The following is an exclusive interview of Wendy Raebeck. In the film Shock Treatment, she portrayed Macy Struthers. Thanks to Josh for connecting her with The Shock Treatment Network. The text that follows is an edited transcript from the telephone interview (taped onto a tape recorder) on Saturday, December 14, 2002. The interview lasted approximately 45 minutes.
Shock Treatment Network: Hello?
Wendy Raebeck: Donny? It's Wendy.
STN: I'm so glad you agreed to this interview! There's a lot of questions, so let's begin. Can you tell me about your audition?
WR: It was a private audition. Pretty staightforward.
STN: Did you audition for Macy, or another role?
WR: I auditioned for Macy.
STN: Do you know any other actors who auditioned for a role but didn't get a part?
WR: I'm not sure. It was a private audition.
STN: I see. Was there any actor from the film that you particularly got along with better than others?
WR: Oh yes, Jeremy Newson [Ralph Hapschatt]. We got to know each other a little bit. So we rehearsed about 3 times. We got together at my house or his house. And that's why, I think it kind of showed that we really did have...we clicked.
STN: It definately did.
WR: That's cool. That's good feedback.
STN: That's a question that several of us wanted to know.
WR: What was the question again?
STN: Were you that close to Jeremy, (as your characters portrayed it).
WR: I mean, he really was just a regular actor. I mean, we weren't like, you know, lovers or anything like that. You know he had a family and everything. But we did rehearse. You know. We got to know each other. We met through Shock Treatment.
STN: Uh-huh. Have you stayed in contact with him since?
WR: You know, I don't live in England anymore. After Shock Treatment, about a year after that, I would kind of keep in touch, or run into him somewhere or other, but no I haven't seen him or heard from him in years and I really don't know what he's been up to.
STN: We searched the internet data base and seen that he hasn't done anything since.
WR: He probably hasn't done any acting, but he was a pretty dynamic person so I'm sure he's up to something pretty interesting.
STN: Well, if I ever get a chance to interview him I will relay that to him. How long were you actually involved in the making of the film?
WR: I think we were shooting for about 2 months.
STN: I saw an interview with Richard O'Brien where he said the whole thing took about 8 weeks.
WR: Yeah, that was the shoot. Yeah, and we did the songs...we did that stuff first, if I recall.
STN: In a recording studio. What was that like?
WR: It was great. I've gotta tell ya, Donny, the whole thing was really fun. (laughs)
STN: I love this movie. When it came out, it bombed.
WR: I know...
STN: And through the years, I've just grown an attatchment. I look for tiny lttle character...the way they act and react. It just makes me laugh. And you're one of my favorite ones. I'm really excited to be talking to you.
WR: Oh really, that's so sweet! What was it about my performance that got ya?
STN: Out of all the smaller characters, the female characters, I like you and Neely Pritt. They are the most interesting. And your way of geting Betty by staying close to Ralph was very humorous. I felt like you were just egging her on. And then there's you lines. "The wonderful, the fabulous, the golden." It just cracks me up. (Wendy laughs). I saw on the internet that you were in a British film called "Caught On A Train." I can't find that. Can you tell me about that?
WR: Oh that's a great movie! That movie won [an award]. And I still get residuals from it. It won Best TV movie that year in England. It's easy, it's not hard to find. It's really well known in England.
STN: Why did you stop acting?
WR: I stopped because I moved back to the United States and it was just so scuzzy here compared to how it was in England. In England, people treat a lot of actors with respect there and it's really an art form. And then you get back here and it's sort of like, your agent will go, "You need to get over to Paramount right now!"
STN: (laughing). I saw you in "If Ever I See You Again." And quite honestly, I was bored with the movie, but you scenes are the scenes I keep going back to because I'm like "There's Wendy!"
WR: (laughing) That was the first SAG thing I did. That's how I got into the screen actor's guild.
STN: It took me a while to find you in it because I was looking for your Shock Treatment blonde hair and didn't know it was a wig.
WR: Oh, well, first I was working here, and then I went to England and then I came back. I lived in England for 3 years at that point. And being in England, you know, it was just really great. But I just didn't want to stay there forever. And then when I got back here, I just...I don't know. Also, acting... Even though it's really fun, some acting is not as fun as it looks. There's an awful lot of sitting around.
