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Blaise writes...

Hi again!

This question actually deals with the credits listing of the series (yeah, I know it seems I have too much time on my hands, but that's beside the point).
Two things about GARGOYLES' credits stood out. The first you already talked about--the writers recieving credit at the beginning of episodes during the first season. The second however I also found to be quite interesting--GARGOYLES actually gave a true cast list. Usually in these Disney shows, when the credits say, "With the Voice Talents of..." they just lump the actors' names together without telling who they played. GARGOYLES was the first Disney animated series I know of (BUZZ LIGHTYEAR did it later) that actually listed both the actors and the characters they played. This enabled me to (when I started taping the episodes and could hit pause) more fully discover just how diverse and talented this cast was. I could recognize names and see if a person played multiple roles, and I was quite pleased.

So...
1) Is there any story behind this, like there was for giving the writers' credit up front?
2) Whatever the case, I'm glad I could know who played who.

Thanks!

Greg responds...

I don't know if this would qualify as a story, but I liked how Batman the animated series listed who played who. It seemed to show more respect for the actors (and as I was a fan of Batman) more respect for the fans who might be VCRing the thing and want to know.

So we followed their lead. And I'm glad we did. I tried to talk SONY into doing that for Starship and/or Max Steel, but they weren't interested.

Response recorded on July 18, 2001

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Lady Leto writes...

First of all, I just wanted to say that I love Gargoyles and would like to thank you for sharing your idea with us.

I was watching the episode; 'Vendetta' and I couldn't believe Vinnie. I am very curious to find know, how did you think of this character?

Thanks for your time.

Greg responds...

A combination of factors went into the creation of Vinnie.

In no particular order:

1) We asked Jeff Bennett to play the role of a dumb Gen-U-Tech security guard. He put on this great Vinnie Barbarino voice (from Welcome Back, Kotter). It was hilarious.

2) I had this idea to do an episode about the nameless schlub that the gargoyles had effected without ever knowing it.

3) Brynne Chandler had this idea about Goliath getting a pie in the face.

4) I had a separate idea about Wolf and Hakon teaming up to get vengeance on Goliath.

It all just came together. Strangely. The episode was supposed to be a comedic change of pace from the rest of the series. I don't think the animation supported the comedy very well. But it was the first episode I ever voice directed, so I'm fond of it.

Response recorded on July 18, 2001

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John writes...

Hi Greg,
I've read your awnsers on my last two questions today, but unfortunately, you havn't understood them both. So, now I will explain them again:
Let's take the question with the actors first. Well, if there will ever be a movie, and if you will be able to work on it, I know, that you will do almost everything to get the voice actors in it. But, what if the pruducers or directors will tell you, that the movie needs some stars, who will get people in it, who are new to the show. I know, that all this will probably never happen, but use your imagination...
And for my second question, I meant an ep, in wich you will show, what would have happened, if the gargs would have allied with demona, or what would have happened, if ..., well, think about it
hope you'll understand
CU, John

Greg responds...

John,

1. I get it. I'm just not interested. It's a hypothetical based on a hypothetical based on a hypothetical. That stuff doesn't grab me.

2. Another "What if..." story. I get it. I understand. I just don't care.

Response recorded on July 11, 2001

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Sloth writes...

Did you have Characters for Gargoyles planed to use the the voices of: Patrick Stewert, Lenerad Nemoi, William Shatner or any other characters from star trek?
BTW, Gates McFadden isn't the voice of Fox is she? I don't think so, but I can't find her name on any credits, and that would be a good part for her.
Also, why were so many Star Treak actors used as voices, besides that most of them did great jobs(puck)?

Greg responds...

It doesn't work that way. We create characters first. Then we cast. We did try to get Patrick Stewart for a couple of parts, but he was too expensive for us.

Fox was voiced by Laura San Giacomo, who currently is part of the cast of "Just Shoot Me" on NBC.

And the reason we had so many Trek actors was because:

a) Marina auditioned for us and nailed the part of Demona.

b) Jonathan Frakes auditioned for us, and after us ****ing around for awhile, was cast as Xanatos.

c) After that when we were casting guest rolls, it was only natural to think of Trek actors since we already had two of them sitting in the booth.

d) I was not unaware of the publicity value, but we never cast a Trek actor just for the sake of casting a Trek actor. If they didn't seem right for the roll, we didn't consider them.

