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Lord GargFan writes...

How would the gargs vote in the election 2004? Also please include the votes for Owen, Elisa, and Xanatos.

Greg responds...

I'm still back in 1996.

Response recorded on August 22, 2006

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Michael Melnikoff writes...

My question relates to the video game "Kingdom Hearts" made by Disney and Square-Enix. For those who haven't played it, the game features worlds, plots, and characters from Disney's many movies and cartoons, even going so far as to get many of the original voice actors to voice the characters. Disney/Square are currently making the sequel Kingdom Hearts 2, and if that game does as well as the first, possibly even a Kingdom Hearts 3. It may be entirely possible that the Gargoyles could be added into one of these two games. Would Disney even consider doing something like this? If it happened, would Disney contact you about a possible plotline for the Gargoyles section of the game? Thanks a bunch.

Greg responds...

I think it would be great, but I have no idea how to make it happen. Don't even know whom to talk to about it. If Disney or Square or whomever decided to include Gargoyles, I would hope they'd come to me. But I can't be sure they would.

Response recorded on August 22, 2006

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Sam writes...

What kind of buildings were gargoyles found on originally?

Greg responds...

In which culture?

In western culture, mostly cathedrals and castles. But there are a ton of gargoyles on less impressive buildings as well.

Response recorded on August 21, 2006

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GargFan1995-Present writes...


I have some questions about Gargoyle TV viewership.

1. Did the Gargoyles watch American Idol?
a. If they did, who were they cheering for in each season?
2. What feelings, if any, did the Gargoyles have about the finale of "Friends"?

I would like to thank you so much for answering our questions.

My guess on when you answer this - June 2006!

Greg responds...

How'd December 2005?

But I'm sorry, but I just have no opinion on this stuff.

Response recorded on December 16, 2005

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Fraternal Cross-Promotion!

I am pleased to announce the release of "The Best of Dodger Thoughts," a
325-page book featuring the top selections from my brother's Dodger Thoughts website (www.dodgerthoughts.com). Since 2002, Dodger Thoughts has been the leading independent source online for information and insights on the Los Angeles
Dodgers. Now, the best pieces have been compiled in print, with sections on:

--The 2002-2005 seasons
--Dodger history
--Key Dodger players
--Dodger atmosphere: the stadium, the fans, the broadcasters
--Coaching and managing
--The GM's Office
--Baseball and writing
--Plus, a foreword by longtime Dodger broadcaster Ross Porter

Besides providing immediate enjoyment this offseason, "The Best of
Dodger Thoughts" will have long-term worth as a historical resource: a
you-are-there record of an important chapter in Dodger history, as well as
the first printed compendium of blog coverage of the Dodgers. For longtime
readers of the website as well as those who have never seen it, "The Best of
Dodger Thoughts" will be well worth owning. 

"The Best of Dodger Thoughts" can be ordered though this link at Lulu.com -
http://www.lulu.com/content/164688 - or by visiting the Dodger Thoughts

Thanks ...

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Emperor Auladarr I writes...

Not really a question but a bit of info:

Mr. Weisman,
You said you wished to know what had happened to the elves at Helm's Deep in LOTR: The Two Towers. It is my belief (if I'm reading Tolkien's original work correctly) that the elves there all "died." The quotation marks are used because on Middle-earth, the elves are immortal. If they are killed, they are re-born, so to speak, some time later with full memories of their past experiences.
Just thought I'd share that...although, by the time you read this, I'm sure you'll have sated your curiosity.

Greg responds...

It's been years and years since I read Tolkien, and it may be true that in the book the elves all died. But I see NO indication of that in the movie. So when I comment on the movie version of Return of the King, I think it's fair to ask the question what happened to the elves from the movie version of TT.

Now of course, we very dramatically see one elf die. The guy we've met before, whose name escapes me at the moment. But I saw no indication that either he was the last one left and/or that all the others died after him.

Given how the movie presents the elves as SO much better fighters than anyone else we meet, I likewise find it hard to believe that so many humans survived and not one elf.

Keep in mind, though, that I DO love these movies.

Response recorded on November 11, 2005

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Todd Jensen writes...

This is probably going to reach you such a long time from now that the "freshness" will have most likely gone out of it by the time that you read it, but:

You raised the question as to what happened to the Elves who fought at Helm's Deep in the movie version of "The Return of the King". My own impression from the "Two Towers" movie was that they were all slain during the battle(except for Legolas), of course. Admittedly, they didn't refer to it in the dialogue for the "Return of the King".

Greg responds...

I've seen that movie at least three times now, and I NEVER got the impression that ALL were slain. Perhaps after the battle, they all headed for the coast. But there was never any indication that they were massacred down to the last elf. And it's tough to buy.

I love the trilogy, but if I have one complaint, I would have liked to have seen more elves and dwarves beyond just Legolas and Gimli fighting at the Gates of Sauron.

Response recorded on November 10, 2005

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Battle Beast writes...


Do you still watch "All My Children?"

