Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Lost in Space - a documentary (1994) Viacom Public Access Cable by LGN Productions

"Studio 100" presents...

Lost in Space - a documentary (1994) - now in IMDB.

I noticed I do have a YouTube link. There's been copyright issues and there is about a minute lead in of station requirements, silence, test pattern, etc.

For more on this, see below.

This was the first and only project produced by LAST good NERVE Productions (founded 1993, also known as, LGN Productions; AKA, Lateral Geniculate Nucleus Productions).

The show was only shown twice on public access cable in early 1994.

I was the uncredited executive producer on the project. Why that is, is a long, long story....I'll tell it to you some time, possibly over drinks. I had shot one previous video in college up at Western Washington University for my professors in phenomenology.

Now that project was a nightmare. No editor. If I wanted to put music into the reel to reel black and white video tape recorder I had to solder connections. At one point I put myself on camera as I had no actors. That led to my becoming an instant celebrity on campus when I later found that my professor had shown the film to all his classes!

For the next several weeks I had women stopping me between classes to talk about the video making me late for my next class. One time I was asked in class if I was "that guy", the "guitar man" in the video. I was tired of it by then, so I said, "No." She said, "but you look just like him." I said, "I hear that a lot." Then my professor walked up, gave me a stern look and said, "Yes, that's him."

I learned then and there I liked fortune over fame.

Back to the LIS documentary, a project that we made over twenty years ago. This, is its story.

Lost in Space - a documentary

This show was cablecast for the first time on Saturday, February 19th, 1994 at 8PM Pacific Time and for the last time about a month or so later.

The link goes to Dropbox. Too bad I can't just put it up on YouTube like we used to be able to. From Dropbox: "When you share a link to a video, the recipients will be able to stream up to 15 minutes of it on the preview page of the Dropbox website. To view a longer video in its entirety, they'll need to download the file or watch it using one of our mobile apps."

Pre-production began at the end of Summer 1993.

First a little background about how all this blog on it came to be.

I was recently contacted by Jeffro Brunk on Facebook. That's him on the right below. They are making a documentary about early 90s public access cable productions.
"Channeling Yourself" documentarians: JoanE O'Brian, Judith Card, Jim Yaeger and Jeffro Brunk (right)
Jason Hughes and Kelly Hughes (not related)
Jeffro had been told by filmmaker, Kelly Hughes, about our project. That's Kelly above on the right..

About Kelly and crew

Kelly contacted me on Stage32, a web site for people into film productions. He invited me to his showing about his films at Crypticon 2015 hosted at the SeaTac Hilton on the weekend of May 22nd. So, I went and I had a really great time. I also met some talented actors like Jason Hughes (no relation to Kelly), Noel Austin and Stephanie Lee and the rather amazing 76 year old Betty Marshall, representing actors from Kelly's newer and older works.

Here's another blog with more on Kelly and crew.

Kelly produced “Heart Attack Theater,” in 1991-1993, that showed a new 30 minute narrative film each week of locally produced horror. I got a chance to meet and hang with Kelly and associates at Crypticon 2015 here in Washington and we had quite a day and evening getting to know one another.
From Heart Attack Theatre
From a write up about Kelly:

"Kelly Hughes: "HEART ATTACK! The Early Pulse Pounding Cinema of Kelly Hughes. From 1991-1993, while Nirvana and Twin Peaks made the Pacific Northwest hip, Hughes quietly created an unprecedented body of work on Seattle's public access TV. His weekly series Heart Attack Theatre was the video equivalent of grunge rock. Aiming for a classy Twilight Zone style suspense anthology, he ended up with a John Waters-esque shock-a-thon, shooting most of his footage in and around his apartment near the University of Washington. In this documentary, Hughes interviews his actors to reveal a pre-YouTube era of do-it-yourself film-making. And showcases his native Seattle in all its trashy glory."

Now, about Jeffro and crew. 

