Friday, August 22, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Tenney’s local Super 8 features predated ‘Witchboard’

Left, filmmaker Kevin Tenney with "Witchboard" star Tawny Kitaen and right, the advertisment in the Daily Republic when the movie opened at the Fairfield Cinema 1 on March 13, 1987

Left, filmmaker Kevin Tenney with "Witchboard" star Tawny Kitaen and right, the advertisment in the Daily Republic when the movie opened at the Fairfield Cinema 1 on March 13, 1987

By
From page A2 | March 28, 2014 |

I remember watching “Witchboard” on a VHS tape I rented from Suisun City’s Popcorn Video in the late 1980s and being excited, as it was set in Fairfield.

Kevin S. Tenney, a 1973 graduate of Fairfield High, wrote and directed the 1986 film and it holds up nearly 30 years later because of the story and the acting. Many horror flicks featured (then) no-name actors as “Witchboard” did, but cast members in Tenney-directed films didn’t stay no-names.

For example:

  • “Witchboard” star Steven Nichols later played Patch Johnson on the soap opera “Days of Our Lives” and at one point was the No. 1 soap star in the world.
  • Tawny Kitaen, also of “Witchboard,” memorably starred in five Whitesnake videos in the late 1980s when she was married to the band’s singer, David Coverdale. She also graced the covers of two Ratt albums.
  • “Night of the Demons,” Tenney’s second film, was the debut of Cathy Podewell, who later played J.R. Ewing’s second wife on “Dallas.”
  • Billy Gallo, also from “Night of the Demons,” had a recurring role on “Who’s the Boss” as Alyssa Milano’s character’s boyfriend.

Tenney wrote “Witchboard,” his first screenplay, in his first year at the University of Southern California. He followed the adage of “writing what you know.”

“I had worked at a construction site in Fairfield and in L.A. I started dating a pre-law student and that’s why the character Jim is a construction worker and his girlfriend Linda is a law student,” Tenney said. “I had lived in a Victorian home in Alameda that had been converted into apartments and so in ‘Witchboard’ they live in a Victorian home that had been converted into apartments.”

Tenney cut his cinematic teeth making action movies with his Super 8 camera, often with dangerous stunts, around Fairfield.

“Looking back, we were very lucky no one was horribly injured or killed. When I do car chases now, working professionally, you cordon off streets and you have police barricades. Back then, we would just go to downtown Fairfield on a Sunday morning when there wasn’t much traffic and race up and down the streets,” Tenney said. “I would film it and hope we didn’t hit anything.”

“Once I wanted to blow up a car for one of my Super 8 films and I called the Fairfield Police Department and asked to talk to the bomb squad,” Tenney said. “I was told they just had one guy who was kind of the bomb expert and he told me the safest way to blow up a car. That’s why the Fairfield homicide cop in ‘Witchboard’ says he is also the truancy department and the bomb squad. I can’t imagine now that they would tell somebody over the phone how to make a bomb!”

Before his professional movies made his actors famous, Tenney spread the love locally.

“I showed one of my films called ‘Devero’ in a film class at Solano Community College and my brother Dennis played a spy and Jim Quinn played Dr. Sing, the villain,” Tenney said. “About a week later, Jim and Dennis went to a movie at, I think, the Americana and the manager came out, stopped them and said, ‘Hey, you’re Devero and you’re Dr. Sing!’ Turns out he was taking the same film class and had seen the movie. They were shocked that they had been recognized. One of my actresses also got noticed at a bank.”

Tenney’s third film, “Witchtrap,” was filmed in Fairfield locations. He also had the opportunity to shoot locally a few years ago.

“About seven years ago we did a film called ‘Brain Dead’ and we couldn’t find a decent river in L.A. so for a few days we shot at Putah Creek,” Tenney said. “Dennis was scouting locations and there was a woman who was the head ranger who really was not interested in letting us do it. But it turned out she out was a huge ‘Witchboard’ fan and when she discovered who I was, she gave us pretty much anything we needed.”

Reach Fairfield writer Tony Wade at toekneeweighed@gmail.com. “Witchboard” and “Night of the Demons” are available on Blu-ray: www.shoutfactory.com/catalog/search?uc_search_word=Tenney.

