"My work as an actor on location/set
is to have the Producer's and Director's visions
up on the screen...!"

- - Badger


Badger on
Sabrina the Teenage Witch

Paramount Pictures

Geoffrey Gould headshot... with hair In mid September, 2000 CE, I was booked for an episode of the TV series sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch in which once again I was to play a cult member of some kind, scheduled for a September 21st shoot. This was doubly ironic as not only would it be similar to my work on the Dude, Where's My Car? movie, but it turned out I would again be teamed up with my friend Michael Beardsley, with whom on Dude I also worked.

Sabrina the Teenage Witch
With 'Sabrina' leaving ABC, why go to the WB when shot on Paramount which owns UPN...?

Thankfully, what with the recent MTA bus strike at the time, Michael was gracious enough to give me a lift to and from Paramount, at which I worked on the then titled Untitled Barber Movie, now titled The Man Who Wasn't There. Understandably I was apprehensive about any reaction I might receive with my "recent hair loss" from that feature film project a mere month earlier. The top of my head had been shaved for an Alpine Rope Toss fake-hair appliance. While most likely thanks to my taking the awesome bioavailable USANA Essentials (balanced nutritional supplements [considered the industry-standard] that work at the cellular level), my hair was growing back nicely, it was still far from how my headshot reflects it.
[Thankfully there was no reaction or problem and it didn't prevent my being placed rather prominently.]

Michael Beardsley [this particular link goes to a 'Freaks and Geeks' site: the direct link to Mike's own site is via the banner at the bottom of the page]

September 21, 2000:
As per our pre-planning, Michael picked me up at my place at 5:45am.
Arriving at Paramount for our 7:15am call at 6:30am (what with poor directions having us have to seek out the correct parking structure), we signed in first. To what to our wondering eyes should appear but Jim Goldthwait, pleasant A.D. with whom Michael and I worked on Dude Where's My Car?! Michael suspected Jim being a possibility for our both having been booked.
Jim mentioned to us that preliminary completion work on "Dude is so good" that it could be released in December 2000 instead of spring/summer 2001…!
He also told us that director Danny Leiner apparently "stumbled" across my Dude page and that apparently he liked it! We figured most likely through the Internet Movie Database entry page for Dude that lists that page's URL. (Guess it's time to start adding Guest Books to these pages! )
Jim also gave us (those playing cult members) the Call Sheet and the script over which to look as we waited to go on set.

Phil LaMarr lookalike William (also a Dude cult member) was booked as well and also on hand was the lovely and pleasant Molly Hagan lookalike Rebecca (we didn't get her surname).

Melissa Joan Hart as 'Sabrina the Teenage Witch' Yes, Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina) is quite pretty in person. Meanwhile, veteran TV actor Soleil Moon Frye now plays the role of Roxie on the series… and has grown up astonishingly and eye-poppingly attractive. Also new to the regular cast is the friendly Trevor Lissauer as Sabrina's friend Miles.
Veteran actor Richard Klein guest stars as scamming cult leader Jim Thom. One of his victims is Chuck, played by the extremely affable instantly recognizable character actor Leslie Jordan, who was very pleasant the entire day, chatting with us on various projects on which he's worked such as Lois & Clark and Heart's Afire, etc. Principal actor cult members also included "newcomer" Danni Wheeler as the lovely Heather and Dave Engfer as Jason.
On the new season of 'Sabrina,' Soleil Moon Frye now plays her roommate Roxie: 'Punky Brewster' is HOT...!

The episode is titled Welcome, Traveler and directed by Brian Roberts.
(On the Call Sheet there was no mention of Frank Conniff still being series story editor; I figured perhaps only as he wasn't needed that day but it's been reported to me by my friend Dave Gold he is no longer on their staff.)

