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Jonathan M Perry writes...

WHo does the voice of Fox Xanatos? Its been bothering me for weeks.. please let me know. cavalier80@home.com

Greg responds...

Laura San Giacomo. Currently a regular on "Just Shoot Me".

Response recorded on July 01, 2001

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Demoness writes...

In your opinion, if Gargoyles ever became a motion picture, out of the well known actors, who do you think might best play Macbeth?

I say Sean Connery. He's got the looks (well use too, stick some hair on his head and he's fine), the accent, and he's played a King and warrior before. :)

Greg responds...

We just had this discussion here. Check out the Ask Greg Archives under Macbeth, or Live-Action Movie or Voice Talent.

Response recorded on July 01, 2001

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Jim R. writes...

If any of your spin-offs went through, do you think you would be able to get all the same voice cast back?

Greg responds...

Largely. Getting Roddy McDowell or Ed Gilbert might be tough.

Response recorded on June 29, 2001

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LSZ writes...

Of the more obscure(meaning you can't hear their regular voice elsehwere on tv or movies like say Jonathan Frakes or Kate Mulgrew) voice actors of Gargoyles, which character's voice did their usual speaking voice most closely assemble?

Specifically Jeff Bennett, Kath Soucie, Jim Cummings and Tress MacNeille?

Greg responds...

Uh, I'm not sure how to answer this.

I haven't worked with Tress that much.

Jeff sounds more like Brooklyn than either Owen, Vinnie or Magus, but he doesn't exactly sound like Brooklyn either.

Kath doesn't have a Scottish accent, so I guess she sounds more like Maggie than most of her other characters. But she doesn't really sound like Maggie either.

And Jim isn't really from Australia. And he doesn't really sound like Darkwing Duck.

Response recorded on June 28, 2001

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John writes...

Hi Greg,
I`m back (not as if annyone is interesting:), and here comes my question :

Jason Barnett writes...
You've stated that you'd like to see the people who voiced the characters portray them in a live action movie. However John Rhys-Davies would make a fairly poor MacBeth because of his size. So excluding him who would you like to see portray MacBeth?

your awnser:
I don't know. Connery? He's probably too old now. Guess we'd have to hold auditions. :)

Actually, I'm not sure I agree with you about John.

Well, now that is the first time, you say, wich Hollywood actor you would like to see in a gargoyles live action movie becides the voice actors. Are there anny more Hollywood actors, you would like to see in a G. movie?
Hope, you`ve understood me. It feels great to be back:)))
CU, John

Greg responds...

Welcome back, John.

But I don't really understand. Are you defining "Hollywood Actor" as something different from our cast, most of whom have acted "in Hollywood"?

Response recorded on June 27, 2001

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Blaise writes...

OUTFOXED

Okay, finally back on track since mid-March.

First off, yes I'll agree this ep had a few problems, which you pretty much pointed out in your ramble--animation problems, especially in relation to Goliath's size, and the extra flashback are somewhat annoying. Still, this ep did have some nice stuff. And the sound wasn't too bad, I still heard, and loved, Goliath's "That. Stings."

Anyway, as soon as I heard "Cyberbiotics" I was interested in where this would be going. Hearing the name "Renard" I instantly guessed some connection with Fox. Her being his daughter did cross my mind, but I didn't rule out any other possible relation to him.
(If I may digress here; I knew that "renard" was another name for "fox" from its usage in a children's book I had had for years, THE TOMTEN AND THE FOX. Just felt like mentioning that.)

As for Vogel...when I first saw him I laughed. I thought he was a wonderful in-joke, one of the best I had seen in any series. I'm surprised people had a problem with him looking like Owen (as I said, I thought it was extremely amusing). Of course, at the time I first saw the ep, I was surprised he ended up having as big a part as he did. I thought he would just have had that one appearance at the beginning and then, that was it. But he turned out to be a very important (and interesting) character in this episode.

Renard intrigued me...mostly because of his unhealthy appearance and use of a high-tech wheel-chair. Despite this, he had a reasonably strong voice and managed to "talk-down" to Goliath (something Todd and I both find amusing about the interaction between the two).

Fox: I loved seeing her in the "red sweater and tight, black pants" ensemble. Her fight with Xanatos was fun as well--he knocks her down once, she gets back up, pins his arm behind his back, and then takes him down with a flip. Fun!
I never picked up that Xanatos was afraid when he mentioned "test results." Probably because as soon as I heard that I figured out that Fox was pregnant (I was finally starting to expect greater things from this series).

Back on the Air Fortress--I had missed METAMORPHOSIS the first time this aired, so I didn't know who this "antonsevarius" was that Renard mentioned. I didn't pay it much mind though (after all, Renard had immediately before named Owen as an ex-Cyberbiotics employee, and that really interested me). Basically, I forgot all about it when I finally did get a chance to see METAMORPHOSIS, so when I watched OUTFOXED again, and heard Renard mention "Anton Sevarius," it was like finding out the connection for the first time.

On a similar (but not quite) note, when Renard mentioned "My Anastasia. My Janine." Well, I guessed right away that Janine was Fox's real name. I don't know why...maybe that just seemed to fit her better to me than Anastasia (who I then figured to be her mother).

Vogel's betrayal and return to Renard's aid were, in my opinion, handled quite well. I found Vogel's actions believable, and had no problem with his change of heart.

Goliath gives Renard a great speech on the difference between the minds of living beings and automotons, and the two have one of my favorite exchanges in the series.
RENARD: "One thing I do know is your debt to me has been paid in full. A ship for a ship. We are even."
GOLIATH: "No. We are friends."
RENARD: [laugh] Yes. Friends.

And then the tag! I knew Fox was the "Hang-gliding ninja" and that she was Renard's daughter by now. AND that she was pregnant. But I still enjoyed this tag. I really liked the discussion between father and daughter, and the way the revelations were handled. A very fun ep.

Another digression: When I showed this ep to my mother, she instantly recognized the voices of both Peter Scolari, and Robert Culp. Anyway, I thought they did great jobs, and I still love the little nuances Culp managed to invest in Renard.

Hopefully, I'll catch up with your rambles by tomorrow.

Greg responds...

I hope so. Cuz I like your rambles too.

Yeah, Peter and Robert were terrific.

And I'm glad the Fox stuff worked for you. It's a strange little episode, but it's also got some pretty revolutionary stuff in it. Kind of insidious that way.

Anyway, I'm fond of it.

Response recorded on June 21, 2001

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Yttrium writes...

Can you tell us of any particularly amusing/interesting garg reference in either MAX STEEL or 3X3 EYES?
Thanks.

---Ytt

Greg responds...

I can't think of any in max.

There are quite a few in 3x3, including the use of a lot of garg voice talent. For example, Keith David plays a cop and uses his Morgan voice. He also plays a much more startling character. It's a hoot.

There's a homeless guy who hums the gargoyle theme song. I did that voice.

Someone says, "What could be strong enough to leave claw marks in solid stone?"

And so on...

Nothing that didn't TOTALLY fit the context. We didn't want to abuse 3x3 for the sake of Gargoyles. But where it fit, it fit.

Response recorded on June 21, 2001

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Demona Taina writes...

This is another stupid question.. but you've said before that when one of your voice actors had a busy schedule that he/she could not get out of, you simply got another actor to play the part, like what happened with Maria Chavez and Margot Yale. What happened when one of the main characters' voices was unavailable? (Keith David, Thom Adcox, Marina Sirtis..) Did you postpone the recording session or something?

Thanks!

Greg responds...

We postponed recording them. We'd record the other actors and get Keith or whomever when we could. It wasn't usually too long a wait.

Response recorded on June 19, 2001

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Bethany writes...

This doesn't neccesarily have anything to do with gargoyles per se, but i was wondering if you had any advice for me on something: I'm a theater major, and looking into voice work, either for animated shows or commercials..is there anything in particular I should avoid/definetly do in looking for this sort of work? I am in the dark.

Greg responds...

For starters, where do you live?

If the answer is anywhere but L.A. or maybe New York, then my second question is When are you moving?

It's not impossible to have a voice career elsewhere, but the odds are stacked against it.

Once you're here there are classes I can recommend. But you can't take them long distance.

Response recorded on May 30, 2001

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matt writes...

ramble on "Revelations"-

first of all, the name is perfect for this episode, perfect!

ok, i agree, Tom Wilson is excellant in this episode, you can hear what he's thinking with his tone throughout the episode, both while narrating and not. its Tom's performance here that makes Matt one of my favirote characters.

until your ramble i had no idea that a different person was voicing Chavez, which is wierd cuz i usually notice things like that. oh, well, she did a great job!

when Matt first discovers the stuff in the clocktower i was horrified, "Oh no! He's going to discover the gargs and hate them!!" then i realized i've been wanting for Matt to discover the gargs since "The Edge"

until your recent posts i didn't realize that Mace ended up dying at Hotel Cabal, i figured that eventually the Illuminati came in and saved him. Hacker seemed too casual talking about Mace for me to think he died. actually for the rest of the series i was waiting for Mace to get his revenge on Matt and Goliath... guess not, huh?

this episode definetly had the best turn-to-stone scene in the series, its like Matt said, "Wow..." sometimes i'll watch just this part of the episode, its amazing, especially Bronx, i love his stance, beautiful.

Chavez's line to Elisa and Matt about finding each other is one of my favirotes. they were finally acting like real partners by "The Silver Falcon", now they are friends too. Chavez looks especially pleased with herself at this too, probably remebering Elisa's objections to a partner in "The Edge".

i'm happy Matt got his own episode, not just tagging along with Elisa and dissapearing at the right times, what a good episode too...

Greg responds...

Thanks. I'm fond of it too.

I just used Tom Wilson again on Team Atlantis.

I think he's terrific. He played Pete for me on Max Steel.

And he just played Ashton Carnaby on Team Atlantis. It was great to see him again.

Response recorded on May 02, 2001

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Kathy Lowe (AKA The Gatekeeper) writes...

Just my $.02 worth on "Outfoxed". I'll leave the in-depth analysis up to Todd and Aris.

When I saw Preston Vogel for the first time, I honestly thought that is was Owen. All the characters extremely complex; I never thought that it was a copout from an animation standpoint. I went right to wondering what Owen's hidden agenda was. All the other villains had a hidden agenda, why not Owen. His "I've got a secret" attitude was evident from "The Awakening".
By the end of the episode I started having doubts that Vogel was Owen, but I didn't entirely dismiss the idea until I watched "Golem". The amount of care that Vogel had to give to a very sick Renard was more time consuming that even Owen could handle.
While I was expecting a hidden agenda out of this episode, (how could I not, Xanatos was involved via Fox) I never expected it to be Fox's agenda which was her relation to Renard. While I definitely understood what the "Tests" were, my vocabulary is woefully inadequate, so I did not know that Renard meant Fox.
I was not surprised by a pregnant cartoon character. I grew up with the Flintstones; and Wilma being pregnant with Pebbles. Back then, knitting baby booties was the way to indicate that someone was expecting. (The last sentence is for those readers who are half our ages <g> Boy do I feel old)

Greg responds...

Yeah, me too.

Obviously, Fox wasn't as ground-breaking as Wilma. But I think she's up there.

Interesting side note, Laura San Giamcomo and Jonathan Frake's wife Genie Francis were both expecting at the same time as Fox.

Response recorded on May 02, 2001

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Jason Barnett writes...

You've stated that you'd like to see the people who voiced the characters portray them in a live action movie. However John Rhys-Davies would make a fairly poor MacBeth because of his size. So excluding him who would you like to see portray MacBeth?

Greg responds...

I don't know. Connery? He's probably too old now. Guess we'd have to hold auditions. :)

Actually, I'm not sure I agree with you about John.

Response recorded on May 02, 2001

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Blaise writes...

CITY OF STONE PART 3

Well, now that you mention it, I suppose the title doesn't adequately capture the full impact of the multi-parter (especially the flashbacks), but I never noticed it before. And it is still pretty cool.

Yeah, it always did bug me that Elisa was facing the wrong way and began talking when she reverted back (not only that, but her eyes somehow closed while she was still stone--and Owen somehow managed to stand straight up).

Owen's "awakening". Very rarely do we get that much emotion out of him. ;) And I love the look he has when he sees the phone cord is broken.
And then there's his line as he surveys the "clear signs of a struggle" in the studio--"You've managed to stop the broadcast I see." Or something like that.
It wasn't until after THE GATHERING that I knew what Xanatos was meant when he mentioned "mixing magics." Before that, I had always wondered what he had been referring to with that line. The spell seemed like it was of the Grimorum. But I let it slide until all was revealed, and then I marveled at how early this seed was planted.

The news scene is indeed quite fun. Wasn't that "I never watch television" woman the one from the Diamond Exchange back in HER BROTHER'S KEEPER? Who did her voice in this ep?

It's very hard for me to watch Macbeth, Duncan and their sons on their outing--especially how quickly Duncan seems to forget that Macbeth saved his life. Neil Dickson does some very good voice acting, as you have pointed out. It's especially good with some of the more inventive touches of writing, such as Duncan switching to the use of the "royal plural" when Macbeth pleads on behalf of Demona and the other gargoyles.

Ah, the Weird Sisters as the Witches. Y'know, I actually heard about a production of the play in which the Witches actually DID appear throughout the play in different guises--most noticably as three Nurses in the "Out, out damned spot" scene. It adds an extra power to their presence--especially in this four-parter. And I too like Luna's incredulous "You would lecture US on Fate?" Kath Soucie does some incredible voice-work throughout this series.

It took me a couple viewings before I could pick out Macduff, but it was fun once I did. I think he had a scar on his face...but I can't be sure.
One thing that bothers me about the "gargoyle smashing" sequence is that the animators can't seem to keep track of which gargoyle(s) was(were) smashed. Oh well, Demona's Second still makes a good impression. I just love the look he gives Demona when she says there's no one else fit to lead the last of the gargoyles. Talk about insulting!

Once again, Bodhe suggests the submissive action and once again Macbeth follows it. Says his good-byes (yes, it is quite touching, and the fear in Grouch's voice when she says "Husband?" after Macbeth's "Know that I will always love you" is quite good).
Macbeth's interchange with Demona and the Weird Sisters' spell...what can I say. It's well animated, well acted, and a wonderful sequence. I did indeed understand that the Wierd Sisters appeared differently to D and M, and I figured out most of the aspects of the spell that were revealed in Part Four (and may I just say, that the spell has rules the crueler side of me tends to revel in).

I always wondered what Demona was thinking when she saw Macbeth and Gruoch together--her face shifted from one emotion to the next (a far more guarded look) so quickly. Maybe that was her intent.

Love the battle, though I do wish we saw Macbeth putting up a better fight against Duncan. He probably would have--if Macduff hadn't tried to blind-side him. "Treacherous human" is right!
The globe was a cheat, yes. But its effect on Duncan remains one of my two favorite death scenes in GARGOYLES. How can you beat fire shooting out of a man's head and mouth?
Ed Gilbert sure read a great "THE NIGHT IS WON!" line. I don't know why, but it's appealing in a funny sort of way (maybe the crack in the voice).

Canmore proves that he inherited a bit of his father's mean streak--and deviousness. The mask of the Hunter passes on.
Meanwhile, Macbeth is crowned, and Demona named (and cheered by the humans). This is another of those "heart-breaking" scenes because I know that eventually things just have to fall apart. Still, it is nice to see everyone happy for this brief moment. And if you look in the crowd scene, you'll see a brunette-woman who shares Princess Katharine's fashion sense. ;)

I recognized the Sisters as Police officers (and liked it).
I picked up on the "semi-running gag" of "That's one way to end an argument" when Elisa and Owen turn to stone mid-struggle.

One of my favorite exchanges:
GOLIATH: What is Elisa doing here?
BROOKLYN: She doesn't look happy.
XANATOS: Owen sometimes has that effect on people.
It's just so fun.

I figured there was something behind the tapestry when so much emphasis was placed on Bronx clawing it. And I knew Bronx was going to save Elisa as soon as the cliff-hanger happened. I still didn't like having to wait for the next episode, though.

Multi-parter's coming to an eventful end, sure enough.

Greg responds...

I don't think it was the same woman from the Diamond Exchange. The voice here was Rachel Ticotin's.

And Ed Gilbert was just great. He's sorely missed.

Response recorded on March 13, 2001

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Chapter XXVIII: "Revelations"

Time to Ramble...

Fueled by (what I perceived in my own mind to be) the success of "City of Stone", I began to get more daring in my story structure. In Revelations, Cary and I utilized the time-honored tradition of "in medias res", where a story starts in the middle and catches the viewer up along the way. (Thanks, Homer.)

We also used voice over narration for the first time. It's interesting because Matt just seemed like a perfect character to do that kind of Philip Marlowe naration. But at the same time, it was daring, because of course, Matt is not a regular. The audience didn't know him that well. I think it showed the strength of our supporting cast that Matt could carry a show like this. Of course, having the massively talented Tom Wilson playing Matt helped. I knew he could handle it. And he did. Tom is terrific and VERY funny in the booth. I hope someday he gets his own tv show. (I also loved him as Coach Fredericks on Freaks & Geeks.)

The basic springboard for this episode came from four sources.

1. The notion that eventually Matt would have to find out about the Gargoyles. We didn't want to just throw it away or constantly come up with new excuses why he had "just missed them" or whatever.

2. Matt's pursuit of the Illuminati. What began as a Michael Reaves throwaway line in "The Edge" had evolved into its own subplot. Cary's "Silver Falcon" had taken us to the next level of hearsay. It was time to finally bring the Society into the series.

3. Disney's desire to do a cross-over event with their new "TOWER OF TERROR" ride down in Orlando. Unfortunately, they had wanted this much earlier -- in 1994. We had piggy-backed our World Premiere Screening of Gargoyles down in Florida in September of 1994 with the press event for the Tower's Grand Opening. (That's how Keith David, Marina Sirtis, Salli Richardson, Gary Krisel and I wound up riding the Tower of Terror together on the night before it opened to the general public.) But this was the soonest we could fit the notion into our continuity. You'll see in the memo that I just posted previous to this ramble, that when we were at the outline stage, I was still trying to more firmly tie the two properties together. Partway through the script process, someone at Disney changed their mind. They didn't want the tie-in anymore. I shrugged, I think. And the HOLLYWOOD TOWER became the HOTEL CABAL.

4. An episode of the British TV series, THE AVENGERS, called something like "The House That Jack Built". This was a classic that we ripped off shamelessly. (Wait, wait, I mean we paid it homage shamelessly.) It was about this nutty house designed, I believe, to trap spies inside and drive them bonkers and break them. Sound familiar? John Steed and Emma Peel redone as Goliath and Matt. Didn't you notice the resemblance?

(Gee, so far I've credited Raymond Chandler, Homer and THE AVENGERS as influences. What a fun episode.)

We reintroduced Hacker, mostly so that we could bookend him at the end as Matt's new Illuminati contact. This was something that Cary and I planned as far back as Silver Falcon. We always had to keep Hacker's agenda straight. Make sure any info he gave Matt was a wild goose chase, at least as far as Hacker knew.

In this episode, and only in this episode, Maria Chavez is played by the talented Elisa Gabrielli (also known as Obsidiana). Rachel Ticotin, our usual Chavez, was just unavailable. So Elisa filled in. She has a lighter sound. But I think it works. Did anyone notice? Both Elisa and Rachel are great. I used Elisa as the Doll Demon in 3x3 Eyes (now available on VHS and DVD).

My 3 year old son Ben, who at this point is used to me writing down what he and his older sister says during these viewings told me to write down the following: "When it's night, Demona's a gargoyle. When it's day, she's a human. He likes it when Demona's a human." This had absolutely nothing to do with this episode, but hey, who cares?

I really loved what Ed Asner did with the throwaway character of Jack Dane. "Tell him he's a bum." Dane was so much fun, I brought him back for TURF later.

CONTINUITY

Matt climbs into the clock tower and finds the TV he helped Elisa with on the day they met. That was fun. This whole episode ties back to Matt's Illuminati musings in "The Edge". It was nice to find another connection. Also, Elisa's been lying to him as long as they've known each other. Nice to remind the audience of that as well.

I like the "family of gorillas" line.

"The Dental Plan" line is vintage Cary Bates.

Elisa: "Matt, you haven't said three words all night..."
Matt: "Let me drive." HEY! THREE WORDS! :) This is fun because, I always thought of Elisa as someone who was such a control freak, she never let her partner drive her car. A big part of this episode, though it could easily sneak past you what with everything else going on, is revealing more facets of Elisa's personality. We learn much more about her and she grows here too.

It's fun to establish Xanatos as "a lower eschelon member". Immediately makes the Illuminati impressive, if Xanatos barely registers on their scale. Also sets up eventual conflicts with him.

First act cliffhanger: Here the threat is Matt. Again, how well did you all think you knew Matt? Here we're inside his point of view -- his narration. But we still try to play him edgy enough that we don't know if he'll kill them both. It helps that we opened with the shocker that he betrayed Goliath to Mace. How many people bought that? Thought Matt was the Judas that Mace said he was?

Anyway, I really like this scene. Elisa yelling at Matt. Matt getting out of the car and yelling at... no one. And Elisa's quiet revelation that Matt isn't crazy... "They don't follow me everywhere." Again, this line was as important for Elisa as for Matt. Sure she can count on the Gargoyles for help. But I never wanted it to seem like Lois and Superman. Like he was always around or would here her with super-senses everytime she screamed. Most of the time, Elisa's on her own.

"This time I'll drive."

Fun to see the gargoyles reactions when Matt is introduced. Goliath's not upset. He appreciates that Elisa has a loyal partner and probably gave her permission to bring Matt in from the cold long before. The truth is they know Matt already.

Elisa: "better late than never".

And then immediately Goliath is suspicious. "Trust is not... to be bartered."

As creators, we were playing both ends here. Omitting pieces of conversation. Trying to get the audience to believe that Matt might in fact be betraying G. But also making it believable that in hindsight, he wasn't. Not cheating, in other words.

At this point, my six year old daughter Erin said: "I don't like Bluestone in this one. He's usually very nice. But in this one he's mean." That's how she saw him. Not righteously angry with Elisa for the lies. Just mean.

It took remarkably more effort than I'd have expected to get things to hook up with our Teaser from the beginning of the act. To help, I reused a couple of Mace's line as prompts to the audience.

It's fun to hear Tom Wilson playing Matt playing at being a bad guy.

I like all the hotel references. "Check out time" etc.

Mace falls down the shaft and grabs the cables with his bare hands. One hundred years old or not, that's gotta hoit.

I like Matt using his coat as a parachute. That wouldn't be necessary except for that darn Gallileo. If it weren't for him, Goliath, being heavier, could have fallen faster than Matt to catch up to him. :)

And of course, I enjoy the irony of Mace being trapped in a Hell of his own making. And i like the notion that the Illuminati just left him there to rot. He had outlived his usefulness. A non-member had found him thanks to his annoying sentimental habit of visiting Pine Lawn. AND he had failed to hold the Gargoyle in the Cabal. Breaking a perfect record. Woops.

Goliath refers to Bluestone as his friend. That's to make sure the audience is clear that Goliath was in on the plan from the beginning. Later, I gathered, some people still didn't get that.

We have a great Turning to Stone sequence here. Every once in a while it's nice to remind the audience that this is unique and special. Seeing it through a new characrer's eyes is a great way to do that.

I love Elisa and Matt's conversation. Elisa reveals that she's subconsciously been keeping the gargs to herself because it made her feel special. Explains a lot about "Her Brother's Keeper", doesn't it? And Matt admits to something similar. I think we all do little things to help ourselves stand out, even if no one notices them but us.