They are working on a documentary about early 90s Seattle area public access cable producers and filmmakers. Jeffro and associate's documentary on Seattle's 90s cable public access is titled, Channeling Yourself

Both Jeffro and Kelly had displayed interest in seeing our LIS documentary, so I decided to dig it up. I found the original tapes, burned them to DVD, ripped the video from it so I could use it to make the show available to the public and finally, tried to upload them to YouTube as I mentioned above. But I got an array of refusals due to copyright infringements. Well, no surprise there, really. However it was something we didn't have to worry about in our not for profit public access cable TV productions.

I challenged the claim with YouTube about rejecting this video under fair use laws. Here is my challenge to YouTube submitted 5/27/2015:

"This is an historical document that was legally aired as it is here, on public access TV in 1994 and published here merely for historical purposes as related to cable television history. No money has ever or will ever be made from it. Those who own copyright are only receiving free advertising in a positive light by the existence of this document being made available online. Only bits and pieces of media are being used and not in their entirety. Credit is given at the end of the film as best as was known during the period of it's original airing.
"The published or unpublished nature of the original work is only a determining factor in a narrow class of cases. In 1992, Congress amended the Copyright Act to add that fair use may apply to unpublished works. See 17 U.S.C. § 107. This distinction remains mostly to protect the secrecy of works that are on their way to publication. Therefore, the nature of the copyrighted work is often a small part of the fair use analysis, which is more often determined by looking at the remaining three factors.""

Here is a screen shot of the alleged copyright infringements on YouTube:

Rights issues with posting on YouTube
And here's their response to my challenge (I got a few of these emails covering all the disputes):

Hi JZ Murdock, 
Good news! Your dispute wasn’t reviewed within 30 days, so the copyright claim on your YouTube video has now been released by FOX. 
Video title: "Lost in Space - a documentary (1993) Viacom Public Access Cable TV Seattle" 
- The YouTube Team 

Awesome! And here's some other responses to my challenge:

"Hi JZ Murdock,
After reviewing your dispute, UMG has decided that their copyright claim is still valid.
Video title: Lost in Space - a documentary (1993) Viacom Public Access Cable TV Seattle
Copyrighted song: Force Majeure
Claimed by: UMG
View claim details
Why this can happen
The copyright owner might disagree with your dispute.
The reason you gave for disputing the claim may have been insufficient or invalid.
- The YouTube Team"

Okay that one wasn't so awesome. Since Fox dropped their claims on the video clips of LIS here's what it looks like now on YouTube:
latest rights issues Fox relented it seems
I could remove the music altogether (and with the editing issues I had regarding music, why should this surprise me?), and then I could post the video. Decisions, decisions....but what this tells me is the [Merlin] Beggars company are kind of jerks.

If I could make money on this video on YouTube, they're welcome to it. I got this also from YouTube:

"Appeal reinstated claim
Are you sure you want to appeal?
You will be required to provide your contact information to the claimant.
An appeal will result in either:
the release of a claim on your video
OR a legal copyright notification from the claimant. In this event your video will be taken down and you will receive a copyright strike on your account. If you have received additional copyright strikes, this may suspend your YouTube account Learn more"

Nice. Well, I'll let it sit there and see what happens over the next few weeks. My brother said this happened to him once using Pink Floyd music. Then a few weeks later his video simply went live. So, who knows?

Then the next day I received this email:

"Hi JZ Murdock,
After reviewing your dispute, SME and WMG has decided to release their copyright claim on your YouTube video. However, there may be additional copyright claims on this video.
Video title: Lost in Space - a documentary (1993) Viacom Public Access Cable TV Seattle
View claim details
- The YouTube Team "

So hey, I don't know....

As far as I can tell now I only have to wait to see what happens with the [Merlin] Beggars group.

Regardless, the LIS video is available on Dropbox (see above) and I can still after all, show it privately.

Anyway, because of the editing issues (see below...somewhere) only a few of the many songs I used as background music are actually present anyway. I am assuming they are still actually on the master tape, I just can't hear them on a regular VHS player, so the possibility exists that at some point, I could see (and hear) the original version of this that I had edited.

Songs included (thanks to our music director, Joaquin Olson): Coil, Tones on Tail, Clannad, Brian Eno & David Byrne, Wang Chung, Tangerine Dream, Berlin, Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, Julie Cruise, Soft Cell, Chris Isaac, James Horner, and Peter Gabriel. Also with "Love All The Hurt Away" (duet with George Benson) by Aretha Franklin, which was the music on the music video of LIS scenes which we got from someone else and is a funny and entertaining piece.

