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CONTEST UPDATE

Six left:

74
129
510
517
518
519


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More on villains...

Fred Schaefer was still working on villains. We had one great art card of Goliath confronting an insect-like robot scaling a building. Those of you who have seen the final pitch at a Gathering have seen it. I'm guessing -- cuz I don't remember for sure -- that the art came first and that Fred was writing up info based on that. But it's possible it's the other way around. Anyway, we were still working on Catscan (the proto-Talon/proto-Sevarius). We were looking for Catscan's real name. Fred's picks seemed too goofy to me, which is why my initial impression of the name Sevarius was negative. Too hokey. Now I'm used to it.

As for the robot, it never appeared in the actual series, but I liked the "Scarab" name and made it (at least unofficially) the name of Xanatos' robotics company.

RECEIVED BY
JAN 29 1992
GREG WEISMAN'S OFFICE
THE GARGOYLE -- VILLAINS
(Schaefer 1-29-92)

DISTRIBUTION: Cranston, Fair, Felix, Guler, Kline, Krisel, Ryan, Stones, Weisman

CAT SCAN -- Thumbnail Sketch

CAT Scan is a ruthless mutant [I altered "mutant" to read "mutate"] -- part man, part panther -- who was once a dedicated scientist working for our master villain, Xavier. The victim of a grisly lab accident, he was forced to abandon his life as a scientist and become one of Xavier's most deadly weapons.

Too bad for our nocturnal Gargoyle who can't hide from the doctor's panther-like night vision and power blasts.

Alternative (non-code) names for CAT SCAN

Dr. Rapier
Dr. Havelock
Dr. Skulk
Dr. Lurk
Dr. Jag
Dr. Panzer
Dr. Pincer
Dr. Sinew
Dr. Jag Sinew
Dr. Flint Kragmore
[I wrote "Too Silly" next to all these names.]

(Does it make sense to give this character a tough, evil sounding name, when he doesn't begin as a villain? He's a dedicated scientist who later gets screwed by Xavier. He's mortified over his metamorphosis and becomes very bitter and dangerous.) [Next to this paragraph I wrote: "Think SOUND like we did w/Cade & Togo, Not Words." Cade & Togo were two characters from another show we were developing set in a virtual reality world.]

THE ROBOT -- (A Possible) Thumbnail Sketch

Part insect. Part crustacean. All machine. It's an indestructible robot that's been developed by Tech-Pod Industries (whatever). It's controlled via remote from corporation headquarters. It can scale buildings using its powerful front claws and, although massive in weight, can leap from building to building with amazing ease. Deadly. Relentless. Inexhaustible.

A termite eats through wood -- this baby eats through stone, steel, and glass. Can draw blood from a gargoyle. [I wrote "GOOD" under this.]

Possible names for the robot:

SCARAB [I put "++++" next to this, indicating that I liked the name.]
THE KRAW
THE LOCUST
THE CUSP
DECAPOD ["+++" by this one.]
DECAPODA
DECAPITATOR (because of its massive front claws)
THORAXIAN
THE TECH-POD

The Robotics Organization---(A Possible) Thumbnail Sketch

This corporation is involved in the cutting edge of robotics. Some of its divisions are clandestine, particularly the one that's a member of the Business Alliance of Infra-world Technology (B.A.I.T.). The Alliance is a [sic] underground network of weapons facilities and research labs that sells technology to worldwide crime syndicates.

Possible names for the robotics organization:

SCARAB MACHINES
SCARABEOUS, INC.
KRAY-BOTICS
KRAW-BOTICS
LOCUST, INC.
BIOCHINE, INC.
HUMACHINES, INC.
HUMECHANICS, INC.
ANTHRO-TECH, INC.
TECH-POD INDUSTRIES

[Next to all this "Robotics organization" material, I wrote: "fine don't need it now" Indicating that we wouldn't use the organization for the pitch. Just the robot itself.]


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QUEUE'S EMPTY...

Here's a contest update.

The following blanks remain unfilled:

74
129
293
446
510
517
518
519

Only eight left, though it seems like people have really slowed down on guessing. The funny thing is that none of these are particularly series-specific. I never would have predicted that any of these would have been the last to go. Some of them, frankly, seem kind of obvious to me, but of course, I'm coming from a very different perspective. In hindsight, that last set of three may really be tough because there's less context.

But anyway, keep at it. I want this over with.


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Chapter XX: "Eye of the Beholder"

Written by Steve Perry. Story Edited by Michael Reaves.

It's really just a coincidence that we watched this so close to Halloween (11-2-00). I wasn't trying for that. This was just the next episode in the sequence. Still, when I mentioned before we started that this was the Halloween episode of Gargoyles, the kids got very excited. Erin pointed at the framed cell we have in our bedroom which depicts Goliath and La Belle Elisa dancing. She remembered that it came from the episode we were about to watch. Benny then commented that Elisa and Goliath are going to get married. Erin, who has a clearer memory of the last time we completed the 66 episode sequence corrected him. But I said something cryptic, like you never know. Erin said I needed to make more episodes so that we could find out. From her mouth to God's ears.

In general, the kids were very verbal during this episode, or at least Erin was. Benny started out verbal, but fell asleep with his mom rubbing his tummy somewhere during Act One.

In the opener, a classic scene I think, when he first saw Xanatos and Fox together he said: "That was you, Erin. I was him." in reference to the Fox and Xanatos costumes they wore to the Gathering 2000's masquerade.

Erin really bought into the tension of the episode. And it is very tense. Some terrific pacing to this. She remembered this one with much greater clarity than most. "Uh oh. That's not just any necklace." Etc. Personally, I just love Xanatos' pragmatic proposal. The truth is X should have already known that he was truly in love with Fox. I've just done some research into sentencing while working on and reworking my Gargoyle timeline. Fox & Wolf each received a 16 month sentence for briefly holding that model hostage in "Thrill of the Hunt". They had the opportunity to be parolled after eight months. They were rejected. Instead of waiting a mere eight more months for them to be released free and clear, an impatient Xanatos sets up the events in "Leader of the Pack". Is that a man in love or what? Nevertheless, we get his whole "We're genetically compatible and have the same goals" speech. She asks about love, and he feels himself largely incapable of the emotion. He thinks he's too amoral for that. "I think we love each other as much as two people like us can." (Or something like that. I'm approximating all these quotations.) It's fun.

Then comes the sequence in Mr. Jaffe's store. Erin is still very tense: "Uh oh, that's Fox. She's wearing the necklace." and "She wants to stop it [the necklace] with one arm. But she doesn't want to with the other." Here, Erin's hit right on Fox's internal conflict. Part of her is fighting the Eye, but part of her wants to surrender to its power. When X first confronts her in her bedroom, and when the Werefox emerges and attacks, it doesn't shred him. It throws him down on the bed. There's some powerful primal energy swirling 'round that room. Lucky thing Owen is there, or I'm not sure Xanatos escapes with his dignity intact.

Xanatos takes note and activates Plan A, which will be followed by B and C. And a makeshift D. It becomes almost a parody of all his contingencies and "Xanatos Tags" from previous episodes. For once, he's out of control. And he can't bear to admit it. He pretends (even to himself) that he just needs to recover the valuable Eye of Odin, when what he obviously really wants is to save Fox. "...I'd never have just given it away. Ah, well, spilled milk." (I always thought that was a great and yet feeble cover for his real feelings.)

Speaking of the Eye, how many knew back when it was intro'd in "The Edge" that it would be so important? As I think I've mentioned, the Eye was actually the creation of Disney Interactive which was working on a GARGOYLES VIDEO GAME at the time. They told us about the Eye, and I loved the idea and decided to incorporate it into the show. Unfortunately, we didn't use their design, which had this great crow/raven theme to it, appropriate to Odin. Instead, our design always looked vaguely Egyptian to me. I can't remember, but I think that maybe they're design wasn't ready when we needed to complete our model for "The Edge". Or it might have been poor communication. The Eye was designed at Walt Disney Animation - Japan. At any rate, we knew from the gamer folk that the Eye had metamorphic powers. But I wanted to be more specific. Yes, it would grant power, but it had to grant power that suited the legend of Odin's Eye. The Eye traditionally provided Mimir with the gift of sight. That easily translated to "insight" for me. Which is a kind of power in its own right. The Eye in the Gargoyles Universe would externalize and amplify a major trait of the wearer. And, yes, even then I had plans to eventually intro Odin himself and have him stick the thing back in his empty socket.

I think that shot from inside the elevator shaft when Fox smashes her way in is very cool.

Owen with an Elvis tribute: "Fox has left the building."

CONTINUITY
--The Eye of Odin, of course.

--Mr. Jaffe's poor grocery store.

--X's commando squad (including Bruno) is at the ready, yet still unprepared for the Werefox's fury.

--Since "The Mirror", Goliath is more open about his growing feelings for Elisa. She again defuses things by turning his concerns for her into a more objective statement about friendship.

--Goliath is back in the library. This time studying Werewolves. The information won't be useful, but isn't that just like him?

--Elisa immediately jumping to the conclusion that the were-thing is another of Xanatos' mutated victims like her brother.

HALLOWEEN - The trio are very excited to be able to stroll into the open. "No one'll know who we are." Better yet, "No one will know WHAT we are." The taste of conformity they got in "The Mirror" has opened a window on their need to be a part of something larger than the clan.

Another cool visual: Fox and Goliath circling each other, with Fox on all fours.

I love when Goliath tries to reason with Fox. "If Xanatos is your enemy, then believe me, WE are your friends." How little he knows. The Werefox immediately attacks him. Still conflicted. Throughout the story, Fox fights, but the Eye reasserts.

Time for Plan C. But Owen has noticed the flaw in Xanatos' usually stellar power of contingency. X claims that all he cares about is the Eye. But he's only setting things up so that the gargs will get the eye. Subconsciously, all he wants is Fox. But we have Goliath arrive and interrupt just at that moment so that neither X or the audience has time to focus on the contradicition.

X breaks down. Appeals to Goliath. He's out of control. Up to a point. ("Old habits die hard -- he still has the forsight to plant a bug on Goliath ala "Awakening, Part Three".

Gotta love Goliath's line: "Not a good night for you." It's great as a writer when you can legitimately turn the tables and give Goliath a Xanatos line.

HALLOWEEN 2
Broadway REALLY wanted to dress up as a Detective. So he's got a new trenchcoat and hat. Brooklyn, ever the swashbuckler, is a pirate. And Lex... hmm... what should we make Lex. We settled on a pilot, in keeping with his helicopter prowess, I guess. But it was never too clear what Lex would or should be, and I can't help thinking that Lex had trouble deciding on a costume too.

Of course, Goliath doesn't wear a costume.

Vinnie has a line here. Though officially, it's not Vinnie's first appearance, this one line of Jeff Bennett spoken dialogue "A costume over a costume." is the obvious inspiration for all that followed with the Vinster.

And I love Keith as that witch saying "That is a great, great costume." What a great, great line reading.

BEAUTY & THE BEAST. Finally, we get to hit the nail on the head. A moment so romantic (in a very romantic episode) that even the characters take note. Elisa lets her self go for a moment. Goliath just is. The kids are happy for them.

But "Things are not always as they seem". Goliath breaks the moment by attacking a guy in a werewolf costume.

Note: That Goliath now refers to Manhattan as "My castle, my city." A year earlier (more or less) he was calling it Xanatos' city. I love the notion that Goliath sees hope in Xanatos LOVING someone. And of course, he's right. Xanatos' love for Fox (and later Alex) will result in Goliath getting the castle back. Not war, but love.

Brooklyn and Lex finally get to eat pretzyls. Remember that in Awakening, Broadway ate them all. Meanwhile Broadway eat's a hot dog and BELCHES MIGHTILY. This was really more about all of us indulging ourselves in low humor. We put the burp into the script. Bill Fagerbakke burped loudly. But our sound effects guy Paca Thomas, put in the burp to end all burps.

CONTINUITY AGAIN
--Lex gets very intense (briefly) and wants to go after FOX. He still hates anything or anyone connected to his Pack experience.

--The return of Brendan & Margot.

Gotta love Elisa's costume. Holster for a garter belt. Very sexy. Solved our nudity problem with Fox too. I'm amazed we got away with that.

In a larger sense, I'm amazed we got away with the entire episode. I was very nervous that the notion of X and Fox getting engaged would be rejected. But the BIG BOSSES didn't focus on the fact that the engagement might lead to marriage. And fortunately, they weren't paying attention when that engagement led to marriage, pregnancy and a kid. I don't think they would have allowed it.

I could have done without Broadway eating his hat.

Fox's internal conflict is visualized when she sees Elisa as herself and attacks to silence that human voice inside her once and for all.

When, in slow motion, Goliath intercepts Fox and saves Elisa (who's usually fairly self-sufficient) it may be the purest moment of Hero saving damsel we have in the series. The dress helps of course.

A little HIGHLANDER inspiration here with Fox and the exploding sign.

I love that Owen's right there with the helicopter.

X is still trying to interpret things to suit his old (and dated) world view. He thinks Goliath is trading the Eye for Fox, which of course he wasn't. Goliath doesn't think that way.

"Now you know my weakness."
"Only you would consider love a weakness."
"You've never looked more heroic."
"A momentary lapse, I assure you."

All great lines.

Let's go home.

And Owen, who signed on BECAUSE Fox and Xanatos were so interesting to the Puck, SMILES.

And now a word about the episode from Erin Sydney Weisman (she typed this herself):

I am most interested in this episode. And the episode I watched was a spooky episode. And I liked the episode, because it was a very enchanting episode.


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MARINA SIRTIS

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

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

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

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

UPDATES!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We hope to see YOU in Los Angeles next June!


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CONTEST UPDATE

The following blanks remain to be filled:

42
44
74
129
293
446
510
517
518
519

Down to the last ten.


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Still trying to find focus...

Again, I went to work on putting a pitch together on the series. Now again called "GARGOYLES" instead of "The Gargoyle". I was still stuck on the poignancy of the proto-Goliath having been alive and alone for the thousand years, something that we'd eventually trade over to Demona, where it sat better.

GARGOYLES Mini-pitch
(Weisman / 1-29-92)

We all think we know what GARGOYLES are. Ugly, stone statues squatting on the rooves of old buildings...
(Card 1: trio.)

But a thousand years ago, gargoyles were real, living creatures.

At night, they were the kings defenders.
Led by the Gargoyle-Master...
(Card 2: The Gargoyle.)
All the gargoyle warriors and squires would guard the castle from attack.

Everyday, they slept. Frozen in stone on the ramparts.
(Card 3: Stone.)

The one day the castle was overrun. Sacked. The people dragged away in chains. Most of the gargoyle warriors were destroyed.

The Gargoyle-Master took full responsiblity.

As punishment, a wizard layed a curse on him. He said, "Your job was to safeguard the people of this castle.
You failed. Now you will guard this empty relic alone, until it rests in the clouds."

Now, that's the kind of curse that's designed to last forever.

And our tragic hero does in fact guard the castle alone for a thousand years.

The few young gargoyles who survived the attack stay frozen in stone both night and day.

The Gargoyle-Master despairs.

Then the castle is purchased by an American.
It is moved to the top of a sky-scraper in Manhattan.
(Card 4: Castle on skyscraper.)

...Where it rests in the clouds; the curse is lifted.

And the Gargoyle is no longer alone...

He meets a young police detective who can see past his ugly form.
(Card 5: Detective.)

She offers him hope, a sense of purpose.
(Card 6: Moonlight.)

Together they'll fight tough villains...
(Card 7 & 8: Catscan and the robot.)

...and try to keep the newly awakened young gargoyles out of trouble.


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NEW CONTEST UPDATE

NOTE:

The two contests are now for

1) Who gets the most points for filling in the most blanks.

2) Who fills in the very LAST blank. (Not #525 which has already been filled in, but the last empty unfilled blank, whatever number that is).

We're no longer going to award a prize for reprinting the whole essay filled in. I'll do that (for free) when we're done.

The following blanks still need to be filled:

42, 44, 74, 129, 233, 292, 293, 408, 446, 510, 517, 518, 519

That's only thirteen left.


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CONTEST UPDATE

The following blanks remain to be filled:

42, 44, 74, 125, 129, 133, 134, 233, 244, 292, 293, 314, 322, 327, 328, 408, 433, 444, 446, 490, 508, 510, 517, 518, 519.

That's only 25 left out of 525. Very good work, people.

Now the "bad" news. I'm cancelling the second part of the contest, the part where the first person to list the entire essay correctly gets a prize. I apologize, but the whole thing just became unwieldy, and I can't imagine having to go through twenty or thirty of the full-length essays just to find one or two words wrong in them.

Whether or not you think you have enough points to win the other part of the contest, I still urge everyone to keep guessing these last 25 blanks. First of all, I want this monster over. And second, I can't answer ANY questions about 2198 until the contest is completed. And third, well, it's just nice for everyone to be working together to solve the thing.

Thanks,

Greg


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CONTEST UPDATE

The following blanks remain to be filled:

42, 44, 74, 125, 129, 133, 134, 233, 244, 292, 293, 314, 322, 327, 328, 408, 433, 444, 446, 490, 508, 510, 517, 518, 519.

That's only 25 left out of 525. Very good work, people.


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"The Gargoyle" still taking form...

In late January of 1992 we were still searching for our series. Ultimately, we'd return to a more dramatic version of our old comedy development. But here was an earlier version where our proto-Goliath is still an immortal magical construct.

THE GARGOYLE
(Weisman / 1-24-92)

DISTRIBUTION: Cranston, Fair, Felix, Guler, Kline, Krisel, Ryan, Schaefer, Stones

PITCH BREAKDOWN
(Third Pass - Version 1/Backstory...?)

[Please note that the dialogue is just here to show the flow of the pitch. It's not intended to be even a first pass at the correct words.]

1. Typical stone gargoyles. (Perhaps stone versions of our squire characters.)

"We all think we know what GARGOYLES are. Ugly, stone statues squatting on the rooves of old buildings..."

2. OPTIONAL - "Medieval Woodcut" showing gargoyles repelling barbaric invaders from the castle walls.

"But there was a time when gargoyles were real, living creatures. The kings defenders...[or something]..."

3. Modern day, beauty shot of our Gargoyle on top of a skyscraper with the full moon behind him.

"That time has come again."

4. Castle being lowered onto skyscraper by giant airships. Laputaesque. It's sunset.

"Manhattan, 1994. And an ancient scottish castle is the newest addition to the New York skyline."

5. Our FEMALE POLICE DETECTIVE hot on the trail of a major badguy.

"But JANE DOE, New York Police Detective, doesn't have time to worry about that now. She's hot on the trail of a major badguy."

6. She follows him onto a rooftop. But it's an ambush by multiple baddies. (By now it's nighttime.)

7. She's doing o.k. in the fight. Holding her own. But someone's about to nail her from behind. And from another rooftop, someTHING is watching in the shadows.

8. Reveal THE GARGOYLE, as he dives into fray from above.

9. Gargoyle lifts a badguy with either hand. While a third shoots at him, the bullets glancing off his stone-like hide. (Basic demonstration of his strength and invulnerability.)

10. OPTIONAL - Then he's gone, as quickly as he came. Leaving her to wonder.

11. OPTIONAL - But she's a born detective, innately curious. Tracks him down. They meet. Quiet moment. He'll tell her his story.

12. 1000 years ago, EVIL WIZARD creates our very menacing GARGOYLE. (Does Gargoyle have a name?) Wizard is perverting a gargoyle's true protective function, wants Gargoyle to destroy the near-by castle of the good princess.

13. PRINCESS (does she look like our detective?) convinces Gargoyle to fight for good and not evil. Touches his heart.

14. Gargoyle prepared to fight for Princess...just as the sun begins to rise. (Castle folk open gates to let Gargoyle out?)

15. Gargoyle turns to stone at rise of sun. (As the wizard's army attacks thru open gates?)

16. Sunset. The castle has been sacked. The princess is gone. Our Gargoyle is heartbroken. (More TRAGIC than pathetic.) He's failed.

17. The years pass. He haunts the ruined castle. Howling in front of the full moon?? Years spent in solitude.

18. Occasional forays into humanity? (Stealing books from library?) (World War II? Ripping the wings off a German plane?)

19. Back in present, he tells Detective how all he has left is isolation and futility. Nothing for him in this world. Nothing for 1000 years.

20. But now there's her. She offers him hope, a sense of purpose. And real human friendship. If he sees humanity as an unchanging blight on the planet, she sees humanity as an unending source of potential. She is not naive. She's a cop. She's seen good men corrupted as often as she's seen Bad men redeemed. Working to make things better is the only way they'll get better.

21. From atop the skyscraper, she shows him Manhattan. (Beauty shot of the city in the moonlight.) If Gargoyles are supposed to protect from Barbarians at the gate, then he's found the right town. Manhattan is full of "Barbarians".

22. Gargoyle fighting crime. A mugging? A car full of bank robbers?

23. Escalate. Major villain card. XAVIER perhaps.

24. Escalate. Major villain. One of the Crazies.

25. Escalate. Even tougher villain card. One of the Big Guys. (Gargoyle and Big guy fighting?)

26. Escalate. The toughest villain card. The Wizard in his new incarnation. (Any relation between Xavier and the wizard?)

27. Discussion of mood and tone. Gargoyle in city atmosphere. Emphasize gothic melodrama in very modern setting.

28. Supporting characters. (Other gargoyles, perhaps, or our lead girl's kid? Other cops? The old librarian?)

29. Where does he live? Still in Xavier's tower? With Xavier? The library maybe?

30. Other types of stories?

31. End Card.

Some possible names for our Gargoyle:

Gargoyle
Gar
Griffin
Gryphon
Lear
Calaban
Othello


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Danger!

January of '92 was a busy month for Gargoyles Developers. Tad was working on other projects. Maybe Darkwing Duck (if "LP" below stands for "Launchpad"). But he was still helping us out with advice on our show. As I noted earlier, some of Fred Schaefer's villains were problematic. Too dark even for our series. I tended to agree with Tad about Catscan (the proto-Talon). But we did wind up incorporating a bit of the attitude that Tad was concerned about into Fang. (Which makes Catscan the proto-Talon, proto-Sevarius and proto-Fang all rolled into one.)

[2] From: Tad Stones 1/17/92 8:25AM (712 bytes: 11 ln)
To: Greg Weisman
Subject: Cat-scan

------------------------------- Message Contents -------------------------------

Read the villain stuff on Cat Scan. Considering I'm getting notes from Michael Webster about cutting scenes that show LP littering, and GK is worried about doing gags about coffee and showing a gorilla wearing a dress ... do you really want to portray a character who's pumped up by violence, who says he's never felt more alive than when he was fighting?

Even though he's a villain, he's attractive because he's smart and powerful. I think this guy is over the line, however fuzzy that line is.


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CHAPTER XIX: "The Silver Falcon"

It's been awhile, but I watched "The Silver Falcon" with my kids the other night, so here's my ramblings on the episode:

This was Cary Bate's first GARGOYLES script as writer and story editor. And it feels very Cary to me. The love of old movies. The twisty-turny detective story, etc. But the main thing I remember is that Cary consciously wanted to start out slow. Not to have to be immediately fluent in each and every member of our large cast. So we focused this on Elisa and Broadway.

CONTINUITY:

Broadway likes b&w genre flicks. First SHOWDOWN. Now this detective film.

Elisa keeps her gun in a lockbox now.

Broadway hates Dracon, but can't immediately place Glasses.

Broadway is extremely protective of Elisa.

Broadway has trouble reading, but he's clearly been studying.

Dracon now has a white streak in his hair. This was primarily done because I thought Tony's model looked too bland. But it made for some cool continuity, given how frightened he was in "Deadly Force". I actually had a brief weird notion to also give Glasses that white streak, but fortunately decided against that weird coincidence.

FUN LINES:

"Ears like these don't miss much."

"This is for my apartment, jerk!"

Picking up on Michael Reaves' suggestion that Matt is a conspiratorialist, we lay the groundwork for the Illuminati's eventual surfacing -- while simultaneously leave it open here to still think that Matt is way off base. Still Martin Hacker is intro'd here. He helps Matt out this time, because he knows the DD angle is a dead end Illuminati-wise. Mace is also mentioned and we see a photo of him. I already knew we'd be bringing back Hacker and meeting Mace soon enough. I knew they were both Illuminati.

Matt's FBI background is also revealed here for the first time. I always like filling in the blanks on characters we think we know.

We into Pal Joey here. Primarily, because Glasses made too BIG of an impression in Deadly Force. We needed someone that the audience (and Elisa and Broadway) wouldn't immediately recognize as a Dracon flunkee. Glasses (his name, his design and Rocky Carroll's performance in what was designed to be a throw-away role) made a strong impression on all of us. Maybe, it's the Owen syndrome. But I always wanted to do more with Glasses.

When Elisa heads for Matt's apartment, we weren't supposed to know it was Broadway hiding on Matt's balcony. The idea was to have multiple levels of suspence. A man in a ski-mask (Joey) ransacking Matt's place. Another man in a trenchcoat watching him from the balcony. Elisa about to enter. Who's on who's side? But instead, it's obvious from moment one that it's Broadway in the coat and on the balcony. Undercutting the suspense instead of expoiting it.

Where did Broadway get that trenchcoat on such short notice? Obviously, it was his Halloween costume. And obviously, since this coat wound up getting destroyed, he had to rush out and get a new one for Halloween.

The trenchcoat and hat is a tribute of sorts to Ben Grimm, alias Thing of the Fantastic Four. The oversized guy in the trenchcoat and hat was a Kirby trademark. Also that moment at the end, where Broadway knocks Tony out by simply flicking him with his finger a couple times. That was very Thing.

Elisa nearly shoots Broadway by accident, while he's pursuing Joey in the hallway at Matt's apartment building. It's a nice moment. And loaded with potential irony.

Originally, Benton and DD were two different people. Development Associate (now Story Editor/Writer) Eddie Guzelian suggested making them one and the same to add a last complication to the story. You can see that at the end. Matt deals with Pal Joey -- in a kismet kind of retaliation for the destruction of Matt's apartment. Broadway deals with Dracon, paralleling the old movie we saw at the beginning. And the story seems to be over. (Which originally it was.) Broadway even says: "Case closed." But then Elisa still has a villain to face. Dominic Dracon. Brought back to tie up loose ends, and add one more twist. Now my question is, how many people guessed that DD and Benton were one and the same? Cuz originally they weren't.

I'd have liked a little more visual clarity on the "Falcons" where the jewels were hidden. I'd have liked it better if they had been BLACK with grime and city soot. Then I'd have liked to have seen them shine like silver when Elisa does her quick polish act at the end. It basically works, but the clarity isn't quite their. Because the falcons are neither very black when dirty nor very silver when clean.

Finally, we made clear in this episode that the Gargoyles transformation to and from stone was really driven by an internal clock, not the sun itself, as Broadway turns to stone while underground. This was done, at least in part, to try and make it clearer that the gargs were not magical creatures but a mortal, biological species.


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Developments converge...

Having gotten very far afield, we began to re-incorporate our old comedy development into our new drama. Demona, Ralph (proto-Hudson) and "Lassie, Belushi, Goslyn" (proto-Trio) are back in the show. The Master-Gargoyle (proto-Goliath) is no longer a magical creation but the leader of a different species. We've still got him living through the thousand years -- something we'd eventually give over to Demona -- but we're getting closer to where we want to be.

The following document is notes written up after a development meeting. I'm guessing the write-up is by Fred Schaefer, but I'm not sure.

RECEIVED BY
JAN 20 1992
GREG WEISMAN'S OFFICE

GARGOYLE: Notes from meeting 1/16/92
GK, GW, KF

The Gargoyle pitch needs to show the Master gargoyle as sympathetic and exciting. Need to emphasize empathy, emotion, heart and humor in series. Open in the city and flashback to brief backstory? (No mention of princess or wizard. Optional Messerschmitt card.)

Long ago there were lots of gargoyles - not millions, but thousands, all over the world. They were killed in vast numbers by humans because they were ugly, powerful, and too hard to control, although they did protect the humans by night. By day, the gargoyles sleep. A protective crust covers them, and this is shed when they wake up as the last rays of the sun disappear. Gargoyles are instinctually protective and territorial. They are not impervious to bullets, it hurts when they get shot, but bullets bounce off their thick skins. Lasers and bombs do not.

Master Gar has lived 1000 years. He tried to save as many gargoyles as he could from extinction. Put them to sleep? Has been waiting until for a time that is safe to awaken them. Detective convinces him now is the time, they're needed?

Master Gargoyle lives in the locked attic rotunda of a large downtown municipal building. Lots of arches, arched windows and outside entrances. Gar had to leave his old haunt, now owned by evil Xavier. Female police detective has key to rotunda. (Some stories with janitor accidentally coming in. Lots of boxes, some of the boxes are a door?)

CAST:

Master Gargoyle (1) - Educated, sad, world-weary.

Girl detective (1) has seen a lot, but not totally cynical. Still believes there's some good in humans.

Gargoyle Warriors (1 - Demona) - adult, vicious brutes

Gargoyle Elders (1 - Ralph) old gargoyle warrior, caretaker of the apprentices.

Apprentice/squire gargoyles (3 - Lassie, Belushi, Goslyn) - young (teen), playful, uneducated, emulate the Master.

Villains - (3 - Xavier, Cat Scan, 1 other (a gargoyle warrior?)

Need to stay away from a fatherly relationship between our Master Gargoyle and the little gargoyles.


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CONTEST UPDATE

These forty-one blanks remain unanswered:

42, 44, 74, 76, 125, 129, 133, 134, 233, 235, 236, 238, 241, 244, 254, 290, 292, 293, 306, 307, 314, 322, 327, 328, 333, 335, 408, 409, 420, 433, 444, 446, 450, 455, 490, 507, 508, 510, 517, 518, 519.

That's more than I thought, but still not that many left, considering.


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Enter "The Sculptor"...

I don't know who came up with this guy. There's no name on it. The character as described here was too horrific for the tone of our show, but touches of him survived. In Coldstone particularly. But also in Jackal and Hyena. Particularly in that fantasy sequence where Jackal "redesigns" Goliath in THE GREEN.

[Read by GDW on 1/15/91]

GARGOYLES: Villains

THE SCULPTOR: Was a well-known eccentric artist until shark attack. Now he sculpts his victims as he was sculpted by shark. "You'd be surprised how many body parts you can do without." [Next to these first few sentences, I wrote: "Yikes".] Lives in a dim, open, downtown loft. Carefully chooses his victims, stalks them, kidnaps them and takes them to the loft for "redesigning." He's missing a right foot, a left hand, a left ear, a lower right arm, a chunk from his left thigh, and his nose. He's replaced his missing parts with cybernetics, giving him super-human (machine) strength and endurance in those parts (maybe he can run super fast or for long distances, super hearing, one strong hand for crushing, etc.). The nose just looks nasty.


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I'm back... and so is Catscan...

Hi. I'm back from my sojourn in Louisiana (hi Green Baron). And it's time to continue our reprinting of old development documents from the show...

This one features two villains, Catscan & Shard, that were created by Fred Schaefer, who coincidentally traveled with me in New Orleans this past week. Catscan would eventually split into Sevarius and Talon. Shard would fade away -- too violent and without enough imagination or flare to make the cut.

[Read: GDW 1/15]

THE GARGOYLE -- VILLAINS
(Schaefer 1-13-92)

DISTRIBUTION: Cranston, Fair, Felix, Guler, Kline, Krisel, Ryan, Stones, Weisman

CAT SCAN -- Part man; part panther. Has a muscular, taut, and sleek body. Walks upright most of the time, but can hit some whopping speeds on all fours. His powerful hind legs allow him to leap from one rooftop to another. He also has x-ray night vision, which is capable of duplicating objects (living or non-living) in 3-D. He uses these convincing (if short-lived) holograms as decoys to fool his enemies. He's highly dangerous (razor-sharp claws and teeth), and can kill very quickly. [Greg wrote: "Fitting the name/ May not fit origin" beside this paragraph.]

FIRST EPISODE INTRODUCING CAT SCAN

Dr. Grun is a shamelessly ambitious scientist doing top secret research on vision -- human vs. animal -- for Xavier's corporation. Xavier is involved in developing a highly-advanced "night vision" for jets and a new revolutionary decoy device using holograms. Unfortunately, Dr. Grun's experiments requires an enormous amount of animal research. Mostly on wild cats.

One day, an animal rights group infiltrated his lab. [I underlined this sentence and wrote "Makes them villians".] A violent clash ensues; Dr. Grun accidentally receives a massive dose of his own newly developed x-ray, a controversial device that melds CAT Scan technology with genetics. [I circled "CAT" and wrote "abbreviation has nothing to do w/Cats."] He's hospitalized in Xavier's in-house medical center.

Dr. Grun's body begins to undergo some drastic and extremely painful mutations. Slowly, he turns into a panther/human. He becomes angry, bitter, self-denigrating -- his career as a scientist is over! [I wrote: "Why"] Xavier becomes angry (and sickened by Grun's pathetic self-loathing; remember, powerlessness is Xavier's biggest fear); he reprimands Dr. Grun, telling him that he has acquired skills that no other human possesses. He is powerful and dangerous. Xavier wants to recruit him in his villain team.

At first, Dr. Grun is mortified. The life of a criminal is no substitute for the intellectual life of a scientist! Indignant, Dr. Grun storms out of Xavier's headquarters. That night, while wandering through dark back alleys, Dr. Grun is hounded by a beggar. In a fit of fierce anger (coupled with his feelings of frustration and self-revulsion) he lashes out and attacks the man. The Gargoyle comes to the man's rescue. He and Dr. Grun battle. Dr. Grun escapes.

Safe from the Gargoyle, Dr. Grun reflects on the violence. Surprisingly, he admits that he's never felt more vigorous in his entire life. Pumped up. visceral. ALIVE!!!! (He returns to Xavier as the self-proclaimed CAT Scan, and joins his team.)

THE SECOND EPISODE FEATURING CAT SCAN
[I crossed this out and added an arrow to the paragraph below to move it up with the previous.]

CAT Scan confronts the Gargoyle while trying to pull off one of Xavier's crimes. CAT Scan has been waiting for this moment ... a chance to face his very first opponent again. Only this time, he's more powerful and more skillful at using his CAT Scan vision. It's a tough, grueling fight.
CAT Scan loses, but not by much. He vows to get even. The score is not settled.

THE THIRD EPISODE FEATURING CAT SCAN

CAT Scan discovers that the raid on his lab a long time ago was a hoax perpetrated by Xavier himself. It was no accident that Dr. Grun was dosed by the replicating device. Xavier's rationale was: who better to understand and deal with the psychological stress of becoming a panther than a man who's studied wild cats all his life. A man who understands the physical effects of genetic mutations and the capabilities of the advanced CAT Scan x-rays. Dr. Grun was simply a tool ... and now he's a freak. An enslaved freak. He decides to kill Xavier.

The Gargoyle now finds himself in the odd position of protecting Xavier from CAT Scan. In the end, though, CAT Scan is defeated again.

HERE'S ANOTHER ONE ...

SHARD -- Randall Craig is a New York window cleaner. He's a large man, and yet has an amazing sense of balance; his bulk belies his agility. He's comfortable scaling skyscrapers and definitely not afraid of heights. Some of his coworkers think he's a little too casual on the job.

Although bulky, he's really a shy, somewhat innocent-looking man. A man who's hiding a deep secret: he has an uncontrollable violent streak in him that's triggered when he's being mocked, condescended to, or is ridiculed. Unfortunately, his co-workers make fun of him all the time, but he resists smashing their skulls in because he doesn't want to get fired. [By this section, I wrote: "We all feel this way".] He internalizes his rage and late at night releases it on innocent victims on the streets of New York. [By this I wrote: "can't be to [sic] uncontrollable".]

One day on the job, he cracks up. He crashes through the window of an office tower and beats the [expletive delted] out of an executive who he thought was mocking him as he worked. The broken glass severely scars his face. He's fired.

Plastic surgery can correct the damage, but he decides that he ' likes his new look -- the scars, covering most of his face, resemble a shattered mirror or window. [By these last two paragraphs, I wrote: "Won't be able to do this".]

After the incident he becomes a recluse. He always was an outsider, a loner, but now he disappears for a long period of time. When he resurfaces, it's as a maniacal, senseless murderer. Now he has an "occupation" that people will respect ... even fear. It's hard to be condescending the moment before you're murdered!

Shard spends his nights scaling skyscrapers. When-he sees his next victim, he swoops down on a rope and snatches them from the sidewalk. As he climbs up the building (to the rooftop where his crimes are committed), his victims quickly stop struggling. They are so high up, so quickly, that they don't want him to let them go. Unfortunately, they don't know what awaits them on the roof.

At the scene of Shard's crimes (always on the top of skyscrapers, leaving the police puzzled about how the killer and the victim got up there without anyone noticing them), he leaves a shard of glass -- perfectly clean, like a diamond; no fingerprints, no smudges. And as sharp as a knife. His repeated murders make the headlines of the New York Times.

Xavier relishes the mystery and the ferocity of the killer's crimes, so he sends his men out to track him down before the police do: Xavier wants him on his team! [I circled the word "team" and put a question mark beside it.]

One night, Shard swipes one of Xavier's men and begins scaling a skyscraper to the man's final resting place -- on the roof! The Gargoyle tries to save the man (unknowingly saving one of Xavier's henchmen); a high wire fight ensues; Xavier shows up in a helicopter, joins in the battle against the Gargoyle, but all of the villains are defeated... just barely.

Later, Shard is confronted by Xavier who is eager to recruit him. Shard, however, is furious and almost drops Xavier off the side of a building: he doesn't need him; the world doesn't need him; the world has Shard! Xavier, however, is amused with Shard's look on life. He can't help but laugh. Here is a man who understands ego and power! (Of course, Xavier concludes, he's not bright enough to properly use it; that's why he needs Xavier.) Shard thinks Xavier is laughing at him, so he drops him from the building top. Halfway to the ground, Xavier's saved by his helicopter. Undaunted, apparently not even angry that Shard almost killed him, Xavier laughs out loud and vows to recruit Shard one day... one day.

THE SECOND EPISODE FEATURING SHARD

Well, that day comes soon enough. Cut to the action: Shard is trapped; he's going to be captured by the Gargoyle. Only Xavier can save him, but he'll do so only if Shard vows to work for him. Reluctantly, he agrees, and is saved by Xavier, who laughs demonically at his catch. Shard is having second thoughts...

[I wrote: "Xavier doesn't have to be in everything".]


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New Orleans...

I'm heading down to Louisiana tomorrow to do some research and to attend the wedding of former Gargoyles Casting & Voice Director Jamie Thomason to former Gargoyles Talent Coordinator (and now a talented voice director in her own right) Julie Morgavi.

So I won't be on-line for about a week.

Take good care of each other.


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CONTEST UPDATE

Well, we're still answering more apace. Don't know if anyone's keeping track, but by my records here's what still remains unanswered:

17, 42, 44, 67, 68, 74, 75, 76, 108, 124, 125, 127, 129, 133, 134, 148, 214, 225, 226, 227, 233, 235, 236, 238, 241, 244, 253, 254, 256, 290, 292, 293, 306, 307, 313, 314, 321, 322, 326, 327, 328, 333, 335, 336, 356, 395, 404, 408, 409, 410, 420, 421, 433, 444, 446, 447, 450, 455, 472, 490, 502, 506, 507, 508, 510, 517, 518, 519.

Only sixty-eight blanks left out of five hundred twenty-five.

Wow.


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More e-mails: CATMAN

Another e-mail exchange here. This one is from Fred Schaefer who was creating our proto-Talon character. He wanted some background on DC's Catman character. So I gave it to him.

[2] From: Greg Weisman 1/13/92 10:47AM (5292 bytes: 87 ln)
To: Fred Schaefer
bcc: Greg Weisman
Subject: GARGOYLE VILLAIN
------------------------------- Message Contents ------------------------------
[FRED WROTE:]

Greg, I've created a villain (yes, he's big and powerful) called CAT SCAN. Later, I realized that you said avoid silly villains, using Cat Man as an example. What do you know about Cat Man, so I don't duplicate the character? I doubt that I have, though.

fs

[GREG RESPONDED:]
Catman is a batman villain. At his worst, he was just a guy who liked to steal cat related items. The Egyptian Cat god statue or a gold cat with ruby eyes. He was a former big game hunter who took on the identity of Catman when he got bored, I think. He'd use cat-related items to commit crimes, like a cat-o-nine-tails or a Cat-amaran or a catalogue. (I'm not kidding. At this level, he was simply stealing all the sillier aspects of the Catwoman's schtick.)

At his best, he had a couple of other twists that made him a bit more interesting. He had this cape, that he claimed gave him 9 lives. It was left intentionally vague whether he was just lucky to escape all these dangerous situations, or whether because he believed in the cape he had the confidence to survive, or whether the cape actually worked. One time when Batman ripped off part of the cape while Catman was trying to escape, Catman survived jumping thru a "wall" of high temperature steam. The next time he resurfaced, part of his face was scarred (sound familiar) and burnt by the steam. He blamed Batman, and the fact that a piece of the cape was torn. Even after that, it was still intentionally unclear whether he was just lucky to have survived at all, or whether the cape was in some way responsible. Since then writers have often forgotten that story, and Catman has been fairly inconsistent. Plus since he's now been around for many years, he's used up his nine lives (assuming he ever had them), and writers try to beat around that bush as well.

