Fri 28 Sep 2007
Hey there, fans of entertainment and entertainment-related news! Boy, have we got a treat in store for you!
Way back in the mid-1960s, a young centaur galloped out of ancient Greece and straight into the hearts of North American children everywhere…in North America. That centaur’s name was Newton, star of The Mighty Hercules, a popular cartoon that ran from 1963 to 1966 (and for over two decades more in syndication).
Known for his trademark high-pitched voice and repeating everything he said twice, Newton played Hercules’ loyal, but trouble-making, sidekick. Week after week, the red-headed rascal would stumble into some kind of prickly mess (“Look out, Herc! It’s the Hyyyyyddrrraaa!”), and it would be up to Hercules to come down off Mount Olympus and save the day.
What's Newton up to? No good, I'll bet!
When the show ended, Newton disappeared from the television scene. Most simply assumed he was dead, and moved on. Never ones to assume, we at Food Court Lunch did some digging and, wouldn’t you know it, a lucky scroll through a California phonebook revealed a listing. Fast forward two weeks and many voicemail messages later, and we had nailed down a telephone interview with the half-man himself, straight from his bachelor apartment in Burbank!
Over the course of an eleven-minute conversation, we caught up with Newton, now 52 [ed. – where does the time go?], on what’s been keeping him busy, Disney films, his ol’ pals l’il Toot and Herc, and some of those wacky rumours about the crazy times they used to have on the show!
We hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane as we proudly present, “Catching up with…Newton: Boy Centaur for the Ages!”
The obvious question is: where have you been?
Oh, you’re still acting?
No, I said working. I never said acting.
Sorry, I just assumed…
Yeah, well, this may be hard for some people to believe, but 99.9% of the population does not make their living as actors.
Well then, what kind of work have you been doing?
I worked construction for a number of years, until my hind legs started to go. I’ve done some landscaping, delivered food, worked in a circus, what have you. I’m doing fine. I’m not wealthy, but I’ve been pretty smart with my money. I don’t need a lot of things.
Why did you decide to give up acting?
I don’t know if I “gave up” acting. I was a centaur with a vocal tic. The offers weren’t exactly rolling in.
Speaking of which, I notice that you don’t seem to be repeating yourself.
Well, it stopped being cute when I hit puberty, so I had to do something about it.
So how did you get rid of it?
Speech therapy. I learned to control it through deep breathing and concentrating on what I was saying. It was mainly stress-related, so it still comes back every once in a while when I get agitated.
You mentioned that you had difficulty finding work once your show went off the air.
(pauses) Is that a question?
Well, when Disney made its version of Hercules in the 90s, were you contacted?
Why would I be? Y’know, unless there was a scene involving a 45-year old, overweight, diabetic centaur that I missed.
Well, was the idea of a cameo ever discussed? Kind of a tip of the hat to fans of the old show?
No, it wasn’t. And even if it was, I doubt I would have done it. I mean, the last thing I’d want is to come across as one of those old washed up actors trying to relive the glory days. I saw Starsky and Hutch. I don’t want to slag on anybody, but Glaser and Soul should fire their agents. Pathetic.
The Harry Potter movies had centaurs.
(pauses) They did?
Son of a…
Do you have an agent?
Are you going to ask me any questions that aren’t about why I don’t act anymore?
Okay. I’d like to ask you about your friend Toot.
Jesus. Here we go.
Do you remember where you were when you heard that he had died?
Of course I do.
Describe your reaction.
How do you think I reacted? I mean, how would you react? I was stunned.
How did you find out?
Through my agent.
When was the last time the two of you spoke?
I left him a message three months ago, but the son of a b$#@% hasn’t called me back.
I meant you and Toot.
Oh. About three years ago, I guess. We had tossed around the idea of doing a reality show together. You know, a centaur-and-a-satyr-living-in-modern-day-New-York kind of thing. We actually put together a pitch and everything. It was going to be called Newt and Toot.
Did it ever go anywhere?
No. We had some meetings, but by that time The Two Coreys was already in the works, and, you know. We didn’t want to seem like we were just ripping them off.
What was your reaction to the way Toot died?
What was my…I mean, what kind of question is that? What kind of question is that?
Well, being crushed by a speaker is an…unusual way to go.
Not if you knew Toot. Not if you knew Toot. The guy was proud. He never let his size hold him back, even when he probably should have.
Are you angry at him for the way he died?
