AG '98 Annecdotes
Date: Sun, 20 Sep 1998 22:16:10 -0400
From: "Wendy M. Luck" <WLuck@compuserve.com>
Subject: stunt team
To: firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>
>>That hooligan is none other than Hal Needham--Burt Reynolds double and the man who brought us Smokey and the Bandit and Hooper( has this been discussed before? I'm new) I think Whitey Hughes was in Hooper sitting on the end of a crane or something. Since the group is in tight with Whitey, I was wondering about this. Any comments? <<
That WAS Hal Needam and he DID do some stunts on WWWest. Just back from the AG and we had a stunt seminar with Whitey Hughes, Mike Masters, and Bob Herron. Whitey related a stunt that went wrong with a relatively new stuntman, Needam - he hit Conrad over the head with a non-breakaway chair when he was not supposed to. :)
Further reports will be forthcoming as the AG-goers get back home. <G>
Date: Sun, 20 Sep 1998 23:07:48 -0400
To: Wildwest List <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I just got back home from the 1998 AG. A wonderful time was had by all.
Thursday. The visit to Vasquez Rocks was very special. It's feels very strange to go someplace that you are familiar with but have never actually been too. I climbed to the very top of the highest point of the rocks (with Mani and Kris) and gained respect for any of the actors that ran around up there while filming! I could just SEE Jim lowering himself down the side of the rocks into Sordo's camp......
That evening was the Meet 'n Greet at Kris' abode. Tom K. and friend, Linda, Kris, Susan, Mani, and I had a gabby time. We watched 16 mm versions of TNot Kraken and TNoa Thousand Eyes. Ate too much food and chattered on into the night. <G>
Friday we all went to see the Ross Martin Collection at USC. Wow. I missed this one last year and am grateful I got to see it this time. Ross saved all of his WWWest scripts (among other things) and they include his own annotations, changes, and character drawings. He sketched his ideas for his characters! We got a picture of us with some of the WWWest memorabilia - fingers crossed that it comes out. :)
Friday afternoon we met Stan for the first time at Bronson Cave another WWWest filming site. Whitey and Dottie Hughes, Bob Herron, Susan, Stan, Linda, Kris, and myself walked up to the caves. Bronson Cave is really an old mining tunnel that cuts through a shoulder of the hillside. More feelings of deja vue while approaching the cave! The whole area around it has been used for many shows. Bob and Whitey were marveling at how much the vegetation had grown up in 30 years and how different - yet familiar it looked. We got a picture of Bob and Whitey standing in the same spot they had during the show when filming TNot Returning Dead.
Friday night we had a BBQ back at Kris' abode and Ken Kolb graciously joined us. He was a real pleasure to talk to - a very intelligent and funny gentleman! He regaled us with stories of screenplays he'd written and what Hollywood used to be like. We had such a good time that we never got around to playing poker. <G> Thank you Ken!
Saturday was the day of the Stunt Seminar. Bob Herron, Whitey and Dottie
Hughes, Mike Masters, his son Michael Shanto, Sue Kesler, Linda, Kris, Stan, and myself arrived at Martinez Arena in Griffith Park. The stunt guys proceeded to show us how to throw punches, do falls, throw people (Bob had me airborne <G>), and stage fights. They reminisced about the stunts on WWWest and told us terrific stories. It was truly memorable and I am beyond thankful that they were willing to do it for us. :)
After the seminar, Susan and Linda went to the Autry to see the WWWest clothing collection. There was time for touristy traveling before the big dinner.
The Appreciation Dinner was held at the Uzbekistan restaurant where we had it last year. It's a lovely restaurant that serves more food that anyone can possibly eat - all delicious! I'm going to rely on someone else to list everyone who was there because I'm afraid my memory will leave people out. I do know Mike Masters and Michael Shanto, Whitey and Dottie, Tim Smyth, Mala Powers, Richard Sarafian, Sue Kesler, and William and Theresa Campbell were all there. It was heartwarming to hear their sincere thanks for this list and the fans and the AG. Pat yourselves on the back everyone - we are not unappreciated. :) We watched a video of clips from the show - the stuntmen all made comments on the stunt scenes. <G> We then played ARTIE - a modified form of Bingo - for WWWest prizes. The markers were M&Ms and people kept eating their markers. The evening ended all too soon.........
