When I loved Jon-Erik Hexum…
During the early 80s I was head-over-heels in love with the actor Jon-Erik Hexum. Anyone remember him? My parents probably remember my frantic attempts to get the TV channel from Canada to look like anything besides snow when Voyagers! came on. I was desperate not to miss the show, and I have this memory that they stopped showing it on our US station for some reason and I could only get it on a Canadian one. We lived about an hour south of Buffalo, so, if we were lucky, we could get it tuned in.
I even wrote letters to Jon-Erik. I’m sure they were depressingly sappy, since I was in 7th grade at the time and full of hormones and a general outcast at school. I still have the signed postcard from him, along with one from the star of Airwolf and a Rick Springfield one. I’d mapped a bike route across the USA for when I planned to runaway and be with him…or Rick Springfield, whichever one would take me in.
Yep, I planned to pedal across the entire United States. Bright, wasn’t I?
I’ve been waiting for years to get Voyagers! on DVD. Someone on ebay was selling it on video, but they seemed to be copies bootlegged from the television, commercials and all. But I recently saw on Amazon that it’s finally coming to DVD legitimately. I’ve got it on pre-order along with the 7th Harry Potter book.
Sadly, Jon-Erik Hexum does not have a happy ending. He died in 1984 while working on the show Cover Up, because he was messing with a gun loaded with blanks and didn’t realize how dangerous even blanks could be. For some reason I think I heard about this while I was in the cafeteria at school. I would’ve been a freshman in high school.
But more than the actor, it was the show that captured me. I was too young to differentiate between how Jon-Erik was in his role of Phineas Bogg to how he might be in real life. I loved the idea of time travel. That’s why when Quantum Leap premiered in 1989, I fell in love with that show as well, but I never had the massive crush on Scott Bakula.
Sigh. To be so naive again. Nah! Who needs the pain?