After having spent hours going through my boxes of media before and completely expecting this to happen this time too, I opened the first box in storage and there were both tapes, sitting right on top and together!

I watched it for the first time in many years as I was burning it to DVD and realized that Jeffro and Kelly were both right. That regardless of the issues and errors involved, I really should make it available to the public and most especially fans of LIS, as well as those interested in early public access cable TV shows.

the burned show to DVD
History of the project and LGN Productions

In the summer of 1993 I was looking for a project to do. I had separated from my son's mother and I needed something to capture my attention other than dwelling on my rather miserable life at the time.

I had previously tried to start a magazine, "The Journal of Extraordinary Diversions", which later became a web site under that title starting in 1994. And it's still up and running, though mostly unused for historical purposes just because it's been online for so very long. It was started as a web site for film productions and writers and extraordinary pursuits in general.

It is one of the oldest, continuously running web sites still on the internet. It has a Martial Arts section that won a couple of awards in the 90s.

I built another site, no longer running that I sold on eBay years ago. I set it up for my wife (my daughter's mother) who was a horse trainer. I called it, "The Equitation Station". It became internationally known and respected until she got out of the horse show industry (Arabian horses) and I sold it off sadly, to someone who only used it to direct people to their sales web for something un-horse related. Had I known that, I wouldn't have sold it to them. People were disappointed for a while over that.

Later yet, I tried to start an online company for displaying all restaurant menus in the Seattle area (of which there were more than 5,000). Start up money was an issue as were technology issues. This was an idea before its time. Something I keep running into in my life. Like with my screenplay, Ahriman, of which I didn't see some concepts used in that screenplay, in films for nearly ten years after initially writing it in 1984 in college.

The magazine software I had been using kept having issues, crashing repeatedly and requiring rebuilding until I just gave up. Such was the hardware and software back then with a dual 5.25" floppy disk drive system. Once the OS floppy filled up, that was it. I would lose whatever I had done. Once on that system, I lost what I felt was the most perfect short story I'd ever written. Though I tried to rewrite it immediately, it was just never the same.

Having just had a new born son, I finally and begrudgingly gave up on the magazine. On the restaurant company, I was going to call it, Cafe Menu. But as I said, it was just too soon technology-wise as I would have had to use BBS (Bulletin Board Systems) software which required people to dial up on slow modems and use a phone line for each connection.

Later on several years later the company (1995) picked up my idea on their own and went with it. It has since morphed into other sites and now basically is But had not done as good of a job for what I had planned out in researching and developing it out, in how to give people a restaurant experience specific to each restaurant. Nor has Yelp although their customer review concept has worked out quite well for them as a business model.

I had been told about the Viacom public access cable channel 29 and so I started watching it. It was crazy. I loved it. My friends loved it. Essentially, it was the Wild West on cable. The Seattle PI newspaper has done an article on it that talks about the new Channeling Yourself documentary.

Some public access cable producers like myself (no I didn't do this) would stare at the camera and scream their frustrations. And people would call back in and yell back. There was a couple on a garden show that eventually went on to more legitimate (pay) cable channel. One woman would read interesting and weird stuff and dance naked around candles (“Goddess Kring,” Shannon Kringen, 1996 – 2011, Access’ most recognizable poet and artist. Best remembered for dancing and self body painting while reciting verse, often partially naked.).

Then, there was hot tub girl. What a riot she was.
Donna Marie on Hot Tub TV 1996
One fan favorite was Donna Marie who held a talk show at a different person's hot tub every week around the Pacific Northwest. Basically, hot tub, bikini and drinks. It was all pretty fun, intriguing and sometimes questionable, but always fun and fascinating. Donna went on to become a minor celebrity whom I would see in years later from time to time on various other shows including the Howard Stern Show.

So, I found out how to become a public access cable producer. I started talking to my friends John and Gordon about doing a documentary, my brother Marvin and my friend Joaquin. John, wasn't very into the idea however.

