David Selby: The Man from Black Hole

Since The Game of Their Lives has been MIA for a while, St. Louisans who have an insatiable urge to be extras in movies have turned their attention to the Sci-Fi Channel’s production of Black Hole, which was filming in December around the Soldier’s Memorial Museum in downtown St. Louis. The production of Black Hole has brought a handful of interesting characters to town, most notably Judd Nelson (Bender from The Breakfast Club) and Kristy Swanson (aside from being another John Hughes alumnus (she had small roles in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off as well as Pretty in Pink), she was the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the 1992 movie). In addition to these two, we see the return of David Selby to town for the first extended period of time since he went to graduate school at SIU-Carbondale, where he received his PhD in theater about 40 years ago. “Yeah, I was there, and I got a PhD. Can you believe that?” Selby says self-deprecatingly when I bring up his educational history in our town. However, before answering my question, he counters with, “How did you find this out?” as if having a doctorate in your field is a factoid best kept secret.

Selby, a West Virginia native, is best known (and outright beloved) for his work as Quentin Collins (the werewolf) on the cult ’60s TV series Dark Shadows, and, if you don’t know him from that, you may have stumbled across him while he was playing Richard Channing for eight seasons of Falcon Crest in the ’80s. In addition to those two TV series, Selby has split his time between making A-list movies (such as 1991’s Dying Young with Julia Roberts) to low-budgeted B-movies (I won’t name any names here), working in theater, writing books, and just about any other media-oriented thing you can name. When I was researching his filmography and what kind of projects he is usually associated with, I found myself hoping that, Bruce Campbell–style, Selby would prefer making goofy genre pictures to mainstream theatrical releases. Perhaps this projection of personality onto him comes from the fact that he has met with great success on the genre front (need I remind you he was on Dark Shadows?) and the mainstream movies he’s been in have been, as a whole, have been less successful (for example, his most recent big release was October’s Ben Affleck vehicle Surviving Christmas). When I asked about his preferences in projects, though, it turned out that he didn’t really have any. “In television, I suppose I was fortunate to be a part of a couple shows that hung on,” he says of his two best-known roles. “I suppose the thing that I’ve been blessed with is just to work all of the time. You know, I’ve always worked.”

Another thing that I assumed going in was that his time filming in St. Louis would host a renaissance in his relationship with St. Louis as a town. As it happens, when he was at SIUC, not a great deal of his time was spent over here in the city—it seems that the majority of it was at the racetrack with a mathematician buddy who claimed he had a formula for determining the winner. “I would bet, you know, one dollar,” he says in between laughing about his friend’s schemes. What’s more, this isn’t the first time he’s been back in all of these years—several friends of his family (including his wife Chip’s maid of honor) live here. While enumerating his friends that still live in St, Louis, there was a little pronoun confusion on my part, which led me to think that on more than one occasion Selby said that his wife’s maid of honor was a “he.” “We’re in the theater…we’re funny,” he laughs, after explaining that he had, in fact, been saying “she.”

Even the Missouri climate didn’t bring back much in the way of memories (which perhaps is good, because Missouri climate–based memories often tend to be bad ones), as he spent this time last year filming another made-for-TV movie, Larva, down in Springfield. Maybe the fact that his last two genre pictures were shot in Missouri is the key to my thinking that Selby would like making B-movies more than making higher profile movies—making science fiction pictures is what brings him out our way in the first place, so it is us, as a town, that prefer his work in B-movies, because we appreciate the fact that it brings people like him and Nelson and Swanson to our restaurants, shops, and streets.

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David Selby: The Man from Black Hole

Since The Game of Their Lives has been MIA for a while, St. Louisans who have an insatiable urge to be extras in movies have turned their attention to the Sci-Fi Channel’s production of Black Hole, which was filming in December around the Soldier’s Memorial Museum in downtown St. Louis. The production of Black Hole has brought a handful of interesting characters to town, most notably Judd Nelson (Bender from The Breakfast Club) and Kristy Swanson (aside from being another John Hughes alumnus (she had small roles in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off as well as Pretty in Pink), she was the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the 1992 movie). In addition to these two, we see the return of David Selby to town for the first extended period of time since he went to graduate school at SIU-Carbondale, where he received his PhD in theater about 40 years ago. “Yeah, I was there, and I got a PhD. Can you believe that?” Selby says self-deprecatingly when I bring up his educational history in our town. However, before answering my question, he counters with, “How did you find this out?” as if having a doctorate in your field is a factoid best kept secret.

Selby, a West Virginia native, is best known (and outright beloved) for his work as Quentin Collins (the werewolf) on the cult ’60s TV series Dark Shadows, and, if you don’t know him from that, you may have stumbled across him while he was playing Richard Channing for eight seasons of Falcon Crest in the ’80s. In addition to those two TV series, Selby has split his time between making A-list movies (such as 1991’s Dying Young with Julia Roberts) to low-budgeted B-movies (I won’t name any names here), working in theater, writing books, and just about any other media-oriented thing you can name. When I was researching his filmography and what kind of projects he is usually associated with, I found myself hoping that, Bruce Campbell–style, Selby would prefer making goofy genre pictures to mainstream theatrical releases. Perhaps this projection of personality onto him comes from the fact that he has met with great success on the genre front (need I remind you he was on Dark Shadows?) and the mainstream movies he’s been in have been, as a whole, have been less successful (for example, his most recent big release was October’s Ben Affleck vehicle Surviving Christmas). When I asked about his preferences in projects, though, it turned out that he didn’t really have any. “In television, I suppose I was fortunate to be a part of a couple shows that hung on,” he says of his two best-known roles. “I suppose the thing that I’ve been blessed with is just to work all of the time. You know, I’ve always worked.”

