Friday, August 8, 2008

The Two Zacks

by Kevin Tor

It was the day of filming on the episode where Zack gets bid on at the date auction but the auction winner wasn't who he thought it would be. I think the title was "Zack Learns To Accept Fatties." But that's beside the point. The morning got off to a bad start. The woman responsible for creating the blonde bike helmet known as Zack's hair was late and Mark-Paul Gosselaar's roots were showing. If that weren't enough, the first larger actress that showed up had a brain and realized how offensive the script was causing the casting director to find a last-minute replacement.

When they tried to get the woman that cuts all the sleeves off Mario Lopez’s shirts to do Gosselaar’s hair, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Gosselaar quit the show stating, “I can’t work under these conditions” and stormed off the set. Unlike finding another fat girl that wouldn’t make the viewers change the channel in disgust, finding another Zack was easy. The producers were aware of Gosselaar’s flight risk and had a Plan B. What you are about to read has been kept a secret for seventeen years:

This episode and the rest of Season Three featured Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s twin brother, Paul-Mark Gosselaar, in the role of Zack. All employees and cast members affiliated with the show were forced to sign a confidentiality agreement.

Paul-Mark Gosselaar was not as good looking as Mark-Paul. He had a scar under his right eye which led to many scenes with Zack in sunglasses. He was amazing at air guitar leading the writers to make the episode featuring the Zack Attack. He got along with the cast and he never caused the kinds of problems Mark-Paul did. Unfortunately, shortly after filming completed on the Murder Mystery Weekend episode, Paul-Mark drove off the lot and never made it home. He died in an auto accident.

The studio was stuck. The other twin, Goss-Paul Markelaar, was mentally retarded and would never fool the astute audience. They went back to Mark-Paul with a huge contract. He agreed and finished off Zack’s senior year.

No one knows if Mark-Paul had anything to do with Paul-Mark’s death. No one knows if it was Goss-Paul, either. He had been known to hang out under cars with a pair of wire snips to pass the day. In the end, there just wasn’t enough left of the car to do an investigation and the parents wanted to get on with their lives.

A bit of trivia: During Season Four, one of the trophies in the Bayside Trophy Case was the urn containing Paul-Mark’s ashes.

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