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A chat with David Rosler, Continued...

<Sure! >

<DavidRosler> After the rangers pre-production virtually all of the art staff was let go, which is typical in the biz. I had lined up a huge contract for 100 illustrations for Putnam publishing on a license tie-in to a truly quirky show called Photon (anyone remember it?)

photon1a.jpg (158500 bytes) photon2.jpg (134706 bytes) photon3.jpg (146982 bytes)

Courtesy of

<Various group responses:  no, afraid not...I do. I remember it. >

<DavidRosler> (Those who do have my sympathy).  But they needed the work FAST so I subcontracted a lot of background work Anyway, Laslo was absolutely brilliant as a designer, really unique. (he's a big-shot now at a company doing a lot of stuff for the Nic network) But at the time Laslo was really fresh from Hungary and his English was not what it might have been, which is what one would expect of someone in that situation. In these photon books one planet was supposed to have kings and such and for variety I said to Laslo, "make it like "Oz".  Well, naturally he had no idea what I was talking about, so I said, you know, like the wizard of oz, use colors like emerald green and magenta and stuff like that. He smiled and nodded enthusiastically and said, "OK, OK"   So a week later we meet to see what he had done with my rough outlines....and they were BEAUTIFUL, MAGNIFICENT, AMAZING.... and done ENTIRELY IN TONES OF EMERALD GREEN AND MAGENTA AND ONLY EMERALD GREEN AND MAGENTA!

<lol.. very nice>  

<DavidRosler> It takes a particular kind of genius to work like that. I was very fond of that guy.

<I have to know, is Photon any link to the game that lost out to Lazer Tag in the 80's?>

<DavidRosler> Exactly the same. It's sad in a way, because photon developed it all and did a great job on the basic toy etc, and laser tag literally beat them out with fancier ads. It was that simple.  I had almost the whole art staff go to one of the photon arenas and we spent the night with the place to ourselves  thanks to the connection to Photon books (they wanted us to really know what is was about so I invited the artists)- grown adults - shooting infrared beams at each other in a smoking, high-tech maze.


<Was there any element of the show that has stuck with you over the years?>

<DavidRosler> One thing that stayed with me is the sense of fun and good will on that show. It was about the least pretentious and most fun crew I have ever worked with or even been able to assemble.  Also the show was so good and well respected in the biz that I still use it on my background info.

<Did you have a favorite episode?>

<DavidRosler> I can tell you what my favorite episode was at the time it initially aired..... One Million Emotions.

< That's a local favorite! "Arizona McGee.  Sensation dolls.  Spiders from Mars!  Now we're cooking!"… followed closely by Galaxy Stranger... >

<DavidRosler> I'm glad to hear so many people like that one.  One Million Emotions was very well written. It went to the "A" division in Japan as you can tell. Beautifully done. 

<Can you tell that I like Goose?  ;-) >

<DavidRosler> Everyone liked Goose.... the break-the-rules good guy.

<Who came up with the ranger ships?>

<DavidRosler> The ships were all designed - more or less - by Ray and Brad Fox. Brad's wall was covered with sports cars. All these brilliant guys doing brilliant work, all with expertise which had nothing to do with science fiction!

<How much do you know of how the computer and drawn animations were merged?>

<DavidRosler> Brad Fox was put in charge of the early CGI stuff in postproduction. It was a very cumbersome system, would render each frame to film and that was merged in the video edit.

<Was there any one section of any episode that you were directly responsible for?>

<DavidRosler> "Section"? A whole scene? No, these things are always collaborative efforts by their nature.

<Was there any other sci-fi shows/movies that influenced some of the eps?>

<DavidRosler> influence? Yes, tons of stuff. There was one with a death-star trench, Bronto Bear was the show's nod to Godzilla.... Goose is essentially Clint Eastwood in a spaghetti western. Oh, there are plenty of "homage's".

<DavidRosler> I remember Robert and Gregg desperately trying to describe Godzilla to Ed, but they needed the Bronto Bear done fast and no one had a picture. I helped on that one because I grew up on Godzilla movies.

<I think we all did on Godzilla>

<DavidRosler> Ed had no idea what they were talking about when they said, "Big fat legs, huge tail, skinny neck, small head". He looked at them like THEY were Bronto Bears!

Bronto Bear & Godzilla

<How about a least-favorite episode?>

<DavidRosler> Least favorite? Maybe Moose-a-saur or whatever that was. Alex Stevens was so sick of drawing marshmallow trees he was on a rant about it. He was a great designer, though. I was really pleased with what he did on the photon books. Just great, masterful stuff.

<What other physical mementos do you have from the series?>

<DavidRosler> Oh yeah, did anyone ever tell you guys about the yearbook I made?

