My acting debut was in September 1961, at age 6. I was in the play production of Promised Valley at the Box Elder High School for Peach Days. I played the part of the youngest brother and I sang and danced. After the show was over, I was supposed to come out on stage and give a gift and a little speech to the director. The gift got stuck in my pocket, and I had a hard time getting it out. I was the youngest member of the cast. (See the program page 1, page 2, and Peach Days program for the play Promised Valley.)
In 1970, I was in the Boise 19th Ward’s Christmas play “The Rented Christmas” by Norman C. Ahern, Jr. I played the character Tom and was one of the orphans and a caroler. I also helped with publicity and sound effects.
In April 1971, I was in my first roadshow, “Sewing Basket Blues.” It was written and directed by Nancy Taylor in the 19th Ward. It was about a pair of scissors who couldn’t get along. I was one blade of the scissors and Tammy Hulet was the other blade. We won second place in the stake (of ten shows).
In 1971, I was also in the stake play “And Suddenly You’re Older.” I danced the Charleston. I was touched by some of the scenes in the play which showed how people grow older, how things change, and how we must accept those changes. It has always been hard for me to accept changes.
In March 1972, I was in my second roadshow. I was one of four dancers and sat on stage on a milk stool until our cue.
My 10 Minutes of Fame, 1987-1992
Towards the end of 1986, I became interested in doing work for television and film. I took acting lessons in 1986 and 1987. In January 1987, I signed with CTA (Casting Talent Agency) for them to represent me for radio, television, and film. I continued in the business for about five years, doing mostly industrials (training films) and other small jobs.
“In this business, you are only as good as the other fellow thinks you are.” — Jimmy Cagney
Below is a promo video used by Casting Talent Agency to promote me for acting jobs.
The video contains four segments:
- Novell NetWare, training film for Novell, Inc., narrator, segment on Drive Pointers, January 1992 (timecode 0:00-3:00)
- Incoming Tele-tips, national sales training film for Subaru, narrator, October 1990 (timecode 3:00-6:30)
- Outgoing Tele-tips, national sales training film for Subaru, narrator, September 1990 (timecode 6:30-9:30)
- Subaru Automobile advertisement (9:30-10:00)
Listen to a promo audio tape used by Casting Talent Agency from 1987-1992 to promote me for professional voice work. The recording contains the following segments.
- Newstrack Executive Tape Service
- Kraft Macaroni Give-away
- Cream of Wheat
- Ernst Home Centers
- Galgos (in Spanish)
- Training Films/Industrials
- Network Organization, training film for Novell, Inc., narrator, segment on Drive Pointers, January 1992
- Incoming Tele-tips, national sales training film for Subaru, narrator, October 1990
- Outgoing Tele-tips, national sales training film for Subaru, narrator, September 1990
- Putting the Melchizedek Priesthood to Work, world-wide training film for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, cast, February 1989
- Feature Movies
- Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers, extra, April 1988
- Television Mini-Series
- Hemmingway, speaking day player, September 1987
- Television Commercials
- KLCY Radio, featured extra, January 1988
- Jerry Seiner Buick, extra, April 1987
- Deseret News, extra, January 1987
- Television Movies/Videos
- Stranger on My Land, featured extra, September 1987 (Tommy Lee Jones, Dee Wallace, Terry O’Quinn, Pat Hingle, Barry Corbin). The working title was Eminent Domain.
- Mirrors, extra, April 1988
- Television Series
- Werewolf, extra, December 1987
- Print Advertisements
- Dan’s Food Stores, Deseret News & Salt Lake Tribune, December 4, 1988
- Stage Acting
- Promised Valley, play, Box Elder High School, Brigham City, Utah, September 8, 1961, principal character (singing and dancing). See program.
- The Rented Christmas, play, Boise, Idaho, 1970, principal character and two extras Sewing Basket Blues, roadshow, Boise, Idaho, 1971, lead character (singing)
- And Suddenly You’re Older, play, Boise, Idaho, 1971, dancer
- Roadshow, Boise, Idaho, 1972, dancer
Reflections About Acting, 1987-1992
I took acting lessons from Anthony Leger from November 1986 to February 1987.
In January 1987, I signed with CTA (Casting Talent Agency) for them to represent me for radio, television, and film. Debra Miller owned the agency and Sallie was the talent director. Sal really liked me and sent me to lots of auditions. In 1987, I traveled 1,245 miles running to auditions and classes. Although I didn’t land any big parts in 1987, I worked some and learned a lot.
On January 22, 1987, I was an extra in a television commercial for the Deseret News. Scott Featherstone of Evans Advertising directed the shooting in the plaza at Exchange Place.
On April 15, 1987, I was an extra in another television commercial for the Jerry Seiner Buick dealership.
On April 21, 1987 I auditioned for a part in the television movie “Hobo’s Christmas.” It was cast by Ross Brown and Mary West Casting from Los Angeles. A dozen people at a time were in the room auditioning. Ross spent time talking with each of us as he tried to get to know us. He said he was looking for “dignity.” He said that however we chose to play the part, we must like it and stand behind it. If we didn’t like our character, how dare we ask the audience to like him! I learned a lot from Ross Brown. Of about twenty men to try out for the part of the priest, six of us made the call-back. Mike Flynn got the part.
