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Spen writes...

Hi Greg! First off, I'd like to thank you for posting all those old production memos from "Gargoyles". I love reading 'behind the scenes' stuff, and seeing the way the story develops over time. It kind of reminds me of Christopher Tolkien's "History of Middle-Earth" series, albeit on a smaller scale.

Now, I have a few questions that I hope can be considered to all fall under the general category of "series development". A couple of them might be stretching it a bit, but I think it'll be okay (and if not, you'll tell me).

1. You started posting production memos for your "Re-Awakening" ramble. Are there any surviving memos from "Thrill" to "Her Brother's Keeper"?

2. When you wrote "The Journey", did Scott Thomas send you a prod. memo?

3. Are there any memos from "Spectacular Spider-Man"?

4. One thing that really struck me when reading some of the notes from early '92 was just how early the Pack came along in the development. Which got me to thinking about another early villian. Was Tony Dracon's involvement planned all along, and he just happened to first appear in "Deadly Force", or was he created specifically because "Deadly Force" needed a new villian? (Awkward sentance, I know, but I can't seem to get this phrased quite right. Do you get what I'm saying?)

Thanks for taking the time to answer these. We will now return to our regularly scheduled "Young Justice" questions.

Greg responds...

1. I'm sure there are. But there are difficulties in posting them, including but not limited too: (a) not enough hours in the day (b) most of those memos were only preserved as documents - not electronically, so that it's not as simple as cutting and pasting (c) most of those documents are at my private office in Beverly Hills, and I'm almost never there, since producing YJ here in Burbank keeps me pretty busy.

2. No.

3. Very few. Those were mostly done via e-mail, and I didn't keep a record of that. Also, I was personally story editing SpecSpidey, so I wasn't writing memos to my story editors, as I was on Gargoyles.

4. I get what you're saying, but I honestly can't remember. My vague guess is that we always knew we'd need a "crime boss" of some kind, but that we probably didn't develop Tony until we got to his episodic premiere.

Response recorded on May 04, 2012

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This day in Gargoyles' Universe History....

November 13th...

Elisa Maza uses the spell from the Grimorum Arcanorum to -- for all intents and purposes -- free Goliath's mind.

At dawn, after a long night on duty, Elisa follows Macbeth and a human Demona up to the Clock Tower. They knock her out and steal Coldstone, in order to distract the clan from realizing that they've also stolen the Eye of Odin, the Grimorum and the Phoenix Gate. At sundown, Demona transforms back into a gargoyle and reawakens Coldstone with the evil Iago personality in control. Meanwhile, Elisa fills in the gargoyles, who sneak into Macbeth's mansion to recover Coldstone - only to be betrayed and captured. Meanwhile, Tony Dracon is released on bail and begins tightening his grip on the protection racket in Manhattan.

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This day in Gargoyles' Universe History....

September 12th...

The Dracons take possession of a warehouse on First & Eighth, the former location of The Silver Falcon nightclub. They begin excavations.

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This day in Gargoyles' Universe History....

August 3rd...

Brod attacks Dracon in prison. But, the gargoyles help Elisa take down Brod, Dracon and most of their men. The gargoyles return to the Clock Tower, by which time Goliath, Hudson and Bronx have also returned. The Trio apologizes to Angela for their behavior. She forgives each of them with a peck on the cheek - just before the sun rises. Elisa's operation is a phenomenal success. Jack Dane, Pal Joey, Glasses and many other Brod and Dracon operatives are incarcerated. Dracon and Brod are even forced to share a cell.

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This day in Gargoyles' Universe History....

August 2nd...

Hudson destroys the battle-axe that tied Hakon to the Earth plane, permanently banishing the Viking's spirit. Goliath then defeats Wolf but gets hit in the face by a banana cream pie fired by Vinnie. Goliath and Hudson don't make it back to the Clock Tower before sunrise. Neither does Bronx, who's having his own adventure. Meanwhile, Brod attacks Glasses' chop shop with the help of Jack Dane and "Salli". But the raid is aborted when the police show up. Salli is knocked unconscious and witnesses very little that Elisa could testify to later. Angela and the Trio stumble into the situation, but the boys are too busy fighting over Angela to be of any help. After sunrise, Glasses visits Dracon in prison. Dracon orders Glasses to retaliate against Brod. Just before sundown, Matt brings Brod and Salli in for questioning. Salli slips away to the Clock Tower, where she reveals herself as Elisa and enlists the gargoyles' help. Salli then confers with Maria Chavez, and they agree to keep the undercover operation running for a while longer, despite the chop shop debacle. While Brod is at the police station, Dracon's men hit Brod operations all over town and even firebomb his favorite restaurant. Glasses also puts word out on the street that Dracon has a trainload of weapons coming in. Brod decides to steal the weapons. He attacks the train with Salli, but is ambushed by Glasses, Pal Joey and the rest of Dracon's men. The gargoyles intervene, but the Trio's competitiveness nearly gets Lex and Angela killed. Brod escapes again.

