. I’m not just some dust in the wind. The stuff that I did made a difference.
Sam Rizzo: Well like I told you Douglas, your portrayal of Bizarro is the only live action out there. In the last twenty years, there’s never really been another Bizarro. Well, they’ve done Bizarro on “Smallville” but it’s Tom Welling. But really your portrayal has been the closest to the comic books.
Barry Meyers: Oh, I never saw that one. Well I don’t watch “Smallville”.
Sam Rizzo: Yeah, they did it like three seasons ago and all they did was put on a CGI mask; like they CGI masked his movements so that when he was in the light he was Bizarro. But really it wasn’t Bizarro in my book.
Barry Meyers: Right. Well if you ever can, or you will if you can find a clip of that or something or just tell me what episode and how I can get it I’d love just to see that. Just for the hell of it.
Sam Rizzo: Oh sure, definitely.
Barry Meyers: So far I’ve been the only Bizarro (laughs).
Sam Rizzo: Oh yeah I’m shocked that no filmmaker has thought, you know, to put Bizarro as a villain. Or even as a minor villain. It’s just ridiculous.
Barry Meyers: It’s funny though too they have referred to Bizarro on many TV shows. Everything from “Seinfeld” to “Saturday Night Live” to “Frasier”, you know, a lot of shows have even referred to “oh that Bizarro” kind of stuff. That is kind of funny. But you know if I didn’t have that kind of luck I would have no luck at all. I don’t know; what the hell.
Sam Rizzo: Like I told you Douglas, the Superboy series for me and I know for a lot of other people, really got me into the Superman character. You’re portrayal of Bizarro was spot-on. And you know, we are going to try everything we can to get the rest of it out.
Barry Meyers: I’m behind you 100%. It was funny when you asked me about that the other day and I saw Ilya’s page. And actually just today he agreed to let me be a friend on his Facebook. That was sweet. But I remember the first day. We started shooting on Monday and I had to be there Sunday and in Orlando and so I asked…it was Sunday…I had no idea what was going on. I got there in the afternoon and then they brought me over into the studio and said, “you know your script but Ilya wants to see how you are going to portray it." And man I was almost 30 -- well I would actually turn 30 the last day of our shoot (laughs) in my first season. And I had to go into Ilya’s office and do different voices for him, show him how I was going to walk and how I saw the character. That was a big boy moment.
Sam Rizzo: The voice for Bizarro; was that done on the spot or did they go back and you dub your voice?
Barry Meyers: On the spot. But what they did do – they actually won, I’m not very sure; most of the voice was really me. But they won an award for tweaking my voice. But all they did was tweak it afterwards. (Barry speaks like Bizarro) “Me am Bizarro. That am my name.” So that was all. That was the way I did it. They just went in and tweaked it a little bit.
Sam Rizzo: Just in post production, they just went back and…I see.
Barry Meyers: I guess the people who were saying how cool the voice was didn’t realize that 90% of that voice and its’ inflections and everything was me. I mean when I heard they had won an award for it I went, “Well great. For what?” (laughs) I didn’t understand what they won the award for. But ok, that’s cool. I’m not going to argue with success.
Sam Rizzo: Well that’s all the questions I have for you Douglas. It’s been awesome to talk to Bizarro. Like I told you; your episode was the first episode I ever saw. I was like 6 or 7 when I first saw it and it got me hooked on Superman. Well, the Superboy character.
Barry Meyers: I’m glad somebody enjoyed my work and what I’ve done and I continue to support the show. And the fans, and I would be happy to be a part of whatever can be created out of this.
Sam Rizzo: Yeah I mean, if we do conventions…maybe even a Superboy reunion at a convention. Who knows?
Barry Meyers: I know Gerard would do it. He’s happy to, he’s all about his fans.
Sam Rizzo: He told me, at least I have one or two fans out there (laughs) -- that’s what he said. And I go, “I think you have more than that.”
Barry Meyers: I think so.
Sam Rizzo: But thank you Douglas so much, I appreciate you doing this interview for the Superboy Homepage. If there is anything you want me to plug on the site I would be more than happy to, you know, put it up there for you.
