Thursday, October 3, 2013

Where Are All the Gods?

Here are the opening credits to a show you probably haven’t seen, and, if you have seen it, you probably haven’t thought about it in years: Cover-Up.

I bring it up only because it’s so strange to watch this slam-bang opening sequence — which plays like so many others from shows I watched in the 80s, what with the posh life contrasted against action, feminine beauty against masculine can-do, Hart to Hart-style — and have it all look completely unfamiliar. I’ve never seen an episode of Cover Up, and it almost seems like a “red universe” thing: superficially familiar even though I know I haven’t seen it. (I would remember a set-up as implausible — even by 80s standards — as a photographer and a special forces agent taking on globe-hopping missions disguised as fashion shoots.) It’s pop culture déjà vu. In the red universe, this Jon-Erik Hexum might have had Tom Cruise’s career — or at least Pierce Brosnan’s.

Of course, he didn’t, but not for the reasons you might think. Just a few weeks into the show’s first season, Hexum accidentally killed himself on set when he fired a gun loaded with blanks into his temple. Amid some controversy, CBS replaced Hexum with a new character played by the equally hunky Antony Hamilton, who stayed with the show until its cancellation in 1984. Hamilton died of AIDS-related pneumonia in 1995.

The Hexum-Hamilton split itself seems like a blue universe-red universe thing, but I suppose in the end the paths converged to the same point. Clearly, though, both actors appeared in the show during their prime, and the casting director certainly had an eye for a particular type of leading man.

cover up jon-erik hexum antony hamilton
let: jon-erik hexum; right: antony hamilton
As far as coincidences go, it’s worth noting that the theme song to Cover Up was sung by the subject of a recent post here on this blog, E.G. Daily, who was dating Hexum at the time he died. On some level, that makes me think about what might have made her create a career out of voicing cartoon characters.

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