Response recorded on July 10, 2001

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Basilisk writes...

Did you know that in Disney's newest Animated Classic ATLANTIS: THE LOST EMPIRE, the Atlantean princess Kida is voiced by Cree Summer? She did a great job, but I found this a little disconcerting because I'm used to that voice yelling death threats, laughing psychotically, and hitting on any available machinary. :-)

Greg responds...

Yes, I very much knew that because I'm voice directing Cree as Queen Kida in the spin-off series Team Atlantis. It wasn't quite the shock to me, as Cree has done many, many voices since she was a little kid, including Penny, I believe in Inspector Gadget and Max in Batman Beyond as well as Hyena in Gargoyles.

Anyone who came to the Gathering learned all this first hand from Cree herself, who showed up on the 24th of June, despite feeling under the weather. She's just terrific. She's also a GREAT SINGER. She gave me a copy of her C.D. And she's recording a new one now.

Response recorded on July 09, 2001

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John writes...

Hi Greg,
Today no talk, just the question:
In "Sanctuary", Macbeth got a picture of Elisa hanging in his livingroom. Was that a joke by the writers, or have you too not noticed it untill yet?
By the way: do you know, that John Rhys-Davies will play Gimli in the Lord of the Rings movie?
OK, that's all
CU, John

Greg responds...

I knew John was in the movie, not what he was playing.

I have noticed that there is a picture that looks like Elisa. At present I have no explanation for it. It certainly wasn't in the script.

Response recorded on July 06, 2001

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John writes...

Hi Greg,

YEESSS!!! The contest is over! Strike! Ok, so let me think for a question...
How will the future in 2198 look like? Dark (like in Blade Runner) or the shiny-super-hero-future with no wars, no deseases etc.?
Ok, thank you for awnsering. Hope you will read this before the Gathering ( Sorry, can't come :-(. The 23 June is my birthday, and to fly from Berlin to LA is a toooo big birthday present :-((((() Anyway, hope you have, or had, some fun there. Greet Jonathan Frakes from me ;-)
CU, John

Greg responds...

Jonathan was in Israel during the Gathering, so I didn't see him.

The future looked bright in March of 2198. Not perfect, but pretty shiny. With a lot preserved intentionally from nature and older periods.

Things took a dark turn with the arrival of the Space-Spawn.

Response recorded on July 02, 2001

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Yttrium writes...

What is the story behind the "Better than Barney" thing?

---Ytt

Greg responds...

It's a long story. A Gathering Story. I just told it, like five times, last weekend. Bit burned out on it now.

Ask me some other time. Or come to G2002.

(But the short answer is that it's something that Bill Faggerbakke once said in defense of the series.)

Response recorded on July 02, 2001

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Demoness writes...

Were all the characters drawn to resemble, in some way, the actors/actresses that voiced them? Like Xanatos and Franks for example.

Greg responds...

No. Or at least largely no.

Xanatos was literally designed years before Jonathan Frakes was cast in the role.

Elisa's basic design didn't change much either, but we did send pictures of Salli Richardson to Mr. Takeuchi, the character designer who was working on her final model in Japan.

The human versions of Goliath, Hudson, Lex, Brooklyn and Broadway were influenced by the actors who played them. But only a bit. We had to stay faithful to the gargoyle base forms.

Response recorded on July 02, 2001

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Punchinello writes...

Hello Mr. Weisman.

I don't come here often, but occasionally I'm struck by the urge to quiz you on something. I was browsing the questions you're fielding, and I was struck again by something I notice every time I visit this page. There seems to be some preoccupation here with "the mind of the other." I noticed another poster make reference to your interest in it (although I cannot find any record of your having initiated the discussion).

While the series was still active I saw you invoke this theme frequently whenever you emphasized the cultural shock that the gargoyles experienced in modern America, and I appreciated the fact that you treated our linguistic tendencies to "name everything" as a curious human social construction. It helped to push the idea that these creatures were _not_ human and that we could not understand their natures or their motivations from within the context of human sensibilities. I see there is some similar talk here of the fay, and the notion that their essential nature might be something that is sufficiently far removed from humans so as to be outside our understanding. All of this puts me in mind of the anthropomorphic problem that the SETI administration outlined for dealing with the idea of extraterrestrial intelligence's. Human beings have a tendency to ascribe human values to non human species, and beyond that have considerable difficulty in contextualizing "the mind of the other" without unconsciously resorting to the context of human sensibilities.

