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This is hard.
It's been a bit of a stressful weekend, as my father went into the hospital with chest pains. A stint that had been replaced last year had failed and was replaced again Saturday morning during an angioplasty. I've been concerned, worried. But the procedure seemed to go well, and he was set to go home today. We seemed to have dodged a bullet.
But there was a second gun.
I slept in today. I woke up to two pieces of news:
1. My dad was good. Solid. My sister picked him up at the hospital and took him straight to breakfast. (My mother was annoyed at not being included - but that's a whole other story.) He's home now. I've talked to him. He sounded cheerful. All good.
2. Ed Asner had passed away.
I spent most of the day doing laundry and other mundane tasks. Life goes on, right? It has to. But it's been difficult getting my head around the whole thing. I've gotten many calls and texts today, offering condolences as if I were part of the Asner family. Folks seem to know how close I felt to Ed. But I don't want to exaggerate. Ed was my friend. I hope he knew I was his, as well. But I haven't talked to him in at least a couple of years. (You can partially blame that on the pandemic, I suppose. There are a lot of people I've lost touch with. If anything, this is a reminder to GET in touch. And I'm going to make an effort to do that.) In any case, there are many, many people who knew Ed better than I did, who were closer to Ed than I was.
Nevertheless, at the risk of turning this post into my own self-aggrandizement, I am going to spend a few paragraphs here on the subject of the Ed Asner that I knew and loved.
I was a fan of Ed's long before I met him. Like many, many people, he first entered my awareness playing Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. (Later, I got a kick out of picking him out of reruns, where he usually played the heavy in such series as The Wild Wild West and others.) But as Lou, Ed was simply brilliant. One of the truly classic scenes in all of television is the scene in the TMTMS pilot, where Lou interviews Mary for a job. Do yourself a favor and view it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zj286uBKCu0
That scene had a major effect on me, even seeing it as a kid.
Now, having just rewatched it, the genius of the writing and the two performances still knocks me out. But there was something else about Lou and Mary. Watching their interactions was a bit like watching my parents. The connection in my mind between Lou and my dad was especially strong.
Ed and my father were two Ashkenazi Jews from the midwest. My dad was from Chicago; Ed, from Kansas City. They were gruff AND loving. They even had mannerisms in common. There was much more, I'm sure, that they DIDN'T have in common. But something connected the two men in my mind. And, meanwhile, my admiration for Asner as a performer knew no bounds. When I saw him in the Lou Grant series, in Rich Man, Poor Man, in Roots, that admiration only increased. When I learned of his activism - and the price he paid for it - that admiration shot through the roof.
Years later, when we had begun pre-production on GARGOYLES, I thought of Ed Asner - or of Lou Grant, at least - as the inspiration for Hudson. In fact, when we held auditions for the role, I wrote at the bottom of the character description that "Hudson hates spunk." This was, of course, a variation on Lou's classic line from the above job interview scene. Now, to be clear, I never imagined we'd get Ed to play the role. I figured he was way too big a star for us to land. But low and behold, a few days later, Ed came in to audition for the part. Later, he told me that when he read the character description, he was initially thrilled. The "Hudson hates spunk" line made him feel like he was a lock to land the role. Then a couple minutes later, he thought that if he didn't land the role it would really be awful. But of course, he immediately understood the character and nailed his audition... only for Jamie Thomason and I to throw him a curveball, asking him to do it again in a Scottish accent. He nailed that, too.
Working with Ed was a joy. He was fun and funny and so supportive. In addition to playing Hudson (and Burbank and Jack Danforth/Dane) on Gargoyles, I also cast him as recurring characters on Max Steel (Chuck Marshak), 3x3 Eyes (Grandpa Ayanokoji), W.I.T.C.H. (Napoleon the talking cat), Young Justice (Kent Nelson) and Rain of the Ghosts (Joe Charone). When casting Peter Parker's late Uncle Ben in The Spectacular Spider-Man, Ed was the only person I ever considered. He always brought so much to each and every role.
And more than that he was a great friend to me. After the first season of Max Steel, when I couldn't find a job for over a year and thought I might have to give up on my writing career, Ed was there, offering me support. We had lunch at Musso & Frank's. He looked at pictures of my kids out of my wallet and told me to laminate them. He introduced me to his son, Matt Asner, a producer. He didn't allow me to wallow in self-pity or to badmouth guys who I believed had done me wrong. He just reassured me that I had ability and would find my way through. He was, in essence, my work dad.
So today, as you might imagine, has been complicated. My dad is home and healthy. And Ed is gone. I'm grateful and sorrowful. And struggling. But life goes on. It has to, right?
Finally, I'm going to quote Hudson from Gargoyles. In "The Price," an episode that spotlighted the character, Ed as Hudson told Xanatos: "A friendly word of advice: True immortality isn't about living forever, man. It's about what you do with the time you have. When all your scheming's done, what will be your legacy, Xanatos?"
I think we all know that Ed Asner did amazing things with the time he had. And though we'll miss him dearly, his legacy is clear and shining.
If you had all the time in the world to work on the second seasons of your TV Series such as:
and The Spectacular Spiderman,
What exactly (from the specifics to not-so-specific) would you change/alter them?
Change or alter? Nothing. Even errors and missed opportunities are errors and missed opportunities I can live with.
Wanted to post this separate from my review, for length reasons if nothing else.
The "sources" for several of the references included in RAIN OF THE GHOSTS are fairly obvious. Bernie and Maude, Broadway-Niner-Niner-Four, and Terry Chung all demonstrate that you continue to be as shameless as ever (and damn if we don't love you for it!), and it's probably easier to list what [I]isn't[/I] referenced from "The Tempest."