Apparently, Sabrina's new friend Miles is a loner and she encourages him to become more social. Inadvertently she ends up encouraging him to join a group which turns out to be a cult (and a scam cult, at that).
Run by false New Age Guru Jim Thom (Richard Klein), his cult promotes inner peace while simultaneously promoting the members to give over their worldly possessions to him…

Earlier in the episode, Salem accidentally speaks in front of a Chinese Food Delivery Guy. The Delivery Guy steals Salem and eventually sells him to Jim Thom, who later brings in Salem for his cult to witness. So while the animatronic cat was on hand during one of our scenes, the voice of Salem (Nick Bakay) was not, as Salem does not speak in the scene (Sabrina magickally mutes him to prevent him from speaking).
Note: when he moves his mouth, Salem's jaw quietly squeaks…

Michael and I got some great screen time, usually placed next to each other on the small cult room set.
First thing (with us) is Sabrina, Roxie arriving with Miles. Miles is greeted by Heather who brings him over to meet Jason, Michael and myself while Roxie argues with Sabrina. Roxie wants out (having been promised a movie) and leaves after the two girls meet Chuck (Leslie Jordan), who comes over to us to meet Miles.

Later when Sabrina suspects Jim Thom is a fake, she is told that Jim Thom is in fact a witch (that TV series' Universe concept of a witch, anyway ). To her additional surprise, Jim Thom demonstrates his power to levitate. While the episode does not reveal how he does it (although later in the episode it is made clear it is a trick to fool his followers), on set it was done with Klein on a small sitting platform that was raised on a lever. They took some footage of the same set area without him (no blue screen), so that in post they can digitally remove the see-saw like device and show him "floating in the air," complete with the same shadows his body is throwing.

Later Sabrina comes in looking for Miles as we are all eating some mush (made of baked beans, rice and apparently [we were told], "turkey sauce") in the script called Mund Beans and rice. It was actually tasty, the baked beans being the prominent flavour. I do not know how visible I will be as we're kneeling on the floor on pillows, but you could see I am actually eating the stuff. In fact, I finished each serving I received (a mere large spoonful given to each of us at the beginning of the take, and I think we did four or five takes). Few of the others ate any of theirs. Hey, it's free food, folks…!

Later Sabrina tries to convince us Jim Thom is a liar and a fake, but she is not believed. Earlier Jim Thom threatens Salem if the feline does not cooperate. So during our scene Jim Thom bring in Salem, introducing the caged cat to us as a "true cosmic soul," but Sabrina mutes Salem before he can speak. Even with this apparent proof, the cult refuses to believe ill of their leader. Sabrina has no choice but to magickally attune the TV to Jim Thom's Inner Sanctum (a "bachelor's pad," furnished with trusting Chuck's donated furniture) where we hear Jim Thom's angered rants at Salem during which his fraud is exposed. Stunned at this revelation, the cult disperses.


Badger in the Spellman living room set [click image to enlarge]

With our 7:15am calltime, we hung out at holding. At one point I went to craft services to get some sort of breakfast, during which I could hear Leslie Jordan being recorded for a video that would later be played back on a large screen TV in the cult room during our scenes. We actually began shooting our scenes around 10am and were on set about 98% of the time.
Lunch was from 1:00-2:00pm; Michael went with me to Astro Burger a couple blocks west of Paramount Studios.

We also had sufficient time to wander the Paramount lot a bit, finding one of the sets to Star Trek: Voyager, seeing the exterior of what is used for interior shots of the Delta Flyer.
We also checked out the rest of the Sabrina sound-stage (Stage 12, btw) and saw the regular Spellman household sets: living room and stairs, as well as the second floor landing set leading to Sabrina's bedroom as well as to the closet used as the portal to the Other Realm.

Badger at the closet door to the Other Realm [click image to enlarge]

We (the cultists, were) wrapped at 7:06pm, and got pay bumps for wardrobe and for working in smoke (oil smoke was used for some of Jim Thom's entrances and for his levitation). Michael got me home just before 8pm.

