Glen Larson at Buck Rogers event

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Glen Larson at Buck Rogers event

Postby Michael Pajaro » Wed Nov 10, 2004 1:52 pm

Wow, I had a fun time last night…

I went to a special 25th anniversary screening of “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century”, hosted by Universal Home Video in celebration of the DVD release next week. Glen Larson, Erin Gray, and other cast and crew members were there.

There was a press area where the crew was being interviewed, and of course Larson was asked about the Knight Rider movie. He said “We’re so close to being able to talk about it, but not tonight.” Although in a way it’s the same “I have no news” report we’ve been given for months, to me it sounds a little more optimistic than “it’s in development”. Larson talked a little about making movies in general. These aren’t exact quotes, but it should be pretty close to the spirit of what he said: “We’re having a great time with so many projects in different stages of development: Magnum, Knight Rider… I think movies are harder than television. There are so many more voices. With television, we were pretty much able to do what we wanted.”

I ran into composer Stu Philips, whom I met at Knight Con in Germany this summer. He is still working on doing a Knight Rider soundtrack CD, which would have the pilot episode and 4 episodes. He is getting the original recordings, which he believes may be 16-track and will obviously be much better than the mono recordings he has now. Right now, there is a legal hold-up where the project has to go around Universal for 30 days- various people have to pass on the idea before Stu can run with it himself, but it should be just a formality. He hopes to have it released in January.

Glen Larson was being pulled all over the place for publicity photos and interviews, but Stu graciously grabbed him and introduced me to him. Stu explained how we had met in Germany, at which point Glen started singing in German. At least I assume it was German; I didn’t understand a word but he certainly seemed fluent. He then started jokingly complaining about Universal still hasn’t sent him a copy of the Knight Rider DVD boxset.

Inside, they screened the original theatrical version of the Buck Rogers pilot episode. I didn’t realize Buck Rogers was released in theaters, but it’s worth seeing just for the opening credits. It is filled with cheesey 70s sex vixens crawling all over a glowing Buck Rogers logo. Jaw-droppingly dated. It’s on the new DVD. Following the movie there was a panel discussion and the first question the moderator asked was “Glen, what were you thinking with those credits?!” His response: “I wasn’t”.

The panel was Glen Larson, and cast members Erin Gray (Col Deering) and Tim O’Connor (Dr. Huer). Even “Dr. Theopolis” was there: they had the round computer face sitting on a director’s chair, voiced by the original actor Howard Flynn. Crew included director Daniel Haller, who also directed Knight of the Phoenix , effects supervisor Peter Anderson, and the man who created all the infamous Buck Rogers costumes, Jean-Pierre Dorleac.

To top off the evening, I was one of the winners of a Buck Rogers DVD boxset. :)
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Postby Michael Pajaro » Wed Nov 10, 2004 2:04 pm

Image
Stu Philips, Tim O'Connor, Erin Gray, Glen Larson, Daniel Haller
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Postby Tony J Case » Wed Nov 10, 2004 2:52 pm

Not to steal Buck's thunder, but THIS is good news:

What's more, at a special 25th anniversary screening last night at the American Cinematheque in Hollywood of the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century theatrical film, Universal Studios Home Entertainment VP of Marketing Robert Reed confirmed that both The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman are currently being prepared for DVD release in 2005. Figured you classic TV fans would like to hear that good news!


Oh yeah - bell bottoms and huge sideburns. It's the 70's all over again!

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Postby Michael Pajaro » Wed Nov 10, 2004 3:02 pm

It was funny: The guy from Universal welcomed everyone to the theater, and mentioned how Buck Rogers was coming out next week and Miami Vice shortly... someone from the audience screamed out "Six Million Dollar Man!" Reed said "am I hearing requests? Six Million Dollar Man? Yup, we're working on it! And Bionic Woman, don't forget her too!" Big applause from the audience.
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Postby Tony J Case » Wed Nov 10, 2004 7:15 pm

Sweet. Gotta feel the love for Steve and Jamie.

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Postby HondaSiR » Wed Nov 10, 2004 7:19 pm

The 70's are indeed making a comeback, on DVD. At least the Knight Rider series (an early 80's series) got an early start this year with the season 1 release...with the Knight Rider movie in hot pursuit! Hopefully...the sooner they approve the script, the sooner production will start...and so the better. Thanks for the info, Michael. Looks like you had a grand time last night, you're always at the right place at the right time. :D

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Postby FuzzieDice » Wed Nov 10, 2004 8:07 pm

Congrats, Michael! Sounds like you had fun and got a DVD set too! Can't beat that. :)

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Postby KRAvengerII » Wed Nov 10, 2004 8:28 pm

well, not to further drift from the subject, but i'm a little curious excactly HOW they're going to sell the SMDM and BW DVDs. These are a couple of shows i don't want the whole series of, maybe a "best of' package, like They did with the Hulk.