Still, I signed up. I attended the required class and was given access to the studio and equipment. Pretty cool. People were signing up to be on crews. I was, a bit shy about it. Dumb. Just dumb.

Anyway, the end result?

Lost In Space - a documentary (1993)

We decided to give the show overall a title of "Studio 100" in case our hopes that it might develop into other topics as it was with LIS, might eventually come to fruition. I had hoped for the first show to be on Star Trek, but John wasn't a big fan of that idea so that wasn't going to happen. Besides I didn't have the wealth of knowledge about Star Trek like John did about Lost In Space. We talked about several possibilities for topics but I always avoided Lost in Space. John didn't bring it up either because he didn't think about it, or thought I would reject it outright.

LIS Fan Tech Manual
Which was when it dawned on me that with John's being such a big (huge) fan of LIS, and with his having been an active fan and contributing to LIS fan Technical Manuals about the show, it would be an obvious draw for him.

As I remember it John got screwed over by one of the guys making one of the tech manuals. I seem to remember something about John submitting drawings and the guy redoing them (and not as well) just so he could claim credit or something like that, thereby cutting John out of it. Pretty low if you ask me. I don't remember if the one displayed above was the one John was working on or not, but it does look familiar.

Anyway, you get the idea.

Over the years we'd had many hours of enjoyable if pitched, but friendly debates over the importance of Star Trek vs Lost In Space, and TV sci fi in general. It was our favorite pastime.

So one day I pitched the idea to him. Even though he still was difficult about joining the project, I knew from the beginning that he would do it. Not that he made it easy. Then again, no one else wanted to get in front of the camera, either. And I know I didn't want to. I'd been there, done that. So I have to give him credit for at least doing it.

Half way through post production, I happened to meet the woman who would become my (next) wife. She is mentioned in the end credits in thanking Carin Anderson. We married in 1994, divorced in 2002). So I ended up moving out of Seattle and in with her better situation than my Sandpoint studio apartment ("You can see Mt Rainier...if you stretch and look hard), which made finishing the project more difficult than it already had been.

I would to stay late in town after my day job at the UW Personnel office in order to edit, sometimes until late into the night. I was seldom alone in the editing room. The next morning I still had to get up and commute that miserable I-5 commute from Auburn, Washington to be at work on time, bright eyed and well... you get the idea. And my boss was a stickler for being on time. This was after five years of working at the UW in MCIS on a VAX mainframe at night, autonomously, with "God" control of the Radiology and Pathology mainframe for two major Seattle medical centers.

It got to be a problem to finish the project so that at times, I wasn't as sharp in the editing bay as I needed to be. And due to various other issues I was the primary editor.

Had I not met my wife to be at that time, I originally had all intent of doing other shows. That just never happened with my new living arrangements. And so, "Lost In Space - a documentary" became our only production.

Once I had finished post on it I took it down to the cable production office and submitted it for an "air" date. On the Saturday night on which it was to show, and it seems to me that was a couple of weeks or so from my submission date, I sat down to watch it at my girlfriend's apartment. We were living on an expensive horse farm owned by the wife of a local construction company magnate where she was the junior trainer at that time on the White River in Auburn, Washington.Anyone who knows horses around there, knows who I'm talking about.

Now, if you used the Viacom station's equipment you had to air your finished product at least once, though you could submit as available for other cablecasting dates. Although I used my own miserable tripod without a fluid head which is readily apparent in the video, and I used my own VHS camera, I did use their editing equipment.. The tape I used was high quality half inch TDK brand HDX-pro (high def) 120 VHS video tape in my standard full sized VHS camera, similar to this one below. The same tape I'd used in college only now it was color and not reel to reel. And it worked.

I was also using an SLR still camera tripod, a typical rookie mistake. There is nothing like a good fluid head tripod for shooting video for that smooth panning action. You can see why in the first shots of John talking outside at NOAA as the jerking of the shot distracts you during the panning action of the camera in following him walking back and forth. Which I had told him not to do because of the tripod. But he was so nervous, he said he couldn't stop doing it. He WAS doing it, so there wasn't much I could say.
Sharp VHS Camcorder/Player; Model VL-L280C Photo
Also, as Viacom used public bandwidth, they had by law no editorial license to tell you what to or not to put on their cable channel. Which was AWESOME. I wish it still existed like that. Thus, you got to see some very interesting shows on public access.

