Before They Were Stars: Neil Patrick Harris in “Purple People Eater”

Before he hit it big on Doogie Howser, M.D., 15-year old Neil Patrick Harris had to suffer the indignity of starring in a very corny children’s flick called Purple People Eater. Even though NPH is the lead character in this film, his name isn’t even mentioned in the trailer and he has to take a back seat to Ned Beatty and Shelley Winters, who both must have needed money really badly! Named after a famous song from the 1950s, the plot involves a purple one-eyed alien coming to Earth who isn’t actually a “people eater” at all, but a very friendly creature who plays music with the horn on his head and helps NPH solve his personal problems, even going so far as to join his rock band. When will Hollywood learn that taking the title of an old song and trying to stretch it out into a feature-length movie is NEVER a good idea?! As a bonus, look for a six-year old Thora Birch in this clip, making her film debut as NPH’s little sister.

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