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Postby HondaSiR » Wed Nov 10, 2004 9:43 pm

KRAvengerII wrote:well, not to further drift from the subject, but i'm a little curious excactly HOW they're going to sell the SMDM and BW DVDs. These are a couple of shows i don't want the whole series of, maybe a "best of' package, like They did with the Hulk.


A lot of fans from the SMDM and BW series would very much like the entire episode run. It would probably be marketed on a seasonal basis, much like Knight Rider 1st season....2nd season and etc. While your idea of a "best of package" would prove to be alluring to some, I'm sure most fans would like to have the whole caboodle.

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Postby Joe Huth » Thu Nov 11, 2004 8:26 am

Mike,

Sounds like an awesome event. You didn't get a chance to talk with Dan Haller or Jean Pierre Dorleac about their work on Knight Rider, did you?

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Postby knightshade » Thu Nov 11, 2004 7:46 pm

I'm jealous, Mike. That was another of my favorite shows as a kid. Did they have any fun stories to tell about making the show?

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Postby Knight Rider Archive » Fri Nov 12, 2004 2:25 pm

Tim O'Connor was also a guest star on Knight Rider -- he was Phillip Hunt in the second season show "Brother's Keeper". I was lucky enough to meet Erin Gray at an event here in the UK, and she talked about making the episode of BJ & The Bear that spawned Knight Rider -- "Cain's Cruiser". She called it the "original Knight Rider pilot" (and was also involved in the Code of Vengeance spin-off from the "Mouth of the Snake" show).

Sounds like a Knight Rider event as much as a Buck Rogers one!! Mike, you're a lucky guy!

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Postby Michael Pajaro » Fri Nov 12, 2004 3:11 pm

I didn't talk to Jean-Pierre because frankly I didn't know he was involved with Knight Rider. I didn't speak to Haller because he wasn't particularly open or talkative during the Q/A session.

I realize I'm sort of making excuses for being lazy, but I wasn't too proactive in asking about Knight Rider. I was at a similar even for Battlestar Galactica last year but this show had a much different vibe to it. The GB event seemed bigger and seemed more open to discussions of Larson's entire career. Because Buck Rogers was not as strong a show as Galactica, I had the sense that they wanted to try to keep the focus on Buck Rogers.

The one thing I regret is that I should have tracked down the Universal reps to get a statement from them regarding future KR DVDs, or just a comment on the success of season one. I blew it there.


Regarding stories from Buck Rogers, a lot of discussions revolved around the costumes (or lack there-of) during the series. They all seemed to agree that the show bascially had 1 good season, then it went downhill when it was completely reworked for season 2.

One thing that did strike me: with all due respect to the Buck Rogers fans, it was pretty obvious that the show did not hold up well compared to some of Larson's other series, and it was never the success the other series were. But they all still had a great sense of pride in their individual achievements. One of the enemy spaceships was apparently the most expensive miniature model ever created for TV; Twiki became a mini pop-culture icon; Erin Gray was an early female role-model hero; the costumes speak for themselves. So even if the show as a whole wasn't a huge hit, the individual elements were all there.
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Postby K.I.T.T » Fri Nov 12, 2004 4:47 pm

wow congrats Mike!! How did you come across this event?? Was it a free for all who wanted to go?

Congrats on meeting Larson! sounds an amazing night mate nice one.
Dont worry about the universal reps! Though if you get to go to another event for Six Million Dollar man, then go for it lol

Again, congrats mate.

Nick

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Postby Michael Pajaro » Fri Nov 12, 2004 5:41 pm

I think I made things a lot more complicated than they needed to be.

I heard about it just as a small announcement in one of my Pro DVD magazines. It was just a one-line listing of an "invitation only reception and screening of Buck Rogers." I knew of a cinema group that did a lot of screenings at that same theater, so I called a friend who was a member and asked if I could get a ticket. He said he couldn't get tickets for the reception, but would have a ticket waiting for me at the box office that night so I could get into the screening/discussion.

As it turns out, it looked like the box office was selling screening tickets that night, but people might have needed to show membership ID to buy a ticket. I don't know. At the Galactica screening, they had two lines to get in the theater: one for members only, one for general admission. The general admission people could only get in once all the members were in. The same thing may have been going on here, but because Buck Rogers didn't sell out (I was very surprised) it might not have mattered.
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