Today, I’m bringing you a read-along record book of the 1985 hit film, The Goonies, with an unusual way of telling the story.  Don’t worry – the record follows the events of the film closely, but they’re told through the eyes of one of the kid protagonists, Chunk!

Lawrence “Chunk” Cohen was sort of the annoying little brother of The Goondocks.  He was a little chubby, he was kind of obnoxious, he had no fashion sense, he was clumsy, and he liked to tell a tall-tale if it made him look even a little bit cooler.  The other Goonies picked on him, but it was never too malicious, even if forcing him to do The Truffle Shuffle was kind of a dick move.

Chunk was played by Jeffrey McMahon, who took the stage name Jeffrey Cohen by using his mother’s maiden name.  Cohen got his start in showbiz at the age of six when he appeared on the short-lived game show, Child’s Play, that ran on CBS from 1982 until 1983.  On the show, two contestants tried to guess a mystery word that was being defined by kids between the ages of five and nine.  A handful of future stars appeared on the show as children, including Tara Reid from the American Pie films, Masi Oka, best-known as Hiro Nakamura on the show Heroes, and Breckin Meyer, from Clueless and the live-action Garfield movies, among many other roles.

 Shortly after Child’s Play, Cohen was cast in a TV series called Little Shots, essentially an updated version of The Little Rascals, with a group of kids having family-friendly adventures around the neighborhood.  The unsold pilot aired one time on June 24, 1983 on NBC to see if it might have an audience.  It did not.  The show was developed and directed by Ron Howard of Happy Days fame and written by Robert Dolman, who wrote for SCTV, as well as Howard’s cult classic fantasy film, Willow.  Aside from Cohen, some of the other Little Shots actors included early roles for Punky Brewster herself, Soleil Moon Frye, and Blossom’s brother, Joey Lawrence.

Pre-Goonies, Cohen appeared on a few episodes of classic 80s TV shows like Tales from the Darkside, Webster, Kids Incorporated, The Facts of Life, and Family Ties.  Post-Goonies, Cohen appeared in a made-for-TV movie called Ask Max, released on NBC on November 2, 1986, for Disney.  

The film tells the story of Max, played by Cohen, a nerdy kid who designs a BMX bike that can jump on its own using pneumatic tubes.  He sells the design to a toy company and becomes head of their research division.  The movie is pretty ridiculous, but it does feature a cameo from NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabar, as well as an early appearance by Ryan Lambert, who would later go on to be part of The Monster Squad.

Cohen’s showbiz career fizzled out by the late-1980s.  He would appear on a few more TV episodes, and another made-for-TV movie, but by the 1990s, he was pretty much done with the business.  Well, at least he was done acting in the business.  Cohen went to college at the University of California at Berkeley, then got his law degree at UCLA.  He’s now a successful entertainment lawyer at his own firm, Cohen & Gardner in Beverly Hills.  The firm represents such notable Hollywood stars as Michelle Yeoh, Ryan Coogler, Bong Joon Ho, and his Goonies co-star, Ke Huy Quan.

The read-along record book for Goonies was released in 1985 by Buena Vista Records.  Cohen does a great job narrating, which makes this record really fun for kids of all ages.  I’ve made this record available as part of my podcast, When You Hear This Sound.  If you’d like to give it a listen, click this link and check it out!

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