Maria then helps us see that Matt and Elisa are going to be okay.

And finally, our Hacker tag. (This episode had like six tags.) Matt gets his pin. I thought that was kinda cool...

What say all of you....


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Chapter XXVII: "Outfoxed"

Time to Ramble...

My three year old son Ben watched the opening titles for about the five hundredth time. On the one hand, he made the point that it was getting dull seeing this same opening. He wanted me to fast-forward to the actual story.

On the other hand, he spent the time reviewing "the rules". How the gargs turn to stone during the day. How Goliath is the leader. Etc.

One thing we always cheated on was how Fortress-2 landed. There it is on the ground awaiting it's maiden voyage, and I just don't see any landing gear.

Vogel is introduced. This is another thing where I had to carefully explain my long-term intent behind the screen in order to get a model for the character that really looked like Owen but wasn't his twin. I remember a lot of people on the Disney Afternoon mailing list reacting negatively to Preston in this episode. Like he was a feeble imitation of Owen. Like we didn't know how to do any other kind of executive assistant. I was simultaneously amused and annoyed by those kind of comments. So now I'm curious. What was your initial reaction to Vogel? And what do you think of him now?

As usual, Travis has old-school attitude when interviewing his subjects. I like that. Makes him more of a character and not just a reporter place-holder.

Fox in casual clothes. With a very casual, yet strangely intense attitude. "I know what happens next," Fox says to David.

My six year old daughter Erin asked, "Why is she watching [Travis' report] like that?" She could tell something was up there.

And in fact, like UPGRADE, this was another episode where we were intentionally trying to show that Fox was David's equal. We show it physically in their martial arts work out. And we show it by giving her a ruthless and complex plot to take Cyberbiotics. In fact, in this episode, when you add in the fact that David is clearly in the dark about her pregnancy test, she seems to be a little equaler than he is.

Fortress-2 takes off. And Goliath sends us into flashback. This is flat-out padding. For some reason, though the script is the same basic length as any of our scripts, this one timed out short after story-boarding was done. (Most of my stories time out too long.) So we added this flashback. I think it was a mistake. It kills the stories momentum, and we already had the sequence later where Renard shows all the important scenelets to Goliath. Those become incredibly redundant. When you add in the "Previously on Gargoyles" opening, it was just too much.

Elisa reveals the show's Hill Street Blues influence by telling Goliath to "be careful out there."

Goliath gets attacked by cybots. As noted, any individual cybot is no match for him. But they have strength in numbers. I wanted to show that Goliath can still kick some ass when motivated. So the cybots shoot at him. And his only response is "That. Stings." Very intense. Unfortunately, I think sound-wise the line gets buried.

And that's a general problem with the episode. On a technical level this just wasn't one of our best. The animation isn't awful, but it's mediocre. Goliath's size relationship gets screwed up here and there. (Particularly in the brig sequences.) The story's padded by flashbacks. Our normally great sound team, didn't do the most inspiring job on this one either. It just generally feels like one that got away from us.

I still think there's some great stuff in it. And the revelation of Fox's pregnancy actually makes it something of a landmark (both for our series and for animated series in general), but the execution never quite lived up to its potential. Oh, well.

CONTINUITY & INTRIGUE

Did anyone remember Cyberbiotics before this ep? Had you ever wondered who Xanatos was stealing from in the pilot? We knew that Cyberbiotics abandoned their underground base, which became the home of the Mutates. Now we were rebuilding the air fortress and revealing that the CYberbiotics Tower is still in business.

Also, Renard mentions Gen-U-Tech. And the revelation that Sevarius and Burnett used to work for Cyberbiotics. Of course, Renard thinks that Xanatos stole Sevarius and Owen away. We know better. We knew even then that Sevarius is much better suited to work for a man like Xanatos than Renard. And of course, now we know why Owen was Xanatos-bound as well. But what did you guys think of that minor revelation at the time?

Renard's opinion of Xanatos is probably colored by his relationship to his daughter: "And that's the least that viper has stolen from me." Did you stop at that moment to consider what that meant and what he meant by the "My Anastasia. My Janine." line? Did anyone (from Renard's name, if nothing else) guess that Fox was his daughter, before the tag? Who did you think Anastasia and Janine were at that time? Or did Goliath's follow up line, "My angel of the night." distract you from considering these questions?

At this point, just before the Janine line, Erin (who has seen these before, but not recently) remembered: "That's Fox's daddy!"

Goliath has some cool lines here too. "I belong to no one." "I serve no master."

And Renard (voiced by Robert Culp to perfection) has some great lines too: "Not my fault, not my fault. You sound like every human employee I've ever FIRED." and "Take some responsibility."

What was fun for me, although maybe for no one else, was (a) to get some hard thoughts about both the need and the difficulty of maintaining personal integrity up onto the screen and (b) doing that by lecturing to Goliath, arguably one of the most "integrous" characters I've ever written. (b) served (a), by showing that even Goliath can be prone to slipping.

The thing is that integrity really matters to me. And yet, I don't know how much of it I exercise in my own life. I really do try. But it's so hard. And not because I'm a dishonest person, but more because I'm lazy. It's easier to shift blame, to tell white lies, etc. The alternative takes effort and vigilance. I think the rewards are immense, even if the costs are too. But I ain't kidding myself about the difficulty.

The martial arts scene. Reminiscent of the scene from the Edge where Owen toppled David. Here we hinted even more strongly that Fox is Renard's daughter. David is basically giving her permission to back out of the plan, to save face and exit, BEFORE she destroys her father. It's not that David really cares about Halcyon. I think he's thinking about his relationship to his own father. David likes to believe (at this stage in the series) that he's evolved beyond the need for a parental relationship. But "Vows" sort of demonstrates that his relationship with Petros is much more complex than that. David still needs parental approval and is somewhat amazed (at least subconsciously) that Fox does not. Again, in this episode, Fox is more than his equal.

And now the doctor calls with test results. David shows legitimate fear here for a moment. He's not thinking pregnancy. He's worried maybe she's sick or something. She enjoys toying with him. Maybe she's just in a mood. But her armor is on in force in this ep. We won't really get INSIDE Fox until "The Gathering" two-parter.

Finally, Goliath acknowledges his crime: "I was wrong." Cary had this great line for Renard: "I'm glad you're gargoyle enough to admit it."

Robert Culp and Peter Scolari were an interesting pair as Renard and Vogel. Culp was tough in the booth. Very precise. Very clear ideas about how he wanted to play the character. Tougher on his performance than Jamie and I were. And the results show.

Peter was a dream to work with. We spent an hour talking after the recording (about Busom Buddies, mostly). He's an incredibly nice guy. And he picked up the character right away. Despite the fact that we didn't have Jeff Bennett there to do a little Owen for him. He just got it.

Until the end, Vogel really plays Renard in this. He knows how much Renard hates whining blame-shifters, so he's constantly saying things like "You can place the blame on me if you like." in order to defuse any of Renard's suspicions.

But in a more subtle way, Renard is unwittingly playing upon Vogel as well. He doesn't intrude on Vogel's phone calls. He treats him with respect and gives him credit ("You and I built this ship together"). Insists that Vogel save the people in the tower, even if it means Renard's own life. We can see that Vogel was willing to take Fox's money for a bit of corporate espionage. But Vogel is not a killer. (It's important to see that he views Goliath as a creature.) This partially explains his turnaround at the end. (Which some people complained about.) All along he's been trying to get Renard to GET OFF THE SHIP. But Renard forces his hand. And when push comes to shove, Vogel likes Renard too much to see him die. "Mr. Vogel, I knew you wouldn't let me down." "You have that effect on people." And then Goliath basically bluffs him at the end there into confessing, screwing up their relationship.

But Goliath fixes it again. His last discussion with Renard sets up the reconciliation between them that must have taken place before "Golem".

At any rate, it's also nice to see Goliath make a NEW friend. This was important, because that has always been Goliath's goals. To make friends with humans on his own terms. Every once in a while, we had to show it working. Couldn't just be ONLY Elisa forever.

Ben weighed in at this point and said, "Daddy, I love Xanatos. And I love Fox." Of course, Ben and Erin dressed up as David and Fox at the last Gathering. In fact they dressed up in the martial arts outfits from this episode. Thus the affinity. I once played Theseus in the play THE WARRIOR'S HUSBAND. And Edmund in KING LEAR. It gave me an on-going affinity for both characters and awakened my interest in "The Bastard" archetype.

Now the tag. I'm usually pretty proud of our tags. They often advance the overall story as much as the entire episode. But this is one of my favorites. "Hello, Janine." "Hello, daddy." Was anyone ready for that? And her attitude: "Almost got you that time, didn't I?" The whole sense that Fox is in all this just for kicks. She's not as acquisitive as her husband. He'd always take the path of LEAST resistance to a goal. If Renard would give Janine the company, X would suggest she ask for it. But she doesn't care about the company. ONLY the game. X likes the game. But he's about RESULTS. All established in one little scene.

And of course that slick little pregnancy revelation. I think that was one of the most revolutionary and flat-out subversive things we did on the whole show. Was anyone ready for that? We had hinted at it with the "genetically compatible" line in "Eye of the Beholder" and obvioulsy with "It's your doctor... with test results." But I think it was quite the shocker.

And Fox is so tough. Pregnant and back on the hang-glider. I love it.

Okay, I'm done. You're turn. Ramble away...


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Tk writes...

Hey I'm Back, not that it really matters much.
Anyway,ok i hav eto ramble about something and i hope it won't affend you or anyone who reads this.
The rumor of a live action movie has been around. (don't get annoyed i haven't said anything yet) I think that great,great that the story is being (excuse the word) resurected.(not that is was ever gone in the eyes of the fans)But does it have to be a live action movie. I just think that kind of ruins the story we (as the fans) have come to love.unless you were going to have the same cast for the parts as you did the voices. Sound is a big memory trigger and for all the people who watched it before want it to be like they knew it. I personally hate it when a story continues however it does and the voices or character change. I don't know maybe it is just me. I just think that there would be nothing wrong with an animated one, I mean the show was animated to begin with. I also really feel strongly on the voice thing. Voices should stay the same.I think that a live action might reck the story. Like (and forgive me for using this example some people can't stand it)the Harry Potter thing, brilliant books that the world fell in love with ,but the movie is going tobe live and i think that recks it. We no longer can imagine what the character are like because we will be told. I don't know, am i making any sense? Please tell me what you think, what are your views on this, what do you hope for the movie, what do you hope doesn't happen, what do you want. And please tell me if what i'm saying makes sense, please rip it apart and criteac it.
Thank you so much for listening.

Greg responds...

I'd love to do an animated movie that CONTINUES the story. But that's not being presented as an option.

So instead, I believe, they are planning a Live-Action movie that ADAPTS the story (at least to some degree). Sometimes this works. (Superman the Motion Picture). Sometimes it doesn't. (The Shadow.) So in theory, I have no objections, and in fact am rooting for the picture, for both its creative and commercial success -- if for no other reason than it increases the odds of the animated tv series coming back.

As to the actors, well, I would hope that they cast Keith as Goliath, Marina as Demona, Salli as Elisa, Jeff as Brooklyn, etc. Assuming all those characters are still in the movie script. Of course, I have no control over that, but I can dream...

Response recorded on February 08, 2001

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DCB writes...

I understand that Frank Welker did the voicework for Bronx. But was it also him who did the assorted animal-type noises that were mixed with the speaking gargoyles' speech (i.e., Goliath growling, Brooklyn's groan of realization/surrender on the rooftop in ''Temptation'' (''Demona: Do you really think they would accept us with open arms?'' Brooklyn: *groans* ''No.''); Hudson's war cry as he descends upon the Steel Clan robot in ''Awakening, Part Five'')?

I think it turned out to be a poorly organized question, but I should let you be the judge of that.

Greg responds...

It's organized fine. But no. Frank did many animal noises for us that were blended with various monsters, like Nessie and Thunderbird, etc. And of course he did Bronx, Boudicca, Gilly and (sometimes) Cagney. But the human voices that were blended with sound effects for each individual gargoyles were the voices of the individual actors who portrayed those gargoyles.

I remember, for example, that when Brigitte Bako first joined the cast, her roars were pretty feeble. But by the time the second season ended she could scare the pants off you. Keith, Jeff, Thom and Bill were all naturals at it.

Response recorded on February 01, 2001

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Jim writes...

Do you know where I could find a single site that could tell me what other sorts of films, shows, etc. that the voice actors of the Gargoyles series starred or voiced in?

Greg responds...

Nope. Anyone else?

Response recorded on January 31, 2001

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Maxy Steel writes...

Hey Greg!

1. I noticed that Gregg Rainwater voiced "Jake Nez" in Max Steel, and "Jake MacDonald" in 3x3 eyes. Was there some kind of joke or connection with having the same first name for both characters, or just a really strange fluke?

2. I know that Max doesn't always wear the chest plate. (like how he didn't have it for most of "Scions") I was curious, does that thing do anything interesting? Hold water, contain weapons, possibily a swiss army knife?

3. I know that in "Sacrifices" Rachel and mant of the other agents had pistols or some kind of fire arm. Since this is a kids show, I was kind of surprised by that. So, out of curiosity, do most agents have a weapon at all times? I can see why max wouldn't need one, but others like Rachel, Jake, possibly Berto if he ever left N-tek?

-Maxy Steel

Greg responds...

1. Just a fluke. I named Jake Nez. But the Jake MacDonald character was already named when I came onto 3x3. Gregg was just great in GARGOYLES, voicing Coyote Trickster and Natsilane. He's been a favorite of mine ever since, so I try to use him on every project.

2. Don't know. I was not involved in the animation or design. Ask Mattel, I guess.

3. 'Berto maybe not. He doesn't usually go out in the field, and when he does, I'm not sure it occurs to him to grab a piece. Max, no. Rachel, yes, in my mind. But I'm not sure the WB agrees.

By the way, 3x3 Eyes is now available on video. And coming soon to DVD.

Response recorded on January 26, 2001

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NZGargFan writes...

Q2:

I read somewhere that Elisa Maza was the cartoon drawing of actress Salli Richardson. Is this true? Were any of the other character's based on the actors/actresses voicing them? Thank you once again for your time.

Merry Xmas, and All the Best in 2001!

Greg responds...

It's kinda true.

We had a very similar drawing of the character "Elisa Chavez". Not different enough for anyone to notice in passing. But when Salli was cast, we changed her ethnic heritage from Hispanic to African/Native American to match Salli's ethnic heritage. Elisa Chavez became Elisa Maza. And we gave Salli's photos to our designers so that they could split the difference between our original Elisa and Salli. And in fact, back when Salli had long hair, there was a striking resemblance between her and her character.

People said the same thing about Xanatos and Jonathan Frakes. But that was coincidence. Xanatos was designed before Frakes was cast. Later, Jonathan would occasionally trim his beard to match Xanatos, for example when he was playing Riker's clone. Or when he did some publicity for us.

The only other time when designs were based on performers was in the episode "The Mirror". Although constrained by the basic look of our gargs, we tried to get a flavor of Keith David, Edward Asner, Jeff Bennett, Bill Fagerbakke and especially Thom Adcox Hernandez into the human versions of Goliath, Hudson, Brooklyn and especially Lex.

Response recorded on January 26, 2001

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Chapter XXIII: "City of Stone, Part Two"

Time to ramble...

Xanatos again does equally well as hero and villain, as he opens the episode saving his and Fox's lives.

He's got some nice lines here too:

Another reprise of Launchpad McQuack's old: "Any landing you can walk away from..."

"At least she's not chipped."

"Demona and I need to have a little talk."

"No sense hailing a cab." Or stealing one. I'm not sure if it's clear, but we wanted to give the impression that traffic was hopelessly stalled by all the stone people behind the wheels of their cars. And that Xanatos would have to hoof it.

And then it's back to the clock tower where my favorite line is Brooklyn's as he's looking at what he thinks is a statue of Elisa:

"The nose is all wrong." Gotta love a critic.

Goliath doesn't objectively know that the statue is really Elisa, but his instincts are clearly firing up early warning signs.

Meanwhile, my daughter Erin is busy advising all of us: "They should make sure... cuz that's really her!" and "I bet they're going to Elisa's house." Which they weren't.

CONTINUITY
Originally, we had planned to (as usual) leave Hudson behind with Bronx. But we switched it to Broadway, so that Hudson could come with and reestablish his fine relationship with Robbins. I should point out that we BEGAN work on City of Stone before Lighthouse. We knew we needed a blind man for City. That blind man was then developed for Lighthouse, making for a great scene in City. Sometimes, things just seemed to work.

Brooklyn still hates Demona intensely. Forcing Goliath to compensate.

My son Ben was all nervous that "They're gonna turn to stone again." He was vague on who the "THEY" were.

Demona's reign of terror on the statues presented us with interesting S&P problems -- and some bizarre but VERY FUN solutions. Adrienne understood the necessity of having Demona blow up and/or smash a few of the stone humans. Even though the implication was death for those people. She was okay with it on the condition that we didn't spell it out, because, at worst, the death's were so fanciful, they certainly weren't imitatible. But she did want us to limit the number of deaths. So at one point she nixed the idea of blowing up yet another statue, but allowed us to blow up the shopping bags (and hand and arm) of one. This seemed less harsh to her. Of course, bloodthirsty lot that we were, we loved it. Because if you think about it, it was certainly more horrific come sunrise.

I finally saw the two statues that people thought were Brendan & Margot. Certainly, they looks like them a bit. But trust me. Two different people got destroyed. That woman was a brunette. And the guy was wearing a toupee.

At this point, Benny became as concerned as Goliath that Demona would shoot Elisa.

Then we segued into our flashback and Benny was still trying to figure out why Demona scratched Gillecomgain in the previous episode. Erin, meanwhile, wanted to know why Gille was wearing a mask.

Me, I'm still fascinated with Bodhe for some reason. I love how he talks big at first, until Mac makes it clear that he's not going to obey. Then he goes into pleading mode.

I also love the scene with Gruoch on Lunfanan Hill. Very heartbreaking and romantic. Did kinda make me wonder what would have happened if Macbeth had just said "Screw it!" and spirited Gruoch away with him. What would there lives have been like then?

The Weird Sisters are fun at the wedding. I like the line: "Certainly not our hero." It's one of those self-aware-tv-moments-that-ride-the-edge of which I'm so fond.

I also really like Duncan's scene with Macbeth after the wedding. He's such a manipulative bastard.

And now we begin to parallel similar scenes in City One. The Weird Sisters again go to Demona to get her to ally with Mac.

Demona: "Ally with a human. Never Again." Well, obviously Demona should never say never again, but in this context she's thinking about her alliance with the Captain and the tragedy that led to.

There's a nice little beat with Gruoch's rose. Gruoch seems cold to her new husband Gillecomgain. We wonder if we should feel some sympathy for a man who has married a woman who loves another. We wonder if he has feelings for her as he gently takes up the rose she was sniffing. But then he crushes it underfoot, so basically we feel okay about hating him again.

Erin asked: "Why'd he step on it?"

And I didn't want to answer, because the writers are trying to manipulate you.

Ben answererd for me: "Because he's a bad hunter." A much cleaner explanation, don't you agree?

Notice here that Mac is not yet the fighter that he someday will be.

Notice also if you watch all four parts of City of Stone together that Emma Samms who voiced Gruoch -- but had never done voice work before -- gets progressively better with every episode. She's somewhat stiff in City One. As with many live-action actors, she's unused to using her voice alone to project subtleties. She's a bit better here. But by City Four, she's rockin' the joint with some really powerful work. I can't remember when I've ever seen any performer push the learning curve that quickly. Most either get it or don't. A few of those who don't, slowly improve with practice. Emma just revved UP.

Did anyone else feel that we went to the well with that long drop from the Terrace at Castle Moray once or twice too often? Again, we were trying for parallelism, but I hope it didn't get boring.

Erin: "I like Macbeth when he was a little boy. I don't like him when he's a grown up." (I think she meant she liked the younger red-headed heroic Macbeth in general in these City flashbacks. Didn't like him as a present day villain in Enter Macbeth, etc. This actually pleases me a great deal. It's the ability to create sympathy in villains that separates Gargoyles from many of its rivals.)

I love that moment when Demona rips the mask off. Gille indicates his scars, "'Tis you're handiwork, remember?" And Demona honestly and simply answers "No." And he goes BERSERK! Bad enough she scratched him and altered the entire course of his life. But that the event was so insignificant to her that she doesn't even remember it...! Now THAT pisses him off.

Gillecomgain should have known: "Live by the drop, die by the drop." As he follows Findlaech's course to doom.

I also like the little moment o' connection between Mac, Gruoch and Demona. Demona actually says Thank You to a human.

And another wedding. Two in one episode. Bodhe introduces: "Lord and Lady Macbeth!" I wanted to get the designation 'Lady Macbeth' in here somewhere. Just to provide more obvious contrast between our version of Gruoch and Shakespeare's.

I also get a kick out of the chilling little scene back in the present with Brooklyn & Goliath. Brooklyn bringing up the "Massacre at Castle Wyvern". Fearing that Elisa could wind up a victim too. This sets Goliath off to the point where he is CLEARLY thinking that he needs to KILL Demona now. "Once and for all." And then those creepy little stone Weird Sisters. Yikes.

Then Xanatos has finally made it across town and is back in hero mode. He saves Owen. And shuts off the broadcast, clearly thinking that that will break the spell. At least, I hope that was clear. Honestly, I'm not sure if it was. I wanted the audience to think that would work. Then be surprised when it doesn't. Did that work for anyone?

The "Hunter" shows up. Demona at first recognizes only the mask. How many times must I destroy you?! she says. A hint to events in the past of both City and Hunter's Moon. But than when she sees him feeling her pain, she knows exactly who's behind that mask. I'm curious how many people picked up on that. This was the first time we showed them feeling each other's pain. The first time we had them in real proximity to each other.

Their fight is kinda cool. There's a neat moment when Macbeth is flying Demona like a kite. And he's very gutsy throughout, leaping after her. Of course, he's semi-suicidal, so it's no surprise he's fearless. But we don't know that yet.

And finally, our cliffhanger. X is so sanguine. "You want vengeance or a solution?" And we end on a surprising image: Goliath and Xanatos shaking hands. Now, it's like no big deal. They ended up teaming upfrequently. But I thought that then, it would be startling.

WHAT DID YOU ALL THINK?


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Melissa writes...

Hey Greg

I don't know if you have ever heard of the VH1 show, "The List", but on Monday (12/4), Salli Richardson was a guest on the show!

I was so thrilled when I found out that it was her. I had seen her before in a Deep Space Nine episode, but since then I was waiting to see her again . Infact, I didn't even recognize her because she cut her hair really short. I thought she looked great and it was really good to hear Elisa's voice again.

Greg responds...

I don't watch it, but Salli is, I believe, a regular (short hair and all) in FAMILY LAW, a CBS drama that airs on Monday nights, I think.

Response recorded on December 22, 2000

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Corrinne Blaquen writes...

Greg, have you done any voices on Gargoyles?

Greg responds...

I was the second commando, who said: "Nice Mask" in Awakening, Part Two.

Response recorded on December 21, 2000

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Ithica writes...

About Milord Arthur:

Who provided the voice for King Arthur? I loved his performance, and I'd like to know his name.

Also, my favorite thing about him is the way you designed him. It's the best visual embodiment of the Pendragon that I've yet seen. What talented person or persons designed him?

