- On the phone with Philip Anderson - August 2004
It is a rare thing to find someone who has lived a truly full life, and enjoyed themselves throughout it. As well, it is always encouraging to meet someone who never stops and always looks for that next adventure, or next lesson to learn in life. Actor Sid Haig is one of those people.
Sid Haig might have been a name that some people may not heard of - at least to the younger set - before Rob Zombie gave him the role he is now perhaps best known for - Captain Spaulding in the film House Of 1,000 Corpses, and its follow-up feature, The Devils Rejects - but he is certainly known, and loved these days. He is one of those rare renaissance men who has had quite the fulfilling life. Aside from the creepy role he portrayed in the Rob Zombie flicks, and perhaps his other most famous role as Ralph in Spider Baby," Sid is also a tap and swing dancer, rock drummer, hypnotherapist, ordained minister, and... well, keep the pen handy as the list keeps growing. Just to mention a bit more about Sids acting career, here is a guy who has appeared in over 50 films and 350 television shows. In film, he can be found in George Lucas THX-1138, Roger Cormans Big Doll House, a James Bond film in Diamonds Are Forever, while appearing on TV in everything from Batman, Star Trek, and Mission Impossible, to I Dream Of Jeannie and Get Smart.
Although he might appear menacing in his 64 frame - especially if youve seen some of his darker film performances - Sid is in fact a very accommodating, sincere man who has a love of the arts, and genuinely enjoys giving of himself to audiences and fans, as well as humbly accepting their graces in return.
So it was at the 2004 San Diego Comic Con International that we got a chance to meet with Sid, watching as he was flocked by fans and new friends. You could see him just eating it up. After he had sworn off doing films to avoid being typecast, you could see the joy in having returned to the screen again. The fans make it all worthwhile. Shortly after the convention, Sid and I had a chance to chat on the phone. Knowing that he had quite the illustrious background, I was expecting that the conversation would be a bit longer than usual - and well worth it.
This becomes a bit of a read when you realize all the subjects that we touch upon... acting, music, people weve admired, hypnotherapy and psychiatry, the American political system and history, and even Sids very serious bid to run for President of the United States. We started the conversation discussing Sids Armenian background and growing up - to give some insight to those who may not know. And so we began...
K2K: Finally getting a chance to talk with Sid Haig. Your real name is Sidney Eddie Mosesian. What prompted the name change?
SH: I did it when I was still acting at the Pasadena Playhouse, because people were having a problem with pronunciation. I was getting two ss on either side of the e, and onward. I thought, Thats it! So I made my fathers name my last name.
K2K: You grew up in Fresno, CA in the 1940s. There was quite the Armenian population living there, right?
SH: A lot!
K2K: What was the attraction there?
SH: Farming and business.
K2K: Is it still the same, or have things changed much?
SH: Its kind of moved around a little bit. Theyre still very involved in agriculture but theyve diversified a lot. Theyre in real estate and all sorts of things.
K2K: So theres still a heavy Armenian population there?
K2K: I never really gave much thought to Fresno having different specific groups.
SH: Oh, there were several specific groups. Germantown was right next to Armeniantown. There was a Portuguese section, and an Italian section.
K2K: Youre 64. How fast did it take you to grow into your height?
SH: By the time I was in high school. By the time I was nine years old, I was as tall as my father who was 57.
K2K: How did you start off with taking dance lessons?
SH: That was all because I was growing so fast, and uncoordinated, so in that day and age, the only thing anyone knew to do was to give a kid dance lessons. So I did and I took to it, and stuck with it, and just started adding chops to that.
K2K: As a kid, were you one who fit in with the dance crowd, or more of a guys guy?
SH: I was more of the guys guy. Of course, I was a little kid at the time, around seven years old. I stuck with it until I was about 12 or 13 and, thats where all the pretty girls were.
K2K: What forms of dance did you study?
SH: Tap. Ballet. When I got into college and got into the Pasadena Playhouse, they had a traditional Elizabethan folk class, and a jazz class.
K2K: Do you still dance today?
SH: In clubs, yeah.
K2K: What kind of styles are you into?
SH: Oh, I dont know. Whatever moves me.
K2K: A lot of the younger girls I know who are into dancing, say that older guys are much better to dance with than younger, arrogant guys.
SH: Well, yeah, because... like swing... and Im very much into that. In fact, I choreographed a production of Grease some years back, and tapped into all my old swing stuff from the 1950s and 1940s. I was able to do it.
K2K: From dance you moved on to being a drummer. What styles?
SH: (laughs) Funny. I started off in Country Western. Actually I started off in Dixieland. Then these buddies of mine formed a Country Western group, so I swung into that. Then I was extremely fortunate to be in the audience, in the theater, in the year, the day, the night that the world was introduced to rock n roll.
K2K: Beatles or Elvis?
