By Tom Interval
Even in 1988, $50 didn’t seem like a lot of money to be in a television commercial. But who was I to complain? I was doing what I loved for a living at a super-cool theme park to which I had unlimited access. Besides, the gig was a non-speaking part, so I didn’t even have to join the Screen Actors Guild (SAG).
Busch Gardens Williamsburg (as in Williamsburg, Virginia) ended up using only about one second of my performance in the commercial. So that’s $50 per second. Hmm. Eight hours in a typical workday, which equals 480 minutes, which equals 28,800 seconds, which, at $50 per second, equals $1,440,000 per day. I could scrape by on that.
Hey, a man can dream, can’t he?
As it turned out, not only did I not end up with millions of dollars, I didn’t even get a copy of the tape, despite my repeated requests to Busch over the years.
Fast-forward to 2017, a year that exists in the age of YouTube, the online video storehouse featuring everything from cat juggling to tutorials on quantum mechanics. Fortunately, it didn’t take a physics lesson to finally find the Busch commercial I’m in.
An anonymous guy in Halifax, Nova Scotia, who calls himself Betamax King, recorded the commercial back in 1990, two years after it was filmed. He has more than one YouTube channel jam-packed with old video and audio clips he’s collected over the years.
Here’s the 30-second commercial with my appearance in all of its one-second glory. Do you think it’s worth 50 bucks?