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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.
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.
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]:
(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?
cc: Bruce [Cranston], Gary [Krisel], Kat [Fair], Bob [Kline], Mike [Ryan], Fred [Schaefer], Tad [Stones], DoMo [Dolores Morris]
From the very next day...
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.
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:
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.
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:
Notes on 5-part Outline
--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.
--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.
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.
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.
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:
Notes on "The Silver Falcon" Outline...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
3150 Third Avenue #45D, New York
March 21, 1924
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),
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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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