STN: You've changed your profession to photography. I've seen your images and I have to admit: You have quite a talent there.
WR: Oh thanks. I write also.
STN: You do?
WR: Yeah, I now have my own screenplay and I have a producer. So hopefully this will get made into a--
STN: Oh, please, keep me informed!
WR: I know. It's really exciting, Donny. It's really exciting. REALLY exciting!
STN: (laughs) I can imagine.
WR: Can I say it a little stronger! (laughs)
STN: Yeah. (laughs) How was it to work with the children during the commercial sequence in Shock Treatment?
WR: To tell you the truth... I don't know if I should say this... you could decide whether this should go on the website. But I was really sick that day.
STN: Oh you were?
WR: I was really really really ill and I kind of actually collapsed after the...right kinda after a take. I really had to fake it. I really had to fake it!
STN: Wow, you really can't tell.
WR: I know, I know. That was the first, first, first day of the shoot. That was the very first first thing of the whole movie!
STN: With those children being loud, and you being sick, I can only imagine.
WR: I was like, I've gotta do a good job 'cause there was no prescedent, I didn't know anybody. You know, and they just said, "Let's start with this one little shot because it's outside the TV studio." When we did it, it wasn't inside the studio, like everything else, so they said, "Let's get this one shot done 'cause this is a whole different thing. We'll do this shot with Macy and then the rest of the cast can start the next day."
STN: That would make sense.
WR: Yeah, so I went there and I did it. But I was totally green entering the movie and I was really sick. And I didn't really interact too much with the kids. My whole deal was just trying to stand up.
STN: You have a great singing voice, I must admit that, from the soundtrack.
WR: Thank you! You know, I love to sing, and I never really got into musicals too much but I sang, as a kid, like all the time with my family. And it was so much fun doing a musical. You don't know how much fun.
STN: I saw, in an early draft of the script, that the songs were longer, with added verses. Did you guys sing any of the added verses that don't appear in the film?
WR: No, I don't remember that. Maybe but that is something that has slipped my memory if that is true. It seems like they kept a lot of it in. There might have been one song...that was cut completely. I can't remember, but you're probably right if you saw the original draft. Or they might have edited it before we even sang. You know, Richard O'Brien and Jim Sharmon, they were kind of partners. They were right there through the whole thing. Some things changed as we went.
STN: I noticed a lot of changes. They were originally going to film in the United States.
WR: Yeah, but I'm glad they didn't because I wouldn't have gotten the part.
STN: Have you stayed in touch with any of the other actors since?
WR: You know, I see Betsy Brantley [who played Neely Pritt]. She's been in a lot of stuff. I ran into Jessica Harper once at a political thing about 15 years ago in L.A.
STN: I heard she lives here in the United States.
WR: Yeah, I think she lives in L.A. She's doing stuff. She's still acting. I see her occasionally.
STN: So did you ever see Shock Treatment on the silver screen?
WR: Yeah I did. I saw it, um, let's see... I saw it twice.
STN: I bet your reaction initially was the same as everyone elses initial reaction who expected to see a Rocky Horror story: "Oh no..."
WR: I always loved it because it just warms my heart. Because we had so much fun! You know who I did see? -- a couple more times. I even worked with him again.
STN: Who's that?
WR: Manning Redwood [who played Janet's father, Harry Weiss].
STN: Oh yes!
WR: Manning is a great guy. A great, great guy. And we played lovers in a BBC TV-movie!
STN: I wonder if that's on video?
WR: It probably is. It's called Pictures. And it's not that good. It's actually--I've gotta view mine. I think I've gotta get mine transfered to whatever they use now. Yeah it was a 19-- [sound drops to poor-level before returning] -- I was a flapper. He was like my sugar daddy kind of guy. But we had a really good time. And it was after Shock Treatment so we knew each other and we were thrilled that we were working together again. And you know who else was in that? With us?
WR: Barry Dennen [who played Irwin Lapsey]. I worked with him also in Pictures. Yeah, and he's funny. We had fun, too. Because we were all three Americans so we had a little bit of a connection...and Betsy too. I saw Betsy a few times at auditions and things afterwards. I was pals with Betsy during the shoot. She was really fun. She was great.
