By Prutha S. Patel (@PSPatel)
First, I’d just like to congratulate you on all of your success. You were the executive producer of every episode of Saved by the Bell - which not only had a great run on the original show, but also went on to have multiple incarnations. That’s really no easy thing to have accomplished. Over the years, has there been anything that you’ve found to be shocking or surprising about all of the success?
Yes. The success it enjoyed in 85 foreign countries. But then again every kid goes to school and wanted to see how the California kids lived and what their schools were like.
As a ‘90s kid myself, Saved by the Bell was everywhere growing up. It’s still one of the most identifiable shows. What do you think helped the show speak to audiences so well or to have made it something that has had such a lasting impression for audiences?
It was directed at the teen ad tween audience. Our cast were all playing their actual ages except Screech who was eleven when we started.
Speaking of the lasting impression, just last year Jimmy Fallon participated in a skit reuniting some of the Saved by the Bell cast members on the Tonight Show, did you happen to catch it and do you have any overall thoughts on it?
Of course I watched it. It was excellent and I couldn’t have produced it any better than they did. Of course they had my executive producer credit at the end which I thought was pretty cool.
Are you still in touch with the cast members to this day? Any recent stories you’d like to share with us today?
I speak to Mario every so often and Dennis Haskins and saw Elizabeth Berkley recently.
Can you tell us a bit more about your memoir, I was Saved by the Bell: Stories of Life, Love, and Dreams That Do Come True?
It is a story of a young, shy boy who had a dream of making hit television shows and the journey that involved many highs and lows, heartbreaks and victories. I learned that you have to approach your projects with a passion and never, ever let anyone steal your dreams and never ever give up.
The book goes into detail about this but can you tell us in a few sentences what was the most challenging part about EP-ing the show?
One has to be totally organized and as EP, be a leader. In addition, since the kids were very young you have to make it a family affair. I was more than just a producer I was the Papa.
What do you hope people will be thinking about once they’ve finished the book or what is the message that you hope to convey to the readers of the book?
Have hope and dream big dreams. They are as hard to accomplish as small dreams.
In the book you also discuss “Can you believe it?” stories about your encounters with some of the most famous and important personalities of the times, is there one from them that you’d like to mention for readers and fans to look out for in the book? In that that one was very unique to you and you’re looking forward to having people read about the encounter?
Of course John F. Kennedy and probably Orson Welles. But there are so many like John Lennon and Aaron Spelling.
What’s perhaps a current film or show that resonates with you most?
Spotlight and Big Bang Theory. Probably because they do what they do so well. Compelling and hysterically funny.
And lastly, anything else you’d like to say to all of the readers?
Someday, today will be a long time ago. Don’t miss one moment of it. And do everything with passion.