retroCRUSH's Robert Berry!
Bradley Mason Hamlin

Robert Berry (left) Bradley Mason Hamlin (right) at retroCRUSH headquarters. Photo by Nicky Hamlin 2005.

Brad: For those who don't know--what the hell is retroCRUSH?

Robert: retroCRUSH is the world's greatest pop culture website!

Brad: Who is your favorite cartoon character? Why?

Robert: My favorite true cartoon character is Bugs Bunny.  He was created to be a funny cartoon and never let me down.  He's smart, hilarious, looks hot in a dress, and had some of the most brilliant artists and performers behind him that ever worked in the business.  Mel Blanc Bugs with Tex Avery animation is the best stuff ever.

When every cartoon is just a commercial to buy some sort of Japanese action figure, or some lame trading card game these days, I wish there were more things like Bugs around. 

Brad: Describe for us a typical Saturday morning in the Berry home when you were a kid.

Robert: I would totally do the cereal and cartoon overdose.  I would watch any cartoon no matter how shitty it was.  Those days, there was only a handful of channels, so my parents would sleep in and just let me watch whatever I wanted without fear of something inappropriate being on. 

Brad: Is it true you dated Mr. T?

Robert: If you mean Mr. Tandowsky, my high school English teacher to get "extra credit," then YES!

Brad: Who is your favorite superhero? Why?

Robert: Batman is the coolest, and overall he's been my favorite growing up, through all of his serious and silly incarnations.

There's something about knowing that you could technically train really hard and invent the right things and become Batman yourself, if you really wanted to. Popeye is probably a close second. 

Brad: Do you like puppets?

Robert: I like the hand up the ass style puppets, but marionettes are pretty hard to look at.  They're just hanging there with those creepy motions that defy the laws of physics.  They're always like some freaky David Lynch nightmare.

Brad: Explain your fear of clowns.

Robert: McDonald's once came to our school to do some safety show, and I walked in on Ronald putting his makeup on.  He yelled at me and I was pretty traumatized.

Brad: What was your favorite cereal as a child? Why? Do you still eat it now?

Robert: If you asked me as a kid, I would have told you Frankenberry, but I think that was more cause I liked the character and the taboo sugary goodness that my parents would never buy.

If I spent the night at a friend's house, that was something special that I could never have at home.  I tried it again as an adult, and it tastes awful.  My big guilty pleasure now is Raisin Bran.

Brad: What is your favorite retro toy? Why?

Robert: The Atari 2600 video game system.

I love the design of it, the look of the joysticks, and that cool wood grain box.  And there's hundreds and hundreds of games you can play on it.  With all of these microphone enhanced internet connected multiplayer battle games, there's something comforting about a game that can be played with a single black stick and one red button.

Brad: What lunchboxes did you own and take to school?

Robert: The only cool lunchbox I had was from the Planet of the Apes TV series.

I had a sticker of Galen inside that I got from a vending machine.  I had some lame one with stupid Spirit of 76 patriotic comics on it that I hated.  After that, I had to brown bag it.  There was a long time where I had peanut butter (no jelly) sandwiches, and a green apple, so the school lunchtime experience was always so horrible.  I usually mooched food from the other kids that didn't want to eat all of their own much better food.

Brad: What is the scariest thing that has ever happened to you?

Robert: When I was 13 or so, I was walking to a Boy Scouts meeting at nighttime.  A car came up, these two guys with ski masks were inside and shouted at me to get in.  I sprinted away, and they chased me for about a mile until I got into the church where the meeting was.  About a minute later, they came inside, and took their masks off, and it was some older scouts fucking with me. 

Brad: What are you going to be for Halloween this year (2005)?

Robert: I've been growing out my beard so I can be an extra cool pirate.  I'm a sucker for the classics.