Am I what? Jesus, who are you, my psychiatrist? Of course I’m not angry with him. I mean, do I wish like hell he would have just sucked it up and paid somebody to install the home theatre system? Yes. But am I surprised that he wanted to do it himself? Not at all. That was Toot in a nutshell.
Have you heard the recording of the 911 call?
Yes. How could I not? Those tabloid shows had it on a loop.
So do you blame 911 for his death?
No, actually, I don’t.
Do you have any issue, then, with his family’s lawsuit?
I didn’t say that. I didn’t say that. It’s just…I mean, the operator probably shouldn’t have hung up the first two times…
Their spokesperson said she assumed it was a crank call.
Right, which is understandable. If I answered the phone and someone was blasting a pan flute in my ear, I’d probably hang up too. He was tough to understand at the best of times, let alone when he was being…being suff…being suffocated…by…by a subwoofer…(goes quiet)
(sobbing) Forty-four years old, and you still couldn’t speak English? How many times did I tell you to take a lesson?
Give me one minute, please.
(blows nose) Alright, go ahead. But please, ask me about something else.
What about him?
Do the two of you still speak?
Not really, no.
You two used to be quite close, didn’t you?
I don’t know if “close” is the right word. I was his sidekick. That’s a different kind of relationship.
In what way?
Well, to be honest, I think there was a real lack of respect thing happening there.
On his part?
In what way?
Well, with Helena, for instance. I think he enjoyed embarrassing me in front of her. He was kind of a bully.
What would he do to embarrass you?
Stupid stuff, you know. Try to ride me, feed me hay. And I would get really upset. He would pretend he was just kidding, but you just don’t do that stuff to a centaur. We’re a proud people.
Why in front of Helena?
Why do you think? Jealousy, I’d imagine.
Hercules was jealous of you?
Don’t sound so surprised. I mean, I wasn’t built like a Greek god or anything, but I did have certain attributes that I think he was threatened by.
Well, I am half-horse.
Let’s just say, for a guy that wore a tunic with no underwear all the time, he was more Icarus than Zeus, if you follow me. And I think he overcompensated. A lot.
Speaking of Helena, how do you respond to the rumours that you and Hercules were lovers, and that their relationship was a sham?
Oh, here we go. You know, I’ve heard that garbage for so long, I just tune it out now. I don’t know how it got started…
Well, the show did seem to have a lot of homosexual undertones.
(agitated) What? You tell me one thing about the show that was remotely gay.
Well, the theme song for one.
The theme song?
I have it here on tape…
“Softness in his eyes, iron in his thighs”?
Do you actually buy into that conspiracy nonsense? Honestly, it’s the same thing that the Scooby Doo guys go through with the whole “Shaggy was a pothead” junk: (mocking tone) “He was always hungry! He was always paranoid!” I mean, grow the f$%# up.
The hairless chests? The mischevious, “come hither” looks you used to throw his way?
Come hith…you know what? Enough. Are you married?
I have a girlfriend.
Well, send her over here.
She lives in Saskatchewan…
Matter of fact, you come too. I’ll show you how gay I am, and I’ll do it right in front of you. I’ll do it right in front of you.
I didn’t start the rumours. They’re all over the internet…
Oh, the internet? The…the f#$%&@$ INTERNET!?!…You know what? This is over. I don’t have any time for this…this…bulls&@%! I’m NEWTON, g#$ d$!#%&! I’ve been on LUNCHBOXES!
Don’t you think you’re overreacting. I mean, John Travolta has…
(irate) F*&% YOU! F*&% YOU WITH YOUR ‘JOHN TRAVOLTA’! You’ve been pushing my buttons this whole M*&%$@F*&%$@# time! If I was HALF the centaur I was twenty years ago, I’d come over there, bind your F$%&*#@ legs together, tie the rope to my back and drag your ass around town like a G#$ D$!# PARADE FLOAT! A G#$ D$!# PARADE FLOAT!
Alright, you’re obviously upset…
UPSET! YOU’RE G#$ D$!# RIGHT I’M UPSET! DON’T EVER F#@$%*&% CALL HERE AGAIN! CALL HERE AGAIN! CALL HERE AGAIN!…G#$ D$!#@&! (hangs up)
There you have it, folks! Newton from The Mighty Hercules! Still alive, and still up to his old tricks. Could a comeback be far off?
We hope you enjoyed the first installment of our new “Catching up with…” feature. There are a few kinks to iron out, but check back with us next time for another trip down memory lane with one of your favourites of yesteryear! Which reminds me – is Toot available? Just kidding! TNTL!*
*Til Next Time, Lunchers!