What do you think it CURRENTLY?


Greg responds...

I rarely get to actually see it. But I do religiously read the synopsis every day.

Di isn't Dixie. That's all I have to say.

Response recorded on September 29, 2005

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rikki writes...

can i use some of the pictures for ideas for my corsework in art

Greg responds...

Some of what pictures?

Response recorded on September 28, 2005

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Siren writes...

Okay, one more question for now...

I am a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series. And the more I have read the behind-the-scenes on it, the more I see Joss Whedon, the creator has done a lot more then I thought and I apparentlty have been watching his works longer then I thought. As I have with you as well. I was wondering if you ever worked with him on anything? I know he has jumped around studios for years, even wrote Toy Story and whatnot, so he has been with Disney as well.
Also, have you watched either Buffy or Angel? And if so, what do you think of them?

Greg responds...

I've never worked with or met Joss Whedon, though I'd love to. I'm a HUGE fan.

I'm also a HUGE FAN of Buffy, Angel and Firefly. By now many of you know that I'm working on this strange anal project calculating the top 40 most important characters in the Buffyverse.

And I can't wait to see SERENITY. I'd see it the day it comes out, except that I'll be camping with my son on Catalina Island. So I probably won't see it for a week.

Response recorded on September 22, 2005

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


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

Thank you in advance!

Greg responds...

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

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

Anyway, the Talespin days...

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

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

Response recorded on September 19, 2005

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Anti-Fllay Allster writes...

1. In Gargoyles, is the Bermuda Triangle:

a) A natural phenomenon, just like some scientists explained (no mystery, but a scientific rational explanation) ?

b) Something interesting, with a background story, that you came you with ?

2. In any case, will the Bermuda Triangle be part of one of your stories?

Greg responds...

1. All things are true.

2. Eventually -- given enough opportunities -- we'd cover everything.

Response recorded on September 15, 2005

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Abby writes...

In your August 1, 2003, response to F7 Addict regarding the dates and names of the various full moons, you asked about information regarding the origins of these names. As an amateur astronomer, I may be able to help. Various cultures, such as Europeans and various Native American tribes, named all the full and new moons of the year. Specifically, the Harvest and Hunter Moon titles come from Europe and colonial America. The names came from the behavior of the full moon at that time of the year. Normally, the moon rises an average of 50 minutes later each night (and up to 80 minutes later each night in the spring). The geometry of the moon's orbit in September and October means it rises only about 30 minutes later each night (in the Northern Hemispere), and this extra light was helpful for farmers at harvest time (especially in the days before motorized farm machinery and electric lights). The full moon in October also provided early-evening light and coincided with the fall hunting season, so it was called the Hunters Moon.

Incidentally, the definition generally accepted by astronomers is that the Harvest Moon is the full moon nearest the September Equinox, and Hunters Moon is the next one after that.

I enjoy "Gargoyles" very much, and consider myself fortunate to have most of the episodes on tape. I am looking forward to the DVD release. Thanks for creating a show in which the characters grow as a result of the consequences of their actions, and with such complexity of plot.

Greg responds...

You're welcome. And thanks for the info...

Response recorded on March 08, 2005

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Audra writes...

Hey Greg, you know how Goliath and the rest of the clan always wanted to see daylight? Well, since the Gargoyles have a TV, when they watch a movie, a TV show and/or the news, don't they see daylight on the TV? Of course it's not the same as being out in the sunlight in person, but they see what it's like. Didn't they ever see what it's like during the day on TV?

Greg responds...

Yes, but as you pointed out, it's not exactly the same, is it?

Response recorded on February 24, 2005

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Anonymous writes...

I found information on the Internet about teleplay writing contests. The prizes consist of money and the submission of you script to an agent. I was wondering if these were for real, or just a scam? Also, if they are real, which ones would you recommend, if any?

Greg responds...

I have no idea about any of this.

Response recorded on February 15, 2005

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A Big Gargs Fan writes...

I've a question when did Goliath say the opening monologue?
For that matter when did the guys for Dark Ages and Future Tense: 2198 say theirs?

Greg responds...

I'm a bit unclear. Keith David recorded the opening monologue for Gargoyles between the first and second seasons.

To ask specifically when "Goliath" spoke something that at best can be regarded as symbolic is something I've never considered. But if you want to be literal about it, I guess he "recorded" it sometime after waking up in Manhattan.

As for Dark Ages and Gargoyles 2198... I don't know what you're talking about.

Response recorded on November 18, 2004

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XanaToast writes...

Hey, its me again. You seem to be more than a year behind. or maybe you just gave up on answering our questions. well I won't worry about it. I have a question concerning international rights.

Has Gargoyles been released to countries outside North America. Such as foriegn non-english speaking countries? if so, then have they beed dubbed or fansubbed? or did they just leave it as it is. and if it's being dubbed globally, then can you please tell me what continents and major countries have purchased dubbing rights to the series.


Greg responds...

