Mr. Albany is the star of the Anti-Grunge Channel's wildly popular science-fiction series Grunge to the Stars. He first started acting in Tupelo, Mississippi with the Anti-Grunge Thespians of Tupelo in 1986 and was well-received there. Theatre patrons were often surprised to see how versatile he was when they looked at their programs and saw an actor they were sure they had never seen before with a name they had seen many times before. Albany appeared in 102 different productions between 1986 and 1998, a workload that would have tired many beyond recovery with rest, but Albany just loved to work and did whatever he could to get whatever parts he could. "I prided myself on being able to play any part-- that's the essence of good acting," he related to us, continuing, "Anyone can play himself or create a single character to be played again and again, but I just looked at whatever script was handed to me and tried to see what sort of character the writer was trying to create and bring him to life."
The biggest problem for Albany was being blacklisted in October of 1998 by the Grungist Association of America for being anti-grunge. "It was hard for me to get work after that, and I suffered a lot for my views," he confided, "but I was determined not to let the pro-grunge types win." It was in 2000 that things turned around permanently for Albany. He set up a one-man stage show in a local park in Houston, Mississippi, which was not well-attended on account of picketing by the Grungist Association. In the audience of seven was a young lady named Terri Tizuner, who recognized not only a great acting talent but also a man of great moral integrity. "I watched him perform his one-man show, which had a great anti-grunge message besides, and I knew this was a man I couldn't just go home and forget," she recalled.
After the picketers and the other six in the audience left to go home and forget, Terri stayed behind, watching Albany as he started packing his props to take them home, and he saw a tear going down her cheek. Albany was mezmerized when he engaged her in conversation and learned that Terri was also of the anti-grunge philosophy, and in six months they were married. She became his manager and agent and gave him the confidence he needed to overcome the handicap of blacklisting. At the same time, Terri developed a two-pronged plan, realizing that getting him work required preparation, so she worked ahead of Albany to promote the anti-grunge concept wherever he might be looking for work so that when the time came, he would be ready to work. Terri's father Tom was a wealthy suitmaker and tailor who adored his daughter, which helped when the time came to spend some money to promote Albany. She would run full-page anti-grunge newspaper ads first, in many cases directly denouncing the Grungist Association by name. She would also run radio ads and hold press conferences. "It was lots of hard work, but I really believed in Ralph, and I was determined to see him succeed," she told us.
When the Grungist Association was exposed as a corrupt, manipulative organization and its leader was imprisoned for income tax evasion in 2003, its influence quickly faded, and Albany, still a quite talented actor, was able to start finding work easily. Terri had been waiting for this opportunity and was ready. "Suddenly, producers stopped hanging up on me when I called, but more important, the phone actually started ringing again," Terri observed. Albany's career was relaunched by his critically-acclaimed appearance as the survivor of an assassination attempt in the theatrical movie Destined for Greatness in early 2005, followed later that year by his well-received work portraying a pro bono lawyer fighting the pro-grunge majority in the Anti-Grunge Channel miniseries Full Speed Ahead.
This set the stage for a different sort of role for Albany. When the founder of the Anti-Grunge Channel initially spoke to Albany about a new science-fiction series that was in development, Albany was a bit skeptical about the whole genre, as one of the few things he had never done before was science fiction, and he was a bit concerned about being typecast. Terri Albany, ever faithful and positive, encouraged him to take it on anyway, especially when he was offered the part of Captain Don Seattle. "Ralph liked playing the good guy, and in the initial concept that made it to the first pilot, Seattle was basically a lout who would happily dump grunge anywhere," recalled Terri, who continued, "Ralph and I watched that pilot and we had the idea to remake Seattle as more of a hapless guy stuck in the middle among the Terran Department of Sanitation, the Terran Space Exploration Agency, the Interstellar Environmental Commission, and especially Commissioner Korqua, his relentless shadow."
That image of Captain Seattle was put into a second pilot, which was favorably received by test audiences at the Anti-Grunge Channel's facilities in Des Moines. The series' first producer, Harry Gennett, wrote in his 2017 autobiography, Story of a Producer, "The Albanys' refinement of Seattle was crucial to audience acceptance of the character. The way we had developed the concept, Seattle would have been an anti-hero that no one would have cared to watch; it was their contribution that made the series and its characters palatable to the audience. We rubbed a little of that nuance into the other continuing characters as well."
For their part, Ralph and Terri have made sure that Ralph is not typecast. Even as he continues as the ever-popular Captain Seattle, Ralph appears in other television series and movies, often almost unrecognizable as he still assumes the roles of many varied and interesting characters as he has done since the beginning. He also has been the star of the play Interesting Iterations, now with over 1600 performances at the Armstrong Theatre in Lepanto, Arkansas. Ralph and Terri have made their home in Lake City, Arkansas with their ten children and four grandchildren and are the sponsors of the annual Anti-Grunge Parade in nearby Jonesboro, a key event in the promotion of the anti-grunge philosophy in that area.
We had one final question for the Albanys: where do they suggest people dump their grunge after they decide to take up clothing reform? Ralph and Terri answered together, "We say, send it to Martha Quigley!"
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