SH: No, no, no. In 1954, Blackboard Jungle. Bill Haley & The Comets. Rock Around The Clock. The real stuff.
K2K: Did you meet them?
SH: No. Ive met a whole lot of people a few years later through the Dick Clark Rock N Roll tour. Still on occasion I get together with Freddie Boom Boom Cannon, and guys like that. On that tour, I met most of the people on that tour. The Everly Brothers. Fats Domino. Chuck Berry. On and on and on.
K2K: What kind of musical styles are you into now?
SH: Latin jazz. Im a fair blues singer. I guess because Im old school, a lot of the rock stuff just kind of eludes me. Its just not there. The riffs arent that interesting. Theyre just sloppy. Robs band [Rob Zombie] is probably the tightest rock group Ive heard in a long time. New Incubus. I just saw them too. Theyre doing some really nice stuff.
K2K: Incubus drummer is fantastic. How old were you when you got your first recording contract? What label?
SH: 18. Originally on Dice. Then Dice sold our contract to Keen, Sam Cooks label.
K2K: Which band was that with?
SH: The T-Birds.
K2K: Not to be confused with The Fabulous T-birds.
SH: No. We were before The Fabulous T-Birds.
K2K: How long did your recording career last?
SH: (laughs) Well, we recorded six singles. Things were going great until stations down south started wanting pictures and bios and stuff, because they thought we were a black group. Things went bad after that. It was like, What?! You wanna-bes. and blah, blah, blah. It was, OK, fine.
K2K: What year was this in, and what music style?
SH: Were talking 1958. Traditional rock.
K2K: Have you done any recording since, or are you thinking about doing any?
SH: Ive recorded a single of a song that I wrote, a blues tune. I guess, from all reports, Im going to be singing at DragonCon.
K2K: Who is the most famous, or infamous person whom youve jammed with?
SH: Wow. Oh geez! Now his name is going to fade from my memory. One night we were playing in a club in Pasadena. This guy came in with a sax case. He said, Can I sit in with you guys? Yeah, yeah. Sure. No problem. Now I cant think of his name. [John Coltrane is who we think it is. - ed.]
K2K: Alive or dead, who would you have liked to have played with?
SH: I would have loved to have played with Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee. Two old blues guys who are incredible, just fantastic. They were great. Other people, I dont know... I would have liked to have played with - because I think I had the style that would have gone with him - Fats Domino. Guys like Cal Tjader. Louis Prima would have been another guy. Growing up in Fresno at the time that I did, was great. When bands were traveling from San Francisco south to go to LA, and LA bands were traveling north to go to San Francisco, they would meet Sunday afternoons in Fresno. There was a bar right off the highway where they used to have Sunday afternoon jam sessions. They would start at about 1 pm and go until 10 or 11 at night. One night I walked into the club, and Louis Primas entire band was on the stand in the club. Cal Tjader was also on the stand.
(Sid then referred back to the saxophone player whose name didnt come to mind.)
- SH: The point was that with the first few notes out of his horn, I knew exactly who it was, although I cant tell you right now. But that was a long time ago. The same thing happened to a friend of mine. We used to have coffee in this coffee shop across from the Pasadena Playhouse. I was sitting in there one day and he came in. He said, I have a surprise for you out in the car. OK. But you have to first close your eyes. Alright. Yeah. So he took me out to the parking lot in back and I heard this harmonica, and instantly I knew it was Sonny Terry. I could not believe it. My friends and I spent the next four days with them. Somewhere we have about four hours of tape of them in our basement just talking and jamming, and talking about the old days.
K2K: Stuff like that is great. There are a lot of punk rock musicians who are now pushing young kids to start listening to old jazz and blues, to find the roots.
K2K: So moving away from music for a bit, (referring to a previous conversation) you had mentioned Alice Merrill, the head of the drama department. Which high school was that?
SH: Roosevelt High.
K2K: How influential was she in your acting career?
SH: Extremely. I was in her class in high school. I was able to improvise really well, and without getting diarrhea of the mouth like most actors do. I guess she saw that spark there. The way that she cast the senior play, unlike today in drama class where kids do like six plays per year and learn very little, we did a senior play, a junior play, and that was it. The way that she used to cast the show was... she still had ties to people in Hollywood because she was a Broadway actress herself. She would call her friends to come up. After we had worked on our roles for about five or six weeks... it was double cast. She would ask their opinion on who they felt should play the roles. So Dennis Morgan, who was a big musical comedy star in the 1930s and 40s, came up and suggested me in the role. So she agreed with that and put me in. A couple of weeks later, she came up to see the show. After the show she came backstage and indicated that I should probably start looking at that as a career. She encouraged me all the way.
K2K: Back when teachers did a good job.
K2K: So youve done over 350 TV roles and about 50 films so far. Thats... mildly impressive.
