Sunday, August 21, 2005

21 Jump Street: the Booker Episodes

Thousands of folks united all because they couldn't stand the sight of Dennis Booker.

Grieco, the odd man out in a publicity photo of the cast. The above pic of just one of the vigils that swept the land. Those were heady times; times we thought we could change the world. In all candor, we had to stand up for what was right. But we couldn't agree. Some wanted Johnny Depp’s Hanson to stay on the show. Others wanted Richard Grieco’s “brash” character “Booker” to be a part of the cast. We all knew they couldn’t co-exist. Something have to give. In an embarrassing stratagem for all involved, Richard “Booker” Grieco was shoehorned into the 21 Jump Street cast when it appeared that Johnny Depp’s film career was about to take off. Well, I’ll see that when I believe it.

Anyway, long story short, Depp wasn’t getting tired of being pegged as a “teen idol.” Reportedly the departures of Captain Jenko (Fredrick Forrest) and the exit of co-creator Patrick Hasburgh and the declining quality of the scripts didn’t make Johnny want to hang around too long. This is the thing, he had to. Some say after or during the second season, Depp seemed to lose steam. Enter Richard Grieco. Grieco played a textbook prick called Booker. In fact, seeing the “new kid on the block” Grieco in a scene with a worn out Johnny Depp makes for hilarious TV. Dennis “Booker” hung around the 21 Jump Street set from 1988-89. Believe it or not, Johnny Depp actually stayed on Jump Street until 1990. Booker, a much ballyhooed spin off only lasted from 1989-90.

Things didn’t improve on the 21 Jump Street set either. The whole Grieco/Depp deal was just too much. By 1990 Depp, Peter DeLuise and Dustin Nguyen all hit the bricks. Holly Robinson and Steven Williams were all that remained from the “great” years and they were saddled with cut costs and another Depp derivative actor, Michael Bendetti.

Other Stuff: In a sad attempt to recaputure the glory days, Bendetti was partnered with Michael De Luise. DeLuise played Penhall’s little brother. In 1991 the show was canceled.

More Stuff: The aforementioned vigils ended when it was clear that 21 Jump Street had turned to crap. Oddly enough creators Stephen Cannell and Patrick Hasburgh are reportedly doing a movie version of 21 Jump Street. Yippee...
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