Sam Jones and myself at Monstermania on Sept. 29, 2012
Like Mark Walhberg’s character John Bennett and Ted, the talking bear himself, in the movie Ted, I love Flash Gordon. Sam Jones was the man, with babes such as Melody Anderson’s Dale Arden and Ornella Muti’s Princess Aura by his side and fighting Max Von Sydow’s evil Ming. He would fight Ming with the help of Brian Blessed’s Prince Vultan and Timothy Dalton’s Prince Barin. The film was set to a rocking score by the legendary Queen.
Flash Gordon would go on to be a childhood memory till I saw Ted this summer. Ted was about a teddy bear who comes to life when the childhood version of Mark Walhberg makes a wish that his teddy bear was real. The wish comes true and the two remain best friends throughout life. One of the things they share is their love of Flash Gordon. Sam Jones appears in the movie Ted, playing a goofy send-up version of himself. Before seeing Ted, I had forgotten about Flash Gordon and how cool Sam was.
I would get my chance to meet him at Monstermania in Hunt Valley, MD. In addition to signing my Queen album, I was able to ask him a few questions for my blog. This blog entry is not as long as my others and probably the shortest interview on the blog, but it is a chance to speak to a childhood hero and get answers to some questions for all of us who loved him in Flash Gordon and now love him in Ted. In addition, Sam remains in great shape: he did some pushups, which you can watch in this YouTube video here, before doing this interview. As you will read in the interview, he needs to be in great shape, because he has another occupation besides acting. I want to thank Sam for taking the time out to do the interview.
Sam Jones: Yeah, excuse me, a little out of breath, been doing pushups at the Monstermania. The way I got started in the movies?
Jeff Cramer: Yeah, the movies.
Sam Jones: Let me see. Well, the first film was Ten with Bo Derek.
Jeff Cramer: Right, you were Bo Derek’s husband.
Sam Jones Yes. And then after that, we did the audition for DeLaurentis’ Flash Gordon, and that was 1979 that I got the part, and here we are, about 46 films later.
Jeff Cramer: Now, were you familiar with Flash before you got the part?
Sam Jones:Well, absolutely. Yeah, the comic books and then, of course, the Buster Crabbe black-and-white serials.
Jeff Cramer: In one scene, you fight the future Mr. James Bond before you two become friends. Did you have any idea Timothy Dalton would become James Bond?
Sam Jones: Yeah. Timothy Dalton who played Prince Barin went on to become James Bond. We had no idea, but he’s very well trained and a great actor.
Jeff Cramer:You mention you did 46 roles between Flash Gordon and Ted. Out of those 46 roles, what was your favorite?
Sam Jones: I don’t know. I guess – the TV series Highwayman in which I was the Highwayman, I liked a lot. Of course, Ted was a blast.
Jeff Cramer: Let’s talk about Ted.
Sam Jones: Well, I mean, basically, I played myself as Flash Gordon, and I did a parody of that sort of over the top. The main characters were friends of Flash Gordon in Ted, so it just enhanced my character a lot. I had a great time. It was a blast, fun.
Jeff Cramer: What was it like working with Mark Walhberg and Seth MacFarlane?
Sam Jones: Very good people, very humble people, and I think Seth did a great job for his first time directing.
Jeff Cramer: What’s next after Ted?
Sam Jones: Well, we have a couple projects in development that I can’t talk about now, but they are in development.
Jeff Cramer: Is there anything else you do besides acting?
Sam Jones: Well, I also run security operations in high-risk environments, primarily Mexico, so I live in San Diego, and we run security ops into Mexico on a daily basis, and we protect executives and high-value assets from kidnapping and assassination.
Jeff Cramer: Right, okay. Thank you, Sam.
Sam Jones: Thank you.