SH: Yup. (laughs)
K2K: When did you get your notoriety? Back then, or now with House Of 1,000 Corpses?
SH: Well, certainly now. With the advent of the internet and accessibility, I think that that had a lot to do with it. There were people on my message board who would say, God, its great that youre getting all of this attention. And Im saying, I dont get it. The reply back was that, if when I was doing all of my work in the 1970s and 80s, the internet were around then, I would have gotten the same thing Im getting now, back then.
K2K: Your career is speckled with variety.
SH: (laughs) Yeah.
K2K: Then you went into retirement in 1992 because you got tired of playing the heavy all the time?
SH: I just didnt want play stupid heavies anymore. They just kept giving me the same parts but just putting different clothes on me. It was stupid, and I resented it, and I wouldnt have anything to do with it.
K2K: So Quentin Tarantino dragged you back to celluloid?
SH: Yeah, he did. As a matter of fact, there was a part... this whole thing kind of ties together. He brought me in for an interview on Pulp Fiction, and wanted me to do the role, and I wanted to do the role. Then a deal was offered, and part of the deal was that it was a days work. I didnt care about the fact that it was a days work, but what I cared about was that there were four locations mentioned in the script. Theres television all over again. Didnt I tell you people that I dont want to do this crap anymore? OK? So the agents turned it down.
K2K: How do you mean by television?
SH: Well, thats television. You can do four locations in a day in television, because they dont care what they get on film, so long as they get something on film. So I said, You cant move to four locations and concentrate on getting good work done. This is one hell of a part, and Im not going to be shortchanged by working for a day. Nobody bothered to tell me that Quentin just shoots until he gets what he wants. Ultimately that one day probably turned into two weeks. But, I have a feeling... he and I havent talked about it, and maybe someday we should... but I have a feeling that pissed him off. So Ive just been offered little roles here and there.
K2K: How was it for you in playing the judge in Jackie Brown?
SH: It was fun. I got to get together with Pam Grier again. I think he basically cast me in that role to see if people were paying attention. I got to play a judge. And he called me... I dont know how the hell he got my home number, but he called me and said, Ive written a part for you in this film, and youre going to play it, and youre going to be at the Inglewood Courthouse on such and such day, and thats it. Oh, OK. I guess thats it then.
K2K: How was it working with Quentin?
SH: Great! The guy is a definite film buff. In the one day that I worked, he recited almost every line that I said in almost every film that I ever did. I mean, it was amazing.
K2K: You worked with him again on Kill Bill 2. How did that go?
SH: It was fine. I just got bounced around a lot from one part to the next, to the next, to the next, and finally wound up that I was playing the bartender.
K2K: Going back to music again... How did you and Rob Zombie meet?
SH: We met in front of the fitting room, at this wardrobe department in Universal. (laughs) That was it. My agent gave me a call and said, OK, heres the deal. I thought, Oh Christ, what now? Youre supposed to go to this office and sign a letter of nondisclosure. Theyll give you a script. Take it home and read it, and if you want it, the part is yours.
K2K: And that was for the Captain Spaulding part. Interesting. Did you listen to his music before you met him?
SH: Yeah. Id heard him, and then I went and got a couple of CDs, and really listened. Whatever a guy is musically, thats what he is going to be as an artist, no matter what art form he takes on.
K2K: Yeah... hmm... that would make me... scattered.
SH: (laughs) Well, I dont mean the style, the type of music... I mean the way he plays it.
K2K: What was your first opinion about the Captain Spaulding character?
SH: I knew it was going to be a hit from day one.
K2K: Was the movie meant to be played straight, or did you ham it up?
SH: I dont ham things up.
K2K: Not in a bad way, but did you add any of your own ideas to it?
SH: Oh yeah. I figured, I put my trust in Rob. Until he would tell me to knock it off, Id just keep going. Thats basically what I did. The skeleton for the role was there. He wrote a great part. I just added my own craziness to it. I didnt change the role at all. I just stuck my own insanity in.
K2K: It had the feel of a low-budget 1970s film. Was that the intention, or was it low-budget?
SH: That was the intention AND we were on a low budget. The intention all the way along was to make a 1970s horror film. Thats when the last good horror films were made.
K2K: It was inspired, along with other films, by Spider Baby, which you starred in in the early 1960s?
K2K: Was that something that Rob had been a fan of beforehand?
SH: I think so. Hes a fan of horror all the way down the line.
K2K: You and I had talked before about this, but what other films were inspired by Spider Baby?
SH: Rocky Horror Picture Show. Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Last House On The Left. Anytime youve got a film... and Im serious... anytime youve got a film about a crazy family living out in the country, killing and eating people, Spider Baby started it.
K2K: The sequel to House Of 1,000 Corpses, The Devils Rejects, is that now in the can and ready to go?
SH: Were in editing.
K2K: Who is releasing that?
