We’re Way Past Time’s Up

 

I’ve always figured there’s most likely just as much bad in the world as there is good.  Life is about balance and it’s long been my philosophy to focus on what’s positive and build on that. It doesn’t mean I ignore the negative, but I acknowledge it, learn from it and move on.

As far as the whole “metoo movement, we’re still very much in the ‘acknowledge it’ stage and, sadly, we’re going to be there for a while. The problem is as old as time and, in a way, it’s really hard to believe that it took this many years to finally say enough is enough. But we’re here.

The following is a Facebook post published last weekend by “that little girl in the movie True Lies”, which is one of my personal favorites. Frankly, I don’t know if I’ll be able to watch that movie again without thinking about her story.

When I was 12 years old, while filming “True Lies”, I was sexually molested by Joel Kramer, one of Hollywood’s leading stunt coordinators.

Ever since, I have struggled with how and when to disclose this, if ever. At the time, I shared what happened to me with my parents, two adult friends and one of my older brothers. No one seemed ready to confront this taboo subject then, nor was I.

I am grateful to the women and men who have gone before me in recent months. The ever-growing list of sexual abuse and harassment victims who have spoken out with their truths have finally given me the ability to speak out. It has been indescribably exhausting, bottling this up inside me for all of these years.

I remember, so clearly 25 years later, how Joel Kramer made me feel special, how he methodically built my and my parents’ trust, for months grooming me; exactly how he lured me to his Miami hotel room with a promise to my parent that he would take me for a swim at the stunt crew’s hotel pool and for my first sushi meal thereafter. I remember vividly how he methodically drew the shades and turned down the lights; how he cranked up the air-conditioning to what felt like freezing levels, where exactly he placed me on one of the two hotel room beds, what movie he put on the television (Coneheads); how he disappeared in the bathroom and emerged, naked, bearing nothing but a small hand towel held flimsy at his mid-section. I remember what I was wearing (my favorite white denim shorts, thankfully, secured enough for me to keep on). I remember how he laid me down on the bed, wrapped me with his gigantic writhing body, and rubbed all over me. He spoke these words: “You’re not going to sleep on me now sweetie, stop pretending you’re sleeping,” as he rubbed harder and faster against my catatonic body. When he was ‘finished’, he suggested, “I think we should be careful…,” [about telling anyone] he meant. I was 12, he was 36.

I remember how afterwards, the taxi driver stared at me in the rear view mirror when Joel Kramer put me on his lap in the backseat and clutched me and grew aroused again; and how my eyes never left the driver’s eyes during that long ride over a Miami bridge, back to my hotel and parent. I remember how Joel Kramer grew cold with me in the ensuing weeks, how everything felt different on the set.

And I remember how soon-after, when my tough adult female friend (in whom I had confided my terrible secret on the condition of a trade that she let me drive her car around the Hollywood Hills) came out to the set to visit and face him, later that very same day, by no small coincidence, I was injured from a stunt-gone-wrong on the Harrier jet. With broken ribs, I spent the evening in the hospital. To be clear, over the course of those months rehearsing and filming True Lies, it was Joel Kramer who was responsible for my safety on a film that at the time broke new ground for action films. On a daily basis he rigged wires and harnesses on my 12-year-old body. My life was literally in his hands: he hung me in the open air, from a tower crane, atop an office tower, 25+ stories high. Whereas he was supposed to be my protector, he was my abuser.

Why speak out now? I was 12, he was 36. It is incomprehensible. Why didn’t an adult on the set find his predatory advances strange — that over-the-top special attention he gave me. Fairly early on he nicknamed me “Jailbait” and brazenly called me by this name in a sick flirty way in front of others (at the time, I remember asking one of my older brothers what it meant). Sure, I’ve come to understand the terrible power dynamics that play into whistle-blowing by “subordinates” against persons in power, how difficult it can be for someone to speak up. But I was a child. Over the years I’ve really struggled as I’ve wondered how my life might have been different if someone, any one grown-up who witnessed his sick ways, had spoken up before he lured me to that hotel room.

Years ago, I had heard second-hand that Joel Kramer was “found out” and forced to leave the business. I learned recently that in fact he still works at the top of the industry. And a few weeks ago, I found an internet photo of Joel Kramer hugging a young girl. That image has haunted me near nonstop since. I can no longer hide what happened.

Hollywood has been very good to me in many ways. Nevertheless, Hollywood also failed to protect me, a child actress. I like to think of myself as a tough Boston chick, in many ways I suppose not unlike Faith, Missy, or Echo. Through the years, brave fans have regularly shared with me how some of my characters have given them the conviction to stand up to their abusers. Now it is you who give me strength and conviction. I hope that speaking out will help other victims and protect against future abuse.

