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SAU alums bring back a TV-11 hit

April 2012

SAU alum Clay Sander '92 has organized a group project-of sorts for him and numerous other SAU graduates. Sander is in the process of reincarnating a character–whose origin was the SAU TV/Radio department–in the hopes of becoming a television or web series. 

While Sander was a Mass Communications major he also participated in the SAU Theatre Department acting in a production of "Beyond Therapy" and serving as one of the leading players in the "AMPROV," an SAU improvisational comedy troupe led by Dr. Corinne Johnson.

As a student at SAU, Sander created a comedy show entitled "What's Going On?" for SAU's television station, TV-11, which ran from 1989-1992. SAU faculty member Duke Schneider '76 allowed for unlimited experimentation, giving Sander the opportunity to explore comedy. This freedom was "the single-most important factor in my early development in comedy. Hands down." says Sander.  

A recurring character who appeared on the show was Happy Bobby Gulliver, the host of any occasion requiring a host, played by SAU alum Mark Allen '92. This recurring character is now the star of a series entitled (you guessed it) "Happy Bobby Gulliver," written by Clay Sander and his brother Nate.

The project was shot in Burbank and Studio City, California over a three day period and has been funded by Herky Wilbur Productions, Sander's company.  The production has caught the eye of several agents and companies, in the very capable hands of director Tracy Boyd.  

Other SAU alumni involved in the productions success include actors Mark Allen, who originated the role and is still playing it today, and Joan (Zamiska) McClive '94. SAU graduate David Bonde '93 made up much of the crew for the production, and other Quad Cities area talents include Phil Mottaz, a Comedysportz player, and LeAnn Donovan '88.

Sander says the best part was the surreal moment in which he saw the set for the first time.  

"It was like walking inside a figment of my imagination," he said, "I didn't know what to expect from a production or set perspective."  

Sander had been in conversation with the director and art director from his home in Chicago, which was the most challenging part of the production. Because of the situation, Sander had to put all his trust in Boyd–a difficult task, given that the project is something he created with his brother. However, Sander's fears were unnecessary.  

"It exceeded my expectations in every way."

A rough cut of the pilot episode is well on its way to completion, after which we are certain the show will go on to be a great success! Best of luck to you and your team, Clay, and we'll be checking in again soon!

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