I don't have access to all that information, but I do know that the series was released internationally and was dubbed into multiple foreign languages.

Response recorded on November 11, 2004

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Gwen vs. Mary-Jane

Okay, I haven't seen the second Spider-Man movie yet, so this is mostly based on the first (and commercials for the second).

But am I the only guy out here who thinks Kirsten Dunst is a perfect Gwen Stacy?

I think she's wonderful in the first film. Bu I mean, aside from the hair color (which, from other movies, we know is artificial), her persona is totally Gwen. Yeah, yeah, she's an actress, but she's got nothing of that John Romita tigress that is Mary-Jane Watson.

She's Gwen Stacy.


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Forliya writes...

hello agen, If you could most dearly tell me the script to the final episode I would be abliged if you could help.

toodles gargoyle frends!

Greg responds...

The title of the final episode of the first season was "Reawakening".

The title of the final episode of the second season was "Hunter's Moon, Part Three".

The title of my final episode was "The Journey".

The title of the final episode of the Goliath Chronicles was something like "Angels of the Night". But I'm not sure.

Response recorded on June 30, 2004

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Trenchcoat Spook writes...

What IS with leaders having long hair?


Greg responds...

Some do and some don't.

Response recorded on June 29, 2004

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Anonymous writes...

I have just finished reading the original book 'Magic' by William Goldman, which was made into the movie starring Anthony Hopkins. I have not seen the movie in many years, but I recall most of it quite well except for the final freeze-framed scene after what happens to Corky. What was the final scene of that movie?

Greg responds...

I loved that movie, but I haven't seen it in years either, and I have no specific memory of the final scene. Sorry.

Response recorded on June 21, 2004

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Bigduo writes...

This is in line with Balrog's questions. Anyway did you have plans to add the Silent Knight, the Black Knight, the Shining Knight or the Demon Etrigan into Gargoyles?

Greg responds...

Those characters are owned by Marvel & DC Comics. So obviously, the answer is NO.

Response recorded on June 21, 2004

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Babs writes...

To go with my other question I forgot to throw in, even though they are immortal, they can still be killed correct?.
and they still do age, so what is thier age rate?
Gargoyles Forever !

Greg responds...

Uh, what other question? Who are we talking about?

Response recorded on June 15, 2004

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Heather Haskett writes...

Are you happy how The Gargoyles Saga is turning out?

Greg responds...

I've never seen it. I have no opinion on how it turned out and mixed feelings about it existing, which I've spoken to before.

Response recorded on June 15, 2004

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KRysten kastberg writes...

What is the name of the Happy Gargoyle and where can i find history on him?

Greg responds...

I honestly don't know who you're referring to. Sorry.

Response recorded on May 27, 2004

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Rob writes...

Hi Greg, I have an idea for a show that will redefine American animation. I need your help. Just hear me out. My email is vegetassj21@yahoo.com.

Greg responds...

Hey Rob,

So not going there. Good luck though.

Response recorded on May 26, 2004

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Anne Marie writes...

I have been looking for 4 days and i can'tget an answer si I'm hoppen that you can help me please All I want to know is what place is 800 miles east of Montreal Canada And what place is 800 miles weast of Montreal
I hope you can answer this for me Greg
Maybe it's not a very inporten question but it is to me
I Don't know if u need my email to send me an anser but i'm going to give it to youn
cause I would be great ful to u if u would send me a answer please Tank you so much Yours Turly Anne Marie

Greg responds...

Anne Marie,

This is not a general information site. For the most part it's designed to answer questions about the GARGOYLES animated series, and other related topics. General geography is not one of my specialties.

As to your question, I have no idea of the answers off the top of my head, and assuming TWO YEARS LATER that -- as unlikely as it sounds, you are still interested...

Well, kiddo, you can check a map as easily as I can.

Response recorded on May 19, 2004

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Spacebabie writes...

For a while I was a fan of the Files..so I have to ask this.

1.Does the clan like the X-Files?

2.If so what did they think of the gargoyle episode?

3.What does Matt think of Mulder?

Sorry if this has been asked before, but I did skim through the archives and I never found anything simular.

Greg responds...

1. Opinions vary.
2. Opinions vary.
3. I have this notion that Matt might not consciously see any parallels between himself and Mulder, and he might find Mulder annoying. Or maybe the reverse.

Response recorded on April 06, 2004

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Sparky Genocide writes...

Have you ever watched the cartoon show "X-Men: Evolution?" If so, did you know that your old pal, Frank Paur, works as a director and story-board artist for the show? Has he ever offered you a job as a writer for the show?

Greg responds...

I've seen one or two eps of X-Men: Evolution. I knew Frank worked on the show, but he's not the story editor and is hardly in a position to offer me writing work.

Response recorded on March 19, 2004

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Star Sighting &tc...

I just saw wecently wed Wesley & Willow walking arm-in-arm down Wittle Santa Monica Blvd. It was pretty cute...

