Marshalltown native Toby Huss plays a somewhat bewildered boss in the new cable TV series about a Texas software company involved in the computer industry in the 1980s.
“Everybody was going crazy trying to cash in on this big computer craze, so there was a lot of good cut-throatery happening back then,” Huss says. “But, you know, growing up in Marshalltown in ’83 was not nearly as sexy as this show — ’83 in Marshalltown was sort of a little bit left behind. I don’t remember the early ’80s being this exciting.”
The “Halt and Catch Fire” series began airing on AMC June 1. It’s the channel which has launched series like “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” — and “Halt and Catch Fire” airs in the same Sunday night time slot as those hits. Huss, who is 47 years old, says he’s based his character on a couple of relatives.
“I have an uncle named Tom Rollins who was a Texas oilman from Houston all through the ’80s and ’90s and since the ’60s,” Huss says. “…He’s a very sweet guy and he’ll tell you a wonderful story and he’s pretty that is pretty ruthless…and then a little bit of old Jerry Huss, my father in there, too.”
The boss man Huss portrays has been the sort of moral center of the show in its first episodes, as viewers watch him deal with a new employee’s corporate espionage that puts the jobs of everyone in the company at risk.
“It’s pretty juicy and the writing is so good on the show,” Huss says, “…every word, every scene.”
Huss made his comments during a recent interview on Iowa Public Radio. Huss had roles in the 2013 movies “42” and “Enough Said.” He also does voice work and has played two major characters on the long-running “King of the Hill” cartoon series. Huss is a graduate of Marshalltown High School, where his father was a teacher.