But I'd just like to quickly confirm if "Mr. and Mrs. John DeLancy" are meant to refer to actor John de Lancie, most famous as Q from "Star Trek" (and more recently, Earth-16's very own Mister Twister).
And if so, was there any particular reason that you gave him a little shout out there? Just mildly curious.
Thanks, and I hope that you enjoyed my review! :)
Honestly, it must have been, right? But I can't remember why. (I wrote the first draft of the book over a decade ago.) Back then, I had worked a bit with John on Max Steel, but it's not like we socialized or anything. Maybe I just liked the name.
While on the topic of CGI, do you prefer this method or the classic hand drawings for animation and why? I know your series have mostly been all drawings (I think) but wanted to see.
I don't have a preference if the series is developed correctly for the medium it's using. I did Roughnecks: the Starship Troopers Chronicles in CGI, and I think it worked great. I did Max Steel (Season One only), and although I'm proud of our scripts, I DON'T think it worked great, because the series as it was developed (by me but under marching orders from multiple very large companies) didn't work in CGI.
It isn't really much of a question, but all in all, I just wanted to say "Thank you". Thank you for all the high quality shows you produced that enriched my childhood and still give me intelligent and gripping entertainment in my favorite media, animated shows, as an adult.
Most off all, I also wanted to express my admiration for your resolve. While privately I may often joke bitterly about the "Weisman curse" whenever one of your shows gets unfairly canceled way too soon despite (arguably) having the best quality in the entire program. You will always have my gratitude for continuing to produce great shows despite all the stones placed in your way.
As for questions:
1. If you had the means to, would you do a Young Justice/Gargoyles Crossover?
2. Sorry to bring up this unfairly missed opportunity gain, but if you had remained on the staff for "The Roswell Conspiracies", do you think that show would at some point crossed over with Gargoyles?
3. In the spirit of question one, do you think Demona would make a good Red Lantern?
In any case, once again, thank you. Thank you for raising the quality and complexity of the already great W.I.T.C.H. cartoon, thank you for producing the best animated Spider-Man series to date, thank you for bringing Starshiptroopers to the screen in the way it should have been in the first place, thank you for doing such a great job with Max Steel, thank you for doing a huge part in keeping animated DC material extremely high quality, especially at the moment, and of course, thank you for Gargoyles, probably my favorite franchise ever, and I am rooting for you to one day get it back and do more wonders with it.
1. I don't think so. Maybe as a radio play. But I don't see the two universes as being particularly compatible.
2. No. Two different companies.
3. See, this kinda thing doesn't interest me much. If you think so, great.
Thanks for all your kind words.
So glad Young Justice is back! Anyway, I just had a few questions this time around:
1. Is there any particular reason you decided to cover much of the backstory for characters like Kid Flash, Miss Martian, and Robin in Issue #5 of the tie-in comic instead of the show itself? It's an interesting decision, to say the least.
2. How closely did you work with the writer of the first six issues of the book?
3. How many retakes do you generally have to do? MOI's animation for the show has been incredible so far, so I wondered if there were hiccups like you had in, say, Gargoyles.
4. Did BS&P really not catch that quick panty shot of Chesire? I was rather amazed you guys got away with it.
5. Mark Rolston is an intriguing choice for Lex, having only done a little previous VO work, and none with you guys. How did you, Brandon and Jamie come to cast him in the role?
Anyway, can't wait to see where the show goes next!
1. We only have so much airtime. There is a lot of backstory and STORY that we'd love to cover that we just don't have the room for on air. Even WITH the comic, there's still a ton we don't have room for. But the comic does provide us with a second bite at the apple, so to speak. Everything you NEED to enjoy the series is in the series. Everything you NEED to enjoy the comic is in the comic. But I believe you get more out of both by enjoying both.
2. Very closely on the basic story concepts, which were all ideas that Brandon, Kevin and I came up with. Then we tried to give Art and Franco as much freedom as possible on the scripting... though I did kibbitz a bit here and there. Particularly on issues #5 and #6 to get the backstories feeling the way we wanted them to.
3. There are always retakes but MOI and LOTTO have both been great partners.
4. I didn't catch it. Only the fans caught it.
5. Actually, I worked with Mark on Max Steel and remembered him being great in that - and in many live-action things I've seen him in. In addition, Mark is the father of one of my daughter's friends. We've socialized occasionally, so he was in my head. I think his Lex is fantastic. Mark/Lex just owned every scene of episode 110 he was in, I thought. "Adorable."
Who provided the voices of Dr. Elena Yevshenko and Mari Keita in Max Steel?
The very talented Jean Gilpin provided the following voices on shows I've worked on...
--Elena Yevshenko (Max Steel)
--Inger (Team Atlantis)
--Mari Keita (Max Steell)
--Mrs. Wong/Xunquai (3x3 Eyes)
I was curious have you ever wanted to start the show Max Steel back up i know you only did the first season but have you ever like suggested to mattel to start the show back up?
No. I'm proud of the stories we told on the first season of Max. But the whole thing was something of a negative experience for me. And it's hard enough trying to keep the faith on Gargoyles, which I created.
Hey Greg me again checking your site after a long while, you must think I don't ave a life lol. But I've been doing research and it seems they made more Max Steel episodes it other country here check this site:http://www.maxsteel.com/default.aspx?lang=en
Most episodes are in spanish unfortunately but what a change from your version. I've urd they made a DVD but I can't find it. Also if you want to see Max Steel video's go to www.youtube.com and type max steel.
Anyways sorry for buggin you but I had to tell somoene.
Kassey Demers big fan
Thanks for the info, but I'm not that interested in seeing what others did to/with Max after I was... shall we say, let go. Kinda the way I feel about Goliath Chronicles.
Do you think female dread minions are hot
Is this a Max Steel question, cuz if not, I don't know what you're talking about.