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Psycho girl writes...

THREE POSTS IN ONE DAY!!!! Im on a role (hopefully a cinnamon 'role' ;) ...haha a play on words!

Why am I posting soooooooo many...well, posts? Well, you said that you would close the question asking thingy for a while (probably a long while) after January and I just want to hurry and talk to you. (I LIKE YOU!!!).......(Not in THAT way....sickos.) When February comes around, you wont have to deal with my farce anymore, at least for a while.......(snickering).......I typed farce...(snickering)

I have some questions about Lexington.

1. Why dose Lexington walk on his heals sometimes? (He has VERY flexible hips to sit the way he sits)

2. Why did you (they) end his wing membranes at his knees instead at his ankles?

3. Who was Lex's favorite Pack member?

I don't know why, but I just thought about Fang and his voice actor......I really like Jim's performance as Fang! Also, I wonder how Fangs old co-workers thought of him?

I wonder why the animators couldn't get his height right, some times he's right other times, he's the size of a 10 year old....oh well, he still looks good.

Farce.......(hearty laugh)

well, thanks!

P.S. my next one will be rambles about episodes so.....it will be BIG....pre-warning you.....but not today!

Greg responds...

1. I'm not sure what you mean.

2. It looked right anatomically, I think.

3. Uh... to slaughter?

I don't remember Fang ever looking like a ten-year-old, but I agree that Jim was great in the role.

Response recorded on January 11, 2007

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Axem Gold writes...

A few months ago at the library, I checked out the VHS Macbeth (Orson Welles directed and played the lead role). According to the credits, Malcom was played by Roddy Mcdowall (Proteus). Did you know about that?

Greg responds...

Yep. I have my copy of that version of Macbeth sitting right over there on the shelf. No, the other shelf. Yeah. See?

Response recorded on December 22, 2006

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Raptor writes...

I read on the Gargoyles News Central that Keith David is looking for a talking Goliath bank. Do you know how I would contact him if I have one?

raptordl8@netscape.net

Greg responds...

I've heard that he has one at this point. Maybe (a year and a half later) he got yours.

Response recorded on November 29, 2006

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Blaise writes...

CLOUD FATHERS

When this episode first aired, I had missed both THE CAGE and KINGDOM--leaving me very out of the loop as far as what happened with Derek was concerned, and making this episode the first time I ever saw Beth Maza. As a result, my initial feeling was one of frustration at having lost part of the continuity. Thankfully, however, it was easy enough to figure out that the Maza family had found out about Derek's condition and Xanatos' part in it. I guess that made it *slightly* easier for them to accept living gargoyles.
In addition, since I had missed KINGDOM, this was the first time I had seen Xanatos since the World Tour started.

And Xanatos is just GREAT here. He has his moment of "cliched villainy" with the death trap (and even looks upon it as such), but he also seems much more intense this time around. He has that large "staple gun" thingy that he uses to restrain Angela and Goliath, but he also uses it on two seperate occasions as a weapon--and this thing could really kill someone! Even as a villain, Xanatos is likeable enough that you kind of forget he has the potential to be a killer. Even the death trap doesn't drive that home to me as much as his battle tactics here do.
However, before that, Xanatos' admission that he really has no interest in killing Goliath and Angela is quite refreshing--and further proof that he's not the typical animated nemesis. I even love the almost friendly look on his face as he admits neither gargoyle has done anything he'd hold a grudge against (does Xanatos even HAVE any grudges?).
Naturally, once I found out he was after Coyote the Trickster, I figured he was after immortality. His whole conversation with the Trickster is just perfectly written.
I also loved Xanatos "annoyance" at the end--FINALLY he got handed a real defeat that he could not look on the bright side of. Finally, Goliath (with a little help from his friends) was able to get under his skin, if just a smidge. I wondered, and I'm sure I wasn't alone, if this indicated a "final confrontation" was brewing. Of course, that's not what happened, but this works as a nice little misdirection.

The Robot, Coyote 4.0 was also nice, and a real treat for me to have him and Xanatos interacting. Nice design, although the "face" looked weird. More angular than usual, and sometimes the "skull" side looked like it had an eyebrow. Regardless, I love the two playing off each other, and am goofishly pleased when Xanatos, with his helmet on, is talking with Coyote 4.0, whose "face" is showing. I've always wondered what someone flipping channels would have made of this scene where there appear to be two robots talking--one with a half-human face.
Actually, that particular conversation does not speak very highly for Coyote 4.0's intelligence. He releases the Trickster ("I will check...") and then allows himself to be goaded into bringing a building down on top of him ("I should warn you, I'm programmed for vengence"). Yeah, you can definitely see the Wile E. Coyote resemblence. Now if you could have just had him hold up a little pink umbrella a split-second before the building came down on him.... ;-)

The Trickster himself was unique--the only wholly sympathetic Trickster we have met. Raven and Anansi were the antagonists of their respective episodes, and Puck...while he was enchained by Demona he didn't seem to mind giving our heroes a hard time. Coyote (the Trickster, not the Robot) not only willingly helped our heroes, but actually showed some real affection for one of them--that, of course, being Peter Maza.
Also, this Trickster was a lot more subtle--he rarely used any overt magic (a little hypnosis here, vanishing there, changing his clothes inside the Robot...). He mostly goaded others into acting (influencing luck from the sidelines, of course), and managed to take out the Robot by just dodging behind the support beams.

As for Peter Maza himself, it's nice to see more development in Elisa's dad, and showcasing where he came from. His story kind of parallels with Natsilane's, but Peter is older, more set in his beliefs--it takes more than gargoyles to convince him to believe in Coyote the Trickster. Peter also had a much more bitter break with his traditions, a good deal of which comes through with what was probably his last conversation with his father. When I first saw this ep, I had no idea that Carlos Maza had died. Having Elisa and Beth refer to "Grandpa" made me think he was still around for some reason. Of course, that made the final scene all the more poignant.

It was also nice to see and learn more about Beth. I like how each of the Maza "kids" are distinctive in personality and looks as well.
It's also nice that when Elisa realizes where they are, her first thought has to do with her family ("Beth might be in danger"). And I love the surprise in her voice when she sees her father is there as well. She is really happy to see them.

Random thoughts:

It took me a couple viewings before I started to pick up on the skiff having arrived in a pool. I rather like that twist.

When Peter and Beth start to explain to Elisa about being arrested and she asks them to start from the beginning. I don't know why but I really find that scene interesting.

Beth and Peter's reactions to the gargs are nice. Peter shows that he's probably not 100% on the whole "gargoyle" thing when he refers to them as "strange company." Beth is obviously a bit more open to them, although even she admits they seem "alien" (and no, I did not take that to mean "extraterrestrial"). Elisa, however, is used to looking at them through her own eyes, and as she says, all she sees is the beauty.

Coyote the Trickster's reverse psycology was a rather nice touch. Even better was Elisa's later comment that it was "pretty blatant."

Xanatos tries to fire from his arm-cannon only to have it kind of blow up in his face since Bronx already chewed it up. Xanatos' line here ("Big mistake, people!") always struck me as odd for some strange reason. I guess I'm not used to hearing Xanatos say something like that.

"No way my luck's this bad." I just love that line.

Beth's little pause before clarifying "uh, The Trickster, not the Robot." A nice beat that also kind of winks at the audience.

"The last thing I remember was ordering a pizza." Another bit I just love for some reason.

Peter's change of heart and appearing in the kachina garment was something I had been expecting. However, Coyote the Trickster's little speech was a surprise. It added an extra level to what Coyote was doing and Peter's part in everything. I love that little "I had to get you back" moment.

I noticed that Beth Maza had a different voice actress here than she did in THE CAGE. I'm not offering this as a complaint or nitpick, I'm just curious if there's any particular reason why.

Xanatos and Coyote alone make this a worthwhile ep, but the other elements really help turn it into one of the best eps on the World Tour.

Greg responds...

It's been a long time. The casting change was the choice of our voice and casting director Jamie Thomason. But I can't now recall what the reason was. Perhaps the original actress was unavailable. And in any case Roxanne Beckford, who also played Tea in "Night of the Panther" is always great.

Response recorded on November 02, 2006

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Mitch Mack writes...

I looked through the archives the best I could, but found nothing of this question. Basically I wanted to know "IF" and "WHEN" the second DVD is greenlit, would it be possible to get Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis for the commentary or even an extras docomentary like the Gathering?

Greg responds...

It was not possible on Volume One. They were invited but unavailable. We can cross our fingers if and when Volume Two is prepared.

Response recorded on November 01, 2006

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randcnick writes...

do u now a actor named sara burnheart?she lived in the lod days

Greg responds...

I assume you mean Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923). We've never met personally, but I've heard good things. Didn't she do a voice on Thundercats?

Response recorded on October 20, 2006

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Blaise writes...

THE GREEN

I mentioned back in MARK OF THE PANTHER that I feard that episode would be focused on the illegal poaching angle, and become less of a story, more of a "public service announcement" of sorts. I said back then that, in my experience, when a show is focused on (or does an episode focused on) certain issues (especially environmental ones for some reason) it seems to sacrifice plot, character, and even believability to force its moral across.
Thankfully, that does not happen in this episode, or in any episode of GARGOYLES that I can think of.
Granted there are *some* lines that come close to being preachy. I find myself laughing at the "Forget me, save the trees!" line. And Zaphiro's "There is no such thing as a few trees," while admittidly cool and well-delivered, initially struck me as so absolutist and dogmatic.
Now, in that last case, I would have felt better if the conversation between Zaphiro and Elisa continued after that (maybe with Zaphiro pointing out that rainforest soil is absolutely worthless for farming). This is another one of those times I really wish GARGOYLES had hour-long episodes.
Actually, I really do like that scene between Elisa and Zaphiro because Elisa plays devil's advocate--she actually tries to see things from the side of the "forest defilers." Going back to what I said about other "environmentally-minded" shows and episodes, things have a tendency to be drawn completely in black and white--anyone who chops down a tree is evil to the core, basically. Broad strokes and caricatures.
Let's look at "Captain Planet and the Planeteers," for example. From what I remember, they had a cadre of "Eco-villains" who largely seemed to be destroying the environment because they enjoyed doing so. And it was specifically the environment that they enjoyed destroying. In some cases, they had a motivation (oftimes greed, though one character needed radiation to survive), but mostly they seemed to do it because they enjoyed polluting. If a normal person was doing "bad things" it was because they were under the influence of one of the big bad-guys, and by the end said normal people saw the error of their ways and turned around. Thus, it doesn't seem terribly realistic to me.
Contrast this with MONONOKE HIME ("Princess Mononoke"), one of my favorite animated movies. The "forest defiler," Lady Eboshi, while she can be quite ruthless and capitalistic, has a heart. She frees women from prostitution and takes care of lepers. She has depth, and this makes her more realistic and identifiable. Thus I was able to take this movie seriously, and more fully appreciate humanity's impact on the natural world.

And thankfully, THE GREEN is much closer to MONONOKE HIME than "Captain Planet." Much of this comes from Elisa. In addition to the scene I already mentioned, I LOVE the scene between her and Goliath at the pyramid when he leaves to protect The Green. She argues from the human point of view, in essence still playing devil's advocate, but she can fully sympathize with the gargoyles. And while Goliath can understand Elisa's point of view, he can see little other choice for the gargoyles trying to save The Green than the guerilla attacks. Even the Mayan clan seems to understand (Turquesa is a bit snappish about the "misguided laws," but Jade seems downright cheerful towards Elisa).
And as for the "villains" themselves, Jackal and Hyena are the only real ones, and their primary interest is the money. They don't show any specific enjoyment out of destroying the rainforest (even Jackal's destruction of trees stems from his trying to keep the gargoyles from doing anymore damage and--heck--he just likes destroying stuff, period). Vogel, and through him Cyberbiotics, are the "big bad" employing Jackal and Hyena, but again it's about the money and not a gleeful hatred for the environment (Environmental Ethics for Businesses: "Care about the environment unless it costs you money."). Even the workers are just doing their jobs (and they're probably as unnerved by Jackal and Hyena as they are the gargoyles). The destruction of the rainforest is, as is often the case in real life, the direct side effect of pursuing other goals (as opposed to the ultimate goal of some malefactor).

Okay, NOW we can get down to smaller details.
I LOVED seeing the new gargoyles. Zaphiro's design was excellent! And Hector Elizondo's voice-work was wonderful. The whole cast did a great job, in fact (and was the Jesse Corti playing Jade the same fellow who played Le Fou in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST?).
The "flesh by day and night" thing was nice--we don't often get to see the gargs in sun-lit environments.
And it was great seeing Jackal and Hyena again, and they actually managaed to be more unnerving than ever. There are the scenes you and Erin mentioned (a headless Hyena is pretty intimidating), but the whole "retract eye/ear" thing creeps me out, too. Those long cords are rewinding into their SKULLS!! And the sound Hyena's earpiece makes when it goes back in her ear...[shudder].
Admittidly, Jackal did have a nice plan, and if it weren't for the amulet being in New York it might have worked. I find it strange that Hyena seems to think being in NY again is a good "omen." Then again, she likes fighting the gargs, so....

I was pleased to no end to see Broadway and Lexington show up again. And their fight with Hyena was well staged (though the destruction of the various exhibits sets my teeth on edge, as well). You brought up Broadway's clan mentality towards maternity (the plural "mothers"), but what I find interesting is Hyena's use of the singular ("mamma"), which almost seems to indicate that she already in her mind sees these guys as brothers.
RE: the head injury. Yeah, that's another one of those things Toon Disney cuts out. Hyena's holding her head in pain was actually a nice touch, though.

I like the look on Jackal's face when Vogel points out the little "contractual oddity." I almost wonder if Vogel enjoyed needling Jackal on some level.
Actually, I must say I was surprised to see Vogel here. I mean, if any corporation was supposed to be "behind it all" shouldn't it be Xanatos Enterprises--the "bad guy's" company? Instead, it's the company headed by a good man, but run (while said good man is ill) by a rather unemotional businessman. It actually helped with the message and increased the depth of both Vogel and Renard. You get the sense that while Vogel may not like Jackal and Hyena (or their actions) he puts it aside in favor of results.
Still, his deciding to pull Cyberbiotics out of the rainforest entirely seemed a bit too pat. Despite that, though, it's pretty well handled.

I would have loved getting a chance to listen to Broadway and Lex's rationale for ultimately not destroying the amulet. I kind of figured they wouldn't, and having seen Obsidiana lose her pendant and Bronx find it I kind of figured out what the ruse would be.

Dang, but Morgan's casual with Hyena the killer cyborg. Unconcious or not, I'd wait until I was packing a nuclear weapon before I got near her.

Jackal doesn't kill Elisa. He tasers her unconcious, but doesn't kill her right off. Why? I just find myself wondering if he didn't have even WORSE things planned for her.

Elisa comes up with a sort of back-up solution that I had been wondering about for quite some time before this episode aired. It always struck me as being advisable to collect "genetic samples" of endangered plant and animal life "just in case." So I rather liked Elisa's contribution here.

A couple final thoughts: I liked that the gargs never referred to the rainforest as such. It was always "the forest" or, even better, "The Green." I love their using a title for this land they hold in reverence.
Also, the "Oxygen" line you mentioned. It is a valid point (one that I keep forgetting, I'll admit), but, yeah, it may have been a bit difficult to pull off without feeling preachy or forced (I could only see Elisa saying this line since the Mayan clan strike me as mostly knowing their own turf--they know the forest is important, but they may not know how globally necessary it is).

It's a good episode, and a well done "special message" ep. And hey, more gargoyles (and cool looking ones at that)!

Greg responds...

It's always a fine line, but we do try to avoid being preachy.

And yes, Jesse Corti is Jade and Le Fou.

In materials I've read since, I'm no longer certain that the rain forests are the lungs of the world. That's been called into question... to some extent by the DESTRUCTION of the rain forest. If so much is gone, why haven't oxygen levels dipped -- or something like that.

Response recorded on October 11, 2006

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Harvester of Eyes writes...

Is there a reason Laura San Giacomo wasn't credited for her voice work as Fox at the end of "Thrill of the Hunt"? I recently watched that episode on my DVD, and there's no voice credit for Fox.

An Ask Greg Helper responds...

Greg Weisman says:

I have answered this before, many times, but what the heck...

It was her agent's decision. I doubt it's something he would still insist on today, but he was worried about a stigma.

Response recorded on October 03, 2006

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Brandon writes...

Sorry. Just found tha tthe question had already been answered in the arcives. My Bad. Don't kknow how I missed it before I sent, but did. Sorry.

Greg responds...

Thanks for checking. Later's better than never.

Response recorded on October 01, 2006

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Brandon writes...

I first heard about "Gargoyles" why back when in 1993, or ther abouts when I saw Marina Sirtus at a Star Trek Convention, and she was talking about. Needless to say, I feel in love with the show after three episodes. However, Ihave always wondered if it was just the luck of the casting that you got so many Next Generation and other Trek cast members to do voices. Did Marina Sirtua and Jonathen Frakes have anything to do with the casting of fellow Trek stars, or was it just one of those weird little things that happend?
Brandon (PS Loved the show and hope to see season 2 on DVD soon)

PSS - Just in case some people are not a double fas as I am, here is a list of the trek stars (that I can remember) the show and the character(s) they played on Gargoyles

Marina Sitrus (Troi - TNG) - "Demona"
Jonathan Frankes (Riker - TNG) - "Xanatos"
Michael Dorn (Worf - TNG & DS9) - "Coldstone/Othello", "Toras"
Brent Spiner (Data - TNG) - "Puck"
LeVar Burton (Gordi - TNG) - Giant Spider whose name escapes me
Avery Brooks (Sisko - DS9) - Alein who lived as Stone Hendge
Colm Meney (O'Brien - TNG & DS9) - Irsih Father, whose name again escapes me)
Kate Mulgrew (Janeway - Voyager) - "Tatana"
Nichelle Nicholes (Uhora - Star Trek) - Elisa's Mother.

Thanks, and sorry for taking up so much space.

Greg responds...

Check out the archives. I've answered this MANY times.

Response recorded on October 01, 2006

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R.I.P. Edward Albert

R.I.P. Edward Albert.

Edward did a voice for us on a couple of episodes on Max Steel. I won't pretend I knew him well, but he was a good and talented guy on those two occasions. The son of Green Acres Eddie Albert, Edward was a talented actor and activist. He'll be missed.


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Tony Jay, R.I.P.

I just read in today's paper that actor Tony Jay has passed away.

I won't pretend that I knew Tony well. We only worked together once, when he played Anubis for us in the GARGOYLES episode "Grief". But what a great guest spot, huh?

I just loved what he did as Anubis a.k.a. the Jackal-God a.k.a. Death a.k.a. the guy who refused to play favorites. And one of my favorite bits in all of Gargoyles was how we combined Tony's voice -- first with Matt Frewer's and then with Tony Shaloub's -- to create the two Avatars of Anubis. Three totally different personae, one great talented actor. As one might imagine, that could have been a frustrating day, struggling to match up Matt's work with Tony Jay's. (Tony Shaloub recorded at a different time.) But Tony Jay made it easy for us.

He'll be missed.


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Liz writes...

In "Hunters Moon" who were the voice actors for the hunters Jason, Robyn,and Jon Canmore?
Thanks

Greg responds...

Jason - Deidrich Bader
Robyn - Sheena Easton
Jon - Scott Cleverdon

Response recorded on November 08, 2005

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Arwen Black writes...

a)Do you know how all of the star trek- people got involved in the show, there's so many of them.

b) i just started watching Star treck; the next genoration a few months back, and when i first started watchin the show i had an ishue... every time riker talked, i pictured xanatos. dont think i'm weird or anyhting (tho i kinda am, but whatever) but i was wondering if you wathced ST:TNG, has this ever hapened to you??

Greg responds...

a) I've answered this MANY times before. Check out the Voice Talent section of the ASK GREG archives.

b) Well, I did watch TNG... and started watching it before we hired Jonathan to play Xanatos. But there was that one episode of DS9 with the Riker clone, where I really felt like Frakes was doing Xanatos doing Riker. (There was also an episode of WINGS like that.)

Response recorded on October 28, 2005

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Emperor Auladarr I writes...

Mr. Weisman,

I was perusing the Hudson archives and read your ramble on "Long Way 'Til Morning," where you invited response to the episode. Of all the episodes of Gargoyles (the REAL episodes, not those GC episodes that made no sense), this is one I remember most vividly as one of my absolute favorites. Rarely do we get to see the elderly character in a series be the hero, or have the spotlight on him for almost every second of the show. It was refreshing to see Hudson as the hero and not some doddering old coot who needs to be saved by his fellows.

The things I remember most about the episode are the good lines the characters had. Some of my favorites from Demona are: "Ciao." (Ms. Sirtis's callous tone there just made it work), and "Your courage is admirable, but ultimately futile." Mr. Asner had the best one's, though: "Just dreaming old dreams, I guess." "I can face her. I just can't beat her." And, of course, his speech to Demona at the end about growing old and waiting.

The flashback scenes are great, too. The planting of the Archmage and that whole plotline was brilliant, as was the Prince's faux pas on "the gargoyles will get you," and the whole snowball effect that had on Katharine.

But, again, above all else, Hudson stands out in this episode. He's not sitting at the clocktower watching TV with Bronx--he's in his element, both in the past and in the present, as a warrior. "He favors speed over stealth, which could mean he has traps waiting for us." Brilliant. His heading underground where neither he or Demona could use their wings--clever.

The whole episode just struck me as excellent because it showed Hudson as a competent, wise, and experienced warrior. I don't know...maybe because my grandfather seems like he knows how to do anything under the sun I took more to Hudson craftiness.

Well...those are just my thoughts. Kudos on one of MANY great episodes.

Greg responds...

Thanks. Working with Hudson was always fun, and working with Ed Asner continues to be a joy. (He just did a voice for me on multiple episodes of WITCH.)

Of course, it was the Archmage's appearance in "Long Way To Morning" that inspired the plotlines to follow. At the time, we didn't know we were laying pipe for the future. Frankly, it was the amazing performance of David Warner that made us feel like we HAD to bring the character back.

Response recorded on October 27, 2005

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Question writes...

Was it just a coincidence or was it intentional that Avery Brooks was casted for the voice of Nokkar, a soldier in a intergalactic war, when on Star Trek he was Captain Sisko, who spent a majority of the series fighting a war with the Dominion with the Klingons, Romulans and Cardassians thrown into the pot?

Greg responds...

Coincidence is the wrong word, but we weren't trying to be ironic and/or cutesie. We were trying to get a voice with the chops to go toe-to-toe with the chops of our own Keith David. The fact that Mr. Brooks was a Trek actor, when we already had so many Trek actors on the show just made him come to mind quicker.

Response recorded on October 21, 2005

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The Question writes...

Hey Greg seeing how you guys had Captain Janeway and Captain Sisko do the voices of Titania and Nokkar respectively did you guys ever plan to cast the actors for Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Scotty, Quark, Dax, Odo, Dukat, Bashir or Kira. If you did then for what characters in Gargoyles?

PS I think your show stands out as one of the finest hours of television animated or otherwise.

Greg responds...

Nana Visitor (Major Kira) did voice the part of Fox briefly, but my fellow producer Frank Paur had the roll recast with Laura San Giacomo.

Otherwise, I would have been glad to use all the actors you named, but we had no specific plans for any of them.

Response recorded on October 19, 2005

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Hamilton Camp, R.I.P.

I read today that Hamilton Camp passed away.

I first met Mr. Camp, when I story edited the last five episodes of DuckTales. Hamilton was the voice of GizmoDuck.

We worked together again on Starship Troopers, where he played the "Old Ranger".

More recently, I'd seen him live on stage in a number of productions with Glendale's "A NOISE WITHIN" Theater company. He played Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, and he was hilarious.

And it doesn't seem that long ago, that I ran into him in Larchmont Village and introduced him to my two kids. We didn't know each other well, but he was always gracious, professional... and FUNNY as hell.

Godspeed, Hamilton.


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Anti-Fllay Allster writes...

Hi Greg.

OK, by the time you read this post it's probably going to be yesterday's news. In fact, it's going to be mention so many times, you wouldn't care anymore...but I'll say it anyway!

Keith David guest-star on Justice League Animated. I let you find out which episode and which character; I wouldn't want to spoil everything!

Hopefully by the time you read this post, you would have watch the episode! Drop a few comments on his performance and the episode in general! As always, Keith David is simply amazing!

Be seeing you!

Greg responds...

I don't think I saw that episode. Sorry.

Response recorded on September 28, 2005

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Don Ferguson (rodimus@mindspring.com) writes...

Mr.Weisman-

My name is Don and I wanted to ask if you could share some of your memories of working with the cast and crew on Talespin. Up until Gargoyles came along, Talespin was one of the most in-depth shows Disney had done to date, and had a noticably darker tone (such as Kit Cloudkicker episodes) compared to their earlier shows like Rescue Rangers. Any thoughts or comments from your time -and about Ed Gilbert who brought Baloo the bear to life-would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you in advance!

Greg responds...

Let me start with Ed, who was great as Baloo. I never met him. Not back in the Talespin days. I only went to some Talespin pick-up sessions, and we had no lines for Ed to pick up.

Of course, I later met Ed working on Gargoyles, where he played the Captain of the Guard at Castle Wyvern. He was terrific. I can't say I got to know him as a person, but I was very impressed with his abilities as an actor.

Anyway, the Talespin days...

When I started at Disney in 1989, production on Talespin was already underway. The big mucky-mucks on that show were Jymn Magon & Mark Zaslove. And I'm afraid I didn't really get to know either of them all that well. I later worked a bit more with both of them, but my job at the time was to give notes (both creative notes and S&P) directly to the individual story editors. I do recall having great sit-down conversations with Story Editor Karl Geurs. Karl really welcomed me to Disney... and we'd sit in his office and talk about the scripts, about animation, about storytelling for ... well... for longer than we probably needed to.

I thought/think that Talespin was a great fun idea. I think some of the episodes are just amazing. There's some really gorgeous stuff there. And I loved Shere Khan. I suppose to Jungle Book purists, it might have been problematic, but if you see the Disney characters evolving into actors, for me it was fun to see them playing different roles.

Response recorded on September 19, 2005

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Todd Jensen writes...

Thanks for the ramble on "Grief", Greg.

I was amused by your remark about Michael Reaves and a Batman episode that he'd written involving Egyptian elements that had gotten changed. As I'd commented in an earlier question (which you should have gotten to long before you read this response to your ramble, since it's that much before me in the queue), I'd seen an episode of "Batman: TAS" once named "Avatar" with some moments strongly evocative of "Grief", and I suspect that that was the episode that you alluded to.

I hadn't picked up the double meaning of the title (though I did recall Wolf's use of the word). Thanks for pointing it out.

I certainly wasn't surprised that Dingo was absent, after "Upgrade". I *was* surprised to see the Emir actually becoming an on-stage character, and agree with you that his role was an effective one. (Another bit that I hadn't picked up on was your remark about Jackal's semi-promise to reunite the Emir with his son was what kept him from acting earlier, and was deliberately uttered by Jackal to keep him from interfering.)

I might add that I was certainly not surprised to see your remark about "I should have had the Pack kill Goliath and Co. only to discover that they couldn't die while Anubis was trapped." (Incidentally, the situation of "While Anubis is imprisoned, nobody can die" reminds me of the Greek myth about how Sisyphus put either Hades or the death-god Thanatos - which one he imprisoned varies from which version of the story you read - in handcuffs to wriggle out of being taken away to the underworld, with the result that nobody was able to die - until Ares, fed up with the fact that the "nobody could die" business was taking all the "fun" out of war, freed his prisoner.)

Jackal becoming Anubis's avatar and causing all that devastation was one of the creepiest moments in all of "Gargoyles" for me - especially when he aged Goliath and Co. (The fate of the crocodiles was certainly chilling). I think that the fates of Hyena and Wolf served as a good "comic relief" counterbalance to it to keep it from getting too dark. (Wolf being turned into a puppy was great!)

(I can see one flaw in Jackal's plan, though; if you wipe out all other life on Earth, what do you do after that, with nobody else to torment?)

I can agree with you about the "cringe" moments over the gargoyles and the Pack destroying ancient Egyptian antiquities, and the relief that they didn't destroy the Sphinx. (It's odd, since a couple of days ago I saw an episode of "X-Men: Evolution" where there was a battle between Apocalypse and some Sentinels at the Sphinx, and I had a shuddering moment when one of the Sentinels blasted a hole in the Sphinx's back.)

And the end with Goliath hoping that the Emir was reunited with his son in the afterlife was a touching moment.

Greg responds...

I thought so too. I think Tony Shaloub is brilliant. Monk is both hilarious and heart-breaking.

Response recorded on July 25, 2005

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IKKI TOUSEN

For those of you who have worn out your GARGOYLES first season DVD playing the words "Nice Mask" over and over and over again...

