recognizing an actor on “the wire”

I’ve been spending the past few nights overdosing on season two of “The Wire.” I thought I recognized one of the actors last night, so I looked it up. And it turns out that the guy playing John ‘Johnny Fifty’ Spamanto on the show is a guy that Linette and I met in Baltimore about 13 years ago by the name of Jeffrey Pratt Gordon. It’s a weird, convoluted story, but we’d tracked him down for an interview in “Crimewave” because he was the prop guy on the John Waters’ film “Serial Mom” charged with painting the portrait of Don Knotts. He’s an interesting guy, or at least he was. I remember that he had a theremin. He also owned the estate of famous Baltimore “half man” Johnny Eck. And, I may be wrong about this, but I seem to recall that his apartment, which was over a coffee shop by the water, was once called home by Waters’ muse Edith Massey. I might be making that last part up, but I have a fragment of a memory of Jeffrey showing me photos of Massey that he’d found in the apartment. Oh, and you might have actually seen his apartment. It was featured on the TV show “Homicide.” I think it was Belzer’s apartment… Gordon was also a prop guy on that show… Oh, and it’s never been verified, but, according to Gordon, who bought a “Crimewave” gift subscription for the brilliant actor Andre Braugher, who played detective Frank Pembleton on “Homicide,” there’s an episode of the show where he can be seen carrying a copy of the magazine. Anyway, we haven’t talked with him in years and it’s good to see him in front of the camera on the best television show in American history… Oh, and it also looks like he’s written and produced a movie since we saw him last. It’s called “Gospel Hill,” and it’s got everyone in it from Danny Glover to Julia Stiles… If I ever get the chance, I’ll scan the “Crimewave” interview and post it here.

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4 Comments

  1. Posted May 7, 2008 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Calling it the best show in US history is an insult. World history.

  2. Brent
    Posted May 7, 2008 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    “F*cking Don Knotts.”
    “He’s the coolest!”

    The only thing MM.com was missing, more John Waters references.

  3. Paw
    Posted May 7, 2008 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    You put the theremin inside the stuffed Johnny Eck and you’ve got yourself one hell of an attraction.

  4. Kristen Cuhran
    Posted May 7, 2008 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Just finished season 3. Sigh. I love the characters in the Wire so much it hurts sometimes.

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