Bizarre casting calls in current music clips -- Fading stars such as Erik Estrada and Fabio are appearing in videos

By Nisid Hajari and Ethan Smith
Updated May 26, 1995 at 04:00 AM EDT

Following on the heels of appearances from has-been hall-of-famers Fred ”Rerun” Berry and Al (Happy Days) Molinaro in Snoop Doggy Dogg and Weezer clips, respectively, a new wave of bands has added some kitsch to their shtick. Here’s a guide to other campy cameos:

Cameo: Erik Estrada in Bad Religion’s ”Infected.”
Role in video: Plays a paunchy, farcical California Highway Patrolman.
Credentials: Played a farcical California Highway Patrolman named ”Ponch” in the ’70s TV series CHiPS.
Why he really got the part: Don Knotts was busy.

Cameo: Rocker Marshall Crenshaw in Yo La Tengo’s ”Tom Courtenay.”
Role in video: Plays a former cast member of ”Beatlemania” who must entertain the band as they prepare to open for the absent Fab Four.
Credentials: Genuine former cast member in a traveling company of ”Beatlemania”; entertained moviegoers as Buddy Holly in La Bamba.
Why he really got the part: Only Beatles-connected celeb who wouldn’t overshadow band’s bland persona.

Cameo: Fabio in Jill Sobule’s ”I Kissed a Girl.”
Role in video: Lantern-jawed testosterone receptacle.
Credentials: Portrays lantern-jawed testosterone receptacle on frothy romance novel covers.
Why he really got the part: Who else could so convincingly turn off Sobule’s character to men?

Cameo: Ken Ober in Blues Traveler’s ”Run Around.”
Role in video: Behind-the-scenes master of manipulation exposed by brainless, heartless characters drawn from The Wizard of Oz.
Credentials: Behind-the-podium master-of-ceremonies idolized by brainless contestants on MTV trivia show Remote Control.
Why he really got the part: Availability.