It’s surprisingly strange to imagine the 80s without the cult classic kid’s film, The Goonies…or even the “the truffle shuffle,” for that matter. Anyone who grew up with the movie in their lives was influenced by the famous adventure. It’s a cult classic for a reason, and it still has an enormous following almost 30 years later. The small seaside town of Astoria (Oregon), where the film takes place, annually celebrates Goonies Day every June 7th, the day in 1985 when the film hit theatres everywhere.
But this year is a little different. The Goondocks, a grand celebration that rocks the small town for days (specifically June 4th-7th), are celebrating the 30th year milestone of The Goonies with a festival. Here’s the official description of the event (which sounds pretty dang incredible):
During the four-day event, Goonies can tour iconic film locations, bowl at “Chunk’s Bowling Alley,” attend costumed quote-a-long film screenings, sip Truffle Shuffle Stout from local Fort George Brewery, and adventure on a scavenger hunt supported by Geocaching.com. In addition, the VirtuaLUG builders group, all of whom are Adult Fans of LEGO (or AFOLs), recreated iconic scenes from The Goonies which will be on display in Astoria. In the spirit of One Eyed Willie’s treasure-filled ship in the film, the tall ship Lady Washington will be offering tours and sails in Astoria during the celebration. Official memorabilia, including t-shirts, hats, glassware, collectibles and more, will be available at the event.
The Goonies was filmed at various locations across the Oregon Coast, including Astoria, where the film was set. Located where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean, the historic maritime community of Astoria is still home to a working waterfront. The revitalized downtown boasts a vibrant cultural scene including top breweries, art galleries, museums, a restored 1920s vaudeville theater, restaurants and local boutiques. Events and activities will primarily take place in Astoria, with a few also in Cannon Beach, Oregon.
Not to mention the cast members reunite for interviews, signings, and public talks that encourage behind the scenes reminiscence.
Remember how the whole adventure started in the movie? The kids find a treasure map, but instead of acting solely on their curiosity, the kids decide to use it to
steal raise enough money to stop the landlord, Mr. Perkins (Portland actor, Curt Hanson), from turning their neighborhood into a golf course. Mr. Perkins raised the stakes and gave you total motivation to root for the kids.
We had the honor of interviewing Curt to reminisce about his role, muse on happy memories with the cast, and recall some fun stories from behind the scenes.
How did you become involved with The Goonies? My agent called me with news of an audition… I auditioned for [casting director] Mike Fenton for the part of Mr. Walsh (father of Mikey [Sean Astin] and Brand [Josh Brolin]) – the audition was actually just a conversation with him. I didn’t get the part, but some weeks later my agent called told me that the production needed someone to play Mr. Perkins. I drove to Astoria and auditioned for Richard Donner, the director, by reading a scene ended up not being in the movie. Was cast on the spot! I was placed on hold (not available for any other work) for two weeks; was actually on set for 7 days; actually “worked” for a total of ten hours. I was later called to Burbank to do a scene, then to the CA coast to re-do the end of the movie (see below).
The Goondocks’ 30th anniversary party is happening early next month, what have the previous events been like? Does anyone from the cast usually attend? I have not gone over for the almost annual remembrances, but did attend the 20-year and 25-year anniversaries. The 20th was less attended and, as I recall, had fewer activities. Jeff Cohen [who played Chunk] came up – Sean Astin breezed in and out (he was involved in another production and had little time). The 25th anniversary brought about 2,500 people to Astoria – with Sean, Jeff, Corey Feldman, Joe Pantoliano [Francis], Mr. Donner and me in attendance.
The film was written by Steven Spielberg and Chris Columbus, were they present on set? I don’t recall seeing Mr. Columbus. Steven, of course, was directing second-unit scenes and directed me in the “senior jerk alert” scene. He also directed a scene shot at the Griffith Park golf course [in L.A.] in which Mr. Perkins was seen teaching his son how to putt … another piece that ended up on the cutting room floor.
When you did the film, did you ever imagine that it would become such a classic? In the vernacular, “Who’da thunk it??” I don’t think anybody even considered that it would become such a long-lived project.
Why do you think it’s still so popular? Because it’s just a fun adventure film that has huge, broad audience appeal. The “kids” are just “kids.” There are no super-heroes; no blood and gore; everybody wins (well, except for Mr. Perkins.) It’s a nice “daydream” that almost anyone can relate to … especially young folks who, in many respects, may be just like the Goonies.
What do you think of the movie now it’s turning 30? Geez! Don’t remind me! I don’t watch it very often – but it’s still fun to remember the shoot, the good times, etc. And, of course, I’m really grateful that it is still paying residuals! I’m guessing it’ll hold up for at least another ten years – it was shot in such a way as to not be dated, no 1980’s-specific references, etc.
Have people recognized you from that role? Did you receive work from having such a recognizable film in your resume? At first, of course, I was recognized a lot. I was doing boating and traffic safety classes in the local high schools and had to get everyone settled down and promise to sign autographs (this was before selfies, of course) before I could get to the topic I was supposed to be talking about. In thirty years, my appearance has changed quite a bit, so it doesn’t happen anymore. As to receiving work – can’t really tell what influenced other directors to hire me, mostly for TV movies, etc.
Did you become friends with any of the actors on or off set? What were the kids like? Not really. I guess my relationship with Jeff is the closest, mainly because he was at the previous anniversary gatherings and we got to reminiscence and talk “what are you doing now?” Those kinds of things. The kids were great!
Do you have anecdotes about the movie; some best memories? Well, let’s see. The “senior jerk alert” scene was shot in early November 1984. I had mentioned that my birthday was coming up … and on that day I was presented with surprise birthday cake, with the “kids” wishing me happy birthday. That’s a good memory. On the other hand …because of a problem with Sloth’s prosthetic head, we had to re-shoot the end of the film. Since all the foliage had changed (it was now late January 1985) the re-do had to be carried out where there were no trees, bushes, etc. So we went to Goat Rock State Park, just north of Bodega Bay, CA. Not a leaf in sight! We arrived on a Monday morning, got started setting up the location…and the fog rolled in. And stayed in until that Friday. The man with whom I shared a honey-wagon space (mobile dressing room) had the flu, so I spent the entire week walking around outside, cold, damp, and drinking WAY too much coffee. Then, once the fog lifted, we had a pretty short afternoon to shoot the necessary scenes – the cast/crew had to be back on the Warner Bros’ sound stage on Saturday! We got ‘er done!
There are rumors a sequel is going to be made, what do you think of that? I know that Mr. Donner stirs the pot from time to time saying that there will be a sequel; Josh Brolin recently said on some talk-show that nothing is in the works. Now, it is possible, of course, that there may be a re-boot (a total remake of the original) sometime, but I think even that is doubtful. I hope it’s doubtful – I don’t think you could find a better (or even as good) group of young actors to do it.
Can we catch you performing in anything else in the near future? Well, I recently shot a Grimm episode, but my scene ended up on the digital equivalent of the cutting room floor. I’ve also been a part of a web series entitled Camp Abercorn, but I haven’t heard if it got picked up yet. These days, I mostly do theatre, much of that is Shakespeare and all of it is done here in the Portland metro area. Guess you’ll just have to visit!