Another interesting element to the character was the rivalry between Catman and Catwoman, with Batman in the middle. Catwoman & Batman have this love-hate thang going. Plus she occasionally tries to go straight for his sake. (In one old story, that is no longer part of the "cannon" of the DC Universe, Batman and Catwoman got married and had a daughter who grew up to become a heroine named "The Huntress".) Catman and Catwoman used to fight over who had the right to the name, etc.

The key thing however is motivation, look and goal. Catman is a good example of a silly villain, because he has no real motivation beyond liking catstuff. No good reason to even like catstuff. His goal of stealing is just the kind of thing cops should handle. He's not dangerous enough. In later stories, his goal became more murderous. He wanted revenge on Batman and/or Catwoman, but that was because they had defeated him while he was just a glorified catburglar. Finally, his look is silly. He wears a mask with little cat ears, and he wears traditional superhero tights and a cape with a "CM" on his chest. I can bring in a shot of him tomorrow if you want.

There you go, more than you ever needed to know about him.

Except this: when I set out to write my Black Canary mini-series, which never got published, I thought that cats would be natural enemies to a canary, so I teamed up Catman with a Wonder Woman villainess called the Cheetah. I gave them a romance, because Cheetah was mentally scarred (i.e. crazy) and Catman's face was scarred by the steam. They loved each other because no one else would. This was done to off-set the fact that Black Canary's love-life (with another superhero named Green Arrow) was stagnant and hollow. "Even the badguys can have a committed relationship." It was the first issue of the four parter which would act as a catalyst for the two heroes to marry. The series was killed, because DC was approached by a very popular artist/writer who wanted to do Green Arrow. But wanted to keep the character single.

There. Now that's really more than you ever needed to know.


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A species is born (again)...

More e-mail. Same day. Tad sends me back word that he can't go to the comic book store, and that I worry too much about Marvel.

But it's clear here that my own thinking is starting to crystalize a bit. I don't want our proto-Goliath to be a cursed/transformed human. In fact, I'm clearly leaning away from him being "created" at all. I'm leaning toward a species with multiple members. I'm bringing it back toward the comedy development but through the dramatic prism.

The Zot! reference below goes like this. I once (more than once actually) tried to get the various companies that I have worked for to option Zot! for animation. Someone once suggested to me that I just create my own Zot!. Obviously I balked at the notion of stealing the essence of someone else's idea. Here on Gargoyles, I felt we had developed something unique and our own. I didn't want, after the fact, to have been accused of stealing someone else's idea. As it turned out, I was accused of that anyway. But at least I could document that it wasn't true.

[20] From: Greg Weisman 1/10/92 11:55AM (1799 bytes: 28 ln)
To: Tad Stones, Mike Ryan, Kathy Fair, Fred Schaefer

cc: Hali Helfgott
bcc: Greg Weisman
Subject: Gargoyle

------------------------------- Message Contents -------------------------------
[TAD WROTE:]
Sorry, I have a lunch today.

I think human to gargoyle is open territory because it's traditional horror transformation and certainly fairy tale stuff. Beauty and the Beast is the direct reference. The fact that both Marvel and DC have those characters shows that it's open territory. Not that I think the human to beast idea is necessarily the way to go.

[GREG RESPONDED:]
Personally, I don't like Human to beast. I feel a) like it's been done to death and b) like no matter how many times he says he can't be cured, you're gonna look for the cure and get frustrated when it doesn't come in a series.

It seems more unique to me if we are creating this new breed. They existed. He may be the only one left, though I might argue both sides of that issue, but it was something that has it's own traditions and mythology. Just another guy transformed ugly, Thing, Hulk, Beast, Beast, Gargoyle, Demon. That doesn't strike me as special.

And I think you underestimate the trouble that Marvel's Gargoyle might give us. We've developed to this character in a natural progression from an original notion. I personally would like to avoid taking turns that would make it look after the fact like we were copying them. It's like the Zot! situation in reverse.


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Whew....

I thought this was gonna be a marathon, but it's turning into a sprint. We're WAY past the halfway point already.

Now I'd just like to facilitate people not posting answers to blanks already filled.

So here -- according to my records -- are the blanks that haven't yet been guessed correctly:

7, 16-17, 19, 22, 42-44, 53, 57-61, 66-68, 72-77, 104, 108, 112, 117, 119, 124-125, 127, 129-130, 133-134, 148, 151, 155, 158, 183, 186, 214, 225-227, 233, 235-236, 238, 241, 244, 253-254, 256, 290, 292-293, 296, 298, 306-314, 316-318, 320-322, 326-328, 332-336, 338, 356, 371, 374, 395, 404, 407-410, 420-421, 433-435, 444, 446-447, 450, 455-456, 464-465, 467, 472, 474, 478-479, 490, 498, 502, 506-510, 517-520.

Only 122 blanks left to fill out of 525.

Like I said, "Whew..."


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More Tad e-mails...

Here's more of the e-mail exchanges between Tad Stones and the development department. Tad reminds me to be more adventurous (in more ways than one).

At the end, I ask if he's "geekin'", which was our word for going to the local comic book shop during lunch hour. (Or was that obvious?)

[3] From: Greg Weisman 1/10/92 11:41AM (1483 bytes: 26 ln)
To: Tad Stones, Mike Ryan, Kathy Fair, Fred Schaefer
cc: Greg Weisman, Hali Helfgott
Subject: Gargoyle

------------------------------- Message Contents -------------------------------

[TAD WROTE:]
We should be careful with any "boy adventure" show we do. We've trained ourselves away from it to such an extent, that it's a kind of release to finally be able to handle different subject matter. You might rush in and put a good, solid show together ... without taking the time to make it special. I'm talking about more than good stories and characters ... we have to take the time to make it different, as different as DuckTales was from other funny animal shows. I think the romance might help give it a special tone.

[GREG'S RESPONSE:]
I don't disagree. And I'd love to have romance. (Sex and Death are the two things I miss from comic books.) I just don't know how much we're allowed to get away with romance-wise. Far from the "release" causing me to leave it out, is the conservative approach that the last two years have taught me.

And by the way, we can't do him as a human cursed to Gargoyle form. Both DC's Demon and Marvel's Gargoyle are humans cursed to monstrous form.

Are you geekin?


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Mike responds to the guru...

Yesterday, I posted Tad Stones' response to our new "THE GARGOYLE" development. Here's staff assistant Mike Ryan's response to Tad.

Coincidentally, I had lunch with Mike yesterday. And he and Tad and I chatted briefly walking over to the Disney commissary.

[2] From: Mike Ryan 1/10/92 8:29AM (907 bytes: 16 ln)
To: Tad Stones, Greg Weisman, Kathy Fair, Fred Schaefer
Subject: Gargoyle
------------------------------- Message Contents ------------------------------
Tad,

It's great to get a "fresh" perspective on this stuff. I was having the same nagging problem with the princess in the backstory, but couldn't quite pin down what the problem was. She really has no place in this show.

I think we sometimes we underestimate [executive] intelligence (you don't hear that statement too often!) and we are overexplaining everything in this pitch. Even if [an executive] doesn't know exactly what gargoyles were created for, he does have an idea of what they are. We can assume that much for all of our audience.

Finally, I agree that we're making a mistake to sidestep the romance.


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CONTEST CORRECTION

Vashkoda pointed out an error:

The clue to 155 should read:

8 letters + "'s"

hopefully that's the first and last mistake I've made.

Sorry. (But I warned you.)


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My guru speaks...

When I started at Disney in 1989, my boss Bruce Cranston was immediately sent to Europe for SIX MONTHS to help open two studios there. That left the entire development department in my hands. And I had been there all of four days. It was a tremendous time for me. I learned a ton. And one of the guys I learned the most from was Tad Stones. We developed DARKWING DUCK together. (Or rather he developed it and I tried to help.) Tad was instrumental in convincing us to switch our comedy development to dramatic action. The idea of a proto-Goliath was really his. I gave him a copy of our latest pitch breakdown (already posted here, check the Archive). Here's his feedback, sent by e-mail.

[2] From: Tad Stones 1/10/92 7:17AM (5251 bytes: 85 ln)
To: Greg Weisman, Kathy Fair, Mike Ryan, Fred Schaefer
Subject: Gargoyle

------------------------------- Message Contents -------------------------------

The latest presentation list looked pretty good. Just a few thoughts:

Don't shy away from romance. It's more than friendship between the girl and gargoyle.

I'd dump the Princess in the backstory. You don't need the parallel to- present day, and it weakens the present day relationship. He loves her for who she is ... not because of a guilt trip in the past or emotional transference.

Backstory: You don't need it except for the tragic betrayal, and that should be simple. Should the wizard literally create the gargoyle? Or is that too godlike? Two thoughts on gargoyle creation: 1) Start the pitch with a drawing of a stone gargoyle... or a photo from Notre Dame. "People think of gargoyles as grotesque decorations left from another age..." Then a medieval woodcut showing a gargoyle tossing knights over castle ramparts. "But there was a time when they were real." Then go to your Manhattan/Gargoyle beauty shot, "That time is today!" Actually, that last line is catchier than it is clear. The point is - don't waste time and art explaining gargoyles any more than you'd explain dinosaurs. They were demonic creatures. Period. I got it. Unless you tell me different, I'll assume there were all sorts, good and bad. You can go into all sorts of backstory in the two hour movie but it's not necessary for the pitch. There was the "king" of the gargoyles who protected the castle of Arthur (or whoever) but he was set up (framed) by the evil wizard. The walls of Camelot were breached and the Gargoyle is seen as a betrayer. Merlin has him sleep a petrified slumber as punishment. "You failed to guard it this night. Then you shall guard it for all eternity!!" As simple as possible, probably avoid using names because that complicates it.

2) He was human and framed. His punishment was a spell of petrification. But this spell has no cure, no princess's kiss or beauty's love will change him back.

The sunlight/sleep aspect of the gargoyle could be saved for a explanation of powers/weaknesses in the present day.

Art: Lose cards #2, 3 (redundant), 5 (seems like the gargoyle is taking action while the castle is still being lowered), 9 (one action card, not three. The guy has wings so I assume he can fly. Have him about to toss a truck while bullets bounce off him - show scared crooks and the cop amazed in the BG), 10 (for now - you can add it later if you need it), 12-18 (Simplify as discussed. WWII stuff fun but I'm not sure what it adds to the pitch. Isn't it more special that he hasn't helped until now - because of the love of the girl?) 19 and 20 (What kind of visual could Bob possibly draw. Pitch gets preachy and deadly) 21 (The "beauty shot" aspect fights what she's saying - Modify. Make it a poster, city as castle. It's the hook of the show, design this card as a showpiece.) 22 (We've already seen this when he saved her), 27 (redundant - if they don't have it by now, give up.) 28 through 30 (If you have great ideas on this stuff, add them. Is there a way to make them as fun as the crockery in Beauty and the Beast without making them gargoyles? Put your time in the villains. That's what Hasbro and the boy audience will be interested in. Supporting characters should be developed by the story editor anyway, not needed for the pitch.)

One last thought: He is the only gargoyle. No goofy gargoyles. No evil gargoyles (except MAYBE late in the series). Keep him special and unique one against the world - that's the gothic/heroic/tragic/romantic element. Don't diffuse it.

Put the pitch together without the art cards I've noted and write a pitch. Only then should you put the shackles on Bob to do the "Would be nice if you have the time" stuff. You might find you want completely different shadings. But run it by GK/JK [Gary Krisel and Jeffrey Katzenberg] before you go farther. Consider painting/airbrushing card 21 - the poster.

Neat stuff. Wish you had more time.


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G-2198 CONTEST CLUES

Here are the promised clues. Most of them are incredibly straight forward. Blank #1 for example is an 8-letter word. A few are fancier. But not very. The last two words (524 & 525) are clueless. Didn't want to make it too easy.

And, yes, I am a bit evil. But just a bit. Between the contextual help and these clues, I don't think it'll be too hard.

1. - 8 letters
2. - 3 letters
3. - 4 letters
4. - 3 letters
5. - 7 letters
6. - 5 letters
7. - 6 letters
8. - 6 letters
9. - 5 letters
10. - 5 letters
11. - 4 letters
12. - 6 letters
13. - 5 letters
14. - 5 letters
15. - 6 letters
16. - 8 letters
17. - 8 letters
18. - 2 letters
19. - 4 letters
20. - 4 letters
21. - 4 letters
22. - 7 letters
23. - 9 letters
24. - 5 letters
25. - 10 letters
26. - 4 letters
27. - 5 letters
28. - 4 letters
29. - 4 numbers
30. - 2 letters
31. - 9 letters
32. - 8 letters
33. - 9 letters
34. - 5 letters
35. - 6 letters
36. - 8 letters
37. - 6 letters
38. - 6 letters
39. - 5 letters
40. - 6 letters
41. - 13 letters
42. - 12 letters
43. - 8 letters
44. - 5 letters
45. - 9 letters
46. - 8 letters
47. - 8 letters
48. - 10 letters
49. - 3 letters
50. - 6 letters
51. - 7 letters
52. - 7 letters
53. - 8 letters
54. - 6 letters
55. - 5 letters
56. - 9 letters
57. - 7 letters
58. - 6 letters
59. - 10 letters
60. - 6 letters
61. - 7 letters
62. - 7 letters
63. - 5 letters
64. - 10 letters
65. - 8 letters
66. - 8 letters
67. - 10 letters
68. - 4 numbers
69. - 6 letters
70. - 5 letters
71. - 8 letters
72. - 6 letters
73. - 6 letters
74. - 9 letters
75. - 6 letters
76. - 9 letters
77. - 8 letters
78. - 4 letters
79. - 5 letters
80. - 8 letters
81. - 6 letters
82. - 4 letters
83. - 5 letters
84. - 6 letters
85. - 4 letters
86. - 5 letters
87. - 5 letters
88. - 10 letters
89. - 6 letters
90. - 3 letters
91. - 10 letters
92. - 8 letters
93. - 6 letters
94. - 5 letters
95. - 4 numbers
96. - 5 letters
97. - 8 letters
98. - 6 letters
99. - 6 letters
100. - 4 letters
101. - 7 letters
102. - 6 letters
103. - 8 letters
104. - 7 letters
105. - 7 letters and an apostrophe
106. - 7 letters
107. - 10 letters
108. - 8 letters
109. - 6 letters
110. - 6 letters
111. - 7 letters
112. - 10 letters
113. - 5 letters
114. - 4 letters
115. - 9 letters
116. - 7 letters
117. - 7 letters
118. - 6 letters
119. - same as 117
120. - 4 letters
121. - 10 letters
122. - 10 letters
123. - 7 keystrokes
124. - 6 letters
125. - 6 letters
126. - 8 letters
127. - 9 letters
128. - 5 letters
129. - 10 letters
130. - 5 letters
131. - 5 letters
132. - 5 letters
133. - 7 letters
134. - 8 letters
135. - 5 letters
136. - 5 letters
137. - 6 letters
138. - 7 letters
139. - 6 letters
140. - 6 letters
141. - 10 letters
142. - 6 letters
143. - 6 letters
144. - 9 letters
145. - 4 digits
146. - 8 letters
147. - 7 letters
148. - 10 letters
149. - 7 letters
150. - 7 letters
151. - 8 letters
152. - 5 letters
153. - 9 letters
154. - 6 letters
155. - 8 letters
156. - 8 letters
157. - 3 letters
158. - 8 letters
159. - 4 letters
160. - 7 letters
161. - 9 letters
162. - 4 keystrokes
163. - 6 letters
164. - 5 letters
165. - 6 letters
166. - same as 144
167. - 8 letters
168. - 6 letters
169. - 2 letters
170. - 7 letters
171. - 9 letters
172. - 6 letters
173. - 6 letters
174. - 10 letters
175. - 7 letters
176. - 7 letters
177. - 9 letters
178. - 4 letters
179. - 5 letters
180. - 4 letters
181. - 5 letters
182. - 9 letters
183. - 7 letters
184. - 5 letters
185. - 8 letters
186. - 6 letters
187. - 3 initials
188. - 5 letters
189. - 4 letters
190. -6 letters
191. - 11 letters
192. - 5 letters
193. - 7 letters
194. - 8 letters
195. - 7 letters
196. - 9 letters
197. - 8 letters
198. - 7 letters
199. - 6 letters
200. - 6 letters
201. - 6 letters
202. - 10 letters
203. - 6 letters
204. - 6 letters
205. - 5 letters
206. - 4 letters
207. - 7 letters
208. - 9 letters
209. - 9 letters
210. - 6 letters
211. - 5 letters
212. - 9 letters
213. - 9 letters
214. - 9 letters
215. - 5 letters
216. - 5 letters
217. - 5 letters
218. - 7 letters and a bonus keystroke
219. - 6 letters
220. - 7 letters
221. - 6 letters
222. - 7 letters
223. - 8 letters
224. - 6 letters
225. - 9 letters
226. - 7 letters
227. - 8 letters
228. - 6 letters
229. - 5 letters
230. - 8 letters
231. - 5 letters
232. - 3 letters
233. - 8 letters
234. - 9 letters
235. - 8 letters
236. - 9 letters
237. - 4 letters
238. - 9 letters
239. - 4 letters
240. - 8 letters +
241. - 4 letters
242. - 6 letters
243. - 8 letters
244. - 8 letters
245. - 3 letters
246. - 10 letters
247. - 7 letters
248. - 8 letters
249. - 5 letters
250. - 3 letters
251. - 5 letters
252. - 5 letters
253. - 7 keystrokes
254. - 8 letters
255. - 6 letters
256. - 4 letters
257. - 6 letters
258. - 6 letters
259. - 5 letters
260. - 9 letters
261. - 8 letters
262. - 5 letters
263. - 5 letters
264. - 5 letters
265. - 5 letters
266. - 5 letters
267. - 10 letters
268. - 8 symbols
269. - 10 letters
270. - 6 letters
271. - 5 letters
272. - 4 letters
273. - 7 letters
274. - 4 letters
275. - 7 letters
276. - 5 letters
277. - 6 letters
278. - 7 letters
279. - 9 letters
280. - 9 letters
281. - 3 letters
282. - 7 letters
283. - 4 letters
284. - 7 letters
285. - 9 letters
286. - 9 letters
287. - 5 letters
288. - 5 letters
289. - 9 letters
290. - 5 letters
291. - 6 keystrokes
292. - 5 letters
293. - 10 letters
294. - 4 letters
295. - 4 letters
296. - 9 letters
297. - 7 letters
298. - 11 letters
299. - 7 letters and help
300. - 4 letters
301. - 4 letters
302. - 7 letters
303. - 5 letters
304. - 4 letters
305. - 4 letters
306. - 3 initials
307. - 3 initials
308. - 7 letters
309. - 9 letters
310. - 7 letters
311. - 11 letters
312. - 9 letters
313. - 7 letters
314. - 6 letters
315. - 7 letters
316. - 4 keystrokes
317. - 4 letters
318. - 9 letters
319. - 6 letters
320. - 5 letters
321. - 6 letters
322. - 6 letters
323. - 10 letters
324. - 5 letters
325. - 5 letters
326. - 6 letters
327. - 6 letters
328. - 3 keystrokes
329. - 8 letters
330. - 10 letters
331. - 11 letters
332. - 6 letters
333. - 3 initials
334. - 3 numbers
335. - 3 keystrokes
336. - 4 keystrokes
337. - 6 letters
338. - 10 letters
339. - 11 letters
340. - 6 letters
341. - 8 letters
342. - 6 letters
343. - 8 letters
344. - 6 letters
345. - 4 letters
346. - 5 letters
347. - 5 letters
348. - 6 letters
349. - 6 letters + "'s"
350. - 10 letters
351. - 6 letters
352. - 5 letters
353. - 4 letters
354. - 6 letters
355. - 10 letters
356. - 10 letters
357. - 4 letters
358. - 6 letters
359. - 7 letters
360. - 12 keystrokes
361. - 9 letters
362. - 5 letters
363. - 10 letters
364. - 5 letters
365. - 3 letters
366. - 3 letters
367. - 3 letters
368. - 10 letters
369. - 8 letters
370. - 8 letters
371. - 3 letters
372. - 7 letters
373. - 9 letters
374. - 7 letters
375. - 4 numbers
376. - 6 letters
377. - 8 letters
378. - 5 letters
379. - 3 letters
380. - 5 letters
381. - 8 letters
382. - 6 letters
383. - 3 letters
384. - 4 letters
385. - 5 letters
386. - 6 letters
387. - 6 letters
388. - 5 letters
389. - 2 letters
390. - 3 letters
391. - 2 letters
392. - 3 letters
393. - 8 letters
394. - 5 letters
395. - 4 letters
396. - 6 letters
397. - 5 letters
398. - 4 digits
399. - 8 letters
400. - 2 letters
401. - 3 letters
402. - 5 letters
403. - 8 letters
404. - 8 letters
405. - 6 letters
406. - 6 letters
407. - 6 letters
408. - 8 letters
409. - 3 "letters"
410. - 4 numbers
411. - 5 letters
412. - 5 letters
413. - 5 letters
414. - 6 letters
415. - 7 letters
416. - 8 letters
417. - 2 letters
418. - 3 letters
419. - 4 letters
420. - 3 initials
421. - 3 numbers
422. - 5 letters
423. - 6 letters
424. - 5 letters
425. - 5 letters
426. - 6 letters
427. - 5 letters
428. - 5 letters
429. - 11 letters
430. - 5 letters
431. - 7 letters
432. - 5 letters
433. - 4 letters
434. - 9 letters
435. - 4 letters
436. - 6 letters
437. - 7 letters
438. - 10 letters
439. - 8 letters
440. - 5 letters
441. - 6 letters
442. - 5 letters
443. - 5 letters
444. - 8 letters
445. - 7 letters
446. - 9 letters
447. - 12 letters
448. - 7 letters
449. - 10 letters
450. - 5 letters
451. - same as 299
452. - 10 letters
453. - 5 letters
454. - 8 letters
455. - 5 letters
456. - 10 letters
457. - 9 letters
458. - 9 letters
459. - 4 digits
460. - 5 letters + "'s"
461. - 8 letters
462. - 8 letters
463. - 6 letters
464. - 9 letters
465. - 10 letters
466. - 9 letters
467. - 12 letters
468. - 6 letters
469. - 9 letters
470. - 5 letters
471. - 5 letters
472. - 9 letters
473. - 10 letters
474. - 13 letters
475. - 10 letters
476. - 7 letters
477. - 7 letters
478. - 7 letters
479. - 9 letters
480. - 7 letters
481. - 6 letters
482. - 5 letters
483. - 5 letters
484. - 5 letters
485. - 5 letters
486. - 8 letters
487. - 10 letters
488. - 7 letters
489. - 8 letters
490. - 10 letters
491. - 10 letters
492. - 6 letters
493. - 10 letters
494. - 5 letters
495. - 5 letters
496. - 7 letters
497. - 7 letters
498. - 7 keystrokes
499. - 10 letters
500. - 6 letters
501. - 6 letters
502. - 8 letters
503. - 5 letters
504. - 10 letters
505. - 12 letters
506. - 5 letters
507. - 6 letters
508. - 7 letters
509. - 6 letters
510. - 8 letters
511. - 6 letters
512. - 1 letter
513. - 4 letters
514. - 5 letters
515. - 5 letters
516. - 5 letters
517. - 8 letters
518. - 9 letters
519. - 10 letters
520. - 6 letters
521. - 8 letters
522. - 9 letters
523. - 4 keystrokes
524. - no clue
525. - no clue


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GARGOYLES 2198: THE CONTEST

GARGOYLES 2198
(Fill-in-the-Blank Contest / 9-26-00)

Written by

Greg Weisman

Well, here it is. This contest took me almost as long to put together as it did to develop the show it's based upon. Below is a good-sized document on GARGOYLES 2198 with tons and tons of info about the proposed spin-off series, its characters, settings and situations. The only problem is that there are five hundred and twenty-five blanks making it slightly difficult to read. Actually, those aren't quite blanks. They're place-holders. Numbers. Each number has a corresponding clue which I'll post right after I've posted this. Those clues should help you RE-place those holders.

As requested, there are two prizes to be handed out. One is for the person who contributes the most answers overall. The other is for the first person to TOTALLY COMPLETE the puzzle.

At this early stage, I think it's pretty useless for people to reprint the entire essay attempting to fill in ALL the blanks at one fell swoop. So early entries should read like this:

212: Mayberry
303: Andy
444: Opie
521: Fife

Notice, there's no need to guess all of them every time. (And please don't.) Just guess the ones you think you know or we'll be here forever. Capitalization does NOT count. But spelling does. [I do reserve the right to admit later that I made a mistake here and there. I don't think I have, but it's been quite an undertaking, so who knows…]

Let's say in the above answer that "Mayberry", "Opie" and "Fife" were right, but Andy wasn't. The person who posted it would get three points. UNLESS, someone's already posted the correct answer to, say, 444. In which case, this poster only gets points for Mayberry and Fife. Clear? Obviously, it's important that you use a consistent screen name to post your answers in order to get credit for all your points. Anonymous postings will be deleted by Todd in advance. (Waves at Todd.)

I know the contest looks imposing, but in many ways, I think this is easier than the Clan Contest. There are a lot more clues and you all have a lot more information. Once we've filled in a bunch of the blanks (say 500 out of the 525) then we can start seeing completed answers being posted with the blanks filled in.

I encourage teamwork. And everyone remember that this is just a game. Just a diversion. Just some fun. Don't take it too seriously. As usual, the prizes (again, one for points and one for the completed answer) will be of no real value. Hopefully, they'll be interesting though.

I'm hoping we'll have finished this by next June's Los Angeles Gathering. Go to it…

One thousand years ago…
Superstition and the sword ruled.
It was a time of darkness.
It was a world of fear.
It was the age... of gargoyles!
Stone by day, warriors by night,
We were betrayed by the humans we had sworn to protect,
Frozen in stone by a magic spell for a thousand years.
Finally... the spell was broken, and we lived again!

But our 1 was 2 from 3...
For the last 4 5 6 we have faced the 7,
Navigating an 8 9 with the 10 11.
But now the 12 13 itself is 14 15!
16 is 17!
And 18 may be 19 20 21 for 22…

We are 23 of the 24!
We are 25 of 26 27!
The 28 is 29.

And 30… are 31!

In 1996, humanity and the world at large discovered there were gargoyles living among them. Fortunately for the human race, Gargoyles are by nature a protective species. Unfortunately for the gargoyle race, humanity is by nature an intolerant species. Humans did not welcome having to share their world with other 32 33. Many were quick to 34 the gargoyles as 35, 36, 37 or worse. Gargoyles were 38 basic "39" 40. They were 41 against. 42 upon. 43. 44. And sometimes 45.

Despite this, GOLIATH, the leader of the gargoyles, maintained hope that one day humans and gargoyles would live in peace. Eventually, that day came. The "46 47 48 49" was adopted by the 50 51. Gargoyles were 52 full "53 54". Though Gargoyle 55 were 56 across the globe, they were collectively granted 57 58 as an 59 60. 61 Gargoyles became a crime.

True acceptance, however, is not so easily legislated. At best, Gargoyles were still barely tolerated by their human neighbors. Real peace would have to wait.

But the gargoyles would take what they could get. The 62, once on the 63 of 64, began to make a 65. Clans that were 66 helped to 67 those that were not. By 68, 69 70 comprised the 71 72. Each was strong in 73 and 74. Now it was time to 75 again. As a potent act of 76, every clan brought its 77 78 to 79 80 81, off the 82 83 of 84. The 85 would 86 together to demonstrate gargoyle 87. Some of the 88 would eventually return to the other 89 Clans. But many would stay to form the basis of a 90 clan. A 91 clan.

Someone should have told the gargoyles that 92 is NOT a lucky 93.

94, 95. 96 97 98. From around the globe, human Heads of State and all 99 Gargoyle 100 101 have come to this small 102 for the 103. They wait within the 104 of the 105 dormant 106 to witness the new 107 of gargoyles 108 out of their 109. Meanwhile, 110, a young gargoyle 111 is stuck on 112 113 114 at the base of the mountain. Out of nowhere, an immense 115 materializes above the 116. It emits a blinding beam of light that stabs down into the 117. 118 races up the slope, but it's too late. The 119 is empty. No 120. No gargoyles. No humans. No World Leaders!

Simultaneously, another giant 121 hovers over 122. Another beam stabs downward. And 123 124 125 126 -- the 127 system for nearly everything on the planet -- vanishes.

It all happens so fast, there's no time to react. 128 is paralyzed and 129 when the 130 131-132 133. In less than twenty-four hours, the planet is 134, absorbed into the 135-136 137. There is very little loss of life. Very little damage done. Unless 138 matters to you.

It matters to 139, the new 140 of the 141. One by one, he gathers his team…

142 - 143 of the 144 Clan hatched in 145. Though his 146 is different, it's obvious to anyone who'd care to look that he is descended from 147. Still no one knows how many 148 generations 149 from 150 he is. He might be the biological 151 of either 152 or 153, 154 and 155 first two biological 156, or he might be the biological 157 of 158, their third born. Frankly, it doesn't really matter. There were many 159 in that 160. All raised collectively by the 161 Clan.

By 162, 163 is 164 years old, but only 165 biologically. He has been trained as a Gargoyle Warrior both in 166 and in 167. He demonstrated enough promise to have recently been named 168-169-170 of the 171 Clan. Now, a reluctant 172 must become 173 not just of his clan, but of the entire 174.

175 - 176 of the 177 Clan is a 178-179. Mostly Gargoyle… but 180 181 as well. Her 182 include her namesake, the 183 that 184 185 186 by combining the 187 of 188 189 with that of 190. Being 191 part of both 192 has left 193 feeling like she's not truly a part of either. Upon learning of her "194", humans seem to react with fear and even disgust. And 195 has never been confident that the 196 she was raised with don't feel the same way. All this has made her tough on the outside, but desperately insecure on the inside. Nevertheless, she's a fierce young 197 198 (the same age as 199), and 200 makes her his 201 in the 202.

203 - 204 of the 205 Clan hails from the 206 207 of 208. He's a descendent of 209 and the 210 from "The 211". He has 212 wings, 213 features and skin the color of 214. From the 215 down, he looks like a 216 217. He's 218 contemporary and close friend. 219, 220 and 221 all trained together as Gargoyle Warriors, studying 222 in 223; they have a Three Musketeers kind of rapport. 224 isn't quite the fighter that the other two are, but he has other strengths. He's more 225, more intellectual, more book-smart. He has also been entrusted with his clan's 226 and sacred 227 228; this magical 229 230 prevents him from turning to 231 during the 232.

233 - 234 year old 235 236 237 is a scion of both the 238 and 239 families (which technically makes him a distant relative of 240). 241 was 242 among gargoyles and has taken the family tradition to heart. He too has traveled to 243 to join the ORDER OF THE 244. He has trained as a Gargoyle Warrior, embracing the Gargoyle 245 of 246 & 247. He's as much a 248 as a guy can be and not have 249. He's eager, perhaps a little too eager, for a chance to prove that he can hold his own with any other gargoyle. Only he's 250 a gargoyle. He's one hundred percent 251, with a 252 253 unique strengths and weaknesses.

254 - 255 (the original model for the mysterious 256 statues of 257 258) landed on 259 260 ago to stand 261 and protect our 262 from the 263-264. But by the time the 265-266 actually arrived, their 267 so far surpassed his, he was completely caught off guard. Now, there's nothing he can do but join 268 269 cell and try to pitch in. 270 is deeply shamed by his failure to protect his adoptive 271. He would gladly sacrifice his life to redeem himself.

272 273 - 274 275 was Chief of 276 of the 277 278. An indispensable aide to 279 General 280 281 282 IV. In fact 283 has been an indispensable aide to the 284 family since before 285 was born. But now the 286 General is gone. Taken by the 287-288 and put in stasis with the rest of the world's leaders. The new acting 289 has surrendered the 290 to the enemy. He has no use for 291 292 293 and intensity. And 294 has no use for a man who won't fight. So 295 has left public service to rejoin the private sector. Secretly, he has placed all the resources of the 296-297 298 at 299 disposal. Of course, we all know that 300 is really the 301. But since he already failed to 302 his charge, and certainly has no opportunity to 303 him anything at the moment, he's stuck as 304, stone 305 and all.

306 - 307 (a 308 of the 309-310 311) stands for 312-313-314, a line of 315 personal assistants that were all but ubiquitous in 316. Almost everyone who was anyone had one of the cute little, 317-foot tall, 318-shaped chrome 319. Each 320 was directly connected via satellite to the 321 322 in 323, giving each one the ability to instantaneously summon any or all of mankind's collective knowledge. But when the 324-325 attacked, one of their first acts was to steal the 326 327. Now each 328 is on its own. Each one still has a powerful 329 brain with crude 330 intelligence and long-term adaptive 331. But now, knowledge is finite, and experience is becoming the best teacher. Actually, two of these 332, 333-334 and 335-336 will play a role in our series. When we open, these 337 will be all but indistinguishable from each other. 338, merely. But as the series progresses, each will slowly develop its own 339.

340 - For over a 341 years, 342 has plotted against 343, blaming them for 344 against the gargoyle 345. Now that a greater threat, the 346-347, has reared it's many ugly heads, 348 has reluctantly joined 349 350 cell. But no one, including 351 herself, is fully confident that she'll continue to 352 on the 353 of the 354. This may be her last chance at 355... or her final opportunity to 356 the human 357. Still, 358 felt it necessary to actively 359 her. It's hard to pass up the help of a warrior who's survived a 360 worth of battles, a 361 who knows how to combine ancient 362 with modern 363. And then there's that bit about her turning into a 364 during the 365. The only question is how she will use her talents. 366 367, she's siding with the 368. But can that last?

369 - 370 is a young gargoyle warrior from our 371 372 day. In our second episode, he'll 373 374 to 375. The 376 is as new and strange to him as it is to our audience, and often 377 will be the point of view character to introduce us all to this 378 379 380. 381 does hope to 382 to his 383 384 someday, and so makes a special effort not to 385 too much about his own "386". But he has no intention of abandoning 387 or 388 in their time of need. Someday, however, he may have to make a choice.

389-390 - 391-392 is a 393 394 395 by the 396 Clan in 397, who arrives in 398 with 399. 400-401 is fiercely 402 (especially to 403). The ultimate 404.

[NOTE: Eventually, the large cast will be split in half. 405 will take 406, 407, 408 and 409-410 into 411 to hit the 412-413 where they live. 414, 415, 416, 417-418, 419 and 420-421 will remain on 422, thwarting the 423 at every turn and engaging in many non-424-425 stories.]

Anyway, those are our 426. (Other characters will be added over time.) Here's who they're up against…

THE 427-428 - Our main 429. This 430 race was literally "431 in 432", born amidst the 433 of an 434 435. For thousands of years, they have expanded their 436 in all directions, and 437 has been able to stand in their way. Their 438 is far 439 to anything we had on 440. They possess 441-than-442 443 travel, 444 devices, powerful force 445 and 446 447. They also have 448 capable of 449 the entire 450 in a matter of minutes. This creates a dilemma for 451 452. If 453 becomes more trouble than it's worth, the 454 will simply evacuate the 455 and 456 it.

THE 457 - Decades ago, the 458 organization fell out of favor. They were no longer "politically correct". But the events of March 21st, 459 changed all that. Because most of the 460 leaders were abducted while attending the 461 462, many 463 became convinced -- at least in part due to 464 465 -- that the 466 had conspired and 467 with the 468. Now the 469 are making a comeback. They don't much care for the 470-471, but their 472 of choice is still the Gargoyles.

THE 473 - Of course, the Gargoyles are not 474. But THE 475 476 is. The 477 is an 478 479 organization made up of almost all the true movers and 480 on 481 482. Many of the 483 leaders abducted by the 484-485 were 486 members of the 487 -- proof that the 488 definitely did NOT have advanced warning of the 489. But once the 490 was complete, the 491 wasted no time capitalizing on it. They negotiated a secret treaty with the 492, promising to infiltrate, sabotage and expose any sign of 493. In exchange, the 494-495 promised to release those world 496 that the 497 was prepared to vouch for. This 498 agreement was the beginning of a profitable arrangement for all concerned -- and the onset of a major headache for the 499.

500-X - 501-X is a super-502 503 with a highly evolved and Machiavellian 504 505. He has multiple 506 and 507 operatives, and any number of 508 509 that can accommodate his 510. Once upon a time, 511-512 had designs on taking 513 the 514. But that was before the 515-516 showed up and 517 his 518 519. Now anything less than total control of the entire 520 would strike him as under-achieving.

And that's the series in a 521.

522 523. The 524 is 525!


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WELCOME TO 2198...

As many of you know, one of the proposed Gargoyles spin-offs developed at Disney in 1996 (by myself and Gary Sperling) was set in the year 2158. The original title of the series was "GARGOYLES: FUTURE TENSE". But later, working here at Ask Greg, I came to two conclusions. (1) That it was too confusing having a spin-off series and an episode of the original series with the same title. (2) "Future Tense" wasn't that great a title for a spin-off series. So the series was renamed GARGOYLES 2158, which frankly sounded cooler and more immediate.

A couple months ago, however, I took a close look at the development for that series. And lots of stuff started bugging me. Some of it was literally MATH related. I had clearly made some mistakes in calculating WHEN certain things would happen. But creatively, I decided I wanted to make some changes as well. So I started from scratch. Everything was up for grabs. And I rebuilt the show.

The result is "GARGOYLES 2198". The immediate benefit is that I think this is an even better title. Being closer to the end of a century mark seems slightly more dramatic to me (an incidental benefit, since that wasn't why I did it). But beyond that, I think the idea is now much stronger, more cohesive and powerful.

But you won't have to take my word on that. You can read all about it...

Assuming you like contests, that is. Instead of just telling you guys everything, I've turned it all into our latest contest here at ASK GREG.

And I WON'T BE ANSWERING ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT 2198 until the contest is OVER!!

Enjoy...


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Farewell to 2158...

Say good-bye, finally, to GARGOYLES 2158.

The proposed GARGOYLES spin-off series originally known as "GARGOYLES: FUTURE TENSE" and later retitled "GARGOYELES 2158" has been redeveloped.

For more information, check out the "GARGOYLES 2198" ASK GREG archive.


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More on villains...

The same day as our last memo, Fred re-submitted the villain guidelines (his interpretations of stuff I told him) along with some notes on proto-Xanatos and proto-Magus/Arch-Mage.

RECEIVED BY
JAN 09 1992
GREG WEISMAN'S OFFICE

THE GARGOYLE -- WEISMAN GUIDELINES FOR VILLAINS
(Schaefer 1-9-92)

DISTRIBUTION: Cranston, Fair, Felix, Guler, Kline, Krisel, Ryan, Stones, Weisman

THE CRAZIES

-- Batman-esque villains. E.g. The Joker; Two Face (half of face scarred by acid; duality); Scarecrow (plays on people's fears, scares them to death). Avoid silly villains (e.g. the Penguin, the Riddler, Cat Man, Mr. Freeze).

-- The villains' craziness should be life-threatening. Attempted murder represents the majority of their crimes.

THE BIG GUYS

-- Considering what they'll be up against (The Gargoyle), physically they should be BIG, perhaps MUSCULAR, villains. Some may be hired by Xavier.

-- Fantasy-based. ogres, Trolls, etc.

-- Horror-based. A Mummy, A Werewolf, etc.

-- Empower the villains; make them formidable!

[Of course, there will be overlapping between the above two categories.]

AND THEN THERE'S XAVIER...

Very big, very rich, and very powerful. On a good day, he's vain, ruthless, lecherous, wicked, deceitful, unscrupulous, and vile. His corrupt hand is involved in a slew of nefarious endeavors. A self-taught Machiavellian; a manipulator, by nature.

He's a big, muscular man. His three-piece suit can scarcely contain his conspicuous bulk, much less maintain the air of civility desired by most businessman. But Xavier disdains most businessmen; they're weak, spineless cogs. Worker ants. Cowards. Powerless.

Powerlessness. Xavier abhors this more than anything in the world. It's his one big fear and the root cause of most of his frustrations.

A FINAL VILLAIN CATEGORY ... THE ANCIENT WIZARD

This is the Brit who created The Gargoyle 1000 years ago. Now he's back and he's mad as hell, but he doesn't know who to take it out on. The princess who turned the Gargoyle against him is long since dead. Of course, there's the Gargoyle. Well, what should the Ancient Wizard do? What's his big plan? Does he have a talisman that can place the Gargoyle (and the little gargoyles) under his power? How does it work? And how much power does it exert over them? Maybe Xavier discovers the Wizard's existence and views him as a threat. After all, the Wizard has powers that Xavier can never have and they both want the same thing -- The Gargoyle.


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Finally...

The queue is again empty.

But this time, I don't think Todd has fallen behind. I think finally, after, what, three years, I have caught up. Completely, totally, caught up.

I know it won't last. Won't even last a day, probably. But let me revel in the moment.

I'm caught up. I'm caught up. YES!


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Villain-work...