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This day in Gargoyles' Universe History....

July 18th...

Matt Bluestone finds a letter from Mace Malone when a search warrant turns it up in Tony Dracon's files.

Wolf retrieves a battle-axe possessed by the spirit of his ancestor Hakon from the caves beneath Wyvern Hill, in Scotland.

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Michael writes...

Hi Greg. First, I just wanted to say thanks for everything. For shaping Gargoyles the way it is. For being so open and accessible and involved with the fans.

In "Silver Falcon" Mace pretends to be this G. F. Benton character. I was wondering if there was anything behind the name G. F. Benton? Is it just something Cary Bates pulled out of thin air or was there a deeper meaning (as it seems is the case for a lot of what's put into an episode of Gargoyles).

Thanks again.

Greg responds...

No, not Mace. Dominic pretends to be G.F. Benton. I'm not aware of any significance to the Benton name, but you'd have to "Ask Cary" to be sure.

Response recorded on July 13, 2007

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This day in Gargoyles' Universe History....

July 10th...

Owen reveals himself as Puck but also fails to stop Oberon. It is Fox herself who saves the day by revealing a magical power even she did not know she possessed. Goliath convinces Oberon to allow Alexander to stay with his parents. Puck is chosen as Alex's tutor. But his powers are stripped from him save when he is training or protecting the boy, and he is eternally banished from Avalon. He reverts to Owen. Oberon arranges for Manhattan to awaken at dawn, and he and Titania return to Avalon. Xanatos vows to repay Goliath for helping to save Alexander. The gargoyles return to the Clock Tower. The sun rises. They turn to stone. And the city awakens. Elisa goes back to work. Chavez is less than thrilled about her six-month absence. Fortunately for Elisa, Chavez is in the middle of a turf war between the Brod and Dracon organized crime factions. Chavez needs a new face to infiltrate Brod's men. Because Elisa has been "out of town," she's the perfect choice to go undercover. Elisa will pose as "Salli", bringing Brod information about a Dracon chop shop operation being run by Dracon's lieutenant, Glasses.

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Meant writes...

I'm wondering… If Tony Dracon's right hand man Glasses decided to start wearing contacts, would they have to stop calling him Glasses?

Greg responds...

I'm not big on hypotheticals.

Response recorded on May 31, 2007

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Chapter XXXI: "Protection"

Watched "Protection" last Saturday with my wife and kids. Here's a ramble:

I'm immediately struck by our large supporting cast. Probably because so few of our regulars (Elisa, Goliath, Broadway only) appear in the episode.

THE CROOKS: Dracon, Glasses and Pal Joey. (All very fun to write for.)

THE COPS: Matt, Maria, Morgan. (All three go undercover and do a bit of play-acting, which is also fun.)

THE CIVILIANS: Art, Lois, Dave, Mr. Jaffe, Travis Marshall. (Each is characterized rather quickly, but memorably, I think. It was particularly cool to play off the Matt/Jaffe relationship previously referred to in "Reawakening".)

As for our regulars, we intentionally reduced the number of 'goyles in this one so that we had the space in our short 22 minutes to focus on other things. Goliath and BW seemed the appropriate two to bring along for various reasons -- established most obviously in "Deadly Force" and "The Silver Falcon".

I liked how Goliath reacted to the perversion of the concept of "Protection" and how the movie-savvy BW shakes his head but takes it in stride.

Okay, I figure we didn't fool many of you into thinking that Elisa had actually gone bad. I was pretty sure we wouldn't. At least not the older fans. So I tried to fool you another way in the first few minutes. Glasses tells Dracon about a lady cop, but doesn't mention who. Chavez accuses Elisa, but Elisa pleads her innocence. Did anyone think that Elisa was being framed?

My daughter did. But in a way that I hadn't considered, despite the fact that "Double Jeopardy" was part of the same tier and naturally led to her conclusion.
--Erin: "That's not Elisa, is it?"
--Benny: "Yes, it is."
--Erin: "Yeah, that's not her. She never dresses like that."
--Benny: "It's a wig. How'd she get her hair like that?"
--Erin: "It's a clone."

A clone? Of course! That's the problem with introducing so many concepts. Too many options for the viewer. Did anyone else think clone? Erin maintained this idea right until the end of the episode. She kept saying with increasing frustration: "That's not Elisa. It's not."

I loved Elisa's new outfit, I only wish the animation -- the character modeling -- in the episode had been better. It's not always very flattering to her. Sometimes it seems to WAY flatten her out. Other times, it makes her huge. (Yes, I'm focused on her breasts. I'm a heterosexual male. What do you want from me?) But it never makes her look real. Still, it's just nice to see her wearing something -- ANYTHING -- different. I wish we had had the resources to give her more clothing options in general.