For those of you who have waited and watched for that Panda-La episode of Talespin, just so that you can hear: "Father, the rockets aren't working!"...

For those of you who just can't get enough of the homeless guy in 3x3 Eyes humming the Gargoyles' theme...

I'd recommend you rush out and purchase the four volume DVD set of IKKI TOUSEN (Strength of a Thousand).

Heck, I'd recommend it anyway. I've watched the first three volumes and plan to watch the fourth volume tonight. They're all a lot of fun. The interview with the director is worth the price of admission alone. Loads of action and sexy stuff. (NOT FOR KIDS, BTW! ADULTS ONLY!)

Ikki Tousen.


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Frank Gorshin, RIP

I just read that Frank Gorshin passed away. I'm kinda bummed about it.

I didn't know him well, but I did meet him a couple of times. He played Professor Hugo Strange in "The Batman" episodes that I wrote. He was terrific.

I've seen him do George Burns (briefly) live, and he was amazing.

And of course, as a kid, I just loved him as the Riddler. And there was that strange-o Star Trek episode too.

Like I said, didn't know him all that well, but he was a very talented guy. He'll be missed.


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Kassey writes...

Hi!
I really like you're style of writing for the show of Max Steel did you ever meet Christian Campbell? Does the letter 'S' stand for something? Because I think that it's cool the way you put those titles together so "those are my two questions"
you're biggest Max Steel fan Kassey Demers Chapleau Ont,Can
THANK YOU!!!

Greg responds...

Hey Kassey,

Don't know if you're still reading ASK GREG, but yes, I knew Christian quite well, though I haven't seen him in a couple years.

S stands for Steel.

Response recorded on December 10, 2004

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Corrine Blaquen writes...

Recently I rewatched my tape of one of my favorite World Tour episodes, "Grief". While there are so many things I enjoy in that episode, the thing that never fails to blow me away is when Jackal becomes the avatar for Anubis. Oh, the merging of the Packster and the Death God's voice is just... W-O-W, wow! I absolutely love Tony Jay's voice, it's so powerful and majestic with just the right amount of creepiness, great as Anubis just perfect for any role of quiet menance and dignified sophistication. The technique of mingling the two speakers was brilliant-- it was so powerful, and expertly done. Just wanted to tell you I loved it!

Greg responds...

Thanks! I will take credit for the IDEA of merging the two voices. But of course credit for the execution of that idea goes to actors Tony Jay & Matt Frewer (and later Tony and Tony Shaloub) under the direction of Jamie Thomason. Plus the excellent soundwork of the gangs at the now defunct Screen Music Studios and at Advantage Audio.

Response recorded on November 30, 2004

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Chapter L: "The New Olympians"

Time to ramble...

Chapter L: "The New Olympians"
Story Editor: Gary Sperling
Writer: Adam Gilad
Director: Bob Kline

ORIGINS
Well, the Greek Myths of course. But that's not really what I'm talking about. As many of you know, The New Olympians was a concept -- originally created by Bob Kline -- that we began developing at Disney TV Animation even BEFORE Gargoyles. It was definitely a concept that evolved, but it was also a concept that we felt fit nicely into the Gargoyles Universe. So this episode was created as a backdoor pilot. At the time we had big plans for the Gargoyles Universe. Hopes that it would eventually evolve into Disney's equivalent of the Marvel or DC Universe. The World Tour expanded our Universe in many ways -- mostly for the sake of the Gargoyles series itself. But also to demonstrate that our universe had the "chops" to go the distance.

So the New Olympians were imported whole, like Athena from Zeus' head -- into the gargverse. The development for "The New Olympians" series focused on four major characters: Terry, Sphinx, Talos and Taurus. Terry and Sphinx were kept out of this episode on purpose -- so that we'd have fresh faces for the series if it went. Talos has a very minor role. But Taurus took a lead here. Other characters, such as Kiron, Ekidna, Helios, Boreas and, of course, Proteus were also part of the N.O. development. Though again, we left out a bunch of other characters: Xetes, Kalais, Medusa, Jove and Xanatos (yes, Xanatos) so that the whole series didn't become old news, should it get going.

The basic concept of the series, familiar to anyone who's attended a Gathering and seen the original pitch, was Romeo & Juliet. Terry is a human. Sphinx is a New Olympian. They are in love. But their "families" aren't making that love easy. This episode, would in essence be a PREQUEL to that series. Terry hasn't arrived yet. Elisa will help pave the way for Boreas' decision to finally reveal the New Olympians to the human world.

But another important inspiration was the work of Jack Kirby. In my recent ramble on "Eye of the Storm", I commented on how we strove to avoid a Kirbyesque Odin -- and didn't entirely succeed. Here, Kirby was a clear influence. I hope The New Olympians weren't a rip-off, but I can't deny that his Inhumans, his Eternals and his New Gods influenced us -- or me, at least -- when we were creating both New Olympus and our cast of characters.

Creating the cast was also interesting. We basically compiled a list of Greek & Roman myth-figures. Gods. Monsters. Titans. Etc. Then we tried to think about their descendants... Tried to think about which would be the most visually interesting. (A lot of the gods, for example, just look like glorified humans, so we tended to ignore them.) Originally, Kiron had the Taurus role and Medusa had the Sphinx role. But after talking with the artists, we made the double switch, because it was felt that having to animate a centaur and a woman with snaky hair on a regular basis was just inviting difficulties. As with many of these pragmatic decisions, I eventually fell in love with the new version -- and wouldn't want to go back, even if I could be assured of the highest possible animation quality.

In order to import this diverse group into the Gargverse, I posited that these were the descendents of mortals who mated with the Children of Oberon (or Mab). They therefore have incredible abilities and amazing appearances, but they are mortal. Some may have extremely long lives, but they do age. Still, before they left the human world behind, many of the original Olympians were treated as Gods. But some were treated as Monsters. As in Gargoyles, PREJUDICE would be a major theme of the series. In fact, if you look at the PREVIOUSLY of this episode, you'll see that it's fully thematic. All stuff about humans being prejudiced about Gargoyles. That's because we had nothing content-wise that we needed to set up. But if we set-up human prejudice, than it helped forge the twist of prejudice against humans, which Elisa would face in the episode. (I do wish we had thought to include Goliath's line: "Humans fear what they do not understand...")

So the New Olympians fled the Human World. They established a secret island and developed astounding technology... including a cloaking device. (I was always a touch disappointed with all the fog and mist in the opening scene. I wanted the skiff to suddenly be on the open sea, with nothing around for miles. The fog allowed for the notion that something might be hiding BEHIND it. I didn't want that. Still, I think the idea gets across. And the shimmer effect is nice. Plus, I like how Goliath abruptly spreads his wings when he enters it. When my daughter Erin saw the city finally materialize, she said: "Wow!")

OLD LINES IN NEW CONTEXT
Were we just out of dialogue ideas, or were we trying to make a point or an inside joke or something. I'll let you decide...
Goliath: "We cannot wage war against an entire city."
Elisa: "You'll have to do better than that."

VOICE WORK
Michael Dorn wound up playing Taurus and the late Roddy McDowell as Proteus. Dorian Harewood, who was originally cast as Boreas, also wound up playing Talos. But none of these three were our original choices for those rolls. Instead we cast three people who I thought would be perfect for their parts. But none hit it. It was one of our rare recordings that DIDN'T work. So we fell back on Michael to play the very Worf-like Taurus. (This sometimes bothers me as the voice is exactly the same as Coldstone's. But ultimately you go with the best hand you have at the time.) Dorian ended up doing double duty as Talos and was terrific. And of course, Roddy was just brilliant as Proteus.

What's interesting is that Proteus himself is not the greatest actor. Erin noticed... "There's something different in his voice." Of course, it's Keith David PLAYING Proteus playing Goliath. (Which is always fun.) And Keith hits the mark with precision. As does Salli & Michael when they're playing Proteus playing Elisa & Taurus. Sure Proteus always LOOKS the part -- thanks to his shape-shifting abilities. And I suppose he's less of a ham than Sevarius. But he never quite takes the time to truly "inhabit" his roles. Certainly, while playing Elisa and then Goliath, there are a number of small tip-offs in his choice of words that are just wrong. Like can you really imagine Goliath saying: "Who's that guy?" One assumes that his performance as Taurus' dad is equally off the mark.

The walla in the Senate House when Elisa is on trial isn't my favorite. We just didn't get enough coverage, so it repeats and repeats.

PREJUDICE
All of the New Olympians we see are prejudiced. Every one. Some are worse than others. Boreas is well-meaning, but wrong. Taurus is narrow-minded. Talos is, at best, only pragmatic -- not morally outraged by Elisa's treatment. Most of the others are just flat out racists. "New Olympians fear what they don't understand." I'm sure somewhere on the island there were some more enlightened individuals, but we made a point of NOT showing them.

I wanted to do a few things with that theme. (1) Show that prejudice breeds prejudice. The New Olympians have some legitimate grievances against the human race, but they've learned the wrong lessons from their ancient persecution. (2) Of course, we wanted to play the irony of the monsters being afraid of the "Humans of Legend". Elisa tells the Gargoyles to hide when they first land on the island. And she's the one that the New Olympians fear. They have "no quarrel" with the Gargoyles. And the best solution that even Boreas and Taurus can come up with is to "Quarantine" our girl. (3) There was a three. I had it in my head a minute ago. Now, for the life of me, I can't remember what it was.

Maybe it had something to do with Prejudice only truly being able to be attacked one person at a time. I went to an all boys high school. We were all so deathly afraid of being called homosexuals that a culture of homophobia was ingrained into all of us. It wasn't like I was going around gay-bashing. I like to think that even then, I had the sense and the control to stifle my prejudices. But I can't deny I had them -- probably still have them to some extent, unfortunately. Anyway, then I went to college. Acted in a couple plays with a guy I really admired -- both as an actor and as a human being. Became good friends with this guy (who had the amazing name Steve Wraith). THEN I discovered he was gay. By that time, I didn't care. He had personally won me over -- in a slightly less dramatic fashion then how Homer Simpson learned to accept gays after John Waters saved his life. Steve never saved my life, but I'm afraid the metaphor is VERY apt. I haven't seen Steve in twenty years, but I owe him a lot. A few years later my cousin came out. After that, many if not most of my friends came out. My sister. Etc. Steve paved the way to make me a better person. Conceptually, we can all talk about dismissing prejudice, but I have this sneaking suspicion that the only way we really learn is one human being at a time. That's why Goliath vouching for Elisa was ineffective. People are doomed to HAVE to figure things out for themselves. And unfortunately, some never do.

WHO KNEW THESEUS WAS SUCH A BASTARD?
And so we put Taurus through that process. He meets a human. His distaste is palpable. He knows the story of the Minotaur, his ancestor. [Now Theseus is one of my all time favorite characters from Myth. But I couldn't resist flipping the tale of the Labyrinth and telling it, if just for a few seconds, from the Minotaur's point of view.] But Taurus will learn to respect humans - one human at at time. Elisa and Taurus actually have a lot in common. Both are cops. Both have/had fathers who are/were cops. But as Elisa says, he's "got some funny ideas about justice."

Elisa is clearly more enlightened. In part, that may come from her own history. She grew up as a person of color in a largely white society. She's no stranger to prejudice. Being both African-American and Native American, it's possible that she has even faced some rejection from African-Americans and Native Americans as well. Clearly, based on her openness with regards to Goliath and the Gargoyles, she learned her lessons long before we met her. Pretty much from the moment she realized that Goliath could talk -- and was therefore sentient by human standards, she treated him as an equal. I always admired her for that. Unlike the New Olympians, she didn't let the prejudice she faced turn her into a bigot.

Taurus will eventually get the message. His prejudices don't just vanish. But he's learned something.

SOME NEAT MOVES
I like the sequence where Goliath comes to break Elisa out, and Proteus takes advantage of the situation by first turning into Elisa and then Goliath. (When Erin first saw him as Elisa, she said, "Uh oh." which is pretty much exactly what he was going for.

I like how Taurus threatens to fire Helios.

I like how Goliath turns to stone in Proteus' cell.

I like how Elisa takes charge -- and basically FORCES Taurus to partner up with her. She has two tip offs that Proteus is posing as Goliath. First the fact that he didn't turn to stone and blames it on the cloaking device affecting the sun's rays. Of course, Elisa knows that it's not literally the sun that turns a gargoyle to stone. It's his or her biological clock, which is often triggered by sunrise. But the real clincher is Proteus' plan to blow up the Collonadium. Elisa knows Goliath would NEVER do that.

I like when Taurus tries to express his admiration -- and still can't do it without insulting her species. Elisa takes it in stride: "I'll choose to take that as a compliment." Progress is slow.

THE NEW OLYMPIANS
We end the episode with a pretty blatant pitch for giving the New Olympians their own show. It's certainly shameless. But I make no apologies. I still contend that THE NEW OLYMPIANS would make a GREAT t.v. series.

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


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Chapter XLIX: "Eye of the Storm"

Time to ramble...

Chapter XLIX: "Eye of the Storm"
Story Editor: Cary Bates
Writer: Cary Bates
Director: Bob Kline

FAMOUS LAST WORDS (PART TWO)
Goliath at the end of "Avalon, Part Three" (and in the PREVIOUSLY of this episode): "I am personally going to make sure that the Eye of Odin and the Phoenix Gate are never used again." Of course, he's thinking he won't let anyone else use them. But he neglects to protect them against himself. We've already seen him use the Phoenix Gate -- mostly to positive effect -- in M.I.A. Now, we'll see him don the Eye of Odin...

ENVIRONMENTS
Elisa's cold. Cold enough to put her life in danger. Cold enough to force us to add a sweater and parka to her ensemble as the episode progresses. As Angela says, "It's enough to take your breath away." To which Elisa responds: "I can vouch for that."

(I do wonder what sport it was that Gunther was playing in the middle of winter that he did so well at.)

VOICE ACTORS RETURN
J.D. Daniels -- formerly Tom and Young Luach and Young Canmore -- is here playing Gunther Sturlusson. As I write this in 2004, J.D. would have to be in his late teens or early twenties. He was a great child actor -- which is rarer than you might think. I hope he's doing well.

Morgan Sheppard -- formerly Petros Xanatos -- also returns, as Odin. I would later cast Morgan in "Atlantis: Milo's Return" as a crazy guy who THOUGHT he was Odin. I love working with Morgan.

ODIN & THE STURLUSSONS
The name Sturlusson is a direct steal from Snorri Sturlusson (I hope I'm spelling this right), the author of the Eddas -- the more-or-less original source materials that we have as reference to the Norse Myths.

We tried to paint an Odin that would make Snorri proud, one "well-versed in myths and legends". Having him pose as an old man with a cloak of stars. That's out of the myths. Making him a storm god. That's right out of the myths. Giving him the ability to transform into animals (in this case a VERY cool one-eyed polar bear). Right out of the myths. The rainbow bridge at the end. Right out of the myths. Giving him a flying battle steed named Sleipnir is right out of the myths too, if you forgive the fact that Sleipner is supposed to have eight legs, but Bob and Frank balked at our ability to animate that decently. [Note: I do worry whether or not the final GOD-ODIN design was a bit too Marvel/Kirby influenced. Jack Kirby's seminal work is so all-pervasive in American visual vernacular, it's hard to avoid, even when you're consciously attempting to avoid it.]

And of course, there's the Eye itself. Traditionally, Odin traded his eye to the wise Jotun Mimir for wisdom and insight. Obviously, Mimir lost it at some point, perhaps after losing his own head (another story) and the Eye floated around for centuries before David found it and gave it to Fox who lost it to Goliath who had it stolen by the Weird Sisters who gave it the Archmage who lost it to Goliath again. Now Odin's claiming that HE directed Goliath's skiff to Norway. This time it isn't Avalon that's sent them here, but Odin who has waylaid them so that he can FINALLY get his darn eye back in its socket. I do regret that our "Eye-as-a-piece-of-Jewelry" design always looked more Egyptian than Nordic to me. The gang over at Disney Interactive who created the concept of the Eye for their game, had a much more runic/nordic/ravenesque design.

But I am curious -- how many of you were surprised to discover that the Eye of Odin was actually Odin's eye?

Odin also refers to Elisa as a Maiden. I wonder if he felt that she would have made a good Valkyrie?

{My ten-year-old daughter Erin asked: "Why doesn't [Goliath] give it to Odin. It's his eye. Of course, she's seen the episode before and knows what's coming vis-a-vis Goliath's behavior, but it's still interesting to me that she placed the burden for the misunderstanding on Goliath and not on Odin.}

Odin -- as Odin sees it -- is playing by the rules. He tries barter and then fair combat and then takes a hostage, which in ancient times did not have the same cowardly (if not downright terrorist) connotation that it carries today. All of which might have been avoided, if at the beginning he had just -- i don't know -- offered Elisa the cloak with no strings attached and sat down with Goliath to discuss the whole eye thing. Odds are, when he was not being confrontational, Bronx would have slid up to get his chin scratched. Angela would have said something like, "Well, Bronx likes him." And Goliath might have realized that giving the darn thing back to Odin was the safest possible outcome. BUT NO! Odin, as he admits, is not the most patient of gods and a bit rusty when it comes to the whole dealing directly with mortals thing.

AVATAR
So, instead, Odin comes on strong (rules or no rules) and Goliath is pushed into thinking that he has no choice but to use the Eye's power himself. (I think that was adequately motivated.) And thus Goliath and NOT Odin quickly becomes the VILLAIN of our piece. Which was interesting for us. We'd seen Zombie-Goliath in "Temptations". We'd seen Goliath's "evil twin" in "Double Jeopardy" and "Sanctuary". But we'd never seen Goliath himself go bad until now. He becomes more of who he is. A protector -- a tyrant -- a fascist. Someone who cannot brook disobedience. Someone unaccustomed to dealing with gods or being one. (A good line, I thought.)

His new attitude is, I think, embodied by the casualness and callousness of him saying: "We will pack them too." This in regards to moving Bronx and his DAUGHTER, currently frozen in stone.

At first, everything he says is pretty darn rational-sounding. But Elisa and Angela and Erik quickly develop their suspicions. They are just naturally slow to believe that their Goliath -- OUR Goliath -- could be the bad guy. Eye or no eye.

Goliath also succeeds in becoming an Avatar for Odin, much like Jackal and the Emir each became Avatars for Anubis. It's not quite as literal, but his wings take on Odin's starry pattern. His helmet is similar (although on my tape his horns are doing some FUNKY animation things). And everytime Odin uses one of his powers, Goliath acquires and mimics that power.

I'll admit that Goliath's turnaround at the end plays on screen a bit too quick for my tastes now. But ultimately, we were still counting on Goliath's protective nature, his basic decency. His love for his daughter. It's not as strong for me as, say, Renard's turnaround or the Captain's (from "Golem" and "Shadows of the Past" respectively), but I think it basically works.

OTHER NEAT LINES (all approximate)
Erik: "I am rich in sweaters."
Goliath: "Now that Elisa is safe, we can rest in peace." (Okay, this is more of an odd line than a neat one.)
Odin (understated): "This calls for a change in strategy."
Goliath (once they're all on to him): "Is there a problem."
Elisa: "The Eye! The Eye has gone to your head!"
Goliath: "That is all you need to know."
Odin: "I have more than gained in wisdom, what I have lost in strength."
Odin: "You're on my turf with my property."
Odin: "I am not the threat."
Goliath: "So close to Death and Rejuvenation at the same time."
Elisa: "You took a big chance. Wish I'd thought of it."
Odin: "Then we have both gained rare enlightenment. The Eye's standard gift." This last one was important to me. I wanted (from the moment we intro'd the eye into the series back in "The Edge" to play the Eye true to it's Eddaesque roots.

JALAPEÑA
Goliath removes the Eye and speaks that word again. This caught me off guard last night, cuz I had thought Hudson's Pendragon Jalapeña was the last one until "The Journey". But I guess we squeezed one more in.

And Odin finally gets the Eye back. And ... and... NOTHING HAPPENS. He just sticks it back into his eye socket and it becomes... his eye. I LOVED the anti-climax of that. Generally -- not such a big fan of anti-climax, but the irony and the RIGHTNESS of it just thrilled me.

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


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Michelle writes...

Hi Greg,
I'm 29 years old and I just started watching the Gargoyles cartoon as of September 2002 through ToonDisney. I am very shocked that I didn't know about this show before. I am a big fan of the 80s cartoons such as GiJoe, Thundercats, Voltron, etc.. And in my opinion, The Gargoyles are right up there with the best of them. Thank you for creating another great cult show for the 90s. Anyways, here is my question, if it hasn't been asked already. I noticed that during the end credits, Laura San Giacomo is continuously left off of the credits as Fox. I would never have known it was her, except for some of the other websites that have the actors names next to their characters. Was it her decision or someone elses to leave her name off of the end credits? Why the big secret?

Greg responds...

I have answered this before, many times, but what the heck...

It was her agent's decision. I doubt it's something he would still insist on today, but he was worried about a stigma.

Response recorded on October 28, 2004

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Wingedbeast writes...

Ramble on Golem.

A great episode this.

On the climbing. I've got to say, my favorite Gargoyle shots are of them climbing. It best shows off how animalistic they are and how beautiful they are. It really drives home the "they aren't human" issue. They're creatures of instinct.

And, BTW, when Angela and Bronx are climbing up the tower, that's a great butt shot on Elisa. Gotta say. Elisa rocks. Strong woman that never gives up, protects her friends, has a sense of humor, and has a great butt.

If she's based off of anybody you know, mind introducing me? :)

Onto the rest of the ramble.

Max and Elisa parallel on that huge issue. They're the heroes beside the heroes. The difference is that Elisa started out that way. It's who she is. Considering who her parents are, it might even be an instinctive trait to her.

Max? Max isn't so lucky as to have Elisa's upbringing. He's probably had to learn that lesson that there are some things that are too powerful for him to overcome. So, he has to overcome that fear just to go into his destiny.

Elisa's learned quite the opposite lesson. Even within the series, she's learned that, even though there's always somebody bigger and stronger than she is, that doesn't really matter.

Renard gone mad. Oh come on, like you wouldn't destroy a few things if you got that kind of power. It's like a new toy. You play with it until you're through.

But, when Renard was through with the euphoria of the new toy, he was left with the cost. And, that was a great face shot of the Golem when Renard realized that he had become something. It also made sense that it was Goliath's words that finally got through.

He might, logically, have known that Elisa and Max were right, but he considered Goliath to be an equal. They both share that daily struggle of integrity. And, it's here where Goliath really repayed Renard for his lesson in Outfoxed, and reminded him of the daily struggle that is integrity.

The final fight sequence was something that struck me. 4 different heroes, 4 different styles. Max, the Golem, Goliath, and Elisa. Each very effective.

The first time I saw this, I saw the golem as a robot and Max as the mind behind it. Telling it what to do and, like a good little drone, it does it. Essentially making Max the mind. But, that scene with Brode over the big pit, last time I saw it, changed my mind. Instead of the golem's mind, the golem has it's own mind even if it is a primitive one, Max is the golem's heart.

If there were future episodes with the golem, I could see Max going through efforts to keep the golem from becoming like the monsters that he fights.

Can't wait for the ramble on "The Hound of Ulster"

Greg responds...

Elisa's based on Salli Richardson. She's in the upcoming movie, ANACONDA 2.

Totally agree with your heart/mind assessment, by the way.

Response recorded on July 23, 2004

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Blaise writes...

MONSTERS

I, too, thought the animation was rather problematic (a lot of repetition and stiff movements and expressions). The image-continuity suffered as well--when we first see the sonar tag, it's attached directly to the skin, but later it becomes a collar. Also, instead of the usual pole for steering and propelling the skiff, Goliath is now using an actual oar (of course, this is balanced by the fact that there is something rather ludicrous to traversing a mile-deep loch with a 7-ft pole). Finally, Angela did have a rather poorly done awakening sequence (although I swear that later airings seem to have cleaned it up slightly).
And yes, I noticed the similarities between the beginings of this and HERITAGE (there were subtle differences, but the overall resemblence is pretty big).
Despite all this, I still find myself comfortably watching this episode. Perhaps this has a lot to do with Tim Curry as Sevarius. He's just so fun!! And he has a tendency to get all the best lines. In addition to the ones you've mentioned, Greg (particualaly the "...finger down my throat" one), I'd like to add two more:
"Well, this shouldn't take long. I'm sure Big Daddy misses his Nessie-wessy." (Just the way Tim says that last part is great).
"'Monster Love!' How touching."
Whatever else you can say about the guy, he loves his work.
Anyway, from beginning to end...
Elisa's line about the water being too clean still works for me (I mean, there isn't any garbage floating on top of it). And the initial bump with the sub was good, too. I like Angela's pose when she puts here finger in the water after the group goes ashore (I don't know why, I just do), and her mention of trying again to find Manhattan really spoke to me (I had just started to wonder along with her).
I knew Elisa would try to contact home and let them know what was going on, but I felt like screaming my throat into a bloody mess when I saw the message saying "Tape full." Talk about frustrating. Pointless note--the first time I saw this (i.e., before KINGDOM aired), I was goofishly pleased that Brooklyn was singled out as someone to get word to. Just my pride for my fav character coming out I suppose.
The sequence with the boat (and the cameo by Margot and Brendan) is pretty fun. I like Elisa's calm, smug confidence that the whole thing is fake--and how, while she's obliviously comparing the situation to theme parks, the gargoyles notice the creature heading right toward them with somewhat horrified looks dawning on their faces.
It was several viewings before I noticed that Goliath had seen Angela's sillhouette (sp?) under water and tried to swim toward it before being blocked by Big Daddy.
The Goon Squad Leader/Head of Security finally gets a name. And we find out that Sevarius is at work in the loch. He has a rather interesting introduction here. Almost like a Bond villain, what with being heard only as a voice first, then seen as a sillohouette (sp?), then just a shot of him from the neck down, and FINALLY his face. Though, for those of us who followed the show religiously from the beginning, there was no mystery as to who this guy was (not with Tim Curry doing the voice). But I wonder what the effect would have been on a casual viewer for whom this was the first episode (something I may come back to later...).
Severius seems very...enamoured with Angela. The way he...handles her hair is very...interesting.
Angela's interaction with Nessie makes much more sense, and is much more palatable (sp?) with the knowledge that Nessie is familiar with gargoyles. Without it (the knowledge), it's alright, but seems a little like Snow White with all the animals of the forest just eating out of her hand. Thus, Sevarius' line is all the more hilarious (and even a bit cathartic).
While the gargoyles sleep, Elisa manages to find and tail the Goon Squad (typical detective). It was weird to see the Female Goon without her helmet on. Just a random observation.
I actually rather like Sevarius and Angela's conversation. Angela's calling Sevarius "the only monster here" may have been blatantly pointing out the theme, but I still like it.
And now we have actual confirmation that Goliath is Angela's biological father. Personally, I think that revelation is more for Angela's sake than the audience (or at least those who saw AVALON PART TWO). It must be weird, hearing about this great hero all your life, then meeting him, then being allowed to go adventuring with him, and then finally learning that you are his child! With her somewhat human viewpoint, that must have had Angela's mind reeling for a little bit.
One thing that really impressed me in later viewings. An almost casual throw-away line as Sevarius leaves Bruno to guard the base. He gives Bruno the gun with the implied order to kill Goliath if he "becomes too rambunctious," but he preceeded this with "It would be a shame to lose a gargoyle." There may have been a bit of sarcasm there, but I feel like the line kind of shows the scientist in Sevarius--the man fascinated by unique species.
I noticed the awkwardness of Bruno's "All right" line. Actually, that whole sequence was problematic. It took me several viewings before I realized what went on there.
For being an enemy, Bruno was pretty helpful in the mini-sub. Then again, if you're faced with an armed woman (you don't know the gun's not loaded) and a beast that could give Cujo a run for its money, you might be helpful, too!
I'm surprised the mini-sub didn't take any damage when it scraped along the side of the main sub.
One note: I never actually thought that Nessie was Big Daddy's daughter. I don't know how, but I kind of figured they were mates. Still, maybe a different name for the male would have worked better. Alpha, maybe? Or how about, Nester? NO! No, definitely not that....
It's a bit disconcerting when you see the goon at the controls for the tasers, and then, after Sevarius gives the order, seeing the doctor's hands on the controls. I do think Sevarius is the kind of guy who would try to do this sort of thing personally, but I think a scene of him pushing the Goon out of the chair and taking his place would have helped.
A good animation bit--the electricity of the taser reflected in Angela's mask as she looks on horrified.
And the monsters destroy the sub. It took me a while before I realized that those Goons probably all died. I really like that little revelation. Adds another dimension to what happened there. I also like how Sevarius vanished, and Bruno speaks of him as having "more lives than an alley cat." Nice little ominous bit that.
Actually, one thing I thought of a while back was how much Sevarius fits into the stereotypical, Saturdy morning Archnemesis role. I mean, he's seen in command of henchmen, he does the standard "telling of plans" with Angela, Goliath yells his name in anger when G recognizes his voice, he has the best lines, he vanishes at the moment of probable death, and a hero/henchman (in this case the latter) states that he will be back. I wonder if the casual viewer for whom this was the first episode would conclude that Sevarius was the main antagonist for the heroes. Of course, there is the mention of "Mr. Xanatos." You've got to admire a man whose very name warrants a musical sting.
All in all, while it certainly isn't the best episode, I find it a pleasant enough one.