After Fred Schaefer's attempt at Villains like Mortify, I must have sat him down to give him some pointers on more dramatic villains for our new dramatic series. He wrote up the following:

THE GARGOYLE -- WEISMAN GUIDELINES FOR VILLAINS (1-9-92)

DISTRIBUTION: Cranston, Fair, Felix, Guler, Kline, Ryan, Stones

-- Batman-esque villains. E.g. The Joker; Two Face (half of face scarred by acid; duality); Scarecrow (plays on people's fears, scares them to death). Avoid silly villains (e.g. the Penguin, the Riddler, Cat Man, Mr. Freeze).

-- The villains' craziness should be life-threatening. Attempted murder represents the majority of their crimes.

-- Considering what they'll be up against (The Gargoyle), physically they should be BIG, perhaps MUSCULAR, villains. Some may be hired by Xavier.

-- Fantasy-based. Ogres, Trolls, etc.
-- Horror-based. A Mummy, A Werewolf, etc.
-- Empower the villains; make them formidable!
(Compiled by Schaefer 1-9-92)


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And now "THE GARGOYLE:

Now that we had left the comedy development behind, it was timE to start working on a pitch to sell our new dramatic development. I wrote what follows, breaking it down so that our artists could figure out what pictures they might need to draw.

NOTE: The show was (briefly) retitled "THE GARGOYLE". And the Gargoyle (proto-Goliath) was a magical creation who lived in despair through the thousand years. Some of which background was later better incorporated into Demona's story.

THE GARGOYLE
(Weisman / 1-7-92)

DISTRIBUTION: Cranston, Fair, Felix, Guler, Kline, Krisel, Ryan, Schaefer, Stones

PITCH BREAKDOWN
(First Pass)

1. Title Card

2. Typical stone gargoyles. (Perhaps stone versions of our mini characters.)

3. Pull back, we see them on the ramparts of a castle under seige by the evil army of the WIZARD. Stalemate.

4. Evil Wizard creates our GARGOYLE king.

5. GARGOYLE sets out very menacing to do the wizard's bidding.

6. PRINCESS turns our Gargoyle to the side of good. Touches his heart.

7. Gargoyle prepared to fight for Princess...(with small goofy army of little gargoyles?)...just as the sun begins to rise.

8. Gargoyle turns to stone at rise of sun. (As the wizard's army attacks?)

9. Sunset. The castle has been sacked. The princess is gone. Our Gargoyle is heartbroken. (More TRAGIC than pathetic.) He's failed.

10. The years pass. He haunts the ruined castle. Howling in front of the full moon??

11. Years in solitude. (Stealing books from library??)

12. Occasional forays into humanity? (World War II? Ripping the wings off a German plane?)

13. Always left with sense of isolation and futility. Nothing for him in this world. Nothing for 1000 years.

14. Than everything changes. Castle lifted by giant airships. Laputaesque.

15. Castle lowered onto XAVIER'S skyscraper.

16. Introduce NEW menacing XAVIER??? (Maybe save til later?)

17. Introduce our heroine. Female police detective? (Do we reuse the Princess model??) How does our Gargoyle meet her?

18. As before, this woman gives him hope, a sense of purpose. And real human friendship.

19. Gargoyles protect from Barbarians at the gate. Manhattan is full of "Barbarians". Gargoyle stops a mugging?

20. Escalate. He stops a car full of bank robbers in it's tracks.

21. Escalate. Major villain card.

22. Escalate. Even tougher villain card.

23. Escalate. The toughest villain card. (Show villain and Gargoyle fighting?)

24. Gargoyle in city atmosphere. Gothic melodrama in very modern setting.

25. Maybe introduce Xavier here? Or perhaps in some way, shape or form, reintroduce threat of the Wizard? Are these two related?

26. Supporting characters. (Other gargoyles, perhaps, or our lead girl's kid? Other cops? The old librarian?)

27. Where does he live? Still in Xavier's tower? With Xavier? The library maybe?

28. Other types of stories?

29. End Card.

Open to suggestions and input. (Particularly from you, Gary. Call me if you get a chance. I don't want to lose time while your out of town.) There are a lot of open issues here. Most important, is this the structure your looking for, or do we want to begin in the present, with a compact flashback for explanation? It's harder to get the capital-T Tragic element in that way, but we're less likely to get the question "So this takes place in the past?" from JK or ME at the end of the pitch.


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Clarification...

Someone asked me whether or not gargoyles would accept a homosexual gargoyle into the clan with open arms.

My response:

"The world isn't perfect. I think generally they would be tolerant. (Tolerant, in my book, is unsatisfactory.) But generalities do not
define individual reactions to individual revelations. Open arms would exist in many cases. "

My brother read that and wrote:

"I think writing "Tolerant is unsatisfactory"could be interpreted as you saying that they should not be tolerant, that you are against
tolerance rather than tolerance being insufficient."

So, just to be clear, I was saying that I find tolerance insufficient. Certainly, tolerance is better than hostility or neutrality, but I'd prefer acceptance.


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brainstorming villains...

Now that we had put our comedy development aside and moved on to an action-drama approach, I must have asked Fred Schaefer to come up with (a) some possible names for our new lead gargoyle (the proto-Goliath) and (b) some possible villains for him to combat. Unfortunately, the results were a bit underwhelming. But this was a new area to Fred. We had never developed a show like this before at Disney. It was an adjustment for all of us.

GARGOYLE DEVELOPMENT
(Schaefer 1-6-92)
[My handwritten notes in brackets.]

OUR MAIN GARGOYLE -- POSSIBLE NAMES

Griffin
Crag
Palisade
Dover (carved from the Cliffs of Dover, Wales)
Mortar
Igneous
Granite

GARGOYLE - POSSIBLE VILLAINS

MORTIFY- A sleazy unemployed (yellow) journalist. Humiliation and embarrassment are his weapons. He's a walking tabloid magazine (not literally), eager to expose people's emotional weaknesses. He gets under people's skin the way Hannibal Lector does, by prying into their personal affairs, but he's much more outlandish and not as gracious and composed as Lector. Mortify obviously relishes an awkward or scandalous moment.

Perhaps he wears a yellow suit with matching hat. He used to be a newspaper reporter, but his journalistic methods were so sloppy and immoral that he was fired and never hired by another paper. So, he decided that he doesn't need to work for a tabloid newspaper to do that damage he loves to inflict. He goes directly to the source -- the innocent citizens of Manhattan. [By these two paragraphs I wrote: "Does our audience 'get' yellow journalism?"]

(E.g. A CEO receives flowers at her home from her secretary. She's confused, but her spouse is obviously perturbed (is she having an affair?) and an argument ensues. Of course, it was Mortify who sent the flowers. In fact, he delivered them himself so he could see the disconcerted reaction of his victim. Now the CEO has been emotionally weakened and Mortify can sabotage the business further (in whatever devious plan he ultimately was up to). [By this paragraph, I wrote "Very subtle."]

LICHEN -- a strange, demented man who lives in the tree tops of Central Park; responsible for your basic muggings, but revels in terrorizing his victims beforehand. He claims that South Central Park is his territory and he won't stop his reign of terror until everyone refuses to enter it again. He's skinny, agile, resembling a spider monkey without the tail. He's petrified of cement -- sidewalks, actually -- and won't venture out of the park. [I wrote "too weak" here.] Strangely, he seems to have control over a large pack of rats that inhabit the Park. Like Willard, they obey his every command. Scary. (Aka Tree Rot, because of his fungus, lichen-encrusted face; and Tree Rat, for obvious reasons.)

VAL STARCH -- Owner of a string of second rate cleaners which are fronts for his illegal business -- counterfeit fashion. Fake name-brand clothes. He always wanted to be a fashion designer, but had none of the talent. Now he doesn't need it as he leeches off the fashion industry and makes a bundle doing it. His ulterior goal, however, is to destroy the New York fashion industry and its most creative talent. On a small scale, he occasionally loves ruining people's clothes at his cleaners. (So he loses a customer, big deal, that's not where he makes his money!) On a larger scale, Starch sabotages other fashion businesses.

(E.G. A big day in the fashion world -- Ellis Perry is unveiling his new line of clothes at the most talked about fashion show of the year. Unfortunately, Val Starch has secretly swiped the clothes and replaced them with replicas, which will fall to pieces by remote control. The fashion models are supremely embarrassed. Cameras flash. Ellis Perry faints. More camera flashes. (Perhaps this one is a co-crime venture with Mortify.) [I wrote: "Too specific. Too gymicky [sic].]


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The paradigm shift...

Shortly after the last document I posted, we finally pitched the comedy version of the GARGOYLES series to Eisner, Katzenberg, etc. They passed. So it was back to the drawing board. I showed what we had to Tad Stones, producer of numerous Disney shows including Rescue Rangers, Darkwing Duck and Aladdin. Tad suggested we go the action-drama route, creating a MAIN Gargoyle protagonist who was more of a tragic figure. He pointed to the success of the Disney BEAUTY AND THE BEAST feature film, and suggested that there was something in that for us.

This, given my comic book background, of course struck an immediate cord with me. Thus the proto-Goliath known simply as "Gargoyle" was born. We deconstructed all that we had created for the comedy series (much of which would later work its way back in to the show) and started from scratch. In some ways this version is even farther away from the end result than we were at our last glimpse of the comedy development. But it was an important step.

What follows is a memo that I wrote up summarizing a development meeting we had late in 1991. Elisa's starting to take a more familiar form. So is Xavier/Xanatos. And "THE GARGOYLE":

THE GARGOYLE
(Weisman / Summary of meeting 12/19/91)

1000 years ago in barbaric Briton, an evil Wizard wanted to ransack the castle of the good princess.

Gargoyles are stone sculptures that are used to decorate castles. Inspired by this, the wizard creates his own giant (Beauty & the Beast-sized) Gargoyle. He instructs this engine of destruction to fly to the castle tonight, while the wizard's army attacks from the outside.

(Perhaps he gives the Gargoyle a powder that will temporarily bring the other little stone gargoyles to life.)

The Gargoyle, which is stone colored, even when it isn't stone, flies to the castle, intent on destroying it.

He meets the princess who teaches him the error of his ways. He will fight against the wizard. But as the sunrises [sic], he falls asleep turning to stone. A part of the spell he was not aware of.

When the sun sets again, and he awakens, it is too late. The princess is gone (dead?). The castle has been ransacked. Even the wizard has left him behind. Angry at his betrayal...He is alone. Cursed as an outsider, able to function only during night hours. Frozen as stone during the day.

He stays in the ruined castle over the centuries. Making occasional forays to the outside world. Sometimes briefly, to steal books. Sometimes for long periods to fight evil (World War II, perhaps). But always returning to the castle and his loneliness. He despairs of ever finding a true friend. Despairs of ever having a purpose to his life.

One night he awakens, and finds that some repair work has been done on the castle. Each night he finds that a little more work has been done while he slept during the day. Construction equipment has gathered outside the castle walls.

One day, as he sleeps, the castle is lifted, lock, stock and gargoyle and flown whole across the atlantic to New York, by giant airships.

It is placed on the top of the Xavier Enterprises skyscraper.

Xavier is our arrogant villain. Not comic. Evil behind the scenes. Manipulator. Respectable to the rest of the world. Untouchable.

Our Gargoyle finds himself in this strange new world. Here he meets a young idealistic girl (perhaps a plain clothes police detective) who will be his friend and teach him not to despair. That he can help make the world a better place. In New York, the barbarians are at the gate, every night. This time, he can do something about it.

He becomes a de facto super-hero of sorts, though we don't have to flag it.

Xavier can hire other minor villains, plus we need to create some real psychos, and powerful ones at that, for Gargoyle to battle. Plus the ancient wizard could return in some form. Perhaps he has put his spirit in a amulet. Whoever wears it is possesed by him.

Perhaps, our Gargoyle can still temporarily awaken other gargoyles, little mischevious things who aren't too bright, but would try to follow his orders. But when they sleep each day, they have to be awakened by the magic dust each night or they will remain as stone. Only our hero awakens by himself every night.

Does our young girl have a child?

Who else populates this world?

Is the Gargoyle named Gargoyle, or is there another name for him?

Other villains?

cc: Bruce, Gary, Kat, Bob, Mike, Fred, Tad, DoMo
[This cc list includes my bosses, Bruce Cranston and Gary Krisel, our development associates, Kat Fair, Mike Ryan and Fred Schaefer, our Art Director Bob Kline, "consultant" Tad Stones, and Dolores Morris (DoMo) who was my opposite number in developing MovieToons like "A Goofy Movie".]


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The queue is empty....

Does this mean I'm finally, finally all caught up?

Or does it mean that Todd is slipping?

I'll leave that to you to decide.


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Gargoyles protect...

In our next document, Kat Fair was clearly given the assignment of pulling all our various threads together, yet what I find the most interesting is my own handwritten note about gargoyles being protectors but being treated like dogs. That was me returning to the series key idea. But we weren't quite there yet:

RECEIVED BY
NOV 20 1991
GREG WEISMAN'S OFFICE
[My handwritten notes are in brackets.]

[I wrote "Protectors -- treated like dogs" across the top of the page.]

GARGOYLES
Fair 11/20/91

Long afar and way ago gargoyles were disgusting but necessary things. They were kind of like messy flying watchdogs with an aberrant sense of humor. No one really liked them much, but they were a necessary evil because they chased away nasty evil things that would come into town. In their own way, they helped keep the peace, although they were anything but peaceful.

Finally, the evil Sorceress Morgan had enough. There was a particularly annoying group of gargoyles who were spoiling too much of her fun. She enchants some talismans and tricks the gargoyles into wearing them. No sooner are the talismans around their necks than the mischievous gargoyles turn into nasty monsters, bent on destruction. Gleefully, Sorceress Morgan harnesses them to her chariot and sets about wreaking havoc on the countryside.

When good Wizard Xavier hears about this, he takes immediate action. In a confrontation with Morgan, he turns the gargoyles upside down in a monsoon. The talismans fall from their necks and into his hands. He quickly banishes the talismans across the sea (around Manhattan.) Meanwhile, the gargoyles instantly transform into their pesky selves again, furious with Morgan, whom they unceremoniously dump. Then they start fighting with each other. Accusations fly as they blame each other for falling for Morgan's trick.

*Xavier's trying to referee as the gargoyles almost come to blows, so no one sees Morgan sneaking up. She's battered, humiliated and pissed off. At the last moment, Xavier deflects her spell to zap the gargoyles into oblivion. Instead, the fighting gargoyles are frozen in sleep for 1000 years.

OR

*Battered and humiliated, Morgan returns to her castle to plot revenge. Knowing the gargoyles can't resist a party, she sends them an invitation to a gala to be held in their honor, as an apology for all the trouble she's caused them. The gargoyles are suspicious, but talk themselves into being magnanimous and accepting her apology. Once there, the gargoyles have the time of their life, singing, dancing and drinking Morgan's 'special' spiked punch, which puts them asleep for 1000 years. Gleefully, in the dead of night, Morgan puts them over the gates of Xavier's castle. Xavier is horrified and saddened by what has happened to the gargoyles, but there's nothing he can do to counter the spell. [I crossed out "spell" and wrote "drug". Then I crossed out "drug" and wrote "potion".]


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Another trip to the drawing board...

Obviously, after showing Gary and Bruce our development in September of 1991, we were sent back to the drawing board to rework our backstory a bit. I'm not sure why anymore. The old one seems much cleaner than what we have here.

Anyway, the way I worked things back then was to have big brain-storming meetings with my staff. We'd all talk out ideas. Reach a general consensus, and then I'd assign Development Associates to write up what we discussed. What follows is the combined work of Kat Fair (I think) and Fred Schaefer. Kat was given the assignment to write up the tenth century backstory. Fred was given the assignment to write up the awakening in the twentieth century. Kat tried two different approaches (A and B) both of which lead into "Fred's outline". At that time, I clearly favored the notion that Xavier's ancestor was good and Morgan's evil. That way we could have a nice flip on the gargoyles and the audience's expectations when we got to the twentieth centuries.

Fred's outline changes Morgan's job (for the first time) to cop. Actually the Police Commissioner. (Elisa winding up a detective ends up being quite the step down.)

Anyway:

RECEIVED BY
NOV 14 1991
GREG WEISMAN'S OFFICE
[My handwritten notes in brackets.]

GARGOYLES BACK STORY:

A. Gargoyles were put to sleep by the evil wizard for revenge when the good wizard got the talismans.

Once upon a time gargoyles were good citizens whose main job was to fly about stopping evil-doers. They were loyal to Good Wizard Morgan (BSF), who cared for them. Everyone loved the gargoyles except Evil Wizard Xavier (WSM). The gargoyles were-always spoiling his fun, so he invented some evil talismans. When he put these around the gargoyles necks, they became evil, too, and obeyed his every command. The good people were terrified, and begged the Good Wizard Morgan to do something. Morgan warned them that a direct confrontation might mean the destruction of the gargoyles, not to mention damage to their town and possible loss of life. So, knowing the gargoyles couldn't resist a party, he and the townspeople organized a big celebration to lure the gargoyles to the town. While the gargoyles were singing and dancing, Morgan cast a nap spell, which made the gargoyles fall asleep and turn to stone, as sleeping gargoyles do. As soon as they were asleep, the townspeople quickly removed the talismans, and Morgan banished the amulets to a secret place. But before Morgan -could wake the gargoyles, Xavier came, furious that his gargoyles had been stolen. He was even angrier when he saw that the talismans were gone. The gargoyles would be no use to him now, and would become the annoying things they had been before, thwarting his evil plans. If Morgan and the townspeople wanted them asleep,then asleep they'd be. Before Morgan could stop him, Xavier zapped the gargoyles into a 1000 year sleep. . Furious Morgan threw Xavier to the other side of the ocean. [I wrote "Not necessary" by this sentence.] The townspeople, saddened by the loss of their friends, carried the stone gargoyles from the square. They hoisted them onto their favorite perch, above the gate to Morgan's castle, where they remained until they woke up 1000 years later in NYC. [Next to this paragraph, I wrote "Flip Evil Morgan Good Xavier in Back story".]

The last thing the gargoyles remember was being at a party. And wasn't it in their honor? And wasn't Morgan there? Morgan was the only one at the party with enough clout to put them asleep for so long. Boy, you'd think he'd forgive them for what they did when they were Xavier's slaves. The gargoyles can't agree what to do next. Coco wants to find Morgan, Amp tells her she's stupid - Morgan is long gone. Accusations fly as to who got tricked into wearing the talismans to begin with, and who just had to go to the party, anyway. They all fly off in separate directions, never wanting to see each other again. (see Fred's outline)

B. Gargoyles were put to sleep by the good wizard when the evil wizard controlled them through-their talismans.

Long ago and far away gargoyles were disgusting but necessary things. They were kind of like messy flying dogs with an aberrant sense of humor. No one really liked them much, but they were tolerated because they chased away vagrant evil spirits looking for work.

In a small town outside Paris, the evil wizard [I wrote "sorcerous" above the word wizard, but I think I meant "sorceress"] Morgan (BSF) [I put a question mark next to "BSF", but I now realize it means Black Single Female] thinks she could use some of these gargoyles for her own mischief, and decides to unionize the few that guard her town. She tells them they aren't getting the respect they deserve, the townspeople aren't paying them enough for the work they do. What's a few measly scraps and all the stale crepes you can eat when you are literally putting your life on the line every day? The gargoyles had never really thought about it before, but it sounds right. Morgan suggests they come to work for her. She'll feed them, give them uniforms, and make them the most respected flying force in the land. And as a gesture of good faith, she offers them matching medallions, with a new crest of their own imprinted on them. Soon everyone will know and fear - um, love - this crest. Their feats will be heralded far and wide. If they don't like working for her, they can always quit, no hard feelings. The gargoyles try on their medallions. Pretty cool. They feel different already. But when Morgan gives her first order, which is to harness themselves to her chariot, they balk - with surprising results. The medallions burn and hurt! [I wrote: "Not evil. Just forced. We want to see them as gleefully evil w/med. on"] Laughing maniacally, Morgan tells them they are now under her control, and must obey her. The amulets directly connect Morgan to them. The gargoyles valiantly try to remove the medallions, but it's no use. They get into the harness, prodded by the amulets when they move too slow. Off they fly. The wreaking havoc part isn't so bad, it's being at Morgan's beck and call that bugs them. And the food is lousy. [I wrote: "The issue of Morgan-evil etc. is independent of scenario.]

Morgan delights in her new power, and drives the gargoyles unmercifully. Morning, noon, and night, they're out burning down the fields, pillaging villages, and being a general nuisance. Morgan feels confident that she can now take on the Good Wizard--Xavier (WSM), her archnemesis. The gargoyles really don't like this. Xavier's very powerful things could get dangerous. Morgan hitches up the gargoyles and sneaks to Xavier's castle. But the gargoyles are fed up. They're tired of Morgan. If she beats Xavier, the country will be at her mercy - and she has no mercy. At the hottest moment in the heat of the battle, they freeze. In a flash, Morgan screams, the medallions burn, the gargoyles hang tough. Xavier sees his chance, zaps a spell at Morgan, who deflects it onto the gargoyles, turning them all to stone! [I wrote "sleep" here by the word stone. And I also wrote "messy" next to the whole sentence.] Xavier overcomes Morgan and banishes her to a land across the sea. In honor of the gargoyles, Xavier has their stone figures mounted on his castle-above the gate. There they stay until they wake up in NYC 1000 years later. (See Fred's outline)

GARGOYLES/ FROM FRED

The Movie in the Series:

1) Gargoyles wake up in Manhattan; they argue amongst themselves about who was responsible for their falling into Sidero's trap (and hence the 1000 year sleep) . Their argument is so-heated, they take off in different directions, furious with one another. [I crossed out "Sidero" and wrote "Evil Morgan".]

But not without being witnessed by some New Yorkers.

2) Newspapers report on the recent sightings of gargoyles flying between the buildings. Dismissed as a hoax.

3) Sidero's modern heir, Xaxier, sees a television news broadcast about the sightings and immediately knows what's happened. He plans to catch them with the talisman and make them his slaves.

4) Meanwhile, the gargoyles are off separately causing mischief.

5) Ralph and Pandora run into each other. Ralph tries to make-up with her, but she's still bitter. In the middle of their argument, Ralph is captured by one of Xaxier's 3-piece suits and taken away screaming. Pandora is horrified and desperately flies off to search for the others.

6) Morgan Reed, Police Chief of New York, throws down a tabloid newspaper that announces the city has been invaded by flying demons. She curses the media. Their crazy stories are disturbing the peace! There are no such things as gar... suddenly, she sees one ... goyles ... sleeping in a corner of her apartment. The gargoyle (AMP) wakes up and they frighten each other. Morgan backs away. It's stress... that's it ... too much stress on the job. [I wrote "Tough to swallow" by this paragraph.]

7) Ah, make that TWO gargoles, because a hysterical Pandora spots Amp and flies into Morgan's apartment, frantically rambling on about Ralph being kidnapped; the talisman; the possible evil transformation of Ralph, etc. They must find the remaining gargoyles (Lassie and Coco) before Xaxier does!

Morgan doesn't know what to make of all this. All she knows is that the Police Chief of New York can't say she's seen (much less, spoken with) a gargoyle! Reluctantly, she offers to help them out. ("Now what's this about a talisman?")


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TIME TO SELL...

The following was our first attempt (in September of '91 -- NINE YEARS AGO!!!) to write a pitch to sell our new Gargoyles comedy-adventure show to our higher ups (Michael Eisner, Rich Frank and Jeffrey Katzenberg). This isn't necessarily the version they saw, however. First Kat Fair and I had to get it past our TV Animation bosses: Bruce Cranston and Gary Krisel. This is the version that went to them for approval. The phrases in parentheses describe the visual on the art cards we used. The words that follow are the "script" of the pitch. What I would say as I flipped the cards and showed the pictures. Most, if not all, of this art was drawn by Bob Kline, who was Development Art Director at that time. (I wish I had that art now.)

For those of you who have been to the Gathering and seen the final pitch of the Drama version of the show we all know and love, you'll recognize verbal echoes of that pitch here in this first one. Phrases like "there was a better place for a medieval castle than a picturesque hill in Europe [or Scotland]" and "lock, stock and gargoyle" made it all the way from this pitch to the last. (And sometimes even into the series itself.)

Other points of interest:
--Morgan's last name is now Reed (a surname we eventually gave to Maggie the Cat), and she's now a second grade teacher and amateur acheologist. This was done to give her and our 'goyles ready access to kids.
--Xavier is now Xavier's FIRST name, which I had forgotten about.
--Amp, though he still looks more like Lex, is now firmly Brooklynian.
--Coco, though still female, is very Broadway.
--For some reason, I was spelling DeMona, with a capital M in the middle. I have no memory of that either.
--And I had completely forgotten about Xanatos' multi-racial "suits", though they were clearly the origin of both his "Goon Squad" and the Steel Clan.

Anyway, here it is:

GARGOYLES PITCH Script
(Weisman/Fair: 9/17/91)

#1. (Three stone gargoyles.)

We all think we know what GARGOYLES are. Ugly, stone creatures squatting on the roofs of old buildings. But have we ever asked how they got that way?

Well, one thousand years ago, Gargoyles were mischievous, troublemakers, driving us humans up the wall.

#2. (Medieval LORD XAVIER of Glint.)

Particularly this human--LORD XAVIER of Glint, who decided he'd had just about enough of their destructive fun and games...

#3. (Lord Xavier drugging the 'goyles.)

So he threw them a party complete with ice cream, cake...and punch, spiked with a sleeping potion guaranteed to last a millennium!

And because Gargoyles automatically turn to stone when they fall asleep...

#4. (The Castle.)

He used them to decorate his castle, where they stayed for a thousand years.

#5. (XAVIER.)

Until his great-great-great-great-great-grandson, XAVIER GLINT, the President of Xavier Enterprises, decided there was a better place for a medieval castle than a picturesque hill in Europe.

#6. (Castle on the skyscraper, up-angle.)

He moved the whole place--lock, stock and gargoyle--to the top of his personal headquarters in Manhattan...just cuz he felt like it.

#7. (The six stone gargoyles.)

But as the castle settled, things got unsettled. The gargoyles...

#8. (The 'goyles stir.)

...woke up!

#9. (The 'goyles wake up.)

They've been sleeping for a thousand years...

#10. (The 'goyles rise and shine.)

...and now they're ready to PARTY!!

#11. (National Enquirer headline:"Gargoyles alive in NYC!")

Now, that may all sound pretty far-fetched, but this is the kind of world that only the National Enquirer could love. The public may not be able to decide whether the Gargoyles are a new urban myth or a full-on media hoax...

#12. (AMP flying.)

But the Gargoyles know they're real enough, and just as prone to trouble as they ever were.

#13. (Four-pose Amp composite.)

Particularly AMP. Trouble used to be his middle name--his last name, too. It's not that he's bad, he's just easily tempted by...well, uh, temptation!

Fortunately, this self-proclaimed leader has no ready followers. All the Gargoyles are too busy having fun to obey orders.

#14. (Four-pose COCO composite.)

Take Coco, for example. This female John Belushi has the soul of a dancer and the grace of a rhinoceros. She's always up for adventure in this brave, new, 20th Century world.

#15. (Five-pose PANDORA composite.)

Then there's PANDORA. The sneakiest of the 'goyles. I wouldn't exactly say she's a pathological liar, just a born actress who loves to improvise.

#16. (Four-pose LASSIE composite.)

And LASSIE. (He picked his own name.) Loyal, goofy and easily distracted, Lassie's just as likely to be fascinated with the villain's shoelaces as with his ray gun.

#17. (Four-pose RALPH composite.)

Finally, there's RALPH, who thinks adventure is a great thing to watch on television. He's a couch potato kind of gargoyle, who keeps the home fires burning...

#18. (MORGAN.)

...Which isn't always good news if you're MORGAN REED, a second grade teacher and amateur archeologist who's befriended the Gargoyles. She tries to take care of them, keep 'em fed and gives them a place to stay.

#19. ('goyles causing trouble in Morgan's apartment.)

Sometimes to her regret.

#20. (Longshot of castle-scraper.)

Still, it's better than where they used to live. Not that the location was bad, just the landlord...

#21. (Two-pose composite of Xavier looking oily.)

Our old pal, Xavier. This guy makes Gordon Gecko look like Santa Claus. Greed isn't just good, it's GREAT!!

#22. (Xavier admiring his race car.)

Whether it's gold bullion, a race car or a castle on a skyscraper, this is a guy used to getting what he wants...

#23. (Xavier burned by his race car.)

...Prone to getting what he deserves.

#24. (Three-pose composite of Xavier looking frustrated, shocked and angry.)

But now, he's set his sights on the one prize money can't buy--Immortality. If the gargoyles can live a 1000 years, so can he.

#25. (Xavier, OWEN, DeMONA and the SUITS.)

So with help from OWEN, his aardvark aide-de-camp, DeMONA, the one bad apple in the Gargoyle bunch, and his Cadre of muscular 3-piece suits, Xavier's out to steal every magical totem he can find.

#26. (Conflict card: Xavier & DeMona vs. the 'goyles.)

And only the Gargoyles can stop him.

#27. ('goyles save copter.)

You see, the Gargoyles are determined to make up for all the trouble they caused a thousand years ago. This time they wanna be the good guys.

#28. (GARGOYLES cast/title card.)

Trouble is, when you're one of the GARGOYLES, making trouble is so darn much fun.


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THE LOST CAUSE DIAMOND (and other stories...)

Another old document from the file. This one doesn't have a name or a date attached. Kat Fair, maybe? It's certainly from this September 1991 era that we've been exploring recently. I don't have any specific memories of these stories, but they obviously served to plant seeds for things that would surface later. Xavier's quest for BIG DIAMONDS and IMMORTALITY surfaces. Amp (half Lex, half Brooklyn) wants to do a little joy-riding. You get the idea.

seeds... seeds....

GARGOYLES STORIES:

LOST CAUSES:

The Lost Cause Diamond has been... misplaced. And the museum wants to keep it quiet. Knowing that Xavier has always coveted it, Morgan manuvers [sic] to get assigned to retrieve the jewel before he finds out it's up for grabs. Unfortunately, Lassie accidentally spills the beans. Xavier and his crew trail Morgan, planning to let her do all the work, and then snatch the diamond from her. When Lassie takes off to rectify his mistake, the rest of the gargoyles soon realize things are too quiet around the house. They are horrified to discover Xavier is after Morgan - and she's only got Lassie to protect her! They're off to the rescue, making more trouble than Morgan and Lassie can possibly handle.

WHAT MONEY CAN'T BUY:

Xavier has always been fascinated by immortality. It's the one thing his money can't buy. Hoping to impress her boss, Demona pretends to know the hiding place of the last Flaming Zealot, who holds the secret to immortality. Amp and the other gargoyles try to foil her plans and protect the ancient and sacred FZ, who, it turns out, can protect its own nasty self from Xavier, them, and everyone else.

WHO'S GOT THE CAR?

Amp has pushed one too many of Pandora's buttons in the right sequence, and she's mad. Meanwhile, Xavier is preparing for the unveiling of his new Omnitrans. Amp sneaks in for a look, but can't resist test driving the one of-a-kind car. He returns it, but the next morning it's gone! Xavier is furious to find his car is missing, and accuses Morgan, who is arrested. Pandora confesses that she hid it, hoping to get Amp in trouble, but now it's not where she left it! The gargoyles turn the city upside down to get the car back before Morgan is put in jail.


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Dakota's out. Demona's in.

A couple of new memos today. The first seems to be something that I more or less dictated to intern Regina Dixon during a meeting that took place in September 1991. Here you can see that Dakota has been removed as the leader, mostly for being too intense and serious for a comedy show.

In the second memo, which I'm only guessing was written by Kat Fair, Dakota has finally become a power-hungry Demona. She starts out as their leader, but when they won't do things her way, she teams up with Xavier. No pathos, but the early stirrings of the character.

You may also notice that I resisted the notion of "Gargoyles Protecting" for the comedy version of the series. It was inherent in the idea, but I felt for a comedy, I wanted them to have a more party-garg impulse. Protecting was NOT second nature, it would have to be something they learned -- reluctantly. I wasn't looking for NOBILITY. I was looking for jokes.

GARGOYLES

Notes from Meeting 9/6/91

Backstory - MORGAN and XAVIER

MORGAN and XAVIER are business partners. Their relationship goes way back to when they were kids and ran a lemonade stand together. Xavier financed it, and when Morgan starts giving away peanut butter crackers, business really booms. Even so, money's no substitute for Xavier's cheating ways. Morgan catches him watering down the lemonade, and overcharging people. Morgan tries to get Xavier to see they're already making lots of money, and cheating isn't necessary, but Xavier just doesn't get it.

Morgan continues to be the thorn in Xavier's side as their partnership grows and changes from lemons, to high-tech aerospace and engineering. Although they're intellectual equals, Morgan continues to outdo Xavier with her ingenious inventions. This is the last straw. Xavier's so fed up with Morgan always outshining him, and standing in the way of his evil schemes -- he cheats her out of every penny she's earned.

Now ousted from the company, Morgan is angry and vows revenge on Xavier. Soon she realizes by competing on his terms, she'll become just like him.

So Morgan retreats to her modest brownstone to collect her thoughts. To make ends meet, she'll have to take in a few boarders. A family (like the Muddlefoots) move in.

In addition to boarders, Morgan's helicopter will help her earn money and help combat Xavier's evil schemes whenever and wherever she can.

Morgan accesses the positives in her new situation: - she can now be her own woman
- she can go back to doing the things she loves
(inventing, flying aircraft, mechanical tinkering)
- she'll no longer be partners with the devil
- rather than be a victim, she can fight Xavier's schemes at every turn

As for the Gargoyles... there is no real leader as such, but AMP acts as De facto in command most times.

Except for LASSIE, and sometimes COCOA, no one is accustomed to following orders. Which means Morgan has her hands full trying to lead this motley crew.

gw:rld

RECEIVED BY
SEP 10 1991
GREG WEISMAN'S OFFICE
[Greg's 1991 handwritten notes in brackets and quotation marks.]

GARGOYLES BACKSTORY:

Once upon a time there were millions ["well, thousands"] of gargoyles, whose main job was to protect and serve. [Strangely, I crossed out "main job was to protect and serve" and wrote "No" beside it.] This was before dogs got the job, and it was because of the gargoyles' tendency to be just a little bit too smarty pants [I underlined "just a little bit too smarty pants" and wrote "Not strong enough".] that the humans finally got fed up and eliminated them in various human ways.

Our gargoyles came from Oldenberg,- a small Prussian town that no longer- exists, having been destroyed in various human ways during WWI. But about 900 years before that, [I crossed out this paragraph up to this point and wrote "Distracting".] Demona was the top gargoyle in the village, with aspirations to supervise greater realms, maybe even going as far as the next town. Her minions were many, her top aides Amp and Pandora. As a group, gargoyles aren't of the "herd" persuasion, which means orders have a 50/50 chance of being carried out. Gargoyles tend to improvise, make an assignment their own, and get sidetracked and bored pretty easily. Demona didn't have the motivational management skills needed to keep her crew in line - Pat Riley would have had a hard time with this group. Left to their own devices, the gargoyles were everywhere they weren't wanted, wreaking minor but very annoying havoc. [I wrote "light" beside this section. And, no, I no longer know what that note was supposed to mean.] They'd spill the milk, ruin the bread, sour the beer, steal the shoes put out for the elves to repair, etc. And they had the most annoying habit of laughing hysterically as they hovered overhead when their latest prank was discovered. The final straw was when they ran all the sheep through town.

So when the Oldenbergians decided to throw a big party to thank the gargoyles for their hard work, and Demona warned that it was all a trick, having been alerted by a minor kitchen gargoyle, not one gargoyle in all of Oldenberg listened, and they all wound up heavily sedated by the spiked punch. [I wrote "Why" by this sentence. But I was an executive then.] And when gargoyles sleep, they turn to stone. Demona was the last to fall. She'd been tied up and dipped into the punch bowl by a cheering crowd of humans.

Once assured that all the gargoyles were dead asleep, the townspeople then didn't know what to do with them, but finally decided they might make nice decorations. Some were placed as gateposts, others made handy hat racks in the local taverns, or were used as planters in the local gardens. A nice grouping was made over the castle gates, with Demona, Amp, and Pandora (and Lassie, Ralph, and Coco, who were just laying around extra.) The grouping served as inspiration for the townspeople in years to come, having proved to themselves that they could handle their own problems, and giving them the confidence they needed to go out and enslave their neighbors. [Next to this section, I wrote "Used to scare off minor". Minor what? Who knows?]

And so they slept. And slept. And slept. Until, just as the crane was lowering the castle onto the top of Xavier's tower, a pesky fly landed on the crane operator's nose, causing him to sneeze, which caused the castle to be placed just a little harder than planned, which finally woke up our gang.

Once awake, Demona-and the group hid out for awhile. This obviously wasn't Kansas anymore, Toto. Their cautious first forays into their new world brought wonderful new discoveries - like ice cream, TV, cars, Xerox machines, Nikes. It also gave them a chance to think about how they got there. While-Demona was drawn to Xavier and the power that he commanded, the other five decided there was too much fun to be had exploring this new world. They liked it here and wanted to stay. Maybe if they didn't cause so much trouble, no one would put them to sleep again. Demona didn't care if these puny gargoyles couldn't see the potential in siding with the brilliant and omnipotent Xavier. Let them go off on their own. Xavier promised things beyond her wildest imaginings. She'd follow her dream- head of the largest security force in the world.

[Below the memo, I wrote "1000 YEAR PUNCH". Which still sounds cool to me.]


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Morgan starts to morph...

Kinda.

The following document from the old development file was written by Kat Fair to myself and Art Director Bob Kline. There's no date on this one, but I'm guessing it's from early September 1991. Morgan (Elisa) is changing from an archaeologist type to an engineer (the first change of many) and is being given a personal gripe against Xavier (Xanatos). This is the first of many career changes for the young lady.

Mr. Owen, the clumsy soon-to-be-aardvark precursor to Owen Burnett is hanging around too.

Greg and Bob:

I really didn't mean to do this from Morgan's point of view - it just came out that way. I hope this is what you were looking for, Greg. I sure had fun. I realize none of this will ever be used, unless we go to a prequel Movietoon for the series, but it might start and settle some discussion on these two base characters.

Kat

MORGAN AND XAVIER:

Ever since Morgan was a child, she's been what her father called a "tinkerer." When she was three, she fixed her first toaster. (To this day, when she's worried or upset, she starts tinkering with her toaster, or any other appliance that's handy.) When she was 9, she broke her arm testing her new invention, the Human Kite. Unfortunately, the proper materials weren't available, and she had to use an inferior substitute. Tin foil doesn't hold up as well as mylar. Her first date was a disaster. When the car broke down, she fixed it. Her first human love ended with bittersweet goodbyes when the Arco station closed, and her young mechanic moved on to oilier fields.

Morgan has always risen like a phoenix from the ashes in her life. With her trunks stuffed with blue prints, and her head filled with dreams and new ideas, Morgan started looking for a job with the largest aerodynamics corporation around, X Co. Rejected there, she quickly worked her way down to a small cargo company, who hired her as a mechanic, with permission to use the shop in her off hours. Always adept with mechanical things, Morgan soon learned to operate and repair every moving thing in the company - trucks, forklifts, small planes, cargo planes, helicopters. She finally completed the prototype for her lightweight engine, and was quickly swept up in a tornado of corporate bids for its exclusive use.

Although astonished at the money she was being offered, Morgan didn't jump at the first offer she got. She enjoyed being courted and dined and flattered. Each new meeting and meal brought bigger and bigger promises of a bright and financially secure future. Finally, the really big guns called. A Mr. Owen from X Co sent a limo to bring her to Mr. Xavier's penthouse offices in the internationally famous Castle X. Wow! X Co - the biggest, most prestigious aerodynamics corporation in the world! Everyone knew who X Co was. They built practically everything that moved in the world - jets, cruisers, missiles, satellites, space shuttles, even race cars and automobiles. With promises of being able to oversee the entire production of the lightweight engine, and, most importantly, approval on all its applications, plus her own research lab to continue work on her inventions, Morgan decided to go into business with the famous Mr. Xavier of X Co He seemed a little slimy, but with his entire company almost at her disposal, and control over the lightweight engine's applications, she felt she could keep a handle on her inventions.

Of course, from the very first day, nothing went right. She'd never had so many failures. First the Frictionless Fulcrum project ignited, and the plans for the lightweight engine were lost in the lab fire. As she struggled to redesign them, her other projects fell behind schedule, which Xavier patiently excused. Finally, Xavier called her into his office and sadly told her "it just wasn't working out" and he must regretfully terminate their business relationship. Her continued failures just made it too expensive (and too embarrassing) to keep her. Naturally, he wouldn't breathe a word of her failure to anyone else, and would help her find another position. Dejectedly, she signed her resignation.

