“The Bloodhound Gang” was a series of short, live-action mysteries that may have been the most popular segment of the 1980s PBS science show 3-2-1 Contact.
When was the last time you watched an episode—and how did it hold up?
Nan: I think about a year ago. “The Thing in the Trunk” is on YouTube. It holds up great. The show was so well done.
Seth: Most can be found on YouTube. I got a kick out of the humor I still see in the episodes, but cringe at my acting.
Glenn: Not in a while, but when I do, it always brings back wonderful memories. The time it was shot is very present in each episode…the cars, the wardrobe. It’s a trip to watch. New York was a different place in the late ‘70s.
Kelly: I put it on once in a while since a few of the episodes are on YouTube. I think it looks good, especially since they were filmed back in 1979.
If you are/were married, what was your future spouse/partner’s reaction when s/he learned you were in this series?
Nan: My husband gets a real kick out of it. He wasn’t familiar with it when we first met. He’s from Minnesota. Not sure if it even played out there. But when he saw them, he loved it.
Glenn: My current partner has never seen it. One of these days, I must force him to watch. He might make me sit through his bar mitzvah, though.
Kelly: She found it very interesting. I think she knew since we’re both from the same area and most people knew that I did the show and some other things.
What do your kids think of the series?
Nan: My older daughter is 30, my son is 23, and my younger daughter is 18. They all think it’s a hoot. None of them were born when I did the series. I think they’re proud of their mom.
Kelly: I’ve watched some of them on You Tube with my oldest son (22 years old), and he likes to make fun and tease me about it.
What did you think when you heard I wanted to interview you?
Nan: I was excited. That was a very special time in my life. As I mentioned, when people do recognize me in public, I see their faces as they were when they were 8, 9, 10 years old. Some have even said it’s why they got into science or became a teacher, etc.
Seth: I know your work and thought you would do a fair and admirable job of telling this little story.
Glenn: I thought, “How cool.”
Kelly: I tend to talk about my acting career more as I get older and one of the guys from work went home and googled me and found your site and sent me a link. I thought it was great and looked forward to contacting you and being a part of it.
Has anyone else ever interviewed about this? If so, who, when, and for what publication(s)?
Nan: Honestly, I don’t recall. For it to have been such a popular show, we received very little personal publicity. A magazine spin-off 3-2-1 Contact did include a segment called “The Bloodhound Gang” with characters that resembled us in the cast. I would love for it to make a comeback somehow as science and math are two subjects getting a real big push for our kids to really excel in.
Glenn: I have never been interviewed like this about that show. It has been brought up every so often but I am touched that you want to talk about this, Marc. Right on. It was a big part of my childhood, too.
Kelly: Not specifically about this show, but when I was young I did do an interview about my acting career for two of the local papers in Massachusetts.
Have you appeared at any fan conventions to sign autographs?
Nan: I have not.
Nan: I certainly would. One thing my fans say when they see me is I haven’t really changed much.
Seth: It would be far too weird for me to do, so far removed from the show.
Kelly: I don’t know. It’s so long ago.
Did you stay in touch with anyone from the series? If so, how often?
Nan: Just Marcelino for that brief time and then, thanks to LinkedIn (or Facebook—can’t remember) I heard from Seth. What a wonderful surprise. So we are in touch now and I am very happy about that.
Seth: Just Nan.
Glenn: I’m sorry to say I haven’t. Maybe through this interview you can reunite us…
How do you look back on the experience?
Nan: Very fondly. It was at the beginning of my career. I always wanted to be an actress—why, I don’t know. But I just knew that I could and that I would. It was something beyond my control. I felt like that was where I was meant to be.
Glenn: With warm, happy, loving thoughts and memories. When you do a show like that, it’s not just what appears on the screen that remains in my heart but rather all the people. Great, talented people on that show.
Kelly: I loved it. I was disappointed when I was called back to shoot more episodes, but had grown too much so they ended up recasting the part of the younger boy. That’s when Seth was selected.
Anything you’d like to add?
Nan: I would like to mention Linda Marmelstein. She was the producer and a very kind and supportive person. She gave me wonderful recommendations. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer while we were shooting our last year. She still came to the set every day. I remember her very fondly for her gentleness and perseverance in times of adversity.
Seth: I stayed in contact with the production company, Daniel Wilson Productions, for years afterwards. Linda Marmelstein, the executive producer, was a wonderful friend for a number of years. We kept in touch through my high school years, and she kept feeding my interest in moving behind the camera. She wrote me a recommendation for NYU’s film and TV program. While at college, Linda lost a silent, stoic battle with cancer, and I lost a friend. DWP continued to support my education, lending me an editing suite for several months so I could edit my senior thesis film. Daniel and Linda were wonderful people, and I will never forget their support.
Most of what you see on the Apple 2 computer in our “office” was actually my programming. There was a BASIC emulator included that allowed me to write programs for the show. I learned some computer language in elementary school—they had a program for children who showed advanced abilities in math and science, and the classroom included a TRS-80 Tandy Radio Shack computer. When we showed up at the “office” for the last week of shooting (actually a room in a fantastic Victorian mansion in the low 70’s on Central Park West), the director was trying to block the scene in a way to hide the computer screen. Seems that there was nothing prepared to go on the screen for that scene. I spent five minutes and wrote a quick program that followed the script, and suddenly the computer was able to play. So I took it upon myself to do all the programming for both seasons. I think that was the highlight of my computer career, but I still get a kick out of the crew’s reaction—“this seventh-grader is programming a computer!” I was typecast.
Kelly: Like most child actors, I have to thank my mom and dad for allowing me to have the wonderful and unique experiences that most kids don’t get to have. None of it would’ve been possible without their support.