Have I mentioned this before?:

I think one (though certainly not the only) visceral appeals of the E-Street Band is its archetypal relationship to Robin Hood & his Merry Men.

Bruce Springsteen = Robin Hood (complete with a "rob-from-the-rich-and-give-to-the-poor" mentality)
Miami Steve Van Zandt = Will Scarlett
Max Weinberg = Friar Tuck
Patti Scialfa = Maid Marion

and of course

The Big Man, Clarence Clemons = Little John

I'm not sure which of the following is Alan a Dale...

Garry Tallent, Roy Bittan, Danny Federici or Nils Lofgren.

(The truth is Bruce/Robin is his own Alan, I guess.)

When it comes down to it, I don't know the names of enough Merry Men to make every parallel work. But I'm sure you can see the connections.


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Marcus Palmer writes...

OKay, First of all, Vulcan is the Roman God of what?

Please Answer ASAP..

Greg responds...

The Forge.

And that's ASAP. Less than two years. Worth the wait?

Response recorded on March 09, 2004

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Ian Salter writes...

Dear Greg,
My name is Ian,and like most kids,I want to be an actor,and was wondering,do you know of any way I could into the High School of Performing Arts?

Greg responds...

Do MOST kids really want to be actors?

Man, that's depressing.

And no, I don't have a clue.

I don't even know WHICH High School of the Performing Arts you're talking about. The famous one from FAME in N.Y.?

Most major cities have one. I know L.A. does.

Anyway, try asking a guidance councilor, I guess.

Response recorded on February 04, 2004

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This is an interesting exercise for me. One which mostly demonstrates how few movies I get to see.

The Oscar Noms came out and are in today's paper. So I'm going to list my choices.

But here's the main rule. I can only choose from movies I've actually seen. The result is that there are entire categories (including at least one major category) that I can't vote in at all:

Supporting Actress
Foreign Language Film
Documentary Feature
Documentary Short
Animated Short

Of course, I reserve the right to make changes later if I see more movies. Also, these are NOT predictions. I'm not trying to guess who the Academy will chose. I'm simply stating my preferences...

Haven't seen Mystic River or Seabiscuit. Didn't care for the tiresome Master & Commander. I enjoyed Lost in Translation, a movie which snuck up on everyone, but I don't think it was quite as good as everyone said. I'm sorry that The Cooler didn't get nominated, but in any case it's hard not to vote for LOTR: Return of the King over either Master or Translation. I think that both of the first two movies were better than the third, but as I've stated, this isn't a Return of the Jedi scenario. This is an amazing movie on every level. The bar was set incredibly high by Jackson's first two films. And he still made it over by any reckoning.

ACTRESS: Keisha Castle-Hughes, WHALE RIDER
Well, I haven't seen In America, 21 Grams, Monster or Something's Gotta Give. So Keisha was my only option. But that's okay. I wasn't too wild about the 2-D movie, but the kid was great. Doubt she'll win, but, hey, I'm routing for her.

Haven't seen Mystic River, Cold Mountain or House of Sand and Fog. That leaves Depp in Pirates and Murray in Translation, both terrrific comic performances. I'm choosing Depp, the more obvioulsy comic turn, because (a) comedy is rarely rewarded by the Academy and like to break that barrier and (b) as good as Murray is, he's kinda playing himself. But this was a VERY tough choice for me.

Haven't seen 21 Grams, In America, Mystic River or the Last Samurai so all that leaves is Alec in Cooler. But even more than Keisha above, I'm thrilled to have Alec as my choice. I saw The Cooler this past Saturday and REALLY loved it. William H. Macy and Maria Bello are also brilliant in it, but I'm not at all surprised that Baldwin was nominated. He's a great actor.

Haven't seen Mystic River or City of God. Didn't care for Master & Commander. Liked Lost in Translation, but Jackson's efforts on Return of the King are stunning.

Havent's seen American Splendor, City of God, Mystic River or Seabiscuit, leaving Rings my only option. But again, I like the screenplay so it's a fine choice. Looking forward to the extended version though.

Haven't seen Barbarian Invasions or Dirty Pretty Things or In America, which leaves me a choice between Lost and Finding Nemo. No contest. Nemo is a cute little movie, but it's far from being my favorite Pixar script. Translation is fascinating.

Haven't seen Girl with a Pearl Earing, Last Samurai or Seabiscuit. Which leaves me with a contest between LOTR and M&Commander. This was actually a tougher call. I didn't care much for M&C, but it looked damn good. But I think LOTR was a greater overall achievement.

Haven't seen Brother Bear or Triplets of Belleville. So that leaves Nemo only. Again, not a brilliant film, but it has some brilliant stuff in it, so I can vote this way with a vaguely clear conscious.

Haven't seen City of God, Cold Mountain, Girl with a Pearl Earing or Seabiscuit, which leaves only M&C, which again looked great. So, fine.