STN: And Charles Gray, of coursed, passed and that was sad.
WR: Right, right. Well, I didn't get too close to him. I was friends with Ruby, and a friend of mine in England now is good friends with Ruby. But I mean, Ruby is super famous now in England.
STN: Yeah, she has all those TV shows, those talk shows.
WR: Yeah. She's quite a big star.
STN: Do you own Shock Treatment on video now?
WR: I don't think I do, actually.
STN: Well, I'm gonna have to hook you up then.
WR: (laughing) You can hook me up! You know what's funny though?
STN: What's that?
WR: A couple times my friends will say, like, "Oh I didn't know you were in this movie [Shock Treatment]. I wanna see the movie!" Afterwards you see the look on their face... Like, it's kind of--it's almost like you have to be stoned or something to appreciate it.
STN: (laughing) Yes, it grows on ya.
WR: Is that a fact or what? Because I watched--I remember watching it with one friend who was all interested in seeing me in this movie, and we sat down it and about half way through he kind of looked at me, like, "What's with this movie?" (laughs)
STN: American, I bet.
WR: Yeah, yeah.
STN: Beacuse I've heard Americans have trouble following it or appreciating it, whereas the people of the U.K. did appreciate it and understood it.
WR: I think Americans don't realize how much it is mocking them. (laughter)
STN: (laughter) Yeah, that's what Richard O'Brien said too.
WR: Ooh, I ran into Richard O'Brien in an art opening in L.A. not long ago. And I was really surprised to see him.
STN: Did he recognize you?
WR: Well, yeah. He came up to me, or I came up to him. It was like, "Hello!" and I was like, "Woah!"
STN: Wow. That's nice. So did you keep anything from the film? Some people keep costumes or a prop.
WR: No, I don't think I did. No, wait. They gave us a cassette of the songs that we sang. So I have a cassette that has my songs on it. I play it ever now and then. Oh, I did have a T-shirt but I wore it out. Yeah, you know wha tmight be a good thing for you to do is to get some T-shirts made that say Denton USA with a big red heart. That's what we had and they were fun.
STN: There is someone I know who has printed some shirts. One specifically has you and Jeremy and it says "DTV Gotta Have It!" or something like that. You guys are pointing to the camera. I'm gonna have to send you one of those too!
WR: I gotta have that! That, I have to have!
STN: Well, you will get one. I promise you. We're gonna have a fan convention. Have you ever been to one before?
WR: No. But I'm older now.
STN: We're all older now.
WR: But they're gonna expect this little "babe" you know?
STN: We can get you a George Washington wig! (both laugh) That's what you said when you emailed me.
WR: I know!
STN: Did it take you a long time to get your wig on, to get ready for that?
WR: Yes. I had to get up there earlier, sometimes, than anyone else. To do the wig thing. That was a very big thing. And the make up. So when's the convention?
STN: I'm trying to plan one for sometime in 2003 with a large convention planned for the 25th Anniversary in 2006. But the first one will be smaller. I'm trying to get a hold of people. I know somebody who might be able to connect me to Perry Beddan, who portrayed Neely's cameraman.
WR: Oh right! Right, right. He was a nice guy. You know who else was nice? She was just kind of fun. She lived near me. It was....
STN: Imogen Claire [who played the wardrobe mistress]?
WR: No. No, I didn't get to know her too well. She was one of the ones from Rocky Horror. Patricia Quinn. She was a wondeful woman. And Little Nell, she's got a restaraunt in New York City.
STN: I heard she sold that.
WR: Oh did she?
STN: Someone emailed me. I haven't had a chance to confirm it with Nell, but...
WR: She lived in New York at the same time I did. And she was all over the place. She really made the scene.
STN: She's amazing. Imogen Claire, in the film, is always shadowed by a make-up artist, carrying a tackle box full of make-up. Nobody seems to know who this woman is because she's uncredited--and she doesn't speak. You don't happen to know who that was, do you?
WR: No, I don't. Were you able to ask Imogen?
STN: No, I haven't.
