In the late 1980s, actor S.D. Nemeth (Steve “Doc” Nemeth) rose to fame for his memorable performance as Bixby Snyder, the sleazy and eccentric host of the fictional TV show “It’s Not My Problem!” in the sci-fi hit Robocop.
Snyder became a symbol of the media’s influence in a dystopian future and made him one of the most quotable characters from ’80s cinema. With his catchphrase “I’d buy that for a dollar!”, Nemeth’s portrayal of the morally bankrupt Snyder was both hilarious and unsettling.
But where has Nemeth been since his days in Detroit’s crime-ridden future?
The Young Marquis and Stanley Show
The world of radio was treated to a unique blend of comedy and character-driven narratives when “The Young Marquis and Stanley” show aired on KROQ FM 106.7 Los Angeles. From 1977 through 1983, this show became a staple for many listeners, quickly rising in popularity and playing a significant role in making KROQ the number one station in the early eighties.
S.D. Nemeth, taking on the persona of “The Young Marquis,” was central to the show’s success. The character, whose full name is revealed as Marquis Stephonse Escofier von Rothchilde de Nemo, is shrouded in mystery.
The show was not just about the Young Marquis. It featured a host of kooky characters, comedy sketches, and special guest stars like Star Trek Voyager’s Robert Picardo, The Exorcist’s Linda Blair, the original Batman – Adam West, and many more. The dynamic between the Young Marquis and Stanley, whose full name is Stanley Throckmorton Finchley III, was particularly entertaining.
Critics lauded the show, with the Los Angeles Times describing it as “witty well-performed radio theater” and Rolling Stone likening it to “Radio’s Saturday Night Live.”
The legacy of “The Young Marquis and Stanley” show is preserved in rare recordings taken directly from “on the air” broadcasts, featuring the hottest hits of KROQ’s early eighties playlist. These recordings capture the essence of a time when radio was a dominant form of entertainment, and characters like the Young Marquis, brought to life by S.D. Nemeth, reigned supreme.
Prior to his breakout role in 1987’s Robocop, S.D. Nemeth had been working in Hollywood for over a decade in smaller character roles. He got his start with minor parts in 1970s B-movies like Sinister Flesh and The Dreaded Lobster Man.
In the early 80s, he began landing small roles in more mainstream films like The Blues Brothers, where he briefly appears as an inmate in the Joliet prison “Jailhouse Rock” musical number.
But Nemeth was still struggling to make a name for himself when he was cast as sleazy TV host Bixby Snyder in Robocop.
In the cinematic world of “RoboCop,” a film that brilliantly satirizes our distracted, consumer-driven society, one catchphrase stands out: “I’d buy that for a dollar!” This line, delivered with comedic flair by the character Bixby Snyder, played by S.D. Nemeth, has become synonymous with the movie, especially as it celebrates its 35th anniversary.
Bixby Snyder is the protagonist of a fictitious, ludicrous sitcom that characters in “RoboCop” frequently watch. Although the show’s name is never mentioned in the film, the original screenplay titled it “It’s Not My Problem!” In the brief glimpses we get of this show, Bixby, surrounded by alluring women, often responds to their suggestive advances with the catchphrase, either exclaiming “I’d buy that for a dollar!” or “I’ll buy that for a dollar!” The show might be perceived as tasteless, but within the universe of “RoboCop,” it’s a hit. The catchphrase even becomes a euphemism for romantic encounters, reflecting the film’s commentary on a society spiraling into crudeness and brutality.
The genius of “RoboCop” lies in its ability to blend dark humor with sharp societal critiques. The film, set against the backdrop of the Reagan era, paints a grim picture of corporations as inherently corrupt, the elite as hopelessly degenerate, and law enforcement as a tool for the powerful to suppress the powerless. The entertainment industry isn’t spared either. Shows like “It’s Not My Problem!” symbolize the continual dumbing-down of society, with the masses reduced to parroting sitcom catchphrases without thought.
S.D. Nemeth’s portrayal of Bixby Snyder might not have propelled him to extensive cinematic fame, but the character’s legacy endures. The catchphrase’s popularity, even outside the context of the film, underscores its satirical power. It’s become a representation of our relentless consumerist desires, whether for products, experiences, or even relationships. As the article aptly concludes, while the stuff Bixby yearns to buy might only cost a dollar, the things society is addicted to are alarmingly cheap, both in value and moral cost.
Where is S.D. Nemeth now?
After his iconic role in “RoboCop,” S.D. Nemeth’s presence in the cinematic world became more subdued. While he had a few roles following the success of “RoboCop,” Nemeth eventually decided to step away from the limelight of acting.
His contributions to the entertainment industry, however, did not go unnoticed. In recognition of his impactful work, especially in the realm of radio, S.D. Nemeth was inducted into the Los Angeles Radio Hall of Fame. This honor celebrates his significant influence and the lasting legacy he left on the radio industry.
Recently, fans of “RoboCop” were delighted to see Nemeth make a special appearance in the new documentary titled “RoboDoc: The Creation of RoboCop."