Thanks.

Greg responds...

Ryan St. John did the voice.

I'm fairly certain, that Greg Guler designed the character, but I can't be 100% on that. It was a long time ago.

Response recorded on December 21, 2000

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LSZ writes...

A weird question, but I just finished the movie version of Camelot, so: can King Arthur of the Gargoyles universe sing well?

Greg responds...

I don't know. I guess it depends if John St. Ryan can sing well.

Response recorded on December 21, 2000

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Maxy Steel writes...

Yeah, I just keep sendin' 'em in. I hope I'm not bothering you to insanity.

1. If L'Etranger is not a robot, and he's not a person in a suit, then is he a cyborg, like Smiley?

2. And wouldn't hair and eye color "naturally" changing be counted as DNA reconstruction?

3. In your world, did Mairot die in "Shattered?"

4. Which voice actor does who in the show, of the characters that show (somewhat) regularly. I already know ones like Max, Rachel, Berto, Smith, Laura, Pete, Smiley, Mairot, and Dread. But what about others, like Sophia, Vitriol, Dragonelle, Woody and Annabelle Barkowski, and L'etranger?

Thank you soooooo much!
-Maxy Steel

Greg responds...

1. In my development, yes. I can't speak for the new producers.

2. No. I consider it part of the color/light warping abilities of the Max-probes.

3. No.

4.
--Sophia and Dragonelle were voiced by Mia Korf. (She's great. She also did a voice for me [Natsuko] in 3x3 Eyes.)
--Woody was the amazing Jeff Glenn Bennett (voice of Brooklyn, Owen, the Magus, etc.)
--Vitriol was an actor named August Paro, that I had never used before. But I thought he had a great voice.
--Annabelle was done by the same performer who voiced Claw and Nought in Gargoyles.
--L'Étranger was voiced by John DeLancie. Better known as "Q"
in Star Trek.

Response recorded on November 21, 2000

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LSZ writes...

Do you have any vague ideas in mind as to voice actors for the major characters we never saw on the show or got a leica reel, particularly Mab and Katana?

Greg responds...

Mab & Katana, no. I haven't thought about it.

But for some others, yes.

There are obvious ones like Samson, Delilah, LXM, etc.

And a few others.

Response recorded on November 17, 2000

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Ray Kremer writes...

Vows. I always prefer this style of time travel theory, when you affect events in the past you are fulfilling history, not changing it. Too few time travel stories do this, most instead taking the track of messing up the time line and then putting it back, or else just changing an unpreferred event into something else. New timelines, alternate timelines, erased timelines, it all just gets too messy sometimes. Also fun are the "cause it by trying to prevent it" stories, done with prophecy in Greek myth and time travel today. MIA even got into the act, though in a most unique fashion.

"More's the pity." I love that line too. And Morgan Shepard's wonderfully expressive voice just adds to the whole experience. I'll be the one to ask this: In the plan for Dark Ages, would we have seen the events of Vows from the other side of things?

Greg responds...

Eventually. Dark Ages begins in 971. Vows was set in 975.

Morgan Shepard was great, but Keith David said "More's the pity."

Response recorded on November 17, 2000

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Chapter XXI: "Vows"

Written by Shari Goodhartz
Michael Reaves, Story Editor

Benny: "But Daddy, when it's dark they get alive. But when it's light, the get frozen like a statue."

Last night, the kids, my sister, my wife and I all watched "Vows" together. Time to ramble.

Back to the Golden Cup Bakery Building. As I noted in the previously posted memo about this episode, I wanted a little opening battle, but I didn't want to waste time in a tight, packed script explaining how this came about. It does beg the question though. Assume that X contacted Elisa. She told Goliath. He went ALONE? His friends allowed this? Hmmm.

Xanatos knows from the letter to himself what to do, but I sometimes wonder just how detailed the letter was. I like to think it was fairly sketchy. That exactly HOW Xanatos got Goliath to come was his own machinations. Otherwise, though he takes the credit for the letter, the truth is that the plan itself wasn't his idea. He got the idea from the letter. And he wrote the letter based on what he had done, which he had gotten from the letter. None of this is really his to own, though he does claim ownership. So I like to think that at least some of the details were X's. For example, X knows what G will respond to, i.e. Demona.

Hudson, on hearing about the wedding, suddenly makes the connection to the long ago incident when he met the Goliath from the future. So he's strangely ambivalent. Elisa on the other hand, seems flat out jealous to me. After the events of "The Mirror" and "Eye of the Beholder", she's much more aware and focused on her feelings for Goliath. SHE DOES NOT WANT TO ACT ON THOSE FEELINGS. At this time, she thinks it's impossible. But that doesn't change how she feels. And now, she's jealous. Goliath's feelings for Elisa are just as intense, but so are his feelings for the "Angel" of his youth. He HAS to give it one last chance. (And this will be the last chance. The final nail in the coffin of his and Demona's "marriage".) Brooklyn, meanwhile, is just knee-jerk against anything involving Demona.

PETROS XANATOS is introduced. Again, I wonder why he was invited. Was he also included in the letter? Or did Xanatos invite him to prove something to his father. Is X that needy? Or did X invite him to the wedding, because of course he'd invite his father to his wedding, and his already planned "honeymoon" to 975 shouldn't alter his decorum. Perhaps he's mildly surprised his father winds up coming along? Anyway, Petros was a fun character. A tough hard physical man. With morals. A great contrast to the son. I knew even then that we'd give Petros and David an arc to their relationship, (one that eventually would culminate in Gathering2).

"Oh, reason not the need." A little King Lear is always nice. And I love Petros' attitude on the line, "And the armor?" I mean what would you say to your son if you saw him dressed like that? I'd like to know how many people had sort of forgotten that X was even wearing armor (we're so used to it) until Petros made an issue of it?

I love all the irony in the dialogue between Petros and David. David knows what he's planning. He must be smiling when Petros says "I'd like to get my hands on the man who gave you that coin." And when David says, "Someday, I'll prove to you that I'm a self-made man," he must really be patting himself on the back.

I love the voice work of Keith and Marina when doing their teen-age counterparts. So subtle, yet it's always clear which Goliath and Demona is talking at any given moment.

CONTINUITY:
Gotta love that storage room in the clock tower. The Eye of Odin, the Grimorum, half the Phoenix Gate, and, oh, yes, a comatose Coldstone. By the way, despite what the memo said, I think generally, Goliath carried that Gate in the pouch attached to his belt. Not behind some brick. We hadn't actually come up with that pouch yet, not until the World Tour. But using RetCon, I think that's where he kept it until they moved to the clock tower and Demona tried to kill him, Hudson and Elisa in "Long Way to Morning".

One interesting thing: this is the first episode where we actually CONFIRM that the ILLUMINATI does exist. Matt's mentioned it. Even chased it in SILVER FALCON, but we've never been shown any proof of it's existence until now. Was anyone surprised by that?

Judge Roebling was interesting in theory, though not so much in the episode. I'd like to do more with him some day. I also thought that it was interesting that despite seeing the tape of the Gargoyles in advance. And not reacting outwardly when he saw Goliath, he still gasps when Demona enters. What is it about her? When she entered, Benny turned to me and said: "She's queen of the Gargoyles." Oh. So that's it.

(And everytime Xanatos and Fox are on screen together, Benny likes to point out that he and Erin dressed up as them at the last Gathering. "That's me. That's you, Erin.")

To some extent, X must have filled D in on his plan. I love her "acting" when she enters and gives her bitter "excuse" for being there to Goliath. She's playing hard to get!

I love Petros: "Unnacceptable." He's still trying to teach David the error of his ways.

The Gate itself is very idiosyncratic. It's size, the size of its portal, and the duration the portal stays open seems to vary not just from episode to episode but from scene to scene. Sometimes it annoys me, like when Princess Elena removes the Gate from her sleeve, and suddenly it's bigger than her hand. But now I'm just amused by it. Again, if you think of it as a steam valve for the timestream, it explains a lot.

I love the little sound that Paca put in when the two pieces of the Gate first come together. What a tip-off that was, yet it's subtle. Did anyone think about the significance of the talisman that Demona had shared with Goliath before she started speaking in Latin and flames appeared out of nowhere?

It was hard to make people understand the time loop a bit. But it seemed really hard to make them see why I kept wanting to repeat scenes to show the connective tissue. We had to squeeze in Owen's "Honeymoon" line the second time. No one left space for it.

For the first of many times in the series, someone (X) says the line: "It's not where, it's when". (Erin: "I know when.")

I love X & Fox's relationship. "Having fun." "A marvelous time." Great stuff.

Hudson gets a close look at 1995 Goliath and immediately sees the age and wear and tear on the guy. (I love the shot of Goliath gagging him.) That says a lot for Hudson, because the visual difference between the two Gs was extremely subtle in the animation -- when it existed at all.

Knowing what we had planned (more or less) for Avalon, we were already laying groundwork here for that. Setting up the combined power of the Gate, Grimorum and Eye. Setting up the Archmage's desire for that power. Further demonstrating his enmity for the people he'd wind up using. Of course, making Demona his apprentice was fun. Tells a lot about her own desire for power that even when she was a good girl, she was still willing to work for the Archmage in order to learn his secrets. Willing even to steal for him.

The Norman Ambassador and Prince Malcolm make a BIG deal about how odd the Xanatoses' clothes are. But were they THAT strange? Was Fox's wedding gown that odd? And even if they were strange, did they look as shabby as Prince Malcolm seemed to suggest?

Not every episode gives you a double wedding. Fox and David. Elena and Malcolm. Hey, did anyone notice that we married off our lead villain? That was very daring, and we all but threw it away in Act One. Was anyone expecting Fox and X to really get married? And once they were, did you think you'd see them have a kid by season's end? I think we broke new ground there.

I like the exchange between Goliath and Hudson. Goliath's trying to explain that he's not a creature of sorcery, but a time traveler. H: "And I suppose you came back in time on the wind." O.k., well sorcery was involved if you're gonna get technical. And Goliath has some amusing tense problems while trying to describe what happened in his recent past, Hudson's FAR future. Then Hudson looks him in the eye and decides to trust him on no further evidence. Cool.

I knew a girl named Bryant from Bar Harbor, Maine once. That's where we got X's home town.

Fox is so proud of her man. But I love Petros' "Mr. Big-Shot Time Traveler" line. Or rather I love the way Morgan Shepard read the line.

How hard did Demona try to do things differently from the way she remembered them being done? She knows Goliath is going to fly down to try and join her and her younger self. She tries to leave before he can get there. But the gate stays open long enough for him to go with. Did it ever occur to her to go somewhen else other than 994? I guess part of it could be chalked up to dim memory. It was over a thousand years ago. And Demona lived through that 1000 years. Even for a very significant event in her life, it must still be very hazy.

That exchange between Demona and Demona is a lot of fun. Demona is so brutal to Demona. (And, hey, she spells out the Gate's power to any audience member who hasn't yet caught on.) "Do not share it with-- Do not share it!" I love that line. Also:

"I am what you will become."
"I will never be like you."
"I don't want to hurt you."
"And I don't want to BE you."

pretty cool stuff.

I also like the moment when we have two gates rolling about on the floor and young Demona and older Goliath both bend over to pick them up. At first we had a lot of discussion as to who should pick up which gate. But the discussion became moot, since after the gate pieces were reunited, they almost always seemed like they had never been broken in the first place. Magic.

And the young Demona, older Goliath scene is also gorgeous.

"What am I to do?"
"Nothing."

Love that. Love his whole "Do nothing/attend the petty jealousy" speech. I think it's very pretty. Very sad. At that moment, does Goliath hope he's changing the future? Or is he simply trying to spare this young Angel a couple extra decades of pain?

Showing Demona's natural bents again: Goliath isn't sure if he remembers the incantation, though he's heard it multiple times by this point. Young Demona, having only heard it ONCE, does remember and uses the Gate perfectly.

"Time Travel's funny that way." At least it is in the Gargoyle Universe with the strict, strict rules that I imposed. Of course, I've always thought that those strict rules made the stories more challenging for the writer and, yet, more fun and satisfying for the viewer.

I also really like Petros' "American Penny" speech. For once the "Xanatos Tag" of victory doesn't go to David.

Where did the expression "More's the pity." come from? I've heard it many times. I know what it means, though that's more from sound and context than from the words themselves. What am I quoting when I use it? Does anyone know? (This isn't a contest. I really don't know.)

Finally, my tape has the weird mistake ending that first aired, which shows Demona and Goliath in the clock tower. It's pretty, but it drives me nuts and I think it's really confusing. But I've talked about that many times before, and I'm sick of it, so this time, I'll let it go.

COMMENTS WELCOME!


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Warrioress writes...

Do Kate Mulgrew and Laura San Giacomo know what Titiania whispered to Fox???

;-)

Greg responds...

Ask them.

Response recorded on November 10, 2000

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Anonymous writes...

On average, how long did it take to do the voice recording of a single episode of Gargoyles? Or for any animated show, for that matter; I've always wondered

Greg responds...

Assuming the whole cast was there than approximately three hours.

Response recorded on November 09, 2000

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MARINA SIRTIS

I'd just like to point out that I'm a man of my word. At the 2000 Gathering in Orlando, I vowed that the 2001 Gathering in L.A. would have a MINIMUM of 20 special guests. As of today, we officially have 21. And we're not done by a long shot.

Of course, the big news is MARINA SIRTIS, the voice of Demona, will be attending.

Here's the official announcement reprinted by permission of the G2001 staff:

The Fifth Annual Gathering of the Gargoyles
The Gathering 2001: City of Angels
June 22-25, 2001 -- Los Angeles, CA

UPDATES!

The staff of The Gathering 2001 is pleased and excited to announce the addition of SIX NEW GUESTS. We're most excited because the list of new
additions starts with the voice of Demona herself, MARINA SIRTIS! Also well known for her role as Counselor Deanna Troi in the "Star Trek: The Next
Generation" television series and films, Ms. Sirtis joins the voice of Lexington, Thom Adcox-Hernandez, on the sure to be growing list of "Gargoyles"
voice actors and actresses who will be in attendance at The Gathering 2001.

But wait, that's not all! We also have five new names joining our guest roster from the "Gargoyles" staff and production crew: Lisa Salamone, Jamie
Thomason, Karen Peterson, Dave Schwartz, and Julie Morgavi. Many said it couldn't be done when we promised at least 20 guests - more than every
previous Gathering combined - but our complete list is now up to 21! And even more are sure to be added in the future!

For the complete guest list and most recent info, visit:
http://gathering.gargoyles-fans.org/guests.htm

With such a terrific guest list and so many exciting events planned, it's a sure bet that The Gathering 2001 is going to be THE place to be for "Gargoyles"
fans next June. Our goal is to have 500 people or more in attendance at what will be the BIGGEST and BEST Gathering yet, and only YOU can make it
happen. If you have already registered and purchased your membership, we thank you! But if you haven't, please don't wait too much longer! The
early-bird membership rate of $30.00 for adults ($15.00 for children ages 10 to 14) will only last until December 31, 2000! Don't lose out on what could
be as much as a 50% discount! The rate goes up to $40.00 for adults ($20.00 for children) as of January 1, 2001, and the adult membership rate at the
door will $60.00.

And while you're signing up for your membership, don't forget to reserve a place at the Gala Awards Banquet! Many of our special guests - including
Marina Sirtis, Thom Adcox-Hernandez, and Greg Weisman - are scheduled to be in attendance at this special event, and we hope to see YOU there, as
well. Tickets are only $60.00 per person and they are going fast! Seating is limited, so don't delay!

For more information about the convention, visit us on the web at:
http://gathering.gargoyles-fans.org/

Or contact us by e-mail at gathering2001@art-chicks.com

We hope to see YOU in Los Angeles next June!


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Warrioress writes...

Voice actors:

1. C.C.H Pounder supplied the voice for Desdemona/Coldfire. What do the intials "C.C.H." stand for?

2. Were there other actors who auditioned for Goliath's voice? If there were, who?

Thanks!

Greg responds...

1. Don't know.

2. There were at least a hundred. I don't even remember all of them, and I'm not sure it's very sporting to tell you. Some of them did go on to do other voices in the series. Talented men who just weren't right for our Goliath.

Response recorded on November 01, 2000

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Jay writes...

you once about a master cast lise. would it be possible for you to post this list at ask greg. thank you for your time

Greg responds...

Maybe, some day. When I get to that document in the file.

Response recorded on October 19, 2000

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Kelly L Creighton / Kya White Sapphire writes...

speaking of trek, just how many star trek voices are in gargoyles? oh wait, leme check the archives... okay i didnt see anything. heres what i personally know:
(sorry about any spelling errors, im so bad with names)

Johnathan Frakes - Xanatos/Will Riker
Mariana Sirtis - Demona/Deana Troi
Brent Spiner - Puck/Data
Nichelle Nichols - Dianne Maza/Uhura
Colm Meanie(aah? spelling?) - Rory's dad/O'Brian
Levar Burton - Anansi/Jeordi
Avery Brooks - Nokkar/Sisko
Kate Mulgrew - Anistasia(Titania)/Janeway

i think im missing some people i know..
anyway, ive heard rumors that the voice of Odin also appeared in Star Trek: Undiscovered Country. im just wondering if oyu happen to know any names i missed?

Greg responds...

Unfortunately, I don't have my master cast list here.

Also a bunch of actors had the occasional guest role on one of the Trek series or movies -- does that count?

For example, Salli Richardson (Elisa) was in an episode of Deep Space 9. And David Warner (the Archmage) appeared in one of the movies as a Klingon and in Next Generation as a Cardassian.

Response recorded on September 27, 2000

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Lexy writes...

Hello Greg

*sighs* I'm sorry..I really read that Sora thing all wrong:(
*pouts* this has just not been my day..

1) What does Lexington's company do/make?

2) Will you tell us why Lex started this business?

Sorry again. I will make sure to read things lots and lots of times before posting in the future.

Greg responds...

1. Not saying.

2. Nope.

Don't worry about it.

Response recorded on September 25, 2000

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Kayless writes...

1. With all the Star Trek actors doing voice on Gargoyles, was John 'Q' DeLancie ever considered for a role? I personally consider Q a trickster.

Greg responds...

1. John, who is great, did a role for us on Max Steel, as L'Étranger. It's possible that he was briefly considered for a roll on Gargs, but nothing that sticks out in my mind.

Response recorded on September 25, 2000

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Fyrewight writes...

Did Ed Asner need voice coaching to do Hudson's Scottish accent, or was he just that good? I couldn't believe it was him until I read it myself on the credits.

Greg responds...

He was just that good. (I think he even surprised himself.)

Response recorded on September 21, 2000

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Todd Jensen writes...

I recently realized that there is a certain similarity between the Sidero/Xavier team-up in the original comedy version of "Gargoyles" and the Hakon/Wolf team-up in "Vendettas". In both cases, a couple of villains team up against the gargoyles, one an original enemy of theirs from the Middle Ages, surviving on only as a ghost, the other a modern-day descendant of that medieval enemy who is scorned by his medieval ancestor for being too "poor-quality". Was the Sidero/Xavier team-up the distant inspiration for the Hakon/Wolf team-up?

Greg responds...

Likely it very much was. Of course, the main motivator was the very talented Clancy Brown. But nothing gets wasted, consciously or otherwise.

Response recorded on September 21, 2000

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Bix writes...

Is there a list somewhere of the actors who have appeared in the series, the episode number, title, character names, etc? (just trying to fill in the blanks at www.geocities.com/sk8terbix/bader.html)

Greg responds...

I have a master cast list, though it does't list episode numbers and titles. As I'm posting old documents, I'll get to it eventually.

But something like that may already exist. Have you tried asking in a comment room?

Response recorded on September 16, 2000

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Aris Katsaris writes...

<<Still, it's weird to me that you've only heard dubbed versions. You don't know how great our voice cast was. Was yours good?>>

I've heard small bits and pieces of the original from MP3s and the like - I have some small idea of what the original voices were like.

I think the greek cast was mostly quite good. The voices of Goliath and Elisa were great - I shuddered when I first heard 'I've been denied everything - even my revenge' though I *really* shuddered when I heard the original later on. The trio was equally good - I think the style of the voices was quite similar to the original.

Angela sounds different from Brigitte Bako - based on a voice-clip from 'Turf' I think the greek voice-actor sounds more...adult, while Bako sounds younger. But I like her voice.

Among the main cast I think the only weak link was the guy playing Hudson. I felt he rather messed up lines like the 'Do you even know how to laugh maniacally?'. I don't know, I just felt he delivered them wrong.

As for recurring characters, my favourite voice actor was the guy playing Puck. A very clear, youthful voice, a voice you knew would laugh at everything. It's unlike the somewhat nasal one of Brent Spiner; but still great. That voice-actor also doubled for Vinnie. Probably one of the reasons I don't dislike 'Vendettas' as much as a couple other people do.

Macbeth started out great. I later saw a clip from the english-voiced 'City of Stone' scene of his separation with Gruoch, and I felt I liked the greek voices better (though that may be because I'm unaccustomed to the Scottish accent). But from 'Sanctuary' onwards they changed the voice-actor for each Macbeth ep for some reason. The voice-actor in Sanctuary was *way* too young-sounding, like a 20-year old or something. The guy in Pendragon was better, closer to the first Macbeth but his voice was a *bit* too rough, villain-sounding for my tastes. And the guy in The Journey was *horrible*. I cringed when I heard him, the voice was *extremely* old, like a 110-year old or something...

I think that's about all I can think at the moment... Some things were certainly lost: For example, the Weird Sisters all sounded the same to me, not 'kind', 'harsh', and 'mystical'.

Greg responds...

Hudson was SO Ed Asner in my head, even before Ed was cast, it's impossible for me to imagine anyone else playing him in any language. (I love Ed dearly, and I'm not ashamed to say it.)

John Rhys-Davies was doing his own Sean Connery thang as Macbeth. I love it. It's very Scots. Just what I wanted. And his voice is so rich.

And it's hard to top Kath Soucie. Kath could do Mary, Princess Katharine and all three Weird Sisters in one episode and never confuse you as to who was talking, and this despite the fact that the Sisters intentionally had the EXACT same voice. It was all in the acting. And it never sounded forced. Jeff Bennett was like that too. They were really the iron horses of our cast.

Response recorded on September 16, 2000

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John writes...

Hi Greg,
Ok! On my question, for what charakter you would chose what actor, you just awnsered me with some names of the speakers. Ok, thats all right. But I mean, what HOLLYWOOD actors you wanna take like ... umh ... Michelle Pfeifer for Coldfire. Hope that time it is a bit harder.
CU, John

Greg responds...

I'd choose C.C.H. Pounder for Coldfire. You may have seen her on ER among a hundred other things.

I mean define HOLLYWOOD ACTOR. If you're limiting your casting choices (of even minor characters) to HUGE BUDGET MEGA-STARS you are NOT going to wind up with a very well-cast movie.

Just my opinion.

Response recorded on September 16, 2000

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DKomit2000@gateway.net writes...

Hello Greg,

I have been a gargoyle fan since the first episode and I was looking through this site and I found out that you are trying to bring back the show and I have two questions about this.
1)If you did bring back the show would the same charaters (voices) be the same?
2)It all matters how many people come to the gathering next year right?So I was wondering what about the people (kids) who what to come but don't have the money nor will there parents let them come,could you do a internet site or something for the people who can't come? I was wondering this becaues I live in Arizona and I know that my mom would not let me come, and I was thinking about all the other parents who wouldn't let there kids come because of money wise or it's just to far away.
thanks

Greg responds...