WR: Imogen was British. Or maybe Canadian. Some of them were Canadian.
STN: And I'm so devoted to this film, that becoming obsessed with even the audience members. I'm starting to discover names of the extras who portrayed them.
WR: That's funny.
STN: And now I know the names of that one and that one and that one...
WR: They were so unsung because they were there so much! And we really didn't interact with them at all! You know, but they were there a lot! Did you know--this is a little thing--I'm sure you've noticed this. It was kind of big and we were proud of ourselves for pulling it off. In the opening shot [the instrumental song called Overture], did you notice how long that shot is?
STN: Oh yeah. It's one long shot. No edit. There's no cuts.
WR: Yeah. And it took a lot of coordinating to get that right and we were all very proud of ourselves. Isn't it cool though? It's a cool shot.
STN: And because it's one long shot, and Cliff DeYoung would have to play two roles in one shot, I assume that it's not Cliff DeYoung sitting up in the billboard heart at the start of the scene. Because he's seen, as Brad, at the end of the shot. So he couldn't have been up in Farley's office during the opening narration.
WR: No, I think he actually ran down to get where he had to be.
STN: Wow, that is really cool to know. I am thankful for all the information you have given me.
WR: So how long have you had the website [The Shock Treatment Network] ?
STN: It's in its fourth year. But I saw Shock Treatment for the first time in 1983.
WR: Oh, shortly after it came out. It came out in, like '81. Are most of the fans, like, Rocky Horror fans?
STN: They seem to start off that way, but here's what I notice. There are some people who only love Rocky Horror and the crude humor of Rocky Horror. Those people don't like Shock Treatment because it's nothing like the experience of Rocky Horror. And so, over the years I've noticed that the truly devoted Shock Treatment fans are those who appreciate the movie as it is. There's a lot of fans that fall in between too.
WR: Yeah, 'cause they made a point of saying that Rocky Horror is a little on the edge there...
STN: Right, and Shock Treatment was not.
WR: ...that Shock Treatment was more mainstream. And the reason was they could make more money.
STN: Right. Hey, here's a good question. Did anything happen on the set, like a blooper or something...that you can remember?
WR: Well, when I got sick that first day. That was major. I mean, I literally collapsed. I just about collapsed. I had to excuse myself and go lie down. And Jim Sharmon had to come into my dressingroom and say "Aren't you alright?" And I'm in there in the dark with the nurse. I mean that was pretty embarrassing 'cause it was the first day! It was the very first day of the shoot.
STN: I can only imagine.
WR: Where did you say the convention might be held?
STN: I've suggested having it in the midwest, perhaps here in Kansas City, so it's centrally located to everyone in the US. ...for the first convention. But for the 25th Anniversary, I would like it to be in New York where it might be easier to get Nell, Richard and Pat.
WR: Yeah, my family lives in New York too.
STN: I noticed that on your website. The Hamptons.
WR: Yeah, it's Eastern Long Island.
STN: Yes, I've been up there. Well, thank you, Wendy. I feel like I've taken too much of your time.
WR: No, no. It's fine. I'm enjoying it. It's a real journey into a fun little chapter of my life.
STN: All these memories coming back. Please stay in contact with us, and check out the website from time to time. And if anybody has any more questions, I can email them to you. Thank you. I was actually trying to find you and one day someone said, "I think I've found her." In fact, he contacted you first, a few days before I did.
WR: Yeah, that guy Josh.
STN: He's so nice. I'm like, thank you!
WR: I wonder where Jeremy is?
STN: I have no idea. I cannot find him at all.
WR: Have you looked in London? 'Cause that's where he lived.
STN: Oh he lives in London now?
WR: No, he lived there then, but he has a wife and a kid. Jeremy was in Rocky Horror, but acting wasn't really his thing. Yeah, he was asked to be in Shock Treatment because he was in Rocky Horror. But he was really that big into acting. He just did it to do it. I mean, he did at the time, but as I recall, -- I just remembered right now. He showed me a film that he had made. He was into producing.
STN: Really? That's interesting!
