Exclusive: Richard Moll discusses estranged ‘Night Court’ costars, deranged cartoon characters and a range without TV
Yesterday, I posted an item about actor Richard Moll for Suburbarazzi. Moll, who played bailiff Bull Shannon on TV’s “Night Court,” was in Yorktown Heights on Monday to film a part for an upcoming Internet mockumentary about fantasy football.
Raised in part on “Night Court” reruns, I was giddy to land a phone interview with Moll today. For Suburbarazzi, I asked him about the Yorktown shoot. But since I pledge allegiance to two entertainment blogs, I figured I’d interview him about his career at large for Remote Access.
Below are some highlights of the interview, which has been rearranged for the sake of continuity and clarity. Although this snippet occurred about halfway through the interview, I figured I’d offer it up as a teaser:
Remote Access: Are you still in touch with anyone from the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Night CourtÃ¢â‚¬? cast?
Richard Moll: No, we avoid each other assiduously.
Remote Access: Seriously, are you in contact with anyone from the show?
Richard Moll: I am not. I wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t in touch with them when I was working on the show.
Remote Access: Really?
Richard Moll: [Laughs.] I cannot tell that you that IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been in touch with any of them. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve encountered a few of them once or twice since (the show wrapped), but thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nothinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ goinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ on there. [Laughs.]
Remote Access: Fair enough. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not trying to start a feud or anything.
Richard Moll: Too late. [Laughs.] No, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all right. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know what to say about it, other than the fact that weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re not particularly close.
I’m not sure if this is sad, just part of the business, or both.
Either way, read on to learn about Moll’s inaccurate filmography on Internet Movie Database; his choice to live life these days without a TV or computer; his career in cartoon voice-overs, including the recurring role of Two-Face on the critically acclaimed “Batman: The Animated Series”; and his legendary prowess on “Super Password” and other game shows.
Remote Access: Just so I can verify that this is really you, can you give me an Ã¢â‚¬Å“EwwkayÃ¢â‚¬? (as Bull Shannon often said)?
Richard Moll: [Two-second pause.] Ewwkay!
Remote Access: All right. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s definitely you! According to Internet Movie Database, your first role was Lewis in an episode of Ã¢â‚¬Å“Family AffairÃ¢â‚¬? in 1967 and were about 24 years old at the timeÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Richard Moll: That is actually incorrect. At 24 years of (age), I was still trying to figure out where the bathroom was. No, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not correct. I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t start (acting) until the last Ã¢â‚¬â„¢70s, really Ã¢â‚¬â€œ about Ã¢â‚¬â„¢78 is when I started really working in the business.
Remote Access: So that fans are properly informed, what was your first role in TV or film?
Richard Moll: My initial (television) role was Lorcon One Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a faceless creature with big, hairy fingers that could touch a rock and turn it into lava! That was on Ã¢â‚¬Å“Bigfoot and Wildboy.Ã¢â‚¬?
Remote Access: Do you have a favorite Ã¢â‚¬Å“Night CourtÃ¢â‚¬? episode?
Richard Moll: Any episode in the ninth year, because, boy, was the money good then!
Remote Access: Do you live in Los Angeles?
Richard Moll: No, I live east of L.A., about two and a half hours away, a couple of counties away in Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ San (Bernardino) County. I enjoy hiking and fishingÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ out here in the hinterland. And I also live, by the way, without a television or a computer by choice.
Remote Access: Wow, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s interesting. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve talked to a lot of actors who donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have those media readily available to them.
Richard Moll: Well, I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mean to be negative about myself, but I may have sort of an addictive personality and I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to spend my time out here in the woods in front of the TV or a computer. So, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve opted not to have those.
Remote Access: YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve done your share of voice-over work, including the recurring role of Two-Face on Ã¢â‚¬Å“Batman: The Animated Series.Ã¢â‚¬? How did you get into that genre?
Richard Moll: ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just kind of the natural outgrowth of having a commercial agent and being sent out (to auditions). I have done much more in the cartoon area than in the commercial area with that (genre). I have this Ã¢â‚¬â€œ [shifts into Two-Face’s low, gravelly voice] particular thing I can do for characters Ã¢â‚¬â€œ [shifts back to normal voice] like Two-Face, which lends itself well to creepy, ghostly, spooky, nasty characters. So thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s worked well for me.
Remote Access: I once spotted you in a dramatic role on an episode of Ã¢â‚¬Å“Smallville.Ã¢â‚¬? Do you prefer dramatic or comedic work?
Richard Moll: I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve done a lot of comedy, so I enjoy drama; I particularly enjoy characters who are threatening or nasty or villainous or whatever. [Laughs.] I think a couple of my favorite types of characters to play would be, like, sort of a mafia-oriented kind of individual Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the dangerous sort. I also like Westerns a great deal.
Remote Access: During Ã¢â‚¬Å“Night CourtÃ¢â‚¬â„¢sÃ¢â‚¬? hey-day, you were also a celebrity guest-star on several game shows. In fact, thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a montage of some of your most entertaining Ã¢â‚¬Å“Super PasswordÃ¢â‚¬? clues on YouTube. WhatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the best memory you have from your game show cameos?
Richard Moll: Probably the paycheck that came in two weeks; I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know that it was anything that considerable. No, they were fun and it was all exposure. I was just out there doing whatever I could to, you know, continue to be exposed. They were fun and I had a certain amount of skill at some of them, Ã¢â‚¬Å“PasswordÃ¢â‚¬? being one of them. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know if I could say a favorite memory, but they were fun if there were something like body language if there was acting, miming out things or drawing things on some of them. They could be a lot of fun.
Remote Access: Thanks for your time, Richard. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve enjoyed your work ever since I started watching Ã¢â‚¬Å“Night CourtÃ¢â‚¬? reruns as a preteen.
Richard Moll: My pleasure. Hopefully, they didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t corrupt you too much.
Later this year, Moll will play Big Jim the electrician in the movie Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Christmas Cottage,Ã¢â‚¬? with Peter OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Toole, Marcia Gay Harden and Chris Eliott, whom Moll describes as Ã¢â‚¬Å“a real gentleman and a really funny guy.Ã¢â‚¬? Moll is also slated to appear Oct. 27 on the SciFi channelÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ã¢â‚¬Å“Headless HorsemanÃ¢â‚¬? as Kolchak Jefferson Stillwall, whom the actor describes as a Ã¢â‚¬Å“townsman who canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be trusted.Ã¢â‚¬?
(Photo by Tanya Pann, courtesy of Ironbound Films/Broadband Enterprises)