WATN: David Naughton

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

WATN: David Naughton

When I decided to start doing Where Are They Now again, it had a sporadic schedule on the old wordpress site, I wanted to start off with an actor that effected my taste in horror movies for the rest of my life.  The first name that came to mind was the star of what I consider to be the best werewolf movie ever made, An American Werewolf In London.

David Walsh Naughton (born February 13, 1951) is an American actor and singer known for his starring roles in the 1981 horror film, An American Werewolf in London, and the 1980 Walt Disney comedy, Midnight Madness.  He also starred in the short-lived sitcom Makin' It and sang its hit theme song "Makin' It".

Naughton was born in West Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Rosemary (Walsh) and Joseph Naughton, both of whom were teachers.  He is the brother of theater and film actor James Naughton.  His family is Irish American.  Naughton attended the University of Pennsylvania and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts.

Naughton first became widely known as a result of his four year stint singing and dancing in TV commercials and personal appearances to promote Dr Pepper.  He starred in the sitcom Makin' It and hit the Billboard Top Ten in 1979 with the show's theme song, also titled "Makin' It".  A US million selling disc, the track also peaked at #44 in the UK Singles Chart.  In 1980, he starred in Midnight Madness followed in 1981 by his lead role in the Academy Award-winning horror film An American Werewolf in London.  He also appeared in the television series My Sister Sam and also in episodes of MacGyver, Melrose Place, Murder, She Wrote, JAG and Seinfeld.


Makin' It (1979)

The show was set in Passaic, New Jersey and was about the daily life of Billy Manucci, a young man who frequented the local disco club, Inferno, at night while working at an ice cream parlor called Tasty Treats during the day.  Manucci was highly influenced by the disco craze and the movie Saturday Night Fever specifically.

Makin' It had the misfortune of coming to air near the end of the disco fad as backlash against the disco culture (such as the one portrayed in the show) was rising in the United States, culminating in Disco Demolition Night in the summer of 1979.  As such, it lasted only eight weeks on air before being canceled.

Robert Stigwood, the producer of Saturday Night Fever as well as the Bee Gees' manager, was involved in the show's creation, as was Garry Marshall.  The theme song, sung by David Naughton, reached #5 on the Billboard Top 40 charts in 1979.  It entered the Top 40 on May 12, nearly two months after the show had been canceled.  The song was also featured in the Bill Murray movie Meatballs.

David Naughton played the lead role of Billy Manucci.

Midnight Madness (1980)

The crux of this limited, juvenile comedy is a complex game that begins at midnight and ends by morning.  Of main interest is the fact that a young Michael J. Fox plays one of the students involved in the game.  Leon (Alan Solomon) has spent a year creating the game and practically needs that long to convince his fellow students to play it. Eventually he wins out, and the various teams of classic stereotypes -- the nerd, the well-groomed hero, the obnoxious sorority sister, the easily duped freshman, and others -- all converge on Los Angeles at midnight.  Their treks take them through the Griffith Observatory which because of those odd hours astronomers keep, could conceivably be open. Other locales are interestingly open too, apparently Los Angeles never sleeps.

Naughton plays Adam Larson - Yellow Team Leader.

An American Werewolf in London (1981)

The film starts with two young American men, David Kessler (played by Naughton) and Jack Goodman (played by Griffin Dunne), on a backpacking holiday in England.  Following an awkwardly tense visit to a village pub, the two men venture deep into the moors at night. They are attacked by a werewolf, which results in Jack's death and David being taken to a London hospital.  Through apparitions of his dead friend and disturbing dream sequences, David becomes informed that he is a werewolf and will transform at the next full moon.

Shooting took place mostly in London but also in Surrey and Wales. It was released in the United States on August 21, 1981 and grossed $30.56 million at the box office.  Critics generally gave the film favorable reviews.  The film won the 1981 Saturn Award for Best Horror Film and an Academy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Makeup.  The film was one of three high-profile wolf-themed horror films released in 1981, alongside The Howling and Wolfen.  Over the years, the film has accumulated a cult following and has been referred to as a cult classic.

The film was followed by a 1997 sequel, An American Werewolf in Paris, which featured a completely different cast and none of the original crew, and is distributed by Disney's Hollywood Pictures.  A Hindi film Junoon was also inspired by this movie.

Empire magazine named An American Werewolf in London as the 107th greatest film of all time in September 2008.