Greg responds...

I tend to agree with everything you've stated. Tim was just so good, it was easy to let him carry the episode, even though -- up to this point -- he had been the scientist/flunky. He had never been an episodic villain in his own right.

Good times.

Response recorded on July 16, 2004

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Dave writes...

I have a question (duh!) what if sometime in the distant future disney brought gargoyles back would you be able to do the job of writing new episodes? If so what if the actors for the characters weren't available, would you still use the same characters, or have to start over from scratch?

Greg responds...

It's all very hypothetical, but, yes, I'd certainly hope to brought back as the writer-producer of the series. We'd reuse as many voice actors as we could.

A few members of our former cast have passed away, and we'd deal with them on a case-by-case basis.

Response recorded on June 28, 2004

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VAMBER writes...

Does Avery Brooks do the voice for Goliath? If not, then who?

Greg responds...

Keith David is the voice of Goliath. (Keith can currently be seen as the Imam in "Chronicles of Riddick".)

Avery Brooks did the voice of Nokkar the alien for us.

Response recorded on June 28, 2004

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Forliya writes...

hey,Um, I'm wondering if you could tell me how many gargoyal
cronicals are thear? because I'm embarresed to say that I'm in love with goliath. I know its stupid but I cant help it.Oh by the way can you tell me who dose the voice of goliath ? because it goes by so fast on the credits I cant read it on the screan!

Greg responds...

We made 65 episodes of "Gargoyles" over two seasons.

They made a third season, 13 episodes, called "Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicles". I wrote the first of those 13, but had no real involvement beyond that script.

And the voice of Goliath is the amazing Keith David.

Response recorded on June 21, 2004

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Zarok writes...

Hey Greg
I wasn't able to get to the Gathering this year so I have a lot of questions regarding the unmade Team Atlantis/Gargoyles crossover…

1) Can you give me a synopsise of the plot please? (Keep in mind that I've seen "Atlantis: The Lost Empire" and by the time you've read this I'll have probably have seen the direct to video sequel. So you don't have to waste time explaining who Milo is and stuff like that.)
2) You've said that Fiona is alive as of 12-31-95, so is she immortal or is she just really healthy? (It's possible, I know someone who's a hundred and six.)
3) Besides protecting the gargoyle race from a specific threat, what else can the praying gargoyle do?
4) In the gargoyle universe the majority of Atlanteans were human right?
5) If you had gotten to do more of Team Atlantis would we have seen gargoyles other than Demona or was this episode meant to exist in a vacume?
6) I don't suppose you'd consider posting the script up here? (not likely but a fella can try can't he?)

Greg responds...

1. Nutshell version: Milo & Company are in Paris battling a sewer monster. Doc runs into an old flame, Fiona Canmore, who is hunting "a demon". That demon, of course, turns out to be Demona, theoretically the last of her kind. Demona uses a smitten Mole to find the Praying Gargoyle, and uses the statuette to artificially animate every stone gargoyle in Paris -- in order, basically, to murder the local humans. Team Atlantis defeats Demona's plot, but Doc prevents Fiona from killing Demona.

2. She's just really old.

3. It's uses are manifold, but are all geared toward protection of the Gargoyle species.

4. All Atlanteans are human, though once upon a time there may have been an Atlantean clan of Gargoyles.

5. Not in a vacuum, but I doubt the producer and executives in charge of Team Atlantis would have allowed me to do more than this one-shot deal.

6. No. Though I play the audio tape at EVERY GATHERING, so if you want to hear Marina Sirtis as Demona and Sheena Easton as the Hunter one more time, I suggest showing up in Montreal this August.

Response recorded on May 18, 2004

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Rocky Cliff writes...

I'm not sure if this question was asked before, but who provided the voice of Fox in the Gargoyles series? She was never listed in the end credits.

Greg responds...

Laura San Giacomo.

Response recorded on May 12, 2004

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Kahuna writes...

How old is Tress MacNeille?

Greg responds...

I have no idea. And I'm not rude enough to ask.

Response recorded on May 03, 2004

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The Cat writes...

Subject Make-A-Wish, Nov. 1999
Hey Greg.

Okay I this isn't exactically the best place to ask this but I'm not going to see you at The Gathering this year and by the time the next Gathering rolls around I'll probably have forgotten the question.

Anyway, my mother was telling me that _you_ asked her whether or not what was said about the road kill in Texas was true when we met ya'll back in November of 1999 through Make-A-Wish. However, I don't seem to remember you asking that. Then again my memory has gotten rather faulty lately.

What I want to know is were you the one that asked that or was it someone else?

Okay, another thing(more like a personal ramble on what was said that day) after we got finished taping the mock episode of Turf ya'll are all signing pictures and my script. Thom says something about his character Lexington and about Sheena Easton(I had no idea who she was then, but not long after that day I saw her on the Home Shopping Channel.)
Thom: Sheena Easton always said "The wee one is playing with his...weewee." I can't think of the word that she used though.(Something to that effect.)
Jeff(quickly supplies the word): Willyad!
All the while I'm thinking:'Tippickle men. Obsessed with that part of their anatomy! Well,I'm tired I'm not going to say anything. I just want to get to the hotel and fall into bed.' (That wasn't exactly what I was thinking, but there might be little kids out there that their parents do not wish them to know such things just yet.)

Anyhow, you get the idea. By the way in case you were wondering how I was capable of remembering that little chat between Jeff and Thom. It's because my mother accidently filmed it. If those two were a little more conservitive I might be tempted to use that darn tape as blackmail.

Well as they say down here, Adios Amigo. The Cat.
Hmm, curiousity is suppose to kill The Cat, I wonder how many of my nine lives I've wasted this time around.

Greg responds...

I don't even know what this Road Kill comment is in reference to. It doesn't sound like even the kind of topic I'd raise.

And I doubt you could blackmail Thom with something THAT tame.

Response recorded on April 26, 2004

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Blaise writes...

HERITAGE

I don't think I expected "our heroes" to get home after just one stop, so it didn't surprise me that they ended up someplace else first. Of course, even I didn't expect them to be traveling for as long as they were....
Anyway, I love the way Angela is sitting in the skiff when she notices the sea monster. It's a small thing, barely on screen for a second, and I probably only notice it because I think she looks quite alluring there, but it's something that strikes me everytime I watch this episode.
The sea monster has an excellent design, very unique, and the ensuing battle has some real nice moments, such as when Angela appears to be riding a wave into battle.
Of course, the sea monster appears to damage the skiff during the battle, and in the next scene a hole can be seen in the upper side of the skiff (not in a "sinkble" area, per se). So, how'd it get fixed? Well, Grandmother may have "healed" the skiff as she healed the island, or the skiff may have just fixed itself (hey, it can sink itself, as we'll see with Arthur later on).
I knew something was up with that raven when it seemed to appear out of nowhere, and then landed on top of the totem pole.
Actually, during my first viewing, I had been wondering when the subject of totem poles would be addressed. From what I had heard (and that was little) they could have fit into a "inspired by gargoyles" category, and I was quite happy they showed up. I don't remember my reaction to the revelation that they didn't actually have any gargoyle connection, but thinking about it now, I'm rather glad you guys went with them being what they are in the real world, Greg. Sometimes a spade is a spade.
Natsilane/Nick fills a fairly stereotypical role, to be sure, but he is acted well, and given some nice lines and facial expressions. I also liked Grandmother, and had always wondered if she was a figure from North American myth and legend as well. Good to know that she is.
I'm almost ashamed to admit this, but I had thought Queen Florence island might actually be a real place until I read your ramble, Greg. You can tell I haven't spent much time in Canada (aside from the area around Niagra Falls).
Ah, Raven as a gargoyle. It's an excellent design, I love his red eyes and the pattern of feathers over his chest. However, there are some...glitches in his gargoyle design. The fact that he has no tail, five fingers instead of four, and even his eye color differentiate him from the "normal" gargoyle design. More, in my eyes, than his having a bird's head. I'm not nitpicking the character designers, though--and for all I know, there are gargoyles out there with similar abberations (just look at Sora's two-toed feet in BUSHIDO)--I actually think those oddities are neat. They might even be considered hints that this fellow isn't exactly what he appears to be. He also has a nice entrance: assuming the form and place of the top totem pole creature he had landed on in the morning. Anyway, I kind of figured that this was the "Raven" that Grandmother had spoken about in the previous scene. When he referred to Grandmother as an "evil sorceress" I thought that maybe this was a POV problem. Two different sides with half-true gripes fighting each other. I couldn't buy for a minute that Grandmother was evil, but I wouldn't be surprised if she were a sorceress, and Raven spoke a story that seemed to resonate with how gargoyles were treated. I thought maybe bringing peace was the ultimate goal. Of course, things turned out differently.
RE: "Elisa as sexy when feverish and vulnerable." Are you sure that's not just because she's probably topless (at least) underneath that blanket? ;D
Raven leads our gargoyle heroes to the caldera of the volcano, and introduces them to his clan. I liked their designs as well--especially the wolf and eagle ones. But I found it extremely odd that they did not come out or say anything (WARNING lights began going off in my brain there, I think). Still, I did like Goliath's initial joy over the thought of finding gargoyles living in other parts of the world.
Grandmother uses Haida (is that spelled right?) medicinal techniques to cure Elisa's fever, but I wouldn't be surprised if she used just a little magic to put Elisa to sleep (I thought I heard a "magic-like" sound effect or something). And yes, I think the "...and roots" line and Natsilane's silent reaction to it are funny. Actually, my brother has caught this episode a few times, and always gets frustrated that Natsilane doesn't believe that "roots" and such can cure a fever. As far as he's concerned *all* medicine came from plants and the like. Well, I guess my brother's not too far off the mark--I know at least aspirin comes from a plant.
Our heroes start to search for each other. Raven's "disappearing clan" was a nice little confirmation for me that this guy was not what he claimed to be.
Goliath's little phrase "Humans fear what they do not understand. And what they fear, they often seek to destroy." It's a nice, truthful little phrase. Maybe that's why it has been used in so many other places (DARKSWORD book one, for example). The funny thing is, Goliath has been telling Angela truths all along that play right into Raven's lies. Sheesh, no wonder Goliath wants to rip the Trickster a new one when he learns the truth. I'd be pissed, too.
Finding the wallet was a nice touch. Another, earlier one, was Elisa wondering if totem poles were connected with gargoyles. Grandmother knows exactly what Elisa was talking about. Like I said, nice.
Bears by themselves are scary enough, but a Trickster influenced bear? I didn't envy Elisa. Of course, Bronx takes Yogi out with little problem (and manages to have a cute moment directly afterward).
Fun line from Elisa: "Are Goliath and Angela OK? Heh, right, like you're going to answer."
I think I may have jumped out of my seat and applauded when Goliath and Elisa hugged. It was so unexpected, yet perfectly natural between them (and long overdue I thought--besides which, by this time I had concluded that G & E would kiss SOMETIME during this season, and while this was not quite that, I found it pretty close).
The characters compare notes and go off to find Grandmother, who transforms into the Thunderbird at the (music-less) cliff-hanger. By this time, I was thouroughly confused as to what was going on and went to my old standby attitude--ride the storm out and see what happens.
One of my favorite bits during the ensuing battle: Angela lands on the Thunderbird, and the chest-face wraps its tounge around her leg and throws her off. The look on Angela's face is great. Then of course there's the bit where the Thunderbird's wings pass through Raven's illusions. By now, I already knew he was the bad guy, and applauded Angela's trying to dupe him. Of course, he shows up later so it's doubtful she was successful, but it's nice that she makes an attempt.
Finally, the truth is revealed. Grandmother and Raven are kinsmen of Puck (at least figuratively) and Raven shows his other preferred form. I like how the design on his shirt is evocative of his feather pattern in gargoyle form. Another thing I liked in this scene was Grandmother's quiet joy that gargoyles still live (if they don't thrive). She's a very benevolent Oberati.
Elisa shows the gargoyles to Natsilane, quoting Shakespeare for good measure, to induce him to take up the fight. I love Angela's jump to right in front of Natsilane with the shield and weapon. I also love Nick's line: "Wait! You're asking me to fight a creature of legend...with a stick. Get real." Funny, and indicative of his world view at the same time.
Natsilane's sudden appearance at the caldera always threw me. I try to rationalize it, as usual. When he takes up the cause and armements, his clothes are magically changed and he is transported to the volcano top. At any rate, Bronx, Elisa and Grandmother arrive a bit later than Nick.
I love how Raven gives his chant here: "Totem beasts entrapped in wood, the time has come to...do some good." I guess he's not much of one for rhyming.
It's a nice battle, though nothing particularly of note except for Goliath's playing possum, and Natsilane mastering the use of his weapons.
I like Raven's last two lines in this ep and the way his voice actor (and I am kicking myself for not remembering his name) delivered them. "Your people have fled!" Nicely defiant. And "This place no longer amuses me," along with his laugh (I LOVE that laugh). Now that you mention it, Greg, it would have been a bit better for him to fly off in raven form, but the gargoyle form works alright.
And then Grandmother heals the island. I liked her hair becoming the water.
A word on the repetition (sp?): Yeah, I noticed that, too. It's a bit of an annoyance, but there are little differences. In this episode the sea monster wasn't the focus, the companions were reunited well before the end of the adventure, and Natsilane is younger than Peter Maza, chose to live where he grew up, and doesn't have the "estranged father" element that Peter had. It's not much, but the little details help prevent this from becoming too tired.
HERITAGE is mostly an average episode for me (nothing that particularly grabs me, but a nice watch), and I think it says something that even an average episode compels me to write *this much* about it.

Greg responds...

Yeah. Thanks.

Raven was well-played by Lawrence Bayne, btw.

And of course Natsilane was my first exposure to Gregg Rainwater, who's one of my favorite actors.

Response recorded on April 21, 2004

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Todd Jensen writes...

Here's my ramble on "Shadows of the Past".

First off, of course, this is where the Avalon World Tour begins (if you don't count the "Avalon" triptych), which makes it a biggie. I agree with you that the reruns in between the three instalments of it (which aired, as I recall, in November-December 1995, February 1996, and May 1996 - more or less) make the World Tour seem longer than it really was. (Incidentally, you're right that you were able to bring out more than 18 episodes of "Gargoyles" in the September-December period; I remembered that the "fall run" ended with "Grief", and so worked out that it was 30 new episodes during that period).

As I mentioned before, I enjoyed the Avalon World Tour, and agree with you that something like that was necessary for the series at some point (especially in bringing in enough other gargoyles to make it feasible for the species to survive and recover - as I've mentioned here before, something along the lines of the World Tour was probably the only realistic way for Goliath to discover that there were gargoyles left in other parts of the world, given that he couldn't simply hop on board the next flight from New York to London or Japan).

Angela's correct (from the original legends perspective) about it always being summer on Avalon; in fact, I remember that the old Welsh legends about Avalon (or, more accurately, its "literary predecessors") called it the Summer Country or the Region of the Summer Stars.

In hindsight from "Vendettas", I picked up on the significance of that axe that Goliath unearths - and agree with you now that Hakon's mace from the Wyvern Massacre would indeed have worked better. Too late for that now, though.

I also liked that line (which I considered very poetic) of Elisa's about "old wounds".

The Captain and Hakon's tormenting of Goliath was very effective - probably the creepiest part, in my opinion, was when Angela and Elisa appear in Goliath's eyes to be the Captain and Hakon - but then we hear Angela and Elisa's voices coming from the Captain and Hakon's mouths.

The Captain of the Guard's change of heart worked for me (again, I especially liked the bit that you mentioned where he's looking troubledly at his hands as he and Hakon solidify). In fact, it made sense in view of his role in "Awakening" - he'd never wanted the clan massacred, and was horrified as to how that had gone wrong. I might add that Hakon showed, again, just how creepy he is when he gets into the fight with Goliath and begins laughing as his fists pass through Goliath - the reason for that being now, not that Hakon's insubstantial and Goliath solid, but the other way around.

Incidentally, the Captain actually appears better-looking in the scene where he's giving Goliath his thanks, just before he ascends.

And I'll confess that I'm one of those who would have preferred Hakon to have remained trapped in the cave for all time - I felt, when "Vendettas" aired, that it destroyed some of the effectiveness, in retrospect, of Hakon's sentence: trapped alone for eternity, with nobody at hand for him to hate. (Also, "Vendettas" felt anticlimactic on the Hakon front; in "Shadows of the Past", he battles Goliath by skillfully undermining him with a lot of psychological subtlety; in "Vendettas", he's reduced to simply fighting him in a slugfest with a big dumb werewolf - though don't tell Wolf that I called him that. :) ). But I do think that you made a good point about how, ultimately, Hakon would have to be given more permanent resolution than just that.

Incidentally, your treatment of the megalith that the Captain and Hakon were using, and your comments on it, make me wonder now how you would have handled Stonehenge if you'd ever gotten to do an episode involving it (especially since you mentioned having had plans to send King Arthur and Griff there during their quest for Merlin) - a pity that we may never know the answer to that now.

Greg responds...

*I think it's appropriate that as the Captain is (in essence) redeemed and "ascends", that he is beatified a bit.

*I get what you're saying about Hakon, certainly. And yet, I really like "Vendettas" and hardly think that Hakon's post-Vendettas fate is likely to be any kinder than his post-Shadows fate. And although Hakon was the series' first big villain, he was hardly the most impressive of our villainous creations.

But, let's be honest, I just couldn't resist giving Clancy Brown the opportunity for a David Warner-esque tour de force performance. I'm sure I'll get into this topic more when (some day) I get around to rambling on Vendettas, but I think Clancy's double duty in Vendettas is perhaps even more impressive than what Warner did -- (a) because Clancy did what he did with a then amateur voice director (i.e. me) and (b) because the two characters he was playing (Wolf & Hakon) allowed for much less subtlty than Warner's two Archmages. (This of course, is not designed to take any credit away from the brilliant David Warner, simply to give Clancy his just desserts as well. And speaking of Clancy, he does a great Mr. Freeze in the new "The Batman" series.)

*The ideas used in Shadows for the Megaliths, were in fact cribbed from ideas I've had for Stonehenge for some time. (Pre-dating the creation of Gargoyles, in fact.) It would be interesting to see (even to me) how I handled Stonehenge now. On the one hand, I wouldn't want to repeat myself, but I'd also want to be consistent and I don't want to betray the notions I've had in my head forever. That's the problem when your brain begins to cannibalize its own ideas. A danger I find myself facing all the time.

Response recorded on April 12, 2004

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Blaise writes...

AVALON PART THREE

One thing I forgot to mention in my thoughts on Part Two (and it's still relevant because it was featured in the recap): the Archmage's devouring of the Grimorum. I, too, found that a great image, and a nice way of sidestepping the "no magics" rule. Not to mention I love the little "[gulp] Ah..." the Archmage does.
Anyway, onto the fight.
When the folks at the palace decide to check out the Sleeping King, and Tom prepares to go, the Magus looks at Katharine's worried face and then volunteers to go instead. Yet another something I had to watch several times before I could fully appreciate it.
Angela and Gabriel check out the grotto (is that what it's called?). I like it when Demona jabs the laser rifle in Angela's ribs, and the younger gargoyle's first reaction is to elbow Gabriel and say "Stop it!" It was cool how Goliath temporarily overrode Macbeth and Demona's mind control by "appealing to their better natures," and then how the Archmage so easily reasserted his control. He had become quite a bit more powerful here, afterall. And then, of course, once things turn sour, and one of his enemies tries to take the Eye, the Archmage loses his cool and decides to start attacking NOW. His lines here are pretty neat and chilling ("They're my creatures now," and "...if they are so *eager* to *DIE*!" are ones I rather like, too).
It never ceases to amaze me how the Magus, a 72 year-old scholarly type, is able to make Elisa, a 27 year-old athletic type, ask him to slow down. I like Magus' line about being used to traveling alone, and how Elisa's mention of "the Princess and the Guardian" is contrasted with the Magus calling them "Katharine and Tom." His story was both a surprise and heartbreak to me--I had really thought from AVALON PART ONE that he would "get the girl" as most heroes do. As I said then (three weeks ago), the Magus had never looked quite so heroic. I had disliked him quite a bit in AWAKENING ONE and TWO, yet by the end of his appearance in TWO, his remorse kind of mitigated my disdain for him. In the first part of AVALON I really got to like him--you could see the depth of his feeling for Katharine, and his resolve and cunning with the way he saved the eggs and all. In PART TWO he showed how weak he felt without his magic book, and here...well by this time, the Magus had become a character I really liked and sympathized with.
Perhaps that's one reason that I became pretty much goggle-eyed upon learning that Katharine had fallen in love with Tom and vice versa. Then again, I did (and to some extent still do) suffer from a sort of "agism in male and female relationships." Of course, for that reason, I also applaud the princess and the pauper getting together simply because it now becomes a bit more unique. And I love the baby gargoyles!
BTW, Greg: rest assured that Elisa's lips were corrected in later airings, and on my tape the scene with the baby gargs actually looks more like a night scene (don't ask me how, maybe it's just my tape).
The Hollow Hill sequence was cool! I loved the Magus' spellcasting (now he has to ryhme like an Oberati), though I was of course confused until the Magus explained how he was able to do that. The "leap of faith"...Indy Jones, yeah, but I like how Elisa looked jumping.
And then the pillar lowers with (to me) some guy on it. She walks up to him, and says his name, "Arthur Pendragon..." It was at about that point that my jaw hit the floor and my eyes became as big as the moon. This was something I had not been expecting (due to my unfamiliarity with Arthur's "death") and as such became a huge, and enjoyable surprise to me.
I also like his presentation to the rest of the good guys. Until Elisa mentioned it, I had never realized that Goliath had never truly beaten Demona or Macbeth. I really liked this--it made them seem even more dangerous than before. And of course, King Arthur Pendragon, the legendary hero, reveals that he hasn't the slightest idea "what's going on." A funny moment that shows that, though legendary, Arthur is still a human.
I like how the Archmage looks when he says "I will wait here...for Goliath." An uber-villain look without a doubt.
Arthur's taking command of the situation and showing his strategist side is a nice scene (and he later proves that he is indeed a great warrior as well), and I noticed right away how (thematically) well paired off the adversaries were.
I think I'll follow your lead, Greg, and divide them up:
Arthur and Macbeth: The way Macbeth had spoken of Arthur in LIGHTHOUSE, this battle was only to be expected. I didn't mind Arthur's "manner of magic" as oppossed to "sorcery" (a little variety is alright in my book). I was surprised at Macbeth's sucker-kick when it took down Arthur. *That* part of the cliffhanger--Macbeth's sword at Arthur's throat--really got me (they were all tense, but Mac had the greatest warrior in legend at sword point!). Of course, Arthur still manages to defeat Macbeth (marvelously, I might add) with that oh-so-cool image of his ringed fist heading straight for Macbeth's face (the camera).
Demona vs. half the cast: I guess it says something that Demona needs THAT many people to take her down. One thing I love about this fight is how badly Gabriel's wings get torn up. The poor guy really gets battle damage here. Another moment--the gargoyles on the battlements fire arrows point blank at Demona...and MISS COMPLETELY!! "Not prepared...never honed combat skills" indeed! And then Demona goes after Elisa. I wonder if maybe somewhere in Demona's ensorcelled brain she sees this as a rematch of their previous hand-to-hand in HIGH NOON. Eventually, Katharine gets into the act in a very unexpected way. A bit of a stretch with her firing the gun perhaps, but still kind of fun.
The Magus vs the Sisters: I never caught the full meaning of Luna's "There is no future for you," but somehow I knew that the Magus was going to die in this battle. Something about his character, the tragedy and struggling. It made sense to me, from the moment he said "Leave them to me" about facing the Sisters, that he would die fighting them. His use of the magic is extrodinary, and I liked how the Sisters became outraged by his using Avalon's power. I also love Phoebe's fearful "Where is the Sleeping King?" when the Sisters finally make it into the Hollow Hill. And then the Magus casts his last spell. To be honest, I thought he was "all dead" when his hand went limp and fell backward onto the beir (sp?). I was actually kind of glad that we had a little bit more time with him afterwards.
Goliath and the Archmage (and Angela): This was a big one for me. The Archmage is pretty much the oldest adversary of the Wyvern Clan (with the possible exception of Iago). There is a sort of "epic" quality here with the way the Archmage and Goliath talk to each other (A: "I've waited a millenium for this." G: "You lose again, Archmage"--how many times have superheroes said that last one to their archfoes?). I remember wondering how Goliath was going to get out of this, until Angela showed up. One of my favorite scenes in this ep is when the Archmage freezes the lake, Goliath sinks out of sight as the Archmage laughs, and then the Archmage's eyes go wide as Goliath shoots up from the depths, giving a gurgling roar, and leaps through the ice. Finally, Goliath removes the Eye and the Archmage almost seems like he will continue being a threat. Then he gets incinerated by "magic energy" and dissolves in a cool death scene. Count me as another one who thinks the final line of the Archmage is pretty cool. There is a sort of sense of that "epic" quality coming to an end here. Goliath has defeated what was (as far as we know) the first true arch-villain he had ever encountered. There could be a world of meaning within his "It is over." And then the Archmage's scrying pool, as if to spite them, displays the dying Magus.
The death scene is a good one. In some ways, I find it more moving now than I did then (again, don't ask me why). I like the final exchange with Goliath.
G: "I owe you."
M: "You...but, I cursed your clan."
G: (shaking his head) "You saved my children."
And of course Katharine's grief over the passing of her friend from childhood caps the touching moment. Good voicework from Jeff Bennett and Kath Souci. It took me several viewings to notice it, but I thought the shooting star was a nice touch.
I always wondered why the "good-byes" seemed so strange to me. I suppose individual good-byes would be more realistic, but for a narrative...eh. I kind of got that Arthur would be visiting Manhattan eventually, so the foreshadowing was not wasted.
Goliath should laugh more. ;)
Angela's coming along. A new regular. This was something I had been wondering about for some time--if one of these new gargoyles we had just been introduced to would actually come along for the rest of the show. It made sense that it was Angela, what with all the angst her parentage would bring to light.
When Tom spoke about Avalon sending you where "you need to be," I kind of got a smile as I thought to myself "Oh, you guys aren't going to be getting back home for a while..." and got prepared for a world tour. Perhaps my reading about gargoyles in Guatemala, London, and Japan influenced me here.
One last interesting note. As with the previous two, I showed this one to my mother when it first aired. YEARS LATER, as I was telling her about your original plans for sending the Magus with Arthur, Greg, and your reasons for giving him a "good death" instead, she said, "Well, they also probably had to kill him off because his voice was too expensive." I, confused, looked at her and asked "What do you mean?" She, now looking confused herself, said, "Well, he was voiced by Michael York...wasn't he?" So when you see Jeff Bennett again, you may want to pass onto him that he does a good York!
This was a good ep with a feeling of closure and a sense of something exciting coming just over the horizon. It could have been a season finale, even. Just my thoughts.

Greg responds...

I've never worked with Michael, though he's an acquaintance of my parents, but I know that other shows have used him, and I've never heard that he charges more than the typical going rate. I'd love to work with him some day. But I don't think that Jeff was doing Michael, per se. Jeff "created" the Magus voice back on Awake1. He's just phenominally talented and versatile.

The redemption of characters like the Magus and to a lesser extent the Captain of the Guard is one of the things I'm proudest of in the series. The Magus' story is sad, certainly, but he is so much more ennobled in his death, because of how hard he worked not to wipe out his sins, but to make up for them.

And on a more creative note, it's just fun to take a character who everyone hates, and find a way to turn him into a character who everyone feels for. It's very rewarding.

Response recorded on April 01, 2004

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Blaise writes...

