C.A.P.E.R. Project: What was it like working with Cosie, John and Biff?  Any memories to share?
Steve Bonino: Great guys.  Very talented and fun to work with.  I have only fond memories of working on the series with all cast members and guests.  Stan Cherry kept things light and professional on the set.

C.P.: What was it like working with veteran actors Robert Emhardt and Robert Lussier?
Steve Bonino: I learned a lot from their acting preparation and ease with developing their characters.  They were very professional, it showed in their performance and was contagious for us newbies.

C.P.: Do you recall any guest stars (the girls in particular) you enjoyed working with on the series?
Steve Bonino: Well, we were all smitten with just about every girl co-star as young, single men will be.  They were all beautiful, talented and cute.  A dangerous mix, I must say.  I never dated any, and don't think any of the other stars did either, however, what do I know what goes on off the set?

I remember Debra Winger being a particularly attractive and talented guest and I recall cast and crew whispering a lot all over the set.  Of course, she went on to be attractive to the whole world with her wonderful career.

C.P.: What was it like working with the songwriters and going into the studio?  Was that your first recording studio experience?  Any memories?
Steve Bonino: I remember being scared, then thrilled in my first pro studio experience.  I don’t recall meeting the songwriters other than Ron Dante who helped a lot in the studio.  He was the voice of the Archies and a main man in the Kirshner stable of talent.  I remember him being very generous and helpful getting vocal performances out of us.

C.P.: It was stated in several articles that you and the other Kids were going to eventually contribute songs to the show.  Did you ever get the chance to run any of your original songs by Don Kirshner?
Steve Bonino: As I mentioned earlier I had songs in the fire, but the show was over too soon.

C.P.: Did you ever go on to record any of the songs you’d written for the show?
Steve Bonino: Other than my voice and guitar demos, no.  I do not have them any longer, but I recall liking them at the time.

C.P.: Was there any talk at all of the Kids from C.A.P.E.R. eventually going on tour or performing live in concert?
Steve Bonino: Without hit singles and a show just taking hold it was premature.  Maybe if we had a second season and a little airplay it might have happened.

C.P.: What was it like working with producer Alan Landsburg and director Stanley Z. Cherry, as well as the rest of the crew on the set?
Steve Bonino: The crew was a hoot.  They were as fun as Stan Cherry was.  It was a very playful set, but professional enough to get the work done.

C.P.: A strictly technical question, but was it a one camera or two camera show?
Steve Bonino: If memory serves it was at least a two camera shoot.

C.P.: At which studio was the show primarily filmed?  Also, do you happen to recall where the exterior opening theme song shots were filmed?
Steve Bonino: Paramount.  They built the C.A.P.E.R. HQ set in one of their studios.  I recall shooting the opening sequence in a park, but I don't recall where.  Just one of many locations we filmed at.

C.P.: Were the locations generally within a certain radius of Paramount studios, though?
Steve Bonino: Not necessarily.  I remember having to travel a bit to get to different locations.

C.P.: How long did it typically take to film one episode?
Steve Bonino: A week per show.  We were on schedule all the way.

C.P.: Any fun memories from filming, both in the studio and on location, which you can share with us?
Steve Bonino: My most fun memory was the very first shot of the entire series at Magic Mountain.  I told the producers I was scared of roller coasters, so of course they put me in the front seat with the camera right in my face to catch me screaming and getting sick.  Aaaah, good times.


C.P.: Any particular episode a favorite or yours (either because of the experience filming it or the finished product?)
Steve Bonino: I loved playing Groucho Marx in "The Phantom Of The Drive-In Movie", which was my favorite episode to watch because it was pure camp.

C.P.: Did you guys watch the Marx Brothers stateroom scene before doing your own take on it?
Steve Bonino: Actually it was all rehearsed on the set with no video assistance.  Stan Cherry was very knowledgeable on the old scenes and coached us well.

C.P.: For a while in late 1976 and throughout 1977 you and the other Kids were featured prominently in the teen magazines and became teen idols.  What was that experience like?
Steve Bonino: I enjoyed it.  It wasn't hard to do.  Just a few questionnaires and a few photo shoots and all of a sudden your in Tiger Beat.  Cool!

C.P.: Any strange or memorable fan encounter that you recall?
Steve Bonino: I received three bags full of fan mail and am embarrassed to say I never responded to any.  I purged my C.A.P.E.R. docs years ago.  No one individual stood out from the incoming mail, but it was all very flattering.

C.P.: Do you have any insight as to why the show was pulled from NBC’s schedule so abruptly in November 1976 and then shuffled around before ultimately being cancelled?
Steve Bonino: Yes.  Sonny Fox, who I loved as a comedian, was hired to run Saturday morning for NBC.  He decided to cancel all live action shows and run exclusively cartoons.  I guess no other station chose to buy us out of the NBC contract.

C.P.: When it became clear the show was not going to be picked up for a second season, was there a great deal of disappointment for you and everyone else who worked on the series?
Steve Bonino: Yes.  I wanted to see it grow.  When you’re making money, having fun and loving your work, where else do you want to be?

C.P.: Did working on the show open doors for you?  Do you look back on it as a positive experience?
Steve Bonino: Yes, it was a very positive experience.  I have always been a musician at heart, and continue to be now.  My mother introduced me to acting in my teens as she was an actress herself.  At least C.A.P.E.R. involved music, so it was a win, win situation for me.  I can’t say C.A.P.E.R. got popular enough to open doors for me, but it didn’t hurt either.

C.P.: The fact that the show now seems to be mostly "lost" has made it difficult for it to maintain anything but a loyal following amongst those who loved it when it first aired.  Does it surprise you that there is still this loyal faction of C.A.P.E.R. fans out there interested in the series?
Steve Bonino: Yes and no.  You love what you love in life.  The lack of great success a show may have doesn’t diminish your enjoyment of it.  It may even increase the loyalty because of the perceived unfairness of the show’s cancellation.

C.P.: Some have dismissed C.A.P.E.R. as a failed attempt to recreate the success Kirshner had with The Monkees.  How do you respond to that kind of reaction?
Steve Bonino: I agree.  It wasn’t a big success like the Monkees.  I don’t think the songs were on are a par with the better Monkees material.  I was hoping it would develop over time and attract better material and more fans, but alas . . .

C.P.: After the series ended, did you remain friends with anyone from the show (cast and crew included)?
Steve Bonino: Not friends, but I did see Cosie and John at a couple of auditions before I went back to being a full time musician.  We did reminisce a bit and it was and will always be good to see them in the future.

Continue . . .


Contact us via C.A.P.E.R. E-mail (the next best thing to C.A.P.E.R. Band!)