As she was packing up her lab (and her toaster), shy Mr. Owen came by to wish her well. He'd always expressed an interest in her projects, which seemed to go beyond just keeping tabs for Xavier, and they found they shared a common interest in computers. Unfortunately, as she cried into his handkerchief about her failures, Owen let slip that all her setbacks weren't really her fault, and that he was looking at the plans on the lightweight engine just the other day and commenting to Mr. X on just how brilliant they were. Oops. Suddenly Owen was up against the wall, looking into the eyes of a very angry female. Owen wasn't up to the tapdance necessary to fool Morgan, who stormed into Xavier's office, demanding an explanation and the plans - yes, those plans spread out on his desk!

Cooly, Xavier told her exactly what had been going on over the past few months, and how she had played right into his ingenious plan. When he first heard of the lightweight engine, he had his henchmen find out all they could about her - how she broke her arm when she was 9, her first love, her penchant for repairing toasters when under stress anything and everything so he could make her an offer he knew she wouldn't refuse, but give him access to all of her inventions - especially the lightweight engine. Under his orders, Owen sabotaged each of her experiments, although Xavier had reserved the fun of igniting the Frictionless Fulcrum for himself while Owen was busy sneaking the plans out of the lab and making it look like they had been burned in the fire. And now all her ideas and work were his, everything she had brought to X Co, to do with as he pleased. Her initial agreement stated all ideas and work performed during her employment were the exclusive property of X Co, and now that she was officially gone, those properties were officially his.

Morgan realized she was beat. Calmly, she rose, told him she would never forget him, emptied his coffee cup on the plans, and with a withering glance to the cringing Owen, left the room.

Despite Xavier's attempts to discredit her, she got her old job back with the cargo company, flying exotic freight to exotic and not so exotic places. And she takes every opportunity she can to aggravate, annoy, badger, exasperate, irk, vex, peeve, and provoke X Co.


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Interns again...

Intern Ideas

Continuing our reprinting of old documents from the Gargoyles Development File.

This one was written by Regina Dixon, who was a college intern working at Disney TV Animation for the summer. Refer to previously posted documents to see what she was basing these ideas comedy springboards on.

I hate to say it, but in hindsight this seems like busy work to me. We hadn't even sold the show. We were a long way from needing story ideas. Still, I suppose it was good practice.

For some reason, Regina's ideas didn't post yesterday, so I'm reposting them here along with a set of ideas from our other intern Hoyland Ricks.

July 3, 1991

Story premises for GARGOYLES submitted by H. Ricks
[Greg's handwritten notes in brackets, as usual.]

"Pandora's Box's

Pandora finds an old chest encased in stone in one of the uninspected crevices of the castle, but she doesn't realize that Sidero put it there 500 years ago when he and the gargoyles first lived. Morgan tells Pandora to leave it alone so that she can study it, but Pandora accidentally cracks it open when Morgan is absent. Out of the chest comes an evil assortment of ogres, demons, and/or trolls--all of whom were faithful helpers of Sidero's back in the 15th century. The helpers go out and cause mayhem in the city and try to keep the goyles from interfering with their actions. The helpers take Xavier as a hostage and he is forced to conjure up Sidero. Now, Sid has several workers that are loyal to him and that will carry out his evil plans to rule the world. The goyles trap the helpers in the chest once again. [I wrote "good enough" next to this paragraph.]

"The Amazing Goyles"

Xavier is about to buy a circus from Barnum Dingling, a near-bankrupt circus owner. Everything that Barnum has worked for in his life to create is about to be lost to Xavier--unless he finds a way to bring in sell-out crowds so that he can repay his debts. The gargoyles run into Barnum and he hires them to be in his show--Cocoa on the tightrope, Lassie as a clown, Pandora fire-eating, Dakota taming lions, Amp as the ringmaster, and a terrified Ralph on the trapeze. The goyles turn out to be a hit, saving Barnum from bankruptcy and keeping Xavier from taking away the man's life. [I circled the word "circus", because I knew my boss Gary Krisel hated circus stories.]

"Stargoyles (Second Season)

An evil alien being, Metero, lands on earth with plans to take it over. [I wrote "standard" above this sentence.] Sidero learns of the alien's presence from Xavier. Sid coaxes Xavier to bring Metero to him and Sid allies with the extraterrestrial. The gargoyles become aware of Metero and his plans to rule Earth with Sidero. The goyles surprisingly encounter the Stargoyles who are futuristic alien gargoyles that have travelled to earth to throw a wrench in Metero's plans. [I circled the word "Stargoyles" and wrote "saves it."] The Star- and Gargoyles team up to stop Metero and Sid, and they eventually undermine the evil duo's plans--sending Metero back to his home planet with a sense of frustration.

Story ideas for GARGOYLES
by Regina Dixon
7/3/91
[As usual, my handwritten notes are in brackets.]

"Two Good To Be True"

XAVIER'S long lost identical twin brother XELLENT [I wrote "confused" by this name], shows up on his doorstep with a handful of books and a-family tree. Xavier, thinks he's only after his money. He puts him through various tests and finally brings him to Sidero. Xellent is able to call Sidero forth and Sidero enthuses at the thought of having any other heir besides Xavier. He tells Xellent about the Goyles and sends him to capture one. Xellent watches them play, when he tries to join in, they mistake him for Xavier and run away. They prepare for combat with Xellent. He befriends them and refuses to use his magical powers to harm them. Sidero's delicious delusions of power dissipate when he learns that though Xellent is very bright, he is too kind for words and therefore useless. When Xellent refuses to go along with any of Sidero's schemes he is banished from the castle.

"Goyled Again"

Sidero muses over a book of sorcery, but one ingredient's missing. He sends Xavier and Owen off to get it. Morgan and her class are on a dig in the very area, they leave just as Xavier arrives. Morgan finds what's valuable to Sidero --an amulet. Morgan wants to authenticate her find, but their isn't enough existing data, so she takes it to the Goyles to see if they know what it is. They too recognize it as being evil and valuable to Sidero and urge her to get rid of it. Before she can, Xavier and Owen corner her; only the goyles can save her now. [I wrote "STANDARD" next to this idea.]

"T.V. HELL"

RALPH has fallen asleep in front of the t.v. and is discovered by the air-conditioning maintenance man who carts him to his truck. He gives him to his mother in law who he hates. RALPH wakes to the sound of the t.v. thinking he is still at home. He finds himself surrounded by hundreds of t.v.'s. He thinks he's in rerun heaven. Only, the maintenance man makes Ralph help with his home repair business, which keeps Ralph from watching t.v. He rigs up some kind of signal through a television set to the others. They come and break him out. [I wrote "FUNNY" below this idea.]


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MUSINGS

Had a good time at the Gargoyles Adult Chatroom the other day, and it got me thinking. Someone named VP (or VJ?) made the point that everything I've done after, well, "The Journey" I guess, is fanfiction. At first, I misunderstood him. For example, I thought he was confusing Katana with Sata. But he made it clear, that he meant the quote-unquote Master Plan. My initial reaction was to balk.

But I think he's got a point.

Some of this stuff was completed while I was still on the Disney Payroll in late '95, early '96, but none of it's canon in my mind. Canon, as far as I'm concerned only includes the 66 episodes running from "Awakening, Part One" through "The Journey". The other 12 Goliath Chronicles are debatable. Because the show ISN'T on the air, I think I personally am free NOT to regard them as canon. If and/or when the show does get going again in some shape or form, then a more definitive decision will have to be made at that point about those additional 12 stories.

But putting Goliath Chronicles (and Marvel Comics and Disney Adventures, etc.) aside for the moment, that still leaves us with what to do about things like:

--"Once Upon a Time There Were Three Brothers..."
--Various ASK GREG and other revelations.
--The Spin-Offs: DARK AGES, GARGOYLES 2158, TIMEDANCER, PENDRAGON, THE NEW OLYMPIANS, BAD GUYS
--My further plans for the GARGOYLES main series itself.

Calling the work I've done on any of the above "fanfic" rankles at first, but that's largely a problem of semantics. It certainly isn't canon. At this point, legally, I have no more connection to the GARGOYLES property than any of you do. Plus, as I've said many times before, I won't be held to any of it. Hell, for all you know everything I've revealed is just one big snow-job to keep you from guessing my real plans. (It's not, but it might have been smarter of me if it was.)

I do think I'm something of an authority on the subject of Gargoyles. And I also think that if the show is ever brought back, the PTB at Disney would be likely (at least given current management) to come to me first to try and revive it. Plus I'm actively working on getting the show revived, again "in some shape or form".

But that doesn't change anything regarding the question of canon.

As many of you know, I've been working on a major revision of 2158. This is taking me longer than I thought, because -- and I shouldn't have been surprised by this, but -- it's effecting the ENTIRE chronology of the series. In addition to changing the year (and thus the title) of GARGOYLES 2158, I've already been forced to go back and make adjustments to both DARK AGES and "Once Upon A Time...Three Brothers". I now know that the last posted chapter of three brothers wound up being the last chapter of that little story period. Because "3Bros" really wound up being just a prologue to DARK AGES. And where "3Bros" leaves off is in fact right at the beginning of where DARK AGES begins.

The 2158 revamp has also necessitated minor changes in TimeDancer. And has clarified my thinking on Pendragon and Bad Guys as well.

[Thankfully, none of it has effected the Clan Contest. We should still be able to put that monster to bed soon.]

All this flux has made it difficult for me to keep certain details clear in my head. For example, at that Friday 9/1/00 chat, I revealed that Hudson had two biological children, Hyppolyta and Broadway. That was an error. Hudson had THREE biological children. (I got my dates mixed up.)

I'm hoping that the work I'm doing now will clean a lot of stuff up. I'm hoping that clarity (and my personal certainty) will return. But this flux isn't necessarily a bad thing. I know I screwed up at least a few times (Garg Universe-wise) within the 66 episodes. I tried to keep those mistakes to a minimum, but they happened. I'd like to avoid making more mistakes, even here at ASK GREG. I definitely feel like I'm getting closer to the "true" Gargoyles Universe, if that's possible and/or makes any sense.

Updates on all this should come over the next ten months. But I'm targeting Gathering 2001 for completion. I'm hoping to be able to make some big announcements there. So bear with me.

But to be fair to VP, he was right. I wouldn't call what I do "fanfiction". For starters, none of it is in the form of fiction. And so calling it that may be giving it TOO MUCH credit. But at the moment, I have no more claim to canon than anyone.

Rather, I'd say that if you like the stories I did come up with on the original 66, and think you might enjoy what I'd do next -- the way you might enjoy what Christine Morgan or Christi Smith Hayden or TGS does next -- than stay tuned. I've got more to tell you and more to reveal by and by.


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Intern Ideas

Continuing our reprinting of old documents from the Gargoyles Development File.

This one was written by Regina Dixon, who was a college intern working at Disney TV Animation for the summer. Refer to previously posted documents to see what she was basing these ideas comedy springboards on.

I hate to say it, but in hindsight this seems like busy work to me. We hadn't even sold the show. We were a long way from needing story ideas. Still, I suppose it was good practice.

-------


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Enter Owen -- The Aardvark!

Continuing to reprint the old Gargoyles Comedy Development...

Another document from Kat Fair and Cindy Chupack. This one brings Xavier's assistant Owen into play. What's interesting to me is that we clearly already knew that Owen had been turned into an Aardvark. It's information taken for granted in this document. It's possible that the idea originated as artwork. I do remember Bob Kline's design of Owen being pretty funny.

Morgan [the Elisa precursor] is quite different, yet still fulfills the same basic function.

Pre-Xanatos Xavier is clearly inspired by Duke Igthorn and Captain Hook. Both are favorite comic villains of mine. Of course, in the drama that Gargoyles became, Xavier would have annoyed the hell out of me. But for a comedy show, I thought he was great.

RECEIVED BY
MAY 09 1991
GREG WEISMAN'S OFFICE
[NOTE: GREG'S HANDWRITTEN NOTES in {brackets}]

GARGOYLES: Characters
(Fair and Chupack, 5/8/91)

OWEN: Owen always had trouble asserting himself, and now that he's an aardvark, well, things aren't getting any better. He's terribly defeatist and apologetic, as in "Xavier, I know you're busy and all, but do you think you might possibly make me a human again, at your convenience. I understand if you can't. I was just checking."

Occasionally Owen will suggest a solution or plan, but he only gets credit when it backfires. (Xavier thinks positive reinforcement is an oxymoron.) However, Xavier is Owen's hero. He's rich, powerful and best of all, tall. Owen strives to be like Xavier, and he's always working for his approval.
The upside to being an aardvark is that Owen doesn't have to shave anymore. The downside is that he has no social life. (Xavier likes to point out that Owen never had a social life, but that's not true. Owen was recording secretary of Knights of the Floppy Disk.) Yes, Owen is a computer geek. He can tap into anything anywhere anytime, which makes him invaluable to Xavier. Of course, he's underpaid.

Next to becoming a human, Owen's greatest aspiration is to impress Morgan.

MORGAN: Even as a young girl, Morgan was fascinated with the medieval time period. She preferred toy dragons to dolls. She dressed up as Guenivere for Halloween. She faked doctor's notes that said she had the black plague. As an archeology grad student in Europe, she was appalled to learn that some rich American brat was buying her favorite castle and taking it to the States, so she finagled her way into a curator position to keep on [sic] eye on its transport and reconstruction. {I wrote "already" next to the above paragraph.}

Morgan finds Xavier totally reprehensible--a real sleaze. Stupid to boot. She'd be perfectly content if she never saw him again, but that won't be the case because she can't resist helping the goyles. (She and Dakota have become real friends, and the goyles often go to her because she knows all the castle's secret passageways.)

Currently, Morgan does research for various historical societies by looking into past records and invariably uncovering mysterious events. The goyles are always on hand to help and/or hinder her research. {I wrote "research dull" next to this paragraph.}

Morgan might seem all business, but she has a warm heart and a nice laugh. She has a hard time tolerating the goyles' silliness, especially in a crunch, but somehow their play always turns out for the best. The goyles might even help her lighten up.

XAVIER: You can't say many nice things about Xavier, but he looks great in a tux. He's always contemplating whether to run for public office, but when it comes to real work he's a lost puppy. (Not that it stopped Dan Quayle.) Xavier is all hot air with that nasty edge that comes from insecurity. He must continually feel like he's on top, and he only drops his condescending tone when he's addressing Sidero. Since he's after acclaim and recognition, flattery will get you everywhere.

Did we mention that Xavier is completely self-centered? He is. So much so that his narrow vision often prevents him from seeing the larger evil picture. Anything that doesn't relate to him isn't worth his attention. Therefore Sidero will probably remain a smoke signal, and Owen will probably remain an aardvark.


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G2K DIARY: Chapter VII

WEDNESDAY: We had a late afternoon flight and some time to kill. We asked for a late checkout from our rooms, but that still meant we had to vacate a couple hours before we needed to leave for the airport. We moved to the lobby. The kids got to spend some more time with Siryn, Heather Rice and a bunch of others. I hiked over to McDonalds and brought us back some food. And then Kellie drove us to the airport.

Everything went very smoothly on the way home. Flight was on time, and I even made it to my Wednesday night class only an hour late. (Kevin Hopps, my co-teacher, was there to cover for me.) Heck, Gathering attendee and animation writing student Carol didn't even make it. So I was pretty proud of myself.

And that's it.


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Comedy development coming together...

Continuing our reprinting of old garg development documents...

Again, this is Cindy & Kat trying to pull our ideas together into one document. I had mentioned having a problem with the mundane names. So Georgette became Dakota (another step toward her being Demona). Trouble, a name I DON'T remember having problems with, became Amp. Isa Dora became Cocoa. Pan Dora could safely become Pandora. "Sorcy" became Sidero. I had them stick with Ralph for the comic value. Of course, there was no rhyme or reason to any of these names. But we weren't trying to "figure it all out" at this stage. Just have something that felt fun, cool and funny enough to sell our bosses on.

Also, note in our "Backstory" Kat & Cindy were thinking 15th century, not 10th.

GARGOYLES - From Cindy & Kat 4/25/91

DAKOTA, the leader of the goyles, is an Indiana Jones with scales. She's brave, intelligent, and quick with a comeback (usually to Amp.) Her main concern is keeping the goyles out of danger. That's easier said than done. The only thing she can't resist is Chinese food, and she's phobic of pigeons.

AMP (as in "volume and distortion") is an Eddie Murphy type. He's cool, he's with it, he's now - and he's impossible. He knows right from wrong, but only in hindsight. Amp would like to be leader, but he's just too impulsive. He'll jump into any situation to prove himself, usually with Cocoa right behind him.

COCOA is not particularly concerned with her goylish figure. She's lovable and frenetic, everyone's friend, enthusiastic about any plan just on principle. Her passion is dancing and singing, although her dancing can register on the Richter scale, and her singing has been known to crack glass. (Dakota thinks these skills might come in handy.)

PANDORA is a serious actress who nobody takes seriously. She doesn't discuss, she gives monologues. She doesn't talk, she performs. She doesn't lie, she's just great at improv, which explains why the rest of the group gives a collective groan whenever she says, "Let me handle this-" In the eyes of strangers, she is almost cute enough to pull it off. Almost being the operative word.

LASSIE (not the smartest in the group) can be described in two words: easily sidetracked. He thinks everything is equally fascinating, which means he's just as likely to become fascinated with the villain's shoelaces as the villain's death-blaster. He may be manic, but when it comes to the goyles, he's as sweet and loyal as they come.

SUPPORTING CAST

RALPH loves adventure, provided he doesn't have to go along. An older goyle, Ralph is perfectly content to stay at home and hold down the fort ... as long as he has his popcorn popper, microwave, TV, Walkman and fuzzy banana slippers. He learns about humans by watching television, which makes for some dangerous assumptions. The other goyles often go to him for advice, and to watch the soaps. Goyles love soaps.

MORGAN, an archeologist, works for the Historical Preservation Society. She got inextricably tangled up with our cast when she agreed to oversee the transfer and restoration of Xavier's castle. Morgan was always fascinated, even obsessed, with Medieval lore, maybe because it was at a safe distance. Not any more. Thanks to the goyles' contagious enthusiasm, her Felix Unger approach to life no longer works. Morgan's first reaction to the goyles (after she stopped screaming) was purely scientific. "Here's something you don't see every day." Although wary to admit it, Morgan is beginning to like the goyles, and she'll do what she can (she know the castle inside and out!) to protect them.

SIDERO was once a great, albeit evil, sorceror, but now he's just a ghost-like image that his nephew can summon, and, thankfully, shut off. He continually browbeats his nephew for thinking small. ("You can't go through life hoping cashiers will give you too much change!!!") But until he finds a way out of this Wizard of Oz-like state, he must convince his ineffectual nephew to carry out his grandiose schemes for him. He is not happy about having the goyles on the loose because he knows how one pesky goyle can ruin a perfectly sinister day.

XAVIER inherited enormous family wealth at a very young age, and from his medieval castle penthouse atop New York City's Toppling Towers high-rise, he's doing his best to spend it. Although Xavier comes from a long line of evildoers, the family genes are fading. Try as he might, Xavier's schemes will never match up to the brilliant misdeeds of his great-great-great-great uncle.

BACKSTORY

In the 15th century, there was a very evil sorceror named Sidero who spent his final years seeking the secret of immortality. Failing with cryogenics (he got frostbite) and rockology (although he got rid of a few gargoyles), he settled for a genie-like state that would preserve his soul and image, but not his body, in The Mirror. In reflection, Sidero realized there were some drawbacks. Primarily, he was no longer the master of his destiny, because he could only be summoned if a direct descendant was standing in front of The Mirror. After five centuries someone finally moved the potted plant (in fact, someone moved the whole castle) and Sidero found himself face to face with a major disappointment -- his heir. Xavier, being of little and stingy mind, tried a few small potato schemes before realizing Sid's potential. ("Let the amazing Sidero guess your weight!", "Let Sidero organize your closet!", etc.)

To Sid's dismay, when the castle was moved a few of the gargoyles' stone shells were cracked. It was dank, cold and dark in those shells. They've had plenty of sleep, and now they're ready to party!!


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G2K DIARY: Chapter VI

TUESDAY:

Again, Kellie drove us to the parks. She dropped us off and we boarded the Mono-Rail to the Magic Kingdom. Rented our strollers and entered. We spent the morning on our own.

PIRATES. SMALL WORLD. Other kid pleasers.

Then we met up with Siryn, Kellie and Sara, who were just terrific with the kids. We went to ToonTown (or whatever it's called in Florida) so that the kids could get some autographs, but Benny fell asleep in the stroller. So we had Minnie and Cinderella sign his book and take pictures with him, while asleep. Erin enjoyed it though.

The weather was just a tad less hot. But it made a big difference. And we did more rides and fewer shows, so it was much more tolerable.

Saw the Morgans again, but they had a fast pass for something, so we couldn't hang.

We did the AUTOPIA equivalent. And a bunch of other stuff, including the new TIKI ROOM. We saw a couple of parades. One where the kids got to participate. And the MAIN STREET ELECTRICAL PARADE. We ate in Tomorrowland. We saw FIREWORKS.

And than we took the Ferry back to Kellie's car. She took us home. I went to get Donuts. But Dunkins was all out of Donuts, even though they weren't closed yet. Go figure.

Sorry for the abbreviated version, but my memory is already failing me.

Anyway, to be concluded... on "WEDNESDAY"!


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More comedy characterizations...

Continuing our reprinting of old Garg documents...
This one is by Kat Fair and Cindy Chupack, consolidating from previous memos. Notice, we've reduced the number of 'goyles down to six. Georgette (the precursor to Dakota/Demona) is the leader. Trouble (a precursor to Brooklyn/Lex) is the second. Isa Dora (Broadway), Lassie (Lex/Brooklyn) and Ralph (Hudson) are all present. Also Xavier (Xanatos) and Morgan (Elisa). Plus "Sorcy" (an Archmage/Magus type). And Pan Dora for whom we really don't have an equivalent. Though now I know we need one. I was still, at this point very concerned that the names were to dull. Anyway, enjoy:

KAT & CINDY 4/18/91
[NOTE: Greg Weisman's handwritten notes are in brackets.]

GARGOYLES

[NAMES]

GEORGETTE, the leader of the goyles, is an Indiana Jones with scales. She's brave, intelligent, streetwise and quick with a comeback (usually to Trouble). Her main concern is keeping the goyles out of danger. That's easier said than done. Her weakness is ice cream, and she's deathly afraid of pigeons.

TROUBLE is our Dan Ackroyd [BILL MURRAY] type. He'd like to be the leader, but he's just not wise enough in the ways of the world. He'll foolishly jump into any situation, usually with Isa Dora right behind him. He knows right from wrong, but he draws the line a little farther to the left than most.

ISA DORA, the larger of the adorable Dora sisters, is not particularly concerned with her goylish figure. She's lovable and frenetic, everyone's friend, enthusiastic about any plan just on principle. Isa's passion is dancing and singing, although her singing has been known to crack glass. (Georgette thinks this skill might come in handy.)

PAN DORA is a serious actress who nobody takes seriously. She doesn't discuss. She gives monologues. She doesn't talk. She performs. And she doesn't think before talking, which explains why the rest of the group gives a collective groan whenever Pan Dora says, "Let me handle this." In the eyes of strangers, Pan is almost cute enough to pull it off. Almost being the operative word.

LASSIE (not the smartest in the group) can be described in two words: easily sidetracked. He thinks everything is equally fascinating, which means he's just as likely to become fascinated with the villain Is shoelaces as the villain's death-blaster.

RALPH loves adventure, provided he doesn't have to go along. An older goyle, Ralph is perfectly content to stay at home and hold down the fort ... as long as he has his popcorn popper, microwave, TV, Walkman and fuzzy banana slippers. He learns about humans by watching television, which makes for some dangerous assumptions. The other goyles often go to him for advice, and to watch the soaps. Goyles love soaps.

HUMANS

XAVIER inherited enormous family wealth at a very young age, and from his medieval castle penthouse atop New York City's Toppling Towers high-rise, he's doing his best to spend it. Although Xavier comes from a long line of evildoers, the family genes are fading. Try as he might, Xavier's schemes will never match up to the brilliant misdeeds of his great-great-great-great uncle Sorcy.

MORGAN, a museum curator, got inextricably tangled up with our cast when she agreed to oversee the transfer and restoration of Xavier's castle. Morgan was always fascinated by Medieval lore, maybe because it was at a safe distance. Not any more. As the castle was being uprooted from Northern England, a few of the decorative stone gargoyles fell to the ground, cracked, and came to life. Morgan's first reaction (after she stopped screaming) was purely scientific. "Here's something you don't see every day." But the goyles' enthusiasm for life is contagious. Although wary to admit it, Morgan is beginning to like the goyles, and she'll do what she can (she knows the castle inside and out!) to protect them.

OTHER
THE SORCEROR would like to be addressed as 0. Great one, but everyone calls him Sorcy. Sorcy was once a great, albeit evil, sorceror, but now he is just a ghost-like image that his nephew can summon and, thankfully, shut off. Sorcy continually browbeats his nephew for thinking small. ("You can't go through life hoping cashiers will give you too much change!!!") But until Sorcy finds a way out of this Wizard of Oz-like state, he must convince his ineffectual nephew to carry out his grandiose schemes for him. Sorcy is not happy about having the goyles on the loose because he knows how one pesky goyle can ruin a perfectly horrible day.


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See you soon...

Leaving on vacation today. Don't know if I'll have internet access while I'm gone, so we this may be my last ASK GREG post for a week or so.

Have fun!


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G2K DIARY: Chapter V

MONDAY: We let the kids sleep relatively late, cuz we knew they'd want to stay up to the bitter end.

Then we all packed into Kellie's car for the Journey to Disney/MGM studios. We got our double stroller and lemonade and headed into the Studio. It's a cool looking place, but MAN IS IT HOT AND HUMID. They had those TOY STORY LITTLE GREEN SOLDIERS running around shooting grateful people with water cannons. I spent the entire day literally pouring water on my head to no avail. It was kinda brutal.

The kids spotted Hercules, Aladdin, Minnie, Belle and quite a few others, so we bought them autograph books and did <surprise, surprise> some standing in line.

Then we met up with Sara and a bunch of others at a cool diner (with great food -- much better than at Disneyland) that's themed to look like a sitcom house. Sort of. Still, at this point it was family time, so we sat down and ate without the gang. Then we arranged a meeting time for later and headed out on our own.

Little Mermaid show (using a fast pass). The Movie ride inside the Chinese Theater. The Mu Lan Parade. The Doug Live Show. Muppets 3-D. Etc. Then we met up with everyone and headed over to Fantasmic. The kids loved all of it. I had fun, but man the heat.

On the way out, we spotted the Morgans, and I thought it was too bad that we hadn't spent more time together as families, but I also get the feeling that they're more adventurous than us.

Anyway, Kellie drove us home. I called Thom and said good-bye, and we all crashed.

TO BE CONTINUED... "ON TUESDAY"...


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FIRST BLUSH COMEDY GARGS

Unfortunately, I don't have the next step to post. After the document I posted yesterday, we had Development Art Director Bob Kline (creator of the New Olympians) do some preliminary designs, just some inspirational stuff. Keep in mind, we were still thinking Gummi Bears. He drew nine cute little gargoyles, and I assigned Cindy and Kat to come up with short bios for each one.

You can see a bit of Brooklyn in Nick (though his picture looked more like Lex).

There's a bit of Lex in Campbell and Lassie.

Georgette is a precursor to Dakota, who was in turn the precursor to Demona.

Ralph Fullmoon (teamed with his clearly "Honeymooners"-inspired Alice) was the precursor to the couch potato Ralph that eventually became Hudson.

And Isa Dora is a clear precursor to Coco, who led us to Broadway. So the beginnings are here. And I didn't write any of it. (Thanks, Kat & Cindy!)

RECEIVED BY
APR 08 1991
GREG WEISMAN'S OFFICE

GARGOYLES: LIST OF CHARACTERS
(based on some sketches by Bob Kline)
from Cindy and Kat 4/5/91

NICK: [Greg's hand-written note in margin: Are Names too common?] This Bill Murray type is the leader of the goyles. real name is Melvin but he changed it. Nick's quick to come up with a plan---Unfortunately, his plans rarely work. Above all (gargoyles usually are) Nick loves women. Indiscriminately. However, his best lines solicit responses such as "You're not my type - of species" and "Come back when you've worked your way up the food chain."

CAMBELL: This guy is good-natured, curious and big-time naive. He looks at the modern world like a tourist, complete with camera. Subsequently no adventure is complete until he has a souvenir. He's an avid collector of everything, which comes in handy if you have time to sort through his mess of a collection. He's fascinated by the modern world. Read: easily sidetracked.

PAN DORA: The smaller of the adorable Dora sisters, Pan Dora is a pathological liar. And she's almost cute enough to pull it off. Almost being the operative word. She's as sweet as can be, but her first inclination in any situation is to lie. She takes pleasure in testing the limits of human gullibilty. Her motto is "If at first you don't succeed, lie, lie again." She rarely succeeds. Which explains why the goyles' give a collective groan when Pan Dora says, "Let me handle this."

ISA DORA: The larger of the adorable Dora sisters, Isa Dora loves to dance. Think hippo from Fantasia. But Isa Dora sings, too. She's lovable and frenetic, which makes for a dangerous hug. (We also have an alternate male version.)

ALICE FULLMOON: Think Gracie Allen--ditzy but self-assured. Alice gets into a lot of trouble, but always comes out on top. She's the eternal optimist. Which makes her the perfect contrast to...

RALPH FULLMOON: Think Al Bundy but with worse luck.
Nothing ever goes right for Ralph. Even his practical jokes backfire. In short, he's not thrilled to be awake.

GEORGETTE: Although Nick likes all women, held really like to turn to stone with Georgette. (Sorry, couldn't resist.) But she has more important things on her mind. Like keeping the goyles out of danger. Georgette is not only great with a comeback, she's fearless. She's a female Indiana Jones with scales. She should be the leader, but for some reason nobody listens to her until Nick's plan fails.

TROUBLE: As in "Here comes." If Matt Dillon was a gargoyle ... well, let's just say this is the kind of guy that gives gargoyles a bad name. Basically, he's from the wrong side of the tracks. He's a loner. He's quick to point out that trouble's not his middle name--it's his first name! He thinks the other goyles are really stupid and uncool, which makes him a good candidate for the nephew's sidekick. However, he's about as loyal as a parasite. He only looks out for himself, and when the going gets tough, he doesn't get going. He's gone.

LASSIE: Another candidate for the nephew's sidekick, Lassie is nothing like his name suggests. He continually misinterprets situations and attacks the wrong people at the wrong time. Plus he's easily distracted. We're talking the attention span of Kim Basinger. It's a wonder he found his way onto this page. He gladly accepts any mission, but only as an excuse to get out of the house. The villains try to spell out his instructions, but you can't teach a crazy gargoyle new tricks.

OTHER OPTIONS

DUMB JOCK TYPE: All talk, really cowardly.

PIGLET TYPE: Very nervous.

STEVEN WRIGHT TYPE: Extremely zoned out. Never really woke up. (We need art.)


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I made it...

I really was beginning to think I'd never get to the end of July...

But I made it.

I'm less than one month behind.

Unfortunately, I'm about to leave town for a week and I don't know if I'll have net access where I'm going, so I'm bound to fall behind again. But at least we got this far...


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G2K Diary: Chapter IV

SUNDAY - Got up and gave my little panel/Q&A on writing for TV Animation. Like a mini-mini-mini-version of the TWENTY WEEK class I teach through UCLA extension. (How come more of you don't take that, huh?) Anyway, it was kinda fun, and as usual, I would have kept talking forever if we hadn't had to clear the room for the auction and signing.

Thom had the time wrong and was late, but he got there eventually, and he and I and Greg G. and Vic signed stuff, while we marveled at the auction. $805 for the storyboard. $95 for the script. It makes me proud. (And sorta grumbly that I have no financial interest in GARGOYLES. Oh, well.) We raised a lot of money. You guys are all terrific. Later I re-signed the script for Lanny to personalize it. Least I could do, after $95 and four consecutive Gathering attendances.

I attended part of Greg Guler's character design session. It was very interesting. He's a good speaker. Made me sorry I missed Thom's acting session, and Vic's storyboard session. I like this stuff.

Somewhere in here, Thom and I did another Q&A. I can't remember exactly when. But it was fun. And then we screened the first two episodes of 3x3 EYES, which featured Brigitte Bako and Christian Campbell with guest appearances by Thom, myself and Keith -- in a very startling roll. I think the eps went over very well. We got a lot of roars for the Garg in-jokes I slipped in there. (But I knew that would happen. I was preaching to the converted.)

Then it was dinner time. I went back to collect my family, but Benny had passed out after another hot day of swimming and running around. So I offered to stay with him and let Beth take Erin to dinner. But she let me go so that Erin could spend some time with me. So Erin and I departed with Thom, Jen, Mitch, Kenna, the Morgans, Kathy and Patrick and Alan, I think. (As usual, I'm probably forgetting someone, sorry.) It was a very long hike to RED LOBSTER. Then I thought they'd never be able to seat us, but low and behold they did after not TOO long a wait. Jen and Erin and Kenna taught each other sign language. ERin and Becca played with a kind of sticker puzzle. And the food was great. But then service was very slow, and it soon became clear that we were going to be late to the Closing Ceremonies. We tried cell phones, but no one's worked. Finally, we forced Thom, since it was all his fault to run on ahead, as those of us with kids weren't gonna do much running at all. We hiked the long way back. And finally got there. WAY LATE.

But Closing Ceremonies were a blast. Everyone was so hyped. I made another pitch for G2001. Lots of cheers for G2K's staff. More awards. It was great.

Eventually, things calmed down a bit, and we showed two more episodes of 3x3. Bill F. was in these. They also went over pretty well. "Wu" "Wu".

When it was over, Jen, Thom, Kathy and I tried to go swimming, since we hadn't had time to get in the pool all con long. But predictably, the hotel told us it was too late. So we headed back to Patrick's room for a while. Then I took off to rejoin my family.

It was time to be a dad again. Next stop: DISNEYWORLD

To be continued... on "MONDAY"...


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Early comedy development...

Continuing to reprint old documents from the development file. This one doesn't have a name attached, but I'd guess it was written by Kat Fair. The document consists of notes taken during a Development Staff Meeting where Gargoyles, among other projects, was discussed:

GARGOYLES: Staff meeting 3/20/91

LEAD CHARACTERS:

GARGOYLES:

Gargoyles will be both male and female. Debate as to how many (3-6).

Gargoyles turn to stone when asleep. Many funny gag opportunities when fall asleep at inconvenient times. Also, gives them an Achilles' heel. Hard to wake up (Discover what does wake them up.)

Gargoyles' motivations are:

1. To wake up other gargoyles;
2. Beware of sorcerer who put them to sleep for 1000 years;
3. To party!!!!! (not necessarily in that order.)

NEPHEW:

Living off of enormous family wealth from great-great-great-great uncle sorcerer; has blood line of bad guys, but has never quite matched up to sorcerer, whom he admires. Accidentally recalls sorcerer. Lives in Trump Tower with sorcerer's old castle on top. Should be some family resemblance between sorcerer and nephew.

SORCERER:

Browbeats nephew continually for thinking small in his evil deeds, and drives him on to carry out his own grandiose schemes. Not happy when learns that gargoyles are around and active, knowing how pesky they can be in foiling his plans. He's a ghost-like/Wizard of Oz-like image that the nephew can call up - and shut off.

NEPHEW SIDE-KICK:

Not decided if this character should be a sarcastic scientific experiment gone bad, a smart-mouthed robot invented by nephew and animated by sorcerer, or if necessary at all.

FEMALE CURATOR:

Guardian for gargoyles. She oversaw bringing the castle to the Tower. Gargoyles bring fun into her staid and safe life. Discussed danger of making her as focused as Gadget. Also, discussed possiblity of her having younger sister and/or daughter who will also get involved with gargoyles for smaller stories. (FYI: Julia Morgan was the name of the architect who worked with Hearst on San Simeon.)

Movie/backstory:

Counterpart princess guardian to female curator. (Idea type this: Maybe gargoyles were put to sleep for 1000 years while deflecting sorcerer's curse from princess.)

Start in past and move to future, or remain in past, leaving ending wide open for sequel/TV series.

You'll notice the early stirrings of the Elisa character in the Curator. And now I remember where we got the name "Morgan" from, which was one of Elisa's early monikers. You can also see the early comic Xavier/Xanatos in the Nephew character. And the Mr. Owen aardvark sidekick. Also the basic structure of starting in the past and waking in the present after a curse. Plus, already, we had the castle atop the skyscraper idea.


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G2K DIARY: Chapter III

SATURDAY - And things were in full swing. It was a day largely dedicated to the radio play for me, Thom and Jen. We held more auditions. Again, with a mediocre turnout. (Hope this isn't the start of a trend. Do you guys still like the radio plays, or has it gotten old hat by now?)

Then Jen, Thom and I grabbed some food at the snack shop and cast the thing. Thom and I agreed that Jen was the best choice for the female lead. I was nervous about conflicts of interest, but what the hell, we just wanted the best possible show.

We posted the list. I went to get the BIG BOX OF SCRIPTS (which had been SUCH a pain to ship to Florida). And then we convened to rehearse. First problem, someone we cast didn't show. Didn't see her again for the entire convention. Wondered what happened. At first we figured she'd be there any minute, so we didn't recast. By the time we realized that she probably wouldn't be showing up at all, we figured it was too late to bring in one of the other people who had auditioned. There wasn't time to bring them up to speed. So we forced Jesse to play two parts. She did great.

Then we took a short break. I went to my room to get some water. Came back and had MORE trouble finding everyone to shove them into our "Green Room". Wanderer and Anne went off to grab a meal. They came back way late. THANKS. :) Anyway, the show got started and it went very well, I think.

Then we had another break, and I finally took some time to walk through the absolutely AMAZING art room. Stopped by the dealer's room too. Played with my kids. (I had been absent dad, so far that weekend.) And we all endured the delays caused by the blackout. Finally, dinner got started by candlelight. I shared a table with my family, Ashlee, A Fan, and a couple of other people (again, I apologize for forgetting.) We held the trivia contest. I was pleased that I knew most of the answers. Ashlee knew some that I didn't quite remember, but she wasn't always confident enough to make the rest of the gang listen. I hope she gets over that fast. Then Greg, Vic, Thom and I got up to do our Q&A, which was fun.

And there was another break, while people got costumed. Erin and Ben came as Fox and Xanatos from the Judo workout scene in "Outfoxed". (They wore their actual karate uniforms. And Jen, I think, helped them by painting a Fox tatoo on Erin and a mustache and goatee on Ben. Ben quickly tired of his facial hair however, and had his mom wash it off before the contest began.) Becca was an amazing Bronx. We sorta rushed the juvenal division of the contest into play, since it was getting pretty late for the kids. Tom, Greg, Vic and I declared it a tie between Becca and Erin&Ben. But I later went up to Christine and admitted that Becca should have won hands down.

Then the four of us sat down to judge the contest. It was terrific. Vic kept turning to me and asking "Was that character in the show?" No. No. No. Oh, wait, yes. No. No. No. Mostly.

Tim Morgan was a terrific Owen. But the freaky thing was, that without his mustache and with his hair died blond, he really looked A LOT like my college roommate from senior year, Cameron Douglas. And Aaron has always looked like a long-haired version of my junior year roommate Tom McMinn. So I had a picture taken with the three of us.

There were a ton of great costumes. We gave the big prize to Dreamie, who had real working wings. (I half expected her to glide off on them any second.) Of course, we just had to give a prize to Patrick "Chavez" Toman. The guys wanted "Most Disturbing", which I was fine with, but I wanted to also call it "The Gorebash Memorial Award". They didn't get that, but I insisted. Both designations got a big laugh.

After the contest, I hung around. Seth grabbed me and stuck me on ICQ for a couple minutes, and I gave some people a hard time for not being at the con. I also talked with a whole bunch of (mostly) new faces who asked a lot of questions, while Jen and Kelly and a few other people were, like, doing backflips on the dance floor.

Eventually, a few of us went back to Patrick and Kathy's room and hung out for a bit. Finally, I called it a night.

To be continued... ON "SUNDAY"...


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G2K DIARY: CHAPTER II

FRIDAY - We ordered room service from the hotel, which was good. Then I left the kids with Beth to head over to the con for early auditions. Things were just getting started. Fairly organized chaos. It took awhile for Thom and Jen and I to gather and get started. And when we did....

Well, not too many people auditioned. I think we only had seven or eight that first day. That wasn't TOO surprising. Not everyone was there yet. We were only holding the early auditions to give us a hedge against being flooded with people on Saturday. We needn't have worried. We had a much lower audtion turnout this year than the last two. (I'm not sure why.) Even with me giving a number of the male roles to females, we still had to use EVERY male who auditioned. And nearly every female.

Anyway, with that over, I went to join my family in the pool. But they had spent the morning swimming and were just getting out. Our goal was to attend the ice cream social, but we wanted the kids to eat something vaguely healthy first, so we "repackaged" them and walked to Denny's. It took MUCH, MUCH longer than we thought it would. By the time we got back and located the Ice Cream Social, the Ice Cream had melted and nearly everyone was gone. Oh, well.

We went back to the room to kick back until opening ceremonies.

Opening Ceremonies was fun. Sara intro'd many, many people. Chris and Hudson discussed their very interesting ideas about organizing Gargoyle Fandom. Jen and I talked about G2001. Thom said hello. I introduced my family, though by this time my kids had largely lost interest and were playing with Becca Morgan in the corner.