On Sunday, most people left, but Susan, Linda, Kris and I managed to squeeze in a final horseback ride in Griffith Park. It is easy to feel like Jim and Artie while riding around Griffith Park! The weather was very cool which was perfect for riding - a great ending to a great event.
Please excuse any omissions or errors - I wouldn't be surprised if I forgot something. I'm sure the other attendees will add their experiences when they all get the chance.
From: Susan Deborah Smith <email@example.com>
Subject: AG anecdote - extremely short
As this year's AG-goers trickle home, many many anecdotes about the weekend will be posted; some of us, however, need to get a little sleep first ...
But before I nod off, I thought I'd share an interesting item from the Ross Martin papers at that school that's across town from my alma mater:
A script for TNot Camera, dated late June 1968, was in the files, with character notes and everything in Ross' hand. Obviously he'd gotten this script and was working on it before he suffered his heart attack.
Although, being a devout vestal, I've never really seen TNot Camera, its title is known to me for being among the Artie-less ones, and naturally I was intrigued to see it with the rest of RM's W3 scripts. (I didn't notice any other Artie-less scripts in the box.)
Reclining in pleasant exhaustion upon her divan,
From: McCormack Stan <SCM5236@kcpl.com>
Date: Mon, 21 Sep 1998 11:46:09 -0500
Sherry says, Who are:
> >>>Mike Masters and Michael Shanto, Tim Smyth, Richard Sarafian and William and Teresa Campbell????
Mike Masters was a stuntman during the first season and his son Michael Shanto was a kid during this time. Tim Smyth was the special effects guy, Richard Sarafian directed the pilot (Inferno), and Bill Campbell (and wife Theresa) guest starred in Freebooters.
>>>And, in case my last message didnt get through, was Mrs. Martin there and did she have a good time?
For health reasons Mrs. Martin did not attend.
From: Susan Deborah Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: screenwriting techniques courtesy of Ken Kolb
John J. is puzzled. He wonders how Ken Kolb could:
>write great scripts like TNot Bottomless Pit and TNot Colonel's Ghost, and then turn around and write something like TNot Big Blast?"
Don't worry John J -- Ken explained it to us. It involved getting into a golf cart with Michael Garrison and driving aimlessly around the studio looking at other people's sets. This gave them ideas like "Hey, look at that gothic set!" "Yeah! Hey, what if we did a Frankenstein episode?" "Yeah! And Dr. Frankenstein could be a woman!" "Yeah! And -- hey! -- what if James West were the monster!"
Assignment in hand, Ken flew back to his house up north and cranked out My Favourite Episode.
Probably my other favourite episode, TNot Gypsy Peril, was devised in similar fashion. "Hey, look at that elephant!" "Yeah! Hey, what if we did an elephant episode?" "Yeah! And Jim and Artie could be in charge of it .... "
It was a lot of fun -- why weren't you there?
Back to snoozing,
Date: Mon, 21 Sep 1998 22:29:25 -0400
To: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>>My brother and I used to watch in amazement and amusement as they crashed those chairs over each other's heads. I mean, on TV it looked so simple, but go pick up one of your kitchen chairs and imagine that crashing over your head! Ouch! Of course, it happened to our heroes nearly every day, so it was no big deal to them.<<
Well they were supposed to use breakaway chairs. <G> Apparently these sometimes ran out or were used up in rehearsals (or someone accidentally sat on them thinking they were regular chairs) and they made do with REAL chairs. They were supposed to miss with those, but accidents did happen as Whitey Hughes told us. Ouch indeed!
<still on cloud nine from the AG experience>
From: McCormack Stan <SCM5236@kcpl.com>
Subject: AG report (long)
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 07:48:57 -0500
OK gang, here's my official AG report. I'm a computer techie by day and typically my writing is not too 'flowery', but I'll try to give an accurate account on all four events I attended over the weekend. Some of this stuff is a repeat from prior attendee posts, but I'll dish it up again one more time anyway.