With every person that speaks out, every banner that drops down onto my iPhone screen disclosing similar stories/truths, my resolve strengthens. Sharing these words, finally calling my abuser out publicly by name, brings the start of a new calm.

Eliza Dushku

Not much else needs to be said. There are rules. There’s common sense and decency. It’s up to all of us now to seize this moment, to crack down on the abuse and make the world as safe as possible for our mothers, daughters, sisters and friends.

Because we’re way past Time’s Up.

Tim Hunter

Wacky Week Podcast EPISODE 144

Hang on, we’re going back to my early radio days. First, you’ll hear a comedy demo tape I sent to Ross Schafer with the hope of getting involved with “Almost Live” and, as you know, I didn’t. Then, we’ll go back even further to the first episode of my college radio comedy program, “Tim Hunter’s Return to Normalcy.” Damn, seems like just a few years ago….

Cleaning Out My Mental Closet

Every now and then, I like to rummage through the dusty corners of my mind for long-lost stories that, most likely, some day I will forget. I mean, for Pete’s sake (whoever Pete may be) our personal hard-drives can only contain so much data, so I understand that some of the lesser significant incidents in my life will one day disappear.

However, for the next 800 words or so, I’ll make a quick dash through my mind and see what little nuggets I can pluck from over the years.

When I was five, I attended kindergarten at Meadowpark  Elementary. This was back in the days when it was OK for your kids to walk 10 blocks to school without fear of being kidnapped. I’m sure I was escorted at first and the odds are that, most days, I got a ride from my mom. But I do remember walking home occasionally and, there was a time, I developed an infatuation with a rosy-cheeked girl named Susan. There was just something about those cheeks of hers.  Then one day, I wanted to see if they really tasted like peaches and decided to bite her on the cheek.  To my disappointment, they tasted pretty human. The following day, her older brother threatened me that if I ever did that again, he would pound me. I didn’t. Pounding avoided. This might also explain my lack of interest in peaches.

By third grade, I had found myself in a private school at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Redondo Beach, California. We’re talking really small church school, as in two classrooms: first through fourth grades in one, fifth through eighth grade in the other. Among the memories I can pluck from those years: the time we were playing Hide-n-Seek and rather than being called out by Laurel Scherer, I pushed her face first into a flag pole which chipped her tooth. (I don’t know why) When other church schools came to play us in basketball, there were games when the fog rolled in (we played on the asphalt court outdoors) and you couldn’t see the other end of the court. Terry Smith, you get credit for telling me the first dirty joke I ever heard (and having to explain each step of it to me) and because there was a Greek Orthodox Church next door to our church school, whenever they had a funeral next door, we lost out on recess because, otherwise, the kids would all hang on the fence to get a look at a casket.

In 7th grade, I found myself back in public school and was trying to fit in. One day, during recess, I broke my collar-bone but so I wouldn’t get in trouble, I didn’t say a thing and just went back to class. The teacher eventually sent me to the nurse’s office, where the principal asked if me and the other kids had been playing Chicken Fights (where one kid carries the other piggy-back style and they try to knock over other kids doing that). I vehemently denied that it happened during Chicken Fights and I remember moaning more when pressed. The principal eventually gave up, no names had to be given up, so our secret was safe. But I officially retired that day from the Chicken Fight Club.

My sophomore year of high school, I was falling in love with the girl across the street. But she was a year older and I wasn’t even on her radar at the time. When it came time for my school’s “Sweethearts Ball” (where the girl asks the guy to the dance) a nice young lady named Eileen Matsuda asked me to go and I said, “Yes.”  Not because I wanted to go with her, but rather because I was hoping it would make the neighbor girl jealous. She never did, I was a complete dud of a date for Eileen who deserved much better and a lousy night was had by all. Not sure she ever spoke to me again after that night.

Now, I came to the college years. I swear, one day that era of my life will be captured in a screenplay because so much happened during those years and I’m pretty sure the statute of limitations has expired on most of those incidents.  I made some life-long friends at Terry Hall, one of the dorms at the University of Washington campus, where so many of my adventures took place. The biggest life-changing one came one morning when that neighbor girl I had eventually wooed and won over called and left a message with my roommate, saying I needed to call her back. I had worked that morning at the dorm cafeteria, so when I got off, I headed upstairs and dialed her up. In a tear-filled explanation, she described how she had a “sign from God” the night before to break up with me. Coming out of the blue like that, I tried to reason with her and asked her to wait until I could fly home and we could talk things over. She said no and we were done. Several months later, she married the Baptist minister that helped her realize that sign from God. Yeah.

