Some heroes fight crime with super powers or guns. As Officer George Frankly on the long-running PBS series Ã¢â‚¬Å“Mathnet,Ã¢â‚¬? Joe Howard did it with exponential powers and puns.
Starring as the crime-solving mathematician on the Ã¢â‚¬Å“DragnetÃ¢â‚¬? parody that concluded each episode of Ã¢â‚¬Å“Square One TVÃ¢â‚¬? from 1987-1994, the Yonkers native reportedly beat out Ã¢â‚¬Å“Saturday Night LiveÃ¢â‚¬? alumnus Phil Hartman for the part. A year after Ã¢â‚¬Å“MathnetÃ¢â‚¬? closed its final case, Howard moved with his wife into a Sherman Oaks, Calif., house previously owned by Ã¢â‚¬Å“Curb Your EnthusiasmÃ¢â‚¬? star Larry David.
Throughout the 58-year-old actor’s career, Howard has worked steadily in film, television and more than 100 commercials. In the process, he shared scenes with Academy Award winners Ben Kingsley in Ã¢â‚¬Å“House of Sand and FogÃ¢â‚¬? and Anthony Hopkins in Ã¢â‚¬Å“The WorldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Fastest Indian.Ã¢â‚¬? Despite this credibility, he graciously accepted a phone interview with Suburbarazzi last week.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Since Children’s Television Workshop was the creative force behind both “Sesame Street” and “Square One TV,” you’ve said on SquareOneTV.org that your wife Sharon thought you had an edge getting hired for Ã¢â‚¬Å“MathnetÃ¢â‚¬? because you Ã¢â‚¬Å“look like a Muppet when (you) grin.Ã¢â‚¬? Did she really say that?
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s trueÃ¢â‚¬Â¦. I figured there was some kind of subliminal thing going there that they couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t resist.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Was the calculator holster uncomfortable?
That was a standard police holster and it was quite comfortable. In fact, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m kind of kicking myself I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t ask them if I could keep it. (But) the calculator itself was just one of these little cheesy things that you could buy in any Staples store. I used to think, talking to myself, “What a cheesy prop this is.”
Learn about Joe Howard’s off-screen friendship with “Saved By The Bell’s” Mr. Belding and on-screen family bonds after the break!
(Photo courtesy of Joe Howard.)