Now Michael took down some additional information from the Call Sheet to which we had access before it disappeared from the table. Accordingly: Fifth season premiere of 'Sabrina' was September 22, 2000

[T]he Sabrina fifth season premiere is tonight [September 22nd; the first on the WB…]
Our episode should be on in a couple months: it's the 7th episode of the 5th season.
That would put it on November 3rd unless they throw some re-runs in there or pre-empt it for a week.

- Michael


The Airing:
Sabrina the Teenage Witch episode #104 Welcome, Traveler first air date was Friday November 03, 2000.

A few of the Best Sighting Moments:
Note (for those who know me on a day to day basis): I am not wearing my glasses.
  • When Sabrina, Roxie and Miles first arrive at Jim Thom's place, I am seated right by the monitor (just in front of Michael) watching the "Children of Star Stuff" video. Heather (Danni Wheeler) gets up and as the camera begins to follow her to the trio, I can be seen begining to lean back to talk to Micheal.

  • When Miles comes over to us, there is a good profile shot of me at the left of the group.

Still bald from 'The Man Who Wasn't There' movie, I'm at the left as Jim Thom cult member meeting Miles (Michael Beardsley is tall one in center with striped shirt)
  • Later during the Chuck (Leslie Jordan) testimonial video, I am seated right behind Leslie. As he gets up I can be seen moving aside the floor pillows.

  • When Sabrina takes Miles aside, it's a good shot of Michael Beardsley behind them at the far right.

  • When Sabrina makes the Spiderman reference, I am right behind her to the right (albeit mostly the top of my head…), bathed in a strange blue light I don't recall being there at the time.

  • When Sabrina asks Miles if he really believes Jim Thom to be a witch, it's a good clear shot of Michael right behind them at the right.

  • As Jim Thom levitates, as Sabrina bolts in an over-Jom Thom-shoulder shot, I am visible through the mist just over Jim Thom's shoulder.

  • Right after Jim Thom purchases Salem, as Sabrina tries to use logic on the group, I am dead center between Miles and Chuck (Leslie).

  • When Miles suggests to Sabrina it'd be a good idea if she left, it's an exellent shot of me at the left.

  • Good shots of Michael and me as Jim Thom brings in Salem's covered cage, as we watch him in reverence, as Sabrina mutes Salem and (when Jim Thom retreats), as Sabrina tries to convince us that the cat not talking is further proof.

  • While our actual departure shows my beginning to get up, during the showing of the fraud video Michael and I can be seen watching in stunned amazement.

  • Watching Jim Thom introduce caged Salem (Mike Beardsley sitting next to Leslie Jordan)


    From: Mike Beardsley
    Date: 11/4/00 4:52:54 PM [Saturday]
    Subject: Chicken and Waffles

    Very cool episode.

    Quite a few of my Freaks and Geeks fans watched it and my dad forced many of the people he works with to view it as well. They cut out the Sigfried and Roy [reference] though.

    I think I now know why they didn't want you saying "Let's get some burgers," because they say in the next scene that we all went out for Chicken and Waffles. Not like you could hear what any of us said at that point anyway.

    - Michael


    Emailed Reviews


    Link to Geoffrey Gould's TV-Tome entry

    Subsequent Airings:
    Sabrina the Teenage Witch episode #104 Welcome, Traveler's second "first run" air date (first repeat) was Friday December 22nd, 2000.
    The third "first run" air date (second repeat) was Friday May 18th, 2001, following a new episode at the regular time.
    Completely by accident, mere moments before it aired, I stumbled upon another that aired 8:00pm Friday July 6th, 2001 (first of two episodes in the hour).


    New! Just found online!

    Sabrina the Teenage Witch episode #104

    Complete Welcome, Traveler transcript!

    Transcribed by Paul Booth


    From: Mike Beardsley
    Date: November 10, 2001 5:35 AM [Saturday]
    Subject: Syndication

    We hit syndication on Thursday November 15th. By this I mean that our Sabrina episode airs in the afternoon/evening for the first time (at 5:00 PM… not sure if that's considered afternoon or evening).

    Just though I'd let you know.

    - Michael (www.MichaelBeardsley.com)
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