AVALON PART ONE

I liked having the "Part 1" addendum to the title. It whetted (sp?) my appetite for a longer and more involved story than usual. Plus, the "To be continued" at the end didn't piss me off nearly so much since I knew it was coming and had mentally prepared for it.
There's so much cool stuff in this episode, I hardly know where to begin. Well, I might as well start at the beginning.
The clan goes out on patrol, minus Bronx, as per usual, and Goliath--a bit of a surprise that. But then, the big G does seem like the type to want to finish book when he gets to the good part. I wonder what exactly it was he was reading (and how miffed was he when it turned out it would be months before he could get back to it?).
Bronx's saddness at not going with the others helped to underline this particular instance. You know, I guess it says something that I never realized how often Bronx was left behind. Well, this time pooch is getting exposure.
The Guardian. I knew it had to be Tom for the same reason I knew Brooklyn was going to be Second-in-Command--Disney Adventures (an article this time, as oppossed to a comic). The article also said that the show would feature gargoyles native to other parts of the world, including (fanfare, please) Avalon! So I had some idea of what to expect there as well. But I will say that Tom the Guardian's entrance was quite impressive. I love his armor, and the way he refers to the lead ruffian as "sirrah."
Laws of TV and movies at work: within about two seconds of the breaking of the store window, the police show up. Two patrol cars, and 2-3 cops on foot (including Morgan). Talk about being in the right place at the right time.
Morgan's interaction with the Guardian is great. Tom's initial accusation of them being lawless undercut by Morgan's identifying himself, and Tom's rather knightly way of submitting to the law. A nice dignified bit until Morgan drops the sword.
Morgan talks to Elisa, and I like the way he describes the Guardian as "differnt, good somehow." Morgan definitely has a rather insightful and perceptive quality to him.
I didn't pick up on the meeting by Belvedere castle as a clue of any kind, unfortunately. Nor did I believe that when Tom was referring to the "eggs" he meant it in the literal sense of the term (after all, gargoyle eggs hatch after ten years (this was in the article, too) so they must have grown at least a little bit).
Let me just finish with the article now--the revelation that gargoyles existed in other parts of the world really excited me. Now the characters were no longer "the last of their kind," so this was something of a new approach in a series for me (I hadn't gotten to see that much of the GUMMI BEARS). This turning upside down of what my expectations had been at the beginning of the series was really fun.
Back to the show, the Guardian eventually mentions the Archmage. This was a complete and total surprise to me. He was dead! How could he come back like this? If I hadn't been hooked already (and I was) this would have clinched it.
The flashback starts. It's interesting to contrast Tom's traveling in the back of the cart with the eggs here to Demona's memory of him sitting up front (aah, it's probably just two different animation studios/storyboards, but I like the idea of a POV prism). Tom's solemnity (sp?) about his vow is rather touching in its way.
I liked the little scene with Tom and the Magus pushing the cart through the rain. They were becoming friends as well, it seems.
First impressions at the dinner: The King was a nice enough gentleman (voiced by Morgan Shepard), while Constantine's brief appearance here was not enough for me to form any opinions about him yet. Finella aroused some distrust in me for some reason...maybe her hollowed cheeks (that's how they looked to me), or the hint of insincerity in her voice when she spoke to the king, OR the scowl she gave when Constantine proposed the toast to Katharine. Anyway, next to her there was Maol Chalvim--who definitely looked more than a little sinister to me. This might have something to do with his sour expression, hollowed face, stylized eyebrows and Xanatosian beard. Suffice to say, their turning out to be "good guys" in this episode surprised me a bit (but the knowledge that Maol Chalvim would kill his cousin and take the throne did not surprise me at all).
I liked that people (at least Maol Chalvim) tended to look askance at Katharine's care for the gargoyle eggs. And Maol Chalvim already suspected Constantine's treachery ("they can smell their own" sort of thing I guess). I liked Constantine's scowl after Maol's thinly veiled insult.
Details. You just gotta love details. The Magus is writing in the Grimorum (the story of his cursing the gargoyles, perhaps?) and stops to look up when Constantine enters. Then he remains in the background while the future-usurper talks with Katharine. He senses the same thing Finella does (not that Constantine does much to hide it).
I love how when Finella mentions the King's proposal of marriage to her, Constantine seems somewhat incredulous that she has not accepted. A telling bit of character that.
Then Constantine murders Kenneth (who saw that coming? *countless hands raise into the air*). I liked how Finella turned out to be a more sympathetic figure here, through her devestation at this turn of events. And Tom (details--the tears down his cheeks) sees it all. I know kids had to grow up more quickly then, but MAN! Seeing that has got to affect a kid, no matter what era.
Scenes of the usurpation occur, and of course show what a jerk Constantine is. Maol Chalvim kills a guard (off-screen, but it doesn't take a genius to figure out what happened), and tries to get Katharine to flee. You're right, Greg, he is rather heroic here actually. I didn't see any smile though, after Katharine tells him to go for the last time. His face registers more a shocked expression. It's still an awkward transistion (especially because you only see it for half a second), but better than a smile.
Constantine tries to force Katharine into marriage, and it's only Mary and Tom that keep the Magus from rushing him (details again, yay!) while Finella runs away in, what seemed to me, a rather embarrassed fasion (one wonders if she, *ahem* gave more to Constantine than that one kiss).
About this scene, where Constantine is crowned, I find a contrast between this and Macbeth's back in CITY OF STONE. When Macbeth did it, I really believed that he meant those words. With Constantine, it seemed more of a PR thing. That could be just because we already knew what those characters were like before they took the oath, but I also think that Ian Buchanan just does good voice work here (and throughout the episode).
RE: The amount of broken crockery. Maybe Tom went and broke it for the plan to work. Or, hey, maybe Constantine and his boys are just a rowdy lot who like to break things (now THAT would be ironic). I like how the "magical glow" begins and ends with the eggs and their dopplegangers.
I loved the romantic moment between the Magus and Katharine in the next scene where he promises to take her beyond the ends of the earth. I did expect them to wind up together. Actually, I kind of expected it from AWAKENING PART 5--his anger there seemed very much like that of a man who lost his love.
Finella shows up and offers her help in the matter. I like her admission that she does it "more to hurt Constantine." True to the character, and a nice moment in an animated series.
Then the Magus tells us the "spiked-cider" plan. Actually, the Magus really gets to shine as a hero in this episode. He comes up with the plan to get the eggs to safety, and then, once Finella is brought in, comes up with the method to get Katharine out of the castle. Throughout all this, he has planned to take them all to Avalon, and when the Weird Sisters block their path, he is able to defeat them, not just with magic, but by skillfully weilding the steering pole as well. And then, for love, he gives up his magic book. It really isn't surprising that a fair number of fans really like this guy. Once he got past that "bigot" problem, he could be quite dashing and romantic (then again, since some folks take the same view of Brooklyn, maybe it's got something to do with Jeff Bennett).
I liked how Finella offered to take the book. This was a surprisingly noble gesture on her part. And not one that I expected. And then Mary offers to stay with her. I love her line, "One woman alone could get into trouble. TWO women can cause plenty of it." Mary is an interesting character. Like Katharine, once she got past the "bigot" problem she was quite a good judge of character. Also quite daring in her own right. I hadn't even noticed Kath Soucie voiced Mary until...I want to say the credits, but when Mary said "I'll stay with Finella" I half-thought that came from Katharine (leaving me very confused), until Mary's image popped up on the screen again. So that was how I figured they were both voiced by the same woman. Still, excellent work otherwise. Kind of sad that Mary and Tom had to separate, but then too, boys tended to become men much earlier in those days.
Back in the present, the Guardian spells out the time difference (fair enough) and Goliath asks about the Archmage, mentioning how that cad died before Tom was even born (a nod to continuity I was grateful for). Then we get to Avalon, and get our first glimpse of the new clan. I think I only recognized that we had a female, a male, and a beast, before Goliath's surprised face filled the screen. And excellent little cliffhanger that left me eager for the next episode as well.

Greg responds...

Glad you liked it. I wonder if that Disney Adventures article enhanced or detracted from your appreciation of the actual episode.

It of course goes without saying that Jeff Bennett and Kath Soucie were invaluable to us. Jeff is so charismatic, no matter who he's playing. And so versatile. In that episode alone, he's Brooklyn, the Magus & Maol Chalvim. Kath is Katharine, Mary and all three Weird Sisters. (She got paid twice, in case anyone's wondering.) We were blessed with a stunning cast in general, but Jeff & Kath were two of our absolute rocks.

Response recorded on March 17, 2004

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Spalding & Paul

We lost two greats yesterday.

Actually, we lost Spalding Gray over a month ago, we just hadn't confirmed the loss until yesterday.

I was (and continue to be) a huge Spalding Gray fan. His acting was decent, fun. But his monologues were always brilliant. I remember once laughing so hard at "Gray's Anatomy" during the Indian Sweatlodge riff that I thought I was going to die of asphyxiation. Everyone should rent his seminal "Swimming to Cambodia". Everyone. Then move on to "Monster in a Box" or some of his other great filmed monologues. They're amazing. But nothing like seeing him live. He will be missed.

As will Paul Winfield, a truly amazing actor. I met him twice when he came in to perform the roll of blind novelist "Jeffrey MacClain Robbins" on GARGOYLES. It was a joy to watch Paul and Ed Asner play off each other. Winfield brought tremendous dignity and humanity to Robbins. And he helped us tell our tale of literacy without making it too preachy. I still remember fondly the following exchange when Hudson is amazed at how Robbins can find Macbeth's address in the phone book.

Hudson: Magic book.
Robbins: Aren't they all?

Simple, but mighty.

Spalding, man... Paul... You left us too soon.


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GARGS RULES!!! writes...

Hey Greg, I was just reading some of the posts about the actors/Actress in Gargoyles and it crossed my mind that no one (from what I read) asked if you knew any of them (the actors) so I thought I would ask.

Do you see them a lot if ever?

Are you good friends with any of them?

If so who do you know the most? see the most and live closest too?

hehe, I know you'll probaly say something like, "there all really great and I can't comment on just one of them." Lol but thats ok I brought that on myself.

Dont add anything if you dont want too (I see why you wouldnt), Im just a curious 16y old who LOVES!!! your show.

PS: Thanx a lot Greg for your time, you truly are a genius, your show is both inspireing and creative, its also Intense yet dramatic, (I could go on) but I really dont want to take to much more of your time. you probably have much more important stuff to do. Well, thanx again for shareing your ideas with the world. you did a really great job.

Greg responds...

There are only three of the actors that I really still see at all, outside of the occasional recording for another show.

1. Thom Adcox. One of my best friends. Still don't get to see him as often as I'd like. Interestingly, it wasn't the show that really cemented our friendship, but the Gathering. We really got to know each other in Dallas in '99.

2. Keith David. Don't see him as often, but through Keith, I met Josh Silver, his manager, and Josh and I are now really good friends. Same with our wives and kids. I see Keith once in a while through Josh. But Keith is practically the busiest man in show biz.

3. Jonathan Frakes. For awhile, Jonathan and I were in business together, trying to sell a project. It didn't work out, and he's been pretty busy, so I haven't seen him recently. But he's a good guy too.

There are a few others that I've seen occasionally. Brigitte Bako. Elisa Gabrielli took me to lunch about a year ago. But basically, Thom's the only one I hang with.

Thanks for the kind words.

Response recorded on March 02, 2004

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Anonymous writes...

what approximate ages are Gargoyles voice actors like Jeff Bennett, Tress MacNeille, Kath Soucie and Jim Cummings? I can't even find a rough guess at their age on the net.

Greg responds...

I don't know. I'm forty and I see them all as peers more or less. Figure they're about 40 plus or minus about ten years.

(I hope saying even that doesn't get me into trouble.)

Response recorded on January 23, 2004

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Random stuff...

Random ramblings before I go on vacation...

*I am DYING to see "LORD OF THE RINGS: Return of the King". I can't believe how much I want to see this movie. It has been ages since my geeky self has been this desperate. I literally can't remember the last time I so NEEDED to see a movie.

*I bought both extended DVDs for the first two films. (The first one, a year ago of course.) Honestly, what I really can't wait for is the Extended version of Return of the King, but since that's a year off, I'll settle for seeing the "short" version on the big screen. All I can say is that I hope to hell that there's a movie theater on Marco Island, and if so it damn well better be playing ROTK. (And that's right. I'm cussing! Oh, don't look so shocked.)

*I'd like to see a music video featuring Demona to Dido's
"White Flag".

*I'd like to see a music video from Goliath's POV -- but featuring Elisa -- of "Amazing". (I think that's the title. I'm not sure who the artist or band is.)

*I've seen an interview with Peter Jackson saying that originally -- a long time ago -- he wanted to make "The Hobbit" but found that the rights were a mess. He wanted to make "The Hobbit" to demonstrate that he could do "Lord of the Rings". But discovered that the rights to the latter were free and clear, so switched his ambitions to the LOTR, which he wanted to make as TWO films, as he felt he couldn't do justice to the story in one film. Thank God, he got to make three. And, yes, I'm desperately hoping that after "King Kong" (which I'll trust him on, since he's earned that trust, but if ever a movie did NOT require remaking...) he'll do "The Hobbit" as a prequel with the Ians and JR-D and Serkis.

*I can personally vouch for the rights to Hobbit being a mess. When I was a development exec at Disney -- and again, later, at DreamWorks -- we looked into acquiring the rights to do a new animated Hobbit Movie. The rights were hopelessly mired. I understand it isn't quite as bad now. But at the time, a huge number of people/groups had a claim (some more legitimate than others) to the thing. After looking into the situation, my boss wouldn't touch the thing with a ten foot pole.

*I'd really love to do a WWII Blackhawk movie someday.

*Last week, I saw a short film based on William Faulkner's short story, "Two Soldiers". This is my all time favorite short story EVER. I highly recommend it. HIGHLY. And the movie was pretty darn good too. The kid was amazing.

*Saw Clancy Brown again today at a recording session. He kicked ass, as usual. I'd love to tell you what he played, but I honestly don't know if it's confidential or not, and I don't want to get in trouble. Hopefully, I can talk about it soon. I'm not sure he remembered me though, which was a little depressing.

*Saw George Segal walking down the street in Beverly Hills. He didn't seem to remember me either. Of course, we've never met.

*Saw Diane Lane and Christopher Lambert tonight at my daughter's school "Winter Program". They're kid goes to the same school. I've never met them either, but I'd love to ask them what it was like working with Sir Laurence Olivier ("A Little Romance") and Sir Ralph Richardson ("Greystoke"). I wonder if it would bug them that the movies I'm MOST interested in are more or less the first one's each of them ever made.

*I realize I'm intentionally name-dropping. And I also realize it's kind of obnoxious. But, hey, I live in L.A. and I work in the biz, sort of. So I might as well go all out. I also met Steve Harris ("The Practice") and Ming Na ("e.r.") at the Recording session today. And I saw Rino Romano (Johnny Rico from "Roughnecks: Starship Troopers"). Rino, at least, remembered me, thank god.

*The funny thing about LOTR and my passion for the movies is that I'm not a massive Tolkien fan. I read the Hobbit and the Trilogy when I was in my early teens. And I liked them all right. But I wasn't rabid about it. And I could never get through the Silmarillion, though I tried at least three times. I reread the Hobbit to my kids about two years ago. And again, I liked it. But I TOTALLY LOVE THESE MOVIES. Totally obssessed!

*I ate way too much candy at the recording session today.

*It's been a long time since I really rambled on this site. It's been fun. Have a great holiday, guys.

Seeya soon,

Greg


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Roxie writes...

I have tried since day one to find out who the voices were for all the Gargoyles. I appreciate all the help you can give me. Thanks for a great page.

Greg responds...

Gotta say, you couldn't have tried too hard, since (with the exception of Fox, played by Laura San Giacomo) all the voice actors were clearly credited on the end credits, including which characters they played.

Here are the leads:

Goliath - Keith David
Elisa - Salli Richardson
Hudson - Edward Asner
Brooklyn - Jeff Bennett
Lexington - Thom Adcox-Hernandez
Broadway - Bill Faggerbakke
Angela - Brigitte Bako
Bronx - Frank Welker
Xanatos - Jonathan Frakes
Demona - Marina Sirtis
Owen - Jeff Bennett

Response recorded on November 10, 2003

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Chapter XLIV: "GRIEF"

Time to ramble...

I watched "Grief" the other night with my wife Beth, my nine-year-old daughter Erin and my six-year-old son Benny.

This episode was directed by Kazuo Terada & Takamitsu Kawamura, story edited by Michael Reaves based on his story. The teleplay is by Michael and Brynne Chandler Reaves.

Though Brynne co-wrote the teleplay, this strikes me as a VERY Michael episode. I remember how excited he was to be using the Tanna Leaves and the Avatar, plus all those other references to Thoth, Osiris, Isis and Set. I think it was something he had wanted to do on a Batman episode, but it hadn't survived someone's interference (my memory is hazy). But these MUMMY trappings suited our purposes perfectly. The Tanna leaves even gave Hyena hay fever.

The one word title, as usual, was one of mine. I liked it because it had that double meaning, covering the Emir's grief over his son, and all the grief (trouble) that this was causing. I have a vague memory that Michael wasn't thrilled by the title, but, hey, I gave him his Tanna Leaves...

One of us had Wolf speak to the second meaning in the episode when he says he's tired of the Gargoyles giving the Pack grief. Just to give things a bit of clarity.

THE PACK

The new Coyote 3.0 surfaces, complete with a slightly new design and that now iconic Xanatos robot head (smashed in his last appearance) displayed on a video screen. (Goliath mentions seeing it, although in the ONLY scene where Goliath could have seen it, it's not visible. Arggh...)

The new Coyote design obeys Frank Paur's general rule of robots, which states that if you're not trying to fool anyone into thinking that the robot is actually a human being, then the design should clearly be inhuman enough so that you'd never think it could be a guy wearing an armored suit.

Coyote's an odd bird in many ways. So like Xanatos, but without his drive and with more of a vengeful nature. Programmed in, I believe, so that he doesn't let anyone or anything stand in the way of X's missions. He's got some fun lines ("Shoot first and ask questions later."), in particular his exchanges about the chain of command...

Coyote: "I'm not programmed to kill without orders.
Wolf: "I'm giving the order!"
Coyote: "You don't qualify."

or

Coyote: "Is that an order?"
Emir: "YES! Get rid of them!"
Coyote: "Cheerfully."

Hyena continues to be attracted to a Coyote that doesn't seem interested but also never closes the door on the possibility of hooking up with the cyborg. ("Wanna make sparks fly?" "Later, perhaps.") It's sick and twisted and hard to get your head around, but it sure is fun, culminating with her wonderful complaint to her brother after Jackal destroys Coyote: "Every time I meet a guy I like..." (I also like those buzzsaws on her arms.)

It's important to note that Dingo is already missing from the group. Clearly, during and after "Upgrade" he was rethinking his association with the other members. This doesn't bode well for the Pack as a unit. They're already talking about going their separate ways after the Emir's work is through and are only still together because they owe Xanatos for busting them out of jail. After this, Wolf will head to Scotland, answering the call of his ancestor Hakon. Jackal & Hyena will take a job with Cyberbiotics and head for Guatemala. Dingo will go to work for Fox in his native Australia. Coyote 4.0 will be rebuilt and head for Arizona with Xanatos.

So "Grief" is the Pack's swan song -- that is until a new Coyote forms the Ultra-Pack with Wolf, Jackal & Hyena and a new member... someday...

THE EMIR

To be perfectly honest, the Emir entered the Gargoyles Universe as a throwaway line of dialogue to indicate how powerful Xanatos was in "The Edge". If he could keep an Emir waiting, X must be a real bigshot. But Michael and I remembered the line, and used the Emir again as a semi-throwaway in "Double Jeopardy". But by that time, I think we might have already known we'd be seeing him on the World Tour. It's just an example of how the Tapestry seemed to be working for us. Creating opportunities that were so right, it almost seemed as if we were truly tapping into the Gargoyles Universe. How many of you were surprised to see the Emir actually appear?

The Emir was a very successful and poignant character (at least in my opinion). I give most of the credit for that to actor Tony Shaloub and Voice Director Jamie Thomason. Not to knock our wonderful designers and animators who brought that voice to life. But let's face it, he's just a guy in a robe. Now over the course of the ENTIRE production of Gargoyles, I would say that I only missed two voice sessions EVER. But one of them was this pick-up session with Tony. NOW, of course, everyone knows that Tony is an Emmy-winning brilliant actor of movies and television. I just love MONK. But back then, the only thing that Tony was really known for was the Italian immigrant cab driver on WINGS. Pretty cool in and of itself, of course. But having missed the session, I was unprepared for just how wonderful he was as the Emir. Everything from the grief-stricken sighs to the bursts of anger are just wonderful.

And while we're on the subject of voice, how about that other Tony, Tony Jay, as Anubis. He's delicious in three different personae -- as the neutral and imperious Anubis, as the crazed Jackal/Anubis and as the exhausted Emir/Anubis. That vocal effect we did of having both actors (Tony & Tony or Tony & Matt Frewer) read the Avatar lines and blending them together was a bit of accidental brilliance, in my opinion. I'm also glad that they do NOT quite synch up. It's better. The lines basically fit, but they ebb and flow around each other like the magical melding it's supposed to be. It was a bit of a bitch to mix, but I love it.

But I digress. The Emir's heartbroken love for his son is, I think, one of the cleanest and most purest emotions (unencumbered by too much fantasy) that we ever presented. Something very real. When the Emir first pulled out the photo of his son, Erin said "Who is that? Is that his son?" She immediately knew the photo had meaning. (Again, Tony's big sigh really helped.)

And at the end, we (along with Goliath) really hope that after gaining true understanding upon becoming Anubis' Avatar, he is now at rest with his son.

JACKAL

Jackal also truly comes into his own in this episode. I love how he flat out has a thing for jackals. How he admires the Anubis hieroglyph and Anubis himself, calling him "The original model". It's cool and creepy. We also truly get to see Jackal as a sociopath here. I think I've mentioned before that I view Hyena as a psychopath and Jackal as a sociopath, i.e. someone with enough sense to know he's got to do his evil within a schema that allows him to get away with it. But what happens when you free the sociopath from all restrictions. What happens when you give him (Matt & Tony, remember) the powers of Death itself? Well, you see what happens. People die. Lots of them, in theory.

Getting away with that was interesting. I think maybe in Adrienne Bello's mind, everything was set right. Or the fact that we see that Egyptian town age into a ruin didn't count because we weren't seeing ANY human beings die. But we had much more trouble getting those two skeletonized crocs past her than the implied death of an entire town. Misdirection. Or she was just being cool. Or both, i.e. she thought the misdirection was sufficient that she COULD be cool.

I love when Jackal/Anubis says: "Life and Death at my command. I LIKE it!" I also like that he's smart enough and sociopathic enough to co-opt the most dangerous guy in the room: The Emir. The Emir? you ask. Well, yes, it's the Emir who does in fact end up defeating him by rereading the scroll. And Jackal keeps the Emir in his place by holding out the hope to him that he will restore his son.

SPHINX

Seriously, how could we not go to Egypt on the World Tour. How could we skip visiting what Angela refers to as the World's Biggest Gargoyle. So we stuck a fictional temple inside it -- and then trashed it. I think dedicated archaeologists must hate our show, because we're constantly trashing these amazing hidden chambers of antiquity. Maybe I'm getting older or something, but I find myself wincing everytime Goliath and Wolf bust a sacarphogus during a fight, everytime a pillar cracks or the roof falls in. I'm just glad we didn't destroy the Sphinx itself.

Goliath's entrance into the temple isn't one of our most brilliant animated moments. For starters, when Coyote is touching the hieroglyphs, he seems to miss every one. Goliath than claims to be repeating the sequence, but it looks nothing like what Coyote did. Yet it works for both of them. Maybe getting into that temple isn't as hard as it looks.

I love how the power of death flows from Jackal/Anubis and then through the Sphinx's own eyes before striking out at Egypt at large. Almost makes the Sphinx seem to come to life in those shots.

And I do love that shot at the end where the gargs are in stone in front of the stone Sphinx.

ANUBIS

Love Wolf's reaction: "Shave my head and call me baldy." (Or something like that, all ramble quotations are approximate.)

The animation effects on this episode are all fantastic, particularly the lighting during tranformations (very reminiscent of "Shadows of the Past"). Gorgeous. Another reason for me to be bummed that Disney closed its Tokyo studio.

I like how Anubis has no real mouth. Certainly no synch to his dialogue. My kids both commented on it. It fascinated them. But I also think it puts him on another level. His speech is that of a god. He requires nothing as mundane as a mouth movement to get his meaning across. (That's why it's so disconcerting in "THE GATHERING, PART ONE" when his mouth opens to laugh. He seems above something as petty as laughter, non?)

And how about Tony Jay and those great lines of godlike neutrality: "I grant but one boon." "Death is always pointless. That is the point." "All are equal in death." "You would not like to see the Jackal God play favorites." Etc.

ACTION

All right, once again, let me acknowledge my screw up. I should have let Coyote shoot Elisa, Goliath, Bronx and Angela dead. And have nothing happen. At that moment in the ep, no one can die. Emir and Anubis are just covering that in dialogue. Instead, Elisa pulls off a fairly elegant move that allows them to escape. But how much cooler if the distraction were the mere fact that they survived the Pack's barage unscathed? I blew it.

Otherwise, there is some pretty cool action.

Coyote advises Elisa to take her best shot. She does and it's kinda cool. But less cool because she then comments on it.

Coyote's limp afterwards is a nice touch, I think.

RANDOM FLOTSAM

When Elisa and the gargs wake up in chains, Erin says: "They all wake up at the same time suddenly." Leave it to a nine-year-old to point out an obvious cheat.

Erin said, "Yuck, disgusting." when Jackal first transformed.

Benny: "He wants to be the strongest, I'm guessing."

Benny didn't quite get why the Gargs were turning old. (Designing a demonstably old Bronx was NOT easy, by the way.) Or for that matter why Hyena and Wolf turned into Cyber-baby and wolf-cub. (Though both kids thought they were cute.) So the exchanging of energies lacked a bit of clarity for our younger audience, perhaps. Still any excuse to give Keith David an opportunity to do a variation on a theme is fun. Like hearing Keith play Thailog, it was also cool to hear him play a very old Goliath. The guy's a maestro of his own voice.

I do remember arguing with Reaves about the Baby and puppy moment. I thought (a) that it was funny and (b) that it was necessary to illustrate Jackal/Anubis' power. Michael simply thought it was too silly in tone. Now, I'm very glad I held firm. I think it's a great moment. And a little in-context humor really helps any episode. (I also love Jackal's "Baby sister" line that prefaces the change.)

I think in hindsight, Goliath's explanation that the gargs aged at half-speed and Jackal didn't know it, is a cheat. They are visibly very old. Internally, they'd be no less old. It's not like Jackal was thinking, "Hmmm, if I age them fifty years that should be enough." He just kept aging them until they were old and feeble. It's also not like biologically a gargoyle's exterior ages faster than his or her interior.

Ironically, commenting on that was not necessary for the purpose of explaining the action. If there had been no explanation and Goliath had used sheer will power to drag himself up for one last feeble attack, I don't think anyone in the audience would have balked. Rather, I think that dialogue was put in by me to definitively establish the fact that Gargs age at half speed. Oh, well...

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


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Chapter XLIII: "M.I.A"

Time to ramble...

Haven't done this in a while (over a year, actually), and I definitely feel rusty. Anyway, I watched "M.I.A." last night with my wife Beth, my nine-year-old daughter Erin and my six-year-old son Benny.

This episode was directed by Kazuo Terada, story edited by Gary Sperling and written by Robert Cohen.

The (semi) one word title, as usual, was one of mine. (As was the springboard, but more on that later.) It's appropriate both because of Griff's disappearance and because of the wartime setting. Although I don't know if they actually used the M.I.A. acronym as far back as WWII. I associate it with Vietnam. Does anyone else know?

Benny read the title and thought it said Mia. He has a friend named Mia, whose birthday party he had gone to earlier in the day. So the title required a bit of explaining.

INTO THE MYSTIC

This was one of my ideas that I really fell in love with. The idea that a magic shop never goes out of style. The idea that these gargoyles have been running this shop right in the midst of London's teeming humanity for a millenium. I just love the idea that you could stop by there in 1940 or 1996 or 1809 or 1776 or 1595 or whenever. Different gargoyles manning the store, of course. But the store itself largely remains the same. It's a place where Lennox Macduff and Will Shakespeare might have ended up after a night of carousing together.

My notion, which I've stated here before, is that the London Clan has an estate in the burbs, and that the shop helps fund them.

Responding to the guys line about the shopkeepers having "incredible" masks, Benny takes a good look at Una and says: "That's a unicorn. A real one."

And Erin: "Those aren't masks."

Of course, these kids have both seen the episode before. But it was so long ago and they were so young it's like they're seeing it for the first time.

LONDON

We get some gorgeous shots of London. So gorgeous that when the animation on PENDRAGON came back weeks later looking not so good, we reused some of the "M.I.A." footage for that ep.

[Of course the animation here was done by Walt Disney Television Animation Japan, GARG's Best studio. It still kills me that Disney has shut down that unit. They did SUCH great stuff.]

Elisa talks to the Cabbie. In my mind, this Cabbie appears during the 1940 sequence as a little boy, running downstairs and into a bomb shelter with his sister. It's not important, but that's how I saw it.