Which brings me to the reason for this post; because being a student of the sciences (and probably less attached to my humanity than most people), I have found reason to be extremely critical of some of the aspects of the way the anthropomorphic problem is treated within the natural sciences as it applies to non-human animals. Generally speaking, my problem is that some of the more archaic ethical distinctions that are made between humans and other animals have their foundation in the premise that the ascription of certain mental capacities ( reflection, emotion, etc.) are the ascription of _uniquely human_ qualities. The fact that this premise, itself, is socially constructed rather than informed by data, seems to be lost on at least most _social_ scientists. What is troubling me is that I have begun to observe this kind of thinking migrate into the popular domain through science fiction. I don't really follow sci fi, but I've seen star trek, and I have had occasion to see the half-dozen or so other popular sci fi programs that one can find on television. I see a trend wherein the heroes casual disintegration of a planet is commonly justified with the hazily defined and indistinct ethics of "It did not harbor any sentient life."

This trend is scaring the hell out of me; because the expression "sentient" is not really used within the scientific community, so it does not have any agreed upon definition attached to it and there is no objective data informing the idea of it. The word seems to have infiltrated popular culture, however, where it finds frequent expression. That's what's bothering me. I see a lot of the same hazy ethical reasoning on this board. A number of messages expressing the confusion that humans in your story were subject to when they "mistook the gargoyles for animals rather than sentient beings" and in doing so, justified a campaign to exterminate them.

I would hope that a reasonable group of people would be given pause by the almost casual disregard for life that is being demonstrated with the prioritization of one life over another based upon the presence or non-presence of this seemingly magical endowment. Because if I am reading the intentions of the contributors to this board accurately, then it would appear their position is that if the occupants of that clock tower had been a group of stray dogs or a family of polar bears, then annihilating them with a wire guided missile would have been perfectly reasonable. "It's all right. It didn't harbor any sentient life." I would encourage the fans that come to this site to give some thought to what it is they mean by "sentience." What is the content of this sentience? If it entails that a creature can react to it's environment, anticipate, reflect and emote, then it should be pointed out that what available data exists indicates that this capacity is only about as exclusive a domain as most land based vertebrates.

I guess they shouldn't have disintegrated that planet after all. I hope to encourage others to give this issue the thought that it requires. I am also hoping to elicit some commentary from you, on the matter of how you perceive "the mind of the other." What mental distinctions do you draw between humans and gargates or faeries. I would be interested in hearing you address the notion.

Punchinello

Greg responds...

Thank you for writing. It certainly gets me thinking.

I'm probably as guilty as anyone of overusing, or rather overbilling the issue of "sentience". I think the concept has its uses. But it's probably used as a crutch too often.

Certainly, I don't want to see a family of polar bears, anthropomorphic or otherwise, blown up by a guided missile.

I don't much like the idea of destroying planets. In science fiction or otherwise.

As to this "mind of the other" concept...

Well for starters, I don't believe I did initiate the discussion of it -- unless you're including my constant admonishments to posters here that they are thinking like a human.

The previous post by Demoness and my response are a perfect example. She thinks Oberon is out of line. But she's thinking like a human, and a biased one at that. (I don't mean to pick on you, Demoness.) Oberon has a valid point of view. We may not like it, but it seems justifiable to me.

But the question of the mind of the other, was posted here initially by someone else. ( I can't remember who it was at this moment. ) I only just answered it in the last few days. Since you posted YOUR question, hopefully you've seen my response to that one.

And to reiterate, my response was that I'm still (in our universe) interested in the mind of US. Not the OTHER. But one way to explore that is to put ourselves in the shoes of the OTHER. Finding and describing and bringing the OTHER to life, whether as a Gargoyle or as a Child of Oberon, is for me an exercise in EXTRAPOLATION.

For example: If I was me, BUT I turned to stone every day AND I aged at half the rate I currently do PLUS most of my species had been exterminated 1000 years ago, ETC. -- then WHAT WOULD I BE LIKE?