I flew out of Kansas City on Friday at 6:00 AM - whew, darn early flight - but I wanted to see the Bronson Cave site. I was the first to arrive at around 1:10 PM. The instructions said to meet at the parking lot north of the children's playground, just inside the entrance to Griffith Park. Well, I found the first one, then another just north of that. I opted for the latter. Got out of the car to stretch and after a few minutes two folks were pulling up in a late model Ford. I immediately recognized them as Whitey and Dottie Hughes! They were waving at me as they approached to park the car. We introduced ourselves to each other and proceeded to chat about the park surroundings while waiting for the others to arrive. Whitey and Dottie were easy to talk with - like we'd known each other for years. Within a few minutes I had a pleasure to meet for the first time (in person at least) Kris, Susan, Linda, Wendy and Bob Herron. We hiked a quarter mile or so before reaching Bronson Cave. Kris was carrying a 'snake stick' and I kept thinking 'Damn, I sure hope she doesn't have to use that!' The cave turned out to be more of a tunnel, about 40-50 yards long with an opening at one end and two at the other forming a long 'Y' shape. It must have filled in a bunch over the years as the highest point height-wise was maybe 12 feet. Couldn't duplicate the Returning Dead scene their now. We took several pictures and reminisced about other ep's filmed near an adjacent steep slope to the cave. Whitey and Bob talked about several stunts on this location (and others) and the details were usually filled in as follows: what Whitey couldn't remember Bob did, what Bob didn't remember Whitey did, and what neither now knew, well Dottie did! It really was quite a treat. After about an hour and a half, we all left the sun-drenched hillside.
The BAR-B-Q at Kris's Friday evening. I arrived with a few liters of Hawaiian Punch - and fellow list members, what's the significance of that? Folks present - Trail Mix (the host), Susan, Wendy, Linda, Alex, Mani, yours truly and ta da... Ken Kolb (author of John James favorite -> Big Blast among others). Ken and Mike Garrison got their creative juices flowing by taking late night excursions on a golf cart around the 'back lots' and Michael replied 'What if Frankenstein was a woman?' Big Blast was born! I remember someone asking Ken, 'What if the final product on screen was not as exactly written?' He answered 'I won't question your work, if you don't question how I spent the money'. He also kept saying how talented John Kneubuhl (pronounced 'newbul') was. We mainly sat around yakking (actually Ken did most of the talking as we kept feeding him questions) and ate Bar-B-Q'd salmon burgers and hamburgers - great eats and an entertaining evening!
Saturday morning stunt seminar: Present were - Whitey and Dottie Hughes, Bob Herron, Mike Masters (Hercules in Human Trigger), Michael Shanto (Mike Masters son), Wendy, Kris, Susan, Linda, Susan Kesler, Greg and myself. For a little over two hours at Griffith Park, the stunt guys described the action and demonstrated throwing punches, 'taking' the punch (which 'sells' the fight) and walking through the routine of a fight scene. Two main things I learned - (1) It's harder than it looks and (2) it's a form of a 'dance' choreography, but the stunt guys themselves said they'd never really call it that even though they admit that's what it is. The 'landing' equipment for the falls was rather interesting. I used to think as a kid they fell on a mattress. They actually used several cardboard boxes separated about two inches apart, then tied a rope around the perimeter. They would also use a hammer to smash in the four corners of the boxes a bit to lessen the blow of the landing. Kris was also uncanny at naming the ep's the brawls the stunt guys were describing on the show. When asked what their favorite stunt was from the show. Any stunt they got paid for! And didn't get hurt.
The AG dinner Saturday evening. Present were: Whitey and Dottie Hughes, Richard Sarafian, Linda, Shawn, Ken Kolb, Stan, William and Theresa Campbell, Mani, Mala Powers (first 'a' is long, pronounced May-la), Judith Radley (formerly Donner - The Wild Wild West, the Series editor), her husband and 10 year old girl, Sue Kesler (series Bible author), two acquaintances of Mala - one of which was her agent, Tim Smyth and his wife (the 'y' in Smyth is pronounced as a long 'I'), Mike Masters, Michael Shanto, Wendy and Kris. I was fortunate enough to sit between Ken Kolb and William Campbell. The conversations between Ken and Bill ranged from their work, to Bill and Monica, to Star Trek (and trekie fans), and the Golden Boot awards. At one point in the evening Ken and Bill were talking about a 'tough' director (not of WWW fame) that flew in for a short trip to New York City. The guy got mugged, and Ken Kolb said 'There must be a God!' Then Bill said later in the trip he got mugged again! The director started snickering as he was being held up at gun point and the mugger asked why he was laughing? He replied 'Hell, I've got nothing, I've already been mugged, I should be mugging someone myself!' We all three got a big kick out of that one even more. Over the course of the evening I introduced myself to each of the invitees and thanked them for attending. Each in turn sincerely appreciated the invite and returned a big THANK YOU as well! Folks, I'm totally convinced all involved in the Wild Wild West were first class individuals. And each of the list members were equally as first rate! Thanks again to everyone involved who made this a fantastic trip to remember!
