Sunday, January 28, 2024

Hot Hero Sandwich Clip Job! Ym and Ur, Alien Teen Social Satire

by G. Jack Urso

And now, the adventures of Ym and Ur!

Two teenaged aliens

cruising toward

the planet Earth . . .

studying our

television programs

and believing that

what they see

is real life.

The way that real people

really live it


Tsk! Tsk! Tsk! Tsk!

(Opening narration to the Ym and Ur segments on Hot Hero Sandwich)

NBC PR photo for Denny Dillon (left) and Paul O’Keefe (right) as Ur and Ym (author's collection).

Ym and Ur ("Him" and "Her," Paul O’Keefe and Denny Dillon respectively) are two alien teens who “borrow” Ur’s father’s spaceship for a joy ride and cruise by the planet Earth close enough to monitor our television transmissions. Despite their long lives (Ym is 615 and Ur only 500), they are unfamiliar with Earth culture and they mistake many of our programs as accurately reflecting real life here on the planet. This naturally leads to humorous and sometimes somber social commentary. These segments were written by series writer Richard Camp (see Camp’s interview with the project for more information).

Episode 2                                                          Episode 3

As discussed by Denny Dillon in her interview for the Hot Hero Sandwich Project, the extensive make-up for the segments was the work of makeup artist Barbara Kelly, whose father Bob Kelly was a renowned Broadway wig maker and founder of Bob Kelly Cosmetics, a theatrical supply company. Kelly herself established her reputation with such films as Fame (the movie), Three Men and a Baby, Birdy, Desperately Seeking Susan, Big, Tootsie, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Star Dust Memories, Ragtime, and many more.

Dillon noted that the Ym and Ur segments had to be filmed fast because the heat from the lights would begin to heat up the make-up and cause the ends of the bald skull caps to curl up. Often the segments would be filmed late with the shooting going on until 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. in the morning, according to Dillon.

Episode 4                                                          Episode 8

Paul O’Keefe, in his interview with the Hot Hero Sandwich Project, particularly recalled the sometime problematic costumes and make-up for the segments:

I should point out that the writing for the show was very well done. It gave us a lot to work with. Since they were aliens, we had some latitude in creating bits for the skits. You may be surprised to hear that physically the roles were very demanding. The spacesuits had no ventilation, so they were very hot under the lights. The makeup was very extensive, and needed to be worked on because we would be sweating it off. . . . our makeup lady . . . she and her father . . . developed a special color and type of makeup for the aliens, and she would work on us between takes. The bald cap also needed attention, but she did a great job keeping us looking like we came from outer space!

Jerry Lieberman provided an animated bit in the episode 2 segment — a commercial for a “Bermuda Belt,” a take-off on the Hawaiian Punch commercials of the time, which the alien teens mistake for humans at war. Throughout the segments, beauty contests are mistaken for elections, politicians are mistaken for beauty contestants, the numbers on football jerseys are mistaken for IQs, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade is mistaken for a religious procession of Earth gods.

Hmm . . . maybe the kids got it right all along.

Episode 11

Production breakdown sheets for filming the Ym and Ur segment for July 20, 1979.

Ym and Ur Segments:  

  • Episode 2: Cults, Countries, Football, War, Peace.
  • Episode 3: Parades, Religion, and Staying Young.
  • Episode 4: Politics and Beauty Contests.
  • Episode 8: Race, Slang, and Communicating.
  • Episode 11: Parting comments. Going home with special guest stars producer Howard Malley as the alien dad and writer Andy Breckman (creator of the TV show Monk) as the Puberty Fairy!

Series' producer Howard Malley in real life (left) and in character as Ur’s father.

All clips are hosted on the Hot Hero Sandwich Central YouTube channel.

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