Another thing that I assumed going in was that his time filming in St. Louis would host a renaissance in his relationship with St. Louis as a town. As it happens, when he was at SIUC, not a great deal of his time was spent over here in the city—it seems that the majority of it was at the racetrack with a mathematician buddy who claimed he had a formula for determining the winner. “I would bet, you know, one dollar,” he says in between laughing about his friend’s schemes. What’s more, this isn’t the first time he’s been back in all of these years—several friends of his family (including his wife Chip’s maid of honor) live here. While enumerating his friends that still live in St, Louis, there was a little pronoun confusion on my part, which led me to think that on more than one occasion Selby said that his wife’s maid of honor was a “he.” “We’re in the theater…we’re funny,” he laughs, after explaining that he had, in fact, been saying “she.”

Even the Missouri climate didn’t bring back much in the way of memories (which perhaps is good, because Missouri climate–based memories often tend to be bad ones), as he spent this time last year filming another made-for-TV movie, Larva, down in Springfield. Maybe the fact that his last two genre pictures were shot in Missouri is the key to my thinking that Selby would like making B-movies more than making higher profile movies—making science fiction pictures is what brings him out our way in the first place, so it is us, as a town, that prefer his work in B-movies, because we appreciate the fact that it brings people like him and Nelson and Swanson to our restaurants, shops, and streets.

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David Selby: The Man from Black Hole

Since The Game of Their Lives has been MIA for a while, St. Louisans who have an insatiable urge to be extras in movies have turned their attention to the Sci-Fi Channel’s production of Black Hole, which was filming in December around the Soldier’s Memorial Museum in downtown St. Louis. The production of Black Hole has brought a handful of interesting characters to town, most notably Judd Nelson (Bender from The Breakfast Club) and Kristy Swanson (aside from being another John Hughes alumnus (she had small roles in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off as well as Pretty in Pink), she was the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the 1992 movie). In addition to these two, we see the return of David Selby to town for the first extended period of time since he went to graduate school at SIU-Carbondale, where he received his PhD in theater about 40 years ago. “Yeah, I was there, and I got a PhD. Can you believe that?” Selby says self-deprecatingly when I bring up his educational history in our town. However, before answering my question, he counters with, “How did you find this out?” as if having a doctorate in your field is a factoid best kept secret.

Selby, a West Virginia native, is best known (and outright beloved) for his work as Quentin Collins (the werewolf) on the cult ’60s TV series Dark Shadows, and, if you don’t know him from that, you may have stumbled across him while he was playing Richard Channing for eight seasons of Falcon Crest in the ’80s. In addition to those two TV series, Selby has split his time between making A-list movies (such as 1991’s Dying Young with Julia Roberts) to low-budgeted B-movies (I won’t name any names here), working in theater, writing books, and just about any other media-oriented thing you can name. When I was researching his filmography and what kind of projects he is usually associated with, I found myself hoping that, Bruce Campbell–style, Selby would prefer making goofy genre pictures to mainstream theatrical releases. Perhaps this projection of personality onto him comes from the fact that he has met with great success on the genre front (need I remind you he was on Dark Shadows?) and the mainstream movies he’s been in have been, as a whole, have been less successful (for example, his most recent big release was October’s Ben Affleck vehicle Surviving Christmas). When I asked about his preferences in projects, though, it turned out that he didn’t really have any. “In television, I suppose I was fortunate to be a part of a couple shows that hung on,” he says of his two best-known roles. “I suppose the thing that I’ve been blessed with is just to work all of the time. You know, I’ve always worked.”

Another thing that I assumed going in was that his time filming in St. Louis would host a renaissance in his relationship with St. Louis as a town. As it happens, when he was at SIUC, not a great deal of his time was spent over here in the city—it seems that the majority of it was at the racetrack with a mathematician buddy who claimed he had a formula for determining the winner. “I would bet, you know, one dollar,” he says in between laughing about his friend’s schemes. What’s more, this isn’t the first time he’s been back in all of these years—several friends of his family (including his wife Chip’s maid of honor) live here. While enumerating his friends that still live in St, Louis, there was a little pronoun confusion on my part, which led me to think that on more than one occasion Selby said that his wife’s maid of honor was a “he.” “We’re in the theater…we’re funny,” he laughs, after explaining that he had, in fact, been saying “she.”

Even the Missouri climate didn’t bring back much in the way of memories (which perhaps is good, because Missouri climate–based memories often tend to be bad ones), as he spent this time last year filming another made-for-TV movie, Larva, down in Springfield. Maybe the fact that his last two genre pictures were shot in Missouri is the key to my thinking that Selby would like making B-movies more than making higher profile movies—making science fiction pictures is what brings him out our way in the first place, so it is us, as a town, that prefer his work in B-movies, because we appreciate the fact that it brings people like him and Nelson and Swanson to our restaurants, shops, and streets.

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