Barry Meyers: Well I mean right now I don’t have much of anything to promote. Yeah but I mean maybe within the next two weeks maybe I’ll shoot you off some stuff. I’ll even give you my password to go into my website and tweak my Mr. Silver thing that would be cool. Make it look like Mr. Silver and Bizarro together. It’s actually funny, we actually thought about doing that. I’ll never forget the time Rob and I were sitting there talking about make-up and the Superboy series and horror kind of crap one night and the next thing I know I said, “You know what, they should bring on Mr. Silver to be a nemesis." Then I said, "I could become liquefied and that kind of good stuff. And it would be very hard for him to beat the liquid silver dude." And I swear to God, three months later or more, I don’t exactly remember, Terminator 2 was announced.
Sam Rizzo: Yep. Yep.
Barry Meyers: And I went, no way….
Sam Rizzo: Damn, they stole my idea (laughs).
Barry Meyers: And if I had been living in Los Angeles at the time, I could have at least guaranteed you that I would have been up for the part. They got Patrick…I forgot his last name. The guy who played him; and he’s a good actor. But I can guarantee I would have at least been called for it, and at least talked about. And another thing about Mr. Silver is that I own the rights to being silver. I mean I trademarked myself in like 1989 as Mr. Silver and I have won lawsuits from 7up, Fox TV, you can’t do a silver dude on TV unless you get permission or I’m the person. I’ve taken the character I have created and made him secure. Whereas the Superboy/Bizarro is just like you said up in an attic or in a vault somewhere.
Sam Rizzo: It’s all up to Warner Brothers because WB owns the distribution rights. They put that first season out back in 2006 and they didn’t do any promotion for it whatsoever. They just figured it would sell on its own. Besides my site and Ilya Salkind, you know, just trying to promote that first season it really didn’t do much. And since then Warner Brothers has just said you know “we’re not going to do anything – we haven’t made any money off the first season, so why should we put out the last three years?”
Barry Meyers: And I’ll tell you one damn good reason why is because nobody knows and nobody cares about the first season. Duh… That was Ilya’s first whole problem about wanting to bring this back out into syndication was he only wanted to bring out the last three seasons, not the first season. Because of John…did you know why he got fired?
Sam Rizzo: Yeah, he had a DUI and he wanted a raise.
Barry Meyers: Oh, did Ilya tell you that?
Sam Rizzo: I kind of put two and two together. But I heard from John himself. He said, “I kinda asked for a little more money, they didn’t want to do it. So I said forget it, I’m not coming back.”
Barry Meyers: What’s he doing now?
Sam Rizzo: He’s still acting, actually. He did a movie called “Yesterday was a Lie” with Chase Masterson from the Star Trek TV show, I think “Deep Space Nine”. And he was pretty good in it. He was really good.
Barry Meyers: I don’t think I ever saw one episode of that season.
Sam Rizzo: Oh really (laughs)….
Barry Meyers: Yeah.
Sam Rizzo: That first season you can really tell was the testing ground. And toward the end of that season, they got the wheels going. And in season 2 they just hit the ground running. That’s how I look at season 2 is that they found their tone, you know, and with season 3 and 4 it got really dark; the stories just got so rich, almost like a comic book coming to life. And it was just fantastic the last two years and then for them to just end the way they did with setting Gerard up to be Superman and not being able to come full circle and end it the right way, it was just devastating. But it was all Warner Brothers smashing Superboy to start “Lois and Clark”.
Barry Meyers: Right. Right…. Well I mean if they are willing to look at it for what it is, the second, third and fourth seasons are the ones to put out, not the first season. So if you guys are doing any diligent work, well, I know you are, we should be explaining to them that what everyone is interested in is seasons 2, 3 and 4. That’s where the characters were; that’s where the life was of the show. That’s where the blood was.
Sam Rizzo: We’re trying, Douglas, we’re trying whatever we can. I mean I’ve talked to Ilya, I’ve talked to Gerard, and their behind us 100%.
Barry Meyers: You got 300% between the 3 of us.
Sam Rizzo: Exactly. We just got to get Stacy now. But I’m sure she knows what's going on. Just recently she was at one of her soap opera conventions and she did a shout out to all the Superboy fans. She said, “Thank you guys for sticking in and supporting me for the last 20 years, it’s been great.”
Barry Meyers: She shot me off a little email. I got to get back to her, call her and see how she’s been doing for the past 20 years.
Sam Rizzo: Very nice; very nice…. Well, thank you so much Douglas, I appreciate it. It’s been a blast, to meet you, to meet Ilya, to meet Gerard…it’s been a blast. Thank you so much.
Barry Meyers: My pleasure. You have a good one, talk to you later Sam.
Sam Rizzo: You too.