In a third season episode of The A-Team called "Timber!," the team is called to help out lumberjacks battling a shady union organizer.
Along the way, B.A. Baracus befriends Billy, the son of the woman who hires the A-Team, and it’s a perfect example onscreen of how popular Mr. T was with kids.
Playing Billy in this episode is Andre Gower, an often-forgotten child actor who three years after he appeared on The A-Team starred in the Eighties cult classic The Monster Squad.
In The Monster Squad, Gower played bandleader to a crew of neighborhood kids tasked with fighting off some of the most famous movie monsters of all time: Count Dracula, The Mummy, The Wolf Man, Frankenstein’s monster — all the great Universal Monsters made appearances in the 1987 black comedy/horror movie.
Starring in The Monster Squad was the peak of Gower’s career as a child star.
His onscreen career started at the age of 6 when he played a small role in a 1979 holiday TV movie starring Fred Astaire and Gary Burghoff, The Man in the Santa Claus Suit.
He was following in his older sister Carlena’s footsteps. In the 1970s, her biggest role came in The Towering Inferno, when she played a little girl rescued by Paul Newman.
For Andre, the TV movie led to minor big screen roles and recurring roles on soap operas like Days of Our Lives and The Young and the Restless.
By the time he was 10 years old in 1983, he’d join his first sitcom cast in the short-lived TV show Baby Makes Five, where he played sibling to child star turned folk singer Jenny Lewis.
When Andre’s sitcom got canned, he continued appearing on hit TV shows like The A-Team, Night Court and The Twilight Zone remake. He also guest starred playing William Shatner’s son on two episodes of T.J. Hooker.
By the time The Monster Squad came around, Andre was ready for his time in the spotlight. In 2009, he told The News and Observer why he thought the movie was different from other popular kids films from the Eighties.
"You had, you know, some kind of cheesy neighborhood movies that were kind of slick and more fantasy-driven – i.e. The Goonies – which everybody could watch," Gower said. "The Monster Squad was a little harsher and a little darker."
Reviewers dubbed Gower a "natural," with a critic in The Los Angeles Times describing his performance leading The Monster Squad as "likeably real and not maddeningly precocious."
After starring in The Monster Squad, Gower again returned to TV to join the cast of another failed sitcom called Mr. President, about a family living in the White House.
Following Mr. President, Gower made a few more TV appearances before he took a break from acting in 1989.
Just 16 years old but with a full career already, he focused on finishing school and later ran a TV and movie development company.
In 2006, he returned to acting in movies and remains active today.
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