My first photoplay was a period piece entitled “Hemmingway.” It was produced as a joint venture with Daniel Wilson Productions from New York and Alcor, a German company. Wolfgang directed the six-hour syndicated miniseries that aired on television the week of April 23, 1988 and starred Stacy Keach and Rex Bernhard. Cate Praggastis cast me as an employee of the publisher Charles Scribner, and I was seen on the screen briefly adlibbing one line as I exited an elevator as Hemmingway entered the building. The setting was 1925, and there was much attention to detail on the set and in our wardrobe. They filmed it at the Boston Building on Exchange Place in Salt Lake City—a perfect throwback to the 1920s. Helen Butler did a superb job outfitting us, and they flew Gary in to cut our hair. There were only two of us who needed haircuts that day, so the thousand dollars a day they paid him made it my most expensive haircut ever. We filmed the scene on September 5, 1987. It was good learning experience. One scene we filmed was in an office, and since the timeframe depicted was in the 1920s and 1930s, they staged several people sitting at desks smoking cigars. I remember one of the men telling me afterwards that he hoped his bishop would understand why he had to smoke a cigar. I thought to myself that no acting wage would be worth compromising my principles by smoking a cigar.
Two weeks later, Cate Praggastis cast me in a television movie with the working title “Eminent Domain.” When it aired on ABC January 17, 1988, it was entitled “Stranger On My Land.” It starred Tommy Lee Jones, Dee Wallace Stone, Barry Corbin, Richard Anderson, Ben Johnson, and Pat Hingle, and was directed by Larry Elikann. I auditioned for the part of Chris Dominik, and made the call-back, but didn’t get the part. Cate then cast me as a featured extra—a postal worker who was deputized to evict Tommy Lee Jones from his ranch. I had no lines, but lots of camera time. We shot three days (September 18, 19, 21) at a ranch outside of Oakley, Utah, and another day (September
29) in Morgan, Utah.
Two weeks after that, I auditioned with Cate for another “movie of the week” entitled “Evil in Clear River.” At the call-back, I found that they would be shooting in
November when Teri and I were to be in Hawaii, so I declined. It aired on ABC in January 1988, and starred Lindsay Wagner, Randy Quaid, and Michael Flynn.
After returning from Hawaii, I learned that Salle had quit CTA. I didn’t get a single call from CTA in December 1987, a typically busy month for television and radio commercials.
I got a call from Cate Praggastis in December 1987 to work one afternoon on the set of the television series “Werewolf.” The FOX network shot nine episodes in Salt Lake. I was in a scene shot at the Deverau House at the Triad Center on December 10, 1987. I was in the final scene of an episode that aired in February 1988.
I auditioned at Telescene as a featured extra in a television commercial for KLCY Radio. I was awarded the part and we shot it on January 20, 1988, at Pheasant Hollow Ranch (9800 S. 575 W.). It took 75 takes to get the camera angles right with the steadycam. It aired on television beginning the second week in April.
CTA went through a difficult time in 1988. Debra hired replacements for Salle who didn’t know the business, and I was called to very few auditions. Debra finally brought her mother Maralyn into the office in mid-1988. However, since I became increasingly busy with my rental properties and other businesses, I began to limit myself to speaking parts in television or film.
On April 17, 1988, Cate Praggastis called me to be an extra in a movie the Keebler Company was producing for the Parent Teacher Association. “Mirrors” warned parents about the subtle ways they can discourage children by comments and actions. It was filmed by Bonneville International and the BYU Motion Picture Studio.
On April 18, 1988 I shot one day as an extra in the feature movie Halloween IV. The scene was shot at Douglas Elementary in Salt Lake. I was a schoolteacher. I didn’t know the movie would be rated R until after the movie was shot and rated by the Motion Picture Association.
In February 1989, the Church asked me to be in a training film they produced entitled Putting the Melchizedek Priesthood to Work. I shot a few scenes on each of two days with Merrill Dimik directing.
I didn’t get called to very many auditions in 1989, and I was so busy that I didn’t push for them. I auditioned for parts in two movies but didn’t get them. I received a call from Catrine McGreggor in October to do six days of featured extra work in a movie called DMZ (Demilitarized zone), but I turned it down because of other commitments. There were over 20 films done in Utah in 1989, and I didn’t appear in any of them.
On September 18th and October 4-5, 1990, I filmed three days as the narrator of two training films for Subaru salesmen. It was a SAG (Screen Actors Guild) job, which qualified me for membership in the union. (See the letter and letter.) It was my first big job, and I got it purely on my audition. The national director of sales and training for Subaru was there to oversee the shooting. He was very impressed with my performance. Seldom did we do more than one or two takes before I had the lines just as they wanted them. Several times he commented “Superb performance!” and “Absolutely first-class!” Once he said “You’re a natural. You have an honest face. I’d buy a car from you!”
At the end of the day, they had me record a 40-second voice-over narration for a TV car ad (see it here beginning at 9:30). Part way into the narration, the teleprompter operator got lost and I had to go from memory until he finally found his place. Surprisingly, I didn’t mess it up and we did it in one take. The director watched it back, and said, “perfect.” After that, they called me “One-take Richman.”