For me, it's less about investing in species then in individual characters. Each with his or her own UNIQUE LIST of "extrapalatory parameters" (I just made that phrase up.)

It's really no different with a character like Elisa. After all, I'm a white Jewish male from California who has spent his entire adult life working in fiction. Elisa is an African-American/Native-American female from New York who's spent her adult life fighting crime. To understand her, I need to extrapolate.

However, in order to understand individuals of another species, I need to know more about that species. I need to envision the parameters that I will use to fully create their characters. So I've done that. In many ways, to me, gargoyle culture represent a kind of ideal. Not perfection, which doesn't personally interest me. But an ideal. Purpose. Loyalty. Oneness with the world they live in. Etc. I've borrowed things that I admired from multiple cultures and from my imagination, and I've tried to weave it into a coherent whole that fits the biology that I assigned them. These biological limits also create parameters for extrapolating character. Yes, the turning to stone thing. But also the group egg laying on a twenty year cycle. This naturally leads into the group child rearing thing. One is biological. One is cultural. But they are linked by extrapolation.

[Or... and I know this sounds silly but... perhaps they are linked by truth. By the fact that they exist in the Gargoyle Universe. As I've said many times before, sometimes this show flowed so well and easily, that it just seemed like I was tapping into something that existed. (But that's got nothing to do with this discussion, so let's ignore it.)]

And yet, from my point of view, all this is used to further illustrate the human condition. I don't think Oberon does or should think like us. But don't we all know a couple people with a little Oberon in them.

Keith David has said, as recently as seven days ago, that when he grows up he hopes to be like Goliath. And I personally think, that flawed as he is, Goliath is a wonderful role model. So we, as humans, can learn from Gargoyles. And we, as humans, can learn from Margot Yale as well. Maybe as a negative example. Maybe as something more down the road.

Ending Hunter's Moon with Jon Canmore becoming the human equivalent of Demona, was not an accident. They arrived at that point in two very different ways -- each, I hope, well informed by his or her species. (Or well extrapolated.) Nevertheless, the similarities between them are obvious and represent a "lesson" for us all.

All that stuff interests me MUCH, MUCH more than the exercise of creating something fully OTHER, just for the sake of achieving that.

Someday that may not be true. Aliens could land in Washington D.C. tomorrow and then comprehending the OTHER for the sake of understanding the OTHER will become a BIG priority fast. But for the time being, the human race is effectively alone in the universe. And before the aliens land, I'd like us all to get to know ourselves MUCH, MUCH better. In that sense, an Oberon, a Goliath, a Nokkar, are all just tools to that end.

The concept of sentience, comes in again, as I said, as a crutch. A convenient distinction between Bronx and Goliath, for example. Let's say you're from Russia. You don't speak English, and Goliath doesn't speak Russian. Still you have a hope that one or both of you may learn to speak the other's language. Dialogue is possible.

Bronx isn't ever going to speak Russian or English. That's the distinction. For what it's worth. In a moral sense, I'd say it's not worth MUCH at all. In a PRAGMATIC sense, we're not being honest if we don't admit it MEANS a lot.

Now. I don't think sentience is a WALL. Koko the gorilla can communicate in sign language. And I've got to say, I'm not sure that whales and dolphins aren't squealing complex philosophical discussions every day of the week. (Which is confusing because Dolphins have an eight day week, and whales have a thirty-seven day week. But what are you going to do?)

But even including a Bronx or a Cagney has value in the show. How do we respond to them. How do they respond to us? It's fun to do "The Hound of Ulster" and try to understand how an "animal" responds to various stimuli. It's still extrapolation. Now, with Bronx, I can cheat. I can keep him a beast and anthropomorphize him to my heart's content, because that species doesn't truly exist. I can make him as intelligent as I want. My goal there is to simply be consistent. Bronx can't start responding like Scooby Doo one day. You get the idea.

It's still about us understanding us and our place in the world. If in my own small way, I'm helping to open minds, helping to pave a bit of a way for when the aliens DO LAND, then great. But first and foremost, I'm asking us to KNOW OURSELVES.

Anyway, I feel like I'm starting to get repetitive. But this whole thread intrigues me. Feel free to post again with a follow-up. And everyone's welcome to join in.

Response recorded on July 02, 2001


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