And we explain (include) another legend. That of Gremlins. Not Gremlins from the Spielbergian movie. But gremlins that caused damage to airplanes during the war. This was/is a very famous legend among pilots. Roald Dahl (of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory fame) wrote a book about them, which Walt Disney himself optioned. Eisner once had us develop a tv series based on the idea. I handed it off to a couple of producers who COMPLETELY redeveloped the idea. They came up with a good show, but it was unrecognizable to Eisner. (It also had a toupee joke, which probably didn't go over well.) Anyway, he didn't buy it.

SOHO

Actual racists thugs. We didn't do much of that. We usually went with anti-gargoyle types, who were metaphors for racists. But here we actually go with the real thing.

Their attack is very reminiscent of Awakening 3.

I love Brigitte's work here. Angela sounds like a tough warrior one minute, like a naive innocent the next. All within her character.

And that shot of Bronx leaping down from the roof is just gorgeous.

Leo and Una come out and confront Goliath, whose confusion is a lot of fun.

They're all in conflict, but everyone can agree with Elisa to take the argument inside...

We go inside and see the portrait of Griff.

Benny makes a connection: "There's a statue of him on the airplane."

UNA

I love Una's line: "I know my merchandise."

Throughout this episode, I think she comes across a bit like a junior Demona. I don't know if I felt that way at the time. But we have a female garg with sorcerous powers in denial about her own feelings of guilt and rewriting history to blame Goliath for things that were really not his fault.

Una was in love with Griff. And still is. But in the interrum, in my mind, she mated with Leo. She LOVES Leo. But she never got over being IN LOVE WITH Griff.

AWKWARD MOMENTS

Two of them.

One is having Goliath black out and instead of using it as our act break, we just go to black, wait a beat and then come back. We had a much better act break coming up, so I guess I don't regret it, but I also don't like it much.

The other awkward moment is giving Goliath that voice over of his interior thoughts, where he states his plan to use the Gate to figure out what the hell happened in 1940. I'm sure I resisted doing that VO. But we just didn't have a better solution.

I do love Goliath's frustrated: "I don't know any Griff!" line.

G uses the gate and Benny asks "What did he just do?" Beth explains it to him, but it illustrates my point that it has been so long since the kids last saw an ep, that their memories of the show are very vague.

WWII

We meet Clive and Douglas Bader. I've stated this before, but Douglas Bader was a real person. A true war hero. Douglas Bader lost both his legs in a plane crash, and became a war hero and fighter ace AFTER he recovered and learned to walk on two artificial pins. He was a hero during the Battle of Britain. Later, he was shot down over enemy territory and put in a POW camp. He escaped twice but was recaptured both times. Years later, he was knighted.

I met him once. My father, Wally Weisman, is a real Spitfire afficionado, and Bader was one of his heroes. My dad eventually met Sir Douglas in London and at the RAF Museum outside London. When I was a kid, Sir Douglas and his wife came to Los Angeles and we all went to Disneyland together. He never used a wheelchair. Always just moved along with his hip-swinging walk. An amazing man.

So there was no way I wasn't going to pay tribute to him here (and indirectly to my father as well -- in my mind, this ep is dedicated to my dad). I gave Gary Sperling the Bader biography, "REACH FOR THE SKIES," knowing that it would be tough for him to incorporate much into the episode. But we tried to base the design of Bader on one of his photographs. And we made sure that his first and last name were both used in dialogue so that he could be indentified by those paying attention.

And most of all, we tried to show that these pilots were the true heroes. Sure, Goliath and Griff save them. But Bader saves the gargoyles too, and he's the one who takes out the most dangerous of the Nazi fighter pilots.

This was important to me. Influenced by both Dahl's Gremlins book and my father and Bader, I'd wanted to do a Battle of Britain story pretty much since the series' inception. It's even listed in the bible. This came out of the notion we once had that (while the other gargoyles may have been asleep for a thousand years) Goliath had been awake and alone for 1000 years.

Imagine, if you will, that scene in Awakening-2, when Goliath comes back and finds Hudson, Bronx and the Trio asleep. Instead of joining them, he watches over them for a millenium. (This was back when we had a more magical view of Garg biology.) I thought Goliath would have largely spent a thousand years brooding. But that during WWII he might have ventured forth to fight the Nazis, if for no other reason than to prevent the bombing of Wyvern.

We, obviously, didn't end up going that way, but the visual of Gargoyles fighting in the Battle of Britain stuck with me. (And man, is that visual brought to life here beautifully.)

But having decided to do that, I didn't want to give the gargs all the credit. Real men and women gave their lives during the Battle of Britain. I didn't want to undercut their contribution in order to make my fictional gargs look good. That just seemed like it would be both irresponsible and disrespectful. A betrayal of the very reasons why we were doing the ep in the first place.

GRIFF

Casting... we had used Neil Dickson to tremendous evil effect as Duncan and Canmore in City of Stone. Here he gets to play Errol Flynn. Neil is a Brit. As is Charles Shaugnessy who played Bader and Sara Douglas who played Una. (Leo/Gregg Berger, on the other hand, is a Yank.) And they all really brought life to their respective roles. I have to admit I was worried about whether Neil would be right for the role. I should no better, but Duncan especially was so memorable, I really had that fixed in my head. But Neil's voice just worked perfectly for Griff. I'm still sorry we didn't get to see more of Griff with King Arthur in the Pendragon spin-off.

Griff was conceived as a real swashbuckling hero. A Robin Hood of the 1940s. As opposed to our rough-hewn "Scottish stock", this was a good-old-fashioned patriotic English Hero to put up against the Nazis. His costume was influenced, I think by the Blackhawks. And his look was inspired by British Heraldry. He was the Griffin to Una's unicorn and Leo's lion, three of the most striking heraldic beasts. Again, going back to my earliest development of the series, I thought that adaptations of heraldic beasts might be the English version of gargoyles. So Griff has Eagle and Lion qualities. Feathered wings. A mohawk-like main. An eagle-like beak, but lionesque limbs.

I know that Greg Guler, Frank Paur and I went over and over Griff's model. We were never 100% satisfied with it. But it must work, as I've never any complaints from the fan. And I think Neil (and Jamie Thomason's voice direction) deserve much of the credit for that. Because even with the great Japanese animation, he still looks a bit too Foghorn Leghorn for my tastes.

TIMELOOPINESS

Goliath (after Griff saves his life): "It was supposed to work the other way."
Erin: "I think this is how it started in the first place."

So, hey, she got it!!

Benny even jumped ahead, figuring out: "So he can take Griff back forward in time."

So he got it too. Did you guys get it right from the beginning? That Goliath would take Griff "back forward" to the present to reunite him with Leo and Una?

I love the scene between Griff, Leo, Una and Goliath over tea in the shop. Everyone's motivations are so clear that I often use this scene when I do voice seminars.

Griff wants to sell everyone on going on the offensive.
Leo wants to sell everyone on sticking with defense.
Una is more subtle. She'll use any argument that will promote Griff's safety.
Goliath is trying to stay out of trouble.

But I love his line: "In my experience, human problems become Gargoyle problems." How true... (witness the cancellation of the show...)

And then later, Goliath AGAIN realizes a lesson that he and the audience would have to relearn again and again. Fate cannot be cheated. History cannot be changed.

And once again, we show our lack of imagination and/or our desire to stick with something once we find it works by using the line "Not where, when."

We can say "1940" but we were discouraged from referring to the present by an actual year -- so that reruns would still sound current. I'm surprised that Goliath got to use the phrase "the 1990s". How short-sighted of Disney to not think we'd still be airing these reruns in the 21st Century. Not that I'm complaining, mind you.

Griff almost gets hit by a car in the present and Goliath says "Let's not start that again." A mini-tribute to the English Vultures in "A Jungle Book".

At the very end, Elisa's confusion is fun: "Just explain it one more time." That probably came out of my fear that the audience might not get it. If Elisa didn't get it either, the audience wouldn't have to feel so bad about it.

DOGFIGHTS

Everything I could have asked for.

I have a VERY vague memory that we were discouraged from using Swastikas. I can't remember why or even if this is true.

But the skull-like pilot with the skull & crossbones on his plane certainly looks like a bad guy, doesn't he?

The planes themselves just look great. I found out later that Bader didn't fly Spitfires during the Battle of Britain. He flew Spitfires later, but flew Hurricanes during the Blitz. This fact drives me crazy.

But I love his line about the Gargoyles (which in my mind, he viewed as Gremlins): "They're real, and they're on our side!"

Benny noticed that they shot a hole through Goliath's wing. I had to reassure him that he'd be okay after getting some stone sleep.

Parachutes. No one dies in this episode. At least not in theory. Of course, we KNOW people died during the Blitz. But we couldn't show or even imply that.

THE WORLD TOUR

We end of course by creating new heroes out of old. Griff has returned. And Leo and Una have been reinvigorated. They take back their neighborhood.

Leo: "Or we'll make it our business." Leo's spent years worried only about business. Now he remembers what his business is supposed to be. The nation of shopkeepers is once again ready to defend the realm. So to speak.

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


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Lexy writes...

Hey Greg! I have been really wondering about this one, but keep forgetting to ask about it. In ep. 18, "The Mirror", Lexington had brown eyes when he became human. My first question is:

1) Did you say that the artists tried to get the characters to look like their human voice actors? (I remember this, but maybe I am making this up!)

2) If you did say that, then why did Lex have brown eyes, and not blue?

2.2) Was that just a missed detail?

2.3) Or was that done on purpose, because somebody thought Lex should have had brown eyes?

I guess I don't remember the eye colors of the other actors enough to know if their's were different either, and I really hope I didn't just dream you sayihg that or something! Thank you anyway, as usual! :D

Greg responds...

1. I did, yes.

2. Well... I may not have known what color Thom's eyes are. Haven't studied him, I guess. (Also, being color deficient myself, I can't always tell.) And I'm sure the colorist didn't know. It's just a screw up, basically.

2.2. Yeah.

2.3. No.

I paid attention to basic hair color, where possible. (Jeff Bennett doesn't have white hair.) But I didn't think to check their eye colors.

Response recorded on August 28, 2003

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Corrine Blaquen writes...

I just noticed something in the archives that I didn't see before: Ed Gilbert did Bodhe! No kidding? Really? Wow, I never would've guessed. That Scottish accent is great. I loved Ed Gilbert when he did Baloo on TaleSpin, my other favorite Disney animation (next to Gargoyles). I cried when Disney took it off the air. :-(

Well, no question here. Just complementing Gargoyles' incredible use of voice talent.

Greg responds...

Ed Gilbert did Bodhe and the Captain of the Guard in "Awakening" and "Shadows of the Past". He was a great guy, a pleasure to work with. And very versatile. He even did the Captain "doing" the Magus for one line in "Awakening".

Response recorded on July 30, 2003

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G2003 Journal (6/29)

SUNDAY, June 29, 2003:

Got up relatively late.

Made a couple more attempts to get into see the Othercon art, and still couldn't.

Went down into Penn Station to the Krispy Kreme store. Now, the thing is I've gotten Krispy Kreme's at a bunch of different places (Dodger Stadium, in particular). But I've never been to an actual Krispy Kreme store where I got their full line-up of donuts to choose from. I restrained myself and only bought and ate three. (And you wonder why I put on 11 pounds over a two week vacation.)

Speaking of sweet treats... PEANUT M&M'S. All weekend long, various different people walked up to me and kept handing me little bags of Peanut M&M's. I happen to really like Peanut M&M's so I was fine with the thing. But it started to get a little weird. Particularly when I left the judges table Saturday night with Vic and Thom to make our costuming picks, only to come back and find a huge pile of those little yellow bags on the table. (We gave them out as prizes for the costume/cosplay contest.) It's not like I minded, but I was pretty stumped as to who or what was behind it all. Eventually, Kathy Pogge revealed herself as the culprit. Seemed I had made one offhand comment at some point about how I was more of a peanut M&M guy than a regular M&M guy. And she ran with it. Hey, free food. I won't complain!

Anyway, after Krispy Kreme I headed up to Auction and Signing. Not many autographs to sign. I guess most people have my signature already. It was nice to see the materials for my Team Atlantis episode "THE LAST" (copies of my director's script, the Demona redesign, the audio-tape of the cast recording and the partial storyboard) all go for a whopping $740 to IRC GOLIATH.

But then it was time for Vic and I to take the elevator down for our last panel.

Speaking of elevators, it seemed odd at first that most of the elevators had t.v. sets playing CNN non-stop. Except that by the end of the weekend, if I got into one of the elevators that didn't, it really felt like something was missing. I'll never forget where I was when I learned that Katharine (note the spelling) Hepburn had died. In an elevator, watching CNN.

Anyway I finally got down to see the Othercon art. A bunch of people, Hudson in particular, watched me watch the art. Having an audience, while being an observer, was a little strange. I think they thought my head was supposed to explode or something. But I just thought it was pretty cool. I smiled and moved on. They all seemed very disappointed.

Next was the Team Atlantis panel. We showed the materials that Seth had just won in the auction and I played the tape of "THE LAST" which went over very well. I'm bummed that Disney never made the series and that episode, giving you guys another shot at seeing Demona on the screen. But I'm glad we at least got as far as recording the episode, so that I have a radio play to add to my opening ceremonies tapes every year. We also showed some clips from the new Atlantis DVD, featuring many garg voice actors, including Tom Wilson, Clancy Brown and Morgan Shepherd as a guy who thinks he's Odin.

Back upstairs for Closing Ceremonies, which is always bittersweet. I gave one last speech, trying to rouse the crowd to register for G2004. The new staff, by the way, is already in high gear. Montreal is going to be great. You don't want to miss it.

But I think my speech was just so-so. I remember the fire&brimstone thing I did in Florida to try and sell G2001 in L.A. I think I had the whole crowd on their feet that day. Sometimes you just can't recapture the magic.

But I'm amazed at how often you can. I think that's one of the many, many reasons why the Gathering is so fun for me every year. (Of course 72 hours of non-stop adulation might have something to do with it too.)

I said good-bye to some people. The auction restarted. No one had bid on my kids' painted ceramics. (Though they shared third place in the 3-D category.) So I tossed their pieces in with mine at the charity auction. I think Uriel picked them all up for about $40. I was grateful that someone wanted them. But this may not have been my most intelligent charitable contribution. It cost me $70 to make the things. Plus I had to give each kid $5 as their "profit". So next time, maybe I'll just hand the con $40 instead of trying to be so creative. They'll make more and I'll lose less. We also auctioned off a signed Atlantis poster, and scripts from "The Journey" and "The Reckoning". But I don't remember what they sold for.

Somewhere in here, I missed saying goodbye to Thom. So I said goodbye to Vic instead, even though he wasn't actually leaving NYC for another day.

Next up was our school field trip. There were 27 of us total, including myself, Kathy, Patrick, Kelly, Liz, Sean, Montreal Rob, Leo, BrooklynMagus, Mandi, Sarah, Erik, Dylan, Wingless, Seth, Ayami, Ethan, BiZZ and... and... well, more.

I was very concerned about someone getting lost, so I was constantly counting heads. A nightmare.

We stopped first at Ground Zero. I'd love to say I was blown away. But to be honest, I felt so distant from the place most of the time. I think it's too immense. And it looks too much (now) like a construction site. Plus so much is gone, I couldn't get my bearings. Couldn't picture what I remembered. It was so unreal, I guess. I think I was more effected by the effect it had on BrooklynMagus than the effect it had on me.

Back on the subway then, the 27 of headed for Coney Island. We arrived and split up, agreeing to meet back at 10pm to find out who wanted to stay and who wanted to go. I immediately knew I'd be wanting to go at 10pm. (I must really be getting old.) It just occured to me that I'd rather spend those hours hanging out and talking than spinning around on the kinds of rides I could go on at any county fair.

But Kathy and Patrick and Wingless and Seth and I tried to hit the things that really made Coney Island special, i.e. the original Nathans, the Cyclone and the AstroTower. Missed out on the Ferris Wheel, which I only realized after the fact was unique. We took a walk down the boardwalk and then met up with everyone. Miraculously, all 27 people showed up and all wanted to go. So we did.

Made our way back to the hotel. I did a final headcount and we scattered. A bunch of people joined me on my pancake hunt, but all I can say is "City that never sleeps, my foot!" Places were closed or closing right and left. We couldn't find a diner. We couldn't even find an ice cream parlor. Finally, we found an open ice cream place deep below Penn Station in the Labyrinth. Well, actually near the LIRR. After sheparding 27 people all night long, it seemed for a good long five minutes that we had lost Kathy somewhere underground. But she showed up with Popeye's chicken in hand. I was inclined to be cross until she offered to share. (I'm such a food whore.)

We all wanted to drop stuff off in our rooms and then hang out. So we agreed to meet in the Consuite in ten minutes. I was there, right outside the door, when Mandi came out. She needed a drug store and no one would go with her, so she and I went on a trek to a 24 hour pharmacy that made the Pancake hunt look like child's play. By the time I got back to the consuite, most of the people I had agreed to meet up with weren't there. Those present were quietly focused on some anime. Wasn't in the mood, so I headed off to bed. Not a big deal, but I do want everyone to know that I didn't blow you off on purpose.

TUNE IN TOMORROW FOR GREG'S FURTHER ADVENTURES IN THE CITY THAT SEEMS TO SLEEP A LITTLE...


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Vanity writes...

Hi Greg:

I was just watching "City of Stone". It is a beutiful piece of work. I am very fond of it.

I espicially like the one scene where that woman runs up to Travis Marshall to relate what had happened and he just totally blows her off as "crazy". That got me thinking we ALL do that (as humans) completely discount the minority view as absurd and stupid. Classic example "The Flat Earth Society", oh, we just love to make fun of them. I have decided to be more open minded to even the most seemingly crazy ideas or beliefs. I have watched "CoS" many times but that scene never really hit me like it did just today. Was that intentional on your part? To show the err in human ways. You've said all things are true and what she said was true, just because no one believed her doesn't make it no less right. It reminded me of a Greek Philosopher I think his name was Isocrates I am not sure and his quote went
"If all mankind, minus one; were of a common opinion except the one of a differing opinion. All of mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one, than he, if he had the power; would be justified in silencing all of mankind..."

More things I loved about this episode.
King Duncan's death, in my mind one of the top 10 animated deaths ever.
Demona, saves Gruoch and Macbeth when she could have had her vengence, she chose the nobler of the two courses, made me feel all happy inside. I must admit though killing Gilcoumgain then would have saved her a lot of trouble and heart break later on.
Her plan was very sinister, and her killing of the statued humans was a very dark contrast to her more kind-hearted younger self we had just seen earlier in eps like "Vows". I also liked this too, she's not soft and weak as she is commited to her cause and for that I commend her. I agree with her goals, her means are brutal and me being human will make me possibly feel the urge to resist being smited, but I hope she sees her dream out and accomplishes it, power to her.
One thing very much dissapointed me, relating to Demona when she gave the access code to Goliath and Xanatos the code was "ALONE", not one you'd imagine she'd pick, totally took me by suprise when I first saw it; but Goliath was apparently unaffected by her choice of a password and the huge water works under her eyes. Does he have a heart of stone? She's not even real (I think), and I feel a lump in my throat, every time I see that; yet he knows she's real and didn't even care, creep.

MacBeth, what can I say I think he is great. I think his story is one of the more tragic on the show. Considering all that happens, he always loved and still loves Gruoch. The one time that we see him actually take interest in life and love again he is set up by Dominique and Thailog. His plight is very dramatic. Living but having to as Gruoch said "Remain dead", dead to his country, his home, and his family.

Gruoch: Even though she gets very little air time on the series I think she is great. My second favorite female character. She is strong, smart, wise, intuitive, loving, radiant, and very honest in commiting to her duty. I espicially like how she stood up to Demona at the end, what courage. She even scorned the Hunter as "Oh mighty" with her sarcasm, 'your not mighty your a coward'. I cannot see how you could not love her.

"COS" has its share of humorous wit to it as well. I absoulutely love this:
Elisa: "..the signal came from Pak-Media studios you own it so as usual this is your fault!"
Owen: "Mr. Xanatos is trying to fix things. What are you doing to help?"
I love Elisa's expression, that's good stuff.

-Since I do not want to go into great lenghty deatail about every detail of the show..-

King Duncan- Very paranoid.
Hudson+Trio- not much to say
Boudie(SP)- Probably has his heart in the right place but man what a --well cowardly guy--
Demona's Betrayl of MacBeth- this shocked me, leave him to die at the castle but she actually contacted Kenmore?
Wierd Sisters- I HATE them. I think they are corrupt, vile, and wicked, they should burn in a fiery lake in the seventh circle of Hell somewhere. For a very, very long time. (I make this judgement with my Knowledge of the "Avalon" eps)
Vengence begats nothing more than a vicious cycle of further vengence- true perhaps, but highly over exaggerated.
The betrayl of the Cast Wyvern- I want to know who slept at Demona's roost. When the Vikings sacked it.
Bronx and Demona's encounter- I loved it. Good job.
Demona and Macbeth- It's amazing how it goes, I like when Demona came back from the fight all happy and swirled Macbeth high off the ground. Her joyous attitude was refreshing, yet all to short in length.

That's all for this post. Thanks for listening.

Vanity~

Greg responds...

A few responses to your comments...

1. Yes, the scene with Travis and the woman was a comedic way to make exactly that point.

2. Can't say I'm rooting for Demona to succeed. I'm rooting for Demona, but not in that way.

3. We had an entire contest to explain "Alone" and got some very interesting responses. You might check them out in the contest archive here at ASK GREG.

4. I think it's presumptuous of you to assume you know exactly what Goliath was feeling. But one thing to keep in mind is that he had just witnessed the results of her mass murder spree.

5. I've said this before, but we all got to watch Emma Samms blossom as a voice actress over the course of just these four episodes. She had never done cartoons before. She was a bit stiff in Gruoch's first appearance, but, MAN, by COS4, she was just ROCKING!!! I give her and voice director Jamie Thomason a ton of credit for really bringing Gruoch to life when we needed it most.

6. I'm not sure that Bodhe did have his heart in the right place -- until, I like to think, the very end.

7. The notion that vengeance begets nothing more than a vicious cycle of further vengeance, is not only true but is if anything UNDERSTATED. Hardly exagerated. One only has to look at a newspaper to see that the Montagues and Capulets of this world simply refuse to recognize this obvious, obvious FACT. It drives me insane. Your casual dismissal of the notion doesn't thrill me either. (Sorry.)

8. You're welcome. I like your posts.

Response recorded on June 20, 2003

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Anonymous writes...

Who were the VAs for Hippolyta and Hudson's mate?
Who was going to be the voice of Queen Mab, Propero, Calaban, Nought, Nimue, the Green Knight, Morgan Le Fay, and the unknown member of the Pack?

Greg responds...

1. There were none.
2. We never got that far.

Response recorded on June 05, 2003

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Anonymous writes...

1.Who were you planning for the VAs for Sphinx, Terry, Medusa, Jove and Boreas's two sons?
2.What about Duval, Blanchefleur and Merlin?
3.And Samson, Nick Maza, Delilah, Zafiro, Fu-dog, Katana, Nashville, Taichi and Coyote-X?

Greg responds...

1. I haven't made those plans.
2. Ditto.
3. For Samson, Keith David. For Delilah, Salli Richardson. For Fu-Dog, Frank Welker. For Coyote-X, Jonathan Frakes. The rest, I have no idea.

Response recorded on June 05, 2003

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Treena writes...

I have seen on some sites Coldstones girlfriend being refered to as Desdemona just wondering if that is offically what she is called or just a name someone tagged her with and if it is offical what is the thought behinded is it in reference to Orthelo??

Greg responds...

The Desdemona and Iago names were used in our scripts to identify the characters before they got their Coldfire and Coldsteel names in "Possession". The name Othello was also used in the script to refer to Coldsteel in flashback scenes, before he became a cyborg.

None of these names were ever used in dialogue on the series. But both Desdemona and Iago were used in the credits to identify the actors (C.C.H. Pounder and Xander Berkeley) who voiced the two characters. (Othello was never used, because we simply listed Michael Dorn as Coldstone.)

So obviously, yes, we saw the relationship between the three characters as being very "OTHELLO". Particularly in their first appearance, "Legion". With Goliath in the Michael Cassio role.

Response recorded on June 03, 2003

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Lynati writes...

Oh. and while I'm here...

Do you think when Aaron finally tracks down Marina Sirtis and asks her to sign the Demona tatoo on his chest that she'll do it gracefully, or will she have someone distract him and then run away really fast?

Greg responds...

Even odds.

(Although I can't imagine she hasn't encountered far weirder/scarier Trek fans than our Aaron -- who still reminds me of a young Tom McMinn.)

Response recorded on May 14, 2003

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adam writes...

who played the voices of Desdemona/Coldfire and Iago/Coldsteel.

Greg responds...

C.C.H. Pounder (who, I believe is a regular on 'The Shield') was Desdemona/Coldfire.

Xander Berkeley (who most recently was the belatedly noble boss on '24' who died saving Los Angeles from an atomic bomb) played Iago/Coldfire.

Response recorded on May 13, 2003

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ATTENTION FANS OF MATT BLUESTONE

Tom Wilson (the voice of Matt Bluestone) is currently recurring on the NBC series Ed, playing a widowered fireman and a potential love-interet for the Molly Hudson character, played by actress Leslie Boone, whom I've also worked with on 3x3 EYES. (Leslie is a very good friend of Thom "Lexington" Adcox.)

I've worked with Tom on most of the series where I had some control over casting, like MAX STEEL and TEAM ATLANTIS. He's one of my absolute favorite performers, and he and Leslie make a very cute couple. He's already been on two episodes. I don't know how long a run he'll get. But I hope he sticks around.


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Chapter XLII: "Sanctuary"

Time to ramble...

This episode was directed by Dennis Woodyard, written and story edited by Cary Bates.

The one word title, as usual, was one of mine. I thought initially that we'd be even more focused on the Cathedral. That we might play a Quasimodo character. Heck, if Disney's "Hunchback" movie was going to have living gargoyles bouncing around, then I could have a Quasimodo swinging from the bell-ropes.

But the story, thank goodness, rightly evolved into a family drama with Goliath, Elisa, Angela, Demona, Macbeth and Thailog (and Bronx) providing us with one very ODD family. Quasimodo went away in favor of Thailog.

And we had to work a bit to make sure the thematic idea of the heart as a Sanctuary worked its way into the picture. Thank God for that French minister, eh?

During the "Previously..." recap the following exchange was heard between my eight year old daughter Erin and my five year old son Ben, after Angela learns (in that scene from "Monsters") that Goliath is her biological father:

Benny: He IS her father. He laid the egg.
Erin: Girls lay eggs.
Benny: His wife laid the egg.

ROMANCE

Enter, for the third time or the first (or, depending on your point of view, maybe this one doesn't count either), Ms. Dominique Destine. She tells Mac, "We have all the time in the world..."

This for me (and I know for Bond expert Cary) was a very memorable line from "On Her Majesty's Secret Service." And always a good sign that a relationship is going to come to a bad end.

Elisa tips her hand, which she can do cuz no one is awake, about how she really feels about Goliath here. "The most romantic city in the world and Goliath isn't awake to share it with me." (Or something like that, all quotations are approximate.) That's what she'd like to do, I'd wager. Soar over Paris with G. the way they soared over Manhattan in "Awakenings". Now had he been awake, do you think she would have made that request? Or would she in fact be distancing herself from him simply BECAUSE she had that impulse?

After her adventure on the Loch, it's nice to see Margot on a pleasant little stroll through Paris.

THE GARGOYLE WAY

Why is Goliath so resistant to parenting Angela? After all, though they're really more like younger brothers, he does his fair share of parenting the Trio.

He falls back on "The Gargoyle Way", but that's certainly inadequate, as Diane Maza will later point out. Yes, he's only one of her rookery fathers, but he's (a) the only one there and (b) the only one left alive except for the two souls trapped inside the AWOL Coldstone.

Ultimately, I think the answer is that Angela's sudden obssession with her "BIOLOGICAL" parentage makes him nervous because of the obvious extrapolation to what comes next. If she's obssessed with me as Daddy, then what happens when she learns who Mommy is?

And that's the key. He's divorced Demona. His wife who laid the egg. It took centuries and months, but after "Vows" he moved on. Now he sees Demona as a nemesis. A painful one to be sure, but a nemesis none the less. He's afraid of what the knowledge will do to Angela. He's afraid of what Demona will do with Angela, should Angela share that knowledge. And is he perhaps afraid of what -- under Demona's influence -- Angela might become?

THE CATHEDRAL

There's some nice animation in this episode -- but none of it is at Notre Dame. That sequence put us through fits in retakes and editing. Ugghh. It's still painful to look at.

But there's some nice stuff going on...

Demona says: "In here my love." to Goliath before she realizes its not Thailog. What did you all think of that line? At this point we had only seen one silhouetted monster from a distance. And since you knew Demona was in town, we intentionally tried to lead you to belive that she was the Monster at Notre Dame. Were you expecting Thailog? Or did you think that Demona was addressing G as 'my love'?

