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(January Magazine 1983)
What makes it such a happy series!
Ask anyone involved in the making of Fame what it's like working on this smash-hit series, and the first thing they always mention is the great atmosphere. It's fun, it's happy, and everyone gets along perfectly with everyone else.
In our interview with Gene Anthony Ray in this issue, he mentioned that he regards everyone on the show as part of his family. They're a close-knit group who share the ups and downs of their personal lives, as well as their professional careers, with their friends on the set. When someone has a set-back, a broken love affair, an illness or an injury, or a sick relative for instance, everyone is concerned and tries their best to help.
On the other hand, when someone has good news to impart, like Erica (Coco) when she got good graduation grades from High School this summer, everyone's on hand to congratulate them and join in the celebrations.
They really do care about each other, and miss each other when they're away from the studios. In fact, even if a member of the cast is not required for a particluar scene, you won't often catch them going home. Instead, they prefer to stay near their friends, running through their dance routines, practising their musical instruments, or going over their script.
People who aren't needed in front of the camera will often stand on the sidelines watching someone else's scene being shot, and giving their co-stars moral support. Even guest stars who have only appeared in one episode sometimes become so attached to all the lovely people they met on the Fame set that they'll come back and visit them every so often, to catch up on all their news.
During the summer hiatus on Fame (hiatus is the official name for a break in filming), many of the cast take the opportunity to do commercials, appear in other stage or TV shows, or get their own musical group together. Lee Curreri (Bruno) has his own rock group and Valerie Landsburg (Doris) and her boyfriend have teamed up to get a nightclub act together. Naturally, everyone takes a family-like interest in what everybody else is up to, and you can see the proof of this inside the main Fame soundstage.
What you'll find there amounts to a Fame Family Scrapbook! A huge area, about 20 feet long, to as high as a human hand can reach, on the back of one of the flats (as the walls of the set are called), is completely covered with clippings from newspapers and magazines, reviews of shows, articles, photos, fashion layouts, programmes from plays, letters from fans – anything you can think of which any member of the Fame troupe could have been involved in! This wall is proudly displayed to everyone who visits the set, just like the family album would be passed round at home.
After their forthcoming visit to Britain, you can bet the Fame folk will have lots more to add to their special wall. In fact, they might just have to take over another one!
This interview was provided to me by Elaine Prescott.
The article above is from the Official Fame Magazines from 1983. The OFFICIAL FAME MAGAZINE was published by Beat Publications Ltd. and the interviews are copyright MGM/UA Entertainment Co.