1. Yes.

2. Well, there is an internet site:

http://gathering.gargoyles-fans.org/

So check there on a regular basis.

But, if this isn't too obnoxious, try working on your mom to get her to make L.A. in June a family vacation. There's a lot to see. Universal Studios and Universal Citywalk are both in the same location as G2001's hotel. Plus Disneyland's not too far. Magic Mountain. Hollywood. Rodeo Drive. Etc. etc. etc. Anyway, it's worth a shot. You've got nine months to convince her, right? (Please, feel free to ignore me.)

I would like to clarify what you wrote. Getting a large turnout at G2001 is the best ammunition I can get to getting the show back in some way, shape or form. It's not a guarantee. What I can guarantee, because I've been in on some of the planning discussions with the con staff is that this con is going to kick ass. It's really going to be great. With many guests from the cast and crew who made the show.

Response recorded on September 09, 2000

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Tana writes...

addition to quest in my last post: If Not Keith, how hard would it be to get Jeff Bennet or Thom to read one line?

Greg responds...

Neither would be impossible, but again, I don't like to speak FOR them.

Response recorded on September 09, 2000

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Tana writes...

Okay, a G2K1 question for ya: If someone in the fandom (I'm already making plans) Were to make a commerical for G2K1 using video and sound clips from the first two seasons; would it be legal to have it air on a television station? Or do you know?

Also, how much would it cost to get Keith David to record like 2 lines for it? Or more accurately, how realistic would it be to even talk him into doing it?

G2k1 here I come! And bringing half of San Francisco with me if I can help it! ^_^

Greg responds...

I'm not a lawyer. I don't know. But I think it could be a problem if you didn't have Disney cooperation. I'm not sure getting Disney cooperation would be impossible, however. Why would they object?

Keith's a good guy. But I don't want to speak for him or his representation.

I'd suggest coordinating with the con staff.

Response recorded on September 09, 2000

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Sylia writes...

3x3 eyes...

was wondering how blantant the gargoyles references/injokes are in the new 3x3 dub. and please dont tell me you commited the same sin as the old dub with the "princess perl" remark for pai :( i just hope the flavour of 3x3 eyes is kept without turning it into gargoyles with a 3 eyed girl. sigh. you can tell i'm dreading this new dub....
please quash my hesitations. tell me they are a tiny and subtle part of the dub!

Greg responds...

I hope you don't dread it. The in-jokes are minor. Not that a garg fan wouldn't notice them immediately, but give me a little credit for not betraying one project to satisfy another. Please. I'm a professional. And I'd never get hired again, if I did that kind of crap.

I only ever listened to a small part of the "old dub" so I don't know what "princess perl" remark you're talking about. But we never say that in the new dub. It doesn't ring a bell. At any rate, we did NOT use any of the "old dub" as a reference of any kind.

As for the "new dub", which I'd prefer to call the first "complete dub", I'm actually very proud of it. I think the voice work is pretty terrific. Particularly Christian as Yakumo and Brigitte as Pai/Sanjiyan/Pabo/Parvati/Howasho. Susan Chesler, who plays Ling-Ling was a great find. I'd never worked with her before, but she was terrific. I did use a bunch of former garg voice actors, but I hardly think having Thom Adcox, Keith David, Gregg Rainwater, Edward Asner, Bill Fagerbakke, Elisa Gabrielli, etc. should qualify as a strike against it. They're all very good.

My advice (and at this point, I've made all the money off it that I'm going to, so it's less obviously selfish than it may seem) is get the thing and decide for yourself. If you don't like it, you know where to come to let me know.

But try to approach it with an open mind.

Response recorded on September 09, 2000

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John writes...

Hi Greg,
Now, here comes a hard question! If you could choose the cast for Gargoyles-The Movie, which actors you would take for which person??? I hope, that keeps you thinking a little time. CU, John

Greg responds...

Let's see, that is a toughy...

For Goliath... Keith David.

For Elisa... Salli Richardson.

For Brooklyn... Jeff Bennett.

For Lexington... Thom Adcox.

For Broadway... Bill Fagerbakke.

For Hudson... Edward Asner.

For Demona... Marina Sirtis.

For Owen... Jeff Bennett.

For Angela... Brigitte Bako.

For Coldstone... Michael Dorn.

For Matt... Tom Wilson.

Gee, that wasn't as hard as I thought...

Response recorded on September 09, 2000

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Sixshot writes...

Just a comment. This is propably just a coincidence: Jim Cummings made the voice of Goofy for Disney and Dingo for Gargoyles. The French version of Goofy was renamed Dingo...

Greg responds...

Actually Bill Farmer is the current voice of Goofy for Disney. Jim's the voice of Pete. (And Pooh. And Tigger. And Dingo. And Gillecomgain's father. And so on, and so on, and so on...)

Response recorded on September 06, 2000

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Ithica writes...

Apparently, correct me if I'm wrong, Hakon and Wolf are voiced by the same guy. Hakon was the earlier character. Was the same actor chosen for Wolf with the knowledge that they were distantly related, or did that idea come later? As in the time of 'Vendettas'?

Greg responds...

The idea came long before Vendettas. But definitely was inspired by the fact that Clancy played both parts. I think it came shortly after "Leader of the Pack" was voice recorded.

Response recorded on September 02, 2000

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Jacob Rubinstein writes...

My name is Jacob Rubinstein. I am the webmaster for The First Unoffical Site Of Sarah Douglas. She did a voice character in the episode of MIA from gargoyle. I was hoping that I could get a picture of her character so I could post it on my site. I have not seen that episode either. the toon disney channel plays it.. but it does't list what episode it is.

Jacob Rubinstein
http://www.angelfire.com/ca4/sarahdouglas

Greg responds...

It's called M.I.A. Sarah was terrific as Una.

Response recorded on August 23, 2000

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Aris Katsaris writes...

Lighthouse in the Sea of Time:

As with all eps I saw this one with Greek dubbing - but in this ep there was something both unique and interesting/funny... I got reminded of it when in the memo you described the problem with the language of the scroll...

The thing is that though the entire ep was (as normal) dubbed in Modern Greek, when Macbeth starts reading the scroll he switches into *Ancient* Greek. At that time I had thought the original had Macbeth reading in Middle or atleast Elizabethan English, or some other kind of archaic-sounding language, which the translators simply rendered as ancient Greek. Only later did I realise that it was solely the translator's doing, with no corresponding change of language in the original...

It was a very nice touch, I think, and praiseworthy - it atones (atleast in part) for a couple horrendous mistakes in the dubbing of other eps... :-) But ofcourse that doesn't mean there wasn't any problem with it. Ancient Greek is far closer to Modern Greek, than Celtic is to English; nonetheless it's far enough that the first time I got only a very general sense out of the words, that Merlin was describing his first impression of Arthur... :-)

Greg responds...

The phrasing of the scroll is subtle, but it does have an older sound to it. Certainly not middle english, but it does sound more archaic, so your translators weren't getting their ideas from no where. Still, it's weird to me that you've only heard dubbed versions. You don't know how great our voice cast was. Was yours good?

Response recorded on August 22, 2000

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Icemann writes...

Firstly I have to say that Gargoyles is the greatest cartoon of all time if you ask me. No cartoon has caught my interest in the same way that Gargoyles has, and Carl Johnsons music is simply breathtaking in some episodes.
Anyway onto my question which isn`t a Gargoyles question.

Did Keith work on Gargoyles before or after the spawn cartoon?

Never checked the credits on spawn to see when it was made
which was why I was wondering.

Greg responds...

Before. Considerably before.

Response recorded on August 21, 2000

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Scattershot writes...

Hello mr. Weisman

Just how much does it cost to have all those many talented voice actors for an episode? Do you know which voice actor cost the most?

Greg responds...

Everyone got paid the same amount on Gargoyles.

I believe at the time they were all making Union Scale, plus 10% (which covers their agents' fees theoretically). They also all got ten week buyouts. That means we got to run each episode 10 times before Disney had to start paying them royalties.

I'm not good with remembering numbers, but I think everyone got $1,500 for every episode they appeared in (covering those first 10 runs).

Response recorded on August 21, 2000

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Mike J. writes...

First a question, then a brief ramble...

Question: To your knowledge, were there ever any Rocky Horror Show jokes at Tim Currey's expense while he was recording Dr. Servarius? You know, him doing the whole mad scientist bit and all.

Ramble: I don't post here often, but I read what's here all the time. I hope the appearance of some treatise sized responces to your episode rambles illustrates to you how successful Gargoyles really was. Despite lackluster ratings, the people you reached, you reached deeply. Speaking as a writer myself, I think that's about the best we can hope to do.

Joel Hodgeson (creator of Mystery Science Theater 3000) was once asked if he ever worried that people wouldn't get some of the more obscure jokes/references he put in the show. He answered that it didn't worry him because the RIGHT people would get it. I think that sums it up nicely.

Greg responds...

Answer: I don't remember.

Thanks for the kind words. I agree whole-heartedly.

But FYI, we didn't have lackluster ratings our first two years. They were solid, strong ratings. They just didn't beat Power Ranger's ratings.

Response recorded on August 19, 2000

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Laura 'ad astra' Ackerman writes...

You mentioned your choice, if it were up to you, [hopefully it will be,] to direct a Gargoyles Live Action movie, namely Jonathan Frakes. It had never occurred to me and for the life of me I don't know why. Generations is not among my favorite Trek movies, but I thought it was script problems, (the need to shift the franchise to the NG storyline,) and not craft that was at the root of the problem- It was well made, as was the next movie (which is among my favs) that I believe he also directed. He would be perfect: If the company wont give you complete control he is someone you can trust not to betray the story. He has brought up the show in completely unrelated interviews calling for its return. He specifically mentioned how fun it was to work with his Star Trek friends on the show so they would be more likely to make time for it in their schedules. And as you stated, he gives a damn about the material.

That led me to two thoughts. Should we as fans try to draw Mr. Frakes into Gargoyles fandom? I assume we could never afford his con fee, and it would be unreasonable to ask him to forgo it, but it would be nice to show him fan appreciation. Also, should we organize in approaching Disney pushing for Frakes to direct? They might think of us as a more directed and serious group (read- more people willing to spend money) if we have clear and sound objectives. Not to mention it might subconsciously connect to Trek fandom, and therefore seem more profitable. Any thoughts or suggestions?

On a completely unrelated point that will be out of date by the time you read this- Keith David is doing Shakesleare in the [Central] Park through July 16: Midwinter's Tale.

Thanks again for answering our questions- that is what keeps my interest up more than anything else.

Greg responds...

I'm all for organization.

And it would never hurt to let Jonathan know how much you like his work, both on Gargoyles and as a director.

I'm not sure how to approach Disney right now. On the one hand, they want a lot of people to come to their movie, but they don't want to be told how (or with whom) to make it. Letting them know, in a rational way of course, that you care, couldn't hurt.

Response recorded on August 19, 2000

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Angela (repost by Aris) writes...

Hey, Greg! You have probably met Brigitte Bako, the voice of Angela, right? Did you choose her to do Angela's voice? (She does a great job!!!) How is she? Is she nice? Well, I have been trying to find information on her on the Internet, and I can't really find anything. I want to know things like her birthday, biography, and that kind of stuff. I liked Angela so much that I looked up Brigitte's movies and I've seen about 5 of them already. She's good! Is there an address that I can maybe write to to get in contact with her? I'd really appreciate it, Greg. I've run out of any other ideas on what to do. Thanks so much! I really appreciate it!! :)

Greg responds...

I do know Brigitte. She's a wonderful person. We worked together recently on 3x3 Eyes (which we will be previewing at the Orlando Gathering this Sunday). Brigitte played the complex lead female role of Pai (aka Sanjiyan aka Pabo aka Parvati aka Howasho). She was terrific, as usual. 3x3 should be available on home video in September.

I should know her birthday, but unfortunately I can't remember it. (I vaguely recall that she shares a birthday with someone else I know, but I can't think who.)

Otherwise, I know a few random things.

She's from Canada.

"Bako" means "The Executioner".

She's currently renting her L.A. home to Famke "Jean Grey" Jannsen.

She's off making a couple movies right now. I do not have an address for her. And I'm afraid it wouldn't be prudent for me to post one even if I had it.

You could try sending a fan letter to New Generation Pictures in Beverly Hills. They're the producers (with Pioneer) of 3X3 EYES. They might be able to forward it to her. But I can't guarantee it.

Good luck

Response recorded on August 01, 2000

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The Gatekeeper (repost by Aris) writes...

I have some questions on how the voice recording was done.

I've looked through the archives, and it appears that you get all the actors together at one time but I'm not getting an entirely clear picture. You have mentioned doing some editing on the voices for rhythms and the like. Is this possible to do when the recording is done in a group session? I know the partial answer, each voice is on it's own track, but wouldn't the natural bounce (if you would) of all the actors playing off each other make for a natural sounding dialogue?

Were the recording sessions filmed as well, so that some of the facial expressions of the actors could be incorporated into the animation? I can just picture Marina Sirtis sneering at Keith David.

What is the sequence that things are done? I think the script and story board comes first, but are the voices recorded before or after the animation, or it is a kind of hand in hand process?

The reason I ask, is because I remember listening to an interview with a voice actor (back in the mid '70's) and he said that all his lines were sent to the studio on a tape that he did at his home.

Greg responds...

Anything's possible but that last scenario sounds awful strange to me.

Here's the basic order:

1. Write the scripts.
2. Design new characters. This begins even before the script is finished sometimes.
3. Record the voices.
4. Storyboards are drawn. (This sometimes also begins before all the voices are recorded, depending on deadline pressure. But ideally it waits for the board artist to get the voice tape.)
5. Direct the board. (For timing, etc.)
6. Send materials overseas for animation.
7. Animation.
8. Post-Production. Retakes, editing, sound, etc.

As for step 3 itself, we tried as often as possible to get all the actors together in one room. This was almost never completely possible. There'd always be someone who wasn't available or was out of town or something. (For example, Keith David spent most of the second season performing in SEVEN GUITARS on Broadway. We would pick him up by "phone patch" from a studio in New York. One time, I seem to recall, we had to get Jim "Fang" Belushi by phone patch from Australia, where he was shooting a movie.

So we had to edit in anyone who wasn't in the session. Plus sometimes the best takes weren't consecutive. Say, Thom "Lex" Adcox did a great reading of a question. And Jeff "Brooklyn" Bennett stuttered when answering. Jeff probably did two or three great takes of his line. But we'd still want to use Lex's great take. So we'd edit it too.

And sometimes we'd tighten things up for pace. Since, as you noted, we had to allow each line to be on a separate track, that meant we couldn't overlap dialogue in the recording booth. But in real life, people often interrupt each other or talk over each other, etc. So sometimes we'd edit to create that overlapping effect.

Still the reason we TRIED to get everyone together is because we'd generally get a better, higher energy performance from most of the actors by allowing them to play off each other.

Response recorded on August 01, 2000

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Blaise (repost by Aris) writes...

TEMPTATION

While this isn't the ep that cemented Brooklyn in my head as "Favorite Character," I have to admit he is GREAT in it.
I still love Lexington's remark about building a horse from spare parts.
Demona's tour of the city--Yeah, the DEAD BODY surprised me too. Very powerful, very good, as were Demona's other two "examples" of humanity. Bennett and Sirtis did WONDERFUL jobs with their voice acting here.
As for the bikers not noticing Brooklyn, yeah everybody notices that. I just try to ignore it and that seems to work. If nothing else, most of the bikers in that scene WERE wearing sunglasses at night (as someone else already pointed out). Come to think of it, some of them weren't even wearing helmets....;-)
Elisa's finger--great, now that you've mentioned it, *I'LL* probably look for it and not be able to see anything else in the scene.
I was surprised to hear that Brooklyn's description of the Cloisters was taken by some folks as "proof" that gargoyles were not native to this planet. Anyone who saw the first two episodes should have understood what Brooklyn meant. Come to think of it, why WOULD people want the gargoyles to be from another planet?
One of my favorite lines in this episode--Brooklyn: "You hold the book, Demona. But *I* hold the *spell*!" I just LOVE that.
The resolution of the spell may have been a bit of a cheat, but it WAS a creative and original solution to the problem. So, you guys still get some points in that area.
Lex and Brooklyn talking about the motorcycle at the end and Lex's reaction are always enjoyable.
Pointless note: Hudson doesn't speak a single line in this episode. Odd, when I think about it. Still, you do at least SEE him a few times.

Good ep.

Greg responds...

The Hudson thing was budgetary. Often if we had a character who needed to appear for logic's sake but didn't have too much to contribute to the story, we'd avoid just giving him one or two lines to prove he's there. That way we could save money on the actor's salary for that episode. That money saved could be used later on for some of our big cast expensive episodes.

Trust however that I never scrimped. If I thought Hudson needed to speak in that episode, even if it was only ONE line, I would not have hesitated to pay for Ed Asner to be in the session.

Response recorded on August 01, 2000

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Dr Lanney Stinson (repost by Aris) writes...

Im a 16 year old female from BC Canada and since you've worked in Disney ,I thought you might know a little about Voice acting . You see I plan to become a Journalist or voice actress/Actress ,and I wanted to know if you needed to become well known as an actor or actress to work for Disney. I dont know if I ever want to work for them, I mean I might just go to UBC,become a journalist and live alone in a tiny apartment with 15 cats .I dont know. But still I would like a bit of information on what I one day might need to know . Always, Truly
Lanney

Greg responds...

Sixteen years old and already a doctor. I'm impressed.

Look, acting is a very tough profession. You need to REALLY WANT AND NEED to do it. Lots of rejection. You don't need to be famous to be a Disney Voice Actor, though of course it doesn't hurt. But we cast most shows based on talent, voice quality and appropriateness for the given role. (But having an agent and being in S.A.G. doesn't hurt.)

Response recorded on July 26, 2000

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joe c. writes...

I was just wondering why you don't use the original english voice for yakumo since he did a pretty good job at the part. And is the anime going to be digitally remastered when it comes out.

Greg responds...

Joe, I'm not sure I agree with you, but in any case that wasn't an option. We didn't have access to any of the "original English voices" for 3x3 EYES. We HAD to recast everyone from scratch. The new Yakumo is a very talented actor named Christian Campbell. (Neve's brother by the way.) Christian is the voice of Max Steel, and he's a regular on a new prime time series that will premiere this fall: "The Street".

Response recorded on July 26, 2000

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Chapter XVIII: "The Mirror"

Story Editor: Brynne Chandler Reaves
Writer: Lydia C. Marano

Arguably the best single episode of the series. The animation is fluid, dynamic and very strong. The writing is sharp, even quite funny over and over. And yet, dramatically the story is still potent. It really advances the Goliath & Elisa romance arc. Changes Demona permanently. And introduces Puck -- and by extension, the entire third race: The Children of Oberon. All in a mere 22 minutes.

It's also very gratifying for me. A bit of a vindication. As you may have seen from the memos I wrote to Brynne & Lydia, there was some considerable resistance to the notion that none of the characters would notice their own personal change from one species to another. Most of my collaborators thought the idea was way too complicated to pull off. I argued that it might seem complex, but in fact it would play cleaner on screen -- and funnier and more directly to theme. In my mind, another title for this episode could have been -- had we already not been using it for our Werefox episode -- "Eye of the Beholder", because all the transformed characters really noticed was when someone else was "OTHER". Being a monster or being "normal" was based on their point of view, not any objective look in the mirror. [As it is, the title is the kind I like. Simple, objective and yet metaphoric. At one point, it was titled: "Mirror, Mirror". But we simplified it even more.]

But anyway, when the human Brooklyn, Lex and Broadway are confronted by "Gargoyles", the scene is an intentional mirror of the scene from AWAKENING, PART ONE where Brooklyn says, "If they think we're beasts and monsters..." Again, this is playing with the idea of "beasts and monsters" being merely in the eye of the beholder. The species have reversed, but the situation is exactly the same simply because the Trio remain in the minority. I suppose that's one thing that X-Men's mutants have in common with the Gargs. Both are a metaphor for being part of a minority. Feared almost automatically.

On the other hand, when Elisa is transformed, she believes that Goliath & Co. have been transformed into something like her. I think her immediate reaction is very telling about how she ALREADY felt about Goliath at that point. She's thrilled. She throws her arms about him. Now they're the same species. There's no impediment to their love. What's interesting is that if you stopped and asked Elisa under normal circumstances whether she would wish for Goliath to be transformed into a human, the answer would most certainly be "No." She knows that being a Gargoyle is fundamental to who he is. You can't change that without changing him -- and yet in that instant, in that unguarded moment, her desire to be with him overwhelms that rational knowledge. She's just happy.

At the museum, Elisa looks at herself in the mirror. She then moves, but the reflection holds. That was the idea of one of our board artists. A little clue that the mirror is magic. (It's not an animation error.)

Family Reactions #1

During that museum chase, my wife wanted to know why no alarms were going off. I figure Demona or the thieves just shut them off.

Erin didn't realize that that was Elisa dressed as a security guard at first. We were trying to withhold that information for a bit.

"Titania's Mirror", "The Children of Oberon", "Oberon sent me." We were laying groundwork to expand the entire series' base. But I don't know if back then I knew that much about what if anything I had planned specifically for Titania & Oberon.

Anymore than I knew then what I'd do with the "Dracula's Daughter" reference. But we try not to waste anything.

Coming up with that "Children of Oberon" name was a struggle. And so many people have asked me since whether or not Oberon is literally everyone's father, I almost regret landing on that choice. Our thought process is largely present in the episode when Goliath et al, go through various noms: Fair Folk, Dark Elves, Changelings, Shape-Shifters. Of course, at the time we were misusing the term Changeling. I think that was Odo's influence frankly, but I should have known better. I suggested "The Oberati". But the Reaves didn't care for that. I think they thought it sounded too much like an Italian sports car.

I do love the moment when Brooklyn cites Shakespeare's play as a sort of reference work on the Children. I hope we sent a few people to the library with that line. Did we?

I also love Hudson's line in response to Elisa's question: Are they real?

Hudson: "As real as I am, if the stories be true." It's full of delicious dramatic irony. If you can suspend belief on a bunch of gargoyles, then this shouldn't be a problem for you. I love things that work on multiple levels.

I also love Hudson's "Be careful what you wish for" line.

We were trying to show a bit here how Demona had managed to operate in the modern world up to this point. One of the thieves has clearly worked for Demona before without ever having laid eyes on her. Of course, showing Demona's M.O. here, was like giving it a swan song. Because after this episode, though she clearly doesn't realize it yet, her life is going to get MUCH easier. Being a human during the day is a great boon to all her scheming. I'm very curious about everyone's reaction to that? Shock? Amusement? I also tried to work very hard so that in that last two minutes of epilogue, everyone would get that she only was human during the day. I was very afraid that the audience would think she was permanently transformed into a human. Was anyone confused? Or was anyone surprised that Puck's revenge/gift STUCK? We wouldn't really explore the change until HIGH NOON. Had you forgotten about it by then?

Family Reactions #2
As Demona's casting the spell that will summon Puck. (Which I always thought was very cool, with the feather and all.)
Benny: "That's a magic mirror. Is Demona going in there?"
Erin: "Puck's gonna come out."