Goliath's arrival is a shock to her, so what did you think then?

Then Thailog's arrival is supposed to be a bigger shock to you guys. Was it?

I love hearing Thailog say: "My angel of the night."

Demona has a good line too: "Jealous and paranoid."

Later, we set up Nightstone Unlimited and their two "human" identities, Alexander Thailog and Dominique Destine.

At this point in production, we knew that Fox was going to have a baby but we had not named it yet. I couldn't think of a better first name for Thailog and later I couldn't think of a better first name for Alexander Xanatos. At first this bugged me. But I began to realize it made perfect sense. Xanatos had programmed his "first" son well. If X would pick Alexander, why wouldn't T have picked it as well. And there's something so symmetrical about both his kids being named Alexander.

TOURISTS

Elisa sits at a french cafe talking out loud to herself. Ugh. Very awkward. Obviously, we couldn't come up with a solution we liked better. I'm sure it occured to me to do it in voice over, but just chucking a V.O. sequence in the middle of an ep is very awkward too. Suddenly, the movie is POV Elisa, and we weren't doing that here. (Cf. "Revelations" and Matt's VO narration.)

I do like her last line though, coming as it did from a long time Superman scripter, Cary Bates: "This is a job... for the Gargoyles!"

THE WEDDING NIGHT

We had Macbeth use the Lennox Macbeth name instead of Lennox Macduff because we thought it would be too confusing to give him an entirely different name to any new viewers. And it makes sense that he has multiple aliases. But it still bugs me and I think in hindsight, I wish we had just been consistent.

Demona kicks Macbeth into unconsciousness, and Erin asks: "Why didn't she get hurt?"

And that's a very fair question. As usual with D&M's Corsican Brother connection, we tried very hard to be faithful to it, but it was very hard. And we wound up being a bit inconsistent. The best I can suggest is that when Demona knows she's going to hurt M and it isn't just on impulse, she can more or less steel herself against the magical feedback. It's still painful. But she doesn't show it as much.

The Gargoyles wake up and Elisa says: "Look alive, guys!" Well, they do now, don't they?

I love how Thailog slips Mac the gun and then later yells at Demona, "Didn't you search him?!" He's an evil genius that one. And passive-aggressive too.

Thailog's plan is brilliant, I think. So elegant. So simple. And if not for Elisa, so effective.

Mac's suicidal tendencies resurface. Demona's legendary temper gets the better of her common sense.

Thailog really comes into his own in this ep. Sure, Xanatos said he may have created a monster, but now Thailog has outsmarted X, D and M. Who the hell is left to outsmart?

And he has some great lines too:

"You and what clan?"

"Teamwork is so overrated."

"Aren't you spunky?'" (Another Lou Grant reference of course.)

To be fair, he couldn't immediately know that Angela was blood kin, but still doesn't his reaction to her give you the creeps? When X says Angela is lovely in "Cloud Fathers" I don't think anyone thought he was being salacious. But T? Yeah, baby.

Of course, Goliath finally gets the picture after this one. Up to this point, he was thinking Demona's the lost cause but maybe Thailog is salvagable. Now he knows better. At least about T anyway.

BATTLE

There's a lot of water in that water tower. It looks cool though. The animation here makes up for the Cathedral stuff.

I love Goliath's two-handed punch.

I love Demona's punch-drunken sway, as she makes her move to, as Mac says, "put us out of our misery..."

But I've always wondered why the background painters put multiple pictures of Elisa on the wall of Macbeth's chateau. Odd, that.

When I was young, I used to love MASH, particularly back in the Wayne Rogers days. (And, yes, Wayne is a friend of my dad's now. But they didn't know each other back then so I was unbiased.) But one thing that used to drive me nuts was the repetition of the following exchange:

<LOTS OF SHELLING IS ROCKING THE HOSPITAL. SUDDENLY, IT STOPS.>

Hawkeye: Do you hear that?
Someone else: Hear what?
Hawkeye: Silence! The shelling's stopped!

This was fine the first time they used it. By the twentieth time it got VERY old.

But we do a version of it here after Elisa shoots Demona ending the battle.

Why? When it used to drive me nuts? It's amazing what I'll pay tribute too.

KEITH meet MR. DAVID

I love playing Thailog against Goliath, because I love those Thailog/Goliath exchanges where Keith plays both roles. That's one of the main reasons we created Thailog. To enjoy listening to Keith go to town.

1st Epilogue:

Goliath: "She has done you a favor, Macbeth."

That line should be a bit of a shock when G first says it. But it makes a lot of sense after he explains. And I love the look that Goliath and Elisa share. They aren't even pretending they don't share those feelings. They just won't act on them.

And how about Goliath actually telling a joke: "Just make sure you get a good look at her at night." Word.

2nd Epilogue:

One of the things I like about our series is we didn't have to end each episode the same way.

This one ends rather darkly. Goliath won't acknowledge the obvious. He just broods. Angela turns to Elisa: "Elisa, I have to know." And Elisa confirms that Demona is Angela's mother, because it's ridiculous to either lie or to not confirm the obvious that Angela has already figured out. But she knows G didn't want A to know that. So everyone is left unhappy as we sail into the fog.

And Erin ends the episode saying: "I think Elisa should be her mother."

(Me, I've always seen them sharing a more sisterly relationship. But I thought Erin's idea was sweet, and certainly came out of the sexual tension between E&G.)

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


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Chapter XXXXI: "Golem"

Time to Ramble...

This episode was directed by Frank Paur and was really based on an idea of his that pre-dated the introduction of Renard in "Outfoxed".

The episode was written and story edited by Gary Sperling. Gary selected this episode, because he felt he had an affinity for the subject matter and because his brother, a Rabbi, was able to advise him on things like the Hebrew, etc. (But I tell you, recording some of that Hebrew was a bitch.)

I love most of the backgrounds on this episode. Very striking and atmospheric.

RENARD & CO.

My eight-year-old daughter Erin spotted Renard, and immediately recognized him as "Fox's father." I think Robert Culp does a great job with Renard. And (futzing aside) with the Golem as well.

Vogel's back with no explanation or indication that he fell out of favor. I guess Goliath's speech to Renard at the end of "Outfoxed" carried real weight. I think it shows something in Renard that he's able to give Vogel a second chance.

And Renard's other compatriot is Brod. A new gangster of the new Eastern-European school. I can't remember if I already had plans to pit Brod against Dracon. But I liked the contrast between them. And I like how tough and fearless Brod is. And also how outside-the-box he is in his thinking. He'd rather have the hovercraft than a cash payment. He sees the advantage.

Goliath spots Renard (and vice versa). Renard isn't pleased, cuz he knows he's doing wrong and doesn't need a reminder that he used to lecture people on integrity.

Goliath IS pleased, initially, because he sees Renard as a potential ride home. Here, and for the last time until probably "Ill Met by Moonlight" and "Future Tense", the focus is still on GETTING HOME.

But for Renard, the focus is on living. ("Integrity is a luxury I can no longer afford.") Goliath is stunned. He calls Renard someone "I thought I knew."

There's some nice climbing here. Just visually, the way the gang climbs up the bridge. The way Angela and Bronx climb up the tower. The way Bronx later climbs down. I just think it's cool.

ELISA & MAX and GOLIATH & THE GOLEM

I also like Elisa and Max's little exchange at the beginning.

Max: What are you looking for?
Elisa: New York.

Max was consciously designed to parallel Elisa. And she at least, notices the connection. When she says "The Golem needs you as much as you need it." I think she's thinking about her relationship to Goliath. (It may be a touch arrogant, but it's accurate too.)

He's the human ally and advisor (sometimes guide) to a protector made of stone and clay. The parallels of Golem to Gargoyle are obvious, and the main reason why I felt we HAD to do this episode. (Probably the main reason why Frank suggested it in the first place.) I love how Keith read: "So this Golem is a protector." He likes the whole idea. It's almost sweet in a way.

Max is just less confident than Elisa ever was: "What if it doesn't like me?" I don't think Elisa ever worried about that, at least not after she learned that Goliath could talk.

Elisa actually has a bunch of fun lines here:

"Hit it, Bronx!"
"Don't worry. We're the Good Guys!"
"And you get used to the weirdness."

I like how the Renard/Golem turns the lamp-post into a pretzel. But on my tape, he smashes a car that was already smashed. Did that get corrected for later airings?

I also thought it was a nice touch when he knocked over Edgar Blosa's tombstone. I know that was an homage to some movie. Maybe an Ed Wood film? But now I'm blanking out?

POWER-DRUNK/POWER-SOBER

Renard as the Golem is corrupted rather rapidly (if shallowly) by his newfound power. That was the idea. That a man who had been trapped in the prison of his own body would get flat-out drunk on the freedom and strength that the Golem offered: "Instant respect. I could get used to this."

But like any high, one eventually comes down.

And Elisa is the first to start to sober him up. "You're enjoying this!" she yells. It stops him. Cuz he is. But cuz he's not so far gone that he shouldn't know better. He flees. Not because anyone has yet provided an adequate threat. He's really running from himself. But that translates to: let me just get out of here.

Renard actually says, "It's not my fault!" which of course was the one phrase that used to drive him crazy.

Goliath has a great comeback: "A weak body is no excuse for a corrupt spirit." That's classic Goliath, I think.

I love the close up shot of the Renard/Golem looking over his shoulder, weighing it all. Wondering what his alternative is beyond accepting his fate, i.e. his death by whatever disease was killing him.

And I love Goliath's next follow up too: "You've given up all you believe in... for a piece of clay."

I'm sure some people thought Renard's turn-around was too sudden. But between Elisa, Goliath and some well-chosen words from Max ("Can you live with yourself"), and Renard's basic decency, I have no problem accepting it when he finally says, "What have I become?"

THE FINAL BATTLE

Elisa really rocks in this episode I think. That may have been the thing I most noticed in this viewing. I don't think of this as one where she was particularly featured, but she really does great. I love her little "Hi there." close up moment before she decks the bad guy with a punch that comes right into camera and flashes red. (Of course, I doubt you could do that these days.)

I like all the stuff with Golem and the hovercraft.

I'm also reminded here of the end of "Awakening, Part Five" when Goliath is holding Xanatos and on the verge of dropping him to his death. Elisa and Hudson talk him out of it. And Max fulfills the same function for the Golem. And I love Max's line, which is traditional: "Love Justice and Do Mercy." So simple and eleoquent. So right.

In any case, I guess that makes Brod the Xanatos of Prague. Except clearly he didn't fare as well. The Golem's appearance must have convinced him to seek out new "Turf", if you know what I mean.

THE WORLD TOUR

Finally, Goliath has learned something about all Max's talk about destiny and making choices. He finally realizes that Avalon isn't simply messing with them. But that there is purpose and need and destiny. He could choose to skip it. He could hitch a ride with Renard back to Manhattan. But he won't run away. So instead he'll take the Skiff.

Now the World Tour can finally start in earnest. Sure, the audience still wonders when and if the quartet will ever get home. But I think the tenor of it changes now. Now there's an expectation. I think, had we not had to air so many damn reruns during the original run of the Tour in winter/spring of 1996, the audience would have been much more patient after this episode. Like Goliath, they would have understood.

Elisa makes the same choice. Although for her, it's less about quests and destiny than about abandoning her friends: "You guys would be lost without me." And again, kidding or not, there's a certain arrogance. But a lot of accuracy as well.

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


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Chapter XXXIX: "Kingdom"

Time to get back to rambling...

Well, we've had our adventure in Avalon and made a couple stops on what I knew was going to be a long trip. Time to check in on the home front.

Only trouble is, as these things originally aired, this one actually didn't manage to get broadcast right here. It just wasn't ready in time, and we had enough trouble airing reruns without holding up episodes that were ready to go just because this one wasn't. And besides it was all part of Tier Four. So we couldn't justify waiting for it.

Still. Out of the 66 eps I was involved in, only two aired out of order. "The Price" aired too soon. "Kingdom" aired too late.

Hope it didn't screw too much with your sense of continuity.

Oh, by the way, Kingdom was

Directed by Bob Kline
Story Edited by Gary Sperling
Written By Marty Isenberg & Robert Skir

KINGDOM (BROOKLYN & TALON)

The title, I believe, was another one of my one word 'theme' titles. It refers, of course, to the newly established kingdom of the Labyrinth and who and how it will be ruled. Can any organization exist without leadership? Or will a power vacuum by nature be filled by something, positive or negative?

We have in this show two reluctant leaders. Brooklyn and Talon. Ironically, Talon seems to have no problem asserting himself to lead -- especially among the Gargoyles in the void of Brooklyn's unleadership. He wants the authoritiy of leadership without the responsiblilty that comes with actually having the title.

Brooklyn feels a burden of leadership that's two-fold. On the one hand, he feels like acknowledging his role as leader is a betrayal of Goliath. Like he's giving up on finding his older brother. On the other hand, he feels intimidated by trying to fill Goliath's shoes (assuming Goliath wore shoes).

He's specializing in 'avoidance' or as Kent Brockman would say, "Avoision".

"Why are you looking at me?"
"Perfect."
"Stop asking me that. I don't know."

Everyone else is actually working on the missing Goliath/Bronx/Elisa problem. Brooklyn isn't even doing that, because any action risks being misinterpreted as leadership.

HUDSON

So throughout, Hudson uses psychology to gently nudge Brooklyn into the right mental space.

Guess he'll go to the Labyrinth to ask Elisa's brother if he's seen her. Might see Maggie there....

Suddenly Brooklyn is volunteering. For the wrong reasons, of course, but Hudson has at least gotten him started. Moved him from active to passive.

CAGNEY

Is fun in this. Didn't want to leave the poor cat alone for months now, did we? I like how Broadway and Hudson care for him. How the cat reacts, sleeping on Hudson's head, when Hudson wakes up. How he reacts to Maggie the (other) Cat. How Hudson, quietly admits just how much he loves Bronx in Cagney's presence.

AL, CHAS and ?

I like these guys. They're well characterized in just a few little bits.

Al's the homeless guy that Fang harrasses. Chas and his buddy (who's name I didn't catch this time through -- though I know I have it written down at the office) are Fang's cronies.

Jeff Bennett (as Chas' buddy) is very funny describing their discovery to Fang.

There's a brief moment at the end, where it looks like Lex and BW might be smashing these two guys heads in with rocks. But we pull back and see they're really smashing the guns. I don't think we'd get away with even the tease of that in the current S&P atmosphere.

I wonder where they went after Talon chased them out. Can't help thinking they were naturals to join the Quarrymen.

And how's Al doing?

FANG & CLAW

I love Belushi as Fang. (He's got a great growl that's a sound effect, but it works great with Belushi's stuff.) My wife Beth thought Jim was too over the top. But I think he's hilarious.

He's got a bunch of great lines:

"...Flying bug zappers."
"Now wouldn't that be a crying shame."
"Open the door, Fang. Protect the weak, Fang."
"There's a new Sheriff in town."
"Ahhh, mannn...."
"Mutate humor."

Talon: "You and what army?"

Fang: "This army, pal. And you're our first prisoner of war." (Though technically Talon is the second, since Maggie's already trapped in the gun chamber.)

My nearly eight-year-old-daughter Erin asked, "Is he greedy or jealous?" Both, probably.

And he is bright enought to trick Talon.

And Claw is just a love. Charming in his silence. He really comes into his own in this ep, you know?

Incidentally, this year "Kingdom" made the fan's top ten favorite episodes, alongside such others as: "Hunter's Moon, Parts One, Two and Three," "The Mirror," "Future Tense," and others.

I was a bit surprised. Most of the other ten look a hell of a lot better than this one. It's a tribute to Brooklyn's popularity probably, but also, I think to Claw.

There's great fun throughout with that darn key card. Fang trying to bust into the gun chamber initially. Being so frustrated, and Claw just lowering the card in front of him.

"Give me that!" Fang says and grabs it.

Later, after Maggie's escaped, and Fang regains consciousness to find out what happened, Claw does his intentionally indecipherable pantomime schtick. And Fang simply repeats: "Give me that!"

MATT

The scene with Broadway and Matt is oddly animated. Looks briefly like it's from some other show. But there's something strangely cool about the animation, even though it's off.

MAGGIE

Erin said, "I like Maggie. She's very..." But she didn't complete the sentence. Even with prompting from both Beth and myself. She just liked her, I guess.

Maggie begs Claw to let her out. So that she can join the fight? No. So that she can get help. That's Maggie's version of bravery. And I'm not knocking it. Frankly, it's what we teach our kids. You don't teach them to enter dangerous situations. You teach them to go get help. Dial 911. Maggie will never be a warrior, though she has the power for it. It's just not who she is. Normally, that might bug me. But this was a show with so many strong warrior female types, that I liked having the variety.

But this episode doesn't happen to have any of those strong female types like Elisa or Angela or Fox or even Demona. Did it bother anyone that Maggie was the only woman depicted and that she never participated in battle?

Maggie does get to shine in an area that comes more natural to her. Acting. She figures out at the end what Brooklyn is up to, and then performs her heart out to keep Fang in the dark, as she releases Derek. Well, I've always said she came from Ohio to make it in NYC as an actress...

She and Talon are now even more firmly established as a couple. Even in Brooklyn's mind. Finally, he adjusts and moves on.

XANATOS & OWEN

Hey, how about that new security system, installed as a result of Thailog's 'kidnapping' in Double Jep. Doesn't it... SUCK??!!!!!

The cannons do WAY more damage to X's castle than to anyone or anything else. And I also felt like we had done this before at Mac's place in Lighthouse and the Price.

So this is just weak. A failure on our part to come up with something stronger, more original, etc. We needed some action around now. But I still wish we had cracked this better.

There are some fun moments, if not always for the right reasons...

There's a comedy WAY off-model Broadway riding the exploding cannon.

There's a couple gargs falling through X's ceiling.

And it leads into a fun scene...

Owen's stone fist use (though a great idea) is actually a touch feeble, but X is in rare form...

Xanatos: "Do I really need an excuse to have a good time in my own home?"

And Xanatos: "A man has to make a living."

And Xanatos again: "I wasn't aware I needed permission."

Of course, on my tape that effect is spoiled when he suddenly goes cross-eyed. I'm hoping that's a retake that got corrected after the first airing.

BROOKLYN

Finally, after the debacle at X's place (which winds up being less of a debacle since we never figured out an episode that would show how X would take advantage of the info he learned) and after Maggie's plea for help (Brook could never resist a damsel in distress), Brooklyn finally takes up the role of Leader. Reluctantly.

Brooklyn: "This has nothing to do with what I want."

Hud: "Is that an order then."
Brook: "Yeah, I guess it is." Then look at him right there. That's a hero, am I right?

And Erin says, "Funny. All the leaders have long hair."

Hmmmm....

And so Brooklyn can't avoid leadership...

"Yeah, try as I might."

And he and Talon shake hands, as both accept the roles destiny has thrusted upon them. It looks good on them.

And that's my ramble. Where's yours?


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Chapter XXXVIII: "Heritage"

Time to ramble...

This chapter was written by Adam Gilad. Story Edited by Gary Sperling, and directed by Frank Paur.

FAME

As I watch each episode with my family, I've got my journal open in front of me to take notes for these rambles. During the opening credits, my five-year-old son Benny said: "I like Gargoyles." I was very pleased, of course. Then he said, "Can you write down that?" So I did. And so I have.

SHE'S GOTTA HAVE IT

Back on the skiff, and Elisa still hasn't QUITE gotten the idea. She still anticipates being back in Manhattan. Like visiting Scotland was an anamoly, but now surely Avalon will send them home. (What did you all think at the time?)

And boy, that girl likes her hot dogs. Make her one with everything, you know?

A.K.A. CECIL

Our Sea Monster attacks. It's a cool design, based on research that we did. (It happens to look a lot like a pre-historic whale I saw last night on a Discovery Channel special: "Walking with Pre-Historic Beasts".)

I wish we could have found a less generic name for the creature than "Sea Monster". Thunderbird is a cool name -- particularly since I have fond memories of the L.A. T-Birds from Roller Derby telecasts of my youth -- but our research never turned up another name for the Sea Monster.

Keep in mind that though we did research, we also had time constraints. We couldn't keep researching a topic indefinitely. Eventually, we'd have to use what we had and run with it in order for the story and script to be delivered on time.

But I know Gary and Adam did quite a bit of backgrounding for this story. The Sea Monster, Thunderbird, Raven and Grandmother all came from Haida stories -- though we conflated quite a bit, I think. We did always try to be as true as possible to the history and legends we were riffing on.

HEY, WEREN'T THERE FOUR OF YOU?

As the battle with the Sea Monster came to a close, my seven-year-old daughter Erin said: "What about Elisa? Where's Elisa?"

Five seconds later, Goliath surfaces and says pretty much the same thing, before fearing her drowned by shouting "ELISAAAAA!!" (Shades of things to come -- in Hunter's Moon III.)

TOTEM POLES

Speaking of research, the origin of the whole episode was the fact that Totem Poles caught my eye as being a particularly gargoylesque deal. Then we did some preliminary research and found that they weren't carved in anything that seemed to resemble a gargoyle tradition. They were 'carved to honor animal ancestors'. So rather than stretch (or abuse) the truth, we decided to let the characters (and audience) be lured off course by the poles, just as we had been.

Fake GARGOYLES, right here in North America.

In many ways, I think it could be argued that what takes place in this episode is handled or covered in other episodes to come. We have another episode with a 'sea monster'... a more famous sea monster in a certain loch... coming up rapidly in "Monsters". Also in that ep, one of our cast is lost and feared drowned after an early attack by that monster. And much of Nick/Natsilane's dilemma is also re-covered with a more-important recurring character (Peter Maza) in our other Native American-themed episode: "Cloud Fathers". We even do more with a volcano in "Ill Met by Moonlight". On some level I suppose I regret the duplication of efforts. I don't think we usually did this sort of thing.

But I don't regret the episode. I had plans for Raven. Plans for Queen Florence Island. Plans for Nick/Natsilane. I still think the ep has some cool stuff in it. And I think we NEEDED to cover Totem Poles. It was a natural.

HAR with a V. VAR with a D.

I went to a high school in North Hollywood, CA named "Harvard High School". Named after the University. (Some people have incorrectly stated I went to Harvard for college. But I went to Stanford for Undergrad and U.S.C. to get my Masters.)

I don't remember who's idea it was to have Nick be a graduate of Harvard. Might have been mine. Harvard of course is useful as a symbol.

I like Nick/Natsilane. He's got some nice attitude here and a nice shift. Maybe not the most impressive of our so-called "International Heroes". But very likable.

I give a lot of credit to the voice actor for bringing him to life. Gregg Rainwater was brought in by our Voice Director Jamie Thomason. Gregg was terrific. We used him again in Cloud Fathers, but I've used him many times since Gargoyles. I've even written parts with Gregg in mind. He was Jake Nez in Max Steel. And I cast him as Jake MacDonald in 3x3 Eyes. He always brings incredible humanity to a part, I think. Heroic, but real.

THAT'S NOT A CROW

It's a raven. Our second Trickster makes his first appearance. Of the four (Puck, Raven, Anansi and Coyote), Raven was the guy we gave the most evil bent to.

I like all the shape-shifting he does. (Though when he flees at the end, I wanted him to flee in his bird form, not his Raven-Goyle form.) I also like how he lies by using pieces of the Truth.

Raven-Goyle: "There is an evil sorceress named Grandmother. She summoned the monster that you fought."

When he said that, did you believe him?

Of course, Grandmother does have magic power and she did, in a way, summon the Sea Monster.

IT COULD BE WORSE. I ONCE LIVED ON 28TH STREET.

While doing our research, we encountered names of Islands off the Canadian coast like Queen Charlotte Island. So I named the fictional island we'd be using "Queen Florence Island."

Growing up in Woodland Hills, California, I lived on Queen Florence Lane, a street off Queen Victoria Road. Victoria and Florence were the daughters of Michael Curtiz, the director of such films as CASABLANCA. Curtiz, at one time, owned all the property in that area, so he named the two streets after his daughters.

OR so I once was told... by a ghost named Humphrey who tried to convince me that he was Humphrey Bogart, though you could tell by looking at him that he wasn't.

WHO EXACTLY IS THE SICK ONE HERE?

Elisa is so strong so much of the time, that it's kinda sexy to see her vulnerable and feverish.

Notice that Grandmother doesn't use Fairy magic to heal Elisa. She uses Haida medicine. Thus the rule of non-interference is bent not broken.

I like when Nick comes back in and the Fever's broken. And he says just don't tell me you cured her with tree bark.

When she says, "...and roots." His expression is priceless.

SEEING RED

I like the lighting in the Volcano scene.

Goliath is so glad to learn that other clans have survived, that he doesn't notice -- in fact defends -- the inconsistencies in Raven's story.

Angela, on the other hand is suspicious. This was done, in part, to further develop her character. She's naive about certain things. Having been raised by humans, she's not inclined to judge them harshly or fear their prejudices. But she's not stupid. Something doesn't smell right and she notices.

For once, Bronx though does not. I chalk this up to the high quantity of magic being tossed around on this dying island. Grandmother is not what she seems. Neither is Raven. Bronx is confused.

Anyway, Goliath speaks to Gargoyles protecting to explain away why "Raven's Clan" can both hate humans and protect them. You get the sense that he understands all too well. Like despite everything, there's a part of him -- a prejudiced part -- that hasn't forgiven the human race for what happened at Wyvern. (Also keep in mind, he was just at Wyvern again, rehashing all those old memories.)

Of course, once Goliath learns that Raven was pulling something, he's furious at the trickster. Playing on his hopes AND his prejudices, Raven has risked G's wrath.

At the end of this scene, the three silent gargs vanish magically.

Erin said: "What happened? What just happened?"
Benny said: "How did they just vanish?"

They know I know the answer. But I resist telling them. It's a touch cruel. What did you guys think?

YOU CAN TAKE THE GIRL OUT OF THE CITY...

Elisa is such a New Yorker. Everything is compared to that. "This sure isn't Central Park."

Anyway, Raven, then a bear, then Bronx and finally Angela and Goliath find Elisa. I love Goliath and Elisa's hug. It's so unselfconscious. They were so worried about each other that they forgot the usual distance that they maintain.

SUSPICIOUS MINDS

So who did you trust? When the gargs disappeared, that had to indicate that something was up with the Raven-goyle.

So when Goliath tells Elisa that Grandmother is a sorceress, particularly given that Grandmother saved Elisa's life, we all tend to think that G's been duped. Then we spot Grandmother turning into Thunderbird. What did you all think then?

Benny noticed "her ears" and suspected her even before she turned into T-Bird.

THAT'S GOTTA HOIT

A cool moment in the battle against T-Bird is when Goliath rakes the creature with his claws.

Then Angela spots the Illusion. And plays it cool with Raven.

I like Goliath's line to Grandmother: "We live. We do not thrive."

Grandmother than establishes that Raven is a Trickster and that they are both "Children of Oberon". Thus we establish that aspect of our series.

She states that they are forbidden from directly interfering in human affairs. Reinforcing what the Weird Sisters said a few episodes before.

Raven joins the party. The jigs up, but he revels in it. He's got a few decent lines too.

I like "It's so messy."

POOR HORATIO, ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID, NEVER A BRIDE

Elisa more-or-less quotes Shakespeare: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Natsilane, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

I've always loved that line.

Anyway, Goliath and Angela depart to fight Raven. They arrive first, but given the fact that Nick had to...
1. Have a final change of heart.
2. Change clothes.
3. Get up to the volcano without wings.

...He makes good time, don't you think?

Raven brings the totem beasts to life. This was always a bit weird. We introduce illusion gargs based on the totem beasts. But then when we bring the totem pole to actual life (or semblance) we have new designs for the woody creatures.

Does everyone see Goliath play dead for that bear?

Raven has a nice exit line here: "This place no longer amuses me."

Neither does this Ramble.


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Chapter XXXVII: "Shadows of the Past"

Time to ramble....

This chapter (episode) was brought to you by:

Director: Kazuo Terada
Story Editor: Michael Reaves
Story: Michael Reaves
Teleplay: Michael Reaves & Brynne Chandler Reaves

Plus the usual suspects, including Frank and me.

The title is one of Michael's. I had the impulse to shorten it to "Shadows", but I didn't.

THE WORLD TOUR

As the recap ended and Tom shouted out: "Avalon doesn't take you where you want to go. Avalon sends you where you need to be!" My seven-year-old daughter Erin said, "Uh, oh."

"Uh, oh," indeed.

And so we begin Tier Four in earnest. Our quartet of travelers weren't headed straight home. Of course you couldn't know at that time just how long they'd be gone. And frankly when we started writing, neither did we.

It wasn't just the quantity of episodes (23 counting the Avalon three-parter, Kingdom, Pendragon, The Green and Future Tense) that we'd spend before everyone was reunited in Gathering One. It was the reruns in between.