SH: Lions Gate. The CEO, whose name also escapes me... Do you get the idea that I have trouble with names? Ive never had trouble with a face. I was in a House Of Pancakes, years ago, and I looked across the restaurant, and I said, You know that guy at that table over there? I went to elementary school with that guy. I walked over to the table and said, Did you go to Lowell Elementary School in Fresno, California? The guy looked at me like, Huh? and said, Yeah. So I introduced myself and he was totally flabbergasted. But, I couldnt remember his name. Now Ive forgotten... [John Feltheimer is CEO of Lions Gate. - ed.]
K2K: The CEO... now this is the next funny story...
SH: He had a press release in which he stated that, first of all, The Devils Rejects makes House Of 1,000 Corpses look like Finding Nemo. This is dirtier, grittier, more realistic. It has the flavor of The Wild Bunch. You do not want to mess with these people.
K2K: House Of 1,000 Corpses was a disturbing film.
SH: [The Devils Rejects] is even more disturbing.
K2K: What was the budget like for the sequel?
SH: About the same, maybe a little less. We didnt have the same kind of production values going with this one. We shot a lot of [House Of 1,000 Corpses] on Universal. They charged such exorbitant rent that it jacked the budget up into the stratosphere. So [for The Devils Rejects] we shot everything on location and did not spend one day in the studio.
K2K: Well, that adds more realism anyway.
SH: Oh yeah! When youre out in Lancaster, in Palmdale, and its 105 [degrees] and the heat is coming up off of everything, you get that feeling.
K2K: So this one will also have that 1970s grindhouse splatter film feel to it?
SH: Kind of, yeah. Well, because of the production value... Were on the road, and were in the desert. You cant get a whole lot of production value in the locales that we were in. We didnt have a lot of fancy cars. We dont have any of that stuff. Dirty, gritty, nasty stuff.
K2K: For the type of film that it is, you have quite an eclectic cast. Im curious about some of them and the characters. For example, you have adult film star Ginger Lynn Allen. Tell me about her Fanny character. What an appropriate name.
SH: (laughs) Well, I cant tell you too much or else they would have to shoot me. But she and I have a little sexual tête-à-tête. Its pretty steamy.
K2K: Are you wearing your clown make-up then?
K2K: You are so kinky.
K2K: Former 1980s star, E.G. Daily. I had forgotten that she is a voiceover in the Rugrats and Powerpuff Girls. Her character falls for Otis. How did you get her?
SH: In some cases, people just came in and read, and in other cases, Rob remembered people and said that he wanted to see if they could fit into this or that role.
K2K: Shes hot now, almost hotter than she was before.
SH: Yeah. Shes wearing a little bustier with the garter belts and the white stockings.
K2K: So, youre character is getting some. Otis is getting some. So... is this more of a sex film?
SH: (laughs) No. There are sexual elements to it. For instance, Ken Foree plays my brother. Hes a brotha from anotha motha.
K2K: I guess I should mention for anyone who doesnt see the film that Ken is black, and you are not. And yet, you are brothers.
SH: (laughs) He [as Charlie Altamont in the film] owns and operates a whore ranch. E.G. Daily is one of the girls, and so is Deborah Van Valkenburgh. Shes somewhat... Too Close For Comfort. Warriors.
K2K: Michael Berryman. Whats his Cleavon character like?
SH: He is as dumb as a sack of hammers. Its a very small role, but funnier than hell. Hes such an idiot, I cant believe it. (laughs) Yeah.
K2K: Not that he would ham that part up or anything.
SH: (sarcastically) No!
K2K: Rosario Dawson. I cant believe the cast that you have in the film.
SH: Im telling you. Shes so hot. She plays a nurse in a hospital where a pivotal character (laughs)... She plays a nurse.
K2K: Does she get some also?
SH: No. She does get dead. The back of my t-shirt is absolutely correct. The House Of 1,000 Corpses t-shirt, on the back it says, Everybody fucking dies. Thats it.
K2K: Leslie Easterbrook came from some truly annoying films which would be the Police Academy series. She plays Mother Firefly. Nice.
SH: Yes. Beautiful. Shes great.
K2K: In what Ive seen of The Devils Rejects, Leslie looks a lot like Karen Black.
K2K: Had you thought about Karen Black for the film?
SH: Well, Karen was offered the role. For whatever reason, and I wont even get into it because I havent talked to her and it would just be conjecture and that wouldnt be right... but for whatever reason, she decided not to do it this time.
K2K: Natasha Lyonne of American Pie and Detroit Rock City. Whats her role?
SH: Well, she didnt show up. She missed like five flights or something. She was supposed to play a prostitute as well, and she just could not manage to get herself to L.A. And so a call went out, and out of the darkness came Deborah Van Valkenburgh. Oh my God, she is so great. Nobody knows how good of an actress this woman is. Shes great.