As I've mentioned before, during the writing of this story we figured out that Owen was Puck. So to play fair we dropped a hint here. Demona (who knows) says to Puck: "You serve the human. You can serve me." Puck changes the subject, replying "Humans [note the plural] have a sense of humor, you have none." This was done intentionally to distract the audience away from the hint we had just dropped. But obviously, in hindsight, it's a clear reference to Owen serving Xanatos. Anyone get it right off the bat? Anyone even take note of the line the first time? Originally, the line read, "You serve him, now you can serve me." With the "him" referring to Xanatos. But our S&P executive was afraid the "him" could be taken to mean Satan. I know that seems silly now. But keep in mind, we were very paranoid back then about the show being attacked for promoting devil worship. So we made the change.

Sensitive Broadway: "Maybe even love." It's a nice moment. Wistful.

Puck reminds Demona that the mirror isn't "Aladdin's lamp". At the time, the Aladdin series was still in production at Disney. So that's a bit of an in-joke.

And how about that: Demona is still carrying a torch for Goliath. On some level, she wants him more than almost anything. Yet she continually allows her hatred to get in the way. And the irony is, that at this point, pre-Vows it isn't yet too late for them. But her actions further serve to cement the Goliath/Elisa relationship. More now than ever before.

Puck/Brent Spiner is just fantastic. I love that "charming personality" line. And "You don't know what you're asking, believe me." And "I'll do EXACTLY as you asked." And "My mistake." And "A very long nap." He's just so rich.

Plus the boarding and animation on Puck is just great. As is the sound work that accompanies him zipping around.

I always wanted Puck to be the one character who could break the fourth wall and talk directly to the audience. Every time he appeared, we'd put a line or two in the script that was addressed to the audience. And every time, Frank or Dennis Woodyard would cut it out of the board. They didn't like breaking the fourth wall. (A lot of guys don't. I tried to do that with Max on Max Steel, but Richard Raynis and Jeff Kline wouldn't allow that either.) Oh, well....

Puck also establishes that Oberon's Children generally use rhyming spells instead of Latin or Hebrew or whatever. (Thus making life slightly -- but ONLY slightly -- easier on me and the writers.) But Puck isn't too formal: "Human's love a battle hearty, so does Puck, come on, let's Party!" Fun. (And I like Brooklyn's line, "Party's over." too.)

Family Reactions #3
When Elisa's transformed into a gargoyle.

Erin: "She looks cute." [I very much agree. Though I always wonder where her red jacket goes.]

Ben then asked why she was transformed.

Beth explained that Demona didn't want Elisa to be human anymore.

Erin then corrects my wife and explains that Puck is tricking Demona.

KIDS GET IT! Adults need to pay closer attention!

Goliath suddenly has lust in his heart:
G: "I never realized when you were human just how beautiful you were."
E (with a smile): "You mean you thought I was ugly?"
G: "Uh... careful! Updraft!!"
Man, that guy is smooth.

Anyway, that's one of my all-time favorite exchanges. I think it reveals so much. Somewhere underneath, Goliath has been attracted to who Elisa IS deep-down -- at least since AWAKENING, PART THREE. But he never thought of her as a potential love interest. He wasn't brought up liberally enough to think that way. After all, she has no wings, no tail. And those human shaped feet!

But suddenly, she's revealed as a FEMALE. Now, even when she goes back to being human, his perspective is permanently altered. Hers, however, is not. She's already consciously had those thoughts. Consciously rejected them. So at the end of the episode, he wants to discuss these (for him) new feelings -- but she does not. And the sun helps shut him up.
G: "That's not what I meant."
E: "But that's the way it is."
Another of my all-time favorite exchanges. (I'm really partial to things involving the G/E relationship. I know, I know, I'm a romantic sap.]

I also like the ongoing confusion. Elisa: "Everyone in Manhattan has been turned into... HUMANS!" Goliath: "No, no, no, no, no." And when the Gargoyles are changed into humans, Brooklyn is so sure that they've always been humans, it's funny. Like that moment in CITY OF STONE, when he's convinced that the "statue of Elisa" is a bad likeness of her: "They got the nose wrong."

FYI, there was an honest attempt, within the logical parameters of what our gargs looked like, to make their human versions resemble the actors who played them. Thus Goliath has darker skin than the others, because Keith David is African-American. (Though otherwise Goliath really looks like Conan to me.) The bald Lex has brown hair and the bald Broadway has blond like Thom Adcox and Bill Fagerbakke respectively. Brooklyn resembles Jeff Bennett but with Brooklyn's white hair instead of Jeff's blond. And Hudson looks like Ed Asner with a beard. More or less. Thom Adcox is the one who most looked like the human version of his character.

Cool little touches:

Demona nudges an unconscious Puck with her tail.

She continues to call Hudson, "Old Soldier". Her tenth century "name" for him.

Her line about the "gift of being a gargoyle". I love that superior attitude.

Lexington's "Fun, but weird" line.

Hudson wrapping the sheet over the mirror.

Elisa and Demona have a brief "cat-fight" as Gargoyles. Not quite as diverting as the one they'll have as humans in High Noon. But it was nice to put them on equal physical footing for a change. Let them have it out.

Demona mentions that Puck isn't too tired to make himself "invisible to the crowd". This was us trying to plug a hole in our story. We felt it would undercut the mob's reactions to our newly human heroes if they had the same reaction to seeing Puck. And yet Puck clearly looks more human than Gargoyle. More "other". So we slid that line in to avoid the whole problem.

FAMILY REACTION #4

Beth laughed at Hudson's very Scots reading of "No doubt about it." Which is pronounced more like: "No doot aboot it."

More sappy stuff (which I love):

Goliath's line: "I'll always be there to catch you."

Elisa completely forgetting her fear of flying in order to save the MAN she loves.

That brief moment when both Elisa and Goliath are humans at the same time.

Hudson's wistful line about seeing the sun, just once.

Although it had little to do with the metaphor, we couldn't really resist the notion of showing Bronx transformed into a dog. We picked the biggest dog we could think of, a Wolfhound type, though a bulldog might have been more reminiscent.

In the script, Demona smashes the mirror upon seeing her human reflection in the glass. But somehow the scene never got animated. So we added the sound of the mirror being smashed to the exterior shot at the end. This was important in order to give the story full closure. The initial point of the episode was to prevent Demona from getting Titania's Mirror. Structurally, therefore, I couldn't allow her to keep it.

But no fear, later we introduced Oberon's Mirror (clearly part of a matching set) in THE GATHERING, PART ONE.

I wonder what all those Manhattanites thought when suddenly they realized they were all barefoot.


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Christina Sabia writes...

I have a question. Did you ever plan on using John DeLancie (he played Q in Star Trek: The Next Generation) and/or Patrick Stewart as any guest voices? If you did, what parts were you planning on having them play?

Greg responds...

John played L'Étranger on Max Steel. He was great. I didn't have any specific role in mind for him on Gargoyles, but I wouldn't be opposed to the idea either.

Patrick Stewart was considered for at least two important roles on the show. But his management would not allow him to consider the offer at the prices we were paying. I think the two roles are fairly obvious, but I also think it would be something of a disservice to the fine men who wound up playing those parts to specifically indicate that they weren't first choices.

Response recorded on July 24, 2000

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Chapter XVII: "A Lighthouse in the Sea of Time"

Written by Brynne Chandler Reaves & Lydia C. Marano
Story Edited by Michael Reaves

Well, I watched "Lighthouse" again last night with my family. First thing I noticed was the bad "Previously" recap. This is all my fault. The recap features Macbeth, because I wanted to make sure the audience knew who he was. But that blows out the first act surprise reveal that he's behind it all. Up to that point in the story, you'd be thinking Xanatos. But because of the dopey recap, you know it MUST be Mac. Later in the season, after I got hammered over these recaps by the folks on the Disney Afternoon e-Mailing list, I learned never to put anything into the recap that wasn't revealed in the first five minutes of the show to follow. But here's a perfect example of me screwing up my own mystery.

We introduce archeologists Lydia Duane and Arthur Morwood-Smythe. Dr. Duane was named after writers Lydia Marano and Diane Duane. Professor Morwood-Smythe was named after writers Arthur Byron Cover and Peter Morwood. Arthur is Lydia's husband. Peter is Diane's husband. I don't know anyone named Smythe.

Macbeth episodes, at least up to this point, seem to be cursed with mediocre animation. (Of course, everything's relative. Mediocre on Gargs was still better than most series got. But relative to our expectations, this ep is pretty weak.) I bet Elisa would have really looked cute in that red baseball hat if the animation had been even slightly better.

I don't know how clear it is in the prologue. The idea there, was that the wind was blowing through the lyre. The haunting sound drew the archeologists further into the cave. They read the warning which indicates that the seeker of knowledge has nothing to fear, the destroyer everything. They are supposed to hesitate, look at each other, decide that they are seekers not destroyers and then open the chest. Merlin's clearly put a safety spell of some kind on the chest. An image of the old man appears and basically checks to confirm whether the archeologists are in fact seekers or destroyers. Satisfied, the spell disipates. But you can imagine what would have happened if a Hakon type had stumbled in.

Anyway, it never felt like all that came across. Did it?

Brooklyn (re: Broadway): "Ignorance is bliss." In High School, I had a classmate named Howard Bliss. We had chemistry together with Mr. Miller. Mr. Miller once asked the class a question that we all should have known. No one knew the answer, and our own idiocy generated laughter among Miller's students. He just shook his head and said: "Ignorance is bliss." He forgot that he had a student named Bliss. It generated more laughter. I don't know why I told you that. But it's what I thought about when Brooklyn read that line.

There's a semi-heavy-handed "Read More About It" feel to the clock tower conversation regarding Merlin. Goliath practically quotes those public service announcements, saying there are many books about him in the library. I don't mind. I had wanted to cite a few actual books -- like Mary Stewart's THE CRYSTAL CAVE -- but our legal department wouldn't give us clearance for that. Very short-sighted.

A connection is made between Merlin and the Magus. This was not an accident, as at that time, I had planned to have the Magus journey with Arthur on his Pendragon quests to find Excalibur and Merlin. I later changed my mind. But the Magus does at least play a Merlin-esque roll in the Avalon three parter.

I always wonder who was playing in "Celebrity Hockey" that night.

Macbeth's standard Electro-Magnetic weapon was my idea. I didn't design it exactly, but I did make crude little drawings of something that looked vaguely like a staple gun, with two electrodes that generated the charge. I was always proud of that weapon. It was uniquely Macbeth's (and Banquo and Fleances'). Set him apart from all the concussion, laser and particle beam weapons we used elsewhere. (I did the same kind of thing on the Quarymen's hammers.)

It's fun to listen to B.J. Ward voice both sides of the confrontation between Fleance and Duane.

Banquo's model sheet showed him squinting out of one eye. Some episodes, not so much this one, but some took that to mean he only had one eye. So he walks around looking like Popeye for the entire episode. (His big lantern jaw helps accentuate that.) There are a couple of Popeye moments in this ep. But more in his next appearance I think.

It was my idea to just have Mac's mansion rebuilt without explanation. I don't exactly regret it, but it's kinda cheap. We burned it way down. He has it rebuilt. It makes sense. But we usually dealt with consequences more than that.

When he rebuilds it, he installs those cannons. They were supposed to be giant-sized versions of the hand-held E-M guns. But they don't come off that way. Instead they fire at the gargoyles. And mostly seem to destroy the various turrets of Macbeth's own place. Ugghh.

As in "Leader" we get another scene of Goliath and friends confronting Owen at the castle. Looking for Xanatos, when in fact Xanatos isn't the threat. It made sense in both episodes. And it's always nice to showcase Owen a bit. But after two of those in four episodes, I wasn't gonna do that again. (At least not until KINGDOM.)

I love the "Macbeth Theme" that Carl Johnson created for the villain, which is featured at the end of ACT ONE.

Macbeth opens the "second scroll" and starts to read Merlin's seal. This caused tons of fan confusion, as he read "Sealed by my own [i.e. Merlin's] hand". No one seemed to get that he was reading that. They thought Mac was saying that he [i.e. Macbeth] had sealed the scroll. Of course that notion renders the whole thing confusing as hell. But it never occured to us that anyone would take it that way.

We also introduce Jeffrey Robbins and Gilly in this episode. Gilly is of course short for Gilgamesh, one of the legendary characters that Robbins once wrote about. It's just a bit odd, because Gilly is a female.

Robbins is a very cool character. Wish we had had the opportunity to use him more.

I like how when Robbins and Hudson are introducing themselves, Robbins gives his first and last name. Hudson says, I'm Hudson, "like the river". An echo of how he got the name. And a reminder that names aren't natural to him. Even if they are addictive.

John Rhys-Davies is just fantastic as Macbeth. I love his speech to Broadway. It accomplishes everything we needed it too. That line about the "human heart" by the way is a reference to the Arthur/Lance/Gwen triangle.

I also love his line: "I'm Old, but not THAT Old." This was a little hint to what we'd reveal in CITY OF STONE. Sure Macbeth's from the eleventh century, but not the fifth or sixth. It's like someone saying to someone my age, "So what did you do during World War II?"

Lennox Macduff. That was a cool touch. Also a hint as to how Macbeth feels about Shakespeare.

I like the Phone Book scene too. Hudson says "Hmm. Magic Book." Robbins replies: "Aren't they all." Great stuff.

By the way, as Robbins goes through the phone book, scanning names, he passes "Macduff, Cameron". One of my college roommates was Cameron Douglas, who was really interested in his Scotish heritage. That was a mini-tribute to him.

My daughter Erin reacts to the fact that Macbeth threatens to use Merlin's spells on Broadway. She points out that Macbeth had promised to let Broadway go after he had the scrolls. She's surprised he hasn't kept his word. My wife at that point reminds Erin that Macbeth is the villain. Erin gets that. But you can tell it isn't quite sitting right with her.

Later when Macbeth DOES let everyone go without a struggle, Erin is clearly not sure what to make of him.

And on one level, that's exactly as we wanted it. Macbeth is a troubled guy -- a hero who's devolved into a villain. A suicidal villain on top of that, though we hadn't revealed that yet. But he is a villain. Later, it's debatable, but here he's taken to being an ends-justify-the-means kinda guy. And even his ends are hazy at best.

I love Broadway's "precious magic" speech. It's so wierd hearing poetry from the big galoot. But that's so Broadway. The soul of a poet. Bill Faggerbakke was a huge help.

And I love Robbins "They are lighthouses in the dark sea of time..." speech. I love that it's not exactly the title. Brynne and Lydia did fine work on this one.

I wonder what happened to that lyre?


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"A WINTER'S TALE" this summer...

Keith David, the voice of "Goliath", is currently appearing at the Delacourt Theatre in Manhattan's Central Park (the one right below Belvedere Castle) in William Shakespeare's A WINTER'S TALE. He's playing the lead Male role of LEONTES, the jealous king. It's a great part. A great play. A great theater. And a great actor. Plus it's FREE. I wish I could get to NYC and see it. PLEASE, someone go see the show, and report back how it was. PLEASE. This really is a DON'T MISS Opportunity.


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Kevin Catchpole writes...

How come you didn't use the silent c pronunciation for Cuchulain (phonetic: Koo-hul'-in)..I noticed this in a reference guide in the Morgan Llywelyn novel Red Branch. Is she in error listing it thusly, or is either pronunciation considered acceptable. Just curious :)

Greg responds...

The pronunciation we used is the pronunciation we were told was correct. I can't verify it. And at this point, I don't remember who told us. It might have been Sheena Easton and/or Scott Cleverdon. It might have been Diane Duane and or Peter Morwood. It might have been Michael Reaves. I don't remember. I just know, I didn't know, and asked. The pronunciation we used was the one we were given.

Response recorded on July 10, 2000

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The Gatekeeper writes...

It looks like my question got lost in the crash, so I will try to recreate it.

I was wondering how the voice recording was done. In one of your ramblings you mentioned that some careful editing was done of the voice tracks to make the timing of the dialogue smoother. This makes it sound like each voice actor was recorded separately. Was this actually the case? I would have thought that it would be easier for the actors to be able to play off of each other as they are reading in order so get into the proper mood of the action.

I was also wondering which comes first, the voice recording or the animation? If the voice recording is done first, are the actors filmed so that the animators can transfer some of the facial expressions to the characters? There are some animation shows where the mouth movements do not even remotely correspond to the dialogue. That is very distracting to me; I have never had that feeling with Gargs.

Greg responds...

As often as possible, we tried to get the entire cast together. But that wasn't always possible. Jonathan and Marina had Star Trek duties. Keith spent most of the second season in New York doing Seven Guitars on Broadway. And etc.

But even when we did have people together, you need to understand that we'd occasionally mix and match everyone's takes. Sometimes Jeff's best take might be number three. And Thom's was number one. And Bill's was number two. Why not take their best takes if we can? And we could. So we did. Also sometimes we wanted the dialogue to overlap. But if we record it overlapped, then it makes it hard for the Track Reader to instruct our overseas animators on the lip synch. So we'd record the lines separately, and then overlap them in our edits.

Voice Recording almost always comes BEFORE animation. In TV, we generally do not film the voice actors. We don't have a budget for that step.

Response recorded on July 10, 2000

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Hesparian General writes...

This got lost in the queue, so I'll post it again.

Why did Micheal did the voice of Taurus, even if he is doind the voice of coldstone?

Greg responds...

Michael Dorn was a natural to play Taurus. It was a very Worf-like character in many ways. But because we already had used him as Coldstone, we decided to hire someone else. That person did NOT work out well at all. (That entire episode was a problem. We had another Proteus and another Boreas as well.) Since we had to re-spend the money to recast so many people, I didn't want to take any chances the second time. (There was no way that we'd be allowed a third chance.) So we went with three people we knew we could count on, i.e. Roddy McDowell as Proteus, Dorian Harewood (am I spelling these correctly?) as Boreas and of course Michael Dorn as Taurus.

Response recorded on July 10, 2000

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Demona Taina writes...

This is more of a comment than a ramble, but here you go. :)

I've always admired Goliath. Not only is he handsome, seven feet tall and very strong, but he's much more. He's loving, caring, and so romantic. The way he talks, the way he smiles (when he does) the way he looks at Elisa, the way he touches her hair. Like in the episode "Deadly Force." He almost fell off the castle when Owen told him the bad news. How he almost killed Dracon seeking for revenge.

He is so romantic, it's like he carefully looks for the perfect thing to say all the time. I just love him.

Not only is he loving and caring, but he is intelligent, in his own special way. He may not understand this new world in its entirety, but he does, and he's learning fast. That's one thing I've always admired about him, he's a fast-learner, even Thailog complimented him on that in "Sanctuary."

But that temper. Anything ticks him off. If he could just learn to control it, I think he'd be perfect. For example, "Enter Macbeth," when he found Elisa, Hudson and Broadway outside the castle, and when Elisa told him about "their new home." He was furious, he even screamed at her. "How dare you!?!" Broadway had to pitch in to knock some sense into him, but he still wouldn't listen. That was, until Hudson spoke. He respects Hudson, and that's obvious, but he still couldn't help but roar to the night. And how everyone gasped at that, wow. Great episode.

Back to Goliath. Umm, what else can I say about him? Oh, he can dance. :) And beautifully, may I add. "Eye of the Beholder" is one of my favorite episodes, the way they danced. The way he bowed to her, the way he twirled her. Wow. I've lost count of all the times I've hit the rewind button to watch that scene all over. :)

His sense of honor. He waited for Odin to get up to strike again. He even stopped Demona from dropping a human to a certain death. He lost Demona for struggling to do what was right. Wow.

His manners. He bowed to the Princess even if she had called him and his kind "beasts." It wasn't stern, it wasn't sarcasm, he really meant it. He left the Princess speechless with his manners.

His vocabulary. The only thing close to a curse he's ever said is "Jalapena," and that's not even a curse. He barely uses contractions, too. For example, he says "cannot" instead of "can't." He is so nice. I just love his way of speaking.

His skill, that's one thing I love of him. That's why the Pack wanted to hunt him, Lexington just came in as a bonus, they wanted the excersise, they wanted a thrill. And Goliath was just it. But he beat them, with the help of Lexington.

Oh, yeah, his looks. :) That's the first thing I noticed about him. After thoroughly analyzing the episodes, I realized that he's more than good looks. But back to it, he is handsome. There's no denying that. Elisa literally fell for him the first time she saw him. :) I still don't understand how his hair stands uop like that, but it still makes him very handsome.

His colors are great, too. I mean, he's not dark, nor too light. The colors just suit him. That lavender skin, with that brown hair blue and black wings. Wow. :)

The way he smiles, the way he walks, the way he speaks... it's just so unique. Not even Thailog's like him, and he's a clone. :)

I sound a like a huge fan, don't I? Well, I am, I've always been, and I will always be a huge fan. :)

BTW, I saw somewhere that Goliath had mutliple spikes coming from his arms, and also the tip of his tail ended like Ottello's before he was changed to the way he is now. but a ball or something. Anyway, who changed those features? And why? I think they made him very distinctive.

So, that's all for now. :P I think... there's much more I like about him. Anyway, thank you for your time!

-A devoted fan

Greg responds...

Wow. An ode.

I like him too. But credit where credit is due, a lot of people were involved in Goliath's creation.

First and foremost, Greg Guler, who created the basic design that our current Goliath is based on. Frank Paur chose to streamline that design so that our animators had the best possible chance of animating him consistently and well.

Numerous other artists both here in L.A. and in Japan also contributed. There's one guy in particular in Japan, who jumped on and made a pass in between Greg and Frank. His name, I think, is Mr. Takeuchi. But I'm not 100% sure, and I can't check my files at this moment. My apologies if I've gotten that wrong. (I only ever met him once.)

Then, of course, the writers. Michael Reaves, Brynne Chandler Reaves, Gary Sperling, Cary Bates, Lydia Marano, Steve Perry and others. They captured his voice.

And actor Keith David, who really brought life into that voice. I can't say enough about Keith's talent, training and natural abilities. But I will say that Keith is also a big fan of Goliath's. That may sound strange, but he's said to me that he admires many of the qualities that you listed above. He became a real watchdog (particularly on Goliath Chronicles) to make sure that Goliath sounded like Goliath in voice and in diction. Of course, I also need to credit Jamie Thomason, our voice director. He and Keith made Goliath sound like Goliath.

And Paca Thomas at Advantage Audio who created the growls and roars to supplement Keith's work.

The list is endless, but that's a partial attempt. I'm proud to be one of that group of many.

Response recorded on July 07, 2000

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Chapter XVI: "Legion"

Story Editor: Michael Reaves
Written by Marty Isenberg & Robert N. Skir

I just watched "Legion" again. Time to Ramble.

From the memo I posted earlier this week, you'll see that the never used on screen names of Othello, Desdemona and Iago were my idea. But I've always wondered if that's the case. The outline that Marty and Bob wrote immediately prior to that memo had all the Othello elements very, very present in the story. All they didn't do was NAME the characters. I always wondered whether they and/or Michael had the Othello story specifically in mind, consciously or un-, and I just capitalized on it.

The Goldencup Bakery Building, which semi-secretly houses a defense department hi-tech research and development installation is modeled after the Silver Cup Bakery Building -- which actually exists in Brooklyn (as I recall). That Building was trashed in the original HIGHLANDER movie in the final battle between Connor and the Kragen (who was played by a pretty damned horrific Clancy Brown). Small world.

I was always worried that the whole Othello, Desdemona, Iago, Cassio (whoops, I mean Goliath) backstory was a bit vague in this episode. Did anyone have problems getting it?

I don't think I'd like to be one of those Goldencup Guards. Coldstone punches one of them out. That's gotta hoit. He just seems fairly unstoppable in that Xanatos-program controlled sequence. I like how that plays.

