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Billy Ingram's Book About Greensboro Hamburger (Squared)

Before They Were Anybody : Stars before they hit
by Cary O'Dell

Maybe I’m a hoarder….but for years now I’ve been saving the Fall TV Preview issues of “TV Guide.” They come in handy sometimes for the work and research I do. They can also be a lot of fun in a nostalgic, what-almost-was sort of way. Looking back through them (back when the “Guide” was still digest size and half of it was newsprint), it’s fun to note all the latter-day superstars who came and went, seemingly unnoticed, in series now long forgotten and probably short-lived.

Well, I guess it is true: we do all have to start somewhere.

Cast of Get RealGET REAL

No doubt at the time, Jon Tenney was the big draw for the FOX family-oriented “Get Real,” but the cast also included a future Oscar winner in Anne Hathaway, pictured second from right. Next to her by the way is a very young Jesse Eisenberg. The comedy-drama aired for 22 episodes in the fall of 1999.



You might remember CBS’s “Central Park West” from 1995, though I doubt it. It was the Eye network’s high-profile attempt to get in on the “90210” and “Melrose Place” action of FOX. Along with Mariel Hemingway (fifth from the left), the series also starred a young John Barrowman (extreme right) not long before he became Captain Jack.


Cast of kitchen confidentialKITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL

If the sitcom version of “Kitchen Confidential” (2005) had been a hit, future “Sexiest Man Alive” Bradley Cooper would probably not have been able to give us “The Hangover.”

Of course, we would also have been spared “All About Steve,” so I leave it up to you to decide if this was a good thing or not.

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Billy Ingram's Book About Greensboro Hamburger (Squared)



Included in the cast for ABC’s 1992 sitcom “Camp Wilder” is Jay Mohr and Jerry O’Connell as well as future two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank (upper row, extreme right). If Swank doesn’t regret this series, she probably regrets this particular pose. Also in the cast of this not-at-all-bad sitcom was a young Tina Majorino, later to be featured in “Water World” and still acting today.


Angel Falls castANGEL FALLS

Before she was Samantha on “Sex & the City,” Kim Cattrall was part of the ensemble for the show “Angel Falls” in 1993; she’s pictured on the far right.

Also in the cast: James Brolin, Peggy Lipton, Jeremy London and Brian Kerwin. “Angel Falls” aired six episodes.


This future Oscar nominee wasn’t even considered the star when she was part of the cast of 1992’s science fiction drama “Sleep Walkers.” Naomi Watts is second from the left. “Sleep Walkers” was aired over NBC; the series was yanked after only two episodes.


Cast of The Edge


An attempt to bring sketch comedy to primetime was FOX’s 1992 series “The Edge.” In the cast that included Julie Brown, Wayne Knight and Tom Kenny was a young Jennifer Aniston, she’s third from the left in the top row. “The Edge” was around for 18 episodes. Knight of course would go onto work on “Seinfeld” and is now on TVLand’s “The Exes.” Kenny is the voice of Spongebob Squarepants. Aniston had “Friends” and movie stardom in her future.

Cast of The EdgeToday, Mike O’Malley (pictured in the center at the bottom) is carving out a very accomplished career as a character actor via his roles on “Glee” and, recently, “Justified.” In 1999, he was packaged into his own weekly sitcom. Also in the cast was a pre-“Arrested Development” Will Arnett; he’s at the two o’clock position above. Unfortunately, “The Mike O’Malley Show” aired only two episodes before being cancelled by NBC.

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