K2K: Diamond Dallas Page. Tell me about him.
SH: Funny guy.
K2K: How did you get him involved?
SH: He had been associated with Rob, I think, through the gym and working out, this, that, and the other thing. He had been to a couple of parties where we were all at. I guess talks went on and Rob decided to give him a shot. He really did a good job. You think of him as being huge, right? Hes a couple of inches shorter than I am.
K2K: Youve got Daniel Roebuck in here.
SH: He plays a 70s talk show host, with the 70s hairdo and the funky Sonny Bono mustache. Hes hilarious.
K2K: How was it working with Danny Trejo?
SH: I worked with Danny one night. Hes great. Hes funny, hes smart, hes a creative guy. Hes very cool. I like him.
K2K: How different was it in making The Devils Rejects as opposed to House Of 1,000 Corpses aside from what weve discussed already?
SH: For me, just the change in location. Theres nothing like sitting in an old Cadillac convertible, covered in blood, in 105 degrees for two or three hours to really make you feel gritty. (laughs) To the ladies, I feel your pain. Taking a blood-soaked shirt... a dried blood-soaked shirt off must be very much akin to getting waxed. I used to have hair on my chest. I dont anymore.
K2K: Regarding the Captain Spaulding character... Whats the kinkiest fan mail or comments that youve gotten so far?
SH: Oh, please. (laughs) Ive gotten proposal for marriage. Ive gotten proposals to do sexually explicit things. (laughs) Ive pretty much run the gamut. Its pretty amazing.
K2K: Have you gotten any comments from any people who may have taken the character too seriously?
SH: Well, I think a whole lot of people took the character too seriously. When I go out to these conventions and stuff, Ill put on the character for a little while. Somebody comes up to my table and I get the idea that I can clown around with this person, so Ill on the character. Thats fun and its funny and everyone has a good time. But theres people in the background that are really connecting with him [Captain Spaulding] and I think, OK. Geez. Lets lighten up here, folks. Its been a wild ride, lets put it that way. And its not over.
K2K: So are you out of retirement now?
SH: Im out of retirement. Ah! But, only if you come to me with something thats got some teeth to it.
K2K: I wanted to go through just a few films that youve done and had some quick questions regarding them. In your wide repertoire, you did the [live action] film Boris & Natasha. What were you thinking?
SH: Why the hell am I doing this?
K2K: Was it fun, or did you see a bomb happening?
SH: Well, it was fun, but the deal is that, literally, three or four days before the principal photography, they had a whole bunch of money dropped from the budget. So now they were frantically running around, cutting scenes, rewriting this and that, and my character was supposed to be pursuing them throughout the film. What we managed was... a scene at the beginning, a repeat of that scene at the end, and then one line where I come in and ask for my egg and the guy shoots me, and thats it.
K2K: Galaxy Of Terror. It has also been listed as Mindwarp: An Infinity Of Terror. How was that film for you?
SH: That was probably after somebody bought it from Roger Corman, they changed the name so they wouldnt have to pay royalties. It was with Ray Walston and Edward Albert, Joannie from Happy Days.
K2K: Was it worth seeing?
SH: It was very worth seeing. If Roger Corman would ever get off his duff and do a DVD, it would sell through the roof.
K2K: Death Car On The Freeway. How was that? The title kind of tells me no to seeing it.
SH: (laughs) Youre right. It was a TV movie that Hal Needham directed... the guy who directed all the Smokey & The Bandit stuff... and it was... OK. It was a takeoff of, I guess, Duel.
K2K: You were in Swashbuckler, which has always been one of my all-time favorite films. How was that?
SH: Great! It was a dream come true. A very underrated movie. I had a great time because... I guess there are some times when you have to blow your horn because theres nobody else around to do it... I am a better-than-passing fencer. As a matter of fact I was training for the 1964 Olympics. For me it was a dream, an absolute dream.
K2K: How did you like doing Beyond Atlantis?
SH: That was interesting. I really enjoyed doing that.
K2K: You did the James Bond flick, Diamonds Are Forever. How big of a role was that?
SH: Well, here again... (laughs) It was supposed to have been a much larger role. But because the English, in their finest snobbery, refused to let American actors into their country if theyre not playing a lead role, the part had to be, basically, cut out. So, everything that was in Las Vegas, I was in. I threw the lovely and naked body of Lana Wood out the window.
K2K: Always a fun thing to do.
SH: Always a fun thing to do, and somebodys got to do it. (laughs) Past that, hey... you know.
K2K: You were in George Lucas THX-1138. What was your role in that?
SH: I was in the sequence that took place in limbo,I had intercourse with the young lady twice, I punched Donald Pleasance in the nose, I killed the robot, and then I was taken off to die.
K2K: Of course we have to talk about Spider Baby, also known as The Maddest Story Ever Told.
SH: The Maddest Story Ever Told, or The Liver Eaters...
