Michael Sheehan

When talking to Michael Sheehan, he mentioned that he has also worked with Pizzazz's voice, Patricia Alice Albrecht, in a car commercial, during one time off from recording Jem. Where they played a married couple, sitting with other "family members" in a car which had been made into a shell with their feet all sticking out the bottom like the Flintstones. This is funny also because one of Michael Sheehan's other credits is the voice of "Bamm Bamm Rubble" on "The Flintstones".

An interview with Michael Sheehan:

What was the audition like, did you get to read up any particular lines that were going to be in the show?

"The audition for Jem was held at Wally Burr's studio. At the time there were a handful of people who worked very regularly in cartoons in Hollywood and I was lucky to be one of them. I don't remember what the lines were. I think we were shown models of the characters (drawings that let us know what they actually looked like) and we probably read with other actors."

"Wally is a very exacting director, so there was lots of help there. I had done a series just before Jem with Wally called Spiderman, so part of the reason that I was thought of for Rio was because he was familiar with my work."

As can be seen on my Jem website, the first five episodes, later got extra scenes, some with Rio. Did this result in that the voices of those whole episodes had to be re-recorded, or just those particular extra scenes?

"It's been many years since we did the initial recording sessions for Jem! and if we did 'inserts' or 'pickups' for earlier shows, I just don't remember."

"A typical recording session would start after lunch with a 'table read' where the regulars on the show and guest actors would sit and just read the script from top to bottom. Wally Burr, the director, was very helpful and very exacting as to how he wanted the scenes to go. He would also assign incidental voices to some of us and mostly everyone would read the crowd and other background voices."

"It would take us most of the afternoon to get a thirty minute show done.

"Usually, when additional scenes are needed, in live action as well as in cartoons, we just do the missing stuff. And sometimes it can be as little as one or two lines that need to be either repeated or added."

How do you like the music of the show?

"I'm very sorry to report that we didn't hear the music to the show when we did the voice recording sessions. The music was done in New York, I think.I have heard some of the tunes, but it's been a long time ago and I really don't remember them specifically."

Who is your favorite character?

"I think I like Pizazz best. Patricia Alice Albrecht was so into the character that when she did her part in the studio , she really got into it.. She was wicked! In fact, she is a very nice lady who is now the mother of a little girl, I think they had. She is also a published author."

Was there any scene in particular that was extra fun recording?

"After all this time, they all sort of run together. The sessions were usually about four or five hours long. The director, Wally Burr, was exacting about how he wanted us to sound. So.. sorry ... no favorite scenes that I remember. I did like it when they had Rio do heroic things to help the girls. It was always a show for girls. Rio was almost superfluous sometimes."

Was it a relief to do the scene in the episode "Broadway Magic", where Rio asked Jerrica if she and Jem are the same person?

"I am embarrassed to tell you that it was long ago and I just don't remember. The way we recorded the segments was done in such a way as to easily lose the thread of the story. We'd do a 'table read' but we were usually interrupted with specific directions at the time of the recording and ... at least for me.... sometimes the words would stop being English and just be sounds!"

Did you disagree with any lines in the scripts, and were you allowed to have some input?

"We stayed pretty close to the scripts that we were given. As I recall there may have been some English usages that sometimes were brought up, but all in all, the scripts were performed as we got them."

"I would quickly read through each new script hoping that Rio would be given something to do that seemed intelligent. He seemed to me to be the least sympathetic of the characters. He was, of course, the male support to all the girls, both the Misfits and the Holograms. I think I may have felt badly that only poor Rio didn't know that Jerrica was also Jem."

"In Greek drama the use of 'deus ex machina' , literally God from a machine which the Greeks sometimes used to fix their plays when the plot was unfixable, was prevalent. Synergy was the holographic equivilent, able to fix things with her powers when Jem needed them."

How did you get along with the voice actors of the new characters?

"When the Stingers came on board, Kath played Minx, I think, I felt that our little family had been invaded a little. Townsend Coleman, I think, played the guy and did a good job."

"One disappointment after we'd done all of the episodes was my asking someone at Sunbow or whoever it was that covered the initial production.. for cels of my character and the other main Jem crew. I was going to pay for them and everything, but they never did the models for us."

When did the first recording of a Jem episode take place, and when was the last? Or about how long was the time period?

"This is a tough question. About the first session and the last. It's been so long ago that I have honestly forgotten both of them. What happened was that I was lucky to have just gotten finished with a show called Spiderman, playing a supporting character with Wally Burr directing. He was still in his studio on Ventura Boulevard, a little space upstairs from a tattoo parlor. They held auditions for Jem! in that studio. We had our first session in that studio, now that I think on it."

"One thing I remember is that the black girl in the Holograms they first cast was replaced after the first session. The first session was at Soundtraxx and was Rocky."

What are you up to nowadays?

"These days I'm working at developing ideas for the home video market. I still audition for cartoons and commercials but I'm not as active as I was when we were doing Jem!"

"My art exhibit was a couple of years ago and the work I'm interested in is very conceptual in nature. This means that it's the 'idea' of the artwork that takes precedence over the actual physical representation. I think it's an acquired taste. Sweden has produced one of my most favorite artists, Claes Oldenburg, who will soon receive one of the highest awards that the United States can bestow, The National Medal of Arts from the National Endowment of the Arts ( the U.S. arts funding organization."

"Oldenburg can be found on the web, I'm sure. His work is amazing to me, sometimes he makes H U G E sculptures of common objects. You might find his Spoon Bridge, a giant teaspoon with cherry, on the web."

"My work is smaller mostly because of expense. My biggest to date was a temporary installation at the University of Northern Colorado in 1990. That's my alma mater. I staked out a space 234 feet by 72 feet (the dimensions of the first building built on the campus) and then placed one hundred high powered flashlights (one for each year of the centennial) pointing straight up into the sky to symbolize the light that was sent into the world from the learning that happened there."

If new episodes of Jem were to be made, would you like the part of Rio again?

"Of course!! Part of that is that working is the most fun a person in this business can have. And, the pleasure of the work and the income for having a good time is a great payoff."

"So.. get the gang together and demand a repeat of the show! This time, let's get Jem and Rio really together and have little Jemettes and Rioritos!??"


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