Tim Taylor in "Home Improvement"
Ask comedian Tim Allen where the inspiration for his manifesto on male improvement came from, and he says, "I just stood up on stage one night in Akron, Ohio, and started talking about my garage and tools and that whole thing. Being the cheez weenie that I am" -- his words and his spelling -- "I saw the value of what looked like a very good bit, and I used it."
Is it any wonder that this man, who played "Mr. Goodwrench" in TV commercials, who lives in a suburb of the "Motor" City, would center his comedy career around power tools and heavy machinery? Not at all, since his love for all things mechanical started early in life.
Born in Denver and raised from the age of 13 in the Detroit suburb of Birmingham, Tim Allen was one of seven brothers raised by his mother. His upbringing gave him a woman's perspective, he says, "which was basically yelling and screaming at that point, because it's hard to raise boys."
The class cup-up, Tim's favorite high-school subject was shop, and his first true love was cars. He traded a whole summer's work at a local speed shop for a custom-built, tricked-out dune buggy -- not very practical for the icy streets of Michigan in winter, but try telling that to a teenage boy.
Allen graduated from Western Michigan University in 1975 with a degree in TV production, and went to work as a creative director for a small advertising firm in Detroit. Soon he moved in front of the camera as a performer and commercial spokesman. To date, Tim has written, produced and/or acted in several radio and television commercials, including spots for Ford, Chevrolet, and K-Mart.
Tim still keeps his hand in advertising with the company he formed in 1984, Boxing Cat Productions, which is involved in graphic-arts design and commericial production.
In 1979, on a dare from a friend, Tim made his first stand-up appearance at Detroit's Comedy Castle. Since then, he has become "an 12-year overnight success," selling out concert venues around the county and appearing in the cable specials: "The Montreal Just for Laughs Festival" and two of his own half-hour specials for Showtime, "Men are Pigs," and "Tim Allen Rewires America," which premiered in December 1991.
He won a 1990 ACE Award for Best Performance in a Comedy Special at the "Just For Laughs International Comedy Festival" in Montreal. In 1991, television audiences honored Tim with a People's Choice Award for Favorite Male Performer in a New Television Series.
Tim Allen, in his second season as Tim Taylor, continues to bring his unique slant on masculinity to series television with "Home Improvement," which he describes as "'Men Are Pigs' at home." His role as the host of a fictional cable home improvement show called "Tool Time" is one that he wistfully hopes to recreate in real life someday. "Actually, that's what I want to do, is host 'Tool Time' for real. I love that show."
Thanks to Touchstone Television for providing the information.