A pretty random collection of stories, but all with a purpose. You see, each of us have these highs and lows lurking in our past. There are moments we recall fondly and others we wonder what the heck we were thinking. That unique collection of experiences helped shape our thinking, our attitudes, our beliefs, to create the unique being we are at this very moment.

It’s easy to say things like, “If only we had…” but stop right there. Things happen for a reason and in time, you become aware of why, or how they fit into the big picture. Sure, it’s fun to think about do-overs and if you could have a couple of them, how differently life would be for you today. But it wouldn’t just change just  the parts you want to alter, but your entire world as you know it today. And frankly, we live in a pretty awesome world. Far from perfect, but as you’ve read above, I’ve had my share of non-perfect.

Life is awesome. Setbacks happen, problems arise, but if you have the will and the means to just keep going, it all balances out.

I’m counting this as my spring cleaning. Thanks for the read.

Tim Hunter

 

 

The View From My Desk

I sit here, looking out at a New Year before us. What will we do with the opportunities? How will we handle the challenges?  Will things break us, or will we emerge stronger than ever?

Awful heady stuff for a sunny, Wednesday afternoon in the Pacific Northwest, but I’m reminded that I owe endless thanks to God above for being in my current situation. As my brain keeps slinging the concepts, I continue to get my biggest rewards from grabbing those passing thoughts and converting them into tangibles–jokes, comedy bits, blogs, you name it. And I would not be living this dream if things hadn’t fallen into place exactly as they did.

But it’s one thing to have the pieces fall into place–are you going to take advantage of it?  I believe I am doing exactly that, doing creative projects on a daily basis in the 10-ring circus I call my career. I spoke with Bill Wright this week, producer of those Wizard of Oz audio books I voiced back in the 1990s. He’s got a new TV project that he’s asked me to join in, that would put a spotlight on some unsung heroes of World War II. Cool stuff. Tomorrow, I have meetings with two of our Create Impulse clients, Sole Perfection Shoes and NW Plus Credit Union, with new radio and TV spots, and coming up with other marketing concepts a part of those sessions. Next Monday, I shoot video for the Northshore Schools Foundation, to help them tell their story.  Oh, and this day also included this blog, my latest edition of the Wacky Week podcast and my daily contribution to Radio-Online, a show prep service for disc jockeys.  A steady, busy flow of projects that some people would call work, but for me, they’re outlets. And by getting those ideas out of my head and into some exterior form, I can begin brainstorming about whatever comes next.

The corporate headquarters for Tim Hunter Creative Services is right here in the corner of my little man cave downstairs at my home. This room has been a green screen studio, an audio recording studio and is the home of the Logitech keyboard from which everything originates. It’s my space, my creative setting. To my left, a collection of CD’s and DVD’s that contain radio bits, sound effects, background music and more. Just above them is a collection of celebrity photos I’ve gathered over the years from people I’ve interviewed, including David Hasselhoff and Katey Sagal. Go further up and you’ll bump into Seahawk photos and memorabilia. To the right, at eye level, is a collection of the people that inspire me and keep me going. My kids, the grandkids, my wife and the picture of my dad from his memorial. Up from there, my Husky Hall of Fame, with lots of pictures of me with players. There’s a JP Patches Nutcracker, a photo of my radio mentor Larry Nelson, autographed pictures of Kathi Goertzen and Stan Boreson and a bunch of odds and ends that demonstrate I’m pretty much a freak. I mean, how many people have their own St. Tim candle?

It gets drilled into me more and more as we lose people over the years, we watch stores close that we thought would be around forever and everything we know is turned into trivia for the next generation, we don’t need to make every day count–we need to cherish the seconds. If you’re starving for a resolution, get in the habit of hitting the brakes routinely, look around and realize as much as humanly possible, just how fortunate we truly are.

Take a breath, enjoy what surrounds you and savor this gift while you’re able to fully embrace it. That’s my plan for the New Year and beyond.

2018, come over here and give me a big hug!

Tim Hunter

My Predictions for 2018

Right before the start of the New Year, I like to polish the old crystal ball (no really, I polish it. That’s not an euphemism) and create a collection of bold predictions of things I feel will happen in the year to come. I make them with 100% accuracy. Oh, they’re rarely correct, but it’s accurate to say that I always make them.

Nostradamus actually predicted the world would end in 2018. Then again, he also had the Mariners winning the World Series last year.