K2K: For all the films that Ive seen, to this day I have not yet seen that one.
SH: Oh, its the start of this whole genre.
K2K: Lon Chaney, Jr. was in the film. How was it working with him?
SH: It was great. First of all, as a kid, I used to go to all of the werewolf movies and all. So to be there actually working with him was amazing.
K2K: Were you a fan of Lon Chaney, Sr. too?
SH: Yeah, but not so much as I was of him.
K2K: I had read an interesting write-up about Jr. in that he was always chasing the dream to make his dad proud, but thus never realized how he himself was loved by people who didnt even really know his dad.
SH: Yeah. Theres an episode on the E Channel called The Chaneys in which I did a segment. I was cut out of most of the documentary except for the very last sequence in which I pointed out that, through a film like Spider Baby and other stuff that went on, he [Lon Chaney, Jr] had to have felt proud because he had surpassed his father immensely. Have you ever seen Of Mice And Men? If Gone With The Wind had not been released in the same year, Lon Chaney, Jr. would have won the Academy Awards for Of Mice And Men.
K2K: In TV appearances, you were on Fantasy Island, a former guilty pleasure of mine. What did you do on there?
SH: (chuckles) Yeah. Just about everything. I think I did two or three of those. At one point I think I played a genie. In another one I played an Italian gangster... (sarcastically) Oh, my, what a stretch. (laughs)
K2K: Charlies Angels, how was that?
SH: That was great. Anytime you get to hold Jaclyn Smith in your arms and dance with her for a while, its a good day.
K2K: Electra Woman & Dyna-Girl.
SH: It was a kids show. It was a Marty Krofft show. But then, see, I did a whole string of Sid & Marty Krofft shows. But, I always played the stupid heavy.
K2K: Buck Rogers.
SH: That was great when I worked with Julie Newmar. She is the most gorgeous woman who has walked the face of the earth.
K2K: I would love to do a photo shoot with her.
SH: Oh my God, please invite me. She was the female arch-villian in the first season of Jason & Star Command, and she didnt know in the way that we were shooting the show, that she thought she was going to be working directly with me. She wanted to meet the person who was playing Dragos before accepting the role, because she didnt want to be towering over somebody and making it look ridiculous. But then, when we did Buck Rogers... I love to watch people watching people. She got up to get a cup of coffee or whatever. Everything on the sound stage stopped. Everybody watched her walk the length of the sound stage to wherever she was going, and then things got going [again]. She is absolutely gorgeous. Alarmingly beautiful.
K2K: You also did a lot of shows like Mission Impossible and Mannix...
SH: Nine episodes of Mission Impossible. Lets not forget that there were nine. No other actor in Hollywood has done nine episodes of Mission Impossible. Mannix was cool. Michael Connors and a relative of mine were great friends. They grew up together. So we had kind of a connection there. He didnt realize that until I got on the show and this relative of mine showed up and introductions came on and everything was made. He was a very cool guy. [He was a} hard, hard worker. He carried that show.
SH: Four of those.
K2K: Get Smart.
SH: Three of those.
K2K: The Flying Nun was interesting to see on your resumé...
SH: Yeah. Where I played a Puerto Rican heavy. (laughs) Ive played Swedish heavies.
K2K: Any favorite stories from your time on TV?
SH: TV... Whoa, OK. I keep saying that things changed in Hollywood when the lawyers and the bean counters took over. Here is a perfect example. We were setting up a scene for Mission Impossible when all of the sudden we hear this bang and everything went black. This voice came out of the darkness saying, This is now a Gulf Western Production and we do not do overtime. Gulf Western probably took a look at the books and said, What is all this overtime money?. So somebody from that night, until the next morning, obviously got to people in charge and said, You know what? Dont ever do that again. That just shows where the mentality is.
K2K: You did Star Trek too.
SH: That was good. It was fun. Everybody... all the regulars on that show were quitting smoking all at the same time.
K2K: So there was a lot of bitching?
SH: A lot of bitching, and a lot of gum chewing. Joe Pevney was directing that episode [The Return Of The Archons], and hes a nervous kind of guy anyway. The number of times that he had to cut and start over again, because somebody was chewing gum, was just staggering. One day, we were out on location and had about 80 extras. At lunch time, Bill Shatner went around and gave everybody a piece of bubble gum, and said, When he hollers Action, everyone turn around and blow a bubble. And thats exactly what happened. He [Shatner] got the crew in on the deal, and the whole thing. So all the extras, and the actors, and the crew, all blew a bubble in Pevneys direction. I thought he was going to just disintegrate. But he saw the humor in it.
K2K: Weve talked about some of your hobbies and talents. What else do you do?
SH: Oh, about anything I want. (laughs) No. Im a pretty fair potter. I had a couple of pieces on display in the administration building of Moorpark College for a few years.