Subject: Re: AG report - addition
To: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>> to even the food! I think you missed the weather though ...<<
I just want to add to the food comments. At the Friday BBQ we had steaks, salmon burgers, and hamburgers. (I was the wielder of the Sacred Spatula and Keeper of the Grill) We forgot to bring the extra uncooked burgers in and a roaming cat go one. :)
The weather. <G>
Every Californian we met said how lucky we were to not be having the AG a month earlier. Apparently the weather was unbearably hot. It was warm enough most of the days of the AG, but the Marine Layer kept it from getting hot. Kris says this is a layer of low clouds/fog that oozes in off the ocean and usually burns off by afternoon. The air was fairly hazy the entire time so the views were more obscured than they were last year. The exception was at Vasquez Rocks where it was HOT and crystal clear. Linda got very creative and manipulated a shirt into a turban to keep the sun off her head.
I love reading the other AG reports and am so glad to have met everyone who came!
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 15:08:05 -0400
To: Wildwest List <email@example.com>
After visiting Bronson Cave for the AG, I just HAD to watch TNot Returning Dead again.
The very opening scene where the camera is inside the cave watching Jim ride down the slope and into the cave couldn't be done today. There are a lot of large bushes just at the bottom of that slope now. Considering how short the tunnels really are, it was fun to watch the way they used camera angles and edits to make the cave system look bigger.
After Jim rides his horse into the cave, he turns to the viewer's right and gets off his horse in a side tunnel. If you look closely, you can see a few other horses silhouetted against the opening of the tunnel. (What are they doing there anyway???) This smaller tunnel is now filled in to the point where you can see through it but not walk or ride into it.
We had some discussion with Whitey Hughes about how much lower the floor of the main cave must have been back then. As the ghost, he rides a horse in and rears it up when he throws a knife at Jim and Artie. If he tried that now, he'd probably hit his head on the roof. :)
The scene where the sheriff and Jackson run through the cave and out after the "ghost" was filmed very cleverly. You think you're in the middle of nowhere watching the "ghost" (Whitey) ride up a slope in the distance. Just to the left, out of sight behind the shoulder of rock, is the Hollywood sign!
It was a wonderful experience to visit an episode site that's still recognizable today. So many of the manufactured sets for WWWest are gone, but we still have some of the "natural" ones left. <G>
Date: 23 Sep 98 16:56:13 MDT
Those of you who attended last year's AG know well the extent of the feast laid on by Uzbekistan; suffice to say that "five courses" barely begins to describe what loads the table and arrives in an endless parade from the kitchen. (NB: salmon roe goes very well with steamed potatoes.)
While we were working our way through this vast variety of dishes, a friend of mine arrived. Julie is not a wildwester, but she is a film scholar (teaching theory and criticism at a California college for a number of years) and had expressed an interest in the doings of our group. I introduced her to Mala, of course mentioning that Mala appeared in My Favourite Episode.
I could not resist noting that I have suffered considerable razzing on the list for my taste in silly nonsense (most notably from our old buddy Double J). This drew a laugh from Mala, who asked me if I knew that she and RM were dating at the time TNot Big Blast was filmed.
Of course I replied that we ALL seem to have knowledge of that little tidbit (isn't it in the Kesler book?), and furthermore that the list had recently engaged in a debate over whether we could tell that she and Ross were an item in real life. She laughed and laughed at this.
I did not (darn it!) remember to mention that some list members voted Big Blast to have the Most Romantic Kiss.
