My Split-Second Appearance on a 1990 Busch Gardens Commercial

By Tom Interval

Tom Interval on a 1990 Busch Gardens TV commercialEven 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?


About Tom Interval

San Diego Magician Tom Interval, owner of Interval Magic, provides magic entertainment and training to private and corporate clients locally and nationally. A member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians (IBM), Society of American Magicians (SAM), and the Academy of Magical Arts (AMA), Interval has captivated tens of thousands of people at numerous venues, including Busch Gardens theme park in Williamsburg, Virginia. With a BA in professional writing and minors in communications and business administration, Interval writes magic-related e-books, magazine articles, and blogs and produces tutorials and related videos for his YouTube channel. Most recently, Interval earned The Linking Ring Award of Excellence for a cover story he wrote for the magicians' publication. To learn more, please visit
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