AppendSix: Saved by the Bell

Welcome to AppendSix, six literature-related facts and notes about pop culture. In this installment, we look into the cheesy-yet-lovable 80s/90 NBC Saturday morning comedy, Saved by the Bell.

I had the pleasure of speaking with creator Peter Engel about Bell and other topics discussed in his memoir, I Was Saved by the Bell. The first AppendSix item is about him.

Peter Engel, Father of Bell

On 15 November, SbtB fans and TV enthusiasts will be able to read Peter Engel’s memoir, I Was Saved by the Bell. It’s a very good biography on the whole, though Bell fans may be disappointed there’s not enough content about their show.

Listen to the audio interview (MPEG-4 audio format)

Engel’s textual self-portrait is that of personal and professional transformations and triumphs. He, a Jewish New Yorker, sought to make the Great American Sitcom, but became a titan of teen television in sunny Burbank, California. The title and Peter Engel Productions logo on the book will get sales from nostalgic fans, but he’s also saved by Jesus. I ponder whether some Christian bookstores will stock it, but the memoir has adult language and some intense situations.

That mini-review out of the way, I found Peter to be a cool interview subject. Check out my 20+ minute interview where he discusses his showbiz career and some of the TNBC shows, including Bell and its lesser successor, Saved by the Bell: the New Class.

Peter has some amusing anecdotes of star Dustin Diamond in the book and spoke glowingly of him during our interview. Now, here’s an essay of Diamond and Behind the Bell.

Going Behind the Bell

Dustin Diamond Behind the Bell cover

The actor who played Screech Powers is no stranger to being tabloid fodder. At about the same time as I interviewed Engel, a local TV station aired the Dr. Oz interview where Diamond presented himself as remorseful and apologized to his castmates. Peter Engel spoke glowingly of Diamond during our interview. Diamond sure took a very bumpy road to get to that point. Continue reading “AppendSix: Saved by the Bell”