WR: Yeah, that's a while back though. I don't know what happened but he was into producing. He was doing documentaries. He showed me a documentary he had made on breast implants. And it was really telling. It was showing people all the stuff that can go wrong that they don't tell you about. At least, I'm pretty sure that's the film Jeremy showed me. He co-produced it with this wife. It's all coming back to me. So maybe they're still a team somewhere in England. I've never heard from him since.
STN: I will keep searching. But in the meantime, can you send me an autographed picture?
WR: Oh... I don't have any kind of head shots or anything. How 'bout an old head shot.
STN: That would be wonderful. And I'll display it (and other things) at the convention. I have a very large theater here in Kansas City that has agreed to show the movie for the convention.
WR: That would be totally fun!
STN: I hope we can get you to come. Well we can count our hopes here.
WR: Maybe...! Depends a lot on the time and -- obviously you want the people from Shock Treatment if it's a Shock Treatment convention! (laughs) I mean, I would love to do it, and will really try. I'd love it if more people did it. If you could get Richard O'Brien, that would be great because he is a trip!
STN: He usually attends all the conventions. There's a good chance he'd come to this one too. Same with Jessica Harper. She was planning on attending a recent Rocky Horror / Shock Treatment convention but became ill at the last moment.
WR: And Betsy Brantley. I just remembered. She has a twin sister who lives in the United States. She has a twin. And I'm almost positive her twin lives somewhere in the south. But this was obviously a long time ago. Maybe Betsy would come?!
STN: And Rufus Collins passed. Oh! And maybe we can get Janet's mother!
WR: Darlene? I loved her! She was really nice. And she was Canadian. Yeah.
STN: Really? 'Cause I knew Eugene Lipinski was.
WR: Yeah, and so was Darlene Johnson. I bet Manning would come!
STN: (laughing with her) Especially if I said "Oh Wendy's gonna go."
WR: Oh you know who else would probably come? Barry Dennen. He was FUN! He was funny! You know who else was a trip? Barry Humphries [who played Bert Schnick] ! Have you ever seen the Dame Edna Everage Show?
STN: Oh have I ! I have lots of tapes. That character is just amazing.
WR: He's like a huge celebraty in Australia. I don't know. Is he still doing it? Yeah, even back then, he was a pretty big celebrity. You know, they were really glad to get him. And he was fun. He really got into his character.
STN: And there's Rik Mayall, of course.
WR: Rik Mayall, yeah! He was a nice guy.
STN: Hey, do you have a favorite song? It doesn't have to be a song that you sang.
WR: Uh........ yeah! You know what my favorite song is?
STN: What's that?
WR: I don't sing it in the film, but I love that one. I even sing it to myself sometimes. It goes: (sings) "Night night, it's time for bye bye" I love that song. It's nice. It's like a lullaby. (continues to sing) "It's been a great day thanks a heap." It's just so cute and Nell did a good job. And also, I remember watching them shooting that. I was behind the camera, just watching it. 'Cause I love the way they did it. The way they went, you know...
STN: That was another one that was all one shot...like the opening sequence.
WR: Yeah, it was fun. It was really fun making the movie. Richard O'Brien, he's such a character! I mean, just so odd! Just so odd! And such, uh, extremely exsentric, and such a vision for how he wanted it to be. And just, really, really--everything had to be like...just full blown, you know? And it was fun.
STN: There was an interview with Richard who said that looking back, he didn't like his performance as Cosmo. I think a lot of actors are self-conscious about their performance.
WR: Oh I don't think any actor is ever happy with their performance.
STN: Well, you should be happy because I'm thinking of some of your dialogue right now and I'm cracking up. When you sing, "Like a good time girl, I'm gonna try some new..." With what you do with your body and your hands, it's just like, it cracks me up. I'm laughing thinking about it. And the dance choreography for that song...wow...
WR: Isn't it cool?
STN: It is so good, and I've seen some Shock Treatment fans who have shadowcasted the film and have that dance choreography down pat. And I'm like, wow!
WR: They're doing that? Like Rocky Horror?
STN: Oh yes, there's actors, and audience participation, just like Rocky Horror.
WR: Oh I've never seen that!
STN: When (or if) you come to the convention, you get the chance to see that!
WR: Oh that sounds like so much fun! But I feel like I'd have to get one of those, like, Macy outfits...