Tony Wade

Tony Wade

Tony Wade is the slightly older yet infinitely more handsome brother of long-time DR columnist Kelvin Wade
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Chapkis Dance brings award-winning moves to Vacaville

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
DA’s departure delays 2012 murder trial

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A1

Ducks on the pond, sturgeon in the water

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Jazz invasion Aug. 30 at performing arts center

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Salsa star Domingo Quinones headlines Festival de la Isla

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Green Valley water users appeal court ruling

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1

How I spent my summer vacation

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
Small fire takes place at Solano College

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3

 
Internet cafe measure goes before state Senate

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

Housing specialist to speak before Senior Rountable

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

 
Brown approves “dining with dogs” law

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3

 
Fairfield police log: Aug. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

Aunt of toddler killed pleads not guilty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
GPS devices find huge water loss in western US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Cops greet students at school where plot thwarted

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
San Francisco to tally bird-into-window death toll

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

California plans aid to immigrant minors

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
California to appeal ruling tossing death penalty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Stunt blocks traffic on Golden Gate Bridge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Bodies of 2 men found in adjacent California yards

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Assembly approves greater disclosure for campaigns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
No bail for woman in Amish girls’ kidnapping in NY

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Lawyer: Utah restaurant had other chemical burn

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Ice bucket challenge goes awry, firefighters hurt

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Marathon bombing suspect’s friend pleads guilty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
US judge strikes down Florida gay marriage ban

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Gov. Nixon taking National Guard out of Ferguson

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
American Ebola doc: ‘I am thrilled to be alive’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Russian aid convoy advances toward Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Israel kills 3 Hamas military commanders in Gaza

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Turkey’s Davutoglu named new premier

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Thai army ruler named prime minister

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Indonesian court rejects election loser’s appeal

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Liberia gives food in slum sealed to stop Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Foley case lays bare debate over paying ransom

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Pentagon: Islamic State militants will regroup

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Syria opposition: Deadly chemical attack forgotten

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Record drought saps California honey production

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12 | Gallery

.

Opinion

Get it straight in Ferguson

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: A11

 
Question of the week: Does school start too soon?

By Daily Republic | From Page: A11

Editorial Cartoon: Aug. 22, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
Are America’s police over-militarized and under-accountable?

By Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis | From Page: A11

 
Young men helped me, and I thank them

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

.

Living

Today in History: Aug. 22, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Aug. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

My whole house shakes when my new neighbors drop their barbells

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes: Aug. 22, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview Aug. 22-28, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
The voice-overs can’t save ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: B2

Review: A sweet Moretz rescues ‘If I Stay’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Emmy hopefuls play the angles to nab trophies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Seth Meyers prizes his new role as Emmycast host

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Entertainment calendar Aug. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

Julianne Hough dances back to ‘Dancing’ as judge

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Jon Hamm hopes Ferguson will come out stronger

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Fade to black: Leonard Maltin ending movie guides

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
‘Doctor Who’ returns with a new season on BBC America

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: B6

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

Local boxers make weight and are ready to fight

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Serena Williams to face Townsend in Open 1st round

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Loose sod at new Levi’s Stadium removed

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Raiders’ Woodson returning to Lambeau, faces Pack

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Tigers’ Price throws 1-hitter, loses to Rays 1-0

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Philly loses to Chicago in LLWS

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Ryu sets course record at Canadian Women’s Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

McIlroy stumbles to 74, worst start in 2 months

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Cal interim AD Williams jumps into new role

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Phelps back in international comp, advances in 100

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Teams test out a new helmet, but does it work?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

Goalkeeper Tim Howard taking break from US team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Signups for Friday, Aug. 22, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

.

Business

Big 2015 Chevy Tahoe remains a rare breed of SUV

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
United lures top fliers with promise of a hot meal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11 | Gallery

Family Dollar rejects Dollar General offer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
S&P 500 closes at a record; Hewlett-Packard gains

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Ford recalling more than 160,000 vehicles

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Bank of America settlement likely to benefit few

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

US housing recovery appears to be back on track

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Airline group forecasts uptick in Labor Day travel

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Applications for US unemployment aid fall to 298K

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
.

Obituaries

Mary Louise Loveall

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
George ‘Wayne’ Hause

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Sharon Ilene Boyd

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Richard Ray Jr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9