Conversation at our end of the table concerned Mala's activities teaching a particular philosophy of acting not only around the country, but around the world. Then she and film scholar Julie somehow got involved in a major discussion about the career of Robert Ryan, with whom Mala had starred.
More to come as sleep -- "Nature's sweet restorer" as Edward Young has taught us -- does its good work,
From: Susan Deborah Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>
At the AG Appreciation Dinner, we went around the table and gave everyone a chance to introduce him or herself. Everybody had a little something to say about what their experiences with W3 -- either as a fan or as a professional working on the show -- meant to them. We each had a chance to thank our guests, and our guests, each and every one, thanked us.
As co-jefe of the 1998 AG, I'd like to thank everyone who attended this year's events. It was a great pleasure to meet you and to share a lot of fun.
I'd also like to thank Wendy, Lady Luck, an excellent co-jefe and pal. Her efforts during the AG to keep things moving, and her willingness once again to take on the role of "Vanna" during the Gruesome Games portion of the evening, ensured everyone's good time.
Most of all, I must thank Trail Mix, our own Kristin Sabo. The Wild Wild West Anniversary Gathering is her brainchild, and without her, this even would never have taken form and continued for over three years. Her contacts, her ability, and her dedication have created an event that gives pleasure to many people and allows fans of Our Favourite Program an unprecedented opportunity to show their appreciation to anyone and everyone who helped bring it to life.
If you're not already on your feet applauding this indefatigable and extraordinary lady, then get out of your chair right now and put your hands together energetically!
Date: Mon, 21 Sep 1998 21:42:17 +0100
From: Tom Kelsey <email@example.com>
First of all it was great to meet Kris, Wendy, Susan and Linda at the meet and greet. The food was great, the conversation wonderful and a thrill to watch two episodes with great fans. My girlfriend, Ilene, had a great time as well and now is sure I'm not the only maniac about WWW. I'm sorry I missed the other days but I will make sure that next year I will be there for every event. No gigs will get in the way (except for Madison Square Garden).
Second, what episode has the Buffalo Gals sequence? Where Jim starts to sing along, then a fight scene and then ends the last line with the chair bit...
That's always been one of my favorite scenes (I'll try not to get started on another favorite list) and it's more fun asking all of you for your answers and opinions than looking in the episode guide.
Date: 24 Sep 98 08:49:48 MDT
The stunt seminar was a real kick (so to speak), and we were so lucky that Whitey could bring along some of his colleagues. Mike Masters, a stunt guy from the first season of W3, was really an elegant codger -- dressed in black from head to foot: black hat, black shirt, black vest, black pants and black high topped Western boots. He really looked the part!
Linda and Sue Kesler learned how to fight off three bad guys at once, and Whitey, Bob Herron, Mike Masters and Mike Junior really made it look real. One of them told us that a punch is like being on the freeway and one car cuts another off and you're sure there'll be an accident -- it's all in the angle from which you see it.
We learned that moving a guy backwards is called "travelling": Take a step, throw a punch, the guy falls back. Take another step (just one, with the other foot), throw another punch, and the guy falls back. The stunt guys said that actors tend to rush this part, and those of us who tried it and saw it in action can see why.
There was also a lesson in shoving around, and Stan learned how to take and "sell" a punch. Wendy's already mentioned that Bob Herron demonstrated how to "throw" someone using her as a model. Mike Junior demonstrated how a stockier guy has to launch himself into the air to "sell" a throw by a smaller guy.
We also learned a good rule of thumb: Never fall on your hands; you'll just break your wrists. Words to live by.
After the seminar, we adjourned for some refreshment (appropriately, Hawaiian PUNCH) and Whitey advised me about buying a new car. I was driving a rental of the kind I'd like to own (the much loved Travelling National Geographic Archive having bit the dust this summer), and I asked him how he liked his car (since that model had been recommended to me by my boss). He also gave me a few tips about maintenance. He and Dottie had driven 300 miles to be with us for the AG, and we really appreciated it!
Retiring once more beneath her parasol,
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 22:47:40 -0400
To: "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>
My Co-jefe, Susannah says-
>>I'd also like to thank Wendy, Lady Luck, an excellent co-jefe and pal.
