Bad Guys Talent Management Agency
1984, New York, New York

Verne Williams was trimming the hooves of cows in Virginia and selling bull semen to make a living. It gave him time to realize that this was not his calling in life. He really wanted to be an actor. And, performing for dairy farmers wasn't good enough. Williams had known Joey Skaggs since the early sixties and had, in fact, been a passenger on Skaggs' Hippie Bus Tour to Queens in 1968.

When Williams arrived in New York one day and pleaded with Skaggs to help him get his acting career off the ground, Skaggs launched a fictitious talent management agency. He called it Bad Guys, Inc. for bad guys, bad girls, bad kids, and bad dogs.

Skaggs created a head shot for Williams based on the format of an FBI Wanted poster. He sent it out to a handful of New York casting agents. Three days later, he received a call from Jeremy Ritzner of Ritzner-Feuer Casting Agency. Ritzner was casting a Kung Fu satire called The Last Dragon to be produced by Berry Gordy, the owner of Motown records. He thought Williams would be great for the part.

Skaggs told Williams to look tough and stay in character and together they went to the casting session. While Ritzner searched through the script for a passage for Williams to read, Skaggs announced, "Verne doesn't have to read." Ritzner looked up in surprise as Skaggs smacked Williams in the face. Williams, on cue (this had been prearranged), leaped in Ritzner's face and barked like a pit bull dog. Ritzner, horrified and frightened, jumped back and threw the script up in the air. "I love it!" He exclaimed. Two days later, Verne had the part.

When People Magazine's writer, Rebecca Bricker, heard about the agency, she wanted to write it up. She asked Skaggs to send her all the material. All what material? For a week, Skaggs photographed every bad looking friend he had. He mocked up FBI wanted posters for all of them, noting their descriptions and cautionary remarks.

Bricker wrote up a piece for People's "Take One" and the Bad Guys Talent Management Agency was launched. Oddly, there was no agency. But the phone rang off the hook and wannabee actors lined up outside the Bad Guys office (Skaggs' studio on Waverly Place in New York). The TV and print media lined up as well. As more stories were published and broadcast, the bogus agency became more and more credible. Film and TV casting companies called looking for talent. The ranks of "bad" actors swelled to over 300 and many were gainfully employed in commercials, print ads and movies. Skaggs, not wanting to run a business, eventually turned the agency over to Sara Jones, an actress friend who used it to meet bad boys!

© 1997 Joey Skaggs