So, bet the house–here’s what I predict will happen in 2018:

  • President Donald Trump will post something offensive and awkward on Twitter. (OK, that’s my one softball)
  • A small girl from Kansas will throw a bucket of water on Hillary Clinton, causing her to melt.
  • Disney expands their Star Wars franchise by launching a new TV series, “Dancing with the Ewoks!”
  • Meryl Streep admits she knew it all along. Then reveals she meant that “She Devil” was her worst movie ever.
  • Bernie Sanders gives a riveting, 20-minute speech about the unfairness of our society. No one in the bathroom is impressed.
  • Al Franken announces that he’ll run for president as the candidate of the newly-formed “Honky-Honky” Party.
  • In an incident that causes Jeff Bezos to give up drinking, he gets so stewed one night that he actually buys Amazon from himself.
  • Speaking of Amazon, they introduce 30-minute deliveries of all beef products. Their new service is called Amazon Prime Rib.
  • The Seattle Times announces they are replacing all newspaper delivery boys with drones. Both of the remaining subscribers express concern.
  • YouTube introduces a new channel for video selfies, called MeTube.
  • Russia Vladimir Putin wins re-election by a landslide, two months before the actual election.
  • France bans Smartphones from elementary schools starting in September. In a popular move, congress votes to ban all cell phones from the oval office. Thank you.
  • After fighting bankruptcy for years, Sears finally closes all of their stores. However, no one notices until 2019.
  • Prince Harry and Meghan Markle exchange vows in a ceremony performed by Mr. Bean. Meghan honors the memory of Benny Hill by tying a piece of elastic to her bouquet for the toss.
  • In December, Mommy accuses Santa Claus of forcibly kissing her, underneath the mistletoe last night.
  • In North Korea, Kim John-un is finally forced out and replaced by Christopher Plummer.
  • Melania Trump records a song to raise money for charity. The way it works is, if you make a donation, she won’t release it.
  • Garrison Keillor attempts a comeback, changing the name of his fictional town of Lake Wobegon, to Lake Whoa-is-Me!
  • Finally, TaylorMade announces the first ever self-driving golf ball, allowing golfers to focus on what’s really important–tracking down the beer cart.

I had to hurry up and get this list out before they all come true. Thanks for stopping by throughout the year and letting me take you on a tour of what’s running through my mind.

Have a very Happy New Year and all the best in 2018.

Notice I didn’t include my prediction about you and that…well, enough said.

Tim Hunter

 

The Hardest Christmas Tradition

Look, for starters, I love Christmas. I’m a bit of a Christmas nut. Love the songs, the love traditions, feel it’s not Christmas if I haven’t over-done the house. You know, that kind of a Christmas guy.

I write up a family Christmas letter with an assist from my wife, mail out cards to over a hundred people, and put together a Christmas CD that has become a tradition. This year, I produced the 17th annual edition of “Ho Ho Brother” and, if I may say, it was my best version yet.  I’m already working on the 2018 version.

But something I also took on several years ago was doing a Christmas parody song about the holiday season. Through my Destination Marketing buddy Scott Burns (actually, radio brothers who never had the chance to work together on the air), I met a local singer named Alana Baxter.  I would write the lyrics, Scott helped me record and mix her songs, I experimented and learned about shooting video and while they were rough, we still managed to pull off some pretty good holiday tunes, including “It’s Silent Night”,  “He rides a sleigh”, (yes, that’s me in the cow costume), “I won’t hate you very much tonight (It’s Christmas)”, and the salute to the Starbucks holiday cup debacle, “Where are you Christmas?” .

But lately, the project has gotten pretty challenging. Alana got a medical degree and moved to Hawaii. Last year, while she was in town for the holidays, I managed to write and record a song with her, called “All I need for Christmas (is booze)”. Fun concept, but we hurried through it. I wrote it quickly, she came over and recorded it with the idea of releasing it this year. However, when it came to put it all together, while listening to the tracks, it just wasn’t up to par. So, I called in some Hawaii radio favors and connections (thanks, Chip Begay and Dan Deeb), Alana slipped into a studio and I got some in-tune, fresh vocal tracks. I had already put in 5 hours mixing down a preemptive video, but when the vocal tracks didn’t match the old version, I had to start from scratch.

12+ hours of remixing and re-editing of video later, we have a song. I hope you enjoy it. “All I need for Christmas (is booze)” is too late for this year’s Christmas CD, but it has inspired me to already begin working on the 2018 edition, which will include this.

It wasn’t easy, but totally worth the effort to keep the tradition alive–here is Alana Baxter and “All I want for Christmas (is booze)”.

 

Merry Christmas to all!

Tim Hunter