Then I got up to do my standard schpiel. As I mentioned there, most of the attendees know it so well, they can practically recite it back to me as if it were the Rocky Horror Picture Show or something. But I showed the original GARGOYLES sales pitch. The "Power of One/Glory" Better-Than-Barney Promo. A "new" promo, i.e. one that I hadn't shown before, hosted by Jonathan Frakes. The pitches for New Olympians and Dark Ages. And the Story Reel for Bad Guys. As usual, despite the familiarity, everyone seemed pretty enthused to see this stuff again.

We had a quick G2001 staff meeting after opening ceremonies. It went well. We all got pretty excited about what we have planned for that.

I quickly slipped back to my room to exchange video tapes. Came back with SEVEN episodes of STARSHIP TROOPERS (aka ROUGHNECKS) and showed those, explaining what had gone on in the series leading up to these episodes, between them and after them. It was kinda fun, but we barely made it out of the room before the Hotel was ready to kick us out.

Then another group of twelve or so of us, including Kenna, Jen, Amy, Alison and others headed back to Denny's. We ate a bit. Laughed a lot. And headed back to the hotel...

The con was just getting under way. TO BE CONTINUED... ON "SATURDAY"...


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Notes from a lunch meeting...

Continuing to post old documents from the series' early development. This is new stuff to you -- and we can thank Jordan Mann for transcribing it. The date is iffy. There's no actual date on the page, but I know this memo comes before the next one, which is dated 3-20-91.

I didn't write this. These notes were written up by one of the development associates who worked with me. Probably Kat Fair (now at Nickelodeon) who's mentioned making her comments. The Gary referred to was my boss Gary Krisel:

[Pre 3/20/91]
LUNCH W/ GARY RE: GARGOYLES:
Beauty and Beast
Science experiment gone wrong
talisman, magic rain, lightening

Look into mythology, keep as much as possible Gary not comfortable with long past history.
Greg: Ancient enemy now 3-piece suit, turned gargoyles into stone

Who is enemy and what is purpose of gargoyles? To help caretaker against her enemies, against their enemies? What is enemy trying to do? Gain power? Gain money? Take over earth to what purpose?

Any gremlin-like qualities? Get bigger when fed, multiply when wet, etc.?

KAT: Gargoyles turned to human by lucky accident when scientist (nerd female) fell asleep and knocked over vials during a lovely dream, or let something overheat and boil over. (It was this happiness and positive feelings that infused the liquids and affected/infected the 'goyles.) Scientist works for evil 3piece/ex-mage who always has her working on new projects he comes up with. Scientist (at first) goes along with these orders because he's the boss. Eventually scientist sees that what boss wants is bad, and works to thwart him at every turn (with the help of the 'goyles.

Gargoyles have been stone for hundreds of years, are now so thrilled to be alive they're goofy, joyous. Always see the positive side to the point of ridiculousness. Just love life and play, because they know that if you don't play you turn to stone - and that's what they're trying to show scientist. Goyles are more human than the human scientist.


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GREG'S G2K DIARY, CHAPTER ONE...

THURSDAY - We got lucky in that both Benny & Erin no longer need car seats. They can use these seatbelt adapters, which are a heck of a lot easier to carry around. This may seem like a weird way to start my diary, but let me tell you, it changed the whole tenor of the trip for the better.

We arrived at the airport, checked our bags at the curb and proceeded to our gate, already aware that the flight was going to depart (at least) an hour late. Thom was already there. He had done the same. But we were also flying with Jen Anderson, and she was no where in sight, not even after the time when the flight should have been leaving. We got worried. While Beth took Erin and Ben to McDonalds, Thom and I called Jen on her cell phone. She had brought her bags inside and was attempting to check in at the immense line at the ticket counter downstairs. We told her to go back outside to check her bags and come up to the gate, but she insisted that she was already most of the way through the line. Turns out they wouldn't check her in, and nearly wouldn't check her bags. By the time she got upstairs, the flight was already WAY OVERBOOKED. She couldn't get on. We all felt horrible, but there wasn't anything we could do. We boarded and figured she'd get to Florida some day.

Oh, we of little faith. As I understand it, she claimed to everyone who was in range that Thom was her husband and that they were getting married on Friday. She started to cry. Everyone let her on board. She wasn't able to sit with us, but she was on the plane. Never underestimate that woman.

Anyway, the flight was largely uneventful, which is good when you have kids. They were great. The movie was "Where the Heart Is" or something like that. I was reading "Reinventing Comics" with the earphones on, but not really paying attention. Suddenly, I heard Goliath's voice. I looked up, and sure enough Keith David was on screen. I hadn't even known he was in that movie. I considered it a good omen.

When we arrived in Orlando it was pouring rain. Sara, Kellie and Heather were there to meet us. The Weismans piled into Kellie's car, and she took us to the hotel. O.K., so it was more of a motel than a hotel, and the roof in one of our rooms leaked on occasion. But it didn't spoil my time one bit.

The kids were theoretically still on L.A. time, so we thought we'd take 'em out to dinner, but they didn't want to go, and neither Beth or I saw any point in having two cranky kids along. So Beth, for the first of many times that weekend, stayed with them, so that I could head out with you guys for some dinner.

But first, Thom and I did some grocery and donut shopping for Beth and the kids.

Then about fifteen of us took off for Denny's. But they couldn't seat us in Non-Smoking, so we crossed the street and ate at IHOP. I sat with Becca and Christine and Jen. Tim was there. Thom. Lanny and Derrick. Sara. Heather Rice. Alan? Brooklyn? Oh, hell, I'm forgetting people, which is going to be a curse of this diary. I wasn't taking notes. EVERYONE please accept my apologies in advance. Please.

Anyway, I had an International Passport Breakfast with Swedish Pancakes and hashbrowns. It was great to see everyone again, and I met a couple of knew people. And I was immediately on cloud nine.

After dinner, we headed back to the hotel...

I watched some tv in my underwear. And waited for the festivities to begin...

MORE TO COME ON "FRIDAY"...


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Early Thoughts...

Continuing my chronological reposting of all the early Gargoyles Development Documents. As you can see here, it's still just a notion... but all good things have to start somewhere:

GARGOYLES
[3-12-91]

They've been sleeping for a long time. It's been cramped, damp and uncomfortable up on those buildings. Now, it's time to wake up and PARTY!!!!!!!!

Gargoyles asleep for a thousand years.

Awaken in modern times.

They're the good guys.

We're working on villain.

Opportunity for a lot of broad cartoony, fun characters.


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REPRINTING the first document

Sorry, I've just been swamped since I got back, but I wanted to at least get the new archive "Original Development File" started by reprinting the first gargoyles document I wrote at Disney...

GARGOYLES
[3-11-91]

They've been sleeping for a long time. It's been cramped, damp and uncomfortable up on those buildings. Now, it's time to wake up and PARTY!!!!!!!!

Only one problem: the evil DOCTOR VOMFU, who turned them to stone in the first place, is still out there making trouble for our bat-winged friends.

But, hey, NO BIGGIE. They're GARGOYLES! Vomfu won't know what hit him.

[Once again, "VOMFU" was our nickname for Cindy Chupack, a development associate at Disney who now is a writer/producer for SEX IN THE CITY and EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND. Notice the proximity of the letters in VOMFU to those in CINDY on a computer keyboard.]


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GREG WEISMAN: THE RETURN!

He's baaaacckkkkk!!!!

To quote Greg Weisman: "Gathering 2000 kicked ass."

I really want to thank everyone who attended and helped to make it such a success.

First and foremost my thanks go out to the G2K staff, Kellie, Heather, Syrin and most of all, Sara. You guys were just terrific. Thanks.

Also a special thanks to all those people who were so kind to my kids (who had a terrific time by the way).

I'm bound to leave someone out, but...

Kellie, Heather, Syrin, Sara, Jen, Christine, Tim, Karlyn, Lexy, etc.

and of course, Becca -- who deserved to win the juvenal division of the costume contest hands down, but graciously shared the honors with Erin & Benny.

They're still talking about all of you.

Special thanks go out to Thom, Greg and Vic, who were great guests and had a great time (or so they told me). They have already spread the word around Disney. (Brad Rader was very impressed with the $805 sale of the "Mirror" board.) Making it even easier to gather guests for G2001.

Speaking of which, I had a great time with the G2001 staff: Patrick, Kathy, Kenna and of course Jen. (I know I've left some people out, sorry.) To quote Greg Weisman: "2001 is going to kick some major ass." (I'm getting way too fond of saying that.)

Already, however, I'm seeing people apologizing for not being able to make it next year. HEY! THAT'S THE WRONG ATTITUDE!!! It's too soon to decide you can't make it. You've got ten months to figure out a way. I am personally guaranteeing 20 guests from the cast and crew. Panels on writing, acting, character design and storyboards. Separate Q&A panels on Developing the series, Writing, Recording, Art and Producing. Another radio play. More Q&A at the dinner. Etc. Etc. Etc. Our goal is to get 500 people. Yep, you heard me, FIVE HUNDRED people in attendance. If we look like we're closing in on that number, I will invite every applicaple Disney Exec. We'll show them in a concrete way, the bet they are missing by not doing more with the show. If you want to get the show back on the air, there isn't a single thing that you can do that would better our chances than attending G2001 in Los Angeles. We already have SEVENTY-FIVE people attending. Yep. Pre-paid and everything. Don't be left behind.

A website for the con, will be up soon. Keep an eye out. We have tremendous momentum coming out of Orlando. Let's not let it die.

Ahem, back to the thank yous...

Kudos to the "Greg Weisman Players":

Seth, Jen, Thom, Wanderer, Lanny, Mer, Hudson, Durid, Alan, Michelle, Brian, Sara, Pogo, Jessie, Beth, Heather, Amy, Marie Noire, Sarah, Kelley, Ryan, Slash, Bud-Clare and Ann.

You all did great.

It was also great to see and talk to many fans, some who have been to ALL FOUR CONVENTIONS. WOW. I'm bound to forget some, but Hudson, Heather, Amy, Aaron, Kythera, A Fan, Noel, Scott (sorry, I can't make your Hockfest), Lexy, Lanny, Karine, Aimee, Mitch, Duncan, Denis, etc.

And it was nice to meet some new faces: Ashlee, Kelly, Dreamie, Jessie, etc.

And Carol, it was nice to see you there too.

And the costumes... Another WOW.

Anyway, now I'm back. What's up ahead...

Well, G2001, of course. I'm getting even more involved this year than ever before. (See above.)

I'm still over two months behind on ASK GREG. It could take me awhile to catch up, as I may actually be starting a paying job soon. (I'll keep you posted.) But in the coming weeks, look for:

1. My G2K Diary. (Not that I kept one, but I can always make something up.)

2. A new Archive that will be called something like: "Historical Documents". Jordan Mann has scanned a bunch of recently recovered documents into my computer. I'll soon begin reprinting them (mixed in with stuff you've already seen and other documents I already had in my computer) in chronological order. This stuff covers the entire spectrum of the development of the series in prose.

3. The revamped version of GARGOYLES 2158. Which for starters, will be set in the 23rd century at least.

4. More Ramblings on episodes as my family and I watch them at home.

5. Some info on an exciting new project that I'm working on with Gorebash and Doug Murphy (one of our storyboard artists).

6. More G2001 updates

7. And, yes, I'll even be answering your questions. Bear with me.

But finally, thanks to all of you. You always manage to make MY YEAR with this con, and all your kind words at this site. I could never thank you enough. But I'll continue to try.

Greg Weisman


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UPDATE & HIATUS

Whew -- I finally made it through June of 2000. (I thought June 27th would never end.)

I'm still officially over a month behind, but I'm out of time.

Tomorrow I'll be leaving for Orlando for a week. And I won't be answering any more ASK GREG questions until I get back. (And probably not for a couple days after that until I catch up.)

So if you have questions that just can't wait -- come to the GATHERING!!!


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My kids had a midsummer night's dream...

Last night there was an outdoor production of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. We were told it was a very kid friendly production and it was free, so we figured it wouldn't hurt to take the kids. If they got antsy, we could always leave.

As most of you know, I have two kids: Erin (age 5) and Ben (age 3). I asked them if they wanted to see a show with Puck in it. (The only Puck they know is the one from Gargoyles.) They were very enthusiastic about wanting to go. I tried to tell them the story of the play. But it's fairly complex when compressed, and I wasn't sure if they'd gotten it.

There was supposed to be a pre-show at 6:30pm, so we got there in time for that. But there was no pre-show. Instead the show started at 7pm. Since they had already been sitting for a half hour I was sure the kids wouldn't make it through the whole play.

But, man, they loved it! Erin was riveted throughout. Benny had a couple of moments when he was more interested in the stars that had begun to appear as it got darker. He also started to sing to himself a couple times. But he never fell asleep, never got drowsy. Never ran around. Or got noisy or anything. Both of them sat on the grass and watched the show, laughing and applauding until it was over an hour and forty-five minutes later. (Obviously the play was trimmed a bit, but all the language was Shakespeare.) They loved the costumes, the magic, the comedy. When Titania ran through the audience and approached them, they were both beaming.

After the show, they ran up to introduce themselves to all the actors. They gave BIG hugs to Titania. It was pretty amazing.

And for me it represents the first step in introducing them to Shakespeare. We're not exactly there yet. But I've been missing a lot of Shakespeare Festivals since the kids were born, and soon I'll be able to take them along.


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LASER DISKS

My friend and fellow producer Jonathan Klein has just informed me that the TOWER RECORDS OUTLET STORE on Hollywood Blvd (in the mall with the Galaxy Theater, just east of La Brea) has multiple LASER DISK copies of the GARGOYLES animated "movie" available for $7 each.

Now, I never knew they released this on laser disk so I have no idea which of the three versions it is.

It could be the five episodes of the pilot collected together.

It's probably the version of the pilot which we edited for the big screen premiere in Orlando in '94, which was later released on home video.

But it may be the version that somebody edited as a TV movie for syndication.

Or, since it's a Laser Disk, it's possible it contains all three. I don't know. I haven't seen it myself.

But I just thought you'd all want to know.


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Good news (in the long term)...

I have found a cache of documents relating to the early comedy development of the series. Historically speaking, these are fairly interesting. Unfortunately, they are hard copies. I don't have them on computer files. Transcribing them will have to be a LONG-TERM project.

But at least we know they exist.


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More...

After our comedy garg pitch was rejected (of which little documentation survives), we searched about for a dramatic version. In the long run, we wound up coming back to many, if not most, of the concepts from the comedy version of our show. But here's the earliest document that I can find on the dramatic version. As you can see, it's largely single character and very different from the final.

[Unedited as usual, except for what's in brackets]:

THE GARGOYLE
(Weisman / Summary of meeting 12/19/91)

1000 years ago in barbaric Briton, an evil Wizard wanted to ransack the castle of the good princess.

Gargoyles are stone sculptures that are used to decorate castles. Inspired by this, the wizard creates his own giant (Beauty & the Beast-sized) Gargoyle. He instructs this engine of destruction to fly to the castle tonight, while the wizard's army attacks from the outside.

(Perhaps he gives the Gargoyle a powder that will temporarily bring the other little stone gargoyles to life.)

The Gargoyle, which is stone colored, even when it isn't stone, flies to the castle, intent on destroying it.

He meets the princess who teaches him the error of his ways. He will fight against the wizard. But as the sunrises, he falls asleep turning to stone. A part of the spell he was not aware of.

When the sun sets again, and he awakens, it is too late. The princess is gone (dead?). The castle has been ransacked. Even the wizard has left him behind. Angry at his betrayal...He is alone. Cursed as an outsider, able to function only during night hours. Frozen as stone during the day.

He stays in the ruined castle over the centuries. Making occasional forays to the outside world. Sometimes briefly, to steal books. Sometimes for long periods to fight evil (World War II, perhaps). But always returning to the castle and his loneliness. He despairs of ever finding a true friend. Despairs of ever having a purpose to his life.

One night he awakens, and finds that some repair work has been done on the castle. Each night he finds that a little more work has been done while he slept during the day. Construction equipment has gathered outside the castle walls.

One day, as he sleeps, the castle is lifted, lock, stock and gargoyle and flown whole across the atlantic to New York, by giant airships.

It is placed on the top of the Xavier Enterprises skyscraper.

Xavier is our arrogant villain. Not comic. Evil behind the scenes. Manipulator. Respectable to the rest of the world. Untouchable.

Our Gargoyle finds himself in this strange new world. Here he meets a young idealistic girl (perhaps a plain clothes police detective) who will be his friend and teach him not to despair. That he can help make the world a better place. In New York, the barbarians are at the gate, every night. This time, he can do something about it.

He becomes a de facto super-hero of sorts, though we don't have to flag it.

Xavier can hire other minor villains, plus we need to create some real psychos, and powerful ones at that, for Gargoyle to battle. Plus the ancient wizard could return in some form. Perhaps he has put his spirit in a amulet. Whoever wears it is possesed by him.

Perhaps, our Gargoyle can still temporarily awaken other gargoyles, little mischevious things who aren't too bright, but would try to follow his orders. But when they sleep each day, they have to be awakened by the magic dust each night or they will remain as stone. Only our hero awakens by himself every night.

Does our young girl have a child?

Who else populates this world?

Is the Gargoyle named Gargoyle, or is there another name for him?

Other villains?

cc: Bruce [Cranston], Gary [Krisel], Kat [Fair], Bob [Kline], Mike [Ryan], Fred [Schaefer], Tad [Stones], DoMo [Dolores Morris]


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Another tidbit

From the very next day...

3-12-91:

GARGOYLES

They've been sleeping for a long time. It's been cramped, damp and uncomfortable up on those buildings. Now, it's time to wake up and PARTY!!!!!!!!

Gargoyles asleep for a thousand years.

Awaken in modern times.

They're the good guys.

We're working on villain.

Opportunity for a lot of broad cartoony, fun characters.


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A real fossile...

This is the earliest file I have on the series, dating back to 3-11-91. It's short. But very strange. Here it is unedited:

GARGOYLES

They've been sleeping for a long time. It's been cramped, damp and uncomfortable up on those buildings. Now, it's time to wake up and PARTY!!!!!!!!

Only one problem: the evil DOCTOR VOMFU, who turned them to stone in the first place, is still out there making trouble for our bat-winged friends.

But, hey, NO BIGGIE. They're GARGOYLES! Vomfu won't know what hit him.

Vomfu was a joke name around our office. Look at a computer keyboard. And move the natural position of your hands, one key to the left. VOMFU becomes CINDY. Cindy Chupack was one of our development associates who was working on the show with me. Cindy has since gone on to be an emmy nominated sitcom writer on such shows as COACH, EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND and SEX IN THE CITY.


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More archives material...

It recently occured to me that I only started to post old Garg internal memos starting with "REAWAKENING". Since this info seems to be of interest, I thought I'd go back and start over by posting some of the earliest stuff I still have on file.

First up is a memo to one of the earliest (pre-Michael Reaves) writers that we tried out on the project. Note the December, 1992 date of the memo. You'll see that some of the concepts never changed at all. Others, like the notion that Goliath might Demona-like live through the 1000 years changed a lot.

Anyway, here it is unedited:

GARGOYLES 12-4-92
Notes on 5-part Outline

GENERAL NOTES

--We want to stick closer to the original pitch. Keep the story solidly from Goliath's point of view, with his relationship with Elisa as the central emotional arc.

--We want to clarify what a Gargoyle is and what the "rules" are:
1. Gargoyles were not created by an individual. One thousand years ago, they were real living creatures, a now extinct race that even then was scarce.
2. Gargoyles are nocturnal. At sun-up they transform into stone statues as a protective measure. Theoretically, there may be some magic involved, but from a gargoyle's P.O.V. it's a natural biological process.
3. They cannot wake up at will. They cannot turn back and forth from stone at will. Daytime, they are sleeping. Frozen in stone. That makes them fairly protected, though if someone took a sledgehammer to them, it would kill them. At night they are not stone, they are strong and powerful, and they can fly, etc. But they are not invulnerable.
4. Gargoyles don't have any special instinct or telepathy for danger. What they do have, instinctively, is a territorial and protective nature. Up to this current story, that never extended beyond the castle walls. One of our main objectives is for Elisa to give Goliath a wider definition of his territory...extending it across all of Manhattan (all of NYC?). She gives him hope and a revived sense of purpose.
5. Naming is a human trait. The medieval humans deal w/Goliath so he gets a name. The others have none until they get to the twentieth century, when Elisa encourages/insists on it. Then they pick their names.

CHARACTERS
--We have to know and sympathize w/Goliath much sooner on in the story. We should largely see it through his eyes. His concern for Elisa should drive the latter half of the story, much more than any desire to foil a crime.

--The absolute key to this is the relationship between Goliath and Elisa. We need to develop this slowly. She's got to get used to him in a big way, and for his part, he's not comfortable around humans, and definitely unused to human kindness. He's awkward. Maybe even stunned. We don't have to play it for romance, per se. Even friendship from a human is a foreign concept.

--Hudson is an ex-gargoyle warrior, long past his prime, who now acts as Goliath's advisor. He tends to knock around the castle. Maybe, he likes television. He is not and would refuse to act as a baby-sitter for the younger kids. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. Goliath is the Gargoyle-Master. The other gargoyles are HIS responsibility, not Hudson's.

--We'd like to play the younger Gargoyles (Broadway, Brooklyn and Lex) more as teens than little kids. Very eager to explore the new world as you have it, but with a more adventurous sensibility.

--Bronx, the gargoyle-dog does not have wings. His ears allow him to hover a bit for short periods of time. But it's hard. (Keep in mind, he has a weighted tail, like a mace.) He can't really fly. He CAN scurry all over the place, up straight vertical walls, across the ceiling, etc. He has claws that really allow him to dig in.

--Our fault, but we don't think the Bannister character is adding anything. We can probably drop him.

--Xavier needs to be much more imposing. Not bordering on broke. Though obviously, he's not in Goliath's league in terms of brute strength, underneath that three-piece suit he should be a powerful man. As men goes, he should be very strong. And brilliant. On the surface, a rich powerful man, but underneath with his hand in all-things nefarious. He should not be petulant. He should always feel menacing threatening. If, at the end, we do send him to prison, we should not weaken or reduce him. He should go off like Al Capone, with an attitude like "You don't expect prison walls to stop me, do you?"

--We don't necessarily have to use the Gladiator-esque PACK, but if we do, we should keep their strengths clear in mind. The television aspect is a front, but one we might need to see in order to understand why the public regards them as good guys. Since clearly, no single member could be as strong as Goliath, their strength lies in the pack mentality. Goliath tosses one aside, their are five others leaping on top of him, etc. Also keep in mind, that our toughest pack members as they were originally designed were probably Wolf, Jackal and Hyena. Dingo, Fox and Coyote were never designed to be very threatening on their own. Another possiblility might be the SCARAB CORP. Robots from the pitch. (Scarab could also be a division of Xavier Enterprises.) However, feel free to create new villains or a different threat.

PART ONE
We want to get to know Goliath right away. Preferably, all the beats we played in the pitch.
1. He and his fellow Gargoyle warriors defend the castle from "barbarians". We establish his territorial and protective nature.
2. For their pains, they get no thanks or even kindness. Humans look at them as necessary evil.
3. Goliath spends his time reading and keeping the younger Gargoyles out of trouble.
4. We might want to plant a seed for the Demona character here. Establish her as the gargoyle he cares for the most.
5. Also establish Hudson, his advisor, and the younger gargoyles.
6. Goliath and Hudson are sent or lured away from the castle (perhaps by Demona, though the viewers don't have to know she betrayed them). They do not get back before sunrise.
7. The trio of younger gargoyles chase Bronx down into some hidden dungeon. At daybreak they are frozen their.
8. During that day the castle is overrun and sacked.
9. When Goliath and Hudson return that night, Goliath is horrified to discover that the rest of his Gargoyles have been destroyed. Someone took the equivalent of a sledge hammer to them during the day. Demona, his love, is probably part of the rubble. (We don't have to revisit her in the five parter. She can be an element of the tragedy of Goliath. We can bring her back in an episode if this goes to series).
10. Bronx and the younger Gargoyles survived, because they were hidden from the attackers.
11. It may be stronger for Goliath not to be cursed into a thousand year sleep. He takes responsiblity for the disaster. Hudson and the others are cursed to sleep "Until the castle rests in the clouds." (I.e., theoretically, until kingdom come.) Goliath is forced to guard them (the last of his race) alone for a thousand years. This means that he won't be totally ignorant of planes and cars etc. He's seen them over the years. And it might increase his tragedy. At any rate, we don't want to bring up the issue of exorcisms. Dangerous ground.

PARTS TWO - FIVE
1. Let's keep in mind that the whole castle is moved to New York. It can be dismantled, but the human focus should be on moving this castle to the top of the skyscraper. The gargoyles are nothing more than decoration to the humans.
2. There's probably something to Goliath being on a castle top in Scotland one night. Falling asleep and waking up crated in the bowels of a ship, the next night. But we probably want to go for a more dramatic problem than him leading them with a lamp.
3. The other gargoyles, Hudson and Bronx included, don't wake up until the first night after they are installed on top of the castle in the clouds. They've gone from riding a parapet a 100 feet above the ground, to the top of this mega-story skyscraper. It's a pretty hefty transition for them.
4. Art thefts and Bank thefts aren't nearly as crucial as putting Elisa in danger and involved in the case. That's what brings Goliath in. Perhaps we should open with her undercover, infiltrating Xavier's organization. Perhaps that leads her to the Pack training grounds or some other aspect of Xavier's operation. Make her a vital and integral part of the Xavier story. Not simply on the trail of it. And though we don't want to make her helpless, we do need to put her in jeopardy.
5. We're not sure what the red herring of blaming the gargoyles for Xavier's crimes buys us. Not opposed to it, but does it just force us into awkward moments? Lots of talk about guys in gargoyle suits. That's not really a major issue for the series.


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Whew...

Done with May...

We're now back to being only two months behind. And I hope to catch up even more. I'd eventually like to get to the point where I'm only a week behind. I don't know how realistic that is, but that's my hope.

I'm also scanning about for a new contest.


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Silver Falcon story memo...

I'm not sure when I'll get around to viewing the next episode of Gargoyles with my family, but I thought I'd get ready to ramble by posting my November, '94 memo to story editor Cary Bates. This was Cary's first Gargoyles script, so he was still new to the characters, which was one of the reasons he started with a single gargoyle story. Just Broadway, Elisa and a little Matt, basically.

You'll notice in what follows that some of the big twists still weren't present at this stage. We just hadn't cracked it fully yet. As I recall, Development Associate Eddie Guzelian suggested making the OLD MAN into Dominic Dracon. I was probably resistant a bit at first, just because of how much work that change would involve. But we all realized that Eddie's idea made the story much, much better. So the change was made...

Anyway, here's the memo, unedited as usual:

WEISMAN 11-7-94

Notes on "The Silver Falcon" Outline...

GENERAL CONCERNS
My main problem is that as a mystery story, this is a bit of a dud. We want to stump our audience, but here, we're cheating to do it. There's no way they could figure out where the diamonds are. We don't show them any options but the red herring. And if we did show them the true location, the answer becomes too obvious, and frankly not tricky enough. There's a silver falcon gargoyle on top of the speakeasy. There's another on top of the building across from Malone's office. We check both. One has it. One doesn't.

We need a double entendre here somewhere. We're looking for a silver falcon, and it turns out to be something that isn't literally that. Or in this case, Malone is being literal -- the jewels are in the silver falcon across from his office. But for most of the episode, we're looking for a more obscure answer, i.e. the speakeasy itself. Best not to have a literal silver falcon gargoyle in the vault at the speakeasy.

Even so, it's pretty straightforward. So let's make the whole situation more mysterious. Let's not learn what Matt was up to quite so fast. Let's not have Elisa be a Mace Malone expert. Let's not learn about the loot at all until act three. Let's misdirect more.

We also need secondary suspects. I suggest the Illuminati. That's the name of the Secret Society that Matt's always going on about. It'll be a huge red herring, if even Matt thought he was investigating the Illuminati, when in truth he stumbled on something considerably more mundane. For us, this would accomplish two goals. One, it misdirects Broadway, Elisa and the audience. Two, it sets us up for a future story where we actually use the Illuminati.

THEME
You get major points here. The theme is partnership, and it's presented clearly. Let's just give it more of an arc. Elisa doesn't have to be thrilled to have Sam Broadway Spade as a partner at first. She learns to appreciate the back-up.

S&P
You need to start thinking about the Audience you're writing for. Vogel's murder in the other premise, was never gonna fly. Likewise, here, a major clue revolving around alcohol consumption is definitely out. I wouldn't be afraid to do a story about alcohol, if we were really going to focus on that issue, but not as a throw away.

BROADWAY
Don't make him or his rookery brothers too young. They can have the occasional childlike response, but don't overdue it. Showing them enjoying a cartoon is one thing. Generalizing that they always are watching cartoons makes them sound like kids. Think of 19 or 20 year old Viet Nam Vets. These guys are warriors.

Also, when he's stone, Broadway is WAY TOO HEAVY for Elisa to budge.

And as flesh, Broadway getting shot is like anybody getting shot. Fatal. Or maybe he'd just bleed to death before sunrise. Even if sunrise were close, without surgery to remove the bullets, he wouldn't heal. Basically, what I'm getting at is that the gargoyles are NOT invulnerable.

DRACON AND GLASSES
Dracon is young and hungry. He's tough, violent, savvy, sarcastic. It's not that he can't get angry, but please resist the temptation to show him throwing temper-tantrums -- ranting (and whining) like a cliché d foiled villain.

He's got money, but he doesn't have the high-tech resources of a Xanatos. We have to be sparing with our use of that stuff. Which does not mean we can have massive gun battles with real bullets. (For S&P reasons.)

And if Dracon is not Xanatos, Glasses is not Owen. Glasses shouldn't quietly clear his throat so that he can feed his boss a plan. It's not that Glasses is stupid, but he's not the brains behind the organization either. He's an aggressive, tough and violent street thug in expensive clothes.

Let's also keep clear on Dracon's motivations and how they differ from Elisa's. He wants the loot, but he doesn't want to have to flee to South America with it. He's crossed the line by kidnapping two cops. He's going to have to kill them.... So he frees Elisa to follow her to the diamonds? Major problems all around. 1) Why does he think Elisa will be able to find them? 2) Why does he think she's even going to try after she's freed her partner? She has no motivation for finding the loot. She's a cop who's out to save her partner and bust the guy who kidnapped them both. (It's not that I don't buy her being curious. But that can wait until after Dracon is in custody.) 3) After she drops Matt off at her place, why don't Dracon's men sneak in and kill the unconscious detective? After all, they can't let him live. What are they waiting for? For him to wake up and come take them out? Etc.

Also, blowing up Matt's apartment is cool, but it has to feel like more of a last resort. Dracon doesn't want to draw any more attention to Matt's disappearance than necessary.

And, please note in your script that Dracon has a white streak in his hair from his previous encounter with the gargoyles.

CHAVEZ & BLUESTONE
Please do not play Maria as a callous boss, who doesn't care that one of her detectives has gone missing for two days. And yes, Matt's into secret society's and the like, but he's not the type to blow off work for two days in a row. Despite Matt's paranoia/hobby, he's a good partner and a good cop, someone that Elisa and Maria can count on.

On the other hand, Matt isn't psychic. He's seen gargoyles at a distance, but he knows nothing about them. Certainly, he has no idea of Elisa's connection to them. There's no way he'd casually decide that a "gargoyle" helped them crack a case. Why would it?

And we must resist the constant temptation to knock Matt out so that he doesn't find out the truth. We don't need it here. So I cut the drugged sleep.

HACKER
Let's change Hacker into a real character that we might want to re-use later. An FBI agent who used to be Matt's partner before Matt was booted out of the bureau for investigating the Illuminati Society. The bureau doesn't officially acknowledge the Illuminati's existence. (All this will be a revelation to Elisa. She didn't know Matt had ever been in the bureau. Her surprise about this will add to the general feeling of mystery in the story.) Matt is persona non grata with the FBI, and Agent Smith (or whatever) can no longer be seen with him, which explains the clandestine meeting.

LIBRARY
For future reference, the library is the other face of the same building that houses the twenty-third police precinct, above which is the clock tower where the gargoyles live. The library is closed at nights, and Goliath often reads down there. But I've cut the library scene, so it doesn't matter here.

BEAT OUTLINE
ACT ONE
1. Make the setting someplace other than a slaughterhouse, but otherwise MATT's kidnapping can play pretty much the way you had it.

2. Two days later at ELISA's place. BROADWAY is there to watch his video of the detective movie, (because Hudson is sick of him playing it over and over again on the tv set at the clock tower). Elisa gets a phone call from CHAVEZ. (Intercut.) Matt took some personal time to investigate Bigfoot or something. But he hasn't checked back in 48 hours, which isn't like him. And there's no answer at his place. Elisa hasn't heard from him either. This isn't good. Elisa's going to check on him on her way to work. Chavez makes Elisa promise to call for back-up if there's any trouble. Elisa says, yeah, sure, whatever.... (But she doesn't really think she needs any help.) Broadway overhears and wants to come along. He'll act as her back-up, her partner until she solves the mystery of the missing Matt. But Elisa's got one partner already. She doesn't need two. She'll handle this alone.

3. Matt's apartment. Elisa's outside Matt's door. She rings bell, knocks, calls for him. What she doesn't know is that the place has already been ransacked and that the ransack-er, a man dressed all in black and wearing a black SKI-MASK, is still inside. Plus another, bigger man in a trench coat and slouch hat (think Ben Grimm) is out on Matt's small terrace/balcony. (We should momentarily think these two men are working together -- the man on the balcony acting as look-out for Mr. Ski-Mask inside, but in reality, Ski-Mask is one of Dracon's men, and the guy on the balcony is Broadway. So in fact, Ski-Mask is unaware of Broadway's presence.) Elisa reaches above the door and finds Matt's spare key on the molding. She does not take out her gun. She is not expecting trouble. But inside, as she unlocks the door, Ski-Mask has his gun out and ready. Which is more than enough justification for Broadway to rip the terrace door right off and reveal himself, in a decidedly monstrous fashion. (NOTE: He does not crash through the glass!!) The clothes he's wearing should increase the scare factor, not make him look silly. By the time Elisa gets the door open, the terrified thug is pushing right past her and high-tailing it down the empty hallway with Broadway (who pauses only to say "Got you covered, partner") in close pursuit.
Ski-Mask makes it to the waiting elevator, and the doors close before Broadway can get to them. But Broadway pulls the elevator doors open and grabs the moving cable, which strains against him, until the elevator stops. Then he leaps down (about a flight) onto the roof of the elevator, shaking it's occupant. He rips open the trap door and yanks the guy up. By the time a stunned Elisa gets to the elevator, she barely misses getting hit by the flying thug whom Broadway has tossed out of the shaft. Ski-Mask crashes into the corridor wall and is temporarily knocked out.
Broadway climbs out of the shaft only to face the wrath of...ELISA. She definitely isn't pleased. But she's not going to fight with Broadway out in the open. They'll discuss things privately, in Matt's apartment. She indicates the thug. "Better bring him too."
Inside Matt's place, Elisa searches the thug, while she verbally chews Broadway out for interfering. She removes the ski-mask, but she doesn't recognize the guy. She does find a page that the thug clearly ripped from Matt's calendar with today's date, a time and a specific location (just saying Central Park isn't enough, it's a big park). Ski-Mask starts to come to just as Broadway suggests checking Matt's computer to see if they can find any info there. The thug panics, tipping Elisa off that the thug had rigged the computer to blow. She tries to stop Broadway from flipping the switch, but it's too late.
Cut to outside Matt's window. There is a brief high-pitch whine, during which Broadway leaps out holding both Elisa and the thug -- and then BOOM!! The force of the explosion propels them across the gap to another lower rooftop. (Broadway can't spread his wings because of his trench coat.) They land hard. Broadway drops both humans and the momentum nearly takes him over the roof. Elisa helps him up, and by the time they turn around, the thug has split.
Now Elisa is really ticked off. But Broadway points out that he did just save her life. Only after creating the dangerous situation in the first place, Elisa reminds him. Broadway's embarrassed, but tenacious. Look, it's obvious that Matt was working alone and got into something way over his head. If Elisa tries to handle this alone, the same thing could happen to her. We get tight on Elisa. What will she decide?

4. Elisa arrives alone at the meeting described on the page from Matt's calendar. She cautiously approaches a man, who turns out to be Matt's ex-partner from the FBI, AGENT SMITH (or whatever). It's tense at first, but once Elisa identifies herself, Agent Smith is very cooperative. Matt's told him that Elisa is all right. A good partner. (Elisa's a little embarrassed.)
So Smith fills her in. As usual, Matt's been trying to prove the existence of the Illuminati Society. He's been investigating a gangster from the 1920's who was rumored to have ties to the Illuminati and vanished mysteriously on March 22, 1924. Matt had found a letter, that he wanted Smith to authenticate. The letter was hand-written on Malone's pre-printed stationary:

MACE MALONE
3150 Third Avenue #45D, New York

March 21, 1924

D.D.,
Our little Society is turning a nice profit.
Everyday I see the Silver Falcon, I smile. You
would too, if you knew what I knew.

Your Senior Partner (and don't you forget it),

Mace

The ink and paper do date from the 20s and the signature checks out too. The letter is legit. But where did Matt get it? Smith doesn't know. What's the Silver Falcon? Smith doesn't know. Who's "D.D."? Smith doesn't know.
Smith isn't happy to hear that Matt is missing. If he can help Elisa in any way.... But Elisa insists she can handle it from here. So Smith takes off. Elisa stands there examining the letter. She seems to be talking to herself. The only real lead it offers is Malone's address, but what good could it be 70 years later.
And Elisa may never find out. Suddenly, we discover that Elisa is surrounded by three BAD GUYS, led by Ski-Mask. It looks bad.

ACT TWO
5. Elisa calls out: "Broadway, NOW!!" And Broadway comes out from wherever he's been hiding and takes out two of the thugs. But Ski-Mask hops into a getaway car that pulls up fast and takes off faster. Elisa handcuffs the two unconscious thugs to something, but she's worried. She doesn't know if the escaped thug heard her talking about Malone's old address. They have to get there before the Illuminati blow it up like they did Matt's apartment. Broadway sweeps her up and they're off.

6. 3150 Third Avenue. 45th floor. Elisa's inside. Broadway watches from the roof. (We need to somehow establish that Elisa and Broadway both might have seen the Falcon-heads across the street -- and yet we need to do it in a way that doesn't immediately tip off our audience. One thing that would help is if the chrome falcons were now literally black with NYC soot and grime.)
There's a light on in 45D. An OLD MAN answers Elisa's knock. He's an accountant, working late. She realizes it's a long shot, but wonders if he knows anything about Mace Malone. Turns out that he's something of a Mace Malone buff. That's why he rented this particular office. He's got Mace's original desk and everything. Here, sit down.
Mace's mysterious disappearance makes him a curiosity, and every once in a while someone stops by and asks questions. Why just the other day, that nice red-headed boy was here. Elisa realizes he's talking about Matt. What did the old man tell Matt? Nothing. He ran out of here, as soon as he saw the picture. What picture? This one. It's an old photograph of Malone and a couple of other men (at least one of which is Dracon's grandfather) in front of a non-descript building. Does the old man know where this was taken? Sure, that's Malone's old speakeasy, the Silver Falcon. He gives Elisa the same lower east side address he had given to Matt, and the same caveat... the Falcon was torn down ages ago, they built something else there. Elisa thanks him as she ushers him out of his own office. It's temporarily unsafe here. She asks him to call Chavez and fill her in on everything he told Elisa and Matt, (and also about the two hand-cuffed thugs). She's heading straight to the lower eastside, as the crow flies, so to speak.

7. Elisa and Broadway arrive at the scene-one location where we last saw Matt. They soon discover GLASSES and his salvage operation. He's clearly digging for something, but what? Matt is there. Tied up and blind-folded. But before they can get near him, Broadway's weight collapses the wooden staircase, and they're discovered. A brief battle ensues. Glasses and his MEN use their semi-hi-tech construction equipment as make-shift weapons. Plus maybe a stick of dynamite or something. There's a cave-in that buries Elisa and Broadway. Glasses turns to Matt and taunts him. So much for the cavalry, Bluestone -- That was your partner. And she's dead.

8. Cut to a small cavity, with-in the cave-in. It's pitch black except for Broadway's glowing eyes. Elisa asks Broadway if he's o.k. He says he is but his voice is clearly straining. As she fumbles for her pocket flashlight, Elisa points out that there can't be much air in here. Will Broadway be able to use his claws to dig them out? Broadway has a couple of problems with that. The main one being that he's starting to feel real tired and that can only mean one thing. What? But Broadway is strangely silent and his eyes stop glowing. Elisa finally clicks on her flashlight and looks. Broadway's frozen in stone.

ACT THREE
9. Outside, the sun has come up on a new day. Inside the cavity, Elisa realizes that when the cave-in occurred, Broadway acted as a living pillar, straining under the weight of a lot of rock and dirt, protecting them both from being buried alive. Now he stands there frozen like a medieval column. There isn't anything she can do but start digging.

