A chat with David Rosler, Continued...
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?)
group responses: no,
afraid not...I do. I remember it. >
(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!
It takes a particular kind of genius to work like that. I was very
fond of that guy.
have to know, is Photon any link to the game that lost out to Lazer
Tag in the 80's?>
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,
there any element of the show that has stuck with you over the
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.
you have a favorite episode?>
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
followed closely by Galaxy Stranger...
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.
you tell that I like Goose? ;-)
Everyone liked Goose.... the break-the-rules good guy.
came up with the ranger ships?>
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!
much do you know of how the computer and drawn animations were
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.
there any one section of any episode that you were directly
"Section"? A whole scene? No, these things are always
collaborative efforts by their nature.
there any other sci-fi shows/movies that influenced some of the
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".
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.
think we all did on Godzilla>
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!
about a least-favorite episode?>
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.
other physical mementos do you have from the series?>
Oh yeah, did anyone ever tell you guys about the yearbook I made?
not that I know of >
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.
- that is a real memento of the show - something that is just for
the production team>
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.
(My God, this is like a trip down memory lane, or in this case, the
memory internet superhighway)
< LOL, welcome to
of all the characters, including the minor ones, which one did you
like the best?>
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.
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.
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.
did you become hired on? Newspaper
ad, word of mouth..?
hey, there's a really great pantheon of
sci-fi people..want to join?>
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>
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.....
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.
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".
- being a SF addict, like all of us, which artifact, or device, or
vehicle, or concept of the GR series did you like best?>
That's a big question. Too big to answer here, I think.
can't you just give us a hint? :) >
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
enough. I think we
spell the name "Negata", but I'm not sure. n'gata, nagata,
nagita, negita - depending on who's writing him >
OK. Oops. It's been a long time.
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?>
Yes, for the main theme but I don't know who they were.
came up the the name "Qball?>
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.
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
or what was the biggest pain to draw?>
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.
Robert does do a season 2, would you want to work on it?>
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.
Have I answered all the questions there are to answer?
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
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.
via email post chat.