Back in the day, the USA Network used to carry this show called Night Flight, which ran from midnight till 3:00am or so and showed all sorts of weird, underground and cultish music videos — stuff you’d never see on MTV, which, at the time, was too busy pushing Huey Lewis and Lionel Richie on an unsuspecting public. While most other red-blooded American kids were out drinking cheap beer in mall parking lots and chasing tail, I was glued to Night Flight. And my all-time favorite Night Flight video was a six-minute smorgasbord of downtown NYC surreality called “Don’t Nobody Move (This is a Heist)” by Tony Powers. Now, through the miracle of YouTube, this video is available to the general public once again.
I don’t know a lot about Powers, other than he played “Jimmy Two Times” in GoodFellas [the gangster who said everything twice, as in “I’m gonna go get the papers, get the papers”] and was also in a couple of Caruso-era NYPD Blues as a mob boss. But “Heist” should have made him a superstar, if for no other reason than it’s simply one of the coolest and weirdest things ever committed to video. Check it out below and watch Powers — who looks like Michael Richards’ slightly dangerous younger brother — chain-smoking his way through Times Square, fraternizing with the homeless and other transients, haunting late-night cafes, and feeling up mannequins. Just like your Uncle Pietro, only Powers was getting paid for it.
And even if you don’t like the song — which kinda recalls Leonard Cohen and every drunken Saturday night you’ve ever experienced — you gotta admire the goofy cameos in this vid. Look! There’s Peter “Boon from Animal House” Riegert as a mild-mannered hot dog stand patron! And Marcia Strassman — Mrs. freakin’ Kotter, fer chrissakes — as a bubble-gum blowing hooker! And, hey, isn’t that Stephen “7th Heaven” Collins as her would-be john? You’ll also see Treat Williams in the all-important roll of “Guy in the Shower Who Gets Surprised by Tony Powers.” And, if you look closely, you’ll spot a young but impressively bulky John Goodman [sitting at a cafe table in a blue Hawaiian shirt] in an inexplicably bizarre bit that I can only hope Powers got paid a lot of money for.
So, please, I ask you: Watch this video. Bask in its weirdness. Embrace Tony Powers. And journey with me back to a better time.
Oh, and would Clemens really re-sign with the Yankees? Is he that toolish?