Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Blast From The Past: Tony O'Dell
I was about 10 when Head Of The Class hit the air. Back during the shows run situations comedies filled the network schedules and this small but steady show did not have the flash, or garner the attention fellow sit-coms like Perfect Strangers, Full House and Married With Children were getting. This was the era of the sit-com, the big Prime Time soaps were starting to die and Family Ties, Cheers and of course The Cosby Show were dominating the ratings.
WKRP's Howard Hesseman got much of the attention when the show first began. Although he did not remain with the series for its entire run (Billy Connolly stepped in during the shows final season), Hesseman was arguably the most well known of the original cast. Hesseman, and the show itself, were soon overshadowed by co-star Robin Givens and her marriage to Mike Tyson.
I am not sure whether Given's drama helped or hurt the show, but it was rarely written about again without a mention of the drama. This was too bad as the show had a stellar cast of young actors (and did not need an overhaul and addition of Rain Pryor). I guess actor Brian Robbins would have been the requisite hunk but for me the most appealing male cast member was Tony O'Dell. O'Dell's Alan Pinkard was the tie and sweater vest wearing member of the special class, preppy and generally annoying the less traditional brain stereotypes in the group. For the mid eighties, O'Dell was ahead of his time with the metro sexual look, smartly dressed, well groomed and perfectly feathered blonde hair. Although Alan was supposed to be about 16, O'Dell was 26 when the show first premiered.
O'Dell was no stranger to television, he had previous roles on Dynasty and Otherworld as well as guest stints on most of the shows of the era, Chips, Family, Eight Is Enough and more. He was also known to movie audiences for playing Jimmy in the first two Karate Kid movies. Tony was most recently seen The Disney Channels 'Shake It Up.'. You can check out Tony's facebook page where he personally checks in to answer questions HERE:
Below: two more recent shots of Tony