SOUND MIXING: Boyes, Semanick, Hedges, Peek, LOTR: ROTK
Haven't seen Samurai or Seabiscuit, but it leaves three great choices, M&C, ROTK and Pirates. I'm gonna give the edge to ROTK. I seem to be sweeping with them. Can't help it. Note that Christopher Boyes is up for bother Pirates and Rings. That's pretty good odds, but an even bigger bummer, I'd imagine, if he loses.

Boyes is looking good for some award. Sound editing on Nemo, Pirates and M&C were probably all great. But I have a softer spot for the fun of Pirates. One of the few categories where I HAVE seen all of the nominees.

Haven't seen Big Fish, Cold Mountain or House of Sand & Fog, which leaves Howard Shore's brilliant ROTK work and Nemo, which was just okay.

ORIGINAL SONG: "Into the West", Walsh, Shore, Lennox, LOTR:ROTK
Well, I'm a big Annie Lennox fan to begin with, and the song was very moving to me, so this is an obvious choice. Throw in the fact that I haven't seen Mighty Wind, Cold Mountain, Cold Mountain or Triplets and it was also my only option. The good news is that so far, there hasn't been a category where I have declined to pick a winner because I only had one option. So far, even in categories with only one option, I've genuinely liked that one option.

Haven't seen Girl with Pearl, Samurai or Seabiscuit, which again leaves M&C and LOTR. Went with LOTR for cause. Great costumes across the board.

Haven't seen City of God, Cold Mountain or Seabiscuit, leaving YET again M&C and LOTR. No brainer. Half the time in the M&C battle scenes I couldn't keep basic track of who was doing what.

Another of the categories where I have seen all the nominees. Pirates had great make-up, truly. And I came very close to giving this one to Pirates. But just that one Orc was so damn good, and he was just the tip of the iceberg. M&C is also in the running, but why?

I haven't seen the other four options, but I have seen Two Soldiers, based on a William Faulkner short story that just happens to be my all time favorite short story ever. I made a point of seeing this short and was not disappointed. It's really great.

VISUAL EFFECTS: Rygiel, Letteri, Cook, Funke, LOTR: ROTK
And the last of three categories where I've seen all the nominees. Any other year and Pirates (but not M&C) would have challenged for this award. But ROTK, right?

So what's the final tally...

11 for LOTR: ROTK, including picture, director, song, score, screenplay and a half-dozen tech and craft awards. I think that's a clean-sweep. And I'm not generally a sweepy kinda guy. But the true geek in me has been awakened by this trilogy.
2 for Pirates, including Depp's brilliant performanceand a tech award.
1 for WHALE RIDER's kid actress.
1 for THE COOLER's Alec Baldwin.
1 for LOST IN TRANSLATION's keen screenplay by Sofia Coppola.
1 for FINDING NEMO. Best animated feature, won perhaps by default, though I liked the movie.
1 for MASTER & COMMANDER for cinematography, another default win perhaps, though it certainly looked gorgeous.
1 for "Two Soldiers", a personal favorite that may be the award I'm most routing to be right about.

And then five categories where I couldn't vote at all.

That's it.


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Anonymous writes...

You know how in most comic books that super-villains end up in mental hospitals for the criminally insane instead of prison? Two examples are Arkham Asylum in the DC comics and Ravencroft in Marvel Comics. Out of all of the Gargoyles' enemies, who would most likely end up in an insane asylum? Fans have to admit that villains like Demona, Dr. Sevarious, Castaway, Thailog, Hyena, Jackal, Proteus and Coldsteel are all nuts! Plus, Wolf and Fang seem to have some issues.

Greg responds...

I don't think that either Wolf, Fang, Sevarius, Thailog or Coldsteel are "criminally insane" by its legal definition. I think it's a stretch for Demona, Jackal, Castaway and Proteus as well. That is, all these characters know right from wrong.

Of the characters you named, Hyena and Proteus are the most psychopathic. But I think Proteus knows what he's doing. He just revels in his evil. Hyena, frankly, isn't that bright. She has no control at all, beyond some semi-affection for her brother, i.e. her anchor.

Clearly, many of these characters COULD wind up in someplace Arkhamesque. But that would depend on lawyers and judges and juries. Obviously, the one trial we know that Hyena faced landed her in a regular prison cell right beside Fox. So even for her, a legal argument could obviously be made that she was criminally sane.

Response recorded on January 22, 2004

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Sam writes...

Would we maybe see Jesus in an episode?

Greg responds...

It isn't likely.

Response recorded on January 20, 2004

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Art Carney (1918 - 2003)

Growing up and living most of one's life in Southern California makes having a number of so-called "Brushes with Greatness" inevitable.

Sunday, I saw Tony Shaloub in Larchmont Village, but since I had recently seen him at Los Angeles International Airport AND spoken with him at Logan International Airport, I refrained from accosting him again, lest he think I was stalking him or something.

And just yesterday, I rode up an elevator with Florence Henderson, who looks great, by the way.

So the fact that I once met Art Carney is, in and of itself, not particularly remarkable. But his passing seems an appropriate time to relate this story.

