It may be the biggest "Warehouse" sale in TV history; buy into one story line, get another as fascinating for free.
Two for the prize of one: Well, "Warehouse 13" is sailing for the Syfy network -- its biggest hit in history.
And this complex, semi-comedic take on the spy who came in from the cult -- premiering its second season on July 6 -- would stir and possibly even shake James Bond if he wandered inadvertently into this warehouse in the South Dakota desert, where "every strange artifact, mysterious relic, fantastical object and supernatural souvenir collected by the U.S." is guarded by a Rubik's cube of a gatekeeper named Artie.
Saul Rubinek makes an art of essaying the mysterious Artie, ward of two wayward secret agents who are collector's pieces themselves, shelved in their careers and shoved into this warehouse for men and women ... and interesting intruders.
King Saul of Syfy? If the warehouse itself is stocked with the unusual beyond this Bermuda Triangle of a trio, it is Rubinek's stock-in-trade as tummler and tiger that ties it all together.
"You never know what's going to show up," says the showman of Artie's artless amalgam of the real and surreal.
Say, isn't that Rubinek's own Bar Mitzvah suit on one of the shelves? Well, it would be no shock. "It's really no surprise that Artie is Jewish," says the 62-year-old actor.
But what is surprising is some of the real revelations coming this year, says the seasoned actor, such as "the depths of his background, his dark and complex history" -- and maybe the fact that he's been keeping the chopped liver mold on ice for decades?
Dark shadows ... and light humor -- and a slew of guests stars -- make for some sizzling sci-fi.
And what keeps Rubinek invested in his carefully realized character? "It pays for my daughters and son's education," he says, the droll never being dull when uttered by this utterly interesting actor.
Check please! Not that Rubinek is in danger of being relegated to the rubric of "starving artist." Over the decades, he has become a familiar face -- whether it be in film or on TV, where his nebbishe attorney took some time to get over the Daphne Moon who dumped him in "Frasier"; or a host of star treks to sci-fi series, including "The Outer Limits" and "Star Trek: The Next Generation," which generated acclaim for his efforts to win "The Most Toys."
The toys in his own attic are complex and contrary to any image of Rubinek as a man solely on a simple quest to lead a quiet life with family -- albeit family is his top priority, he emphasizes with pride of his long happy marriage to real-life and producing partner/writer Elinor Reid.
Read into his own past, one that pushes the outer limits of mankind and the way history can have its heinous side: The co-star of Hollywood's "Unforgiven" had a somewhat unforgiving beginning, born as he was to Polish-Jewish parents in a German DP camp, who owed their lives to being hidden by a family of farmers, before relocating postwar to Canada.
Making Book, Film
It is all documented with such heart in So Many Miracles, Rubinek's much praised effort at making book on his background, which segued into a searing 1987 documentary of the same name, tracking his parents' reunion with their saviors from the Holocaust years later.
Rubinek's tango with the terror of the past hasn't stopped there; in "Through Roses," Rubinek comes through once more, playing a Holocaust survivor to the strains of the past and the strains of the violin as performed by Pinchas Zukerman, abetted by a musical ensemble, and written and composed by Marc Neikrug.
Music as muse to giving life meaning in the camps. "It is very close to me," says the accomplished pianist/actor/director/ writer/producer/teacher/memorialist about the drama he has played on and off over the years and continues to do so.
It is all part of the continuum he feels connected to. "The best I have to offer," reasons Rubinek, "is to connect to other people; that is my job.
"I take my background and stories and share them."
And as he has shown on "Warehouse 13," there are many that jump off the shelf with a startling display of shared humanity.