Ali Larter by Chris Haston/NBC; Steven W. Bailey courtesy ABC; Lisa Edelstein by Adam Taylor/Fox
With the Memorial Day holiday this weekend, let's have some fun and play a game!

We've actually played this game before, last October. I had a different blog back then, called "DVD Guy", and I called it "Today's Stars...Yesterday!" We all had a great deal of fun, with lots of readers chiming in with their own examples of big names they've seen in smaller roles during leaner times".

The way to play is very simple: think of hot "new" stars that you see any current TV show, and try to think of where they can be spotted on DVDs of older programs. Probably only slightly older shows, but there's really no limit. Let's just have a blast with it! I'll give you several examples - some big, some small - just to get us started:

Grey's Anatomy wrapped their fourth season last night, and the younger Dr. Grey wrapped her first full season in the show. Chyler Leigh's turn as "Lexi" might not make her recognizable, though, to the few of us who saw her as punk-rockin', spike-mohawk-haired "Tuesday" in 2002's short-lived series That '80s Show.

Digging back to the first 3 seasons of Anatomy, "Joe the Bartender" was frequently seen pouring after-hours drinks and offering an ear to bend. Joe's played by Steven W. Bailey, but how many of you remember that Steve was also the title "character" in Fox's so-called reality series My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance back in early 2004?

Speaking of medical shows, how about House? Before the lovely Lisa Edelstein took the role of "Cuddy", you could spot her on an episode found on the Just Shoot Me - Seasons 1 & 2 DVD set: she appeared as an old friend of Maya's in a story called "Sewer".

That lone Just Shoot Me DVD set also brings you Will & Grace's Megan Mullally in an episode called "Ambushed," and Ali Larter of Heroes as a smart-but-ditzy young lady who's got to chose between scholarship and modeling in "College or Collagen".

Getting back to Lisa Edelstein for a second, it's also fun to point out she played a transsexual(!) in the fourth season of Ally McBeal, first appearing in an episode ironically called "Girl's Night Out". That same episode also featured Marcia Cross of Desperate Housewives. And of course Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr., was seen during most of that fourth season as Ally's romantic interest, Larry Paul.

I've got more - lots more, and without overlapping anything from last October's round of the game, either. But it's your turn: how many can YOU come up with? Of the rising TV stars that everybody is enjoying now, where have you seen them before they struck it big? Just like last time, tell us which TV-on-DVD sets other fans should be picking up, to see these actors and actresses long before they were ready for prime time! Share the most interesting ones you can think of with everbody. - David Lambert


Pre-order Grey's Anatomy - Season 4 from Amazon

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