Matt says to Elisa: "You never let me drive." My wife's reaction: "Was that in homage to me?" My wife, you see, almost always drives when we're together. She gets carsick when anyone else drives. And I don't much care.

Speaking of Matt, we've got that line about him spending six months reading RECAP manuals to justify why a normal detective would be in charge of RECAP in the first place. Just trying to avoid either adding a superfluous character and/or making the situation seem artificial.

Another appearance of the Scarab Corp. Logo, even though Scarab is never mentioned by name. Oh, well...

Coldstone flees the Goldencup. Goliath and Lex pursue, and Coldstone attacks them. Then he immediately stops, when he sees it's Goliath. The problem I always had with that scene is that the lighting made it obvious that it was Goliath from moment one. (Not just to us, but to Coldstone.) If Goliath had been in shadows, it would have played better.

Minutes later Lex asks Goliath if it's wise to take Coldstone into their home: "He hasn't always been your friend." This was, theoretically, a reference not simply to the most recent attack, nor even only to the events of "Reawakening", but also a reference to the pre-Massacre backstory of the actually non-existent love triangle (or square or pentagram if you include Demona) that caused Goliath and Othello to fight way back when. Lex remembers those days too. Othello was always a bit of a hot-head.

I love Goliath's response: "Without trust there can be no clan." And I love that this is part of a Lex/Goliath exchange. It fits in perfectly with the message they taught each other in "Thrill of the Hunt". Gotta take some chances on occasion. Or else you'll always be alone. It's an anti-Demona mentality. Or rather a mentality that is strikingly un-Demona-esque.

From the moment Coldstone premiered in "Reawakening" I knew (that if we survived to a second season) we'd discover that he was created from three Gargoyles. Tried to work that conceptually into the design more, but we never quite achieved it. So basically that becomes something that the audience has to take on trust.

Which brings me to the title "Legion". It's a one-word title which usually is a tip-off that it's one of mine. I know it's a biblical reference. Some possessed guy with a demon/devil inside who goes by the name "Legion". But that's not actually where I got it. When I was a kid, I saw this tv movie based on Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN. It starred Michael Sarazan or Chris Sarandon. (I always used to mix those two guys up.) It was trying to present a more realistic believable version of the Frankenstein story. I was pretty young. And I don't remember too much about it. I do remember that I was supposed to be asleep -- past my bedtime in the days before my parents gave up and I began going to bed long after they were asleep. But instead of being asleep, I was watching it, in the dark, with the volume turned as far down as possible, me sitting right by the set, so I could flip it off if I heard my parents' door opening. (This was long before remote controls were common.) Anyway, the one scene that I really remember is a scene where they put the Monster under hypnosis. The voices of all the people who "donated" body parts begin to speak. And one of them quotes the "Legion" thing from the bible. But I didn't know that. That is I didn't know back then that he was quoting anyone or anything. It just seemed like a very powerful, poetic and humanly true statement. So it wasn't until college that I read that passage in the bible and realized where it was from. Can anyone cite the actual quote? I can't remember where exactly it's from, and I don't feel like searching right now.

Anyway, all this is relevant because Coldstone was ALWAYS our Frankenstein character from the "IT'S ALIVE!" moment to the "Legion" stuff here.

Coldstone calls Hudson "Mentor". That's a "name" I've been long considering for Hudson's "designation" in the DARK AGES prequel spin-off.

Coldstone shoots Goliath at point blank range. Goliath gets up unharmed. A far cry from what happened to G in "Long Way to Morning." Now in the outline and script, it says that Coldstone uses his "concussion cannon" as opposed to his laser cannon. But nothing in the as-aired episode makes that distinction. And so it just looks irresponsible to me. Like suddenly we're saying violence has no repercussions. Did that bother anyone else?

I love the dark comedy of Coldstone going bonkers at Ellis Island. Fighting with himself. I think Michael Dorn did a terrific job playing all four aspects of CS's personality. Which of you figured out what when? I'd like to know.

The Trio has the Recap visor. Now all they have to do is find Goliath, Hudson and Coldstone. How will they do that? "Three guesses?" A very elegant way to explain how in a huge city, they're able to locate three gargoyles.

Kenner's Coldstone toy is a lot of fun. With it's window into Coldstone's soul. And the spinner that allows any of the four personas to take over at random.

Xanatos doesn't even appear until the VERY END of Act Two. And it's not even really Xanatos, just a program designed by him. Normally, I'd say that wasn't playing fair. But I feel like his presence was obvious all-along. (And did David personally design that program. Or did he just put his stamp on it, management-style?)

There's a moment when Goliath, thrilled to see his rookery sister again, hugs Desdemona. She is immediately annoyed, because she knows that hug is prone to misinterpretation. It's a nice little touch in the animation.

I always wondered what if anything Demona thought about that ancient conflict way back when. Was Iago playing her as well? Trying to make her jealous of Desdemona? I think maybe he did try. But wouldn't it be cool if she didn't credit it for a second. If she just knew intuitively that Desdemona didn't present any threat at all to her relationship with G? Because, I feel the opposite is true. That Demona knew intuitively that Elisa DID present a threat. Say what you want for Demona, but her subconscious knows her man.

I love that moment where BOTH Iago and Xanatos are whispering in Othello's ears. Poor slob never stood a chance.

We've got a nice little Xanatos tag in this one too. Certainly not a doozy as in "Leader" or "Metamorphosis", but it's got a nice little kick to it, I think. And that's THREE episodes in a row. X had been busy.

And then I love the last beat back at the clock tower. Goliath has confiscated Coldstone's body, to keep it safe and "among friends" should he/she ever wake up again. I wanted to keep it in the corner from that point until "High Noon". Always present and visible. We didn't for two reasons. First, we figured it would be a bit confusing. The Batcave can get away with the giant penny and other souvenirs from Batman's cases, because there ARE multiple souvenirs. But just having one immobile gargoyle in the background, as cool and creepy as that is, would be horribly distracting for any audience member who missed this one particular episode. And second, we had our tier system. What if "Legion" wasn't ready as scheduled. We couldn't have Coldstone sitting around the clock tower in later episodes that we'd be forced to air first. Talk about disconcerting. So we invented a back room. Where Coldstone, the Grimorum, the Gate and eventually the eye could be stored.

Comments welcome, as usual...


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Memo on "Legion" outline...

I re-watched "Legion" the other night. I'll post my Rambling on it sometime this week, but first here's a memo from September, '94, written by me to Michael Reaves in response to Bob Skir & Marty Isenberg's first draft outline on the episode [reprinted here unedited]:

WEISMAN 9-1-94

Notes on "LEGION" Outline...
Lots of great stuff in here. I just want to make sure that (1) we're clear on the theme and we milk it for all it's worth; (2) we're not skipping beats that will keep things mysterious and interesting for our audience; (3) we clarify the relationships (and names) a bit, and (4) we divorce it all from the 994 Viking attack.

General notes, in no particular order:

NAMES
O.K. I'm as well versed in our series as anyone is going to get, and even I found myself confused by (and backtracking because of) our name problem. Coldstone... Pre-Coldstone... Coldstone's Love... Coldstone's Foe... Coldstone's Dyslexia could cause Coldstone's Ulcer. So let's give our "internal characters" names. I would suggest carrying these names into the script for use in character descriptions and stage directions. Use the names to indicate who is controlling the Coldstone creature at any given moment. And when we are in the inner world of Coldstone's psyche they can also be used as headings for the dialogue. The only place where we should not use these names is in the actual spoken dialogue. They are for our designation only, since, as we all know, gargoyles had no names in the tenth century.

COLDSTONE = The cyborg/gargoyle creature currently known as Coldstone and voiced by Michael Dorn. Use this name only when referring to him in the present. Or in stage directions when referring to the external creature. And obviously, this is the one name we can use in spoken dialogue.

OTHELLO = (Hey, we've already done Macbeth.) The situation you described naturally brought Othello to mind. Othello will refer to Pre-Coldstone (also voiced by Michael Dorn) when he is internally depicted as he was in the tenth century.

DESDEMONA = Will obviously refer to Othello's female gargoyle lover. (Please remember that Desdemona was a warrior in her own right. She can justifiably be confused by this new and bizarre situation, but she shouldn't be weak, clingy or changeable.)

IAGO = Will refer to Othello's male gargoyle foe.

THE BACKSTORY
The main problem I had with this backstory was its tough-to-swallow interweaving with the Viking massacre. I sense you were trying to explain how all their gargoyle parts got mixed up together. This isn't necessary. I think it's safe to assume that when Demona and Xanatos were gathering parts to create Coldstone, they couldn't find enough usable parts from any single gargoyle. We don't know the magical and scientific details that were necessary to revivify this creature, but I think we can safely assume that neither Demona or Xanatos simply wanted to graft Othello's head onto a robot body. Demona especially would have wanted the creature to be as much a gargoyle as possible. So she found a large chunk of Othello's head and a few other usable pieces. She chose him because the Viking who shattered him was lazy and left some chunks intact, but also because she may have had reason to believe that Othello had shared her negative views of humanity. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough of him to build Coldstone. So she turned around and found a nice unbroken piece of Desdemona. And over here, a piece or two from Iago. Toss in Xanatos' computer parts and you've got yourself a creature. She didn't have to be mixing them together by accident. We can posit that she did it out of necessity.

That gives us the freedom to remove this event from the Viking attack. We don't need to imply that Goliath is distracted by an impending Viking attack (which frankly I don't think he was expecting). And we don't need to sandwich in Othello's pursuit of Goliath on the fateful night. And we don't have to toss Demona into this particular story at all. (It's crowded enough as it is.) In fact, the incidents of this story's flashback could have happened months or years before they were all destroyed by Hakon's men. Let's give ourselves this breathing room.

COLDSTONE'S VOICE
I think Coldstone only has one voice-box: Othello's. No matter who controls the creature from the inside, from the outside he sounds like Michael Dorn. I'm not simply suggesting this for logic and/or economy (we'll still cast a different actress and actor for Desdemona and Iago in the mind-world sequences), but because I think we'd be missing a bet by not keeping our audience guessing until the third act as to what's causing the odd behavior of Coldstone. When Othello is in control, he will remember the events of "Reawakening". Neither Desdemona or Iago will, and they will react very differently to being awakened in the 20th century. When the computer is in control (i.e. when Xanatos is issuing simple and direct commands), Coldstone will respond like an automaton. But in every case, he will speak with Dorn's voice. This does more than present an interesting challenge for Dorn. It keeps our audience guessing as to what is going on.

However, we have no desire to keep our storyboard artists and animators guessing. Please resist the temptation to write the script as a mystery that only reveals things to the reader when the audience discovers the same truth. We need this teleplay to be a blueprint: as clear and straightforward as possible. We need to track who is in control of Coldstone at all times. (And if the above paragraph goes without saying, accept my apologies in advance.)

THEME
The theme of today's adventure is TRUST. And I really want to emphasize it as much as possible. Misplaced trust. Lack of trust. The need for trust. Betrayed trust. All those good trust beats. Goliath puts his trust in Coldstone, who seems to betray it. Othello trusts Iago instead of Desdemona and Goliath. Iago puts his trust in Xanatos. Etc. Etc. Etc. Just at the point where you've put the trust brick through the plate glass window of our audience's attention is the point where we've hit the mark. Anything short of that is liable to get lost in the shuffle of such a complex story. Playing this theme in action and dialogue will help keep us focused.

GOLIATH'S GOAL
Goliath's goal is to restore Coldstone to the clan. Goliath misses his rookery brother. Remember, there are so few gargoyles left, that Goliath would value every one.

THE POLICE TICKING CLOCK
Rather than create a whole new character in charge of the police probe robot, I'd like to use Matt Bluestone. It's a bit of a stretch, I know, but there've been episodes of Hill Street where normal everyday cops were given the opportunity to test and evaluate new hi-tech material to see how it performed in real life situations. I think we can buy into it here as well. Particularly given Matt's personality. He's the kind of guy who would study the manuals and learn how to use this stuff. He's seen Goliath and Coldstone battle in Times Square. And he's an odd combination of compassionate idealist and minor paranoid. He might feel that it's better to know how this stuff works than be at the mercy of it. He could get into it.

And once the VR hook-up was "borrowed", he'd be pretty intent on finding out what was going on. He knows weird shit has been happening in Manhattan, but we've kept him an outsider to the world of the gargoyles. Though he's a decent guy, his ignorance makes him a viable threat to our heroes.

SCIENCE, SORCERY & CYBERSCAPE
In the beat sheet that follows, I've tracked the story in the most basic terms. [The science mostly.] But as you noted in your outline, Coldstone was created from both science and sorcery. So feel free to embellish the basics which I describe here. Particularly in the cyberscape scenes. Here, I've laid out only the bare bones to make sure the story tracks. The cyberspace reality should be fluid and changing, easily influenced by the thoughts, emotions and memories of the players involved. (Particularly Othello, but also Desdemona, Iago and even Xanatos and Goliath if appropriate.)

BEAT SHEET:
ACT ONE - (The idea in this act is to depict Coldstone under the control of each of his four masters (Xanatos, Othello, Desdemona and Iago) in turn, without revealing to the audience or our characters what exactly is happening.)

1. The George Washington Bridge, just before sunset. Coldstone's red robotic eye burns awake in the muck beneath the bridge. Automatic repair work begins. (Remember, the last time we saw him, Demona blew him away with a cannon.)

Intercut between these repairs and brief flashbacks to 10th century Scotland. Fleeting images of Othello and Desdemona in love. Of Iago sewing seeds of jealousy in Othello while Desdemona confides with Goliath. Of Othello attacking Goliath. Of Desdemona coming between them.

Then repairs complete, Coldstone rockets into the night sky. The creature speaks with Coldstone's voice (Michael Dorn) but in a modulated automaton-like fashion. "Repairs complete. New programming downloaded. Initiating Prime Directives."

[Basically Xanatos has broadcast a new binary code and reactivated the creature. It is Xanatos' computer programming which is now in control. Othello is still dormant.]

2. Goldencup Bakery Building, dusk. (Since this is a fictionalized location anyway, let's relocate it to Manhattan, so that we can pretend that it is located within Elisa and Goliath's "beat".) Coldstone [still under complete computer control] raids the government installation. His approach is anything but subtle. Alarms sound.

3. Clock Tower, just after sunset. Elisa's tosses Lex a headset receiver/transmitter. She tells him that she and Matt had been put on alert and now they got the call. Something's going down and they're going to test "the thing". It's clear from dialogue that they've discussed this already, as Lex is very excited to see how and if "the thing" works. Goliath is curious. What are they talking about? A new police robot probe for dealing with high-risk situations. The cops control it by using a virtual reality hook-up. Goliath: "Virtual... Reality?" This he has to see. He and Lex will follow her by air. They promise to stay out of sight.

4. Back at Goldencup, Coldstone moves like a juggernaut towards the computer room. He does not fight against the building's security forces, he simply ignores all opposition. Finally, he plugs into the computer. Suddenly Coldstone seems to have no idea where he is, what he was up to or why everyone is shooting at him.

[Although we shouldn't reveal what's going wrong yet, the computer virus has begun its attack on Coldstone's programming. It causes the creature to freeze up for a moment, and then Othello wakes up within his own body.]

Not knowing how he came into the windowless room, Coldstone doesn't even know the way out of the building. Well, he may not have the answers, but he can do something about his attackers. He begins to fight back. The humans are driven out.

5. Outside, Morgan tells Elisa & Matt that some kind of semi-robotic creature is pinned down inside. Matt is putting on the VR interface visor. Elisa asks him if he's sure he knows what he's doing. Matt says "Trust me, I didn't study all those manuals for nothing." The probe robot moves in. (Obviously, this thing shouldn't come close to being on a par with any of Xanatos' robots, but let's not make it a push-over either.) Lex and Goliath watch from building-tops, despite Elisa's warnings that they could be mistaken for the "creature". Lex is fascinated with the probe. Goliath is more interested in seeing what kind of creature the probe flushes out.

6. Meanwhile, Matt is getting the hang of the probe robot. At first it doesn't seem to be responding well. It freezes up by a computer bank and the visor goes dark for a few seconds, but then it kicks into gear. The robot approaches Coldstone. Matt tries to get Coldstone to surrender, via his connection to the Probe. But Coldstone's still a 10th century warrior at heart. He won't surrender to some Iron Tree stump (or whatever it looks like). So now it's Coldstone vs. the Probe. The Probe gets in a couple good shots, but soon it's on the ropes. Matt whips the visor off, just before the probe is destroyed. The feedback could be dangerous. (But note, the robot should not be blown to bits, just wrecked.) At any rate, the battle has led Coldstone to an exit (or at least to a small window, which he cannons into an exit). He takes off. Spotted by Lex and Goliath who pursue.

7. Goliath, Lex and Coldstone are reunited. (Maybe Coldstone is defensive and antagonistic until he gets a clear look.) They pause on a building top to talk. Goliath is thrilled that Coldstone is still alive. Coldstone is mightily relieved to see a friendly face. Lex is a bit dissatisfied with Coldstone's non-answers to his questions about what he was doing at Goldencup. But Goliath happily invites Coldstone to join the clan at their new home. They take off. Lex glides up close to Goliath and quietly questions the wisdom of taking a former enemy (and a guy who's acting pretty strange) into their home. But Goliath TRUSTS his rookery brother.

8. They arrive at the clock tower. Coldstone is especially thrilled to see his "Old Mentor", Hudson. Coldstone didn't see Hudson in "REAWAKENING" and is thrilled that Hudson survived the centuries. Nearly overcome with emotion Coldstone says there's only one other that he would be happier to see alive. And suddenly, he begins acting very odd. "Where am I? Goliath is that you? What's wrong with my voice?" That kind of stuff.

[The virus has had a systemic effect on Coldstone. It broke Xanatos' pre-programmed control, allowing Othello to regain control of his body. But as the system continues to break down, other voices are coming to the surface. You could call them ghosts, if you want. But they are the personas "haunting" the pieces of Coldstone that were neither Othello nor electronic. The first to surface is Desdemona, summoned to some degree by Othello's intense emotional memory of her. She has not been briefed on her circumstances and is legitimately confused.]

Somewhere in here, Coldstone catches sight of its own reflection, freaks out and takes off. Goliath and Hudson pursue. Brooklyn and Broadway are about to follow, when Lex stops them. Something's wrong inside Coldstone's head. And he thinks he knows how to find out what.

9. Goliath and Hudson catch up to Coldstone (after a chase?) at Ellis Island. As they approach, Coldstone stands very still, out of breath. Stunned by the huge city of Manhattan.

(Note: somewhere in here, Brooklyn glides toward them, spots them and then instead of landing, doubles back.)

Goliath asks "What's wrong?" Coldstone's whole demeanor changes: "What's wrong? Why, nothing. Nothing at all."

[The enormity of events has weakened Desdemona's hold over Coldstone. Iago has stepped in. The difference is that Iago arrives prepared. He has been briefed by the Xanatos programming. More on this later.]

Goliath hesitates for a moment, but in for a penny, in for a pound. He trusts Coldstone, approaches him openly. And Coldstone takes the opportunity to blow Goliath away.

ACT TWO - (In this act, Coldstone's deterioration continues. The personality shifts come quicker and ultimately don't wait for Othello to vacate control.)

10. Hudson moves quickly to Goliath's side. Good news. Coldstone used his concussion cannon, so Goliath is still alive. Of course, that could change. Goliath and Hudson barely avoid a blast from Coldstone's other cannon. The one that could kill them. Goliath can't understand what's going on, but Hudson points out that he's not going to have a chance to figure it out if they don't start fighting back. So it's a fight.

11. Meanwhile at Goldencup, Elisa and Matt are tying up loose ends. Lex arrives, and via his headset hook-up and her hidden microphone and ear piece, he tells her that the creature was Coldstone and that he's acting really weird. She's not surprised. Coldstone had plugged into a computer usually loaded with military defense secrets. But Goldencup had received a tip that there might be trouble. (That's why the Police had the Probe Robot ready.) But Goldencup took extra precautions, the defense computer was loaded with a new computer virus. It's probably destroying Coldstone's internal programming.

Lex takes this all in and then makes his request. He needs Matt's VR visor and the interface off the wrecked Probe Robot.

12. Back to Goliath and Hudson vs. Coldstone. Just as the tables might be turning, Coldstone's demeanor changes again. Why is Goliath attacking him?

[Iago was afraid of losing. During that moment of doubt, Othello regained control. As yet, Othello is unaware of the changes Coldstone's been going through.]

Now at this point, both Goliath and Coldstone [Othello] are pretty suspicious of each other. Goliath doesn't want to be fooled again. Coldstone says he blacked out at the clock tower. Now he's here and fighting with his rookery brother? He's confused and his head hurts....

And now Coldstone goes through some major mood swings.

[Rapid fire changes from Othello to Desdemona to Iago, etc.]

And now things get really strange. Coldstone can't seem to control some of his body parts. He's arguing with himself -- out loud. (Note: all these voices are still Michael Dorn.)

[Though Othello retains partial control, the other personas are bubbling to the surface as the whole system continues to break down. Now for the first time, Othello can hear the other voices, but it is a cacophony that is driving him nuts. I don't think he yet recognizes them specifically as Desdemona or Iago.]

Some of the voices tell him to trust Goliath. Some say destroy him. Some reiterate the events we saw in the flashback.

The "argument" gets more violent. Coldstone holds his head. He demands silence. He begins to fire blindly in all directions as if he could silence the voices that way. He's losing it. Goliath and Hudson dive for cover.

Suddenly Lex dive-bombs in, smashing into Coldstone and, not-so-incidentally, installing the VR interface hook-up. Coldstone collapses to his knees, begging for quiet.

Brooklyn and Broadway come in for a landing behind Lex. (While Lex was getting the equipment from Elisa, they had been scouting for Goliath, Hudson and Coldstone. When Brooklyn spotted them, he doubled back to tell Lex where to find them.)

Goliath tells them that Coldstone is being destroyed from the inside out.

Lex agrees and holds up the visor. If they want to save him, someone's going to have to go inside to do it.

13. Back at Goldencup, Matt tells Elisa that the VR visor and the hook-up have been stolen. Since secretly she took them and gave them to Lex, she shrugs and says they'll turn up. He's sure they will. This was expensive equipment with built-in homing beacons. He shows her a tracking device. They'll find them, all right. And when they do, he won't be half surprised if they find their creature as well.

14. Back on the Island, Lex is not at all thrilled about Goliath's decision to put on the visor himself. Lex feels that he's the best qualified to handle the technology, which is exactly why Goliath needs him on the outside in case something goes wrong. Goliath puts on the visor. An aura of Electricity and Magic surround him and Coldstone.

15. Goliath finds himself in cyber-sorcer-limbo-space . In front of him is a bridge leading over a swirling vortex [the virus] . There's nowhere to go but across. So he goes. There are already holes in the drawbridge. And the holes are getting bigger.

[The virus is now eating away at the VR interface.]

Goliath realizes that he's going to have to fix this problem, and get back across the bridge/interface before there's nothing left of it. On the other side of the bridge rising out of the cyber-mist is a dreamscape version of the 10th century Castle Wyvern. There are three gargoyles (Othello, Desdemona & Iago) frozen in cyber-stone. And half-hidden in the shadows is another familiar face -- Xanatos. He welcomes a shocked Goliath as we fade to black.

ACT THREE - (Revelation and conflict inside the deteriorating mind of Coldstone.)