In the mid-seventies, I was in Junior High. I read a LOT. I had somewhat eclectic, and geek-leaning tastes, but most of what I read were mystery novels, especially mystery novels that were part of on-going series. One such series was Harry Kemelman's Rabbi David Small mysteries. (This is a series that I highly recommend. The more recent books aren't quite as strong, but the original seven are terrific.) Each book's title began with the day of the week. And the first mystery was called, "Friday the Rabbi Slept Late."

One day, I came home from school and found that my street was, as they say, "bustling with activity". An army of humans and trailers and equipment had descended on Queen Florence Lane. In the seventies, in the San Fernando Valley, this was still something of a rarity. But in any event, I was fascinated. They were filming a movie in and around the house directly across the street from ours.

Soon, I discovered that the movie was a telefilm called, "Lanigan's Rabbi". It was an adaptation of "Friday the Rabbi Slept Late." I'm not sure how I managed this, other than persistance and the chutzpah that comes with not knowing anything at all, but I kept telling people that I had read the book that the movie was based on. At some point someone grabbed me and introduced me to the director. I have no idea if he was humoring me or truly interested, but he asked me a number of questions about the original novel, claiming that he -- and that in fact NO ONE on the set -- had actually read the thing. There were, I was told, certain things in the script that weren't tracking for him. So I answered his questions and told him how the mystery played out in the book. He took it all in and seemed grateful for the insight.

In any case, he then did something fairly astounding. He let me hang out. That's it. But I was allowed to watch filming. I was allowed to get food from the catering truck. I was allowed to sit with the actors and talk with them. Now, this couldn't have gone on for very long. It's not like I was employed by the movie company or anything. I didn't follow the shoot to its next location. But they spent at least three or four days in the cul-de-sac where I lived. They gave me a copy of the shooting script, which I then had autographed by the movie's two leads.

One of those leads was Stuart Margolin, who's probably most famous for playing "Angel" on THE ROCKFORD FILES. "Lanigan's Rabbi" wound up spinning off into an on-going series, and for some reason Margolin didn't end up playing Rabbi Small in the series. But he was terrific in the movie. And he was an extremely nice guy, who didn't seem to mind chatting with a thirteen-year-old, who was hanging around the set.

But the part of Police Chief Lanigan was played by Art Carney. Now Art Carney is a certified genius. Emmy winner. Oscar winner. Of course his performance as "Ed Norton" in THE HONEYMOONERS is nothing short of brilliant. His on-screen teaming with Jackie Gleason, a match-made in sitcom heaven. Among other things, Ed Norton was the clear inspiration for any number of cartoon characters, ESPECIALLY "Barney Rubble". People often forget, however, what a wonderful dramatic actor Carney was. How he brought a touch of humanity to every role he played. Rod Serling knew this. Art is unforgettable as a drunken department store Santa in "The Night of the Meek" episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE. A part that Serling wrote especially for Carney. He is also truly wonderful in a number of movies: "Harry & Tonto" and "The Late Show", among others.

I knew almost none of this at the time. I didn't even know Ed Norton. In New York, the Honeymooners has probably NEVER been off the air, but Los Angeles was and is an I LOVE LUCY town. It would be nearly a decade before I would move to New York and learn to appreciate Ralph and Ed and Alice and Trixie.

What I knew at the time, all I knew at the time, was that this was a big time star -- in the middle of shooting a movie -- who spent time with me. Time by the catering truck. Time on the set. He explained how things worked. He explained why things were done the way they were done. He was just so damn nice -- nice enough that as ignorant as I was -- I didn't take it for granted. It impressed me even then.

A few days later, they were gone. Stuart, Art, all of them. The movie finished shooting in my neighborhood and moved on. Some time later, the movie went on the air. We didn't have a VCR back in those days, so I don't have a copy. I followed along on my shooting script and took note of all the little changes in it. It seemed to me (though I might have been seriously kidding myself) that the final version of the film leaned a bit closer to the original novel than the shooting script in my hand. I was certainly kidding myself when I took credit for that somewhat dubious conclusion. And without a doubt the coolest moment was watching Rabbi Small and Chief Lanigan (Stuart and Art, as I called them) walking down the hill of my street and turning a corner and suddenly being at the Rabbi's Temple. There was no temple around the corner from Queen Florence Lane, but the transition was so seamless, it seemed miraculous. A true bit of movie magic before I understood movie magic. Before I was even vaguely jaded.

I just now spent a half hour looking for that shooting script. I couldn't find it. I hope it turns up eventually. I'm sure I wouldn't have thrown it out, but there's a good chance it was in one of my boxes that was in my parents' basement, part of my past which was destroyed by a flood caused by the Northridge Earthquake. I hope not. I haven't thought about any of this in years, but now it's something I'd like to revisit in more detail.

I wrote about Bob Hope a couple of months ago, when he passed, and I suppose this is a very similar kind of tribute. Others will, I'm sure, write more important, more personal and more informed things about Art Carney in the next few days. But I wanted to add my bit.

