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Time to ramble...
Chapter XLV: "The Hound of Ulster"
Story Editor: Michael Reaves
Story: Michael Reaves
Teleplay: Diane Duane & Peter Morwood
Director: Bob Kline
I think my original title for this episode was "A Bronx Tail" or "A Bronx Tale". They wound up using that title for an episode of Goliath Chronicles, I think.
Then I think I wanted to change the title to "The Barghest". But Michael and Peter & Diane protested that the Barghest was a Northern English legend, not an Irish one. They wanted "The Hero of Ulster". I changed it to "The Hound of Ulster," which was a compromise we could all live with.
But somewhere in here we confused the legend of Cu Chullain, with the legend of the Barghest/Great Beast (not to mention tossing in and combining the Banshee and Crom-Cruach).
I've since gathered fromt the fans that Cu Chullain himself was the Hound of Ulster, a title he won by having to act as a watchdog for another lord for a period of time.
Oh, well. I just wasn't that familiar with this legend at the time. And I didn't do or have time to do all the necessary research, I'm afraid.
I guess in the Gargoyles Universe, things might have been a bit different. Or maybe not. Actually, the on-going story of Rory & Molly a.k.a. Cu Chullain & the Banshee still fascinates me. Eventually, I'd love to be able to bring them back and have the excuse to really research the topic thoroughly.
PREVIOUSLY ON GARGOYLES
Sometimes we struggled to fill out that 30 seconds of footage. This looked like one of those times. We emphasized Bronx moments and Avalon's past abandonment.
LIFE IN LISCOO
And then we're in Liscoo. Again, I like the relationship between Rory & Molly. Her manipulations are subtle... she encourages his delinquincy. Tries to convince him to leave town... to leave Ireland even, for America.
Rory believes he's nothing. He's a quitter... as his father later says, "Ah, Rory, you always gave up to easy." Rory's arc is to move from being a boy who's a quitter to a man who refuses to quit. Even in the face of inhuman opposition.
But there's a real economic undercurrent to all this. Rory's dad is explicitly on the Dole. Rory is shoplifting and has no trade. It's a relatively sophisticated, young adult dilemma he's facing.
I really like Rory's dad Mr. Dugan -- and Colm Meany, the actor who played him. Love the exchange between him and Molly...
Molly: "Hello, Mr. Dugan."
Dugan: "Hmph. Molly."
(So much ... unfondness... in so few words.)
Of course Molly IS a bad influence on Mr. Dugan's boy Rory. Cuz she's a Banshee trying to keep Rory from realizing who he really is. DUH!
FUTURE STORY IDEAS OR RANDOM REFERENCES: YOU DECIDE!
Rory: "And dwarves made me shoes."
Elisa: "I don't know whether to expect vampires or Sherlock Holmes."
Banshee: "The time of the Gathering approaches." (That was a freebee.)
WHEN THE BANSHEE KEENS...
...lots of people have to work really hard to make it sound really cool. Start with Sheena Easton's vocals directed by Jamie Thomason. Throw in music effects by Carl Johnson, edited by Marc Perlman. Throw in Sound Effects by Paca Thomas, all mixed by the great crew at Advantage Audio. We have many great shows. And the Advantage guys, our composer and voice actors always did a great job on them. But the soundwork on this episode, is just STUNNING.
WIZARD OF OZ REFERENCES
Elisa: "I don't think we're in Scotland. Or Kansas either."
Banshee: "But more than enough to deal with a noisy young hero -- and his little dog too!"
(Frankly, I don't think you can ever have too many Oz references. Erin, my ten-year-old daughter recognized the latter line as a reference to something, but couldn't immediately place what it was from. She guessed Scooby Doo episodes. Odds are that "little dog too" line has been used once or twice over the hundreds of adventures that Scooby has had. So she may not have been wrong. But when I mentioned Wizard, she immediately remembered.)
CAIRN NA CHULLAIN
The site of one of my most annoying missed opportunities. When Elisa, Angela and Goliath wake up in Cu Chullain's tomb, his armor and bones should have been in there with them.
It's interesting to me that the Banshee gets so annoyed by their denials that she doesn't try to mesmerize the info that she thinks she needs from Elisa, Angela or Goliath. She says that her voice can mesmerize (a little forshadowing for what she's about to do to Rory) but instead she just tries to torture the travelers into telling her what she wants to know.
RANDOM OTHER LINES I LIKE
Elisa (sing-song): "We've got company."
Banshee: "You have recently been in Avalon -- the scent of its magic is all about you." (I love the idea that magic has a scent to the carefully trained nose.)
Banshee: "I like it here."
Rory: "About last night... you don't recall putting on a foot of height and a yard of hair--?"
Molly: "Huh! In your dreams..."
(If she can do anything to convince him it was all just a dream...)
Goliath: "A land with a hero soon finds other deeds for him to do." (Is this the old Batman argument that Batman's mere presence draws the Joker and his ilk to Gotham..?)
Rory comes to as Bronx licks him awake. There's a funny delayed reaction. And a real Elisa-in-Awakening moment, as Rory says: "This can't be happening."
In general, it's hard for someone of my generation to avoid making a Lassie comparison with Bronx here. Timmy may not be in the well, but Angela, Elisa & Goliath are stuck in the Cairn. And Bronx is finding the one person he believes can help get them out.
When Molly first turned into Banshee on screen, I'm curious what you guys thought. Did you think that Molly was Banshee or that just in THAT scene the Banshee had posed as Molly until Bronx figured out the truth?
(When Rory walks off with Banshee at the end of the act, Erin said: "Bad idea." And my seven-year-old son Benny said, "He's tranced. He can't do anything.")
We were trying to generally confuse you guys by having Rory leave with the Banshee and then wake up unharmed in his home. Molly shows up... is she to be trusted? Is this the real Molly? Is the real Molly a Banshee? Was the whole thing a dream?
The whole thing was actually pretty linear. But we wanted to keep Rory and the audience off balance.
In the end, I think we played pretty fair. Even Molly's initial reaction to hearing Bronx's howl in the opening minutes of the episode plays well I think, both as the kind of reaction a superstitious Molly would have AND as the reaction the Banshee would have to hearing the sound of a Gargoyle Beast for the first time in centuries.
The Cu Chullain design and concept we wound up with is a little too close to Marvel's THOR for my tastes. I'm not worried about the legalities, but I'd have liked to have come up with a better design for old Cu and a fresher idea than leaving Rory with a walking stick that transforms into the Spear of Light. We just didn't have the time to dance with it enough to come up with something better.
Actor Scott Cleverdon, who played Rory came up with Cu's battle cry at the end, insisting that it was authentic. Sounded cool. So we trusted him.
So if Rory is the reincarnation of the Hero of Ulster, does that make Bronx the reincarnation of (Buena Vista's Gargoyles') Hound of Ulster. Or is he just another Great Beast? We intentionally left that vague.
A BRONX TALE
But we did want this story to BELONG to Bronx as much as possible. I had to kinda push to keep Goliath, Elisa and Angela from joining in the heroics, leaving the heavy lifting to Bronx and Rory.
The episode inevitably became Rory's story. But by removing our three regulars from the action, I felt that Bronx got more of a showcase than he would have.
I love the "smug" Bronx at the end.
Anyway, that's my ramble. Where's yours?