16. The vortex is everywhere, and the castle is slowly sinking into it. Goliath demands an explanation from Xanatos, who steps out of the shadows and reveals that his body is full of cyber-holes, and is partially gone. Like the bridge, he is being eaten away by the virus. Xanatos explains that he is not in fact Xanatos, but a computer program with a primary objective to enslave Coldstone to Xanatos' grand design. Goliath is determined to stop him.

Suddenly the three gargoyles explode free of their stone shells. Othello again drops to his knees. Still traumatized. Desdemona runs to Goliath. (She was his rookery-sister, and he would remember her and greet her as such.) Now she fills in the blanks. Xanatos used more than one gargoyle to build his creature. They all live on inside it. But Iago is trying to wrest control of the creature from Othello. He's made some kind of deal with the human (i.e. Xanatos). But she won't let it happen. She loves Othello. Goliath must help her save him.

But meanwhile, Iago and Xanatos haven't been wasting any time. They whisper in Othello's ear. "See how Goliath steals your love away? It was the same 1000 years ago and now, once again, they have betrayed your trust."

Othello turns on Goliath. Knocks him back. Basically, tries to drop-kick him into the vortex.

17. On the outside, a catatonic Goliath and Coldstone seem to reel from the blows of invisible foes. Lex doesn't know what to make of the glowing aura that surrounds them. But Hudson recognizes sorcery when he sees it. Coldstone was created by science and sorcery. It was something Lex hadn't counted on. Then, via headset, Elisa alerts Lex that Matt is determined to get to the bottom of this mystery and that he and the authorities are closing in on them by SWAT helicopter and police boat. They better make tracks. Lex tries to take the visor off Goliath but the aura throws him back. It ain't gonna be that easy.

18. Inside, Desdemona tries to separate Goliath and Othello. Othello: "Again, you come to his defense." But she protests. He is forgetting what happened. 1000 years ago he was jealous of Goliath, but needlessly. Her love for him is eternal and true. And Goliath was not and is not his enemy but rather his brother and true friend. He has been tricked again by Iago. It's a crucial moment. Who will Othello trust? Desdemona & Goliath or Iago & the human Xanatos? Othello will trust his heart. He turns to face his true enemies.

But it's too late. The partial Xanatos is already merging with Iago. Together they are transformed into a Cyborg version of Iago, but giant-sized. The giant Cyborg-Iago smashes Goliath and Othello and prepares to throw them over the ramparts and into the vortex. With his other hand, Iago lifts Desdemona to eye level and invites her to merge with him as well. Then they can finally be together as Iago always knew they should be.

19. Outside, Lex stands watch over Coldstone and Goliath, while Hudson, Brooklyn and Broadway try to sabotage Matt's attack force without hurting anyone or being seen. They cut fuel lines on the choppers. Overturn the boats or whatever.

20. Inside, Desdemona tries to hand Cyborg-Iago his head. She's a warrior and will choose her own love. This gives Othello and Goliath the chance to recover. Now it's the three gargoyle heroes against the giant cyborg-monster. Maybe the castle landscape itself begins to change and mutate into a hollow vision of Coldstone. (They are battling for the soul of this creature-amalgam.) Ultimately, (surprise, surprise) it is the giant-cyborg-Iago that is tossed into the vortex.

But time is running out. Othello and Desdemona insist that Goliath return to his own body before the vortex swallows everything. But what about them? They are finally together. If they can halt the vortex, so be it. If they fall to it, so be that. At least they will be together. The bridge appears. Goliath crosses it, just as it collapses into the vortex.

21. Outside, the magical aura fades away just as Broadway, Brooklyn and Hudson return. Authorities are still coming. Couldn't do anymore without revealing themselves. Goliath removes the visor. Lex removes the interface from Coldstone. For the first time since scene one, Coldstone's red robotic eye dims and fades.

22. Matt and Elisa finally arrive on the island. Matt uses his tracking devise to lead them to the equipment. They find the visor and interface on the ground. The area is otherwise deserted. Not a creature in sight.

23. At Xanatos' castle, Xanatos asks Owen if there were any problems. Besides the minor setback of losing Coldstone, no. Xanatos' Scarab Corp. Robotics Division confiscated the remains of the Probe Robot (including the interface and visor) which they had supplied to the police in the first place. Coldstone was the perfect cover for the Probe Robot to get what Xanatos really wanted: the virus. Forget defense secrets, the virus is the deadliest weapon he knows of. It even defeated the mighty Coldstone.

24. Inside the clock tower, Goliath has installed the dormant Coldstone in the corner. Someday, he trusts, his rookery brother and sister may fight their way to the surface. He wants them among friends when they do.


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Greg "Xanatos" Bishansky writes...

Ahh man. Todd pointed out the Demona/Lady Macbeth connection before I did.

Since I'd rather not repeat everything he said, I'll just say that "Long Way to Morning" was a great episode.

Oh by the way, I'm glad the Archmage did return. I like evil sorcerors, even if some are cliched. And David Warner is one of my favorite voice-actors. He was great as Ras al'Ghul in Batman, and Alpha in MiB. Thanks for bringing him back to "Gargoyles". It's just too bad that we didn't get "Dark Ages".

Greg responds...

Ditto to everything you said.

Response recorded on June 30, 2000

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Lexy writes...

Heeeeeeeeeeeeello again!

Hey, I thought I _asked_ this one already..but well I just looked over a bunch of Q's..and well I guess mabye I didnt. Well, sorry if this is a double post ok?

I was thinking about 101 dalmations a few days ago. You probably havent thought about this in perticular..but for Nash's voice were you just planning on using Jeff?

If so would it have sounded like Lucky's voice?

Thanks!! SORRY again if I spammed you!

Greg responds...

I haven't seen much of the tv 101 Dalmations. So the Lucky I know had a slight British accent. But we might very well have used Jeff for Nash. Maybe.

Response recorded on June 30, 2000

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Duncan Devlin writes...

First off, great show, always worth saying. I would like to thank for Oberon, who led to a five page description that got me an A for seventh grade English, Titania, whose description got me and A for eighth grade English, and Macbeth, a text whose knowledge got me an A in ninth grade English (although these grades did not come from spelling.)

On my seventh or eight watchings of "Ill Met by Moonlight" and "The Gathering", my rather large screensavers, I noticed a few things and came up with some stuff.

1) Anubis appeared to be one of the people in line at the Gathering, this seems a little odd. Who takes care while he is away?

2) Who, if anybody, is the dube with the hat that kisses Oberon's hand before the Banshee gets dropped?

3) Oberon refers to himself as "we" in some cases and "I" and other cases, what is up with that?

(I did not see these in the archives, if any are there, sorry)

Thanks

Greg responds...

1. Takes care of what? Away from where?

2. That "dube" is Nought.

3. Artistic license. I generally liked for him to use the royal we. But occasionally having him say "we" was very confusing, because it gave the impression he was talking about the group at hand. So occasionally, we cheated and used "I". Fortunately, Terrance Mann, who voiced Oberon could make the lowliest I still sound like the royal we. Which is probably why you didn't notice it until your seventh viewing.

Response recorded on June 29, 2000

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Chapter XV: "Metamorphosis"

STORY EDITOR: Michael Reaves
WRITERS: Brynne Chandler Reaves & Lydia Marano

The first appearance of Anton Sevarius and the MUTATES: Maggie the Cat, Fang and Claw. Derek had appeared before, but this was TALON's "first appearance" as well.

In our original development, the Talon character was called CATSCAN. He wasn't Elisa's brother. In fact, he was sorta Sevarius. That is, he was the scientist who created the mutagenic formula. At first he works for Xavier (Xanatos), but later -- when he realizes that Xavier was responsible for the "accident" that turned him into Catscan -- he tries to hunt Xanatos down, forcing Goliath to actually protect Xanatos in order to save Catscan's soul. This version of Catscan was basically the inspiration of my good friend Fred Schaefer, who was a Disney Development Associate at the time. Part of the team. Oh, and Catscan was a solo act, there were no other Mutates. And he didn't have wings either. He fired some kind of radiation bolt from his eyes.

Later, we began to prep Derek for the Catscan/Talon role. I don't remember if we knew Derek's fate way back in "Deadly Force", when he was introduced, but we definitely knew by "Her Brother's Keeper". One of the reasons we made him a pilot was to give him some flight background to justify how quickly we needed him to learn to fly. This was emphasized HERE by putting him in a glider.

Anton Sevarius became a separate character obviously. Michael Reaves, I believe, came up with his name. At first, I didn't like it. I thought it was too cartoony. Now I think it suits him.

Rereading my memo, it seems I was thinking of Brent Spiner to play Sevarius. I hadn't remembered that. Of course, no one else could be Sevarius except Tim Curry. And Brent was a perfect Puck for us too. So all's well that ends well. (But can you imagine if somehow the rolls had been switched?) Tim has some great lines here: "...Or has that changed?" is one of my favorites. He's so hungry.

FYI - That's Jonathan Frakes voicing Fang's one-liner in this episode. We couldn't afford to hire a separate actor for one line. So Jonathan stepped in. Of course, later Fang was taken over by Jim Belushi. But I don't think anyone noticed.

Gotta love the Snidely Whiplash reference.

As I mentioned in my last Ramble on "Leader", Xanatos' plans were getting more and more sophisticated. Here we had two humdingers in a row. The one in "Leader" is just a lot of fun. This one is cruel. Throughout the story, we (I think) tend to believe in Xanatos' mea culpa and his outrage regarding the Mutates ("They'll crucify you. And if they don't, I WILL!!"). Why? Because he's so darn likable we want to think well of him. (Who was fooled? I'd like to know.) Also his story rings true. When he tells Sevarius, "I've been in prison before." We know he has. We believe he could take it again. It's that touch of truth amid the lies that makes him so sharp.

And Owen was complicit. On one level, that shouldn't be surprising, yet there's something of the Mr. Spock about Owen. As faithful as you know he is, you don't actually expect him to lie.

And frankly, the plan is SO complex. I hope it's believable when all is said and done. We made a real effort to make sure that it could have worked, that if it hadn't gone EXACTLY as depicted it would feel like there would have been alternative scenarios that would have generated the same result. Of course the master-stroke is Sevarius' death. Our S&P executive raised an eyebrow over that, as she finished reading Act Two. Fortunately, she was the type who finished the script before knee-jerking us with an objection. We got away with depicting a violent death on-screen -- because it was fake. (But who was fooled?)

We tried to play fair with a number of clues throughout. We used Xanatos' own security team as the "hired mercenaries" that Sevarius was using. Only Xanatos checks Sevarius' pulse. When Matt and Elisa are later investigating the scene, there's no body and NO CHALK OUTLINE either. They have no idea that anyone even theoretically was supposed to have DIED there. And Sevarius is SO OVER THE TOP. That should have been a stylistic clue. It was way fun to do -- and it took great acting on Tim's part to act that badly and still make it play.

For once the script came in a tad short. So the board artist added the bit where the gargoyles break out of stone and we see the debris rain down on the people below. Pigeons fly off into the night. (Just a little touch of realism.) Very nice.

I was never too fond of Elisa's Zen Master joke. Still, in the comic book story I wrote before the Marvel comic book was cancelled, I created a Zen Master character. (Just compulsive I guess.)

My original plan for Gen-U-Tech was to abreviate its name as G.U.T.S. As in the company that twists yours up. (The full name is Genetic Undiscovered Technical Systems.) Instead it became Gen-U-Tech, which is probably better. But I can't remember who made the change. The script has plenty of GUTS references in the descriptions. But it may have escaped my notice that it has none in the dialogue. And the logos designed all read Gen-U-Tech, not guts. I wonder if Frank & Michael were slyly protecting me from a mis-step?

I like the conflict between Brooklyn & Broadway here. All the interplay with the trio is very well handled, I think. Were people really rooting for Brooklyn & Maggie to wind up together?

Not our best animated episode. Both the modeling and the animation leave a bit to be desired. Derek's ears look mid-transformation long before he's hit with that dart. Makes me cringe, but I guess if the audience isn't expecting him to get changed, they don't notice the subtle pointyness to the ears, until after the contents of the dart are revealed. But on a second viewing...?

Maggie Reed: "I'm from Ohio." As if that should explain EVERYTHING. I love that line.

"Morgan Reed", by the way, was one of our may early names for what eventually became Elisa Chavez, Elisa Bluestone and finally Elisa Maza. (I never waste anything.)

Observations from my daughter Erin:

1. "I like the click of their boots." [Erin complimenting the foley during the recapture of Maggie in the alley.]

2. "His hands ARE tied!" [My clever Erin catching the irony. Elisa says "My hands are tied." Brooklyn responds, "Well mine aren't." But then he turns to stone, prompting Erin's observation.]

3. "Hudson and Bronx always stay home." [Erin commenting on our proclivity for leaving Hudson & Bronx behind at the castle or clock tower when Goliath and the Trio go off. It is kind of a rip.]

Another great series of endings and false endings.

Xanatos tells Owen to bring him the "best geneticist on the planet."

The gargs arrive and fight the Mutates. Elisa arrives. Xanatos asks her to "stop this senseless violence". [Ahh, what a lovely bastard he is.]

Maggie makes the accurate observation that Brooklyn wants her to stay a monster. And yet despite that incite, she clearly still believes that both she and Brooklyn ARE monsters. She's as bound up in appearances as he is.

Talon names himself. It's kinda odd. But I think it works.

Elisa declares war on Xanatos. And for a split-second it registers on his face. Something has actually given him pause.

And then Owen brings in the best geneticist. I still wonder if it's immediately clear that this "new guy" IS Sevarius. He looks SO different. And Tim wasn't using the hoky accent anymore. Was anyone else confused, even momentarily? But anyway, it's another stunner Xanatos Tag. Did your eyes bug out? Or did you know by this time?

And finally, back to the Tower. Brooklyn is in a funk. But Elisa...

This entire episode is obviously a direct sequel to "Brother's Keeper". Right down to the end. In the end of that one, Elisa can do nothing but stare sadly out at the snow. But we're past that now. Now she cries. Xanatos doesn't wind up with the Mutates, though he correctly predicts there eventual return, but this is his clearest victory yet. The Mutates blame the gargs. Talon still believes X is his best chance at a cure. And he has an emotional and physical weapon against Elisa and the gargs. I was proud of us for ending a "cartoon" on such a relatively down note. Can't always have happy endings. How many people were surprised we ended it that way?

That's it. Comments welcome...


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LSZ writes...

What do the real voices of all the voice actors of Gargoyles sound like?

Greg responds...

Themselves.

(What are you looking for here? An audio file?)

Response recorded on June 26, 2000

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Chapter XIV: "Leader of the Pack"

I've already dealt with the changes between the first and second seasons of GARGOYLES. (See a previous ramble on that subject.) And hopefully you've all read the serialized postings of the memo I wrote to Michael Reaves in July of 94. Note the date. I was writing that memo to Michael a good three months before the first season of the series would actually premiere. Meaning, Michael, myself, all of us, were just guessing.

Now, finally, I have the time to sit down and ramble about my recent re-viewing of "Leader"...

STORY EDITOR: Michael Reaves.
WRITER: Steven Perry.

Some things were coming to fruition in this episode. A CY.O.T.I. robot had been part of the original development of the show and the Pack. Six characters seemed like a bit much, but the main reason we left CY.O.T.I. out of "Thrill of the Hunt" was because of the way we wound up intro-ing the Pack, that is as a group of T.V. super-heroes. Giving them a realistic robot in that context didn't seem to fit. By the time we got around to introducing the show's version of the Coyote robot (note the NORMAL spelling) much had changed in how we conceived the thing. And yet many of the original elements were still present, if altered. The orignal CY.O.T.I. (CYber-Operational Technical Individual -- or something like that) was a hovering robotic head. But not a Xanatos head. It was a dog-faced head. The head could attach to multiple different robotic bodies, as well as lock into various vehicles as a kind-of autoMATED pilot. One of the robotic bodies was four-legged, dog-shaped. Another was bipedal. But in either case there was never any question that the robot was a robot.

But by the time, we got to "Leader" we had learned so much more about our characters, that our whole conception of CY.O.T.I. changed into the Coyote you know. Part of the change came right out of how sophisticated Xanatos himself was. David constantly made Michael and I jump through hoops to come up with trickier and trickier plots. Plots that would allow the Gargoyles to generally triumph, and yet allow Xanatos to snatch some real victory out of seeming total defeat in what had become our trademark Xanatos Tag sequences. The one in "Leader" is one of the best, which brings up another thing that came to fruition in this episode. When we first created the Pack, I had NO IDEA that Fox and Xanatos were an item. That was a complete discovery, a revelation that came to us during the making of "Her Brother's Keeper": akin to, "Ohmigod, Fox is in love with David!!!" I don't know if it shocked you guys, but it sure came as a surprise to me, their so-called creator. Another instance when I think of myself less as a writer, and more as simply the guy who was tapping into what was really going on in the GARGOYLES UNIVERSE. When did you guys figure it out? During "Brother's Keeper"? During "Leader"? Or not until the end of "Leader" when it was objectively revealed? (Obviously, any of you who saw later episodes first are disqualified from voting on this one.)

Anyway, since we knew they were destined for each other, and we had this semi-top secret plan for them to marry and extremely top-secret plan for them to procreate, we knew we had to get Fox out of jail. And not break her out. But have her out more-or-less scott free. So that would be Xanatos' plan. All the subterfuge would lead to that. Having the robot pose as Xanatos in armor, allowed us for the kind of multiple surprise onion-peeling kind of story that I just live for. Plus it would leave us with a more wieldy five-man Pack again. Fox would graduate. Coyote would take her place.

One tricky thing was electronically futzing Jonathan Frakes' voice when Coyote was wearing his helmet. We wanted to alter it enough so that no one would know it was "Xanatos" until after he took off the helmet. But we didn't want to alter it SO much that you couldn't register Jonathan's standardly and casually wonderful acting AS Xanatos inside the armor. I think we succeeded. (Credit for that goes to the guys at Advantage Audio, who mixed the show. Real unsung heroes.)

We also gave Jamie Thomason, our voice director, and Jonathan the key note that would differentiate the true Xanatos from Coyote. And that was Coyote's fairly primitive desire for vengeance. If I do say so myself, I thought this was a terrific clue, a great moment of fair play, planted in the story. I wanted people to be a little surprised that Xanatos would care about vengeance. But I also figured most would buy into it, because we're all so trained to think of villains in a certain way. But then when Xanatos calls revenge a "sucker's game" at the end, the audience would feel "Oh, of course. That's OUR Xanatos. The other guy was just a cheap imitation." Who was fooled? Who wasn't? I'm curious to know.

When Coyote first took off his helmet at the end of Act One, my three year old son Ben yelled out "Xanatos!" He was truly and wonderfully surprised at that moment. It was fun.

Random observation: Wolf's not doing real push-ups. Not fully extending, either up or down.

Another thing we did do for the NEW SEASON start up was feature the gargs EXPLODING out of stone. Another of our series' trademarks that we wanted to be sure to get into the first episode of the new season.

Coyote clearly has a "quip chip" installed. He's got some great very Xanatosian lines. "Exact change". "Wanna see what I can do with both hands." Etc.

In fact lots of characters have great cutting lines in this one. Owen is wonderfully officious, even a tad smarmy in this one. You can almost see Puck smiling through, and this is before I knew Owen was Puck. But his, "Shouldn't you... be there." is just great.

Or Brooklyn's line: "Yeah, why should we stay up here... where it's safe." Great.

And Hyena: "I love a man who brings me weapons..." and "A robot?! Even better." Classic. And that was another discovery. Hyena would have the hots for Coyote. It wouldn't necessarily be reciprocated, but the mere fact that he was a robot wouldn't bug her. (I'm guessing she's used to using technology to satisfy her desires.) On some level, I think this was us (and Hyena) just being perverse for the sake of perverseness. But I also think it created an interesting parallel to Goliath and Elisa's relationship, if that doesn't sound to preposterous.

______

Another random observation: Hyena mentions Santa Claus. :) Ho ho ho.

______

CHARACTER CONTINUITY:
I think there was a semi-conscious desire to give every character something that new and returning viewers could use to hang their hats on, so-to-speak.

Lex is still so angry at the Pack for events in "Thrill of the Hunt" that he's literally HOPPING mad. Actually, that bit of hopping bugged me. Made Lex look silly and young at a point when I was hoping to present him as truly dangerous. Oh, well...

Brooklyn still feels the same way about Demona. And he's self-aware enough to know it. Though not mature enough to get passed it. (That'll come -- sometime in 2158.)

Broadway still hates guns and smashes them at every opportunity. (Lex obviously doesn't share his rookery-brother's opinion. Lex looks real tough holding that launcher. And I think it's a fairly shocking moment when that hole gets blown in Coyote's torso, and Lex is revealed -- through the hole, no less -- as the shooter. Even though we know by this time that Coyote is a robot, I still think it's one of the most violent images that ever appeared in our show. And it's all about context and attitude. You get the sense that Lex might just do the exact same thing to any of the human members of the Pack too.)

Hudson is still the observant guy who deduces events from what remains behind. "There's been a struggle here..." is right in keeping with his tracking skills and the way he examined that tampered-with bow back in "Awakening, Part Two".

Bronx is still a good judge of character. And he hates robots with fearful abandon. We decided he could literally smell when something isn't human. If it talks like a duck and walks like a duck, we naturally assume that it's a duck. But for Bronx it better smell like a duck or he's going to rip its face off, eh? That was another great shocking moment, I think. There's a little bit of WESTWORLD homage going on. Or FEMBOT homage, depending on how old you are. (I'm old enough to remember both.) It's pretty cool. And I love Coyote's head rocketing off at the end. It's so cool and sick. I fell in love with that head, and decided to use it in all future Coyote's -- one way or another.

Nietzche, Sartre, Kafka. That exchange was pure Perry-Reaves. And people tell me _I_ write to old for the demographic. Geez.

I love that moment when the phone rings at PackMedia Studios. (Also have I mentioned I love the name PackMedia. It's so perfect.) Anyway, Broadway's tentative response, before picking it up. And Owen knowing someone WOULD just pick up. It kills me.

As most of you know I favor one word titles. But "Leader of the Pack" WAS in fact one of mine. It was just irresistible.

The fight between the Gargs and the Pack aboard the oil tanker was very well-choreographed in script. But this was an instance where, in my opinion, our board artists lost the forest for the trees. The fight in storyboard went off on some wonderful tangents -- that wound up creating problems for those interested in keeping track of our combatants. Who was where and when just became a mess. We basically were able to fix those problems in film editing. But that's accomplished by keeping the fight well-paced. In the script, I actually think it's well-choreographed. In particular, Broadway freeing Lex, Brook and Bronx made a bit more sense in the script.

Coyote's perception-warping weapon is very cool. We probably didn't use it enough. Mainly because it was too effective. Too hard to stop.

I wanted the gargs to have to swim back to shore from the sinking tanker. But no one else agreed with me.

The head of Fox's parole board is voiced by Jim Cummings (aka Dingo, Darkwing Duck, Bonkers, etc.), doing his best Orson Wells imitation. Which is damned good by the way. Jim Cummings and Jeff Bennett in the same show. Man, were we blessed or what?

And coming full circle, we have our great Xanatos Tag. The villains kiss passionately. You don't see that too often in cartoons, I think. I love Xanatos' great line "That was merely the icing, you're the cake." And also his "true love is so much harder to come by." But here's my question for you guys. At the time, did you really think Xanatos was truly in love with Fox, or did you think he was merely being glib? I knew by that time, but even David didn't. Wasn't until "Eye of the Beholder" that HE realized how deep his feelings were for Fox.

So, comments?


