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Lou Ferrigno prepared to Hulk-out at Pensacon

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Jennie McKeon
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WUWF Public Media
WUWF's Bob Barrett and actor Lou Ferrigno, best known for his role as the Hulk, at the WUWF studios.

Since he first smashed through our TV screens in 1977, Lou Ferrigno is still the face that generations see when they think of The Incredible Hulk. Ferrigno played the green-skinned goliath in all 82 episodes of the series and in three TV movies. But he also has dozens of other roles on his resume. Lou Ferrigno will be a celebrity guest this weekend at Pensacon.

LF: Well you know it’s funny, I did a movie called “The Godson” with Rodney Dangerfield and Dom DeLuise, and one night the producers of “The King of Queens” were watching the movie and said ‘Why not bring in Lou as a neighbor on the show?' I remember I did one episode, but then it became a recurring role. I liked doing comedy in front of a live audience, and it went on for seven years.

BB: When you were doing ‘Incredible Hulk’, how much interaction did you actually have with Bill Bixby and the rest of the cast of the individual (episodes), because it seems you were off on your own, doing your ‘green’ thing?

LF: I was because I spent maybe 99% in the motor home because of the make-up situation. So I had to be refrigerated! Meaning because the make-up makes me sweat I had to sit in front of the air conditioner. I was isolated because I could not sit and have lunch with the crew because the make-up was very uncomfortable. So, Bill Bixby, I would see him from time to time when we would do different screens. But my favorite thing about Bill, we did this (episode) called ‘Married’ where we have a dream sequence and he sees me in the desert. That’s a time I had a chance to work together with him. I learned so much from (Bixby), he was my mentor.

BB: When they started doing the (Marvel cinematic Hulk) movies, you did some cameos in both of the first two Hulk movies. I saw that as a measure of respect for what you did for the role.

LF: I enjoyed it, but I (also) did not enjoy it, because the Hulk at the time was CGI, not quite like the series. But I was happy to be a part of it, especially my first cameo with Stan Lee because he created the Marvel universe. And I’m with Stan Lee, the creator. It’s almost like you, tomorrow, playing Luke Skywalker with George Lucas.

BB: You think I look like Luke Skywalker. I like that, thank you.

LF: Go for it.

BB: I did a little research before you came over and apparently Steve Reeves was someone you looked up to early in life.

LF: Well he was my favorite because when I was very young I remember I was just getting started reading comic books and body-building books, my father took me to the movies. Because I remember on Saturday afternoon you opened up the New York Daily News and you see a two-page spread of Steve Reeves pulling two pillars together with the beard and I said to myself ‘I can’t believe that body’s real’. So I remember going to the movies and seeing him. So when I saw him pull down those two pillars I said ‘That’s it! That’s what I want to look like. That’s what I want to be. That’s it!

BB: Well done my friend! In (the movie) ‘The Avengers,' did you have the best line in the entire movie? Was that you saying ‘Puny god!’

LF: Yes. It’s amazing how these lines like ‘Hulk smash’ and ‘Puny god’ are so powerful and people remember them. But ‘Puny god’ was perfect because the Hulk calling someone puny god, it’s a nice line but the way it was said, I had to use a lot of feeling because when you do voice-overs, you’re in the room by yourself like this. You don’t have an audience, you don’t have the (other actors) and you can’t see anything so you have to improvise.

BB: Upcoming project, I hear you have a very interesting role in a project called ‘The Offer.'

LF: Yes, it’s a new mini-series, 10 episodes and it’s coming out on Paramount Plus. And I play (actor) Lenny Montana, and it takes place in the 70s when the movie got made, it’s a great period piece.

BB: About the movie 'The Godfather?'

LF: Yeah, how it got made and all the steps they had to take. For example, the producer’s name was Al Ruddy, he’s still alive, and how he got together with Francis Ford Coppola and how the movie gets made. All the restrictions, all the dealings with the mobsters and especially with Paramount Studios and showing the raw side of how ‘The Godfather’ got made.

BB: And the actor you’re portraying is the guy who played Luca Brasi, right?

LF: “Yes, Lenny Montana.”

BB: That’s perfect. When you go to conventions like Pensacon, what do the fans want from you?

LF: They want to tell me how much The Hulk affected their lives, especially after three decades. They want to know about the make-up and the stories. They tell me how many mothers hated me because of the make-up, smashing TVs. They despise me because, you know, kids are kids, they get made-up in green, they start punching the TV, jumping over the couch, getting green make-up on couches. So I hear a lot of stories. Also my physicality. They want to know more about nutrition and fitness, how they can better themselves.

BB: That’s great. Well, we’re looking forward to seeing you this weekend.

LF: “Thank you, it’s going to be a fabulous show.”

Bob Barrett has been a radio broadcaster since the mid 1970s and has worked at stations from northern New York to south Florida and, oddly, has been able to make a living that way. He began work in public radio in 2001. Over the years he has produced nationally syndicated programs such as The Environment Show and The Health Show for Northeast Public Radio's National Productions.