K2K: Are you electric or foot?
SH: Electric. Theres too much walking involved. I have plans for a kick-wheel, but probably never will. I really relax behind working with bonsai. Its kind of a way to calm me.
K2K: You do bonsai and pottery. Do you do any macramé in there?
K2K: I was kidding, but OK.
SH: No, there is.
SH: No, I havent done that. I leave that up to my son who is an excellent artist. He works for one of the Sony sets, Naughty Dog. He was the art director for 989 Studios, a Sony company, but there was too much management involved. He was working with 21 artists and 10 programmers all at the same time. He said, Excuse me, Im an artist. I dont need this. And that was the last show that he was on.
K2K: Youre a licensed hypnotherapist. How is that for you?
SH: Thats great. It is as much instant payback as doing a play or singing or music. That instant gratification that you get from the audience. You get that same thing from someone who comes into your office all stressed out, and leaves feeling really good.
K2K: How did you get started in that, and how long have you been doing it?
SH: Well, when I bailed out of the acting profession, I decided that I should probably busy myself doing something. I had always been interested in the mental aspects of who and what we are. I did a lot of home study in psychology as an actor, just so I could better create a character that would remain constant throughout the span of the role. I was looking through the paper and saw an ad for the Hypnosis Motivational Institute. So I called and went over there, talked with the people, walked around, checked it out, and got a really good feeling about it. At the age of 59, took out a student loan and went back to school.
K2K: So you have an office?
SH: I did have an office. Im traveling so much now that I kind of have to put my practice on the back burner.
K2K: Do you get requests for hypnotherapy while on the road?
SH: I do, but the setting is not right to do that.
K2K: You know, I can kind of visualize you in the clown make-up, covered in dried blood, and its 110 degrees outside... With a client, Im having a problem relapsing in smoking. Can you help me out? Yeah, just look into my eyes and ignore the make-up.
K2K: As a hypnotherapist... Do you believe that most of the show hypnotists, like in the carnivals, are crap?
SH: Well, in terms of being able to provide therapy... No. Unless you have brain damage, you can be hypnotized.
K2K: Ive participated in a couple of those fairground shows with the hypnotist who says, Now you wont be able to let go of the rope., etc. You know the routine. Its never worked on me, nor anyone Ive been there with. The showmen would then cover themselves by saying to the audience that Only people on drugs or alcohol cannot be hypnotized., of which we were neither.
SH: Being on drugs, or being drunk makes it more difficult, but not impossible. The thing is, you go into hypnosis at least once every day... on your own. That little twilight between waking and sleeping, thats hypnosis. And if youve ever been driving down the road, and you look around and say, How the hell did I get here?, you were in environmental hypnosis.
K2K: I almost would chalk that last one up to sleeping at the wheel.
SH: (laughs) Well, its environmental hypnosis. You didnt really fall asleep because your eyes were open, and you didnt run into anything, you didnt hurt anything, you just kind of went on autopilot. There is a lot of environmental hypnosis that goes on. It goes on in watching a film. You cry when we want you to cry, and you laugh when we want you to laugh, because we set it up that way.
K2K: Whats your success rate?
SH: I have a very high success rate. First of all, the subject, or client... as you have to call them, because the state of California is not in a position where they can license hypnotherapists at this point... because were broke. It takes money to set up a board and establish that whole thing. What youre doing is affecting change in peoples lives. They have to want to have that change happen to them. If they dont want it, for one reason or another... for instance, my wife said, I have to quit smoking or shes going to leave me. Youre not quitting for you, youre quitting for her. You have to want to quit for you. You have to want to lose weight for you. You want to have to drop a fear or phobia for you.
K2K: Its a bit different than, I think, how most people look at it. Its almost a form of psychiatry.
SH: Yeah. A very elemental form. I dont want to get in trouble with my psychiatry brothers and sisters. Basically we work on the symptom. When we can relieve you of your symptom, then a psychiatrist or psychologist has it easier to work with you at their level. Its almost like, we could prepare someone to go and work with a psychologist or psychiatrist.
K2K: In everything that youve done... What is your one ultimate career? Have you already done it, or is there still something that you would like to do since growing up?
SH: Well, geez. I know theres probably something out there, because I always have to climb the next mountain for some reason or another. Actually, right now Im planning to run for President. Do I want to run for President to actually become President? I dont think so.
K2K: Would your party be anything to do with Bushs party?
SH: (laughs) My party is the Clown Party. The Balloon Animal Party. Im on a mission to wake people up. To stir them to the point where they take this country back. Unless it changes, I have been given an hour platform to present my panel at DragonCon. I was assured that there would be 5,000 people in the room at that time. Im going to approach this very seriously, because we are in trouble. What happened here is... how old are we [the country] now? 226 years old? Its taken us 226 years to go from taxation without representation to taxation with misrepresentation. Its taken us 226 years to reestablish an elitist society. OK? What the hell is that?