Her efforts during the AG to keep things moving, and her willingness once again to take on the role of "Vanna" during the Gruesome Games portion of the evening, ensured everyone's good time.<<
<blushes> Thanks Susannah. :) <flips another letter>
>>Most of all, I must thank Trail Mix, our own Kristin Sabo. The Wild Wild West Anniversary Gathering is her brainchild, and without her, this even would never have taken form and continued for over three years. <<
Ditto and hear, hear!! <sound of whistling and energetic clapping>
(aka Lady Luck)
Date: 25 Sep 98 09:02:14 MDT
Matsie appears to be
>Curious to know how many people their were this year. (Guests and Fans alike.)
Let's see. Attending some or all of the AG events were me (your Susannah), Wendy, Tom K., Ilene (who had an interesting story about how some of Tom K.'s posts get to the list), Linda, Stan, Greg, Mani, Alex, Kris, Julie, Bill, and Shawn. We were also joined very late in the evening by a fan named Christopher who somehow happened upon us.
Did I leave anyone out? Please holler if I did.
A couple of the expected attendees were missing in action -- we were a little worried and hope you guys are okay!
Our guests (some of whom were so gracious as to attend -- or run [thanks Whitey!] -- some of our other events, as you can see from the AG reports) included director Richard Sarafian (a very pleasant and affable gentleman, who, as rumour has it, has turned to an acting career and is featured in the recent picture "Bulworth"), stunt guys Whitey Hughes (and his wife Dottie), Bob Herron, Mike Masters (and his son, stunt guy and life guard Michael Shanto), special effects man Tim Smyth and his wife, actor William Campbell and his wife, actress Mala Powers (and her manager), W3 book author (and X-Files film editor) Sue Kesler, W3 book editor Judith Donner Bradley (and her husband and little girl), writer Ken Kolb (and his amazing trove of anecdotes), and of course, our guests of honour, Jim and Artie.
While Artie was appropriately (if rather informally) garbed for a party (no jacket), it appears that Jim arrived right off the beach (a lost episode perhaps? TNot Surfers?). Luckily, he didn't even have time to put on a towel and graciously provided quite a feast for the eyes (shirtlessness indeed!) ... Two lucky girls were last seen leading these fellows to their cars ...
Among our guests who could not attend, two late rsvp-ers were actress Sue Ane Langdon (who had to be in Cheyenne for the opening of a Western heritage museum and very much regretted the conflict) and producer John Mantley, who told me he is recovering from a recent heart attack. (I know all wildwest2-L-ers wish him to get well soon!)
Still paying visits the sleep bank to borrow some shut-eye,
From: "Charles Darrah" <LDARRAH@worldnet.att.net>
Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 21:52:13 -0400
Kristin installed my name on the list between an intense two hours reading through scripts in Ross Martin's collection and Bronson Cave. I subscribed to Internet for one reason: To meet Wild West aficionados like yourselves. It's been fun to read the reports filed on AG. I wanted to debrief in a notebook first before checking in. That was seven days ago and I am still writing down everything I can remember. Let me start with a huge thank-you to Kristin, Susan, Wendy, Stan, Mani, Tom K, Ilene, Alex and Shawn for making me feel at home and among friends, not to mention the extraordinary efforts they made to create a memory to last a lifetime. To thank the special people we met will be difficult. They remain in my mind and heart as the days pass and I sink back to earth in Massachusetts.
Linda (Dude from the East)
From: McCormack Stan <SCM5236@kcpl.com>
Subject: more from the AG
Date: Mon, 28 Sep 1998 13:10:57 -0500
A couple of more items to report from the AG:
The AG dinner - part of the 'opening ceremony' was watching and listening to RC sing from a Hawaiian Eye ep. Both Ken Kolb and William Campbell remarked "that's the end to one singing career!"
The stunt seminar - both Mike Masters and Whitey Hughes told this story about Michael Dunn. In TNt Wizard Shook the Earth, remember the bell tower scene in the last act. He times his jump onto the swinging pendulum. Notice how he 'gracefully' lands on this device. Well, umm, Mike and Whitey said he was not 'faking' the pain he endured from this 'stunt' as he was laughing/ crying/grimacing....