January 4, 1992
No Stranger at School
By Scott Kraus
Actress Melanie Wilson is no longer a
"Perfect Stranger" to the children at York Avenue Elementary School.
Wilson, who stars as Jennifer in
"Perfect Strangers," seen Friday nights on ABC, took time out Friday
afternoon, while vacationing with relatives in Lansdale, to speak to the
students there about the world of acting.
It was nothing new for Wilson, who said
she has visited about 20 schools in California, where she makes her home.
"I like to be able to give kids an
idea of what we actors and actresses really do, to let them know. Itís
important that they see us in a normal light," Wilson said.
Meeting separately with the first- and
second-graders and then students in the upper three grades, Wilson related her
average day on the set of "Perfect Strangers" and debunked some myths
about the glamour and glitz of Hollywood.
The students showered her with questions,
and afterward crowded around her for a picture.
"Are you and Larry really
"Are you rich?"
"Do you know Erkel?" (sic)
"Were you married by real priest on
the show?" (sic)
Answering each question in turn, Wilson
even fielded questions on shows on competing networks.
One second-grader asked if she liked
"Married With Children."
"I donít really watch that show
much. Is it a good show? Iíve heard itís pretty wild. Are
you allowed to watch that?" she said.
By a show of hands, it was obvious that
the children watch a lot of television.
Carol Earl, a fourth-grade teacher at York
Avenue Elementary, said the children were very excited that a real actress would
visit the school, and their ability to recall old episodes illustrated that
television plays a large part in their lives.
"The kids really enjoyed it quite a
bit. They were fascinated by the idea that a real actress would visit
them. They were remembering episodes from way back that Melanie didnít
even remember. I only wish they would remember their lessons that
well," Earl said.
A fact that many do not know about Wilson
is that she is the daughter of Dick Wilson, who made appearances on
"Bewitched," but is most famous for portraying Mr. Whipple in Charmin
toilet paper commercials.
"Boy, I got ribbed all through school
about that," Wilson said.
Wilson said she is dedicated to finishing
up the rest of the season of "Perfect Strangers," and when filming is
done, she may look into other projects.
In answering a question on whether she
lived in a mansion, Wilson said she had a pool and then explained that all
actresses are not rich.
"Iím doing OK now," she
said. "I decided Iíd like to pay the rent and buy some groceries in
the same month, but before ĎPerfect Strangersí I wasnít as secure."
Wilson said she spent several years acting
on stage and making guest appearances on shows like "A-Team" and
"Hollywood Beat," where she often got shot in the course of the story.
The actress, who was visiting relatives,
said one of the reasons she took advantage of the chance to speak to the
students is her love for children.
"I love talking to kids. They
always ask the best questions and are a huge part of our audience," she