Hot Dog... The Movie (1984)

The film stars Patrick Houser as Harkin Banks, a young and ambitious freestyle skier from Idaho who is determined to prove himself in a freestyle skiing competition at Squaw Valley.  Along the way he teams with a pack of fun-loving incorrigibles (whose leader, Dan O'Callahan is played by David Naughton), picks up an Austrian arch-nemesis named Rudi (John Patrick Reger), and enters a love triangle with a pair of blondes, a young woman named Sunny (Tracy N. Smith) and the more mature Sylvia Fonda (played by Playboy Playmate Shannon Tweed in one of her first major film roles).  The movie ends with a terrific extended race scene, all of the characters take part in a 'Chinese Downhill' to determine the real champion of the competition.

My Sister Sam (1986–1988)

The sitcom follows the lives of a 29-year-old San Francisco freelance photographer named Samantha "Sam" Russell (Pam Dawber) and her 16-year-old sister Patti (Rebecca Schaeffer). Sam's life is turned upside down when Patti, who has been living with the sisters' Aunt Elsie and Uncle Bob after the death of the girls' parents in rural Oregon, shows up on Sam's door step and announces that she is going to live with Sam.

The supporting cast includes Sam's neurotic agent Jordan Dylan "J.D." Lucas (Joel Brooks), Sam's sarcastic assistant Dixie Randazzo (Jenny O'Hara) and Jack Kincaid (David Naughton), Sam's womanizing photojournalist neighbor who frequently stops by Sam's apartment.

The series was created by Stephen Fischer and was developed by Pam Dawber's production company, Pony Productions (in association with Warner Bros. Television).  The series was initially intended to be a starring vehicle for Dawber who found success on television opposite Robin Williams in the ABC sitcom Mork & Mindy.  Dawber later said that she wanted the focus of the show to be on the cast as a whole stating, "I am not a comedian. I'm a reactor to all the zany people who revolve around me."

Amityville: A New Generation (1993)

Amityville: A New Generation is the seventh installment in the Amityville Horror saga.  It was released direct to video in 1993.  Republic Pictures released this movie in R-rated and unrated versions.  Lionsgate Home Entertainment and FremantleMedia North America has released this film to DVD in July 2005.

Keyes Terry is an art photographer who is given a mirror by a homeless person he meets on the streets.  After taking the mirror home, he eventually realizes that it is possessed with the spirit of his father, Franklin Bronner, who murdered his family on Thanksgiving with a shotgun in the original Amityville house.

David Naughton plays the role of Dick Cutler.

Big Bad Wolf (2006)

In Cameroon, a group of hunters is attacked by a wild animal, and Charlie Cowley survives but sees his brother Scott dying. Hyperbolically, seven years later, his teenage nephew Derek Cowley steals the key of his stepfather's cabin in the isolated Fire Road 13 and travels with four classmates and his friend Sam to spend the weekend having a party with booze and sex.  However, they are attacked by a beast that kills his friends in a sadistic way.  Sam and Derek survive, and they suspect that his stepfather, Mitchell Toblat, is a werewolf.  When Charlie meets Derek and Sam, they decide to collect evidence to prove that Mitchell is the beast and kill him, but Mitchell discovers their plot and chases the trio.

David Naughton rock the crap out of the Sheriff Ruben character.

Currently Naughton is active in voice acting and a series on BYUtv, Granite Flats.

Taken directly from the Salt Lake Tribune website…"Granite Flats," which debuted Sunday April 7th, 2013 on BYUtv, looks good.  It’s nicely written.  There are good performances, for the most part.

If you are flipping channels and come across "Granite Flats," there’s nothing about it that feels preachy or — yes — Mormon.

Executive producer and BYUtv general manager Derek Marquis described it as "a cross between ‘The Wonder Years’ and ‘"The Goonies’ " — and he’s right.

It begins as recently widowed Beth Milligan (Annie Tedesco) and her 12-year-old son, Arthur (Jonathan Morgan Heit), who move to the small town of Granite Flats after their husband/father was killed in an Air Force crash.  And not all is as it seems.  Are there UFOs?  Are the Soviets planning an attack?  What is the FBI up to?

It’s filled with likable characters.  And parallel, often intersecting storylines involving the kids and the adults.

There’s also no sexual innuendo or R-rated language.  But that doesn’t mean this is a kiddie show.  Kids will like it, but so will parents and grandparents.

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