For more, see Jeffro's upcoming documentary about it or visit some of the links I've supplied here about it.

A few things became readily apparent on my viewing our project on live cablecast for the first time. These were issues with the production tape that went on to be cablecast, which had slipped right by me.

Allow me to explain. Mid-post production I had shown up to edit one night only to be told that they had sent MY (okay, THEIR) Panasonic VHS to VHS editor to California for repairs. They said to just use another editing bay. So I signed in on another editor and immediately realized it simply wasn't working right.

That one editor sent off to be repaired had to have been haunted or something. Because my master tape wasn't working as it had on that other editor.I couldn't hear some of the music on the other editor.

I came to realize that I either had to start all over or simply wait for the old editor to be repaired and returned. Which is what I decided to do. See I'd had to use various VHS tapes from John that he had acquired over the years, for bits of scenes that I used and then returned the tapes to John. As well as various audio tapes. It was all pieced together on the master VHS tape. In case you don't know, many audiophiles back then thought video tape was superior to audio tape and recorded their audio on video.

So to start over would be a complicated mess. Not to mention resynching all the music... again.

I dropped by the studio several times, but no editor. It was delayed for some reason. So I started to call instead and about a month or so later (seemingly forever), the editor was finally repaired, returned and I was able to get back to editing. Which I did. I then applied the end titles on the rolling title machine in the back corner of the editing bays..

It wasn't however until it aired that I realized that most of the show didn't have any of the underlying background music that I had so carefully edited in. You can see the list in the end titles of all the music that I'd included. Why I chose Tones On Tail's, "Christian Says", which you can hear in the first part of the documentary (the part done before the editor broke) is quite beyond me. Other than I simply liked the tune and the tone of it. That band's name by the way (Tones on Tail) came from the tones they always heard on the end of their studio master audio tape's tail end.

The music issue was beyond my control.

UPDATE: When Kelly Hughes read this blog he had this to say about my background music issues, which I found interesting:

"I think anyone who made programming for channel 29 can relate to the technical nightmares. I would always add my music to a separate track. And the playback operator needed to know to have a certain switch turned on. Otherwise, there would be no music. So every time I turned my tape in, I included a note. Since I had a weekly time slot, I think they got the hint after awhile. But it was pretty nerve wracking not knowing if your show would be presented the way I intended. I did have episodes where they didn't turn on that switch. And my music was missing. The playback deck was a Panasonic S-VHS. The identical deck to what I edited on at home. So luckily, I was pretty familiar with it."

Well nuts, who knew? I wasn't familiar with it. The studio employees possibly knew but I was shy and didn't ask for much help beyond my own crew. Who knew less than I did.


In reflection I can see now that I should have played the production tape once on another machine. Like mine, at home. But it hadn't occurred to me and I figured the station's players were far beyond the quality of my home player (which may prove the point, but hey, too late now). But why would it dawn on me to check the tape elsewhere? After all it worked fine as far as I could tell.

However there were other issues that were fully on myself in my editing. For instance?

My number one mistake is in the after-title description where it says clearly on screen in a superimposition.

 "Lost I Space"

Not "Lost in Space". "Lost "I" Space". Good grief. Face palm. Head banging on desk.

Sigh....that was my first sign something was going terribly wrong while I watched its first cablecasting from home that February of 1994.John watched it from his home. There was an after airing phone call. It was, interesting. Not fun, but interesting. I mean, we're both kind of perfectionists.

The Production

John had begrudgingly agreed to be the host and narrator. Gordon, the interviewer.

The interviewer was so talkative and aggressive because John needed to be prompted. As I indicated, he didn't really want to be the one interviewed but he had all the info and he knew it only made sense. I didn't think his screen presence was all that bad either, it just needed practice. Though he had to be prompted initially at the beginning, just to get him going, he then picked it up and did quite well.