10. Out in the main cave, Matt convinces Glasses to try and dig Elisa out. She's probably dead anyway, but she might have Malone's letter. If she does, Glasses' boss can stop looking for it. Glasses isn't dumb. He knows that Matt is simply trying to save his partner, but he can't deny Matt's sound logic regarding the letter, so he sets his men working.

11. Dissolve to a short while later. Glasses' men are getting close to Elisa, who's dug a little of the way out but is running out of air. She can hear them getting close, and she can't let them find Broadway in his vulnerable state. So to protect him, she pulls down one of the rocks above her own little dugout, and allows herself to be buried alive. Fortunately, she's timed it right. Glasses digs her out, but to all appearances, she's lucky to be alive and the guy in the trench coat is still buried under all that rock. She has Malone's letter. So the guy can stay buried.
Finally, DRACON arrives with the Ski-Mask guy from Matt's apartment and the old man from Mace's old office. Ski-Mask got to the old man before he could call Chavez, so there's no help on the way. (And Elisa realizes that the few minutes it would have cost her to call Chavez herself would have been well worth it.)
Dracon's fairly annoyed that Glasses hasn't finished digging through to the vault yet. Glasses explains the delay and produces the letter. But Dracon, shakes his head. We don't have to worry about someone else getting the letter, if we already have the loot. Dig out that vault!!
Loot? Vault? Dracon? What's going on? Matt fills Elisa in. Malone's letter didn't refer to the Illuminati at all, but to a bank robbing syndicate that included both Malone and Dracon's grandfather, Dominic Dracon (aka D.D.). Malone disappeared before he got around to telling Dominic where the loot from all their heists was. But the letter suggests that it might be here at the speakeasy. It wasn't found when the place was demolished decades ago, so Tony is convinced that there must have been an underground vault.
But how did Matt get involved? Matt had found the letter, among the younger Dracon's papers when Dracon was arrested months ago for grand theft. (Dracon's case is still pending. He's out on bail.) Matt investigated on his own, thinking he was on the trail of the Illuminati, and accidentally stumbled on this. Dracon kept him alive, because they wanted to make sure the letter was out of circulation. They didn't want anyone else stumbling on their little operation, before they had the loot. Matt apologizes for not keeping his partner up to speed. He really screwed up by acting alone.
Finally, Glasses hits pay dirt. There is a vault. Soon, they're burning through that. They break through. And inside... nothing. Nothing but a note:

Sorry, D.D.

Guess again.

Mace

Dracon is furious. But Elisa's not surprised. If the loot had been there, Dominic would have found it when he first received the letter seventy years ago. He must have been pretty confident it was here, or he wouldn't have gotten rid of Mace the day he received the letter. Dracon's a bit embarrassed by Elisa's superior powers of deductive reasoning. Embarrassed enough to tell Glasses to "take care of" the three hostages. But Elisa stays their hands by telling them she's figured out where the loot is hidden. Dracon demands to know where. But Elisa's not dumb. If she tells now, then she, Matt and the Old Man are wormfood. She's willing to take Dracon there. But it's pretty public, they'll have to wait until after dark, and we push in on the mound of dirt where Broadway is buried.

12. Let's indicate some passage of time here. The sun sets. Then we return to the underground chamber. No one's there at all. Broadway bursts from the cave in. He's panicked about Elisa. He finds Mace's second note and reads it with great difficulty. Will he figure everything out?

13. In a helicopter above the city, Dracon, Glasses and Ski-Mask are escorting Elisa, Matt and the old man to the roof of the building opposite Malone's old office. Matt whispers a warning: "They'll kill us as soon as you show them where the loot is." But Elisa says, "Don't worry, I've called for back-up. I think."
The building's too old to be equipped with a heli-pad, but Glasses manages to get close enough to allow Dracon and Elisa to jump onto the roof. Once on the roof, Elisa explains that from Malone's desk across the street, you can see these black bird-heads. And sure enough when she wipes the grime of seventy years away, she reveals the silver-like chrome beneath. Dracon probably has to check a couple heads, before finding the little bag of precious jewels that Mace had the bank loot converted to.
Now all Dracon has to do is get rid of his trio of hostages. He invites Elisa to step off the side of the building. And to his surprise she does.
Of course, she did it because she had already spotted Broadway, who catches her. (He didn't know anything about the loot or Dominic Dracon. But Mace's 2nd note invited "D.D." to guess again. The falcons on this building were the only other place Broadway could think of to check out. He's just glad he guessed right and that he was in time.)
Ultimately, Broadway takes out the chopper, without revealing himself to Matt or the old man. With Matt's help, Glasses, Ski-Mask and Dracon are all taken down. (This can all play largely as you had it.)
Matt thanks his partner Elisa for pulling his fat out of the fire.

14. And in the TAG at the clock tower, Elisa thanks her partner Broadway for doing the same.

That's it. Call me if you have any questions.


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Chapter XVIII: "The Mirror"

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

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

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

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

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

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

Family Reactions #1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ben then asked why she was transformed.

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

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

KIDS GET IT! Adults need to pay closer attention!

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

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

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

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

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

Cool little touches:

Demona nudges an unconscious Puck with her tail.

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

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

Lexington's "Fun, but weird" line.

Hudson wrapping the sheet over the mirror.

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

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

FAMILY REACTION #4

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

More sappy stuff (which I love):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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APOLOGIES

My Apologies to John Peacock of Chico, CA. I misread one of your questions. I thought you were saying you were from New York and couldn't afford to come to a Gathering in California. Obviously, I reversed it. So maybe I'll see you next year when the Gathering is in L.A. Sorry, for any confusion.

[And thanks to Omar for pointing out my error.]


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GATHERING UPDATE

GOT SOME GOOD NEWS & BAD NEWS...

Bad news first, due to a family health crisis, storyboard artist Brad Rader will not be able to attend the Gathering next week.

But, the Good News: Storyboard Artist Victor Cook has stepped up to take his place. Vic worked on a good quarter of the series' second season including:

The Silver Falcon
Eye of the Beholder
Outfoxed
The Price
Avalon, Part Two
Golem
Sanctuary
Mark of the Panther
Bushido
Ill Met By Moonlight
The Reckoning
Possession
Hunter's Moon, Part Three

Specifically -- and among other things -- Vic designed the unique "Tale of the Panther Queen" Sequence in MARK OF THE PANTHER.

I'm sorry Brad won't be able to make it (we'll get him next year in L.A.), but I'm very pleased to announce that Vic Cook will be joining Character Designer Greg Guler, Voice Actor Thom "Lexington" Adcox and myself at the Gathering. Attending the San Diego ComicCon only wet my appetite for "the real thing". I can't wait.


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CORRECTION

It just occured to me that I made a stupid mistake when answering the following question here at ASK GREG:

Lee writes...

For the upcomeing live action movie of GARGOYLES who would you chose as director? I would say Steven Spielberg or George Lucas.

________

I responded with...

I definitely would NOT chose either of those talented men. Personally, I would pick Jonathan Frakes. I thought STAR TREK: GENERATIONS was very well made. And I'd love to have someone directing the movie who actually gave a damn about where the thing came from. Just my opinion.

recorded on 07-10-00

Of course, I meant to say STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT. GENERATIONS didn't do much for me at all. (I enjoyed it in a nostalgic vein, but not really as a movie.) But I liked FIRST CONTACT, and thought Jonathan did a great job on it.

Sorry for any confusion.


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A Gargoyles Live-Action Movie

In light of the release of the X-MEN movie I thought it would be appropriate to discuss a possible Gargoyles Live-Action Movie.

As most of you know, Disney/Touchstone has literally been developing this for years. So far with no success. But they're still plugging away at it and have hired a new screenwriter recently. I think the success of X-Men may help light a fire under them too.

But let me tell you a story. It was 1995. A Touchstone Executive named Todd Garner wanted to develop the Gargoyles series as a live-action feature. He was told he'd have to deal with Gary Krisel who, as President of Walt Disney TV Animation, had the property under his domain. Gary, in turn, strongly suggested that Todd develop the property with a couple of writers who were familiar with it: Greg Weisman & Michael Reaves. So Touchstone made a deal with Michael and I. We would be "co-producers" of the film. And they gave us a shot at writing the treatment, i.e. the outline for the story. We did that, more or less. Our approach was rejected, more or less, by Todd's bosses at Touchstone. Todd started us on a new approach. Then Gary Krisel announced he was leaving Disney. Very quickly, Michael and I were moved off the project. We're still "co-producers". But that means next-to-nothing. Todd's no longer at Touchstone. In fact, the projects gone through at least five executives I can think of and six writers that I know of. But I'm not exactly in the loop. Still I have a pleasant enough relationship with Jim Wedaa, who's working with the movie's attached producer. So I call him for updates periodically. He promises that if they ever get a script they like, they'll send it to me. I'm not holding my breath. But you never know.

Anyway, I thought it might be an interesting subject of discussion to reveal what Michael & I had planned for the movie. I feel safe revealing this, since I know it's not going to be used.

Keep in mind, we all felt that we needed to start the continuity over from scratch. The series (which was still in production at the time) would have it's own continuity. The movie continuity would exist in a kind of parallel universe. Hopefully, it would all be emotionally the same. But details would differ. We wanted to simplify the complex plotting a bit. (Not make it unintelligent, just clean it up a bit.) We wanted to leave room open for sequels. But we wanted to tell one GREAT story, as if we'd only ever get one shot.

That story would, more or less, be AWAKENING.

But we made some changes.

For starters, we put Macbeth in charge of Castle Wyvern. In one version he had the Magus by his side. In another, the Archmage. In yet a third, we made Macbeth himself a bit of a sorceror king. At any rate, Katharine became his daughter. I know this sounds treasonous. But doing this allowed us to simplify all sorts of backstory, and allowed us (at least in the nefarious backs of our minds) to plan for a Macbeth sequel. And an Avalon sequel with Katharine and the eggs.

We also were forced to ditch the notion of the Gargoyles not having names. There wasn't time to explore it unfortunately, and it is a complicated idea. Goliath remained Goliath. Demona was Angel. Lexington became Alexander (but still Lex for short). Hudson became "Mentor" in one draft. "Soldier" in another. And a fifth prominent character was Othello. Brooklyn, Bronx and Broadway had cameos in the eleventh century flashback that more-or-less opened the film.

Once we got to the present, we had Xanatos, Sevarius and Owen. They awaken three gargoyles: Goliath, Lex and Othello. They tell them that as far as they know these three are the only three that survived. Elisa is introduced, but she doesn't meet Goliath right away. She investigates a number of strange incidents and mysterious reports (with Matt's help and under Chavez's command). She discovers the secret of the Gargoyles over time. Then Elisa and Goliath both take time to learn to trust each other. The whole Cyberbiotics plot is there but simplified. Demona resurfaces and basically becomes the main villain in the movie. (In an earlier draft, we saved her to be a main villain in a sequel.) Othello doesn't fair too well in the present. (Thus setting up a possible Coldstone sequel.) Xanatos runs a whole series of tests on Goliath, (setting up a Thailog sequel). Goliath, Elisa and Lex manage to triumph over their opponents (which included Steel Clan Robots and Xanatos in his Gargoyle-Armor). In the epilogue, they find a cache of additional undestroyed gargoyles: Hudson/Mentor/Soldier, Brooklyn, Broadway and Bronx (and in one draft, Angel/Demona). The movie ends on a hopeful note as these new Gargs are awakened.

Obviously, I'm not attempting to tell a coherent story above, but to show you what our strategy was. We were going to start over. Use a clean, straightforward story. Focus on the KEY Goliath/Elisa relationship. Intro elements that could be used for sequels but didn't require you to already know history. And didn't distract from the single big story we were trying to tell in THIS movie. There'd be a lot of tasty tidbits for diehard fans of the show. But we'd still have a brand new story that a new audience could follow.

That was the plan.

Of course, I have no idea what Touchstone's current plan is. But no matter what they do, I'm rooting for the movie. Because that movie is the surest way for us to get the series back on the air.


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THE HYENA CONTEST RESULTS

We have a winner:

Adam writes...

THE HYENA CONTEST

Hyena smiles because she's amused by Elisa's values. Elisa is clearly playing by the "good guy" rules, which
say that you don't shoot someone when you could arrest them, you don't drop Xanatos off the building, etc.
Hyena believes that when it's in your best interests for someone to be dead, you kill them. It's funny to
Hyena that Elisa could be so deluded by ideas of "right" and "wrong" that she would let someone as
dangerous as Hyena live to fight another day when it would be so easy just to kill her and solve the problem
permanently.

Adam's entry came in first. And I kept waiting for someone to top it, but it never happened. Good work.

I'd like to thank Aaron, Jackal's Love, The Christine Morgan, Derek!, E.J. Kalafarski and Duncan Devlin for entering.

Adam, contact either Gore or Todd Jensen with your e-mail address so that we can arrange to give you your prize. Congratulations.


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X-MEN

I saw the X-Men movie last Saturday night. Thought I'd indulge a ramble.

SPOILERS. RUTHLESS SPOILERS.

But first, I think anyone who critiques this movie should open by acknowledging potential biases. Here are mine:

For starters, when someone says "X-Men", here's the team I IMMEDIATELY think of: Cyclops, Angel, Beast, Iceman and Marvel Girl. (Yeah, you heard me, Marvel Girl. Calling her Jean Gray in the context of codenames is very strange to me.) I guess that shows my age.

So when I first heard about this movie, I was sure it would suck, because I was sure it would include characters like Wolverine, Gambit, Rogue, etc. That is, characters that came MUCH LATER in the contintuity. I was sure they'd attempt, as the T.V. animated series attempted (as most tv animated series based on comic books attempt) to have it both ways. To attempt to intro a series as a new concept and yet simultaneously try to slather decades worth of continuity at the audience. The pilot to the X-Men animated series did this. And I thought it was god awful. Later episodes were much better, and for a while I was really enjoying the show. Then it began to suffer from all the things that had made me STOP reading the comic book. So I dropped it.

Contrast that with the Batman animated series. Batman, a single character with a MUCH cleaner, clearer origin, is introduced as a guy already on the job. (The folks at Warner Bros. had a HUGE, if flawed, movie to use as a jumping off point.) He exists. Joker exists. Most everyone else is introduced either through flashback or right there before our eyes. In essence, they started the continuity over -- nearly from scratch. And WHAT A DIFFERENCE that makes. TV, comics, movies. They're all different mediums. They have overlapping audiences, but not duplicate audiences. They also have differing strengths and weaknesses regarding how continuity is handled. Comics are largely a serialized medium. TV is largely episodic. Movies are single stand alone events. In a movie, you have one shot and only one shot to tell your story. Even if it becomes a franchise, all that means is that maybe, once a year or so, you get one MORE shot to tell one BIG story. You don't get to do change of pace "episodes" in movie series. Each one has to go great guns.

Mindsets need to alter when dealing with these different mediums, or the work will wind-up sub-par. The makers of Batman TAS realized this and capitalized on tv's unique strengths and needs. They created a viable and dynamic interpretation of the Batman Universe that wasn't dependent on continuity, but utilized the best of what that continuity had to offer. [They did the same thing when creating MASK OF THE PHANTASM as a movie. Talented guys.] One might question individual choices made here and there, but overall, I thought it was a smashingly successful show creatively, and it was without doubt a smashing success series commercially.

But back to X-Men. Don't want to make it sound like I gave up the book when Lee and Kirby went their separate ways. In fact, I think I was reading X-Men in its real HEYDAY. Post Len Wein/Dave Cockrum: The Claremont/Byrne years, followed by the Claremont/HotArtist of the moment years. This was the days of Cyclops, Wolverine, Storm, Collosus and Nightcrawler. The death of Phoenix. The introduction of Sprite. VERY POWERFUL STUFF. That one time travel Sentinel story was chilling indeed. I thought the time travel theory presented in it was gobbledy-gook, but the story was so powerful, I didn't care. This was great comics. (And yes, I think "Future Tense" was influenced by that story.)

And then, I believe X-Men became a victim of its own success. Let's start with the multiple books. New Mutants, X-Factor, X-Men, Uncanny X-Men, X-Calibur, Generation X, X-Treme, X-Lax, whatever. It was impossible for me as a reader to keep it all straight. ME. The comic book geek who worked for DC Comics and got ALL his books -- back then -- for FREE. I've got the whole Gargoyle Universe more or less locked in my head, and I couldn't keep the X-portion of the Marvel Universe straight even with the books right in front of me. No Big surprise as the creators pretty much couldn't either.

But the number of books wasn't the only problem. The stories seemed out of control. What was legitimately a mutant power was stretched way beyond my ability to suspend belief. That future storyline that I praised so much above seemed to spawn an entire universe of alternate characters that rendered anything that followed moot. Jean Gray came back to life, undercutting her sacrifice and horrible death. Hell, everyone seemed to die at one point or another. Two characters I really hated were Rogue and Sabretooth.

Rogue is intro'd like Athena, fully grown. She's been a villain for years. Or so we're told. But in fact, her first appearance is in that awful comic when she permanently steals Ms. Marvel's powers. Ms. Marvel?! An admittedly mediocre character with vague mini-Supergirl abilities. Rogue now has these same vague but potent abilities. They have nothing to do with being a mutant. But they make her very powerful. And one story later, she's joined the X-Men. WHAT?! There's a convoluted backstory with Mystique, who's like a mother to her? But why? Why not do that with Nightcrawler? Well, because Mystique was an afterthought, relatively speaking. It was too late to do THAT story with the Mystique and Nightcrawler. So we get Rogue. I never got the appeal at all. Just maybe, she might have been great if it had been intro'd over time. Actually been a young villainess for a couple years. But instead it's force-fed to us like -- well -- like it's an animated series that has to forcefeed us continuity. And on top of all that she just seemed obnoxious to me, with her exagerated dialect.

Sabretooth just bugged me for a different reason. He seemed unstoppable and I could never understand why. Eventually, they seemed to be heading toward the notion that he was Logan's father. That seemed kinda interesting -- and it would explain a lot, but they never would get around to culminating all those heavy-handed hints. I gave up before ever finding out whether or not that was the case.

And that was often a problem. Like early seasons of X-Files, answers in X-Men never seemed forthcoming. EVER. Wolverine is a terrific character, and we kept learning more about his interum history without ever really answering any real questions about his origins. (Admittedly, I gave up reading the X-Books over a decade ago, years before I gave up comics cold turkey in 1996 -- so maybe some of my questions have been answered since. But not in the TEN YEARS I was reading the characters.)

And finally, I got tired of the basic X-Theme. As timeless and true as it was and is, one begins to ask how many times do these characters have to publicly SAVE the world before someone in the Marvel Universe would acknowledge that mutants didn't suck. I'm not talking about an end to prejudice, just an end to near-monolithic prejudice. Finally, when all was said and done, I got bored and I got exhausted. So I gave up. Gambit. Jubilee. I've heard of them, but I don't know who they are. Don't much care either.

And so the movie approaches. As I said above, I'm so sure I'm not gonna like it that I have ZERO intention of seeing it. That's not an idle statement either. Never saw Godzilla though I loved Godzilla movies as a kid. Never saw Phantom Empire, though I loved STAR WARS. Never saw Titanic. Never saw a lot of movies these days. And what I have seen, I've mostly disliked. The first Batman movie is horribly flawed but fun. Every Live Action Batman movie that follows is unwatchable. (Except possibly this last one with Clooney, which I didn't bother to see.) Loved Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back. But Return of the Jedi -- HATED IT. E.T. -- Hated it. Loved the original "CLOSE ENCOUNTERS". Hated Spielberg's Director's Cut. Independence Day - Hated it. Made me angry. Jurassic Park - Hated it. Made me VERY ANGRY. Lost World - Had to see it for work. Had very low expectations, which were basically met. I think it's awful, but at least it didn't make me angry. Gladiator - Was enjoying it as a kind of guilty pleasure - until the last ten minutes which were SO STUPID that they ruined the movie for me. TITAN A.E. really pissed me off, because it will indirectly have an adverse effect on my career.

Okay, I did enjoy Matrix. It was flawed. But I liked it. So I guess I don't hate everything.

So why would I go see X-Men? How could I possibly like it? Why should I torture myself. O.K., sure it's got Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart as Magneto and Professor X. They're both great, and that's perfect casting, but it's not like great people don't appear in bad movies. That's not enough of a reason. Okay, sure I liked USUAL SUSPECTS, so the director has ability. But I've seen bad movies by great directors before too. And yet... And yet...

I think the marketing was great. Not overwhelming. Smart. That helped. Pictures of the various characters in magazines helped too. Finally, however the general good buzz got to me. And when Kenneth Turan of the L.A. Times gave it a positive review (even if the review did read like he was slightly afraid to give it a negative review for fear that X-fans would attack him), I was hooked. Turan is pretty tough generally. I'd give it a try.

So I went with my wife. (Who has NO comic book or X-background of any kind.) We also went with another couple. The husband Mike is an ex-comic book geek like myself. The wife Rosie is like my wife.

And drum roll. I liked it. I feel like the guy in GREEN EGGS AND HAM, but I like it, Sam I Am. No, it's not perfect, but it avoided a TON of pitfalls. Low expectations may seem to be influencing my stance. But that's not really fair. I don't LIKE Lost World. I simply wasn't angered by it because I knew it would be awful in advance. I actually like X-MEN.

And the MAIN REASON without a doubt is that they started their continuity clean and from scratch. Yes, there's some backstory, but it's a VERY CLEAN backstory. And what mysteries do exist are clear. No, we don't know Wolverine's "origin". But at least we know what questions to ask. And what we do know TIES RIGHT IN with the theme of the movie. Ties in so well, in fact, that my wife thought, based on the comment that they couldn't assess Wolverine's true age, that perhaps the Nazis gave Logan his adamantium skeleton during WWII. (When I explained that in the comic it was <oh my> the Canadian Government, she was extremely non-plussed and I felt quite silly.)

Charles and Eric are old friends, now at odds. Charles has his school. And Cyclops, Jean and Storm are SOME of his first students. (I like to think Angel and Beast were a couple of the other guys in that first class. They graduated and unlike the other three, chose to move on. But time will or won't tell.) Now, I could see how this would immediately put some diehard X-fans on edge. It makes Scott, Jean and Ororo contemporaries. And all three much younger than their comic book counterparts. But this worked for me. Captured the spirit of the early Lee-Kirby stuff and the early Claremont stuff. And still allowed the film-makers to make the movie that the majority of their audience wanted to see. I.e. one with Wolverine in it. Face it, he's cooler than Angel and Iceman.

But the real cool thing is that when the movie begins, Scott, Ororo and Jean are not the X-Men yet. Not really. They don't have heavy combat experience. They've had some training. And maybe a skirmish or two. But this isn't a super-hero team -- except by necessity. And we're seeing that necessity here for the first time at the Statue of Liberty, by which time they're joined by Logan. Now for the first time, they aren't Scott, Ororo, Jean and Logan. They are truly Cyclops, Storm, "Jean Gray" and Wolverine.

[The only flaw in that thinking is that Scott and Ororo already have silly super-hero names when the movie begins. And Jean doesn't. Either they're prepared for the coming combat, in which case they should ALL have codenames (in order, I assume, to be able to communicate with each other quickly while still maintaining some ability not to blow their secret i.d.s.) or none of them should have it yet. The only in continuity excuse I can think of for Jean not having a codename is that Jean wasn't supposed to ever go out and do battle. That she was only at the school as a teacher and openly mutant mutant-expert. Jean only ends up going into battle because of what is legitimately a HUGE crisis. But I wish that idea had been spelled out a bit.]

{FYI - The codenames for Sabretooth, Toad and Mystique don't bother me at all. But -- in movie -- Magneto's does. What does he need a codename for? And such a silly one at that? And no, I NEVER found it silly in the comics, but that's a different medium. Not better or worse, just different. In live-action, Magneto is a silly enough name that when it's first mentioned in the movie you can hear the silly twitters from the non-initiated audience. And the resulting mass cringe from those of us "who know".}

Then there's the youngest generation. I got a kick out of Kitty Pride. A real kick out of Bobby/Iceman. I didn't mind at all, that just as Cyclops was youthified, so to was Bobby -- even more. Because Bobby was conceieved by Lee and Kirby as a kid. Placing him in that younger generation was true to his original dynamic. (I'm told Jubilee and Pyro were in there too. Of course, I don't know anything about Jubilee or Pyro. I guess Pyro was that guy who created the little fireball, but don't ask me who Jubilee was. Don't know. Don't much care.) And of course, Rogue. Now, as I mentioned above, I never much cared for Rogue, but the character became VERY compelling to me absent those dopey, dopey vague Ms. Marvel powers. And younger. Making her part of that younger generation was brilliant. Yes, it could be argued she was filling a Kitty Pride roll. But her power suited the roll better than Kitty's power. So to me, it seems like the best of both worlds. Hell, they even gave her that bit of gray hair at the end. Nice touch.

Of course, it's an ensemble piece, so not every character has a lot of space or time to shine, but I think they did a good job of introducing THREE Major characters, EIGHT supporting characters, and a couple of nice cameos. So perhaps it might help if I went through it character by character:

THE LEADS
MAGNETO - NAME - Well, as I've mentioned, I don't think they did a very good job of integrating his name into the show. COSTUME - I think they did a great job of integrating the helmet however. I mean why would he wear that silly helmet? I thought that would be embarrassing. (And no, in comics, I never thought that great Kirby-designed helmet was silly. Again, different medium.) But hey, it protects him from Charles. Cool. I didn't miss the rest of his costume at all. INTERPRETATION - I thought the prologue was nice. Some critics have argued that using the Holocaust in a super-hero movie is insulting. But I think it went right to theme. Worked for me. CASTING - I thought McKellan was great. I loved his interaction with Patrick Stewart. Loved his mature villain read. It was refreshing to have someone older be this crucial to story. CONTINUITY - As to how true he was to the Magneto of the comics, well, sorry folks, but that's gonna depend on WHICH Magneto of the comics we're talking about. Magneto's been characterized so many different ways (just in the years I was reading alone) that choices for how to portray him run the gammut. So as choices go, I liked this. Smart. Semi-noble. But an ends justify the means kind of guy, who, as Logan points out, when push comes to shove isn't prepared to sacrifice himself over a young mutant girl that he theoretically should want to protect at all costs.

WOLVERINE - COSTUME Let's get this out of the way up front. I didn't miss the costume (and after all which costume) one bit. Don't give me Superman, Batman and Flash. Batman didn't even use the Batman costume. Not really. Just enough of it to make it recognizable. Flash's costume wasn't exactly the cojmic version either. Sure it was closer, but, frankly, it looked silly, icon or no icon -- I could have done without it. (Give me the lightning bolt emblem. That would have been enough.) Superman pulled it off. But that was mighty powerful ICONIC writing and directing in service of one of the most powerful icons in pop culture. So Wolverine's costume? Hey, from my point of view it WAS there. Because seriously, what you really remember about him ICONICALLY is the hair, the sideburns and the claws. And they nailed all three. I never thought that hair would work, but they pulled that off. NAME - The Wolverine name sort of worked. Mysterious dogtags with one word that he uses as a stage name for cagefighting. Hey, in this era of pro wrestling, I'll buy it. CASTING - Well, I thought Jackman was terrific. But I'll admit to being wistful about his height. Yes, I was glad he was still shorter than Cyclops and Jean. But one of the truly archetypal qualities that Len Wein built into Wolverine was his height -- or lack there of. It was so "kid-relatable" (a phrase I usually despise). The short guy (and almost all kids are short relative to someone) who when pushed, kicked ass better than anyone. So yeah, I missed that he was average height and not flat out short. But I've cast a fair amount of shows. Even in voice, when you don't have to worry about what the actor looks like, you still make compromises. So in live-action... Well, yes, if you search the globe I'm sure you can find some guy who looks EXACTLY like Wolverine. But what makes you think that guy can act? Jackman looked eighty plus percent of the part. And he could REALLY act. INTERPRETATION - I did miss the berserker rages a bit. I didn't mind that we were seeing the kinder gentler side of the Wolverine character. That was always there. It be idiotic not to feature it. And we saw the sly bastard who was also part of the package. And we saw the guy who nine times out of ten exercises strict control over himself -- cause if he doesn't watch out. But there's that one time out of ten left, when he should just go nuts. Animalistic with rage. We never saw that. And I missed that. Still overall, he's an incredibly engaging character here. No real complaints. CONTINUITY - Suitably clean. We know very little. But we know what we're missing. An event fifteen years ago where he was cut opened and rebuilt. Very cool.

ROGUE - COSTUME - This worked fine for me, I guess. NAME - A real stretch, but I guess you can buy this kid trying to sound tough and cool. If having a one-word name is really tough and cool? CONTINUITY & INTERPRETATION - See above. Since I wasn't a big fan of the comic character, I didn't mind any of the changes they made. So CASTING - She was great for the part she played.

SUPPORTING
PROFESSOR X - CASTING - O.K., Patrick Stewart has been playing Charles for years, even if he didn't know it. So you couldn't cast this one better, in my opinion. COSTUMING - Fine. Duh. NAME - Did anyone ever actually call him Professor X? If so, it was so casual and easy and natural that I didn't notice. Good. INTERPRETATION & CONTINUITY - This is the Prof. X I know.

CYCLOPS - NAME - See above. COSTUME - Okay, all those black battle suits were a little cheezy, but I can live with them. If the alternative was some (even non-spandex) version of one of the upteenth variations on their comic book costumes, I can live with what they did. Again, I didn't miss the blue and yellow thing at all. Frankly, I would have preferred no hokey costumes at all. CONTINUITY, CASTING & INTERPRETATION - Of all the characters, Cyclops (probably the one I know the best) was the most disappointing to me. I didn't mind his youth at all. That fit with their general reconfiguration of the continuity, which I admired. But I still don't think that that particular actor captured Cyclops enough. He was a bit callow for my tastes through most of the movie. He didn't seem quietly worthy of Jean's love. And I almost would have preferred a guy who was almost entirely HUMORLESS, except for the occasional very dry "Did Scott just actually tell a joke?" moments. Less of a pretty boy, I think. Still, by the time we got to the Statue of Liberty those things didn't bother me as much. Still, he was the weakest link for me in the entire movie. I've heard people speak badly of Storm, Rogue, even Wolverine. But I had no problem with them. But I would have liked a Cyclops who had that tragic, I MUST STAY IN CONTROL quality. That near military officer's edge. Less of a punk. I think that also would have boosted the Scott-Jean-Logan-Marie-Bobby love pentagon too.

JEAN - NAME & COSTUME - See above. CONTINUITY & INTERPRETATION - I liked the roll she had here. The public face. Perfect. CASTING - Famke didn't wow me. She never really has. But she was fine. No complaints, except maybe did I hear a slight touch of accent in there? (TRIVIA: Incidentally, Famke is currently renting Brigitte Bako's house while Brigitte is shooting a movie in Canada. And I once briefly met Famke in 1995. She was exiting Todd Garner's office as I was coming in. Todd was, at the time, the Touchstone executive in charge of -- among other things -- the Gargoyles Live Action Feature.)

STORM - NAME - See above. COSTUME - The cape seemed a little silly. I guess you could pretend to justify it based on the need to catch the wind or whatever, but.... CONTINUITY - See above. I had no problem with moving a fundamentally mature/responsible character like Storm into Cyclops & Jean's generation. CASTING & INTERPRETATION - Well, Storm was the hero who got the least screen time. (Unless you count Iceman.) That's inevitable with a cast this big. But I thought Halley Berry was fine playing a young, inexperienced but fundamentally mature/responsible Ororo. She isn't too great in battle at first, but when she cuts loose... Toads fly. All that worked for me. It was her first real fight.

MYSTIQUE - NAME - See above. "COSTUME" - we were supposed to think she was naked, right? CASTING - She looked great and kicked ass. Not much else for her to do AS Mystique. CONTINUITY AND INTERPRETAITON - We learn almost nothing about her. But I thought she was effective, and I think they left the door open for some interesting stuff. Nightcrawler for example could take the roll that Rogue had in the comics. (Since Rogue isn't using it.) It would suit both Mystique and Nightcrawler better. Cleaner, less confusing.

SABERTOOTH - NAME - See above. COSTUME - Yeah, whatever. CASTING - Great. Fine. CONTINUITY & INTERPRETATION - I think they made a clear connection between Logan and this guy. Not one that Logan remembers in this continuity. He clearly DID NOT remember Toothy, assuming they have ever met before. But the film-makers still made the connection. Start with the dog-tags. But even if you asssume that Tooth just took those as souvenirs or trophies, there's still another connection. Tooth was unstoppable. Wolverine kept stabbing him to ZERO effect. Wolverine stabbed himself and it hurt. Sabretooth never slowed down. That suggested to me a healing factor that creates another connection to Wolverine. As for Sabre's "death", c'mon. We never saw the body of either him or Toad. There's no reason to assume either is dead. In pop culture you must see the body, and even then....

TOAD - NAME - See above. COSTUME - Fine. CASTING - Good. Never saw Darth Maul, so any in-jokes there were lost on me. CONTINUITY & INTERPRETATION - Well, they certainly made him a more effective henchman. Maybe down the line there may be time to see the tortured side of him. No room for it here. But that didn't bother me.

SENATOR KELLY - All fine. I was a bit surprised they killed him off. But it all worked. And Mystique can do interesting things with Kelly if they chose to bring "him" back.

CAMEOS:
BOBBY - See above. This worked for me.

KITTY - Nice little touches with her.

GYRICH - Well, he's dead. I'm fine with that actually. But I can see both sides of this argument. If you're gonna kill off a minor character than why use someone you may have real use for later. OR We've got a minor character. Let's give him a name that will make the fans smile. (I fell into the latter category, I guess.)

PYRO & JUBILEE - See above. (Who are these two?)

STAN LEE - Him, I recognized immediately on the beach when mutant Kelly comes ashore. How could you miss him? (And yet, I never noticed he was a hot dog vendor. I just thought it was Stan Lee.) Was Claremont in there anywhere? Len Wein? Roz Kirby (in lieu of Jack)? Dave Cockrum? Byrne?

DIALOGUE: O.k. This wasn't stellar. A few nice touches, but it wasn't sharp, and Storm's line to Toad was pathetic. I'd have loved the dialogue to be sharper. But it served.

PLOT: Rogue as Magneto's true target was telegraphed a bit heavy-handedly for me. At one point Xavier even suggests that Logan might not be the target, yet doesn't make the obvious connection to Rogue that follows. Not until after it's too late. But overall, I was pleased. The story held up. It wasn't an "idiot plot". The motivations all made sense. In fact, they were compelling to me.

ACTION - Worked for me. I don't need to see the White House blown up in every movie. The action seemed appropriate to the story. Some of the choreography in the final battle (which may be editing as much as writing or directing) was problematic for me, but not very.

CHARACTER DYNAMICS - Largely great. Loved the interaction between Logan and just about everyone. Loved the interaction between Magneto and just about everyone. Loved the interaction between Xavier and just about everyone. Cyclops' overall weakness weakened his dynamics. And again, we didn't really get enough screen time with Storm to judge one way or the other, but overall I give high marks.

LENGTH - the movie was mercifully short. No one trying to squeeze three hours of angst and bad plotting and padding in. It moved at a nice tight pace. (And even then, the couple we saw it with thought it moved a bit slow.) Makes me nervous about a director's cut though. Sometimes those are great. (BLADE RUNNER.) Sometimes not. (CLOSE ENCOUNTERS).

So overall, and after all the above exercise in me being a wind-bag, I'd recommend it. It's not a great film. But it's a fun movie. And I had fun rambling about it.

In my next ramble, I'll talk a bit about the Gargoyle's Live Action movie in light of X-Men.


Bookmark Link

GREG GULER to appear!!

Great news about the Gathering 2000.

Sara and I have managed to add TWO more terrific guests (in addition to myself and Thom Adcox). One, who I
first mentioned last week, is Brad Rader, a Disney and Gargoyles Storyboard Artist. The other is GREG
GULER, a former comic book artist (DC's HAWK & DOVE), who is now a character designer for Disney. He
basically designed Goliath, Demona and Elisa when we were in development on the show. And he was the lead
character designer for the entire second season.

Both Brad & Greg will be participating in Q&A's, judging art and costume contests and leading art seminars.
Now with a writer (me), an actor (Thom) and two artists (Brad & Greg), the Gathering really does cover all
your Gargoyle bases. Don't miss it!


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Another "Mirror" Memo...

Though I think it's one of our most rewarding episodes, it was a tough one to make come together. So after I received the first draft script on "The Mirror", I sent a second memo to Brynne. Here it is, UNEDITED:

WEISMAN 11-13-94

Notes on "The Mirror" Script...

O.k. The problems here seems to be mostly my fault. I haven't been able to make clear to you guys how I want our characters to react when they've been changed. It's been clear in my head. And for me the logic flows backwards from a scene I want to see where an average-human-pedestrian-who-has-been-turned-into-a-gargoyle sees one of our transformed-into-human-heroes and screams: "Look at that monster!! It's like some kind of horrible... HUMAN!!" The key is that the bystander actually uses the word "HUMAN", and that he says it with the same kind of fear and revulsion that we would normally hear (in a more typical episode) being used for the word "GARGOYLE".

In order to get both the revulsion into the word "Human" and a strongly negative reaction to our heroes' new human appearance, the bystander needs to believe that being a gargoyle is the way it's supposed to be. Therefore when the bystander's appearance was changed his mind-set must have been changed as well.

Working backwards from that goal, how would our main characters react to being changed?

THEIR MINDSET WOULD CHANGE SIMULTANEOUSLY WITH THEIR APPEARANCE:
Elisa is the first to be transformed. Thus, ELISA'S REACTION to being changed into A GARGOYLE is the surprising statement:

"Goliath, You've been changed into a gargoyle!"

Reasoning: Goliath &co. were always "the other" to Elisa. But when she was transformed, her mindset changed with her appearance. So she now believes that being a gargoyle is normal. Since, Goliath &co. now look "normal" to her, she figures that they must have been magically changed from being "the other" into being "normal"--i.e. they have been transformed into gargoyles.

[I realize this seems byzantine, but ultimately it'll be the most straightforward reaction on screen, short of having everyone entirely self-aware from the moment they change, (which just isn't as much fun to me). See how it plays out in beat #11. (Also #9, 13, 14 and 21.) If you're still not clear, please don't hesitate to call me.]

TENSION
Despite absurdist moments in this story, we must keep the tension and suspense running high, throughout.
--Don't reveal Elisa's presence at the museum until last possible second. Same with Goliath.
--Don't let Gargoyle's lose track of their objective for more than a line of dialogue here or there.
--Don't let the battle meander from place to place. Keep battle and chase scenes focused and specific.

WHAT THEY'VE BEEN WISHING FOR:
DEMONA'S WISHES
1. Get rid of humans, particularly Elisa.
2. Get rid of Goliath and Co.
3. Stop turning to stone during the day.

GOLIATH & ELISA'S WISH - To be together. (Elisa is slightly more self-aware than Goliath, but neither should specifically wish in dialogue to become the race of the other. It's too on the head.)

TRIO'S WISH - To assimilate.

CLARITY IN SCRIPT
O.K. TO USE: ELISA/GARGOYLE
HUMAN/"GARGOYLES"
GOLIATH/HUMAN
HUDSON/HUMAN
BROOKLYN/HUMAN
BROADWAY/HUMAN
LEXINGTON/HUMAN
OUR HEROES

DON'T USE: HUMAN/GARGOYLES
GARGOYLES/HUMANS
TRIO/HUMANS
Even for me, these were too confusing.

In group scenes, LIST ALL CHARACTERS IF NECESSARY.

BEAT SHEET
ACT ONE
1. Museum.
--Establish two security guards - but don't reveal that one of them is Elisa (or that Goliath is there).
--Demona breaks in and takes out the first guard.
--Second guard turns out to be Elisa, ready and waiting w/Goliath.
--Establish how much Demona hates humans in general, and Elisa specifically.
--Demona never gets as far as laser-grid around mirror.

2. Chase.
--Demona Escapes.
--And while Goliath and Elisa are chasing her...
Maybe inter-cut w/...

3. Museum.
--Thieves get past laser-grid to steal mirror.

4. Ext. Demona's house.
--The two thieves deliver mirror.

5. Int. Demona's house.
--Demona summons Puck.

6. Clock tower.
--Elisa arrives. They were duped. Mirror was stolen.
--Elisa's: So how bad is this? What can D do with that mirror?
--No one knows for sure, but it leads to the discussion of Oberon's Children.
--Refer here to Midsummer Night's Dream.
--Scotsmen called them "Fair Folk".
--Vikings called them "Dark Elves".
--Shape-shifters.
--Trio: Imagine what it would be like to shape-change. Fit in anywhere.
--Hint subtly at Elisa and Goliath's desires.

7. Demona's house.
--Make sure we know Puck's name here.
--Our Demona and Puck wish scene.
--Puck uses a rhyming spell.
--Puck's arms are pinned by chains, so magic energy comes out of his eyes.