What was supposed to be a five week trip became a five month trip. And so, for many of the fans it became interminable.

Why all the reruns? Well, the schedule finally just caught up with us. When Gargoyles was picked up for a second season by Buena Vista, I was asked how many we could reasonably produce for the fall quarter (between September & December of 1995) without interruption.

I told them that we were prepared to do six more. That was all the scripts that had been ordered (Leader, Legion, Metamorphosis, Lighthouse, Beholder, Vows). But I said we could do 13. We had done 13 the first season with a ten month sliding schedule. Now we had just under twelve months so we could certainly do 13 again.

I was asked what's the most we could do. I said, well if we start right now we can do 18.

Not 52? They asked.

52? Are you nuts? (Well, I didn't say that exactly.) I said we'll never get 52 done for the fall quarter. We'll wind up with a lot of repeats. You (Buena Vista) will not be happy with all those repeats.

They were disappointed. So disappointed, that instead of ordering 18, they only ordered six. (If we can't have 52, then forget it. [Okay, they didn't exactly say that either, but that seemed like the basic attitude.])

So we get to work to do six. Two weeks pass. Buena Vista comes back and says. No, do 13.

We respond with, uh, okay. Of course we've lost two weeks, so it'll be a bit harder, but we can do it.

Two weeks pass. They come back and say, "No, do 18."

We grumble a bit, because now we've lost a month of prep time when we could have been building crews, etc. But okay, I said we could do 18. We'll manage.

Two weeks pass. They come back and say, "Do 52."

Now we balk. We warned you we couldn't do 52 in twelve months. Now you want us to do it in 10? It took us ten to do 13.

Do 52.

And so we did. We built multiple crews. Our staff increased exponentially. We expanded to four writing teams from one. We expanded from one pre-production team (in Japan -- waves at Roy) to three and a half (one in Japan) and two and a half here in L.A.

And we worked like little demons to bring you 52 for the fall quarter. But it was never going to happen.

We wound up doing pretty good. I don't have my old calendar in front of me, and I can't remember exactly how many we managed to air in the fall, but it was considerably more than the 18 that I thought we could do.

But it wasn't 52. And so we had reruns. And reruns. And reruns. And most of those reruns came in the middle of the World Tour. And thus... yes... it seemed to go on forever.

Whoops. Sorry.

Of course, other people didn't care for it for other reasons. They felt it got away from the series strengths of the gargs in Manhattan. Obviously, it left behind four of our characters, and I'll admit that I underestimated the trio's popularity a bit.

But I felt it was important. The World Tour gave our series breadth and hope. It expanded the Gargoyles Universe, added many new characters and in particular added at least four other clans of gargoyles.

And I think some of the stories really kicked ass.

So I apologize for nothing. NOTHING, do you hear me, nothing!!!!!!

Except for that outburst. Sorry about that outburst.

WYVERN, SCOTLAND

Anyway, our first stop was no place new. Goliath immediately recognizes the ocean cliffside as "home, my home."

Even before Hakon and the Captain start to drive him crazy, his dialogue is laced with nostalgia.

He's so into being back in Scotland, that when he climbs the hill, he doesn't even take Elisa with him. Elisa goes with Angela. Which is no big deal. But usually, G's more of a gentleman than that. Particularly with Elisa.

TIDBIT

Angela: "It was always summer on Avalon."

Just wanted to give a sense of things on the fair island. Seemed to fit the legends as well.

TOKYO, JAPAN

I can't say enough good things about the animation in this episode. It's just gorgeous. The work of Disney's studio in Tokyo. WOW! Production AND Pre-Production was done there. All sorts of little touches, like Elisa slipping briefly and regaining her footing. And GREAT, GREAT character animation. Great lighting as the characters enter the tunnels. STELLAR effects animation in the megalith chamber. Just wow gorgeous stuff.

And boy, did we fight over this episode. [Roy, I'd love to get your perspective on this.]

When we got the storyboard from Japan, Frank and I each found something that just drove us nuts.

For Frank, it was the Wyvern cliff. The castle was gone, of course, as Xanatos had taken it away. But the cliff seemed to otherwise remain in tact. Frank was adamant that a chunk of the cliff had clearly been taken away and was part of the Eyrie Building. You could see it on that design. So obviously, we needed a crater of sorts to exist back at Wyvern.

When Frank pointed it out to me, I agreed with him. It didn't bother me as much as it bothered him, but I agreed.

What bothered me was Elisa's parka. In the storyboard, Elisa was wearing a parka with a hood. Of course, she looked great in it. And it kept her warm and safe and dry. But there was of course, no way and no place where she could have acquired that parka. (The Avalon Eddie Bauer, maybe?) So I insisted the parka had to go.

Frank agreed with me after I pointed it out. It didn't bother him as much as it bothered me, but he agreed.

So we gave Japan both these notes. And to our surprise, they balked. They felt that the only changes we were allowed to make to their boards were S&P changes.

We couldn't believe it. Finally, they relented. But on the cliffside ONLY. They felt that was a fair compromise. Since that had been Frank's BIG note, he was appeased. But obviously, I was not. All sorts of people came to me asking me to back down.

But I wouldn't. And I can honestly say it was for you guys that I refused. I knew even then that OUR FANS paid attention. That we couldn't get away with Elisa suddenly having a warm coat from no where.

So I put my foot down, and Elisa stayed cold and wet.

And our Tokyo Studio had another reason to be annoyed with me.

I regret the tension, certainly. But I still think I did the right thing, so I apologize for NOTHING, DO YOU HEAR ME? NOTHING!!!!

Except for that outburst, I apologize for that outburst.

GASLIGHT

A great movie. A husband tries to convince his wife that she's going insane. It's now a staple of melodrama everywhere. And we used it too.

So the ghosts of Hakon and the Captain try to gaslight Goliath.

We tried to gaslight the audience a bit too. Tried to let them think for a bit that Goliath might just be losing it. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, maybe.

You can hear it in Goliath's voice. How he's lost in the past. Angela tells him that he did the right thing all those years ago by saving the Princess.

His only response: "Still, I wanted revenge." I love Keith David's reading of that line.

But we also wanted to play fair, so we dropped a hint: when Goliath hears Demona's voice, Bronx howls. He senses something. Always trust Bronx.

Bronx has a pretty important supporting role in this, btw.

THE AXE OF HAKON

When Goliath and friends first enter the caves, Goliath picks up an old Viking axe. Hakon's Axe. The one he uses in "Vendettas".

Should have been a mace by the way. Should have been the same mace you can see in the opening titles EVERY episode. The one that Hakon used to smash the gargoyles at Wyvern.

Shoulda been. My fault.

Okay, for that -- I apologize. I screwed up. Dang.

THE STREET PIZZA TRADITION

a.k.a.

A CLASSIC MICHAEL REAVES' ELISA LINE:

"This place is creepier than the morgue at midnight."

Michael was great at giving Elisa this tough contemporary feel without taking us out of the moment.

Another good one: "Old wounds bleed as bright as new ones sometimes."

GETTING TO KNOW ANGELA

When Goliath pretends that he's NOT freaking out and having hallucinations, Angela can tell he's lying.

I love Brigitte's read there. She sounds SO SHOCKED: "He's not telling the truth."

You can tell she was raised in a world where there was little cause for lying.

COOL CLIFFHANGER

Goliath attacking Elisa and Angela, thinking they are Hakon and the Captain.

Very dramatic. And again, we don't know yet, objectively that he isn't just going nuts.

What did you guys all think at this point? Did you suspect the truth?

Anyway, Bronx saves the day.

And Goliath runs off. He also has a nice stumble here. Again, parka aside, much amazing attention to detail and character in all this animation. Stunning.

STAR TREK INFLUENCE

No, I'm not talking about the voice cast.

Finally, we objectively reveal that Goliath is being influenced. We see two floating entities hovering over the scene. He doesn't see them, so they're not part of his dementia. Ergo (I don't have much opportunity to use the term ergo you know), ergo, they must be what is causing this.

Of course, they look like energy beings right out of Star Trek.

We also see Demona, Othello and Desdemona.

More of us playing fair. Sure they're identifiable. But of course, they (plus Iago) would be the souls LEAST likely to be haunting Wyvern and Goliath.

SALLI RICHARDSON

Yeah, Keith was the star. And we're always going on about Jeff's versatility. But we really were blessed with an amazing cast right down the line.

Salli does Elisa SO DARN WELL. It's the little things really.

Like when Angela explains about the fissure and how Goliath could die in it. Elisa says, "Swell." Just, "Swell." In one word, she says everything that needs to be said. It's hard. Try it sometime.

SPEAKING OF FISSURES

Bronx saves Goliath (temporarily) from falling by chomping down on his arm. Always thought that was cool. Would have liked to have drawn some blood, but we knew we'd never get away with that.

And the fissure itself is way cool. I love Goliath's fall.

And Elisa's determination, as she starts to climb down feet first. And I love the contrast, as Angela and Bronx, by virtue of their claws, climb down head first.

THE TURN

Some fans have felt, I know, that the Captain's change of heart at the end comes suddenly. That may be so. It's hard in a mere 22 minutes to achieve these arcs and turns. But as usual, we tried to drop subtle hints that he wasn't fully on board with Hakon.

Hakon is enjoying tormenting Goliath.

The Captain says: "Make an end to it." Hinting at his ambivalence. Torturing Goliath doesn't give him pleasure.

And while we're praising voice actors, how about a toast to the late Ed Gilbert, voice of the Captain of the Guard. Wonderful work here. Evil. Tortured. Redeemed.

Ed, wherever you are... THANKS!

THE FATAL FLAW IN YOUR PLAN

Demona. The Captain must have assumed that Demona died in the massacre. He and Hakon figured that her appearance would be the coup de grace. That Goliath's will would just dissolve when faced with her ghost.

They were almost right. But of course, G is no idiot. A bit slow sometimes, but not stupid. Demona's ghost shouldn't be here. Cuz the dame ain't dead.

[By the way, the idea to have her fist morph into a mace was mine. Just a little post-storyboard tidbit that I suggested amid bitching about the parka. They must have liked the idea because that wasn't one I insisted on, but they did it anyway. When push came to shove, everyone -- on both sides of the ocean -- was just VERY dedicated to making the show better.] [See. It's a mace because that's the weapon that we associate with the Massacre. Hakon's axe should have been a mace. How did I miss that?]

Anyway, Goliath figures out the truth and, hey, we've awakened the sleeping giant. He trashes the phony Demona. And we think he's going to smash all the others.

But something even more chilling happens. They all begin to dissolve around him. It still gives me the creeps. Very cool animation AND music and effects. (Props to the gang at Advantage Audio too.)

HOW

Or rather how come we don't have ghosts hanging around ALL the time. I didn't want this episode to open a spectral floodgate, where any character that was killed or had died in the past was available to haunt us.

So the Captain offers two possible explanations: Hate and Magic. Both present in ample supply. Plus Guilt. His guilt. Unfinished business.

THE DANCE

Again, very cool effects on the Megalith's here. But the idea emerges from an old (if not very original) idea I've had since I was a teen. The notion that Stone Dances, that Megalith Circles were like Medieval Mystic Dynamos. Circles of power. That build and generate.

Really came to life here.

I love Hakon's line: "I can feel it. I can feel again." I love that transition halfway through the line between where he can feel that the process is working and when he realizes the simple fact that he can feel things again.

But again, watch the Captain feel his own hand. You can see the ambivalence there. Particularly when Goliath becomes the Ghost and Hakon is beating on him. Cap doesn't participate in this.

And Goliath helps him remember what he has forgotten. The Captain doesn't HATE Goliath. His problem is that G's presence has reinforced his own guilt.

But here's an opportunity to redeem himself: "I can't let this happen again!"

He pushes Hakon back.

Hakon: "You've crossed the lines of power, you fool."

You can almost here the Ghostbusters say, "Don't cross the streams."

RESOLUTION

So Cap hated himself, not G.

G forgives. He forgave the Magus last episode. Now he forgives the Captain. Shows that he's a pretty decent guy.

You think if Hakon made an effort? Nah.

Anyway, I like G's line: "One enemy. And one friend."

And then a positively angelic Captain returns briefly to say goodbye and thanks. I also like the "shackles of hate and guilt" line. And the way he calls Goliath, "Old Friend".

Elisa thinks she's in for a long story.

G: "Centuries long."

And as the sun rises, and Elisa -- as usual -- leans against her stone beau for a nap....

Hakon: "Don't leave me here alone!! Not without anyone to hate!!"

Many people think I should have left him there forever. But evil doesn't rest in peace in my opinion. When left alone it tends to get out of control.

Besides I already had this fun idea. What if Wolf was Hakon's descendant?

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


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Chapter XXXV: "Avalon, Part Two"

Time to Ramble...

"PART TWO"
Director: Dennis Woodyard
Writer: Lydia Marano
Story Editor: Brynne Chandler Reaves

I guess you guys were used to longer multi-parters from us, so you probably didn't think this was the last part when you saw Part Two come up after the title. I tried something different at the end though. Instead of writing "To be continued" I had them put down "To be concluded". It seemed (at least in my head) to increase tension to know that the next part would be the last.

I've been told by people that out of context, this episode is incomprehensible. I hope it's not quite that bad, but I will say that unlike the rest of our eps, I felt that multi-parter eps don't quite need to stand alone in the same way.

Still with all the time travel stuff, it's very complex. I remember Lydia having to come into my office after her first draft and needing me to diagram the time travel for her. The loop that the Archmage takes. I love it. But I guess it's not that easy to follow.

Anyway, this ep was designed to be the second part of a tryptich. This is the one where we focus on our villains and bring them all up to date, just as in part one, we focused on our heroes. All gearing to a MAJOR BATTLE coming in Part Three.

THE EGGS

Picking up where Part One left off, Elisa looks at Angela, Gabriel and Boudicca and says: "These are the eggs?" I love her tone there.

Guardian: "Sorry, I always call them that." It was a cheat to buy us, at least with some percentage of our audience, the shock value of expecting eggs and finding fully grown gargs and beasts instead. Still, I believe that a guy like Tom, dubbed "Guardian of the Eggs" would continue to use that term to refer to his kids, even after they are grown.

Goliath is initially shocked that the gargs have names. Angela says the standard human response: "How else would we tell each other apart?" This was done intentionally to both cover the issue of non-garg naming (which I still think is neat, but which is often a massive pain) and to indicate that these are gargs raised by humans.

BEACH FIGHT

So I'm in my office one day, after the script to "Avalon, Part Two" has gone final. And Supervising Producer Frank Paur and Producer/Director Dennis Woodyard come in. Frank hates the script. Dennis is calmer, but he seems to clearly agree with Frank, more or less.

I'm annoyed because it's VERY late in the game for them to be giving me these kind of notes. Things get heated between me and Frank.

I yell something like: "Well, what do you want me to do?!!!"

And he yells something like: "We need some action! Like a fight on the Beach with the Archmage!!"

And I start to object for about a second. Then I go, "Oh, yeah. A fight on the beach with the Archmage. That'd be cool. Would that fix it?"

"Uh. Yeah."

And that was it. Our fights were always like that. We always only wanted to make it better. He'd get worked up, but the solution wound up being simple and when push came to shove (we never actually pushed and shoved by the way) we agreed on nearly everything.

It was also good to have Dennis' calming influence. Frank and I would go momentarily nutty and Dennis would always maintain.

So anyway, after the fact we added the memorable fight on the beach. Now I can't imagine the episode without it. It forced us to trim down some the Archmages travels (cause we were already long) but it definitely improved the episode.

I think, not sure, but I think I wrote that fight because it came so late in the game. It's also possible, I might have taken it back to Brynne and/or Lydia to write. I really don't remember anymore.

Either way, there are some great lines:

Goliath: "Don't be too insulted!" I love how he goes nuts here. We really get a reminder of his warrior-ness.

Archmage: "Don't crow too loudly, after all, what have you accomplished: you beat up a beach." You beat up a beach. That's one of my favorite lines in the whole series.

Archmage: "At dawn you all will die. Get used to it!"

Tom: "Let's get out of here before the very air attacks us!"

The fight itself is pretty cool too. I like how Bronx and Boudicca immediately team up. I like the symbolic nature of the Archmage growing wings, turning to stone and then shattering. I think that was a board-artist's addition. I don't remember seeing that in the script. (And I'm too lazy to stand up and check right now.)

At the end of the fight, my five year old son Benny asked: "Why can't they glide to the castle?" I had to explain the flight rules.

ANGELA & GABRIEL

Elisa slides up to Goliath: "Angela sort of looks like Demona, except her coloring is different. Exactly whose daughter is she?" Again, I love Salli's reading here. That need to know. The jealousy. The feeling for Goliath -- who dodges the question by saying that all children belong to the clan.

But of course Elisa knows. Knows something that I believe never occured to her before. Sure, she knew that Goliath and Demona had been mates, lovers. But she didn't let her mind traverse to the next logical step. Parents. Together. Goliath and Demona.

And of course, the audience knows it too, I hope. It was never meant to be a secret to anyone but Angela who her biological parents are. These lines also served to point that out.

On the other hand, we didn't make a big deal of Gabe's bio-parentage. But I wanted it to be semi-clear that his folks were Othello and Desdemona (Coldstone and Coldfire). Anyone get that at first viewing?

REUNIONS

Everyone returns to Oberon's Palace. There are many injured and Gabe is apologetic. As Leader, he feels responsible. But there was 'never any need to hone our combat skills' before this.

Tom & Katharine are reunited. Elisa, the cop, picks up on the human dynamics, the relationships, immediately. She sees the Magus' reaction to their reunion.

I also really like the exchange between the Princess and Goliath.

K: "This is more than I could have hoped for."
G: "What you've done for the eggs is more than I could have dreamed of"

SLEEPING KING

We kept dropping hints. He's mentioned by the Magus, but the conversation moves quickly on.

Later, the Weird Sisters mentioned him. The Archmage is surprised to hear he's not a myth, causing Seline to say her famous: "All things are true." line. The Archmages promise to kill the king later.

And Elisa brings the guy up at the end. This policy was me trying to play fair and make his awakening in Part Three not seem artificial. But also not to allow the guy to distract from the matter at hand.

Of course, most of THIS crowd must have known the s-king was a ref to KING ARTHUR. Particularly when the Hollow Hill ref was thrown in too. But did anyone not know on first viewing?

LOOSE ENDS

This was an episode for tying up Loose Ends in a big way. Solving some mysteries.

Why did the Weird Sisters do what they did? (At least objectively.)

Why were Demona and Macbeth working together in "High Noon"? (Elisa: "They hate each other." Guardian: "I saw no sign of that.")

And how did the Archmage survive?

Tom unwittingly hints at the truth when he says that the Archmage seemed to be able to be in two places at once.

Now let's reveal...

WEIRD SISTERS

Wow! Did we get negative feedback from fans when we played the Sisters as villains here. Of course, I always had it in my head that the Sisters had three aspects. Grace, Vengeance and Fate. Sometimes one aspect is ascendent, but there is always a touch of all three in anything they do. But after the Sisters' Fateful appearances in "City of Stone", many fans rebelled at the notion that the objective reason they did all those things was for simple petty vengeance here in "Avalon". Oh, well.

[When Benny saw the Sisters for the first time, he said "Weird Sisters" with an interesting tone of awe. They're his favorites. But he didn't comment on them being bad guys here.]

The sisters have some nice lines...

L: "What is time to an immortal."
Phoebe: "This is true." (in ref to what cannot be broken can be bent).

ARCHMAGESES

Okay, this was just fun for me. In many ways the origin of much of this was the flat out talent of David Warner. He brought such life to the underwritten (and clichéd) part of the Archmage in "Long Way to Morning" that I just knew I'd have to bring him back. Many of the events of "Vows", "City of Stone", "High Noon" etc. were all geared toward bringing him back as a real THREAT!!

Yet with all this, I didn't want to forget the character's roots. We tried to set a balance between his clichés and his new power.

Think about it. The Archmage+ (as we called him in the script), had only been plussed for about a day. Still he's full of arrogance. His power hasn't raised him above that hybris nor above the thirst for vengeance nor above gloating or above impatience. That's his flaw, but also the fun, I think.

And of course, David. Wow.

Praise for Salli Richardson as Elisa. For Kath Soucie as Princess Katharine and all three Weird Sisters. For Frank Welker as Bronx and Boudicca.

But this Archmage stuff here is a tour de force, I think. David just went through, playing both characters. Both versions of himself. Keep in mind, he hadn't been privy to all that the writers had planned. He had come in for his small parts in both "Long Way" and "Vows". Now suddenly, he's this guy(s). Amazing.

"Do you know what to do?"
"I should. I watched you do it."

"Show some dignity."

"I could put you back where I found you."
"No, no." (I love that no, no. So tiny and fearful.)

"Not where. When."

"If you don't know, don't guess."

"The book must remain in play."

"Try to keep up."

"We're not doing her any favors."

"The rules that cannot be broken can surely be bent."

"Nine hundred and seventy-five YEARS??!!"

"I hadn't thought that far in advance."

"What am I supposed to do, eat it?!"

"Now I understand."

"As it did. As it must. As it always will!"

All great fun.

FLAWS

All these episodes were being produced simultaneously. All in various stages of production. So inconsistencies were bound to happen.

The Egg boats are messed up here. Demona's model in her flashback. Etc.

And storywise, what's the deal with Macbeth? I can see why the Archmage wants to include his former apprentice Demona in his plans. He felt betrayed by her, and is glad not to be doing her any favors by enslaving her.

But Macbeth?

Okay, it's not a true flaw. Macbeth is included because the 'plan of the Archmage' -- birthed whole from the timestream without the Archmage ever actually coming up with it independently (though he takes credit) -- included Macbeth.

It is the provence of Luna, not Seline, at work.

But still, I'd have liked to have been able to figure out some connection between the Archmage and Macbeth so that he wouldn't question the boy's inclusion. Thankfully, the Archmage+ is so arrogant, he takes credit and thus never questions. It occurs to me now, that I could have made a connection between Mac and his ancestors, all related to Katharine and Malcolm. Oh, well.

CAPTIONS

These became fun for me. Adding Captions indicating place and time is one of the very last steps in production. So I'm in there for the "On-Line" with Jeff Arthur, our post-production supervisor, and I'm just indulging...

Sure we start with...

"Scotland, 984 A.D."

But pretty soon we're at "YESTERDAY" and "SIX HOURS AGO" and "ONE MINUTE AGO" and finally "NOW".

It still makes me smile.

POWERING UP

So the Archmage gets the eye. Power. But he's still an idiot. He needs wisdom. He eats the book, which I always thought was really creepy and cool. Now he understands. Now we truly have two Archmage+es. But they can't coexist forever. Aside from how complicated that would be to choreograph, and aside from the fact that the timestream needs the younger of the two to fulfill his role....

They also couldn't coexist because both are too arrogant.

So we repeat the scene of departure to close the circle and tack on: "Finally. I thought he'd never leave."

BATTLE FLASHBACK

We get to see a new clan awake from stone. I hoped that was fun.

Ophelia appears (pre-injury). She looked way cool. For all those people who thought that Gabe and Angie were a couple, take a look at the way Gabe is holding Ophelia and looking at her after she's injured.

LAYING PIPE

In addition to the Sleeping King, we were also laying pipe for our whole fourth tier WORLD TOUR. Tom says: "Avalon dropped me in your laps." He credits Avalon with sending him to Goliath.

The Magus declares that he is without magic and useless. Katharine rebels at that: "Don't say it, and don't think it!" She loves him. Just not the way he wanted her to love him.

Bronx and Boudicca want to go with Goliath.

Elisa asks about the Sleeping King...

And Goliath, Angela and Gabriel take off on a stealth attack.

And we immediately see that the Archmage knows they're coming.

Uh oh.

As the Archmage says... "[We've layed all the damn pipe we could possibly need and more], Now the fun really begins!"

To be concluded...

And that's my ramble. Where's yours?


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Chapter XXXIV: "Avalon, Part One"

There's no memo, outline or script for this one on my computer, so we'll head right into my ramble on...

"AVALON, PART ONE"
DIRECTOR: Dennis Woodyard.
WRITER: Lydia Marano.
STORY EDITOR: Brynne Chandler Reaves.

THE RECAP

...is all over the place. So much was coming together in this three-parter. The Weird Sisters, the eggs, the Archmage, Tom, Princess Katharine, the Magus, Macbeth, Demona. This was our most ambitious story yet. Which given episodes like "The Mirror" or "Vows" and multi-parters like "Awakening" and "City of Stone" was saying something.

Of course "Avalon" was never designed to be the cohesive single story movie that "City of Stone" was. It was designed as a tryptych. Part one would bring our heroes up to date. Part two would bring our villains up to date. Part three would pit them against each other.

"Avalon I" also represented the first episode in our fourth tier. The three-parter was what we called a 'tentpole'. We knew we couldn't air it until all the Tier 3 episodes had aired. And we knew we couldn't air any other Tier 4 episodes until this three-parter had aired. Despite the fact that "The Price" aired out of order, generally our Tentpole/Tier system worked very well. Out of 66 episodes that I worked on only two: "The Price" and "Kingdom" aired out of order, hopefully with minimal damage to the continuity.

THE TITLE

The title was one of mine. But initially I wasn't sure that we were going to call the island Avalon. Now, it's mind-boggling to me, but I actually had my assistant Monique Beatty (who's now a producer in her own right) research Brigadoon to find out if that name was created only for the musical, or if it was something pulled from legends. I was thinking of Avalon, but looking for something from a Scotish tradition as opposed to British. Fortunately, Brigadoon was created for the musical. So we were 'stuck' with Avalon. Which made including King Arthur a natural.

Many series don't reveal that an episode is going to be a multi-parter until you get to the 'To Be Continued' line at the closer. "Avalon, Part One" could have just been titled "Avalon". The conventional wisdom is that people are reluctant to commit the time to a multi-parter in advance. That it is better to hook them on the story before revealing that they HAVE to come back to see the end. I always felt that was cheating. What is your reaction to seeing "Part One" attached to a title?

OPENING

Another cool shot of our gargs waking up. Always nice to reiterate that at the start of our bigger stories.

Bronx gets left behind. Of course, this often happens. It was one of the things that the World Tour would set about correcting in a BIG way. But we made his getting left behind a bit more obvious here. Usually, he just doesn't go. This time they won't take him and he's sad. We were laying pipe.

My 5-year-old son Benny asked where Hudson and the Trio were going. I had to think about it. "On Patrol, I guess."

OLD FRIENDS

Then the GUARDIAN shows up. I love his cool, Goliath-inspired armor. My 7-year-old daughter Erin immediately demanded to know who he was. I wouldn't tell her. (I'm so mean.) Did any of you guess?

Of course he immediately encounters BRENDAN & MARGOT. (What would one of our multi-parters be without him?)

Then comes the three gang-bangers from "AWAKENING, PART THREE". As usual, Keith David does the voice for one of them -- making it distinctive from both Goliath and MORGAN, who's about to come in and speak. The problem is we got a touch confused. In Awakening, Keith voices the bald white guy. Here he does the same voice, but it's assigned to the black guy. Hard to say which is wrong, except by virtue of which came first. It annoys me though.

Morgan's fun in this. I really like him. No one but Simon DelMonte will get this, and I don't know if he even reads these rambles, but Morgan kind of reminds me of Jeff Goslin, a character that Cary Bates and I created in Captain Atom.

Anyway, I like how Morgan talks Guardian down. And I like how the sword is much heavier than he thought it was going to be. His cop buddies tease him, but he maintains his sense of wonder and goodness when talking about the Guardian to Elisa.

That's kind of a cool scene. First off he describes Guardian's armor: "Real armor. King Arthur stuff." Anyone think this was a clue to what was coming in the next episode? Even with the Avalon title? Then he tells her the guy's looking for Gargoyles. Elisa of course discourages her fellow officers from taking Garg reports seriously. Everyone who's seen one must be a nut-case. These guys should form 'a club'. Then she finds out that this Guardian was asking for Goliath by name. BOOM.

BELVEDERE CASTLE

Site of our last encounter with Demona and Macbeth. Another clue.

Once Elisa got a look at the Guardian's armor, she must have thought -- yeah, there's a Goliath connection here all right.

Goliath shows with Bronx, who gets to come along and come along and come along for once. Bronx always seemed underutilized to us. We knew we couldn't bring the whole clan along. (Too many characters and no poignancy.) But Bronx was an easy addition. Of course, Bronx is also useful as a kind of living personality test. If Bronx likes you, it's a damn good sign. Bronx likes Tom. Does he remember him? What scents do you figure the Guardian carried back from Avalon. Anyway, Bronx engenders immediate trust in the Guardian for Goliath.

