Dennis Haskins is an American actor known for his role as principal Richard Belding in the teen sitcom Saved by the Bell, which ran from 1989 to 1993 on NBC. He then went on to star in Saved by the Bell: The New Class, which aired from 1993 to 2000. He also portrayed the role as a regular in Good Morning, Miss Bliss.
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Hi everyone! I'm Dennis Haskins.
Many of you probably know me as Mr. Belding from Saved by the Bell.
I'm also excited to let all of you know about two songs that Shooter Jennings produced for me, that will be coming out on Record Store Day! The record won't necessarily be in every store, since there are only 1,000 limited edition copies. So reach out to your local store. National Record Store Day is April 18, 2015.
You can read more about it in this article.
I'm really looking forward to hearing from all of you here today on reddit. Victoria's helping me out over the phone.
Keep it classy, people! :)
I just want to say that when all of you fans come up to me, you're respectful, and kind, and tell me some of the most wonderful things.
So please don't ever feel afraid to come up to me to say hello.
And I'm so grateful to reddit for this opportunity. And this particular opportunity with you wouldn't have happened without Shooter Jennings and Jon Hensley, on "Belding's Blues."
And I hope you get the chance to check out everyone's records that are coming out on Record Store Day. And I look forward to what's coming out next.
So thank you to reddit, thank you to you Victoria, and thank you to the fans.
What are your feelings on Dustin Diamond and the behind the scenes book he wrote?
I worked with Dustin Diamond from when he was 11 years old until 20.
Dustin and I actually became a team on "The New Class."
Dustin will always have a special place with me.
Are you married? I always see you with hot girls in pictures.
Okay, let me address this:
Many of you wonderful young men and women grew up throughout your childhood loving our show.
When you meet me, no matter how attractive you are, you go back to being 10 or 11 years old with me. And it is my privilege to take pictures with all of you.
And that's all I do.
What's going on here?
That's my catchphrase!
how was it working with the cast of It's Always Sunny on that one episode?
It was a wonderful experience.
I had never heard of the show, because it had not been done yet. I was in the very first episode.
So when I read the part, of a teacher whose possibly molested Charlie, I thought it was a serious show.
I quickly found out, on-set, that this was a hilarious look at some serious subjects.
Thankfully, my character did not molest Charlie. Which is why he threw Mac out of his house.
Hello! When SBTB was just starting out, was there a moment when you (or the cast) could tell that it would become a phenomenon?
Honestly, when we first started, we were all about just doing our very best.
We had four wrap parties - this usually means the show is over.
When Saved By The Bell was simultaneously on NBC and jumped to TBS in the afternoons, the show exploded.
We never could have imagined it would eventually go to 87 countries around the world.
I take seriously how much all of you love our show. Witnessed by the 30 million views on YouTube from our reunion on The Tonight Show.
What was the best thing about working on "Saved By The Bell?"
The simple answer is: having a job and getting paid every week.
My dream, and my passion, is to be an actor. To get to go to work every week is a privilege, because the competition is so strong out here.
And I was blessed to be with a good group of people. Who all wanted to make a good show.
So getting to do what I love to do, and getting to do it with people I cared about, was probably the best part of all of it.
Did you feel like you had a rivalry with Mr. Feeny from Boy Meets World?
No, I never felt a rivalry with Mr. Feeny.
What's cool about all of this is that two "authority figures" were loved by a group of people that normally would not embrace authority figures.
I can only speak for my character, and say that our rule was "No matter how silly Mr. Belding was on Wednesday, he still had to be the Principal on Thursday." So we never took it too far, so that you wouldn't respect Mr. Belding.
We really want you to come to a Chattanooga FC (/r/chattanoogafc) tailgate this year! We'll even buy you a beer & a ticket!
So, our question is....will you come to one of CFC's awesome tailgates!?!
I have been getting many tweets lately about you hooligans!
While I can't be there, I am pulling for you!
Hi, Mr. Haskins! Thanks for doing this AMA--I have 2 questions for you.
I saw from your Wiki bio that you were on Press Your Luck and Scrabble before becoming an actor...did you ever win any money on either show?