Some nice lines in this one...
Elisa to Goliath: "What are you, a puppy?"
Elisa to Glasses, et al: "You tough guys just gonna stand there all night?"
Goliath to Elisa & Dracon: "Money and power sound very appealing."
Dracon to Elisa: "Keep the jar."
Elisa to Broadway: "Keep the jar."
Dracon to Goliath: "So she's your woman. You have good taste."
Broadway to himself: "Why are bad guys always in such a hurry."
Broadway to Pal Joey: "Sorry, Pal."
Broadway's slightly dated black & white movie gangster lingo.
All of Dracon's on-going Honey, Sugar, etc. references and Elisa's reaction to them. Makes me smile still.

You've all heard this story, right?

Okay, BRIEFLY...

Keith David used the exclamation "Jalapeña" all the time. More or less as a replacement for Halleluia. It was an expression he had gotten from a female jazz singer (whose name escapes me at the moment -- as it usually does for some reason). One day in the control booth, voice director Jamie Thomason turned to me and said, "I bet you can't get that into a script." I said, "I bet I can."

Shortly thereafter, poor innocent writer/story editor Gary Sperling turned in a perfectly normal script. I then added this entire "Jalapeña" subplot. (I had to add all this stuff about room service, jars, etc. to justify the last word in the episode.) I fell in love with the idea. I thought it would give us a curse word, basically. (That's how BW uses it in the ep.) Most everyone else hated it. But directors Frank Paur, Dennis Woodyard and Butch Lukic didn't know how far I planned on taking it. They thought it would be a one episode thing, so they indulged me here. In fact, they suggested the massive "Jalapeña!" echoes at the end of the episode. ("If you're gonna do it, do it!")

Jamie would later goad me by saying things like, "Yeah, but I bet you can't get Hudson to say it." And so one by one, everyone said it. Again, I thought it was fun and useful.

But eventually the art staff literally revolted against it. Frank told me I HAD to stop. So what you'll notice is that starting with this episode we ramp up and begin to use the word a lot. And then it peters out and disappears entirely from the show -- until "The Journey" my farewell episode. I put one "Jalapeña" in that. Disney executive Jay Fukuto asked me why I had done that: "I thought Frank hated it." That's why I did it, to annoy Frank and gratify myself.

Frank and I are all good again now. We look back on our Garg days and realize that we didn't even know how good we had it. But I'd say that in 1996 our relationship had deteriorated a bit. The stress of doing 65 episodes had taken a bit of a toll. We weren't at each others' throats or anything. But we were just a bit on edge. Like I said, ancient history. I'd love to work with Frank again now. But there you have it.

Lots of loyalty from Glasses. These second banannas always fascinate me. Of course, Xanatos usually treats Owen with the utmost respect. Dracon isn't quite as good a boss. He has a line of contempt after Glasses tells Dracon that the shopkeep [Matt] wants to meet with the boss. Dracon to Glasses: "And he knows it's not you." You wonder why Glasses puts up with it.

I love how quickly Dracon adjusts to the Gargoyles too. The concept of controlling them is so appealing, it submerges his fears. He quickly starts referring to them as Guests, and then as Partners. He even puts a hand on Goliath's shoulder -- briefly.

This guy seems to deal with bombs a lot. This time he hold it in his teeth, which I thought was cool.

Poor Mr. Jaffe. He gets robbed all the time. Then he has to put up with a Werefox attack. And now a particle beam battle.

And what's with those giant bags of flour? Who buys those?

And I wish those hidden cameras had actually been hidden.

I'm not in love with the battle choreography here. Elisa gets the jump on Dracon, which is okay, I guess, as he was hoping he could trust her. But then Dracon gets the jump right back. She should have been better prepared. It's all a touch clumsy.

Goliath's roar is interesting. Usually we use more effect and less Keith. This one is more Keith. A lot more Keith.

G's eyes are glowing as he takes Dracon into the air. But you'll notice they stop glowing just before he drops Dracon. This is a clue that he never really intended to let Dracon die. His anger has already ebbed. And after all, "Gargoyle justice is not human justice." Had this been Gargoyle justice, you get the sense that Dracon would have wound up, dare I say it, "Street Pizza."

Things wrap up. Chavez of course is still largely in the dark. But you'll notice that things were staged so that you could believe that Matt may or may not have been in the dark too. Since this episode was part of the same tier as "Revelations" we didn't 100% know for sure whether or not Matt would know about the Gargoyles by the time this aired. So we tried to play it ambiguously here.

Jalapeñas aside, I like the final scene between E&G. They reaffirm their mission and their love for each other. The first explicitly. The second implicitly.

Also we use the scene to justify why Dracon would buy something that I knew the audience wouldn't. "The corrupt are the first to believe that others can be corrupted." If you never thought for a moment that Elisa was dirty then there's hope for you yet. Either that, or your hopelessly cynical about the rules of television.

But did you still think she was a clone?

Anyway, that's my ramble. Where's yours?

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