I love this scene. Guardian gives everyone so little time to catch up. He talks about the Archmage, reveals that he's Tom and talks about 'the eggs' being in danger. *That was a fun idea. Keep you guys thinking in terms of eggs for twenty minutes and reveal that it's just a pet name for the Avalon Clan.*

Benny asked: "What kind of Eggs?"
Erin: "Gargoyle Eggs."
Benny: "I didn't know Gargoyles hatch out of eggs." [Well, keep in mind it's been a year since he saw the first thirty episodes. And he's too young to remember the first time he saw the ones we're watching now.]

Then there's the skiff. Elisa: "Where'd that boat come from? ... To where? The other side of the lake? ... Wait for me!"

This all sounds fishy to her. Nothing makes sense. I wanted to get a clear shot in there of the pond in Central Park so that you could see objectively that it doesn't go anywhere. But I never quite managed that. I wanted you guys to be confused. Or at any rate to have a million questions. But like Elisa, no matter how suspicious, I figured you'd want to go along for the ride.

FLASHBACK

Mary, Katharine, the Magus and young Tom are all reintroduced. It's very clear that the first three have all learned their lesson from Awakening. They've all really become better people. Tom, of course, didn't need to learn that lesson. But he does learn to be a hero. He officially becomes the Guardian. It begins, I believe, as just a nice gesture on the part of the Princess. Later, of course, it'll become the truth. Then there's the long journey. I like the montage there. Hardship. We never had the time to show enough of the hardship of tenth century life.

Our gang heads into Edinburgh. Constantine's followers are all over the place. They all seem to look like Disney storyboard artists for some reason. ;)

VOICES

There's some stellar voice work in this ep. Morgan Shepard as King Kenneth II. Sheena Easton making her Garg Premiere as Finella. Ian Buchanan as Constantine. (I've already mentioned Keith's versatility.)

But as usual, real props must be handed out to Jeff Bennnett and Kath Soucie.

Jeff plays Brooklyn, the Magus and Maol Chalvim. (No Bruno or Owen or Vinnie in this ep, I'm afraid.)

Kath plays Katharine, Mary and all three Weird Sisters.

They're amazing.

SOAP OPERA

Benny saw Finella and said: "That's one of the witches."

A year ago, Tom was his favorite character. Now Tom barely registered. And he really is fascinated with the Weird Sisters. Anyway, I corrected him, but I was glad that they were appearing later.

Ian Buchanan, once of General Hospital, is playing a cad here. We have to very quickly set up a lot of politics, sexual and otherwise. This story was as historical as we could make it based on the available research, the fact that we had to fit in a few fictional characters and eggs, and screen time compression.

Believe it or not, we also had another character originally that we cut early on because it was just getting too damn complicated. Katharine and Maol Chalvim's cousin: the future King Kenneth III. The father of Bodhe. Yep. That Bodhe. The father of Gruoch.

Kenneth III winds up being made High King of Scotland after Constantine is killed. To get a sense of their relationship, at least as I see it, you might want to check out "Once upon a time there were three brothers..."

(Or to give you a hint, ten years after the events depicted here, King Kenneth III would be murdered by Maol Chalvim's operatives during a civil war. Maol Chalvim was also known as Malcolm Forranach, the Destroyer. We used the Maol Chalvim version of his name so as not to confuse him with Katharine's father Prince Malcolm. Just as in City of Stone we emphasized Malcolm Canmore's Canmore name for the same reason.)

Anyway, Maol Chalvim seems intense but right on the money here. He's even kind of heroic when he and the Magus bring Tom back to Katharine's apartment, and he begs Katharine to go. Kind of heroic. He still leaves her. We were trying very hard to balance out his minor role here with his future roll as the grandfather of and major influence on Duncan. (Of course, he's also Macbeth's grandfather, as well.)

After Katharine tells Maol to go, there's a weird cut of him just standing there smiling. We needed some kind of transition before he took off running, and I guess that was the best we could do. But it's still awkward as hell.

THE MURDER

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

We establish early on that Katharine doesn't think much of Constantine. You wouldn't know it from Awakening, but obvioulsy she's learned to be a decent judge of character.

Kenneth isn't quite so sharp. Everyone can see that he's a fool for Finella. And he doesn't recognize Constantine's threat (despite the fact that Constantine's father was a bitter enemy and) despite the fact that his son flat out tells him to beware. My thinking was that the crown had kept bouncing back and forth between different branches of the royal family. Kenneth had hoped that by taking Constantine in, instead of banishing him, he'd be able to be a positive influence on the boy. A nice idea perhaps, but maybe Kenneth was too innattentive to pull it off. And Maol probably was too covetous to really be a brother to young Con.

Anyway, Constantine tricks Finella and kills the king. We hear Finella sobbing, just to prove that she was neither in on it nor that she would approve of it. (Though one wonders what her reaction would have been down the road if Constantine hadn't spurned her in favor of Katharine. Would she have adjusted to the crime? Or did Constantine become an unredeemable villain in her eyes immediately? I hate to say it, but I tend to think it's the former. Actually, I don't hate to say it. She's more interesting to write that way.)

Erin asked: "He killed King Arthur? Why?"

That's a tough question. So first I had to explain that it was King Kenneth, not King Arthur. Then my wife Beth helped out by explaining that Constantine wanted to be king.

We come back from the act and we see that Constantine was ready for the takeover. The Banners are immediately changed in a scene clearly inspired by the Ian McKellan (spelling?) movie version of Shakespeare's Richard III. (A version I heartily recommend, by the way.)

We also continue to set up the Magus' own tragedy. He loves Katharine. Has loved her since before Awakening. That feeling is shown to deepen here when she is once again in danger. And when Constantine tries to coerce her into marrying him. (The astute Mary and Tom have to hold him back.) Here, we sense that maybe Katharine might some day return that love. That's what I wanted you all to think anyway. Did you?

Constantine takes his crown. Originally we wanted to stage this with the Stone of Destiny as we did with Macbeth. But again, I think we just had too many sets.

Michaelmas. I just like that word.

Constantine is fairly astute himself: "You have 36 very good reasons to obey." We kept reiterating the number of eggs for what was coming later.

THE ESCAPE

The Magus disguises broken pots as eggs and vice-versa. But it always seemed to me that the kitchen staff at Edinburgh sure broke a lot of pots. I mean a LOT!

I like the lines: "Taking the wee bairns for a walk?" and "I don't think I like Gargoyle eggs." Very menacing.

Princess K burns her wedding dress. She feels she cannot leave because C will follow her to "the ends of the Earth." So the Magus responds: "Then I will take you beyond them." Again. Very romantic moment between them.

Finella joins the troop. The WOMAN SCORNED. She's really fun now. Dangerous. I always laugh when Constantine drinks the brew and collapses so abruptly.

Erin: "The Weird Sisters". My kids are just fascinated with this trio. I wonder if they still will be by the end of this three-parter or if like many fans, they will be disappointed?

They get turned into owls. But the Magus worries about giving up the source of his power. K doesn't care about that.

And Finella and Mary agree to take the book. I love these two. I think they'd make a totally kick-ass team. I doubt it would be commercial enough, but I'd love to do a spin-off show just with these two women. At any rate, there was the plan to include them as recurring characters in TimeDancer.

Tom has to leave his mother and his childhood behind. Now his role as the Guardian is a way for Katharine to make him accept the loss. It is the start of their relationship, though neither knows it. I watch this now, and I can't help thinking of the Anakin & Padma relationship and where that's destined to go.

AVALON

Back to the present. We see the impressive shores of Avalon. Very cool painting.

Bronx reacts. Guardian: "He's found the eggs..." And the music swells and two gargs and a garg beast appear on the cliff.

Now is that a cliff-hanger or what? What was your reaction?

Erin and Benny wanted "to see ther rest!" I told them they'd have to wait a week and we got a lot of protesting. Just what I was hoping for.

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


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Chapter XXIX: "Double Jeopardy"

My family and I watched "Double Jeopardy" a few nights ago for the DCV and for my (belated) but on-going Ramblings on each of the Gargoyles episodes...

(This 'chapter'/episode was written & Story Edited by my old buddy Cary Bates.)

It's literally been over a year since my kids or my wife have seen an episode of Gargoyles. I've occasionally had to check out individual scenes and/or credits for things I've been working on, but I don't think I've sat down to watch a whole episode beginning to end in quite some time either.

Watching the opening titles, my five year old son Benny remarked to his seven year old sister Erin: "You have [Brooklyn] and I have Goliath." He's referring to the Kenner toys I gave them a couple Christmas' ago. Erin, I believe has Brooklyn, Broadway and the Steel Clan robot. Benny has Goliath, Lex and Xanatos.

Then when Benny saw Xanatos in the credits, he said, "I was Xanatos last year." Here, he's referring to the fact that he dressed up as Xanatos for the costume ball at G2000. I had to point out that that was nearly TWO years ago.

TITLE

Cary must have come up with this one, I think. I tend to favor one-worders myself. His original title was "Thailog Rules", which I didn't care for. I liked "Reversals" but he must have convinced me to go for "Double Jeopardy".

Erin, who can now read, asked what "Jeopardy" meant. I said "Trouble". And she was very amused that the title 'translated' as "Double Trouble". She liked that better, I think. She also enjoys reading the various on-screen scrawls, like "One Year Ago" and "One Year Later". Reading is like a super-power to her now. I hope she doesn't lose that.

THE FLASHBACK

So we open with a touch of continuity. Or retcon, I suppose. Though to me retcon is a nearly derogative term suggesting that continuity has been abused to fit new circumstances and I think our little flashback here fits in nicely with what we already knew of that time. A Steel Clan Robot interrupts Elisa trying to convince G that they need to find a new home. Goliath puts the bot down hard and fast. It's a cool and well-timed scene.

It's nice to see Goliath's old stubbornness there too.

Now, to the present. There's a color error (or perhaps cheat) where we see a flash of what will eventually turn out to be Thailog's arm. It's Goliath's color, not Thailog's.

Then we hear the maniacal laughter, which Hudson will later comment on: "Do you even know how to laugh maniacally?" he'll ask Goliath. The answer, surprisingly, is yes. Though I had forgotten, Goliath laughs pretty darn maniacally in "Enter Macbeth" after Macbeth suggests that Demona will come to Goliath's rescue. Still, one of the impulses that made me want to create Thailog was Keith David's talent. The fact that he was brilliant as Goliath, but that Goliath didn't allow us to show but a fraction of Keith's true range. Creating Thailog allowed Keith to do things that he otherwise wouldn't. And I think he's amazing. There's never any question as to which character is speaking whether that character is on-camera or not. And he does it all with acting. The voice itself is the same. Thailog lets Keith cut loose and just be BAD.

Also, a touch of Jeff Bennett's amazing flexibility too. Jeff does a Schwartzenegger impersonation for the mercenary. Beth immediately recognized it as an Arnold takeoff, but didn't know who was voicing it. She was suitably impressed to find out it was yet another creation of JB's.

I like Lex's line: "Made my hair stand on end... if I had any". (Note, all quotations are approximate.)

I had some fun trying to mess with the audience's minds. Which is tough, because honestly you guys (tv watchers in general these days) are pretty savvy people who know most writer-tricks. When you saw Thailog frozen in stone on the parapet, before the real Goliath & Brooklyn appeared in the episode, what did you think was going on?

Benny (still focused on the prologue) theorized: "It's a robot that also can be turned to stone."

Erin knew it wasn't Goliath. And after a few minutes wondered if the robot had cloned Goliath. (NOTE: Both kids have seen the episode before. But long ago. And for Benny, so long ago, that there's really no possible way he could remember it. Erin doesn't remember either, at least not consciously, but she may have more of a sense of it buried in there somewhere.)

CONTINUITY:

The Emir is mentioned again. I think, though I can't remember for sure, that by this time, I had some vague notion of picking up on the throw away mention of this guy in "The Edge" and using him as a character later. So we mention him having deadline problems. In theory, he's already working on the Anubis plan that Xanatos agreed to bankroll back in "The Edge" -- but which wouldn't come to fruition until "Grief".

Owen is fun here too for me: "Is this a plan you neglected to mention?" A reasonable possibility, though it's hard to imagine that Xanatos would work anything behind Owen's back. I also like the bit about how Xanatos has never lacked for formidable enemies.

And Arnold's line about Sevarius giving him the creeps is truer now than ever before. Sitting in front of me is an article from this past Sunday's L.A. Times about Dr. Severino Antinori's real life cloning experiments. I even have a picture of the guy. He doesn't look much like our Anton. But the name and the sliding ethics sure sound spookily like Dr. Sevarius. As far as I know, that's a name that Michael Reaves made up out of the blue. It's really weirding me out.

Owen & Xanatos figure out that the kidnapper is Sevarius, and Xanatos has that great resigned villainous speech about how "An example must be made." It's funny. We have to work to get him to do anything that an everyday cartoon villain would do without breaking a sweat.

Also, we get the first mention of the "Thailog Project". The word "Thailog" itself, as I may have mentioned before, was another major impetus (is that spelled right) for creating the character.

While we were mixing the 35mm movie version of the pilot, there was one scene that was giving us trouble. The guys at Disney Sound kept rewinding across this scene over and over and I kept clearly hearing the same word "Thailog" over and over again. I eventually realized it was Elisa saying Goliath backwards. I just liked the sound of Thailog and that gave me the idea of creating an evil (i.e. backwards) Goliath. Again, that would also give Keith some fun opportunities.

But one thing I didn't want to do was to make Thailog a true dead-ringer for Goliath. I felt that had been done to death. It was fun to misdirect in the first act. But after that, I wanted something different. Thus we have the 'pigmentation' change brought on by the accelerated aging process. (This was another thing that mattered to me. Clones who miraculously are the same age as the original bug me. I wanted to at least pay lip service to the notion that theoretically a clone should age normally. The color change was an attempt to kill two birds with one stone.)

The specifics of the color change were actually inspired by John Byrne's tenure on the FANTASTIC FOUR at Marvel. He did a bunch of issues where the FF went to the Negative Zone, and when they emerged, their uniforms were altered from black and light blue to white and dark blue. It always seemed like a simple but stunning change. So Thailog was a nega-Goliath. (And, yes, Darkwing's foe Negaduck also had an influence, I'm sure.)

MORE CONTINUITY

Broadway's ongoing 'learning to read' subplot is advanced. Lex has put two and two together and guessed that what they saw might just be a clone. Which is smart o him, I think. But BW has to figure out what Lex was spelling out. Perhaps even more of a challenge for a guy that didn't care about the written word, just a few short months before.

Erin saw her birthday on the Thailog project logs, and was very tickled. (Of course, it's really no coincidence.) I felt a little bad, since Benny's birthday never appears in the show. (Since he wasn't born yet.)

BW: "This is bad news."
LEX: "You can say that again."
BW: "This is bad news."
Erin: <LAUGHS> "He said it again."

Love the X & Sev scenes. It's always fun to give Tim Curry a chance to really HAM it up. (You can see how a lot of our work was inspired by the talents of our cast.) But I just love cross-purpose conversations in general. And this one is a blast. It's also nice to see Xanatos confused for a change. Props to Jonathan Frakes, who always gave us a very non-showy but spot on performance. Particularly once the voice and animation were put together.

X: You're the kidnapper.
Sev: I guess I am at that.

Goliath sees Thailog for the first time and reacts very badly. I think it's (dare I say it) very human of him. He thinks Thailog is an abomination. I love the "...pieces out my soul" line. Love it.

***HEY! I know I've said this before, but in case everyone's forgotten... These ramblings are admittedly a little obnoxious. I'm like praising my own work here. Except (a) some of it isn't my work, but the work of my colleagues and it still impresses me and (b) I'm genuinely fond of all this stuff so forgive the indulgence.****

Anyway, Elisa points out that Thailog is almost Goliath's son.

This was another ongoing point of behind-the-scenes contention. Since Thailog appears to be Goliath's evil twin, Cary and others thought we should play them as brothers instead of father & son. But that just seemed wrong to me. That wasn't the relationship either genetically or otherwise. And I liked the notion of Thailog having three fathers that he was in constant conflict/competition with.

All the father/son stuff is great.

I love the "Chip off the old block" "All the old blocks" exchange. Pun intended of course.

And Thailog's line "...just to raise a fool."

And Sev's "You do and do and do for them."

Thailog laughs maniacally multiple times. YAY!

Round about here, Erin muttered: "This is an odd episode."

Note that Thailog is attracted to Elisa from the start. Creepy. But also he's more in touch with his body chemistry than Goliath is. Guess it helps if you haven't had a decades of socialization.

Actually, everyone admires Elisa. X for her delicate wrists. The bit with Elisa slipping out of her manacles always seemed like a bit of a cheat to me. (See, sometimes there are things I don't like.) The handcuffs line was a semi-feeble attempt to cover.

I like the idea that Sev had worked up a garg specific knock-out gas that Thailog used.

I liked the animation and sound work on Thailog tearing open the oil barrels.

I liked Thailog's line "Now I know where I got the temper." But does he really have much of a temper. He seems much more Xanatosian than Goliathesque in that regard. But I do think he holds more of a grudge. He just hides it.

Tangent, but I believe that this maybe explains his relationship (still to come) with Demona a bit. I think he knows on some level that Demona likes him because he's the Goliath she always wanted. And Thailog is very into being his own man. He wants nothing from his fathers that he hasn't TAKEN.

Thailog won't leave without his money. I'd ask in hindsight whether or not at that point the money was even still in that briefcase.

Goliath by the end is now fully on-board with the notion of Thailog being his son. His clannish instincts have taken over. And he feels that all of Thailog's rookery fathers (X, Sev and G) have failed Thailog. The notion of multiple fathers is something that's easy for him to grasp. But of course, he takes his own failure to heart more than the others. Cuz he expects THEM to be jerks.

And now our patented Xanatos Tag. Only it's flipped into a Thailog tag. I love Owen's line: "He's out there, he has the money, he's as powerful as Goliath and he's smarter than you." Only Owen could slam X like that with impunity. And X's return: "Owen, I think I've created a monster." Love that too.

Still not sure whether I love the super-imposed Thailog head. But I do like Thailog's maniacal laughter. Never get enough of that.

Erin: "[Thailog] practically is a monster. Gargoyles are supposed to be monsters. Only they're nicer. Thailog is a monster."

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


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Demona Taina writes...

This is a question that I honestly have never seen the answer to. Why doesn't Laura San Giacomo appear on the credits of Gargoyles?

Greg responds...

You haven't looked to hard, cuz I KNOW I answered this one.

Laura's representation (NOTE: NOT LAURA herself) felt that it could damage her career to have her name appear in the credits of an animated television series. We tried to change the reps mind, but no go. Nowadays, I doubt it would be an issue. And I want to stress that Laura was nothing but wonderful, working on the show. A real pleasure. Also she and Fox gave birth at more or less the same time.

Response recorded on March 04, 2002

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The Cat writes...

Hey Greg,

I'd figure since I just got a call back from Jeff Bennett that I'd better check on you. If you are ok could you tell me how Bill(Broadway) and Thom(Lexington) are doing? I'm really conserned about how ya'll are doing and now more than ever. I know that sometimes the actors go to New York to work and Jeff got a hold of my answering machine, so he didn't elaberate(hope I spelled that right). Well, how have you been let's say between November of 1999 to present day? Since I met you, Jeff, Bill and Thom in November of '99 through Make A Wish.

Well I got homework write ya later, Bye.

Greg responds...

Hi Cat,

I've been fine, basically. It's sweet of you to be concerned. How are you?

Thom is fine. Playing a lot of tennis. Doing a ton of radio commercials, at minimum.

I haven't talked to Bill or Jeff since (either) the 2001 L.A. Gathering or when I used each of them on the now defunct Team Atlantis show -- all this past summer. But I'm sure they're doing well, or I'd have heard.

Keep in touch. (Any chance we'll see you at G2002 in Virginia this summer?)

Greg

Response recorded on February 14, 2002

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Monzo writes...

All Batman (animated) questions:

1.What are your favorite episodes in "Batman: The Animated Series"?

2.a)What do think of the episodes in "The New Adventures Of Batman And Robin" compared to TAS?

2.b)What do you think of the change from Robin to Nightwing and the arrival of Robin II?

2.c)What do you think of the design (look, costume, voice cast, etc) changes in mostly all the characters compared to the 'TAS'?

3.What do you think of the episodes in "Batman Beyond" compared to the two previous series?

4.a)Have you seen any Batman animated movies "Mask of the Phantasm", "Sub-Zero", "World's Finest" and "Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker"?

4.b)Any favorites among them? What's your opinion?

5.What do you think of Harley Quinn (I think she was first introduced in the Batman universe through the animated series)?

6.What do think of Mark Hamill's performance as the Joker?

Greg responds...

1. God, it's been SO long. And there were so many in those first 65, particularly after Alan Burnette took over as Producer. It was great stuff though. And I loved Mask of the Phantasm.

2a. I don't think I saw any of those.

2b. Didn't see how they handled it. Never loved it so much in the comics.

2c. See above. I didn't see them.

3. I've only seen a few Batman Beyond. And while I think it's well-made I don't quite love it. I guess the new Batman reminds me too much of Spider-Man. I like Spider-Man, but I don't really want to see Batman acting like Spider-Man.

4a. I've seen the first and the uncut version of the last.

b. I liked them both, actually. But Mask blew me away.

5. She's fun.

6. Amazing.

Response recorded on January 22, 2002

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Shan writes...

Ian>Um... thank you, I think, for complementing my questions. (I was passing through to see what other questions had been posted as long as I was online and saw your comment).

Greg>I hope my questions better exemplify your preferences, but you and I both know I can be error prone on occasion. I can think of instances both where I was your student and not proofing myself well enough as an interviewer (the latter being the greater embarrassment) where that was the case.

(And I just had to go look up embarrassment. I always have to stop and think about the "r"s and "s"s...)

Greg responds...

The fact that you are looking things up is good in and of itself.

By the way, it was nice to see you and Jen and Alan and Zach and Ana and Ambrosia at Keith David's performance. I hope you all had a great time. (And I'm sorry I didn't warn you about the expense. I didn't know and was caught off guard by the cost myself.)

Response recorded on October 10, 2001

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Keith David, Live and In Person

For those of you in the Greater Los Angeles area looking for some much needed diversion...

Keith David (the voice of Goliath, of course) will be singing and performing live at CINEGRILL inside the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel at 7000 Hollywood Boulevard (between La Brea & Highland) at 8pm on both Friday, September 21st and Saturday, September 22nd, 2001. My wife and I will be going Friday night. It would be great to get a nice garg-fan turnout. And I know that I personally can use the break from news reports, etc. Reservations are suggested but not required. Call: (323)466-7000.

Hope to see at least a few of you there.


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Thank Heaven...

July (and thus August) ASK GREG questions are done.

Now I'm just over a week behind. I can live with that.

FYI, for any fans living in the Los Angeles area:

Keith David (the voice of Goliath and Thailog and Officer Morgan) is performing live at the Cinegrill (at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard) at 8pm on Friday and Saturday, September 21st and 22nd, 2001.

I'll be going on the 21st, and I hope to see at least a few of you there.

If you've never heard Keith sing, you are SO in for a treat. The guy is brilliant.


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matt writes...

after the first season, why was it decided to put Goliath's voice over the original opening theme music? i remember the first time i heard it i liked it cuz it was new, but now i think i prefer the just music version, so i'm curious to why it was done.

Greg responds...

I probably prefer the music-only version as well. Though I think Gary Sperling did a great job writing the naration and Keith did a fantastic job reading it.

It was my idea, nevertheless I was really on the fence about it. It seemed that it might help new viewers understand the basics of what was going on. Is there anyone out there for whom this was true?

At any rate, I didn't think it was ideal, but I didn't think it hurt too much either. The final decision was made by my boss Gary Krisel.

Response recorded on September 11, 2001

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Monzo writes...

How do you feel about male actor given there voice to female character in cartoons? How about the other way around? Do you thnik it would work in gargoyles?

Greg responds...

These decisions would all have to be made on a case by case basis.

Response recorded on September 06, 2001

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Mary Mack writes...

Where can *I* buy a copy of Cree Summer's CD?

Everyone eat Round Table pizza!

Oh! And sign up for G2002!

And write to Disney asking for Gargoyles DVD's! (Greg, you can tell Mr. Fukuto that I'll by Gargs on DVD, and I don't have a DVD player.)

Greg responds...

I love Cree's CD. Have you tried a record store?

Response recorded on September 06, 2001

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Ricky writes...

OK. I just saw my first full episode of Gargoyles. It was pretty good, but I couldn't believe whose voice I heard speaking for one of the characters. I thought I heard Jonathan Frakes, (Commander Riker, from Star Trek:TNG), as the voice of the man, he's name eludes me for the moment, who creates a mechanical gargoyle suit. I remember this creator, didn't he once try to kill the Gargoyles at one point, now he's there friend? It's all a bit confusing. I think I should watch a few more episodes to get the full picture. How in heavens name were 'they' able to get Jonathan Frakes to be the voice of one this character?

Greg responds...

Who's 'they'?

Jonathan audtioned for US and we cast him in the part. We also got Marina Sirtis and nearly a dozen other Trek actors from all of the Star Trek series that had aired at the time.

Response recorded on September 03, 2001

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anonymous cowherd writes...

Off-topic for Gargoyles, but have you seen Keith David's latest performance in 2000's "Requiem For A Dream"? His role is small but instrumental, and overall it's a powerful movie (although certainly not for children).

On that note, do you find, in general, that voice talent has a harder or easier time transitioning into live acting (or vice versa)? Clearly, the environments are different, and I wonder if live acting is more difficult for people used to studio recording.

Greg responds...

I haven't seen Requiem for A Dream. Just don't get out to many movies these days. But I have no doubt that Keith was great. Cuz Keith is ALWAYS great.

I think these days, live action actors are transitioning to animation with relative ease. And many actors go back and forth all the time.

But there are some animation specialists who don't do both, largely because they aren't interested in live action. Doing cartoons was the goal.

Response recorded on September 01, 2001

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Craig "Voiceroy" Crumpton writes...

Hi, Greg. Sorry, my question isn't related to Gargoyles. I'm mainly writing out of curiousity to know the name of the actor replacing Jim Varney as the voice of Cookie in "Team Atlantis", for which I was told you're doing the voice directing. I spoke with Corey Burton, and he couldn't remember the guy's name at all, and Tad Stones says he can only remember his first name.

I know curiousity killed el gato, but I've always been a fan of Varney's work and would just like to know a little more about the actor chosen to fill those large shoes.

Greg responds...

Steven Barr replaced Jim as Cookie on the series (which was cancelled) and on the home video which should still be forthcoming some day.

Steven was great. I will say that as a director I told him NOT to be too concerned with mimicking Varney. That he was going to be playing the character for 39 episodes and he had to make it his own. To capture the spirit of Jim's work, but not be slavish to the sound.

I gave James Taylor the same advice for doing Milo Thatch, vis-a-vis Michael J. Fox.

Response recorded on August 15, 2001

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Vashkoda writes...

I know that for certain characters, you already have a voice actor in mind before you cast them (like Ed Asner for Hudson). Now that you've met Crispin Freeman, I was wondering if you've considered him for the voice of any particular character in the spinoffs you've planned (in the hopes that they will one day get made).

I actually asked him which character he'd like to voice, and he said Griff (but basically he's a big fan of the "Pendragon" episode itself).

Greg responds...

Well, I love Crispin, now. But I also love Neil Dickson, so Crispin's not getting Griff.

To be honest, I haven't thought that far out. Or at least that way. But now you've got me thinking...

Hmmmm....

Response recorded on July 20, 2001

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Lord Sloth writes...

What part did Roddy McDowell play in Gargoyles?

Greg responds...

Proteus.

Response recorded on July 20, 2001

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Blaise writes...

Hi again!

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

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

Thanks!

Greg responds...

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

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

Response recorded on July 18, 2001

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Lady Leto writes...

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

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

Thanks for your time.

Greg responds...

A combination of factors went into the creation of Vinnie.

In no particular order:

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

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

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

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

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

Response recorded on July 18, 2001

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John writes...

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

Greg responds...

John,

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

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

Response recorded on July 11, 2001

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Sloth writes...

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

Greg responds...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Response recorded on July 10, 2001

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Basilisk writes...

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

Greg responds...

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

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

Response recorded on July 09, 2001

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John writes...

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

Greg responds...

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

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

Response recorded on July 06, 2001

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John writes...

Hi Greg,

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

Greg responds...

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

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

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

Response recorded on July 02, 2001

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Yttrium writes...

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

---Ytt

Greg responds...

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

Ask me some other time. Or come to G2002.

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

Response recorded on July 02, 2001

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Demoness writes...

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

Greg responds...

No. Or at least largely no.

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

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

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

Response recorded on July 02, 2001

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Punchinello writes...

Hello Mr. Weisman.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Punchinello

Greg responds...

Thank you for writing. It certainly gets me thinking.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Response recorded on July 02, 2001

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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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