And I know you must get this all the time, but.....could you please say Mr. Belding's catchphrase for me? It would totally make my day. :)
1.) That's a great question. When I first got into town, I had no money, and went on the game show "Scrabble" (not " Press Your Luck"). I amazingly won $5,000. Now here's the cool part, not that winning $5,000 wasn't cool, BUT the stage that "Scrabble" was on is the first stage that Saved By the Bell was done on! Yeah! Stage 3 at NBC Burbank! And I went from being a contestant, having Chuck Woolery's old dressing room. And if you're a real trivia fan - "Good Morning, Miss Bliss" was done on Stage 9.
2.) HEY?! HEY?! HEY?! HEY?! HEY?! WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?!
Mr. Haskins!!! First, I'd like to say that I always wished you were my principal when I was a kid. But on to my question:
What is the biggest difference between acting in a TV series vs. a movie? Which do you prefer?
To address this seriously, I believe you approach every role the same way.
Whether it's a TV show or film.
You just have to realize that in film, the camera comes in a lot closer. And in TV, like on a sitcom, it can be like doing live theater. But the attention to detail and character require the same amount of preparation.
Is it accurate that there was a lot of drug use/sex between cast members at Saved by The Bell?
I don't believe it is.
You have to realize that our cast had a parent on-set 24/7. That each young cast member came straight to work, went to class with the teacher, there was one teacher for every 3 students, not like a class in school where there's one for 40, or more. Then they would come to the stage, and go to work.
While what you've asked may sound sensational, there just wasn't time for any of that.
The cast I worked with was thoroughly professional.
Did you ever get to eat at The Max? It looked delicious.
We were told never to eat the food on-set, because it was all a prop.
Having said that, anytime a cake was on the set as a prop, everybody had their fingers in it!
How was Saved by the Bell the new class? You hear little about that show.
When the original show concluded, and we graduated the original class, the 3 guys went on to the College Years. Someone suggested that they continue to do the Saturday Morning show, which is what we had always done. So I was asked to stay as Principal of Bayside High, as any principal would, and get a new class. It's real hard for a new group to come in and replace such a successful original group. But there were many good cast members in that show as well. I had the most fun doing comedy as a team with Dustin.
On a footnote, Tiffani was not part of the original College Years pilot. But the producers realized that they needed her, and added her to the series.
did you ever get to the corner just to see the bus fly by?
Well, that question sparks this memory: when we were doing the reunion with Jimmy Fallon, and Mark-Paul was talking to Jimmy at the beginning of the scene, to help Jimmy understand the rhythm of the line that he had to say - "it's al-right cuz I'm PAUSE saved by the bell!"
That made me remember Mark-Paul helping Jimmy with a line reading.
But i actually sing the song at many of my appearances, because many of you know every single word to that song.
You've often been at WWE events who is you all time favorite match and who is your all time favorite wrestler?
Thanks for doing this AMA
I've been a fan of professional wrestling since I was 10 years old. I can't pick any one match over the years, because there have been so many great ones. But people who have made their mark along the way are Ric Flair, The Rock, Hulk Hogan, and many members of the WWE family. I have to give a special shout-out to Zach Ryder, my buddy (woo woo woo, you know it!).
Mr. Belding always struck me as a provolone kind of guy. Can you confirm this? And also what is your cheese of choice?
Unfortunately, I have to be careful with cheese, as I get older.
But I like all kinds of cheese, hahaha.
That question made me laugh. That's a great question.
I've never heard that Mr. Belding was a Provolone kind of guy.
And by the way, I'm loving the questions! They're covering a major spectrum of things. I'm giving you major props for the questions!
And I want to give a shout out to Victoria who's making this session very easy for me.
What is YOUR "kind of sense of humor?"
I can't say that I have any one particular type of humor. The one type of humor I do not like is stuff that is mean-spirited, or at someone's expense.
Hey Dennis, thanks for doing this AMA!
On the topic of the WWE, who do you think are some of the shining stars of the future?
The first name I think of is Dolph Ziggler.
Clearly, Daniel Bryan is a fan favorite. And I believe Roman Reigns will come around to being a fan favorite.
There are many up-and-comers. But I am pulling for Dolph to get his shot.
I should also say that there is great ladies' wrestling as well. And I know the Bellas, and how hard they work, and have met several of the other ladies - Natalia is a pro's pro.
Hi Dennis, thank you for taking the time to do this AMA.
If the The Lonely Island (responsible for hits such as I'm On a Boat, Jack Sparrow, Threw It On the Ground) crew reached out to you to do a Saved By The Bell music video would you be interested in partaking in such shenanigans? If so, do you think you'd be able to coerce other stars from the show into participating?