<No? not that I know of >

<DavidRosler> Toward the end of production, I took photographs of everyone at work, did a paste-up, and started assembling a yearbook, because it really was a pretty close group. For the first few days I was chided about it, but then people started culling through things to add, and drawings of all the artists as unflattering as possible made by other artists and I put it all together and we all signed each other's yearbooks on the last day of production. I remember Robert came up to me and asked for one.

<Wow - that is a real memento of the show - something that is just for the production team>

<DavidRosler> I just found mine when your site made me think about the show.  Bill Wright was in charge of putting the screenplay into scene formats for the storyboards, and wrote some truly wicked stuff which made it in there.

<DavidRosler> (My God, this is like a trip down memory lane, or in this case, the memory internet superhighway)

< LOL, welcome to our world>

<Out of all the characters, including the minor ones, which one did you like the best?>

<DavidRosler> Hmmmmmm, there were so many, I have a few PERSONAL favorites. Boss rancid was the first one I drew in the same style as the animation, much to the complaints of my fellows there. But when it came on screen, it looked EXACTLY as I had drawn it. So much so that it was weird... it looked like I had drawn the actual animation! That was a real lesson is sticking to the format so that's a favorite.

<DavidRosler> I remember when Rusty faints ("Rusty and The Boys") I did a very melodramatic swoon in the boards for which I was also chided, but that worked too, I thought. You could see the Japanese were having fun with that shot, so that stands out.

<DavidRosler> As for SHOW CHARACTERS I'm not sure. I'll probably always be too close to the show to stand back and see it objectively.  I think all four main characters were very well realized though I had nothing to do with their designs per se.

<How did you become hired on?  Newspaper ad, word of mouth..?…”hey, there's a really great pantheon of sci-fi people..want to join?”>

<DavidRosler> I heard about an ad in the NY times from a friend of mine. It said MAJOR science fiction animated show being produced in Manhattan and I thought, "yeah, that'll be the day". It sounded like hype but I sent the TINIEST array of samples I could muster just to do it and was called a week later. I went in a week after that and David Gregg said, "you're hired. We need you to start tomorrow". Very strange.

< Nice, I think Ken Landgraf alluded to that same hiring process>

<DavidRosler> On the hiring, let me tell you.   I went in and immediately saw all this great stuff on the walls and thought, "Whoa! I want onto this!" But I was stuck in a way.....


<DavidRosler> because I just didn't think anything great could be happening of that nature in NYC at that time. So suddenly I'm nervous.  And he looks at all my very best stuff and it was obvious David Gregg couldn't care less, and I had other stuff at home and I figured I had sunk myself on this great whatever-it-was.

<DavidRosler> and then he said, do you have any designs in sketch form?  And I did because I always used to carry around a portfolio big enough to double as a bomb shelter.  He saw the sketches and "boom, you're in".

<ok - being a SF addict, like all of us, which artifact, or device, or vehicle, or concept of the GR series did you like best?>

<DavidRosler> That's a big question. Too big to answer here, I think.

< can't you just give us a hint? :) >

<DavidRosler> I remember people talking about Dr Owen Nakita and I saw this drawing of a board with a bubble and jell inside on the CHARACTER wall and I said, "who put this here?" and someone said "That's Dr, Owen Nakita!" (did I get the name right?

Dr. Owen Negata

<Close enough.  I think we spell the name "Negata", but I'm not sure. n'gata, nagata, nagita, negita - depending on who's writing him >

<DavidRosler> OK. Oops. It's been a long time.

<I have to ask about the music, as it's one of the things I really enjoyed about the show.  Do you know if there was an actual band outside of the credited people that performed the music for the show?>

<DavidRosler> Yes, for the main theme but I don't know who they were.

<Who came up the the name "Qball?”>

<DavidRosler> I have no idea where the names came from, but Robert Mandell was HEAVILY involved in the writing so a lot came from him, I think.

<DavidRosler> I wrote an episode when all the slots were filled, actually, and Robert sat down, discussed them (2 episodes, actually) and promised me we'd use them in a second season. If he ever does I'm holding him to that. J

<Who or what was the biggest pain to draw?>

<DavidRosler> SHIPS were the biggest pain if you had a lot. James Wheelock sat for DAYS storyboarding "Armada" and just starting zoning out. It was rough.  Those were the biggest pain.

<If Robert does do a season 2, would you want to work on it?>

<DavidRosler> I have my own company, a feature in post and much stuff to do, but I have to tell you, my feelings are so fond for Robert and the show that it would be tough NOT to be involved in some way, and you may quote me verbatim on that to him if you are inclined. He was quite a decent guy personally.

<DavidRosler> Have I answered all the questions there are to answer?

<I think I've run dry for the moment! Thanks for taking the time to come out and talk with us.  It's been a pleasure to have some insight and to walk down someone else's memory lane.>

<DavidRosler> It was my pleasure, really.  I'd enjoy being asked back again sometime if you are inclined. It's a great deal of fun. Sooner the better though..... Things are looking a might dense in the next month or so.


The End

**** received via email post chat.