I had wanted to do rehearsals but John wouldn't hear of it. He just wanted to get it over and done with. Well, I'll give him credit for actually doing it, and getting it done. Even if it did mean we couldn't reshoot some scenes.

For instance, I wanted to reshoot the part in front of NOAA (the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, at Lake Washington in Seattle. That is at Magnuson Park in the Sandpoint area of Seattle. It looked futuristic and not a building everyone knew. Meaning, it wasn't like the Space Needle or the famous Seattle Science Center arches, or something.

There is a scene where John is kneeling down with a model of the Jupiter 2 in hand. At first you don't even notice the model. He was holding it too low. I wanted to reshoot it, but he didn't want to. It works, but just barely.

That happened a couple of times but there were a few times we did reshoot right after, making the initial shoot a rehearsal. Such as his NOAA opening which I think we redid about three times. Each time he was getting a little more annoyed but he also did better each time as he was getting more relaxed and more into character in front of the camera.

There is a SUPERIMPOSITION on screen where we used the single word "SMEG" to offset a new section: The Interview. It was an obvious nod to Red Dwarf on printed plates and followed with other plates of printed commentary introducing that section. We had discussed that it was obviously off track from LIS and somewhat disruptive to the LIS focus. But hey, we were such fans of Red Dwarf we felt we simply had to add it in... somewhere.

The SUPER saying that the interviewer was "rabid" and that there was only one mic was an after thought. We just thought we needed to explain why he didn't have a mic at times and why he talked so much. Which again, was all to try and keep John on a roll and upbeat. You can see a few times where John is getting irritated but then he pushes on..We may have reshot parts of the interview as he was home and felt more comfortable.

John's "studio" for the interview segment was actually his apartment on Capitol Hill in Seattle at the north end of Broadway, about half a block north from the Harvard Exit theatre. We thought it would look on screen like a production company office or his personal art studio.

During the interview there is a short section that is repeated. First of all we realized we needed an interview. There was just too much info to get out and an interview was settled on for the most natural way to get it out. I also wanted the audience to get to know John better considering all he knew and had done in fandom. He just wasn't getting the recognition I thought he deserved.

Artistically we didn't think that would be such a bad thing having a few seconds of a previously shown section repeated, as it was a short middle of a bigger and previously unseen\unheard part framing it. But it was later realized to have been a mistake and should have instead had a jump cut skipping that repeated part as it simply went on just a bit too long for it to be reasonably ignored and seen as stylistic.

The shots of the interviewer (Gordon) were also an afterthought when it was realized that the audience really needed to\should see who was talking because of how much he ended up talking overall. Some shots of the interviewer could also have been held for maybe a second or so longer. These pick up shots were done after the interview had been shot.

In the interview John got more relaxed requiring less and less prompting as he started to get into it. But by then the interviewer was getting too used to talking so much and a few times goes on a bit long. The one mic situation at times only making things worse.

The reason we did the LIS doc was that I just wanted to produce something and I wanted John's help. I wanted to do something with someone and a close friend was most desired. Besides, he had a wealth of info on LIS and though he wasn't at all interested in doing a production, I realized LIS would or could suck him into the project.

Indeed, when I came up with the proposition to him I think he knew at that moment that I had him. Though he continued to grumble and needed to be led into it (dragged, coerced, threatened....). But honestly? I think he enjoyed it. Now? He doesn't seem to want anything to do with much of anything from those days, sadly.

Now for myself, I didn't exactly want to do a LIS documentary. But it was a meeting of the minds on that, which got it to happen. So that became the project. As it was, John was hesitant and took a lot of convincing (coercing? promises?) throughout the project and he threatened to walk a few times. Though I'm not sure he really would have, he certainly threatened it. It was a struggle for control between producer and talent. Bet that never happened before or since, right?.

John didn't seem to get that the interviewer needed to play ignorant as a process of an interview, to prompt him to talk about what he knew, to set him up with softball questions so that in his being asked for instance, who produced LIS, you can see the annoyance on his face in actually having to say the name, his hero, Irwin Allen. It was so obvious, but was it to the viewers? So he realized it was info that  needed to get out, to be included and to be exposed in an orderly fashion as the interview went on.

