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Currying the Kiddies' Favor: Tim Curry

The Villain of ‘Enchanted Christmas’

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Those lips. those eyes. Those … pipes. Yes, that’s Tim Curry’s likeness — sort of — along with his boomingly arch ventriloquy in Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, the straight-to-tape sequel in which he provides the voice for Forte, a pipe organ with an attitude problem. ”These enormous hooded eyes are very much in evidence,” laughs the actor, comparing the animated face with his own. ”I was wondering how they were going to do it. I felt, Gee, I hope it’s not gonna be static” — this villain being a large, stationary musical instrument. But it turns out to be fairly fluid, as organs go. ”Very fluid, as organs go,” Curry agrees, ”as the actress said to the bishop.”

In this follow-up, Forte conspires to keep Beast and Belle apart, lest the spell be broken and his status as the castle’s resident rock star aborted. ”He rather likes being an object instead of a person; he feels that immortality has been conferred.” Having played Mozart in Amadeus on Broadway, Curry felt this was a shot at the other role. ”I couldn’t help thinking of Salieri, that this was the classic overreaching court composer, chained to the wall.”

The actor who made his name as the ambisexual antihero of The Rocky Horror Picture Show has recently enjoyed a second career in kid pics. Voicing dozens of animated film and TV characters (Scrooge in Fox’s new Christmas Carol and roles in the Jumanji, Duckman, and Aladdin TV series) ”pays for my [vast L.A. hillside] garden. And I sing quite often in animation,” says Curry — who cut three new-wave-era rock LPs and plans to return with a jazz effort soon — ”so, it’s a chance to get back in the studio.”

Meanwhile, his new ABC sitcom, Over the Top, allows him a rare chance to play the rogue as protagonist, not villain. Refreshing? ”I’ll say. I’d got to the point that if I had to play one more Eastern European” — he was Vladakov in McHale’s Navy and Herkermer Homolka in Congo — ”I would have just gone home … I’d like to play the mild-mannered bank clerk who doesn’t say boo to a goose. But I tend to play people who are larger than life, I guess because of my earlier roles.” He insists there’s nothing so large about his own character. ”I’m not steaming down the Sunset Strip, clubbing and raising hell. I’m the guy who sits at home with a book and goes out in the garden with a trowel.” Seems the erstwhile Frank N. Furter really is more interested in dealing with garter snakes than garters.

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