I never say no. I always look at what's being sent to me. I can only speak for myself, but not the rest of the cast.
Outside the show, did you ever hang out with the main cast members of Saved by the Bell?
With the original cast, we would all go out after the show, parents, cast, and producers, to Jerry's Deli, and then we'd hang out at Ed Debevic's. And frankly, I think hanging with everybody after the show helped make our cast closer on the show. Now, it's 25 years later, and everybody has families and their own circles of friends, as anybody would, so I don't get to see them as much as I would like, but I am happy for them.
Now that Dimple's in Burbank is closed, where will you do Karaoke?
Dimples will always have a special place in my heart. It was my CHEERS (like the TV show).
I honestly didn't go there to do karaoke. I went there because I liked everybody who worked there and came through.
I'll have to think about where I'll do my next karaoke. For now, you can hear me sing "What a Wonderful World" and "For the Good Times / Delilah" on our new release coming out on Record Store Day.
Your support of this project would mean a lot to Shooter, his manager Jon, and I.
We did what's called a "mash-up" on the second song. It totally came from Shooter's genius. I'm very proud of it.
Hello Mr. Haskins! What would you say is your favorite memory from the set of Saved by the Bell?
I have to think about that, because it was such a special life experience for me.
As with any job, and this was a job, there are great times, and there are some times that it's a little tough.
The overall experience was one of the best of my life, and will continue to be witnessed by all those pictures that you see me take, that I am so glad to do for each & every one of you.
So as much fun as it is to try to add a little intrigue to those pictures, don't get it twisted. Those are all fans of our show. They say "hi" to me, and go back to whomever they're with, and I'm grateful to each & every single one of you.
Hopefully, all of you realize that I do appearances at nightclubs around the country. So you're seeing Dennis Haskins, who played Mr. Belding, say hi to his fans, and here's where the problem lies - you're not seeing Mr. Belding out partying.
On a personal quote, I quit drinking for 30 days 10 years ago, and have continued on as a personal choice.
So there are pictures prior to that, where I am out with friends, and there are pictures after that.
Tell us about working with Paul F. Tompkins?
Yes! It's called "No, YOU Shut Up!" I not only worked with Paul, I also worked with Mark McGrath. I had a great time. Everybody there has MY kind of sense of humor.
Hey, Mr. Belding! Greetings from Bayside (Queens)!
You have a long working relationship with the WWE social media team, beginning with Z! True Long Island Story and gratefully you've come back for the JBL Show. Who initiated the working relationship? How'd it come about?
First of all, a BIG shout-out to Bayside, Queens! I actually walked into the school of Bayside Queens one day, and asked if i could meet the Principal, and he came out, and was wonderful, and we took pictures.
In regards to my contact with WWE, I have to give credit to Mike The Miz. He's been a friend for a long time, and called to ask if I would go on Zach Ryder's blog Z! The True Long Island Story. I said "yes." It's amazing to me what Zach did, with his blog, getting a quarter of a million views a week. Because of that, many fans wanted me to become the new general manager of RAW. There was even a "twit-ition" started that went to #6 in the world - the only people ahead of me were ONE DIRECTION, hahaha! It was pretty amazing, and pretty fun.
Because of that, I've gotten to know many of the current people in WWE, and just did the JBL Show.
Stay tuned for more!
Hi Mr. Haskins!
Any chance we'll see you in another iwrestledabearonce video?
That was a one-time thing that was a lot of fun. But many of you LOVE that video.
Have you ever thought about growing back that awesome College mustache?
I loved my mustache. But I tried to grow it back a few years ago. And it didn't come back like that awesome college mustache. It came back speckled with white, "old guy trying to look cool."
I'll stick with what worked in college.
How do you feel about the resurgence in Vinyl sales, and do you think that things such as Record Store Day + this resurgence will help Technics reverse the decision made to stop production on their line of turntables?
I hope so.
I think it's very important that music be preserved in any form.
The classic form is vinyl.
There are two things I hope happen from this day:
First, that many of you actually go into the stores around the country, and sample the music that's dedicated to this day.
Because many people make their living supporting the music industry, and the record stores are very important.
The other is that i hope vinyl is preserved, and it is my understanding that there is MORE vinyl being made today than there was 5 years ago.