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IRC Goliath writes...

This subject is very off topic, so I apologize in advance. In fact, it's not a question for Greg but for his good friend who worked on Nazca. Last night I was watching Malcom in the Middle and I saw a quick shot of Thom's character from Nazca in the opening sequence. I was just wondering how that came about.

Greg responds...

Rick Simone who is a very good friend of Thom Adcox, did the voice of Dan in Nazca. (He also did the voice of Tatsuya in the episode of 3x3 Eyes that will premiere at the Gathering this August. Tatsuya, Monkey and Hide are the best buddies of Yakumo, our hero. Rick plays Tatsuya. Thom is Monkey. And I voice Hide.) Anyway, Rick also produced opening title sequences for a number of different prime time series, including Malcolm. That's the connection.

Response recorded on June 23, 2000

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Michael Norton writes...

Greg,

In a recent response you said "It was one of the reasons that I made Oberon & Titania's skin Blue and Green. I didn't want to imply that white "godlings" ruled the others."

I think that is very cool. But did you consider making the human guises that Oberon and Titania chose more ethnically ambiguous instead of "white"?

Greg responds...

Not with Titania, since she was Fox's mother.

With Oberon, I could have. Probably should have. Didn't. The decisions were months apart, and I guess I lost track.

I did try to make the human Goliath in "The Mirror" appear with more ethnically African. I'm not sure if that was clear, since his hair looked more European (to match Goliath's hair). But I did this to increase the connection between human Goliath and Elisa. And between human Goliath and Keith David.

And that might be why Oberon wound up Caucasian. Not a great excuse. But subconsciously, we may all have been influence by the fact that Terrance Mann, the voice of Oberon was/is Caucasian.

Response recorded on June 23, 2000

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CORRECTION

CORRECTION:

I'll be at ANIME EXPO on SATURDAY, JULY 1ST! At 1pm. Talking about 3x3 Eyes, among other things. Sorry for any confusion.


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Anime Expo

Attention anime lovers...

I will be at Anime Expo on Saturday, July 2nd in Anaheim, California. I'll be on the New Generation Pictures panel at 1pm, where I'll largely be discussing 3X3 EYES. Other topics of discussion include NAZCA and NURSE NANAKO. (I'm not involved with the last one at all, so I hope I got the title right.) Stop by and say hi.

3X3 is a really fun series that I just finished voice directing into English. It stars Christian "Max Steel" Campbell and Brigitte "Angela" Bako, and features many former GARGOYLES actors including Goliath, Thailog, Morgan, Broadway, Hollywood, Lexington, Brentwood, Obsidiana, Coyote Trickster, Natsilane, Hudson, Jack Danforth and Burbank. It's the story of a three-eyed three hundred year old demon girl with multiple personality disorder and the teen-age zombie bodyguard who loves her.

Hope to see you there.


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Phil writes...

Hi, Greg.

1) In "Kingdom," whose arsenal did Fang raid? Those weapons were pretty high-tech; they obviously hadn't been there long. Was it Xanatos's, the Illuminati's, or someone else's?

2) Why was it there? Just for storage? Or was Fang meant to find it?

3) This is the first time I've watched "Kingdom" since hearing about your plans for "Bad Guys." With that possible spin-off in mind, I was impressed with Fang's potential as more of a primary character. Were you thinking of "Bad Guys" this early or are you just a natural genius?

Thanks for your time.

Greg responds...

1. Erin says: I think that was a very good question. But I don't know whose weapons they were. I'm just guessing Xanatos.

Greg says: They were Cyberbiotics weapons. The whole Labyrinth was the old Cyberbiotics base from Awakening, Part V.

2. Erin says: I also think that's a good question. They were left behind when Cyberbiotics abandoned the base.

Greg says: By accident. An oversight.

3. Erin says: I think that is a good question too. Because I think my father is both of those things.

Greg says: Fang (and in particular Jim Belushi's very fun performance in the roll) just begged for more attention. But I can't honestly say for sure whether we had the Bad Guys idea that early. Bad Guys evolved out of the Dingo/Matrix spin-off idea I had. Fang WAS the next join. Then Hunter. Then finally Yama.

Response recorded on June 17, 2000

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SEASON TWO

Well, my plan had been to finished transcribing the "Leader of the Pack" outline memo. Then start on my new ramble on seeing the episode last week. However, I'm at home today and the only copy of the memo is still at the office. So I'll finish the memo soon. Meantime, here's a ramble that "Leader" inspired with a little background info on the transition to Season Two...

So the second season begins. And we had a new system in place. Tiers and tentpoles. As you may recall from a previous ramble we had run into huge scheduling difficulties with "Enter Macbeth". The animation had come back very problematic and the nature of the story was such that we couldn't air it out of order. I received a mandate to make sure in Season Two's fifty-two episode killer schedule that we do everything possible not to run into that kind of problem again.

Trouble was, I liked the sequential nature of the series. If all the episodes could air in any order with no effect on each other then how could the characters grow, evolve, change? How could the situations?

My solution was tiers and tentpoles. We would create tiers of episodes that could air in any order as long as they aired BETWEEN their tentpole multi-parters. We'd pay special attention to the Tentpole episodes to make sure THEY didn't get into production trouble that would derail the entire airing schedule. But if an individual episode within a tier ran late, we could skootch another one forward without causing any harm.

Tentpole One was retroactively set as the "Awakening" five-parter. Tier One was retroactively everything between that and "Reawakening", which became Tentpole Two by default. (Now obviously the Season One airing order was very important, but they had aired already, so I didn't have to worry about them anymore.)

Tentpole Three would be the "City of Stone" four parter. Tier Two would include eight episodes: "Leader of the Pack", "Metamorphosis", "Legion", "A Lighthouse in the Sea of Time", "The Silver Falcon", "The Mirror", "Eye of the Beholder" and "Vows". In theory, I was supposed to make sure that these eight could air in any given order.

In practice, it never turned out to be that simple. For example, how could I air "Vows", the episode where Xanatos & Fox wed before "Eye of the Beholder" the episode where they get engaged? I wound up having a strong order preference for ALL 65 episodes. Tiers and Tentpoles be damned. But the truth is, the system served us well. It did tend to keep us on track. Creatively, it allowed us to build to strong multi-parters. And we rarely ever HAD to air episodes out of my preferred order. We only screwed up twice. "The Price" aired too soon. "Kingdom" aired too late. But only someone paying VERY careful attention would notice that. (Of course, anyone fanatical enough to be reading this was probably one of those people paying VERY careful attention.)

So anyway, "Leader" was my choice to open the new season. Lots of action. Some really great twists and turns. Some great character moments. It all seemed like a great way to intro potential new viewers to the series. BTWE, is there anyone out there for whom "Leader" was their first GARGOYLES episode? I'd love to hear from you here at ASK GREG.

We made other changes off the first season, as well. We had rebuilt the opening titles sequence to include some new footage. Keith David/Goliath's narration was added as well. This was written by Gary Sperling and myself. And hotly debated around our offices. Hotly debated inside my own brain as well. Frank Paur and I both felt that the titles were more powerful, more dramatic WITHOUT the narration. But we wanted to make sure that the series was still accessible to new viewers. The narration would serve the same function as the GILLIGAN'S ISLAND theme song. If you missed our pilot, you could still get the set up. Frank & I could see the wisdom of both positions. Even our boss, Gary Krisel, could. He left it up to me. I finally decided to err (and air) on the side of caution. I needn't have worried about "drama". Keith's voice, as usual, was so dramatic, that the opening narration became a classic -- reprinted on nearly every garg website I've ever seen. My kids love to shout out "WE LIVE AGAIN!" in chorus with Keith.

Another thing we did was to permanently install those "Previously on Gargoyles..." recaps at the head of EVERY episode. This was done for three reasons. One, see above, we wanted new viewers to have a chance to get what was going on without requiring them to see every episode that had come before. So the salient points could and would be summed up in those recaps. Two, since at some future time there was the possibility that the episodes WOULD air out of order, the recaps would help ground a viewer in when this particular episode was falling. And most important, three, it helped us in editing.

You see, footage would come back from overseas. And sometimes it would be great. And sometimes not. But no matter how good it was there wasn't a single episode that couldn't be improved by trimming a few frames here, a few frames there. No scenes were cut wholesale, but timing was improved and sped up. Mistakes were edited out. The recap gave us thirty extra seconds per episode of editing flexibility.

Now, on some level, the recaps may have backfired. Though they provided useful information, they may have given new viewers the IMPRESSION that there was too much to learn. I'm not sure it's true, but I've heard that argument. Also, I started hearing from the Disney Afternoon mailing list that everyone hated the recaps, because what they included tended to give away too much in the episode that was about to air. We fixed that problem midway through the season. Me, I still have no regrets. As I've mentioned before, HILL STREET BLUES was a major influence. The "Previously on..." format (which everyone uses today) came right out of Hill Street, so I was comfortable with it. And that 30 seconds of editing flexibility absolutely helped the shows play better.

NEXT TIME ON GREG'S RAMBLES...
More from my original memo to Michael Reaves and my specific responses to reviewing "Leader of the Pack"...


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Greg Weisman Update

As promised, here's a little update on what's been going on in my professional life...

The first season (all thirteen episodes) of MAX STEEL have been completed. I've lost track of how many have aired. I think they turned out pretty good. At any rate, the show is a success and will be back for a second season. Unfortunately, I won't be. The WB didn't invite me to produce/edit/write season two. So you can forget about any long term plans/arcs I had for the series. Still, I wish the show well. (After all, it'll still carry my "Developed By" credit.)

In other news, today I finished recording all of the two volume (seven episode) video anime series 3X3 EYES. I think we assembled a terrific cast for the English dub. Here's a complete list:

LEADS
Christian Cambell* as Yakumo Fujii
Brigitte Bako^ as Pai/Sanjiyan/Pabo Ayanokoji/Parvati/Howasho

SUPPORTING
Thom Adcox^* as Monkey
Edward Asner^* as Grandpa Ayanokoji
Earl Boen as Benares
Leslie Boone as Ken-Ken
Susan Chesler as Lee Ling-Ling
Bill Faggerbakke^ as Steve Long
Elisa Gabrielli^ as the Doll Demon
Jean Gilpin* as Mrs. Wong/Xunquai
Taliesin Jaffe as the Frog Demon and Feihong
William Katt as Tinzin
Mia Korf* as Natsuko
Ralph Lister as Choukai
Erin Matthews as Mei-Shin Long
Yuji Okumoto* as Chou and Naparva
Gregg Rainwater^* as Jake MacDonald
Dina Sherman as Dawn and Ran-Pao-Pao
Rick Simone as Tatsuya
Keith Szaribajka* as Professor Fujii and Ryouko
Rosie Taravella as Grandma Ayanokoji
Greg Weisman^ as Hide

and Keith David^ in a roll so rocking, I can't reveal it here. :)

* indicates a Voice Actor I worked with on MAX STEEL.
^ indicates a Voice Actor I worked with on GARGOYLES.

Anyway, the voices are all recorded. I've got three mix sessions left to do. I should be done in a week or so, at which point -- I'm unemployed.

Or nearly. I'm still teaching the animation writing course through UCLA extension. That's been a lot of fun and it keeps me pretty busy. Plus I'm working on writing a spec screenplay with my brother. And I go on the occasional job interview.

All this means is that it looks like I'll soon have plenty of time to dive back into ASK GREG. At one point we were closing in on completely catching up. Now we're over three months behind. But I'll try to make some fast progress. We've now got Todd Jensen helping Gorebash out to keep the site current, so that should help us avoid the "Nothing in queue" problems that were slowing us up before.

And I hope to see most of you at Gathering 2000 this August. It should be a GREAT con this year. I'll be there with Thom Adcox plus my wife and kids. We'll have new and special treats from Gargoyles, 3x3 Eyes and another EXCLUSIVE radio play event -- something that I guarantee you won't want to miss. Plus Disneyworld is a shuttle ride away. Make your reservations now.


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Chapter XIII: "Reawakening" (The new ramble...)

As promised, I'll now attempt to recreate the lost ramble on this episode, which I recently watched again with my family.

For those of you who haven't seen it, I refer you to my recently posted "Memo" on this episode dated back in April of 1994. One thing you might have noticed was that the title of the episode was "The Awakening". In the memo, I suggested what I thought was the more appropriate title "Reawakening". Michael liked that idea but had a suggestion that did it one better. He suggested renaming our pilot five-parter "Awakening". I jumped at the idea. At the time, the five-parter was simply titled "Gargoyles, Part One", "Gargoyles, Part Two", etc. I've never liked that sort of cop out where the pilot's title is simply the series' title. Among other things, it lacks imagination. And it's dishonest. By that standard, "The Journey"'s real title should have been "Gargoyles, Part Sixty-Six". So giving our pilot its own title seemed like a very good idea to me.

But there was another reason why I liked Michael's plan. We were working on our last episode of the first season. It was April of 1994, nearly a year before that episode would air. And a good six months before our premiere. There was no way of knowing whether or not there would ever be a SECOND season. And so to protect myself (emotionally) I had to operate on the assumption that their might not be. Obviously, I wasn't going to do anything apocalyptic. I wanted there to be a second season, so I wanted to leave the doorway open for it. So Michael, Frank, Brynne and I discussed the idea of open-ended closure. If there never was a second season, we'd go out with a bang. We'd give some small amount of closure to our characters. Let them reach a turning point. If this was to be it, we'd have created a little 13 episode novel that brought the Gargoyles from the past to the present and renewed (reawakened) their sense of purpose.

Nice. We'd done the open-ended closure thing (to a lesser degree) at the end of what would eventually be called "Awakening, Part Five" and we'd eventually do it again at the end of "Hunter's Moon, Part Three". And I'd do it for myself in my script for "The Journey".

But there are tricks to achieving a sense of closure. And one of the tricks is to create parallels with the episodes that launched your story.

So by retro-titling our pilot "Awakening" and naming our last ep "RE-Awakening" you can see how we gave ourselves a headstart.

But there were other parallels. The flashback to the past, (which we intentionally built so that it could theoretically be edited into the pilot if necessary) included the Magus at his most pre-Avalon obnoxious. Obviously, that flashback also intro'd pre-Coldstone, but it served the purpose of calling those first couple of flashback episodes clearly into the viewers' minds. (The only problem with that scene, is that Hudson has his sword in a couple of the shots. This is a mistake, as any good Garg fan knows that Hudson first acquired his sword in the battle with the Vikings that took place the following night.)

We also did the big event VILLAIN TEAM-UP thing, bringing Xanatos and Demona back together for the first time since "Awakening, Part Five". (I love the exquisite tension that plays between them. They are both SO using each other. When Demona tells Coldstone that X is her servant, you know that she's partly doing that to circumvent Coldstone's questions, but that she also partly believes that it's true.)

We also used Morgan in Times Square in a very similar way to how he was used in "Awakening, Part One" (reiterated in "Awakening, Part Two").

And then there's that moment near the end where Elisa asks Goliath if there's anything he needs. He answers "A Detective" verbally echoing a key moment from their first meeting in "Awakening, Part Three". That still tickles me.

HOMAGE

Obviously, Frank and I both worked overtime to pay homage to the classic Universal "FRANKENSTEIN" movie. I can say "pay homage" with a straight face (as opposed to rip off) because we so clearly acknowledged the source. Frank's art direction of the lab. X's line: "It's alive! Alive!" (Wonderfully undercut by Jonathan Frakes' reading of the follow-up "I've always wanted to say that.") And the whole idea behind Coldstone. (More on this when I eventually ramble on "Legion".)

Coldstone would be our Frankenstein's monster. Pieced together. Gargoyle & Machine. Reanimated (reawakened). I even love the Coldstone name. And wasn't Michael Dorn's sepulchral tones just perfect for the role?

And Goliath's reaction is so multi-faceted, so Dr. Frankenstein... [You know Goliath's response to his brother here, would be echoed later in his response to his "son" Thailog in "Double Jeopardy". Initially, Goliath's simply repulsed by what he sees, calling Coldstone "an abomination". But given a bit of time, Goliath quickly sees past appearances and attempts whole-heartedly to save his brother. He'll go through the same changes with Thailog. Well... at least we (and Goliath) were consistent.]

CONTINUITY

Snow. It started snowing in "Her Brother's Keeper" and now the city is blanketed in the stuff. (And doesn't Elisa look cute in her scarf and gloves.)

Brooklyn's still pissed off at Demona, specifically and sarcastically asking if she has anymore "spells to save you now". In fact, we wanted to make clear that the spell used to resurrect (reawaken) Coldstone was one of the spells she tore out of the Grimorum in "Temptation". Instead, we cheated a bit. By having her tell Xanatos that the "Cantrips have already been spoken" it saved us the trouble of getting another spell translated into Latin. We were either lazy or short on time or -- most likely -- both.

Following out of "The Edge", and until the helmet comes off at the bridge, the gargs assume that Xanatos in his armor is simply another Steel Clan Robot. The next upgrade. The red model. They have no idea it's actually Xanatos himself in armor.

Small observation: Mirrors don't fare too well in the Gargoyles Universe.

Emotionally, I think the story is very successful at taking the audience through Goliath's spiritual reawakening. I love how he starts out pensive and brooding, listening to that great exchange between the trio and Hudson, realizing that all of them have lost track of their true purpose. Hudson recites the Gargoyle credo merely as an excuse not to go out in the cold. (And I love Thom's reading on Lex's "We don't even live in a castle anymore" response.) The trio are clearly missing the point, but methodical thinker Goliath isn't sure he remembers what the point is either.

And that dovetails SO nicely with Elisa revealing the Police motto "Protect and Serve". The police motto/gargoyle credo connection is so perfect, it struck me even at the time as further proof that we were tapping into something very true in our little fictions. (And don't cops -- for better and sometimes for worse -- act just like a clan?)

From there, Goliath moves past the notion of simply being a reactive character, struggling only to SURVIVE one crisis after another. Now he will strive to be proactive. To rededicate (reawaken) the clan toward their original life purpose. Extending the term "castle" to Manhattan island was always our plan. Even that was intentionally primitive in our view. Goliath doesn't protect New York City. Not all five burroughs anyway. That's beyond his medieval scope at this still-early stage. He can get his head around protecting an island surrounded by water. Not the whole world. But eventually, the plan would include expanding the clan's definition until Castle Earth was the only thing that made sense. Of course, that might not have been fully realized until 2158. But we'd have gotten there. And the World Tour was part of that process too.

PROBLEMS
(Besides Hudson's sword...)

--One line in the ep. that for some reason still makes me cringe is Elisa's "My car's big." It just seems awkward to me. Not sure why.

X & D watch Coldstone's progress from the castle. Almost instantaneously they're at Times Square. We always knew we were just skating by on that.

Goliath & Coldstone go into the water at the bridge TWICE within the span of a couple of minutes or so. The first time, Goliath nearly drowns. The second time he's completely uneffected (physically) by the experience. We get away with it because the second time he's diving in on purpose. But just the fact that we had to dunk them both twice is an awkward construction (and my fault). At least, Goliath looks good with wet hair.

Some really graceful animation here. Goliath has some great moves, and I love that moment when Matt and especially Elisa are diving into the snow, out of the way of the car that Coldstone has just thrown... And speaking of that scene...

TIMES SQUARE SEQUENCE

There's some very interesting, fun stuff here besides what I've already mentioned about it above. A sampling:

Explosions in Bambi. :)

Demona's Clan: Herself, Coldstone, a Steel Clan Robot and Xanatos in Gargoyle Battle Armor. It's so twisted. I love it.

Goliath's very smart here. He doesn't want the fight to take place in public and basically convinces Xanatos to take his side on the issue by flattering him. Goliath refers to Manhattan as "your city" (i.e. Xanatos' city), this despite the obvious fact that Goliath does NOT regard Manhattan as Xanatos' personal property. And Xanatos, usually immune to such stuff, falls for it -- maybe BECAUSE it comes from the ultra-sincere Goliath.

I also am very fond of the Mr. Jaffe book-ends. I think they're a lot of fun. And I love how Matt talks about Mr. Jaffe. It gives us insight into Matt's character, his background, his youth. His empathy for Jaffe really helps humanize him. Matt was always eminently human.

Signing off now...

"Because six monsters just told me to..."


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Todd Jensen writes...

A ramble-reply to "The Thrill of the Hunt".

I liked reading your comments on it. I will confess that I can't remember now what my response was, when I first saw this episode, to the fact that Xanatos was still in prison or to Elisa's indication that the gargoyles would have to leave the castle (although looking back on it now, I'd say that I appreciate both - and the bit at the end where we get that look at Xanatos again and that taste of his character). A few bits that do stand out to me:

1. I always get a bit of a chuckle at the way that the announcer shouts, "Oh, no, it's the Evil Ninjas!" The guy sounded there as if he'd taken the same acting class that Sevarius did :)

2. That little bit where Lexington enthusiastically calls the Pack "defenders of the realm". I liked that touch as fitting in with the gargoyles' medieval origins and the fact that, so soon after their awakening, they'd still be seeing the world in such a light.

3. The bit where Billy and Susan show up was extremely funny, particularly the groans and facial expressions from Fox and Hyena over the timing of their arrival. (And I must confess, I hadn't even given that much thought to Wolf showing a bit more smarts in that scene in coming up with a way of explaining the gargoyles to those kids. Thanks for pointing it out).

I'm looking forward to the rest of your rambles on each individual episode.

Greg responds...

Thanks. I like all those things too. (That's Jim "Dingo/Darkwing Duck" Cummings saying "Oh, no, it's the Evil Ninjas!" Jim is, of course, a fine actor. It takes real skill to ham it up that badly and still make it play funny and not cringe-worthy.)

Response recorded on April 21, 2000

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Ambrosia writes...

One more quick thing... this is probably ridiculous, but there's someone named Jeffrey Bennett running for House of Representatives in California... do I even dare to hope...?

Greg responds...

Greg's response:

I'm fairly certain that's a different Jeff Bennett.

Erin responds:

I think you should say yes, because I am looking forward to meeting the actors that are playing the characters that I like.

Greg's P.S.:

Erin actually HAS met many of the actors already, but she was too young to remember them. But she'll get to see more at the Gatherings, including this summer's Gathering in Orlando, Florida. Daddy's friend Thom will be there, at least.

Response recorded on April 01, 2000

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Coldlaser writes...

Yet another ASK GREG question...

How do feel about having all those voice actors from Star Trek (that passed on Gargoyles in season 1 and 2) appear all together in one single episode?

Thanx

Greg responds...

I'm not sure I understand the question? Who from Star Trek "passed" on Gargoyles, besides Patrick Stewart? (And not even Patrick Stewart, just his representation.) We had Jonathan, Marina, Michael, Brent, Nichelle, Colm, LeVar, Kate, Avery... None of them passed.

Response recorded on March 31, 2000

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Coldlaser writes...

Hello mr. Weisman.

It was only recently that I saw Frank Welker was one of the voice actor. This guy is amasing when it come make animal sounds or strange voices. But, did you ever thought of giving him a role where he would actually talk, like all the other voice actors?

I first knew Welker as Megatron, Soundwave, Galvatron and other Transformers (well Decepticons actually), he was great!

Greg responds...

I first worked with Frank on DuckTales, where he talked very well. He did the voice of BigTime Beagle (among others) a particular favorite of mine. (Our cat's name is BigTime.)

And Frank did a few "Speaking Parts" for us: Banquo, Kiron, the Stone of Destiny and a bunch of one-liners here and there. We try never to let talent go to waste.

Response recorded on March 31, 2000


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