Sunday, 17 September 2017

Jason Priestley: Setting the stage

Jason Priestley in a guest role in "Quantum Leap"
2016 Canada Walk of Fame
Jason Priestley: Setting the stage

He was just getting started at the end of the 1980s, but exploded into the public consciousness in the 1990s with his role as Brandon Walsh on "Beverly Hills 90210".

Jason Priestley got his start in bit parts in TV and that would lead to much more.

Taking the leap
He first came on the scene as a teenage thug in an episode of “Quantum Leap” in 1989. The show began in the spring, as a mid-season replacement, featuring a scientist named Sam Beckett who got caught in a science experiment that kept leaping him to different points in time within his own lifespan.

I caught the first couple episodes when I was home on the farm for spring break. That first season was only a handful of episodes, but one had Sam leap into the body of a teenage drag racer who was dealing with the issues of being a teenager, including being harassed by the cool kids.

One of those cool kids was a young Jason Priestley.

Years later, I bought season one of “Quantum Leap” on DVD and one of the special features had Scott Bakula, who played Sam Beckett, talking about various young actors who first appeared on “Quantum Leap” and went on to success on TV. One was Teri Hatcher, and another was Jason Priestley.

Bakula said, even in that small guest role, you could see Jason Priestley was something special.

It was also the only time I ever saw Jason Priestly in the 1980s.

Other roles
According to Wikipedia and Internet Movie Data Base, Priestley had also had guest-starring roles in “Airwolf”, “21 Jump Street”, “Danger Bay”, “McGyver”, and a sitcom called, “Sister Kate.”

Jason Priestley in his iconic role as
Brandon Walsh on Beverly Hills 90210
The years after
Priestley would go on to eight years on "Beverly Hills 90210", then appear on a variety of TV series over the next few years, such as ­“Love Monkey” with fellow Canadian Tom Cavanaugh, and “Call Me Fitz”. He currently is in the middle of his second season on the Canadian-made comedy-drama “Private Eyes”.

Parting thoughts
Jason Priestley is one of those rare Canadian actors who has been able to make a name for himself on both sides of the border. He has become a director, producer, and writer as well as a dramatic and comedic actor. His resumé is packed with credits in all these different parts of film and TV production, and it seems there is no end in sight.

And it all started in the 1980s.

The Canadian Walk of Fame recently inducted a number of outstanding individuals and Robvogt80s will be honouring those people in a series. 

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