It’s hard to believe it has been 35 years since a blonde haired warrior in tight pants graced the silver screen and saved everyone of us from Ming The Merciless; all to the tune of Queen’s title track “FLASH!“. The 1980 movie Flash Gordon (based on the long running comic strip and old time serials) has always had a pop and sub culture fan base, but given three decades past, the cult film had started to fall into obscurity. That is, until Sam Jones donned those tights again and reminded us why he’s the “savior of the universe” appearing in Seth McFarlane’s Ted.
I had the distinct please of meeting Mr. Jones when I was an extra on the set of Seth McFarlane’s Ted. You can see me in the Flash scene, I’m the bald guy standing behind Sam.
I didn’t know what the film was when I showed up for the casting call or who was gonna be in it. I sat in a holding area until we were called onto the set. The PA’s placed me and other extras around the living room and kitchen that was Ted’s apartment. I’m standing there in the entry way to the kitchen when I hear a a PA shout “OK let’s bring Sam in”. The front door of the make shift apartment opens… HOLY SHIT… It’s Sam Jones! Literally, the exact experience Mark Walhbergs character had upon meeting his hero is what happened to me. Watching Sam approach me was like slow motion. And yes, Queen’s “Flash” played loudly in my head.
Sam’s mark was right in front of me. While the camera crew got set to start filming, Sam shook all the extras hands that were around him and started to joke with us. I don’t remember what his jokes were, I was too awestruck, but I do remember they were like bad awkward jokes you’ll often hear someone’s questionable Uncle rifle off. What was sad, was other than me and the film crew, no one knew who he was. All the extras were girls and guys in their early 20’s, obviously never having seen the cult classic Flash Gordon. They we’re all mumbling “who’s that” to each other. Not me, I knew exactly who he was. I wanted to say “thank you for saving everyone of us” (which I didn’t know was gonna be a line in the movie) but I didn’t. Sam had sad “it’s been 30 years since I wore this costume”. I had mustered “you still wear it well”. He gave me a wink and said “thanks”.
Sam was the nicest guy who made his presence known. Even if most of the on set people had no idea who he was, Sam was interactive and tried to liven up the set. He left a positive impression on me. Unlike Mark Wahlberg who was dead eyed and silent in between takes, barely taking notice of the hard working people around him.
It’s good to see Sam in the spot light again. He’s been out of the acting game and running his own personal security company. But now, thanks to Ted, Sam is living his glory days again with some surprises to come.