Though I was actually a fan of both (that is to say, I WATCHED LIS as a kid as much as it annoyed me at times and as much as I wanted Dr. Smith to die, Die, DIE, so very, many times....), I was a essentially for all intents and purposes a die hard Star Trek fan.

John was obviously a big LIS fan. For years prior to this we had many arguments over which was a better show, etc., in friendly confrontations that after years became a more cliche thing between us and lasted less and less time as we had grown a short hand in debating the issue. We already knew what each would say ahead of time.

Almost as if we were practicing through much of our lives to do a documentary on LIS.

Dr. Smith annoyed me so much during the show that I came to have a love \ hate relationship with the show overall. But in Star Trek, it was pure love. The first time I ever missed a Star Trek episode my mother and grandmother had taken me with them to return a vacuum. I watched the clock in the car with my grandmother while my mother was in the store, seemingly forever. I was maybe in 7th grade at the time and was in tears by time my mother returned to the car as I knew that the show had already started and for the first time, I knew I had missed the opening scene of a Star Trek episode. I never had that reaction to Lost in Space.

We got home that evening half way through the Star Trek episode and my younger brother was lying on the floor watching it. I was pretty upset. My mother said, "Well, you can watch the last half of it anyway." Not helpful mom!

Not understanding that would ruin the show for me, I left her in the living room confused and headed upstairs to my bedroom instead, hoping someday I'd get to see the full episode from the beginning. Not having any idea the show would last only three years... or, that it would go into syndication purgatory nearly forever. Or spawn other Star Trek TV shows, or films, or reboot films.

I had no idea I was watching the birth of franchise history in action. Lost in Space, but obviously, lesser so.

With John, LIS was pure love, perhaps as it was his first sci fi TV show. He was at the right age for it to imprint. I was older than him by a few years and grew up with more of the 50s early 60s sci fi films and TV shows. So I was a little more advanced when LIS hit the scene and then more so with Star Trek which he may have been too young for at the time, though he grew to love it in later years.

After LIS's first half season (we figured after the initial five or six original episodes, which were pretty good, Star Trek pretty much blew LIS out of the water... in my mind anyway.

But not John's. But then he is wrong. And, after all this is my blog and not his. He can write his own recount of history. No worry John, if you read this. I love you brother. He's since moved out of state years ago and we don't talk too often anymore.

I'm still hoping there is maybe a possibility to get a fully functional copy with all the music included, but then perhaps not. One of the great things about technology as it advances, that things that weren't possible only a few years ago, can suddenly become very possible.

As for Jeffro's documentary, I'm looking forward to seeing Channeling Yourself. I've given Jeffro and his crew (JoanE O'Brian, Judith Card, Jim Yaeger), a chance to hear about this project of ours and to view the documentary itself and we shall see what we shall see.

As for Kelly Hughes, I hear he's coming over to visit next week to do some location scouting for a new project.

20 Years, 5 Lessons

What I learned through our LIS documentary project:

- Preparation. The more you prepare, the less trouble you end up having.
- Know your equipment. First and foremost, know (learn) your equipment and use the best and most appropriate equipment available to you
- Volunteers. Use volunteers, but if they are trouble lose them (and as soon as is reasonable but finish the project if you can). Then if they were trouble in your last project, don't use them on your next project.
- Help. Don't shy away from asking for help, or finding it. You will always need more than you think you do.
- Resources. Use your resources in your studio, crew or talent. The quality of the end product is what is important, the viewer's experience. Make it as easy on the viewer as possible so they will want to view your work the next time.

In closing... whenever you get a chance to do something out of the ordinary such as we did as public access cable TV producers, I'd suggest you go for it.

Many thanks to John, Gordon, Marvin, and Joaquin, all who are mentioned in the end titles. As well, thanks to the Viacom station crew at the time, Erik, Patty and John: Jeffro was a part of that station crew at some point but I don't remember ever meeting him. Thanks to him and his crew and Kelly and his.

End titles thank you
To all of those cable employees, crews and producers from back then... hey, look how long we've lasted and all these years later our stuff is still being seen and enjoyed!


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