We are going to need something to play them on, so I hope that makes them reverse their decision.
Can you be my wing man next time you are in Atlantic City?
I'm going to be in Atlantic City on July 10th, at Harrah's Pool After Dark. I've been there several times. And I'm very proud of my association with Harrah's and NJ.
Who was the wildest out of the cast on SBTB? Good luck on you album release!
Honestly, because there was so little time from the kids being in class (well, they're not kids anymore, but they were kids then) to going to work on the set, and back & forth, there was a lot of money at stake every single week, as each episode cost a lot of money to produce, and many jobs at stake, from writers to producers to stagehands, so not just actors. So there really wasn't time to be wild or crazy. And if you were, you would be replaced, because you would be costing them money they can't afford.
what is your current favorite TV show?
I can't say that I have a particular go-to show?
But I LOVE shows where I forget that I'm watching a show.
I'm just enjoying what's going on.
I can tell you one of my all-time favorite movies, as silly as it is, is GROUNDHOG DAY with Bill Murray.
I love that movie.
It is a story of hope.
Hi Dennis! Thanks for taking the time to do this AMA.
Is there any specific advice you wish someone would have told you when starting out?
I enjoyed the Rolling Stone article too. How did you get into singing - and what are you going to do now that Dimples is closed?
The best advice I can give you is if you have a dream, I want you to try whatever that dream is. Because if you never try it.
Because if you never try it, you will never know if it would've worked out.
It's better to find out that it didn't work out. That will lead you to what will work out.
And guess what?
Sometimes dreams come true.
As for singing, I always loved to sing.
And was in several musicals in my college years, from A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, to 1776. And when I got to Los Angeles, I focused totally on my acting career. It's helpful to be able to do many different things, so I continued to work on my singing.
I was doing a musical called ANGRY HOUSEWIVES when I was discovered for the role of my life - Mr. Belding.
Now, take the jump with me to becoming Mr. Belding and having the privilege of getting to know many other well-known actors, actresses, and musicians, including a young man named Shooter Jennings.
We developed a friendship many years ago that randomly turned into the opportunity to do these songs. I don't believe there are any accidents, and everything led to this moment.
I want all of you to know - we are not doing these songs like Mr. Belding in character. Shooter and I did our best to create the best songs possible in a joint creative venture that was very special.
We hope you enjoy listening to them as much as we enjoyed making them happen.
You were in a music video recently with the band called Mest. How did you like working with those guys?
Any time a band reaches out to me to have me be a part of their video is an honor. Those guys were so respectful, so excited to do a vignette with me in it, that I couldn't help but have a good time.
I'm also in a video with Ryan Cabrera, for his newest single.
if you could play any bad guy in any film that has been made or is being made/announced, who would it be and why?
I'm hoping that i get to play whatever role is available to me in the future.
But I love playing people that are perceived as bad. Because to them, they may not think they're bad.
So to play them honestly, sometimes not thinking that they are a bad person, actually shows how much they need to learn and grow from.
Many people have prejudices that they grew up with that when pointed out in a glaring way, especially in today's times, can help other people learn what they need to do to be kinder to each other.
Did you partake in a smoke with shooter jennings during your recording?
The answer to your question is no.
Hello, I recently watched a show "documentary" that I believe was based on Dustin's book. My question would be how truthful this was? I only ask because if its labeled as a documentary wouldn't have to be considered true?
I will just refer you back to the last thing that Dustin has been saying - that he didn't write the book, that he had an hour conversation with somebody, who then turned around and wrote what you saw. Make your own judgements as to whether it was accurate or not. Because I did not watch it. I lived it, I didn't need to see somebody's version.
What have you been doing in the last 28 years since sbtb was a thing? Did having starred in the show open new doors, or was that mainly your accumulated fortune?
Wow, there are so many "first of all's."
None of us got rich financially from doing the show, but we were still blessed to do it, as it was our first steady job.
I am grateful for all of that.
Secondly, we started literally 25 years ago, back in August. And I have a movie that many of you saw, called A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST. I was on NEW GIRL, over the holidays. I just filmed a segment of HOT IN CLEVELAND that airs on April 22nd, working with the incredible Betty White. And did a movie in Iowa as well. I have continued to act, sometimes in spite of, but mostly because of, having been Mr. Belding on Saved by the Bell, and getting great opportunities.