Not just for the incredibly talented performer, a loss we should all feel, though not too intensely as he has achieved a meta-Xanatosian immortality through the many great performances we will always have to rewatch time and again. And not for the friend and/or family member, because he was none of these things to me, and I was none of these things to him.

But oddly, I wanted to write a tribute to the stranger. To the nice man, who was patient with a dopey know-it-all kid. He was warm and funny and made me feel welcome.

And for that I am truly grateful. Thanks, Chief.

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The Cat writes...

Hey Greg,

How are you?
I'm well, as of today.

I was checking out web sites that had anything to do with Gargoyles and I found one that actually said that Gargoyles is a show that promotes demonology! I'm thinking, 'Whoa! Hold on there.' So, I figured I'd invite this boy/girl or whatever to one of the Gatherings or flame him/her/whatever.

But in all do respect I didn't flame them. I couldn't find the e-mail address. Apparently, I wasn't the only one that wanted to flame them.

Anyway, question, Why did you create Gargoyles? I'm pretty sure that it was not to promote demonology.

See ya, The Cat.

Greg responds...

I'm well, as of today too.

Safe bet that anyone who thought that about the series never watched it. I don't actually know much about demonology. Or anything other than the obvious linguistic fact that it's the study of demons.

Response recorded on November 03, 2003

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Aaron writes...

If this gets through in time, great, if not, Todd can just delete it.

It's Oscar time again, and so it's time to Ask Greg... for his picks.

Best Actor
• Russell Crowe in 'A Beautiful Mind'
• Will Smith in 'Ali'
• Denzel Washington in 'Training Day'
• Tom Wilkinson in 'In the Bedroom'
• Sean Penn in 'I Am Sam'

Best Actress
• Halle Berry in 'Monster's Ball'
• Judi Dench in 'Iris'
• Nicole Kidman in 'Moulin Rouge'
• Sissy Spacek in 'In the Bedroom'
• Reneé Zellweger in 'Bridget Jones's Diary'

Best Supporting Actor
• Jim Broadbent in 'Moulin Rouge'
• Jon Voight in 'Ali'
• Ethan Hawke in 'Training Day'
• Ian McKellen in 'The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring'
• Ben Kingsley in 'Sexy Beast'

Best Supporting Actress
• Jennifer Connelly in 'A Beautiful Mind'
• Hellen Mirren in 'Gosford Park'
• Maggie Smith in 'Gosford Park'
• Marisa Tomei in 'In the Bedroom'
• Kate Winslet in 'Iris'

Best Picture
• 'A Beautiful Mind'
• 'In the Bedroom'
• 'The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring'
• 'Moulin Rouge'
• 'Gosford Park'

Best Director
• Robert Altman for 'Gosford Park'
• Ron Howard for 'A Beautiful Mind'
• Baz Luhrmann for 'Moulin Rouge'
• David Lynch for 'Mulholland Drive'
• Ridley Scott for 'Black Hawk Down'

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
• 'A Beautiful Mind'
• 'Ghost World'
• 'In the Bedroom'
• 'The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring'
• 'Shrek'

Writing (Original Screenplay)
• 'Amelié'
• 'Gosford Park'
• 'Memento'
• 'Monster's Ball'
• 'The Royal Tennenbaums'

Animated Feature Film

• 'Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius'
• 'Monsters, Inc.'
• 'Shrek

(What do you think of the creation of this awards category? Is animation finally getting the recognition it deserves in America, or is it that now that they've solidified their position as the only game in town, Disney wants some Oscars to bolster box office?)

That's all the major races, so... Pick 'em. Tell us who should and/or will be in those envelopes. :)

Greg responds...

Well, stretching my memory (and I don't pretend to remember who won)...

Best Actor: The only performance I saw was Crowe's. I thought he was good in a movie that wasn't.

Best Actress: The only performance I saw was Berry's. I thought she was great.

Supporting Actor: Only performance I saw was McKellan's. He was great.

Supporting Actress: The only performance I saw was Connelly's. And again, I thought she was good in a very flawed film.

Best Picture: Only saw Beautiful Mind and Lord of the Rings. And between those I'd have given it to Rings in a heartbeat. Instantly.

Director: Only saw Beautiful Mind and Mulhulland Drive. Liked Mulhulland Drive a LOT more, but I can't say I'd be eager to give the award to either Howard or Lynch. It wasn't either man's best work by a long shot and both pictures were very flawed in my opinion. For very different reasons.

Adapted Writing: Only saw Beautiful Mind, Rings and Shrek. Once again, Rings takes my vote by a landslide.

Original Writing: Only saw Memento and Monster's Ball. I only saw Memento once, but I still suspect that at a second viewing I'd confirm my suspicion that clever as it was, the plot doesn't quite hold up to scrutiny. So I think I'd go with Monster's Ball.