STN: (laughing) Well, we could probably arrange that.
WR: But I'm not gonna look the same as-- they're gonna be really disappointed! (laughs) Because I'm gonna look just like a lady, you know?
STN: ou're totally fine. You have nothing to worry about.
WR: But don't I look like, some kind of California character? (laughs) So how many fans do you have on your site?
STN: Right now I have about 30 some odd official members, and an assortment of "staff", but asside from that, there are an undetermined number of "fans" who love Shock Treatment, but are not members. Enough to keep it alive.
WR: It is a cool website I think. It's got a lot to it. I tried to take your quiz but I couldn't pass it. (laughs)
STN: (laughs) Oh my gosh! Next month I'll put together a Macy Struthers Trivia quiz and you can take it. See how well you remember it. Then I'll post your answer or comments on the quiz. Unless you don't score well. It's up to you.
WR: (laughs hader) I can remember lots of little details about the costumes and stuff.
STN: I have one member who is a costume fanatic! She puts together an anal costume list for Rocky and now Shock Treatment. She and a couple others are helping me compile a list for the site of costume requirements for shadowcast actors.
WR: I think the costumes were great...
STN: Oh yes, Sue Blane.
WR: They custom-made and hand-tailored... We had to go to fittings. They hand made every single costume for each one of us. Just perfect to our bodies. From scratch. Yeah, the costumes were just fun. They just fit us so well. We each had our own little costume.
STN: I'm suddenly thinking of the faith factory show costume, which reminds me of how you reacted to being crowned Miss Mental Health. Very funny. And you got to kiss Cliff DeYoung.
WR: (laughing) I'm gonna have to watch it again!
STN: I haven't heard from him. He made an HBO movie not too long ago.
WR: It seems from your website he did a lot more after that. Since Shock Treatment.
STN: Yes, he, and Jessica Harper and Richard have done a lot. But they were the only two Americans, right? DeYoung and Harper?
WR: Betsy Brantley is American. And Manning is American.
STN: Wow, I didn't realize.
WR: And Barry Dennen is American. I mean, maybe Barry is Canadian, but I think he's American. Charles Gray was British. And Ruby Wax is American.
STN: Really? I always thought she was British because of her popularity over there.
WR: She's been there forever. But she's American. Jeremy is Canadian.
STN: Do you think he may live in the United States now?
WR: No, he lives in Canada. His wife was English. And he had a kid.
STN: This has been a wonderful interview. I can't believe you haven't been contacted prior to Josh and me.
WR: No, never. No, that's it. And I'm not hard to find. I'm the only Wendy Raebeck in the whole world. Could you reach Betsy? Through her agents or something like that?
STN: I can't find her agent. I've looked for her contact through the internet movie database but it didn't list an agent. A couple of the actors did.
WR: She might have an agent in London.
STN: I contacted Eugene Lipinski's agent and am still waiting for a reply. Do you remember Sinitta Renet, who played Francine, the only African American female role?
WR: Oh yeah!
STN: I hear she tried singing afterwards.
WR: I don't know anything that happened to her. She was very young.
STN: Gary Martin was another actor who played the bit Guitarist. And now he's a voice actor in England. But I'm really happy that you have allowed this interview.
WR: Well, I have to tell you. We all were just really into that movie when we were making it. You know, when we were making it, we thought it was going to be a huge success.
STN: Was it a hit overseas?
WR: No. It just didn't go anywhere. It was kind of a surprise, because, we had so much good energy around it. You know, it was really hard for any of us to believe that the rest of the world didn't see it the way we did. (laughs)
STN: Well that is a perfect way to end this interview. And I'm really thankful that you called me. And be looking forward to receiving something in the mail from me.
WR: I definately will. And I will do my upmost to try to come to the convention.
STN: And I will give you enough warning as well.
WR: Yeah, that helps. (laughs) So keep up the great work Donny.
STN: Thank you.
WR: It's great what you're doing.
STN: Is there anything you wanna say to the fans? Any last words?
WR: Just tell them that they really need to know that things are alive and well in Denton.
STN: (laughing) Thank you very much. Bye bye, Wendy.
WR: (laughing) Bye-bye.