little doubt that one of the reasons The Kids from C.A.P.E.R.
remains so appealing to its fans so many years after it originally
aired is because of the talented actors who played the lead
roles. So it was with much excitement that former C.A.P.E.R.
Kid Steve Bonino (who played P.T. on the series) agreed to field
so many of our questions about the show and his career for this
exclusive and entertaining Q&A session!
you so much for offering to answer some questions about yourself
You were basically born into show business, with your father being
an internationally renowned singer and your mother a notable
actress and dancer. How much of an influence were they in
your decision to pursue a career in the entertainment industry?
Steve Bonino: My mother steered me toward acting in my
teens. For music, it was The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan
show. They changed my life.
show business part of your every day life growing up or did your
parents try to keep you insulated from their careers and that
Steve Bonino: I never lived with my dad. He moved back to
Italy when I was an infant. My mother always nurtured my
artistic nature for which I am eternally grateful.
were some of your earliest musical influences?
Steve Bonino: The Beatles, The Stones, Janis Joplin, Cream, Jimi
Hendrix, The Who and too many others to mention. I ate music
for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
did you first start learning to play instruments and which was
Steve Bonino: The day after The Beatles were on Ed Sullivan I
asked my mom to get me a guitar. She did, I took some
lessons, and have been playing and writing ever since.
did you first begin to write songs?
Steve Bonino: When I was eight.
C.P.: I have
heard you started in commercials at an early age. Do you
recall what your first commercial or professional work was?
Steve Bonino: I forget the product, but I remember I was jumping
up and down on the front seat of a car. I got the job
because I was a very rambunctious child.
of your education focused on the performing arts. Could you
tell us something about which schools you attended and what you
Steve Bonino: I attended public and private schools with regular
classes until high school when I auditioned for and was accepted
as a vocal student at The High School of Music and Art in
also performed in theater, both in New York and Los Angeles.
theater something you enjoyed? How would you compare it with
working in movies and television?
Steve Bonino: Theater is a lot more disciplined. No matter
how you feel on a given day you have to get into character for
every show. It was the most difficult of all the disciplines
I've experienced, including performing as a musician.
made a brief but memorable appearance in the film 3 Days of the
Condor, which was filmed in New York. Any memories of
Steve Bonino: I remember Robert Redford working hard on his role
and really keeping to himself. I remember he and the
director discussing how much of the movie hinged on the elevator
ride I was a small part of. It was a pretty tense scene with
he and Max Von Sydow.
you living in New York or Los Angeles when C.A.P.E.R. came along?
Steve Bonino: I was living in Manhattan on 92nd street on the East
did you come to be cast on C.A.P.E.R.? There's a story in
one teen magazine about how a friend of yours was cast as P.T.
first but then you got the part yet remained friends.
Steve Bonino: Yes, that is true. My friend
very talented musician and actor, was offered the role and turned
it down. He was nice enough to recommend the producers
audition me for the role and the rest is history.
was it like working for Don Kirshner? Can you give us any
insight into what the interview process with him was like?
Steve Bonino: All I can recall is meeting him once or twice, but I
don't recall a conversation. I know he gave the thumbs up on
me for the part. I donít remember him ever being on the
set or in the recording studio.
you get to interact with or discuss the show with creator and
writer Romeo Muller? If so, what kind of input did he give
you into your characters and the show in general?
Steve Bonino: No. I don't recall ever meeting Romeo
Muller. I did write and submit an episode and some songs for
C.A.P.E.R. for the next season. I think they were being
reviewed by the production staff, but unfortunately the next
season never happened.
don't suppose there's any chance you remember what the episode you
submitted was about?
Steve Bonino: No, I donít recall the plot and Iíve discarded
it over the years.
C.P.: Have you done much writing
(apart from songwriting) since?
Steve Bonino: The only writing I do now is music.
C.P.: Were the characters and plot pretty well
established when you were hired, or were you and the other
"Kids" given room to be creative and / or suggest ideas?
Steve Bonino: The scripts were written. We were given leeway
to have fun with the parts as we worked on them. You find
that comedy directors like to see spontaneous funny things happen,
and we were encouraged to be as entertaining as possible.
was it like to play P.T.?
Steve Bonino: Well, I was full of youthful enthusiasm when I
started working on the first few episodes. I was honored
after the first couple of shows were in the can to have the
director, Stan Cherry, ask me to introduce each episode with a
brief monologue and to be the leader of C.A.P.E.R. We filmed
a few monologues and for whatever reason, they didn't work and the
idea was scrapped.
C.P.: But it
seems almost all of the episodes begin with you doing some kind of
introduction or monologue, at least superimposed over the action
(a la "Phantom.") Were these scrapped monologues more
elaborate or different somehow than the regular introductions?
Steve Bonino: I think they were 30 second segments with me looking
directly into the camera to discuss the plot of the week and try
to be funny which I donít think were ever aired.
C.P.: Do you
recall the circumstances which led to the change of costumes after
the first two episodes? Did it somehow go from a pilot stage
to a sold stage and were the first two episodes filmed a lot
earlier than the others, or was the whole series shot around the
Steve Bonino: The whole series was shot at the same time. I
recall us shooting the first episodes knowing the costume designs
were still in production. I guess they agreed on a final
look and we all switched into the new costumes once they were
you guys have any input into what became your costumes or was that
left completely up to the wardrobe department?
Steve Bonino: Completely up to the wardrobe department. You
donít want actors choosing their costumes. They will feed
their egos and not the characters.
you happy with P.T.ís final costume and did you feel it was
accurate for his character?
Steve Bonino: I didn't like the scarf around my neck too
much. Otherwise it was okay. We didn't have any say in
C.P.: Do you recall in which order each
"Kid" was cast? And when did you all first get to
Steve Bonino: I believe I was either the last or second to last
cast. I believe John Lansing was one of the first cast as
the producers were impressed with his good looks and performances
in the stage play Grease. They featured his singing
as a result. I recall we all met in Alan Landsburgís
offices to meet the other cast members and have a launch party.
C.P.: If my
notes are correct, you were the youngest at 19 and Cosie was the
oldest at 29. Were there any odd dynamics caused by working
with a group that varied so much in age?
Steve Bonino: None. We all got along great. I fancied
myself a better singer than I actually was and fought for more
vocals on the album. I think the producers wisely chose the
right singers for the right songs.
is interesting, because Rob Hegel mentioned that he and Carol
George had originally written the song Say It for Cosie to
sing but Kirshner wanted you to do that one. If possible,
could you say which was your favorite of the songs you performed
for the show?
I think, by far, the theme song was my favorite, and
itís my voice featured prominently singing: "Weíre the