8. Clock Tower.
--Elisa: All we can do is wait til Demona makes her move.
--Elisa transforms into a gargoyle.

ACT TWO
9. Clock Tower.
--Everyone including Bronx is pretty stunned by Elisa's change.
--She seems happy though.
-- Elisa: "This is wonderful. Goliath, you've been transformed into a gargoyle!"
--Goliath: "What?!"

10. Demona's House.
--Puck tells her the deed is done.
--Demona wants to escalate. Every human in Manhattan.
--Puck again stresses difficulty of "big wishes".
--Demona yanks chain: "Answer truthfully. Can it be done?"
--Puck: Yes, but not from here.

11. Clock Tower.
--Bronx sniffs at Elisa.
--Goliath: "We've always been gargoyles. You're the one who's been changed."
--Elisa: "I've always been a gargoyle. I think I'd know it if I wasn't."
--Goliath: "How did we first meet?"
--Elisa: "I fell off a skyscraper; you glided down and caught me."
--Goliath: "If you always had wings, why would you need me to catch you."
--Elisa: "I can't glide with these."
--Goliath: "Yes, you can."
--AND OFF THEY GO.
--Hudson and Trio stare at each other for a beat and then follow.
--Bronx is left behind.

12. WORLD TRADE CENTER
--Puck and Demona materialize w/mirror.
--P: This is gonna take a while.
--He begins visually gathering magical energy. Just a little at first.

13. Flight over the city.
--Goliath NEVER LETS GO OF HER HAND, even after it's clear that she's gliding under her own "power", because she's afraid. She doesn't want to lose that contact.
--Goliath can't help staring at her: "I never realized when you were human just how beautiful you are."
--Elisa: "You mean you used to think I was ugly?"
--He doesn't have a good answer to this.
--Fortunately for him, she segues to: "This is so confusing. Have I always been able to glide like this?"
--[She's still hasn't quite grasped the situation.]
--Goliath: "No. No. Try to understand. You've been changed into a gargoyle. Follow me, I'll show you."
--They glides in low over the streets. Elisa sees the humans and freaks!! (Her freaking needs to be ambiguous. Goliath thinks she understands now. She doesn't really.)
--Goliath: "Maybe we should land somewhere and talk."

14. Rooftop.
--Goliath, Elisa, Hudson and Trio come in for a landing.
--(Establish clothes line. Someone has left their laundry, including bedsheets, to dry in the warm night air.)
--Elisa: "Did you see? Everyone in Manhattan's been turned into a HUMAN?!!!"
--G: "...no, no, no..."
--HUDSON: "LOOK!"
--He points at light show that seems to be gathering around one of the towers of the WTC.

15. World Trade Center.
--BIG LIGHT SHOW as Puck glows with magical energy.
--P: "This is really going to wear me out."
--D: "Quit complaining and do it already."
--Puck casts rhyming spell.
--Magical energy shoots from entire body to hit mirror.
--Spell reflects off mirror and hits giant hyperbolic sattelite dish. --Sattelite dish fires magic off across the whole city.
--Puck collapses.

16. Rooftop.
--Goliath & Co. have seen light show from WTC, (but not result).
--Goliath &Co. leave Elisa on the roof and head toward WTC.
--Elisa's not happy about it, but they don't give her a choice.
--And she's still phobic about flying alone, so she can't follow.

17. WTC
--Now that the light show has subsided, Demona wants to see her "empty city", but Puck is out of it.
--Goliath and co. attack. She's forced to flee with Puck, but without mirror.
--(Somewhere in here, Demona has to mention Puck's name.)
--To save herself, she tosses it. Hudson saves it.
--Goliath and Trio pursue Demona.

18. Downtown streets/subway/ whatever
--Even though she's being chased and is hampered by the unconscious Puck, Demona still comes in for a landing to see the results of her wish.
--She's furious as she sees the human/"gargoyles" going about their business.
--Use this chase (and this scene) to reveal the extent and absurdity of the change that hasn't really changed anything but the appearance of the people. Take us down into the subway, maybe.
--Demona ultimately uses the situation to get lost in a crowd.
--For the pursuers, Goliath and trio, it's like finding a needle in a haystack.
--Throughout scene, Trio may get wistful and a little distracted about being able to fit in.
--There are female "Gargoyles" walking by, catching trio's eyes.
--They have to remind themselves that this is wrong. And they're not entirely convinced that it is.
--But other "gargoyles" still shy away from trio because of how they are dressed. (Or how little they are dressed.)
--At any rate, the trio don't totally lose track of their objective: Demona.
--But Demona's gone.
--Goliath: Let's go get Elisa and plan our next move.

19. A deserted alley.
--Demona confronts a very worn-out Puck.
--D: I wanted you to destroy the humans, not give them the gift of being a gargoyle!!
--D: "Change the gargoyles back to humans."
--Puck: "O.K., o.k., give me a chance to catch my breath."
--He leans to look at his reflection in the side-view mirror of a car.
--The image in the mirror wavers.

20. Rooftop.
--Goliath, Hudson, Trio and Elisa confer.
--They have the mirror.
--That was definitely one of Oberon's Children with Demona.
--Demona called him Puck.
--Elisa: In Shakespeare, Puck was a harmless trickster.
--Goliath: What's happened below isn't harmless. Come, we must continue to search for Demona and Puck.
--Elisa: "I'll never get the hang of leaping off rooftops."
--Goliath: "I will always be there to catch you."
--She hesitates. He takes off to set an example.
--A bolt of Magic shoots out of the mirror catching Goliath, Hudson and the trio.
--Goliath changes to human and falls.

ACT THREE
21. Rooftop.
--Elisa dives and catches Goliath. Overcoming her fear without thinking about it.
--Meanwhile, Hudson grabs a sheet off the clothesline and covers the mirror: "Don't want anything else jumping out at us from this thing!"
--Goliath doesn't understand why he fell.
--Suddenly he stares at her: "Elisa...You've changed back to normal!!"
--E: No. I haven't changed. You have. You're a human. You fell because, you don't have wings.
--Brooklyn: "We've always been humans."
--Hudson: "And we've never needed wings to glide before."
--Lex (the engineer of the group): "Wait a minute, we must have used wings. How else could we do it?"
--Goliath, sinking in: "Elisa's right. We're supposed to be gargoyles. And we're not. Everyone else should be human. But thanks to Demona and Puck, they're not."

22. Alley & Street.
--Puck is very weary.
--Demona asks if it's done.
--Puck says yes.
--Demona and Puck cautiously exit alley.
--Obviously, all the humans are still "Gargoyles".
--Demona turns on Puck. I told you to turn the gargoyles to humans.
--Puck: "Oh, you meant these gargoyles! I thought you meant Goliath and the gang. My mistake. Sorry."
--Demona: "You turned Goliath into a human?!!"
--She's ready to murdilate Puck. She pulls the chain tighter, crushing him.
--Puck: "Hey, hey, hey, You're missing the big picture, here. This is your big chance to get rid of Goliath. Now, while he's weak as any human."
--She stops, smiles.
--Dissolve.

23. Rockefeller Center. Some time later.
--Bronx runs into shot. [He has not been transformed yet.]
--A human/ "gargoyle" pedestrian bends over to pet the nice doggie and then runs away screaming when he sees the doggie's masters.
--Our "human" heroes now fully clothed (and looking cool) walk with determination right up to the center of Rockefeller Center. Hudson still has the mirror, covered in the bed sheet.
--(Elisa is not in sight.)
--Everywhere, pedestrian/"gargoyles" run screaming: "Ahhh, humans!! Run!!" "Oh, they're so ugly." "Keep away, you...you monster human, you."
--Hudson to Goliath: Are you sure this is a good idea?
--G: Demona must have done all this for a purpose. What else could it be except to leave us vulnerable to her attack. So we'll let her come to us, but we'll pick the place of battle. Here on the ground and in the open where her wings won't help her much.
--They take their stand. Not all the pedestrians have run. Some stop and stare, but they all keep their distance from these human monsters.
--Goliath instructs Hudson to unwrap the mirror.
--The instant he does, Puck and Demona fly out of it.
--BATTLE ROYALE (Needs real choreography.)
--Demona's armed with her plasma rifle.
--Gargoyle's are armed with medieval weapons.
--Battle is largely land bound.
--Puck's having a good time and helps Demona.
--His stunts can be darkly funny, i.e. they can be absurd, as long as they increase the danger to our heroes.
--Puck turns Bronx into a Russian Wolf-hound, just for fun.
--Some brave bystanders see Demona being attacked by all these monsters and run in to help.
--Trio are forced to battle them.
--These human/ "gargoyles" don't know their own strength, so fighting them isn't easy.
--Obviously at some crucial moment, Elisa (their secret weapon) flies in and takes on D.
--Demona should not instantly recognize Elisa.
--But when Demona does, she goes nuts. Elisa's presence (both the fact that she is alive and a gargoyle) is a double-edged sword. The best (psychological) weapon the good guys have, it throws Demona into a rage, which makes her doubly dangerous, but careless.
--Goliath and Elisa stand together to defeat D.
--Trio take on and scare off the "gargoyle" good samaritans.
--With Bronx's help, Hudson bags Puck with metal-mesh trashcan.

24. WTC
--Goliath promises to free Puck if he changes things back to normal.
--Puck complies. He'll start with the biggest job -- getting all the humans back to normal. (Fortunately, changing something back to its normal state is easier for him than the reverse.)
--Using rhyming spell, mirror and sattelite dish, Puck lets the magic fly.
--Elisa is human again.
--Puck needs a moment to recover.
--Elisa and Goliath have a brief moment.
--Elisa (self-depricating): "Well, I guess I'm back to my old ugly human self."
--G: "Never, to these eyes. But I'm curious. Am I handsome to you like this?"
--E: "You've always been handsome to me."
--PUCK: "Allright, enough of the mushy stuff!"
--He zaps Goliath, Hud, Bronx and Trio back into Gargoyles. (Note: he doesn't need the mirror, since they're all standing right in front of him.)
--Goliath frees Puck.
--Puck takes off with Demona through Mirror, taking mirror with.

25. Demona's house.
--Puck's grateful for a good time, enjoyed by all.
--He'll grant Demona her original wish: She won't turn to stone during the day.
--She's suspicious, for obvious reasons.
--He must SPELL OUT that she will still be her normal GARGOYLE self at night. But during the day, she won't have to sleep as stone.
--One last little rhyme spell.
--And he disappears through mirror.

26. Clock Tower.
--Final scene with Bronx, Hud, Trio, Goliath and Elisa. (This was really nice, as written.)

27. Demona's House.
--The sun is rising.
--We can only see Demona in sillouette.
--Until she turns to look at herself in the mirror.
--Which she smashes.

PAGE NOTES
(The script I received had some odd page numbering. The title page was numbered as page one, some pages were skipped and had no numbers, and the last page was numbered 33. So I just renumbered it from the first page of script on through the last [39]. The following notes therefore refer to my numbers. Call me if you have any questions.)

P.2
If Demona never gets the opportunity to destroy or turn off the laser-grid around the mirror, than we can leave it for the thieves to deal with and ditch all this dialogue and action revolving around alarms. Demona's meant to be a diversion.

Please don't refer to the Security Guard as Sarge or Old Soldier. I know it's just character stuff, but we don't have the space to give it context. It winds up confusing us as to who the guard really is.

Remember: Male gargoyle eyes glow white. Only female gargoyle eyes glow red.

Throughout script we use both "rooklings" and "hatchlings". I prefer "hatchlings". That way audience members who have missed the one or two references to the rookery, will still understand.

P.5
Goliath's getting wounded is problematic. We don't deal with it in the story. It's quickly forgotten. We don't want to play fast and loose with something like that.

P.9
Don't forget to give us some description of Puck. (He definitely should have pointed ears, for example. I added pointed ears to the description of the Weird Sisters in their true form.)

P.10
I don't know that we want to refer to all of Oberon's Children as "real mean". Seems blatantly racist.

When Demona summoned Puck earlier, she did it in Latin. So please make sure we name him here in this scene.

P.12
DEMONA
If you cannot rid me of all humans,
then at least rid me of that human --
Elisa Maza!

We need the double entendre of Demona asking Puck to get rid of that
human-Elisa. ("Oh," Puck weasles to himself, "get rid of the human-Elisa. Make her a gargoyle-Elisa instead.")

P.21
Our Gargoyles shouldn't notice that anything has changed among the pedestrians below, until they get close enough to see. (From a practical standpoint, the idea of each person suddenly taking up more room, might be tough to get across in animation.)

Let's show at least one of the Human/"Gargoyles" looking at his or her reflection (in a store window or something) and preening. Totally unaware of the change.

Goliath says, "What sorcery is this?" twice in the episode. Let's skip both. He said this exact line in "Awakening".

P.23
Keep focus and imperative of THIS story. No one has time to stop for hot dogs or to deal with vandals. (So skip both incidents.)

P.25
Puck doesn't have to pretend that he did "exactly" as Demona commanded. He can have more attitude. "Hey, close enough." or "If you're going to split hairs..."

Again, let's not make Hudson an expert on Puck as an individual. We don't need him to identify Puck from tapestries. (And I doubt if his education has progressed to the point where he's read Shakespeare.) Plus, I'm not sure we have to label Puck as the "worst" of Oberon's children, either.

P.34
Gargoyles including Elisa/gargoyle CANNOT hover.

Also don't forget...
--Cast List.
--Latin version of Demona's spell from Grimorum. (It doesn't have to rhyme.)
--Rhyming spell in English for what Puck does to everyone. (Needs to be vague enough so that Demona isn't immediately tipped off.) Doesn't need to be same spell each time.
--Somewhere in here, we need to justify why none of the human/"gargoyle" crowd reacts to Puck. Do they see him as a gargoyle, ala the Weird Sisters? Or is he invisible to them? Or can we get away with them just walking by and ignoring him?
--Make sure final page count will be within our page range (pp. 35-39) after Denise has conformed it.

THANKS. DON'T HESITATE TO CALL WITH ANY QUESTIONS.


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"THE MIRROR" Outline memo...

Next up for my Ramblings is "The Mirror". What follows is the UNEDITED memo I sent to story editor Brynne Chandler Reaves regarding the first draft outline for that episode.

This is one I had very specific ideas on, so I may have been even tougher than usual. Oh, well...

WEISMAN 10-30-94

Notes on "The Mirror" Outline...
Brynne, I hope you consider this flattering: I'm gonna be very tough on you here, because I think you can handle it. It's not just because of this outline, but because in general, I want you to be handing me cleaner, more finished pieces. Although the story is full of great ideas, there are logical and structural problems here that need fixing. As I've discussed, I want to be less "hands-on" so that the schedule keeps flowing and we all stay sane, but that means I need you to catch much more of this sort of thing before I ever see it.

One particular concern of mine (and not so incidentally of Gary Krisel's) is padded first acts, where nothing of substance happens until the cliffhanger. Each story dictates its own structure, so I don't want to make any hard and fast rules, but this is one thing you should be thinking about on every episode you edit or write. We can have a prologue scene or two. But we don't want to turn the whole first act into a prologue to events that only begin seconds before the commercial break.

Scene One is a nice prologue. So is Two, if it's brief. Three, Four and Five are padding. Six is good prologue, but by this time it feels like padding. Seven is problematic from a character/logic standpoint. Finally, we get going at Eight.

And opening acts aside, we need to beware of scenes that serve no function in the structure of the story. A real good character moment is worth a detour on occasion. But our stories have to be coming out of character anyway, so nine times out of ten, the detour shouldn't be necessary.

Ever since "Reawakening" we've tried to make the Gargoyles much more pro-active. But even by first season "survival-mode" standards they seem downright slow to act here. In scene Three, they suspect magical bad news is on the way. In scene Six, they confirm Demona's involvement. Yet in scene Ten, they go to the play in the park like nothing was wrong. Worse, in scene Sixteen, when the humans are transformed, the younger gargoyles actually think that the transformation is part of the play? They're more sophisticated than that. And instead of reacting like it's a problem, they just want "contact with their kind". I wouldn't mind a wistful line that summoned up their feelings about how this reminds them of their old lives when there were many gargoyles and/or that it's nice to be able to walk out in the open without everyone running away screaming, but they have to realize that this transformation is bad news. Then in scene TWENTY-TWO (that's the beginning of ACT THREE and a full fourteen scenes after Goliath battled Demona in the museum) they "are certain now that Demona is behind this". Who did they think was behind it for the last act and a half? This is a good sign that we're either short on structure, heavy on padding or both.

THEME
We must have a clear theme that involves at least one of the "good" gargoyles in every episode. We shouldn't have to dig deep for it. It's what focuses the events that dictate our structure. Today's theme is "Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it." It applies to Demona, obviously. But it applies to subconscious desires on the part of Goliath. And wistful, but conscious desires on the part of Elisa. And even (to a small extent) the desire of our young trio to assimilate. Emphasize the theme as much as possible.

GARGOYLES AND MAGIC
Please remember that the gargoyles are largely ignorant of the workings of magic. They have an advantage over humans in that they know magic exists. That's about it. Demona and Macbeth have had centuries to study it. Guys like the Magus and the Archmage dedicated their lives to studying it. Brooklyn, on the other hand, is no expert. I doubt he can even read Latin. And the GRIMORUM is not a textbook that would provide easy answers even if he could read it. It is, in essence, a cookbook. If a recipe is torn out, there's no way to infer very much about it from the remaining pages. Remember, the Magus had the sleep spell he used on the gargoyles, and even with that and all his training, he couldn't wake them up without the specific page that held the counterspell. HOW could Brooklyn find a list (scene 5) that matches Demona's list? WHY would the Grimorum list the items for one specific spell twice? HOW could he know the name (Scene Eight) of the entity being summoned?

Could the Grimorum tell them that Puck's spells must be reversed before dawn? Or how Puck frees himself? Unlikely. (Would Julia Child's cookbook feature recipes by the Frugal Gourmet?) But (if we assume Goliath reads Latin, and could make heads or tails of the Grimorum, without having to sit down and spend an entire week reading the thing cover-to-cover to find a helpful passage in a book which, as you noted, has no index) -- it is possible. We always skate by a few things in every script. But the more we have to skate, the thinner the ice in general. Something that normally would fit neatly beneath our audiences suspension of disbelief, becomes one more contrivance in a story that's got a few too many.

DEMONA'S MOTIVATIONS
First off, she's not looking for an equal partner or ally. She's made that clear enough. That's exactly her problem with Xanatos. He always wants to know what's in it for him. He can't be easily controlled. He's fine if they have a mutual interest (resurrecting Goliath or Coldstone), fine if she can con him into helping her (as she does in "City of Stone"), but the latter isn't easy. Otherwise, they can't work together. They're goals are too diverse.

As for Macbeth, don't even bring him up. This story airs before CITY OF STONE. She hasn't seen Macbeth for decades probably. And it's been centuries since they worked together on anything.

None of this changes the story, but it's important to get her mind-set clear. She isn't summoning Puck as an ally. But as a slave.

And what does she want her slave to do? Basically, this episode is going to underline Demona's truly short-term thinking. She knows she wants humanity eradicated. But not what she'd do if she ever accomplished that goal. She's closed her heart to anything that doesn't serve her immediate short-term plans. (She's really, really screwed up.) At one point, Puck should offer her Goliath. He can make Goliath love her again. But she's so distracted by her hatred for Elisa in particular and humans in general, that she can't keep a positive thought in her head. Her monolithic and myopic fanaticism allow Puck to make a primate out of her, literally and figuratively.

PUCK
First big note from Adrienne and ME: we cannot play this character like he's a demon. His summoning in particular came off as very satanic. Let's try to make it more fanciful and magical. One thing that would help avoid this problem, is to be clear about what Puck is. If we aren't clear, people might think demon or devil. If we are clear, they'll believe us. We've got to establish, not only Puck, but his entire magical race. They are the third sentient group that once populated our planet in addition to humans and gargoyles. We need a name for this race that we can be comfortable with. (We can say at some point that the Scots called them the Fair Folk; the Vikings called them Dark Elves. But neither name is great. There must be something that could work for us. "The Oberati" perhaps, after their king?)

Then we need to set some rules and limits. Particularly given what we know about the Weird Sisters (and about Puck's secret identity). Obviously, not all of these rules need to be spelled out in this script. But let's make sure we know them. Let's begin by saying that the Oberati can all shape-shift. But when they morph into a form, they're stuck with that form's limitations. No magic happening if they pose as human.

In their true forms, they have a lot of magic power, but a rule against the direct use of it in the world of man (witness the Weird Sisters more indirect manipulations). Maybe this is a command from Oberon which they are afraid, but not unable, to break.

An obvious exception to the rule occurs when they are enslaved by someone else who commands them to use their magic. They are off the hook responsibility-wise, so they can go to town. Thus, most cultures have wish-granting legends about Leprechauns or Djinn or whatever.

Conveniently, the Oberati are creatures of pure magical energy. When they cast a spell, the spell doesn't have the limitations imposed on the studied magic of human or gargoyle sorcerers. The subjects of their spells don't have to see and hear them to be affected. It's a more fluid, less structured form of magic. Magic to the Archmage is an art, craft or science to master. Magic to Puck is as natural (or super-natural) as breathing.

But even Puck must have his limits. Even magical energy should be finite. We MUST establish this fact, at least. If Demona asks to get rid of all the humans on the planet, Puck will have to admit that it's too much for him. Would she settle for all the humans on the island?

Did the Gargoyles meet or hear of Puck specifically, back in the tenth century? I doubt it. They lived fairly isolated lives out at Wyvern. And Puck didn't get famous until Shakespeare made him famous quite a few centuries later. Maybe they've heard stories about the Fair Folk, but again, let's resist the temptation to make Goliath or Brooklyn or Hudson experts on the subject. They seem pretty perplexed by the Weird Sisters in "City of Stone". That should define their reaction to Puck, whom they're meeting here prior to that story.

Why does Puck help Goliath turn stuff back to normal at the end? Well, for this episode's purposes, it'll probably work that Goliath holds the chain and issues a command. But Demona held the chain, and Puck always found a way to circumvent her commands. So why doesn't he do the same to Goliath? Two reasons, probably. First, it further annoys Demona, who he's peeved at for enslaving him in the first place. Second, once Puck is free, he can return to his secret identity, where he's been having such a good time. He wants things back to normal himself. Still in future appearances, we need to be sure that Puck doesn't turn into a personification of Deus ex machina.

Use it sparingly, but it's o.k. with me if Puck breaks the third wall and addresses the audience on occasion.

Finally, Puck's name. The Disney execs are of two minds on this. Bruce prefers Goodfellow. His main concern is the constant policing we'd have to do to make sure Puck doesn't ever come out Fuck. Ellen feels that Goodfellow has more association with Satan than Puck does and that Puck is safer on that level. I'm really torn. I tend to agree that Puck is a slightly more recognizable Shakespearean reference than Goodfellow, and thus stonger and safer. I also think the name suits the character. On the other hand, I think Goodfellow is an effectively ironic name for a character who is, for all intents and purposes, a villain. Part of me really wants to use both. Could the spell that enslaves Puck to Demona have something to do with her knowing his true name, Robin Goodfellow? Adrienne, I think, is on the fence with me. But I'm not sure. We should probably discuss this one last time before you go to script.

THE MIRROR
Think of the Wicked Queen's Magic Mirror times ten. It is a window, a doorway, a Peeping Tom.

HUMANS AS "GARGOYLES"
As we discussed, I don't think the humans notice they've been transformed. Some of the ridiculous fun of this episode should be to see them, walking around, going about their normal business, briefcases and subway tokens in hand, with no indication that anything is different. If they looked in a mirror, they'd preen as usual. They wouldn't freak out or recognize the change.

Although they have wings, I don't think it occurs to any of them to start gliding around the city. And if they see (the soon-to-be more self-aware) Elisa flying, it would be shocking: "Look, Mommy, that lady is flying!!" It's not that they'd see her suddenly as a gargoyle. (It'd be like seeing Superman. A normal enough looking person. He just happens to be leaping tall buildings with a single bound, which is, of course, unusual enough.)

When Goliath and clan walk among them as gargoyles, I don't think they see them as unusual. For once, looking like a gargoyle is normal. Like Halloween, in "Eye of the Beholder", it's another rare moment for our guys when they can be out in the open. (This may have been what you had in mind in scene 18. I wasn't clear.)

However, when Goliath and company enter their midst as "Humans", it should scare them. Once again, ugliness is in the eye of the beholder, and the "human" Goliath is still the monster. We should not skip this beat (as you planned to in scene 24). We should play it. It can be bitter, poignant and, yes, funny. (Appealing to Puck's dark sense of humor (and mine too, for that matter).)

ELISA AS A "GARGOYLE"
Like the other transformed humans, Elisa doesn't immediately realize she's been transformed. And looking in the mirror won't clue her in either. (And in any case, Elisa isn't the type to faint dead away.) In fact, she might turn to Goliath and suddenly ask, "Could you remind me why you guys are hiding up here in the clock tower?" Suddenly, they don't look so strange to her. Goliath is going to have to sit her down and talk her through the differences between humans and gargoyles. Her realization should play like a fog lifting.

And we probably should play out Goliath and Elisa both as gargoyles for an act. Maybe he teaches her how to fly. Maybe they're just about to get close enough to do the gargoyle equivalent of an embrace, when he's transformed to human. Get it so that we can all almost taste it. Then yank it away. (I know, I'm a cruel bastard.)

I also want to contrast Goliath's reaction to "gargoyle" Elisa with Elisa's reaction to "human" Goliath. He may say, "Elisa, I never realized how beautiful you are," because he always liked her for her inner beauty but, frankly, never found her physically attractive (no wings, no tail--shudder). And he's always made that mental distinction between the surface and what lies beneath.

Elisa never did. She recognized his inner beauty in episode three or four and ALWAYS thought he was handsome. Even before this episode, I think she's thought about the two of them and come to the inescapable conclusion that romance is impractical. Better keep it platonic. I think he's had those feelings, but has never connected to them mentally. (Look, no matter what the species, or how evolved the individual, he's still a guy. And guys are fundamentally stupid about this stuff.) Until this episode, it never crossed his mind that Elisa could replace Demona in his heart. The fact is she already has. But he never thought about it before now.

OUR GARGOYLES AS "HUMANS"
To be consistent, they shouldn't recognize the change until Elisa points it out to them. Maybe they were about to leap from the clock tower, and Elisa has to stop them and say: "Look, guys, you don't have wings anymore!"

But let's keep in mind that these guys are still heroes. NO WAY are they going to agree to step back because a gargoyle Demona is too tough for them now. Did Elisa ever step back when she was human? For that matter, there have been plenty of humans willing to go toe-to-toe with the gargoyles. Certainly Goliath is as brave as Macbeth or Wolf or Commando #3.

Also, I got confused in scene 29. Goliath has been transformed to human. That means human proportions. Sure, he'd be a big guy, but not as big as he was as a gargoyle. I don't know why armor would fit, say Broadway, and not him.

TONE
In contrast to our typical episodes, I think this one can have a more absurdist tone. Puck should both further the tone with his actions and undercut it with wry asides. Plus there'll be romantic stuff, also undercut, this time by Goliath's reaction to Elisa and the genuine frustration that comes from the situation's mutability.

GOLIATH BLAMES XANATOS...
For everything, it seems. In "Lighthouse" and to a lesser extent in "Leader", we've played the beat of Goliath mistakenly going to the castle to confront Xanatos for something that the latter had nothing to do with. I think by now, Goliath has learned his lesson. Particularly since the going's on here smack much more of Demona or Macbeth than Xanatos.

DEMONA'S HOME BASE
Let's get a clear sense of what this place is like. Particularly, how it is distinct from Macbeth's mansion: we've played his place like Wayne Manor. Dracon has the penthouse at the Park Manor Hotel. And Xanatos has this incredibly cool castle-on-a-skyscraper H.Q. Demona's home needs to be different from all of these and special in its own right. Also give us an at least approximate idea of where this thing is located. Gramercy Park, maybe?

SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK
This was a great way to ground our Puck in Shakespeare, as opposed to Satan. No doubt about it. And no fault of yours, but I want to save this setting for a story that Michael and I have discussed involving Macbeth and an adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth. Plus, in this story, I want to play with Manhattan life going on, business as usual, despite the fact that everyone's been turned into a gargoyle. We can't do that if we limit ourselves to the Park and the closed Museum. I want to get this story out in the open. Have the "gargoyle" humans reacting in panic to the "human" Goliath and clan, the way they'd normally react to them as gargoyles. That's an opportunity we won't get in another story. We must take advantage of it. But having taken the story out of the park, we should work other Midsummer references into the script. Name the mirror after Oberon or Titania, perhaps.

BEAT SHEET
ACT ONE
1. A warm Midsummer's Night. Demona arrives at the museum with grand theft in mind. She's come to steal the Mirror of Oberon (or whatever we ultimately call it) which has just arrived from Ireland (or Italy or wherever). The first museum security guard is no problem. But the second security guard turns out to be Elisa -- undercover, prepared and not without back-up, i.e. Goliath. They suspected that the mirror would be a prize too tempting for Demona to resist. Demona seems particularly furious over Goliath's continued "partnership" with Elisa. SHE HATES HUMANS AND SHE REALLY HATES ELISA!! (Demona knows how Goliath feels about Elisa, even if the big lug hasn't admitted it to himself yet.)

2. Anyway, we get a big action sequence in the museum which leads to a chase outside. Demona gets away from them, but without the mirror. And because our heroes are so thoroughly engaged in these activities...

3. ...They are absent when two high-tech but very human cat burglars show up at the museum, seconds later, to crate up and steal the mirror. (The real security guard is still unconscious and thus unable to do anything about them.)

4. The two thieves arrive at Demona's townhouse (or whatever) with the crated mirror. Otherwise, the scene plays pretty much as you had it with the delivery men.

5. Inside her home, Demona wraps thick iron chains across the glass of the stolen Mirror. She summons Puck. He comes flying out through the glass and thus winds up wrapped in the iron chains. He spends almost the entire episode with the chains pinning his arms across his chest.

6. Back at the clock tower, Goliath and Elisa are feeling like grade-A dorks. Elisa's just back from investigating the museum crime scene. It's now clear that Demona's job was to take out security and, if necessary, act as a diversion for the real thieves. Now the big questions are, what can she do with this mirror and how bad is this going to get? Perhaps this is a place to discuss the Oberati. Hudson tells what little he knows about them.

7. Our Demona and Puck scene. If he ever wants his freedom he must serve her. He tries to discourage her: he'd make a lousy servant. She doesn't buy that. Puck works for "him". He can work for her, etc. (That whole exchange.) O.K., okay, what does she want? Freedom from her one great vulnerability -- turning to stone during the day. What good is that, he wonders. You think you're gonna be able to walk down 5th Avenue in broad daylight? I can if you obliterate all humans, everywhere. What am I, the Genie of the lamp? There are limits, kiddo. C'mon, what do you really want? She pauses, and an image appears in the mirror. It is Goliath (in the clock tower, but we're tight on him, so we aren't tipping the location). Puck: "How quaint, after all these centuries, you're still carrying a torch. Well, if that's what you want, I can make him love you again. Although it will be really hard, because you're not exactly Miss Lovable." And then, in the mirror, Elisa steps into the shot, and puts a hand on Goliath's shoulder. Demona goes ballistic. She knows her heart's true desire. Get rid of the human -- Elisa Maza. Puck: "That I can do." He fires a magical bolt into the mirror at the image of Elisa.

8. Back at the tower, Elisa has a hand on Goliath's shoulder, reassuring him that they'll stop Demona's scheme, whatever it is. Suddenly, she is surrounded by a magical energy that rips her away from Goliath. The gargoyles try to help her, but they can't get close. We should think for a moment that this is the end of Rico... uh, Elisa. And then there is a blinding flash of light that whites out the whole screen. Followed by pitch black darkness. Elisa is still there. We see her silhouette as our eyes adjust and the light returns slowly to normal. She says she's o.k. And then she steps into the light. Transformed into a gargoyle version of herself.

END OF ACT ONE

Now I have to apologize. I know I promised you this for Monday. It's two a.m. Sunday and this is as far as I got. There's a reason (an excuse). Monday is Corporate Seminar. And my last act as an executive (before becoming a full-time producer on Tuesday) is to pitch all our new development to Michael Eisner and Rich Frank. This is a twice yearly event that requires a lot of preparation, and I just ran out of time to get these notes done. Normally, I'd pull an all-nighter, but I need some sleep to face these guys tomorrow.

You gotta admit, that was a pretty good excuse.

So I have to leave this to you. You're mission, if you chose to accept it, (AND YOU REALLY HAVE NO CHOICE IF YOU EVER WANT TO GET TO SCRIPT) is to write up a quick beat outline of acts two and three for me based on the sketchy notes below. It doesn't have to be long. Two to four pages is fine. The amount of detail that I gave you for Act One is all I'm looking for.

Act Two should have Goliath filling Elisa in about the change she's undergone. Maybe take her flying. Maybe this is where we get the line about him never realizing how beautiful she was.

Demona should be temporarily fooled into thinking Elisa's dead, and flushed with success, she asks Puck to rid all of Manhattan of its humans. Bing, bang, boom. Everyone's a gargoyle. People on the subway in from Queens, change into gargoyles as soon as the E-train hits the first Manhattan stop. "Gargoyles" on the way home to Jersey change back to human as they cross the bridge in their cars. NO ONE NOTICES AT ALL.

But Demona doesn't know any of this yet. She wants a tour of what she expects to be an empty city. Puck is secretly eager to see his handiwork, so they step into the mirror, which transports them to the heart of the city. Times Square, maybe? 5th Avenue?

Meanwhile, Hudson, Goliath, Elisa and the trio are all hunting for Demona. They quickly notice the change in the populace. (Maybe the shock of this wide-spread change interrupts what might have been the only chance Elisa and Goliath had for a same-species clinch.) They all know it's bad news, but the trio can't help enjoying the ability to walk among gargoyles again. Even if they are gargoyles in business suits: New Yorkers who still won't give them the time of day. Still, would it be so bad if this didn't get fixed? Yeah. Probably.

When Demona figures out she's been duped, she demands that the gargoyles be changed back to humans. Bing Bang Boom. Goliath, Hudson and the Trio are human. (I'm torn about Bronx. I guess the big dog is o.k. It just seems outside the terms of Demona's request, even by Puck's loose standards.)

Was Goliath flying at the time or is this another interrupted clinch between him and Elisa?

Act Three opens with Elisa saving Goliath from plummeting to his death perhaps. Then she has to make him understand that he has been transformed as well.

We wind up with a very public battle featuring Elisa and our Newly Human heroes against Demona and Puck. It's complicated by the fact that the general populace (who are all now Gargoyles) perceive the human Goliath, Hudson and Trio (and Bronx?) as monsters attacking what to them seems to be a very normal-looking Demona.

Still in the end, good triumphs. Puck makes everything right at Goliath's command, (but let's make it clear that at least in part, he's doing this to spite Demona and/or to suit his own agenda). Elisa is changed to human, before Goliath is changed back, and we have another near-clinch, that Puck interrupts with good-humored spite by changing Goliath back into a gargoyle.

Goliath frees Puck and he vanishes with Demona, rescuing her from Goliath.

Turns out Puck had more fun than he thought he would so he feels like he owes Demona a favor. He'll give her her original wish. No turning to stone during the day. (BUT WE NEED TO MAKE IT PAINFULLY CLEAR THAT SHE WILL STILL BE HER NORMAL GARGOYLE SELF AT NIGHT.) He takes his leave via the mirror.

Cut back to Elisa and Goliath for emotional wrap up. Just before the sunrise which, as usual, separates them.

And back to Demona. Silhouetted against the rising sun. It's up, and she's not stone. Puck kept his word, she can't believe it. Then she sees her human self in the mirror, which she smashes, yelling NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! And fade to black.


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IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT!!

I have some really GREAT NEWS! Please help me spread the word! Brad Rader, one of Disney's best storyboard artists will be attending the Gathering in Orlando next month along with Thom "Voice of Lexington" Adcox and myself.

Brad worked on multiple episodes of GARGOYLES, including:
"Legion"
"The Mirror"
"City of Stone, Part One"
"City of Stone, Part Four"
"Revelations"
"Upgrade"
"Protection"
"Kingdom"
"Monsters"
"The Hound of Ulster"
"The New Olympians"
"The Gathering, Part One"
"The Gathering, Part Two"
"Hunter's Moon, Part Two"

Now GATHERING 2000 is truly a can't miss event. Hope to see you there.


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ComicCon & Shakespeare

Looks like I'll be going down to San Diego for the ComicCon. I'll be appearing Sunday Morning the 23rd of July at a Starship Troopers panel, along with a lot of other people who worked on the show, particularly Producer Audu Paden and the voice of Johnny Rico, Rino Romano.

I'm also thinking about attending the performance of HENRY V at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre on Saturday night the 22nd.

If you see me at either event, say hi.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wonder what happened to that lyre?


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

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


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Lighthouse Outline Memo

I haven't re-watched "A Lighthouse in the Sea of Time" yet. But we all know that's next, so I thought I'd go ahead and post the memo I sent to Michael Reaves, Brynne Chandler Reaves and Lydia C. Marano, based on the first draft outline they gave me on this story. Here it is, unedited:

WEISMAN 9-15-94

Notes on "A Lighthouse in the Sea of Time" Outline...
O.K. I'm gonna suggest some major changes here, though not without purpose. Brynne, they come right out of the phone conversation that led us to trade Xanatos & Demona for Macbeth. I don't think we've adjusted enough from the premise to meet our objectives.

THE MAIN OBJECTIVE
Remember, our primary objective is NOT to teach Hudson and Broadway to read. It is to ENGAGE them in the wonder of reading, to convince them it is a worthwhile, rewarding and magical endeavor. To make them WANT to learn how to read.

We discussed that Hudson and Broadway had two very different reasons for not wanting to learn. Broadway thinks it's a waste of time. He's got television, video, movies and a very exciting life. (The latter is the most important. I'm not going to preach the evils of the visual media, which are other legitimate windows into "other worlds", but which cannot and should not substitute for reading.) At any rate, Broadway doesn't see the relevance of reading to his life. This is a major cause of illiteracy among teen-agers.

Hudson doesn't learn for a very different reason. He's ashamed that he hasn't learned already. This is the main cause of continued illiteracy among adults.

I'm not getting a clear distinction between the two characters -- partially, because we're not getting much screen time for Broadway at all. We've got a lot to fit in here, but we still need to have enough time to explore both Hudson and Broadway's very different arcs. I think there's a relatively simple solution. Cut Elisa from the story, (at least for the most part). She's a great character, but she doesn't have a lot to learn from this adventure. We're wasting screen time on her. Make Broadway the V.T.O.L. stow-away instead of Elisa.

ROBBINS
We also discussed toning Robbins' role down. I know some of that has been done, but the guy is still coming across as St. Jeffrey to me. He's an integral, not incidental part of the plot. Now normally, I'd cheer about this, but here it's not convincing. Hudson happens to be injured near the house of the one author that Goliath loves and Elisa mentioned, who also happens to be an Arthurian expert, who if not for his blindness, would be the only person who Macbeth could get to translate the scrolls. It's just too much.

I do not believe that after nine centuries, Macbeth needs any mere mortal to translate a book for him. It's not like he has only just now started searching for magic books. If he needed to know a language he didn't know, he has had plenty of time to learn it. If no one could translate the spells, that would be another thing. But the notion that some mortal knows a Celtic language that's a mystery to the immortal Celtic Macbeth doesn't play for me.

Again, I think the solution here is simple. Macbeth doesn't get the scrolls until near the end of the play. After Macbeth's men steal the scrolls, we have Hudson and Broadway steal them back before Macbeth can get his hands on them. Hudson's injured and washes up and into Robbins' lap. Mac's men return without Hudson's scrolls. Mac and his men have to go after them. They track Hudson to Robbins' nest. Now with this change, we don't need Robbins to be the only guy who can translate these spells. He doesn't have to be the foremost authority on all things Arthurian.

In fact, he doesn't have to be the foremost anything. Frankly, he doesn't even have to be Goliath's favorite author. He doesn't have to be famous or collectable. In a way, I think it works against us if he is. What if he's just a relatively average guy. He writes novels that take myth, legend and/or history and try to render them believable and "true". Think Mary Stewart or Mary Renault. He's had some success. Enough to make him comfortable. But he's no Stephen King. He's just a writer operating in relative obscurity. (We can all relate.) I feel strongly that this makes him a better messenger for our purposes. The guy just loves his job. It hasn't made him rich or famous, but he loves it. He gets to do all this research, all this reading, on the period he's going to write on. He writes. (He loves words, and his dialogue should show it -- no easy task, because simply giving him a big, latinate vocabulary won't cut it.) And then he gets a tremendous kick out of knowing that people read what he wrote. It's immortality. And a better kind of immortality than Macbeth's. (I mean, hell, that's why I'm in the business -- fame and wealth would be nice, but what I really need is to live forever.) Maybe he's never even written about Merlin or Arthur before. Maybe this adventure inspires him to. It would be a lot less contrived if all this were true.

THE VILLAGE
Another thing that I think we should cut is Macbeth's little village. I don't know why it's been created. It seems to thematically fit our idea of visiting other places and times through books, but in fact it works against that theme. (As Broadway would say, "Why do I need to read about this stuff, when I can spend an hour at this glorified museum and see it? Not that I like museums.")