Animated Feature Film: Saw all three of these. (The dis/advantage of having small kids is that you see all kids movies and very few grown up movies.) I actually liked all three of these but didn't love any of them. I think at the time I'd have gone with Shrek, which had the most sheer enjoyment. But having seen them all again more often than I'd care to, I think Monsters, Inc. is the one that holds up the best.

As to the category itself, I find it a mixed blessing. A guarantee of some recognition for a tremendous art form. And yet a ghettoization of that same art form. Disney may have supported the creation of the category for obvious prestige and monetary reasons, but that has little to do with my mixed feelings about it.

Response recorded on September 23, 2003

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Zurist@aol.com writes...

How can a person locate and join a fan clun in Maryland?

Greg responds...

I have no idea. The internet?

Response recorded on September 17, 2003

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Greg Stones writes...

Have you ever considered working for Warner Bros. animation? You could no doubt do amazing things for a poorly written show such as Justice League.

Greg responds...

I would love to work for Warners, but so far no one there has wanted to hire me. But I wouldn't agree with your assessment of Justice League. Admittedly, I've only seen one and a half episodes, but they seemed fun to me.

Response recorded on August 26, 2003

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John writes...

Hi Greg,
Havn't looked at the site since december, and now, I've just detected, that all my posts got deleted by Gorebash. Well, doesnt matter.
I just wanted you to ask, what where your top ten and top-garbage movies of 2001.
Hope there comes a new contest soon (by the time you'll probably read this, there surely was one:-).
CU, John

Greg responds...


I'm afraid I don't have a clear memory of what I saw in 2001.

I know I loved Fellowship of the Rings. What else came out that year?

Response recorded on August 26, 2003

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F7 Addict writes...

Creamy writes...
1. Is Hunter's Moon a specific day or week of the year?
2. If so could you give us the date(s)?

Greg responds...
In 1996, Hunter's Moon was on Saturday, October 26th. I doubt it's on the same night every year, since we operate on a solar, rather than a lunar calender. Anyone else know how this works?
recorded on 01-15-02

The Name of the moons are based on 12 lunar cycles per year, first is Jan or Wolf; 2 Feb or Storm; 3 Chaste; 4 Seed; 5 Hare; 6 Lover's; 7 Mead; 8 Wyrt; 9 Harvest; 10 Oct Blood or Hunter's moon; 11 Snow; 12 Oak. And on the odd chance of two full moons in a month, the second is called the blue moon.

Greg responds...

So, if I'm getting you right the Hunter's Moon (a.k.a. the Blood Moon) is the first full moon of October. (Or the only full moon of October, most years.) Right?

Thanks. That's very helpful and useful. I'm writing this down.

So a couple more questions...

Do you know the origin(s) behind these names? And if so, what are they?

And what is a Wyrt?

Response recorded on August 01, 2003

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Vanity writes...

Elvis is not just "a king" like a Macbeth, Duncan, Arthur, or an Oberan, but is THE KING. Will we see him in the future of Gargoyles?

Greg responds...

I don't think Elvis is public domain. I think his estate is very protective of his image. So I'd guess, if this is a serious question, that the answer is no.

Response recorded on July 25, 2003

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Vanity writes...

Is Elvis Presley still alive?

Greg responds...

In my opinion, no.

But his clone is.

Response recorded on July 24, 2003

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Anonymous writes...

Is the Santa Clause of the GU based on the one in pop culture?

Greg responds...

As opposed to what?

All are based on a core truth, and as we know, "All things are true."

Response recorded on June 11, 2003

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Friendly Fan writes...

Why havent they shown all of the goliath chronicles episodes on toon disney? (such as future tense)

Greg responds...

"Future Tense" wasn't Goliath Chronicles. It was second season "Gargoyles"... And I'm quite sure they have shown it more than once.

As for Chronicles episodes, I'm surprised they haven't. But since you were wrong about the above, I'm not sure it's true.

Response recorded on June 11, 2003

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Anonymous writes...

Mind telling us what your plans for Santa Clause were?

Greg responds...

Yes. Certainly not to an anomymous poster.

Response recorded on June 11, 2003

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julio writes...

hey greg are you looking for some laughs go to www.madblast
.com IT has funny osama bin laden video clips

Greg responds...

Nothing sounds less appealing.

Response recorded on June 11, 2003

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puck<40> writes...

Back when someone asked you a question in reference to dragons. You responded....

Greg responds...
Who said there are dragons in the gargoyle universe?

heres my question.

Aren't All Things True? :)

Greg responds...

Yes. But that doesn't answer my question, which was "Who said?"

Response recorded on May 30, 2003

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matt writes...

this may or may not be a tough question:

if you were given a choice to either run a Gargoyles series again exactly how you wanted to or given $100,000, which would you choose?

Greg responds...

Are we assuming I get paid to do the Gargoyles series or does this preposterous hypothetical assume I have to work for free?

If the latter, than I'm afraid I'd HAVE to take the money.

If the former, well, then I'd wind up doing okay financially, and I'd much rather do the series.

Response recorded on May 23, 2003

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