K2K: Well, we are an anomaly. Historically all powers fall and crumble and then rebuild again. We might now be at that point where we are ready to disintegrate as we exist currently, and then the next power type will come in - whatever that might be. In Fahrenheit 911 George W. Bush was shown saying, A little dictatorship isnt a bad idea.
SH: Well, thats what hes establishing. Isnt it odd that we had King George at the beginning and the end.
K2K: I dont think people even realize the connections to the actual King George, and the Rothchilds, and...
SH: And the Loebs, and the Rockefellers...
K2K: I heard the numbers recently about how many people who pretty much own the country.
SH: There are six families who own the world.
K2K: What I had read about recently... Even Hitler, the USSR, and all the great recent changes were controlled and set in motion.
SH: Have you ever read Gary Allens None Dare Call It Conspiracy? Thatll open your eyes. They have documented proof that the... lets call them, for lack of a better word, the Illuminati... financed both sides of the Revolutionary War until England pissed them off. Then they tapped France on the shoulder and said, Howd you like to go kick some English ass? They financed both sides of the First and Second World War. They financed both sides of the Civil War.
K2K: Thats like the William Randolph Hearst story about him creating the Mexican-American War. You give me a war and Ill give you a story. And its the same with Enron. No one realized that they bought a President. It didnt matter which one, so long as it got Ken Lay into a cozy position.
SH: Yeah. There you go.
K2K: Aside from politics, whats your next project?
SH: Hmm... walking up in the morning, I guess. Every day above ground is a good one. Ive got a few things on the side that are too soon to talk about. New films. Music, if its something that happens, it happens and thatll be great. Ive always had fun playing music. Thats the one thing where Ive been able to make money at. Actors dont make any money. The more popular you become, the bigger your empire gets, and the more money you shell out. A year ago, I started out by saying, Ill do a couple of these conventions and see how it works out. A year later I have a booking manager, a publicist, a personal assistant, a webmaster... What the hells going on here? I just wanted to try it out. Now Ive got all these, what I call, obli-goddam-gations, and responsi-fuckin-bilities.
K2K: Well, thats how the industry works. I guess you have to accept it.
SH: Yeah. But Im having fun and thats the only thing thats important right now. Im having a good time. Getting to meet people, getting crazy with folks... the ladies are a little goofy sometimes, but hey, thats OK. I love them.
K2K: It looked like you were having a blast in San Diego [at the Comic Con].
SH: Oh yeah. I have a blast everywhere I go. Theres not one place that Ive been where I havent had a great time, because all the people are just fantastic.
K2K: Whats your convention schedule like now?
SH: Holy moley. Were really picking it up now.
(Sid reads through a list of conventions that he is scheduled to appear at. As this interview is appearing online late, the list is being skipped as the events are over. But there is one place to mention - Hobbs Grove.)
SH: Hobbs Grove in Fresno. This guys place is amazing. He has a haunted house that is so complete that they shot a film called Dark Walker. They never had to build a set, they never had to bring any props or set pieces or anything. They just set up the cameras and away they went. [Hobbs Grove is a Halloween amusement park that is actually located in Sanger, CA, near Fresno. - ed.]
K2K: With your hectic scheduling, how do you find the time to do any film work?
SH: I dont. (laughs) But thats OK. Im riding high right now, traveling all over the country, meeting a lot of people. Im having so much fun it should be illegal.
K2K: Sometimes its not about money, its about enjoying what youre doing.
SH: Yeah. And the thing is... this I could prove, because I teach a class called The Mental Bank. When you are having fun with what youre doing, and you are completely immersed in the act of doing whatever it is that youve chosen to do, the money will follow.
K2K: Ive been preaching that for years. Everything that you do well eventually cashes in.
SH: Just like 85% of the population hates the jobs that theyre doing. Lets all get together and change jobs. What is it that you want to do exactly?
K2K: Do you have any words to your fans as we wrap it up?
SH: Well, I put this at the end of the DVD, but it bears repeating... Never quit. Never, never, never quit.
And with that, it was time for us to say our goodbyes as Sid had other interviews to do and I had to get on with the rest of my day as well. A most enlightening chat indeed. Look for Sid in The Devils Rejects and other films to come. Make sure to visit him when he appears at a convention near you. Its great to have gotten him out of retirement, now hopefully we - as a movie viewing audience - can keep him out of retirement.
For more information and convention appearance schedules, you can visit Sid Haig directly at: Sid Haig.com
Written by Philip Anderson / Photos © 2004 / 2005 Philip Anderson / Kristin Quinn
- Philip Anderson is a musician, in addition to being a writer/photographer. He has performed as a guitarist/vocalist, as well as songwriter, in several bands over the past 20 years. As a writer and photographer, he has been published by several magazines and in several books, and had his works appear on television.