PHONE BOOKS, ETC.
Unfortunately, some of my changes are going to force adjustments to all the truly wonderful incidental references and uses that we put "reading" to in this outline, but we need to make sure the tail doesn't wag the dog. Let's get the structure squared away, and then work to fit as many of these as possible back into the show. Or come up with new ones. (Sure, easy for me to say.)

THE SCROLLS OF MERLIN
Let's refer to them as the SCROLLS OF MERLIN, not MERLIN'S JOURNALS. The former is neutral. The latter implies that they are exactly what they turn out to be: a narrative. We want everyone thinking that this is a book of spells. And that's everyone, not just Macbeth. We're tipping our hand otherwise. The treasure is the narrative, but it's a secret treasure. The notion of our gargoyles and all of New York getting hyped for narrative early on, makes the revelation less special. Plus, I don't want to be flagging to our audience from moment one that this is an episode about "LITERACY". Let the audience believe what Macbeth believes: we're hunting a magical macguffin. We'll sneak up on them with our true purpose (and Lord knows we're not being that subtle, so there won't be any doubt about it by the end). That way when Hudson meets Robbins, our audience won't say, "How convenient? Story about reading, and Hudson meets a writer!" They won't know the story's about reading when this happens.

FADS
With all of the above in mind, I think we need to be careful about dressing Elisa like Guinevere. It comes across as a fad here, and she doesn't seem the type to go in for a fad. It's not like this is gonna suddenly become standard attire in NYC. Let's not oversell our point, or I'm afraid we won't make the sale at all.

MORGAN THE DOG
Sorry. We already have Morgan the Cop. You need a new name. (Again, I wouldn't chose an Arthurian reference. Let this episode pique Robbin's interest in Arthurana. Up to now he's been writing novels about Beowulf or Gilgamesh.)

MACBETH'S MEN
Instead of making them mercenaries, let's just give him two specific henchman. Tough and very well-trained. Maybe not geniuses, but definitely not stupid. (Why do intelligent villains always employ such dumb henchmen?) Maybe their real names are Mel and Steve, but Macbeth calls them BANQUO and FLEANCE. A private joke that maybe they don't even get. (When I got to page 10 of the outline I was gonna suggest Banquo and Macduff, until I saw the Lennox Macduff thing on page 11. So I switched Macduff to Fleance. We can still use the Lennox Macduff alias.)

MACBETH'S CODE
Macbeth has a code of honor. It's flexible, but it exists. He's clearly willing to take prisoners. Hostages and ransom were an established and legitimate part of medieval warfare. But I don't know if he'd hold a knife to someone's head to facilitate his own escape. This isn't a hard and firm note, just keep it in mind. Also, I don't think his men have made a habit of stealing statues for him. After 900+ years, I doubt he'd be that much into material possessions. That's more Xanatos' gig. Macbeth keeps a fine house, but it's easier to buy than steal, and he's very wealthy.

MATT'S INJURY
Don't really see any purpose to it anymore.

BEAT SHEET
ACT ONE
1. Open with a prologue that shows us the British archeologists discovering the two large scrolls. More exciting than watching a report about it on television. Maybe the underground chamber was sealed magically. (A red herring to get us thinking spell book, instead of narrative.)

2. But now we segue to the clock tower. Lex is reading a newspaper article about the scrolls out loud to the rest of the gang. It seems the Scrolls are coming to NYC for authentification or whatever. Elisa says she and Matt volunteered to guard the shipment of the scrolls, and they got the nod. She admits that it's silly for her to be so excited, after all, she won't get to read them, but the whole thing really intrigues her.

Brooklyn wants to know more about Merlin. He had heard of him even back in the 10th century. He knows Merlin was some kind of 5th century magician, but that's about it. Goliath recommends some books.

(Adrienne, can we recommend a real book? Mary Stewart's THE CRYSTAL CAVE is a wonderful novel about Merlin. I read it for the first time in eighth grade. I'm rereading it now to Erin. I know we usually don't want to appear to be endorsing anything, but given this episode's subject matter, shouldn't we make an exception? Wouldn't this be a public service? We could slip in the titles of a number of good books throughout this episode. They do it on CBS with those "Read More About It" segments. Anyway, let me know.)

Broadway doesn't get it. He doesn't know how to read, and he doesn't see why he should bother to learn. Let's rent the video. They argue a bit. Hudson pointedly refuses to give his opinion, but we don't reveal his illiteracy here. (Let's make a small point of showing Hudson's rapport with Bronx here though.)

Goliath wants to know what the scrolls contain? Elisa says the seals won't be broken until they are authenticated, but the rumor is they might be Merlin's magic spells. Goliath looks concerned.

3. Dark, stormy night. Low visibility. Harbor attack by two VTOLs. Elisa and Matt are guarding the two scroll containers. But Banquo and Fleance outgun them by a mile. They each take one container into their VTOLs. Thank goodness the gargoyles were gliding nearby. (Goliath was worried that the magic scrolls might be a prime target for Demona or Xanatos.) The gargoyles attack the VTOL's. (Maybe Broadway makes a crack: "When your life is this exciting, who needs books?")

In the confusion, Hudson manages to rip open the hatch of Banquo's VTOL. He grabs the container from the shocked Banquo, but Banquo manages to get off a concussion blast that severly wounds Hudson. He's blown out of the VTOL and into the bay, still clutching the water-proof container. None of the other gargoyles see this happen.

Fleance and Banquo hit their turbo buttons and go shooting off into the night. Goliath, Lex and Brooklyn can't keep up, but a flash of lightning reveals that Broadway has managed to dig in and hitch a ride on the underside of Fleance's VTOL. They don't see Hudson, but they assume/hope that maybe he's done the same. They retreat as police helicopters approach the scene.

But Hudson (still clutching the container) is in the water, maybe going down for the last time.

4. Banquo & Fleance land their VTOL's at their boss's compound. (It might as well be Macbeth' mansion from episode -008, rebuilt since the fire.) Banq tells Fleance that he lost his container. "WHAT?! The boss is gonna kill us!" Well, big shot, where's yours? Safe in the hold of my VTOL where it belongs. Well, one scroll is better than none. Let's bring it to him. They go to get it, but the hull's been torn open and the scroll is missing.

5. Down by the docks, Elisa confers quietly with Goliath, Lex and Brooklyn. They are all worried about Broadway and Hudson. Plus this whole theft smells like Xanatos to Elisa. But no proof. So no warrant. Goliath doesn't have that problem.

6. Still raining. Hudson sees the sillouettes of a bunch of gargoyles and heads for them. He just barely makes it to shore. He's hurting bad, and is wildly disappointed when he realizes that the sillouette's weren't Goliath and the trio, but "phonies". He collapses.

7. Goliath, Brooklyn and Lex arrive at Xanatos' castle. Owen's there alone. Goliath insists on searching the place... top to bottom. (At this point in story, we should not feel that Goliath is wasting time. Owen should be ambiguous enough so that the audience WILL think that this is a Xanatos plan.)

8. Back at the Compound's hangar, we find Broadway in hiding, clutching the second container. (And feeling like this "old book" definitely isn't worth it.) Well, Banquo and Fleance are going nuts looking for the stupid thing. Now seems like a good time to bolt for the exit. He goes for it. Catches B&F off-guard and bulls his way past them. Only to be taken down by... the boss. Macbeth.

ACT TWO
9. Broadway recovers and attacks. But Macbeth makes short work of him. By now B&F have him totally covered (by high-tech futuristic non-imitatable weapons of course). Macbeth opens the container and carefully removes the scroll. He examines the seal and confirms that the scroll is authentic Merlin and that it is the second of the two scrolls. He doesn't break the seal, because he believes the scrolls contain magic. It's dangerous to get things out of order. Where's the first scroll?

10. Still raining. Robbins and his dog find Hudson, who. is regaining consciousness. Robbins surmises that Hudson was mugged, and Hudson lets him think so. The dog likes Hudson. Hudson says he's good with animals. Robbins appreciates that and is solicitous. Hudson sees that Robbins is blind. He gets an idea. He just needs a safe place to rest 'til morning. Then he'll cease to be any trouble. Robbins invites him inside, offers to help. But Hudson won't let him get too close. They go in.

11. Mac, Fleance and Banquo are in a VTOL, heading back to the harbor. Broadway is there too, in VERY heavy chains. Macbeth's keeping him around until he gets hold of the other scroll. Banquo protests: he blew that old gargoyle away, the other scroll is probably lying on the floor of the bay. Macbeth says it better not be, or Banquo will join it.

12. It's still storming outside. Breathing heavily, Hudson lowers himself into an easy chair and looks around Robbins' home. It's wall-to-wall bookshelves. Hudson doesn't like being here, but he's a bit of a captive audience. There's an uncomfortable silence. On a table near his chair, Hudson picks a medal off a display case. Also on the display case, is a plaque of some kind that clearly reads something like: "ROBBINS RECEIVES PURPLE HEART", but Hudson still asks what it is. Eventually, we get the idea that Robbins lost his sight in the war. (Vietnam? Korea? How old do we want Robbins to be? If we want him to be the same (biological) age as Hudson, we should go with Korea.) Hudson points to his one blind eye, which was also injured in battle. (Against the Archmage in episode #11, but Hudson won't go into details.) The two old warriors have made a connection. Now they can become friends. Robbins asks Hudson what he does. Hudson says he's...still a soldier. Robbins is a novelist. Or he used to be, before he ran out of ideas. He did have a few minor successes. Maybe Hudson's heard of them. Hudson doesn't read much, but he's shocked that the blind Robbins can read and write. Robbins is borderline insulted. Hasn't Hudson heard of braille? Hudson hasn't. Robbins is surprised. He hands Hudson a braille book (one that he wrote). Hudson runs his fingers over the bumps. Robbins then hands him the same book in standard English. Hudson lets slip that the bumps mean as much to him as the chicken scrawl. Robbins puts two and two together. And we find out that Hudson can't read.

13. In the harbor, near dawn, The VTOL searches for some clue. Broadway asks Macbeth what all the fuss is about. Who was this Merlin guy? Just another stupid magician. Macbeth tells him who Merlin was. Tells him about what he, Arthur and Guinevere created. Maybe he quotes Tennyson or Muir. But he's eloquent and evocative, and Broadway listens with rapt attention, perhaps (do we dare?) even visualizing Macbeth's words with hazy images. When Macbeth finishes Broadway says with awe: "You describe it like you were there..." Macbeth tosses off his reply (he doesn't realize the effect he's had on Broadway): "I'm old, but not THAT old. Obviously, I read about it in books." But Broadway can't help repeating to himself: "But you describe it like you were there..."

14. Back at the castle, Goliath and co. have obviously, found nothing of value. It won't be long til sunrise and they dare not stay much longer. Owen enters with the early morning edition under his arm. He's deduced what they're after from the news story. Suggests that the VTOL described in the article has more in common with the kind of vehicle that Macbeth is wont to drive. (Goliath feels like big dumb jerk. But there's no time to fight about it.) Goliath, Brook and Lex leave.

15. Hudson: "I'm too old to learn to read now." Robbins: It's never too late. I had to learn to read all over again, learn to read braille after I was blinded. Hudson: Who would teach me? He's ashamed to tell his friends he doesn't know how. Robbins offers to teach him, but makes the point that Hudson should only be ashamed to continue his illiteracy. There's no shame in learning -- ever. Hudson doesn't respond.

The storm is breaking and dawn approaches. Hudson, still hurt, gets up to leave. Robbins is afraid he's gotten too preachy. But Hudson insists he must go. He goes to the terrace. Takes his place among the gargoyles. Turns to stone, still clutching the scroll container. The dog barks. Robbins calls out to his new friend. But there's no sound, no movement. He doesn't know how Hudson got away so fast, but he did.

16. On the VTOL, Broadway, still in chains, has turned to stone. Macbeth spots the gargoyles of Robbins' terrace. He orders Banquo to head that way.

ACT III
17. Robbins and his dog hear a noise on the terrace. He calls out "Hudson?", but the dog is growling and he knows Hudson isn't there. It's a man named Lennox Macduff, who claims to be a friend of Hudson's; he's looking for him. Robbins is suspicious. But Macduff is very polite and leaves without incident. What Robbins doesn't see is that Macduff slips the container out of Hudson's stone hand.

Dissolve to:

18. Sunset. Hudson bursts free. But the scroll container is gone. The noise has again brought Robbins to his terrace. Hudson claims that when he left in such a hurry this morning, he must have left something here accidentally. Has Robbins "seen" it? No, but you're friend Lennox Macduff was here, maybe he took it. Hudson knows no Macduff. Robbins isn't too surprised. He thought the name was odd. The two characters who found the dead king in Shakespeare's MACBETH. Hudson: "Macbeth?!!"

And maybe here is where we get the looking up of "Lennox Macduff's" address in the phone book. (Hudson never saw Macbeth's mansion in Episode 8. Goliath, Brook and Lex did.)

19. Inside Macbeth's compound Macbeth is preparing for some magic ceremony thing. There's a flame pit and other magical acoutrements. Broadway's flesh again, but still bound by heavy chains now anchored to the floors. He'll be Macbeth's guinea pig for trying out Merlin's spells. He starts to open the first scroll.

20. Outside the compound, Hudson is reunited with Goliath, Brook and Lex. They briefly exchange info. Then they attack. But Banquo and Fleance are ready. They're on turret mounted laser cannons that turn and twist like the ones on the Milennium Falcon (or something like that).

21. Macbeth tries to open the first scroll. It has been magically sealed, but a simple spell can break it open.

22. Goliath, Hudson, Brooklyn and Lex defeat Banquo and Fleance. They head inside.

23. Macbeth begins to read aloud from the first scroll. (I'm tempted to say he translates from Latin, but I don't know if that serves our aim. We could ignore the translation question. He reads it to us in English. Which may mean he's translating it for us automatically without bothering to mention that fact. Or we just do what we always have in this series which is ignore the differences between Old, Middle and Modern English, extending it to whatever Celtic dialect Merlin might have written in.) As he reads aloud, it soon becomes clear that it is not a spellbook but an autobiography, a narrative. A history. You get the idea. He's furious. All that trouble for a stupid book.

Hudson, Goliath, Brook and Lex storm in. Macbeth is unprepared, so he flips a release on Broadway's floor chains, but then uses him as a hostage for his escape. (Now I know I said to watch out for this. And we still need to. Macbeth needs to rationalize this. Probably outloud.) Goliath threatens to drop the scrolls into the fire if Macbeth doesn't release Broadway unharmed. (Goliath still believes that this is a book of magic, i.e. a dangerous human weapon.) Macbeth is about to laugh at this threat, when Broadway protests. "Goliath, you can't." Broadway now believes that the scrolls are infinitely precious. Goliath is surprised to hear this from Broadway. Where'd he get this from? From Macbeth. Those scrolls are magic. They can transport us back...all that good stuff. Even Macbeth is impressed. Cautiously, he releases Broadway. He tells the gargoyles they are tresspassing on his property. Take the scrolls and go.

24. The gargoyles wing their way back towards the clock tower. They plan on giving the scrolls back to Elisa, so that she can return them to the museum. Goliath's sure that after the museum has authenticated them, they will be transcribed and published. But if the others want, he can read the scrolls aloud to them, before he gives them to Elisa. But Hudson says no. For a moment, everyone is a bit taken aback. Then Hudson says that he wants to read them himself. As soon as his friends help teach him how. They glide off across the city.

25. Dissolve to Robbins at his house with his dog. He's reading a braille newspaper about the recovery of the Scrolls of Merlin. "Hmmm.... Scrolls of Merlin.... I think I've found my next novel."

And we get our Tuchman quote, probably read by Robbins (Ray Charles?).

O.K. That's it. Let me know if you have any questions or problems.


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The typical and the SHOCKING!!!

Again, I gave myself hours to try and get through April. And I failed. Now, I'm beat. I'll try and finish off that month soon.

And now the big SHOCKING announcement. I've been giving a lot of thought lately to GARGOYLES 2158. And I may be doing a significant reworking of the idea. For starters, I'm no longer sure I want to set the events I have in mind for the series in 2158. So the first thing that may change is the title. More info to come, once I nail some thoughts down. (And since I don't have any kind of deadline, it could take me a while.)


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Chapter XVI: "Legion"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comments welcome, as usual...


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FINALLY...

March has bitten the dust. We're into April questions now. (Just over three months behind... <sigh>)


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Memo on "Legion" outline...

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

WEISMAN 9-1-94

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

General notes, in no particular order:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now Coldstone goes through some major mood swings.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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So close...

I was really hoping to kill off March tonight. But it's 3:11 am and I'm just beat. I'm close too. On March 29th. But I have no idea if that means there are a handful of questions left or a ton.

Well, at least we've made some progress.


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Chapter XV: "Metamorphosis"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gotta love the Snidely Whiplash reference.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Observations from my daughter Erin:

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

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

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

Another great series of endings and false endings.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That's it. Comments welcome...


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"Metamorphosis" Memo

I recently re-viewed "Metamorphosis". Before typing up my ramble on the subject, here's an unedited look at the memo I wrote to story editor Michael Reaves in July, 1994 regarding Brynne & Lydia's first draft of their outline for the episode....
________

WEISMAN 7-27-94

Notes on "Metamorphosis" Outline...
O.K. I made a few changes, as usual. Here's a bit of the reasoning, so they don't seem arbitrary. (I may be a pain to work with, but I try not to be arbitrary.)

THEME
The theme of today's adventure is SELF-DECEPTION. (We played the family theme in "Her Brother's Keeper". And since this is such a direct sequel to that one, I don't want to be playing the same emotional beats. That's not to say that "Family" isn't a secondary or tertiary theme running through this episode as well as our entire series, but we don't need to go out of our way to emphasize it here.) Derek is DECEIVED by Xanatos and Sevarius. But the deception would not have worked without Derek's own cooperation and SELF-DECEPTION. That's the tragedy. He's a victim, but he's helped to victimize himself, by fooling himself into believing that Xanatos was either a right guy or someone he could handle. But you can't play with fire without getting burned.

We'll reemphasize the theme with Xanatos himself, who will say that Sevarius fooled him and then admit that he really fooled himself, because he wanted to believe Sevarius. Of course this whole thing is an act on Xanatos' part, but it'll still reinforce the theme.

But as well as the above works, it unfortunately leaves our gargoyles as real fifth wheels to the story. So I've tossed in a little self-deception sub-plot for Brooklyn, as well.

ELISA & DEREK'S PARENTS
I've cut them. Partially out of economics. But mostly because they didn't seem to have much to say or do here. So I decided to keep our focus on Elisa & Derek.

ELISA & DEREK'S ARGUMENT
I'd rather not simply reiterate the conflict of "Her Brother's Keeper". In fact, I don't want to have to summon up the specific details of that episode. I think we should assume that in between the two seasons, Derek listened to Fox's taped "revelation" and that he and Elisa have already argued about it specifically. Now they are past that and in a mode of uneasy truce. He's talked himself into believing that Xanatos can't be that bad... or that if he is Derek'll find out for himself from the inside. Either way he can handle it. (Again: massive self-deception here.) Elisa has retreated to a "it's-your-life-but-don't-expect-me-to-approve" mode. They've agreed to disagree.

DEREK'S JOB
I think soliciting the homeless with a promise of money and food in exchange for being part of a scientific experiment is too slimy for even the self-deceiving Derek to swallow. Besides, it's not what he was hired to do. He's Xanatos' pilot and bodyguard. For these reasons, I've altered the set-up some.

THE HOMELESS
Michael, this story really seemed to dovetail with what you suggested for a future story on the Homeless underground. MAGGIE and the homeless men seemed like great potential characters. So I've increased their role here. (Particularly Maggie's.) In some episode down the road, Derek can lead his "people" underground.

CYBERBIOTICS
I don't want Xanatos to own Cyberbiotics. I don't have a specific idea in mind, but we might need a corporate opponent someday and I'd rather not have to create a new one. I've switched it to Genetic Undiscovered Technical Systems, also known as Gen-U-Tech or G.U.T.S., which I stuck into the bible a long time back. We never used it last season, so when it's first mentioned here, neither Elisa or Goliath will know that Xanatos owns it. I think it'll serve the same purpose.

POLICE PROCEDURES
Some of the actions that Matt and Elisa take seemed odd to me. Elisa allows Goliath to stop her from confronting Derek outside the building, but is intent on confronting him inside the building and is willing to bend the law to do it. I don't mind the bending so much as the inconsistency. Matt and Elisa talk their way by the guard, but then someone manning the cameras activates the security doors and gas. Who's manning the cameras? A different guard? Someone who wants Elisa to get through, but not Matt? The cameras must have seen that they got Matt but not her. I may be missing something, but I've made some changes to streamline this stuff.

THE PINKIE SWEAR
I don't think Derek would reveal his condition to his sister. Deep down, he must know that his self-deception has gotten him into this mess. He'd be ashamed of that and his monstrous appearance. He wouldn't initiate the pinkie swear at the end. Then again, neither would she with a monster she doesn't know. I love the pinkie swear, but I don't know if it can work here. What if in scene 2, Elisa's gesture is a more standard cross-my-heart thing, which Derek usually follows with some unique response like cross-my-eyes. Something silly that they've been doing since they were kids. Then at the end, she tries to talk to the monster; tries to inspire its trust with the standard cross-my-heart gesture. And before Derek can think about it, he automatically responds with his unique response.

THE MONSTER'S MIND
I don't think Xanatos ever wanted to destroy Derek's mind or make him amnesiatic, weak or easily controllable. That's more Demona's style. Xanatos has set up this whole con to manipulate Derek into serving him, as he did with Goliath in the pilot. He doesn't need Derek to be an automaton. He's already got robots. They haven't worked so great. He prefers having independent thinkers working for him. Like Owen, for example.

BEAT SHEET
ACT ONE
1. Open at NIGHT, with a shadowed DOCTOR SEVARIUS (Brent Spiner?) soliciting MAGGIE, the young homeless woman in the alley. Emphasize his limp. [No Derek involved.] Maybe give her a bit of dialogue. She's down on her luck. Lost her job, her apartment. It's a temporary set-back. (A bit of self deception here too.) She goes with him.

2. The next day at a small air field, ELISA is watching her brother DEREK land the new glider he just bought with the high salary that Xanatos pays him. They eat lunch at a hot dog stand. It's a bit awkward. But it's not Elisa's problem. It's Derek who clearly has a chip on his shoulder.

Derek: You're still mad I'm working for Xanatos. But he's not as bad as you think. And if he is, then I'll be right there on the inside to nail him.

Elisa: I think you're kidding yourself. But it's your life. Just don't expect me to agree with your decision.

They agree to disagree and do some equivalent to the pinkie swear thing. Something where she initiates the exchange with something more generic and he does something unique as an almost automatic response.

3. That night at the clock tower, the gargoyles split up to patrol the city they protect. BROOKLYN and BROADWAY are one team. They spot a shadowy creature on the ground. (It has wings, but it doesn't fly. Maybe the wings aren't fully developed yet.) For a second, the gargoyles think that it may be another gargoyle (perhaps Demona) and pursue it. The thing is clearly afraid of them and flees.

They finally catch up to it. We get a quick partial view. It's female! Maybe by the hair color and voice the audience guesses that it's Maggie. She is wearing a special bracelet, with a small light that blinks on and off and beeps quietly. Brooklyn is instantly smitten. (Maybe he thinks she's a gargoyle at first, maybe her shapely wings turn him on or something.) He says they aren't trying to hurt her but help.

Suddenly, they are surrounded by private "ambulances", out of which pour private "orderlies" (i.e. armed troops). (All of the above bare the GUTS logo.) The bracelet was a tracking device. Maggie is still more afraid of the gargoyles than the humans trying to take her back into custody. The troops are clearly surprised to see three creatures instead of one. The head guy says take them all. They pull out tranquilizer rifles and start shooting. Maggie tries to surrender. Brooklyn tries to stop her and accidentally pulls the bracelet off her wrist. He is shot by the tranq darts. It's all Broadway can do to get him safely out of there. The troops get away with Maggie.

4. At the Castle, Derek lands Xanatos' chopper and the two men disembark to find OWEN waiting for them. Owen's gotten some interesting expense reports from Gen-U-Tech Systems, one of Xanatos' subsidiaries. XANATOS isn't surprised. He gave Doctor Sevarius, the head of R & D there an interesting assignment. Would that assignment require armed mercenaries? No... it would not. Xanatos says he better check this out personally. Derek insists on coming along. (As a good bodyguard should.)

5. Back at the clock tower, Brooklyn is just coming out of it. Broadway has already filled Elisa and the other gargoyles in on what happened. But Brooklyn's version is slightly different. He's convinced himself (self-deception) that he made a real connection with the she-thing. She needs and wants his help. (Broadway's dubious. She was clearly more scared of them than of the goons.) Brooklyn shows Elisa the bracelet. (We know it's not tracking anymore because the light is busted and it no longer beeps.) She sees the G.U.T.S. logo. Brooklyn & Broadway remember the same logo being on the "ambulances". It means nothing to her, but she promises to check.

6. At Gen-U-Tech, Xanatos and Derek are greeted by Sevarius. Emphasize Sevarius' limp. He seems over-anxious, slightly paranoid. A bit of a mad scientist. Xanatos is playing it cool. He wants an update. Sevarius sits them down for a Jurassic Park style slide-show presentation. Xanatos had asked Sevarius to genetically create Gargoyles from scratch. (Derek is stunned. But keeps his cool and says nothing.)

As Sevarius explains his thought processes, we watch footage of Goliath battling a Steel Clan robot or Macbeth from the first season...
A. The logical decision would be to clone gargoyles from a gargoyle specimen.
1. But he was told that there was no specimen available. a. Sevarius, greedily: "Or has that changed?"
b. Xanatos says, no, it hasn't changed.
B. S: Well, then, in lieu of a direct clone he would have to build his gargoyle from scratch using available genetic material.
1. It would require the strength, speed and agility of a jungle cat (or maybe a bear? are there other options? Talk to Frank about what he wants to do? No wolf or other canines though.)
2. The wings of a bat.
a. Mutated to giant size.
3. Xanatos: "And the intelligence of a human being."
a. S: "Exactly."
C. But according to his calculations it still wouldn't work.
1. Animals are no different from machines.
a. They still require fuel to operate.
b. We get fuel by eating.
2. To keep its strength and stamina this thing would have to eat the equivalent of three cows a day.
3. X: Well then how do the gargoyles survive?
4. S: By hibernating as stone for 12 hours a day.
a. This allows them to store up energy and thus work at peak efficiency for the entire night.
b. The stone hibernation process is unknown in the animal kingdom. Sevarius had to find a substitute.
5. He presses a button revealing a glass case full of electric eels. The electric eels store and utilize myo-electric (bio-electric?) energy which could fuel the new creation.

Derek finally cuts in. This is all great theory (he's still deceiving himself into believing that these are two guys discussing hypotheticals), but why is Sevarius hiring armed mercenaries?

Sevarius seems sincerely embarrassed. He had to hire them. One of his test subjects escaped.

Xanatos and Derek simultaneously: WHAT?!! (Meaning: "You have test subjects?!!"

Sevarius misses point of their concern and says don't worry we caught her again. Look... And he presses a button that slides a panel revealing a glass wall revealing Maggie and two males now fully morphed into winged cat creatures. (Or whatever. Perhaps one looks Tiger-esque, one looks lionesque, etc., saving the coolest look for Derek. Again, ask Frank how he wants to go.)

On the reveal... we fade to black.

ACT TWO
7. Pick up where we left off. Xanatos is stunned. Derek is horrified. Sevarius is giddy. (He seems like a border-line nut case throughout acts one and two.) Xanatos is astounded that Sevarius grew these things from scratch in such a short time.

Sevarius admits proudly that he took a shortcut. He injected bums with a mutagenic formula. Now Xanatos is horrified. And furious. Derek starts to turn on him, but Xanatos never intended for this to happen. "Sevarius deceived me. No. That's not entirely true. I deceived myself." He'd been warned about Sevarius' "unethical" practices, but he wanted to believe in the man, because he wanted to achieve his own goals. Xanatos is deeply ashamed of himself. But he's determined to make it better, cure these people.

Sevarius is astonished. He has no idea what he's done wrong. They were just bums. No friends. No family. He's made them into something better. He won't let Xanatos destroy all the progress he's made. He reaches for one of the tranquilizer guns that his troops used earlier, he takes aim at Xanatos and fires. Derek pushes Xanatos out of the way and takes the dart in the shoulder. He then quickly disarms Sevarius.

Derek and Xanatos examine the dart. A tranquilizer? Derek doesn't feel sleepy. Sevarius crumpled in the corner starts to laugh. The dart wasn't loaded with tranqs. It was loaded with the mutagenic formula.

8. Back at the precinct, Matt has tracked the GUTS logo to Gen-U-Tech. But he won't tell Elisa until he finds out why she needs to know. Elisa says she got an anonymous tip on a kidnapping. The bracelet was their only clue. She and Matt leave to investigate.

9. Back at Gen-U-Tech, Derek's still in shock. Xanatos demands to know if there's an antidote. Sevarius says there is one. Inside his head. He could create one, but why should he? Just then, a Gen-u-Tech guard comes in with word that the police are here. Xanatos gets very threatening: "By all means invite them in. Let's give them the slide show. Introduce them to the finished product.."

S: "You bankrolled all my experiments. You wouldn't dare."

X: "I'll take my chances. I've been in prison before. But you... The police, the press, the public... they're going to crucify you. And if they don't -- I will."
(The audience should believe that Xanatos was prepared to do anything to help Derek.)

Sevarius is very frightened and agrees to manufacture the antidote if Xanatos will agree not to turn him in. X agrees for now. But one more step out of line and it's over.

10. Downstairs, a very nervous and hinky Sevarius agrees to take Matt and Elisa on a brief tour of the facility to allay their preposterous suspicions of a kidnapping. At one point, Xanatos and Derek watch them from behind a one way mirror. Xanatos tells Derek that if he wants to step out and tell his sister everything, Xanatos would support that decision, even if it meant he had to go back to prison. But Derek decides not to. He'll give Sevarius a chance to come up with a cure first. But he tells Xanatos that if Sevarius can't cure him... If he turns into a freak like one of those others... Well, if that happens, he doesn't ever want Elisa to know.

11. Back at the clock tower, Elisa fills the gargoyles in. Sevarius was one hinky individual. She thinks Brooklyn may be right. But there's nothing she can do without evidence for a warrant. But Brooklyn's a private "citizen". He doesn't need a warrant. He's determined to help that she-thing and nothing's gonna stop him. Except the dawn. They turn to stone.

12. Back at Sevarius' lab, he's hard at work on the antidote serum. (He grouses about having Xanatos looking over his shoulder all the time.) In a shadowed corner, Derek cries out in pain. The transformation is beginning. (Though we don't see him clearly.) Sevarius suggests putting Derek in the glass prison with the other specimens. Xanatos just tells him to shut up and keep working.

13. Sunset at the clock tower. Brooklyn and the others explode out of their stone cocoons. Brooklyn's fire hasn't died out during their sleep. He's determined to go. Goliath agrees. But they'll do it his way.

14. At Gen-U-Tech, we find out what Goliath had in mind. Not a massive raid, but a surgical strike. Just himself, Brooklyn and Lex. (He needs Lex to work the security systems. He would have left Brook at home if he thought Brooklyn would have stayed put.) They get in all right, they even discover Maggie in her glass cage. But again she is more afraid of them, than of her captors. Brooklyn is determined to "save" her, and the ruckus they cause soon alerts Sevarius' guards. She is shot with a tranq dart. Brooklyn scoops her up and the gargoyles attempt to fight their way out. A battle through the complex begins, the guards switching to heavier weapons.

15. Meanwhile Sevarius has finished the serum and is about to inoculate a shadowed Derek. Unfortunately, the battle has moved in their direction. Derek is forced to battle the gargoyles to protect his chance at a cure. We reveal Derek as 50% mutated and already unrecognizable to Goliath and the others. In the struggle, the air-hypo with the serum falls and shatters. And then there is an explosion. Sevarius is thrown against the tank of electric eels and is electrocuted. He falls to the ground. Xanatos approaches. Checks for a pulse. He turns to Derek. Sevarius is dead.

ACT THREE
16. Brooklyn, Lex and Goliath escape with the unconscious Maggie. Derek curses them, blaming them for ruining his chance at a cure. Then he collapses to the floor. Xanatos tries to snap him out of it. They have to get out of here before the police show up. Or does he want his sister to see him like this? Derek agrees to leave with Xanatos. But what about the other creatures? We'll bring them, poor souls. Somehow, some way we'll find a cure for all of you.

17. Back at the clock tower, Maggie awakens to find herself surrounded by six monsters...the gargoyles. Brooklyn tries to reassure her. She's safe now. But she's terrified. She unconsciously sparks off electrical energy that keeps Brook at a distance. Maggie doesn't want to be a monster, she just wants to be human again. Can they make her human again? Brooklyn doesn't know what to say. The sun is about to come up. The gargoyles will soon turn to stone. They tell Maggie to rest. (Hudson offers her the use of his t.v.) Goliath promises they will start searching for some kind of cure tomorrow night, even if it means confronting Xanatos in his castle.

18. Gen-U-Tech, daytime, but very foggy. Matt and Elisa are racking up the overtime, as they investigate last night's ruckus. No signs of the kidnapping victims. No signs of Sevarius. A lot of mangled high-tech equipment and weapons. And cages full of jungle cats, bats and eels. And the not-so-shocking discovery that Xanatos owns Gen-U-Tech.

19. Just after sunset at the clock tower. Brooklyn is bumming because Maggie has vanished. He's still not ready to admit that she doesn't want his help. She probably took off immediately after sunrise, when the fog-shrouded streets were still pretty empty. But where would she go? Xanatos' castle. That's where Goliath said they'd start their search for a cure. Hudson and Bronx will stay at the clock tower on the off chance she returns. Goliath and the trio will head to the castle.

20. At the castle, we find Xanatos telling Owen to find him the best geneticist on the planet, and fast. Outside in the wards, above the layer of fog, we find Derek, now fully transformed. He is teaching Maggie and the other two to glide. (They don't have a bat's natural instinct or the training that he has.) He's a natural if reluctant leader. Figures that until they find a cure they might as well learn to use their new abilities. (One of the guys should probably really enjoy flying. He's the only one not in a hurry to be cured. The other guy is mute, but with a saner more normal response.) Even Maggie seems a bit more at ease. She's now with people facing the same predicament, who are actively looking for a cure. Derek seems like a pillar of strength to lean on.

The Gargoyles arrive. Derek requires no prompting to lead his flying tigers on the attack. He beelines for Goliath. The other two males go after Lex and Broadway. But Brooklyn targets Maggie. He's determined to reach her. Air battle, complete with electricity. Somewhere in here Elisa arrives. Xanatos lets her in, hoping that somehow she can stop this pointless fighting.

Maggie battles Brooklyn, who doesn't really fight back. He tries again to tell her that he cares about her. You don't even know me, she says. The only thing they have in common is that they're both monsters. She doesn't want to be a monster. She hates monsters!! She gives him one massive zap to drive the message home.

Although Lex and Broadway are more than holding their own, Goliath isn't doing as well against Derek and is zapped into unconsciousness, falling across one of the outer battlements. Derek comes in for the kill. But Elisa is there. She doesn't recognize Derek, and for obvious reasons it never occurs to her that this is her brother. But she's never been one to judge by appearances, so she tries to talk to the creature, calmly. She asks its name. Derek laughs for a moment. Then looking at his own hands, he coins the name TALON. She tries to tell Talon that Goliath is her friend. Talon says that "her friend" is the reason Talon's been turned into a monster. Elisa says that if that's true, it must have been an accident. Goliath would never intentionally hurt anyone. She swears, cross-her-heart. And without thinking, he does the follow up gesture. She's stunned. (He's horrified.) It takes a moment to compute, but when it does... "Derek? Is that you?!" Derek denies it, but she knows now. "Xanatos. Somehow he did this to you?!" "No, he's my only chance at a cure." "Derek, how long are you going to grasp at that straw?! Deep down you must know who's to blame for this. Derek, let me help you!!" She moves towards him, but he can't face her. Because deep down he knows that he's to blame for his predicament. He goes screaming off into the night.

The other "cats" including Maggie don't know where Talon's going, but he's their leader. They follow. Broadway and Lex help Goliath and Brooklyn to their feet. Should they pursue the cats? But Brooklyn says no. He'd been kidding himself. He can't help her, particularly if she doesn't want his help.

Elisa faces off against Xanatos. He says he's been trying to help. But there's no way she's buying it. IT'S WAR NOW. Somehow, she's going to nail him. Count on it. Elisa and the gargoyles leave.

Owen enters. He's found the best geneticist on the planet that Xanatos was asking for. A man enters wearing a slouch hat and trench coat. With a flourish, he reveals himself as Sevarius. (Minus the cane, the limp, and the manic, paranoid, mad scientist demeanor. It was all a put on.) He's very proud of his performance, particularly his death scene, though Xanatos thought he hammed it up a bit. Still Sevarius is amazed they pulled it off. It took months of forcing the early subjects to "escape" until one of them was spotted by the gargoyles. For a while there he thought they'd never find each other. Yes, Xanatos agrees, but once the gargoyles did find the test subject things couldn't have proceeded more predictably. And Xanatos was right that Derek's particular abilities were well-suited to his new form. Sevarius is worried that they've lost Derek and the others. But Xanatos knows they'll be back. Talon has convinced himself that I'm his only chance at a cure. It's a delusion he can't afford to give up. Not without giving up all his hope as well.

21. Back at the castle, Brooklyn nurses his own wounds in bitter silence. But Goliath is more concerned about Elisa, who is also quiet, but crying bitter tears in spite of herself. It's not over, he tells her. No, she agrees, wiping her eyes. It's definitley not over.


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Chapter XIV: "Leader of the Pack"

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

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

STORY EDITOR: Michael Reaves.
WRITER: Steven Perry.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

______

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

______

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, comments?


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"Leader" memo concluded...

Finally, the last section of the 7/94 "Leader of the Pack" memo. Act Three of the Beat Sheet. I'll try to type up my new ramble on the episode soon...

ACT THREE
8. Goliath, Hudson and Broadway arrive at the Packmedia Studio. It's quiet. Inside, they see the damage. But no sign of the missing gargoyles. The phone rings. Broadway answers it tentatively. It's Owen. He was wondering if he could schedule an appointment for the Gargoyles to have a big fight with the Pack at the Oil Tanker Whatever-Maru in the harbor. Is Midnight convenient?

9. On the Tanker. In a carvernous empty oil tank, Lex, Brook and Bronx sit inside, effectively imprisoned. Lex swears even more vengence [sic]. Brooklyn can't get through to him. (Maybe Brook makes some sarcastic reference to the three of them always getting captured. First Macbeth nets them, now the Pack.) [Note: This story just structured out that way. So this tidbit was me acknowledging the coincidence, so that the viewer wouldn't think we -- the writers -- were oblivious to it. Greg 2000] Eventually, the other three gargoyles show up for the fight. Broadway is sent to find the others while Goliath and Hudson run interference. At one point, Goliath digs his claws into Coyote's helmet and rips it off, revealing "Xanatos". Goliath isn't too surprised. But eventually after the others are freed, he is surprised. Bronx again beelines for "Xanatos"/Coyote. He smells robot and claws off half of the rubber Xanatos mask to reveal the Coyote robot beneath. [Do you know, I was half afraid that some people would take this to mean that Xanatos had been a robot all along. Greg 2000] Even the Pack is shocked and the tide of battle begins to turn for good, especially after Lex picks up one of Dingo's fallen weapons and blows a hole in Coyote's chest. The robot really malfunctions now. The head "evacuates" and rockets into the sky to escape. The Pack decides to retreat in their Attack Vehicle, but opt to blow up the tanker to cover their escape. Lex in the end has to choose between saving Brooklyn and preventing the Pack's escape. Obviously, he saves Brooklyn and the Pack gets away, though with their doggy tails firmly between their legs. The ship goes down. The Gargoyles tread water. Brooklyn thanks Lex, but Lex is grateful that Brooklyn reminded him what was really important to him. And the gargoyles have a long swim back to shore.

10. Parole board. Fox is released. (Let's not mention Xanatos here.)

11. Fox steps out of prison to be greeted by (surprise, surprise) Xanatos in his Limo. They kiss. She's grateful to be out, but she's sorry his vengeance plan against the gargoyles didn't work. But Xanatos never wanted vengeance. (He's no mook.) He has his priorities straight. He just wanted to stage scene [sic] to get her out. (I love the line about icing and Fox being the cake.) But, she asks, aren't you anry that Coyote was destroyed. Xanatos holds up Coyote's head and admires it like Yorick. Half of it is still recognizable as Xanatos. Half reveals the robot skull underneath. My dear Fox, robots are easily destroyed and rebuilt. But they'll never destroy the true Coyote. Because the true coyote is Xanatos. Or some such. [Interesting. We seemed to save this idea for "Cloud Fathers". Went with the "true love" line instead.] Go out on the robot head, half smiling a typical Xanatos smile.

And that's all folks....


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CORRECTION

CORRECTION:

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



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