File: FF
Date: 08/29/2001
Hi everybody!

Welcome back to another fun episode of Ebertsí Files! My name is (as always) Mike and Iím here to keep you as close to being on the set of I-Man as possible without actually being there. Itís our gift to you, the fans, for your wonderful contributions to this show. So letís get started!

This week we found out more about Darienís family in Father Figure. Now I generally found this to be a touching, exciting, funny episode that is worthy of everything that we try to accomplish here at I-Man. However, I think we all know the major problem in this episode and I would be remiss and a Ďhomerí if I didnít address it.

To be very honest, I was extremely disappointed and embarrassed by our major backstory gaff. Science fiction deals with the future and the fantastic, so therefore it must strictly adhere to itís past. Because we are presenting things that are fantastic and bend reality, the past must remain concrete to allow us to suspend our belief. Without it, anything we do can be invalidated and the concept of an invisible man can suddenly seem like so much childrenís fair. To be sure, this was not a fatal blow, but the fact that it slipped through the cracks at every level is very disappointing and Iím not afraid to say that. I think you all deserve better and on behalf of us I apologize. I promise that if we return for another season, I will do everything within my meager sphere of power to prevent from happening again.

All right, enough with the downy-clowny stuff, letís jump into Father Figure with some Tidbits!

The best thing about this episode it by far Gloria Stewart. She is the entire reason this episode exists and itís certainly a very good reason. Gloria is 90+ years young and showed each and everyone of us what acting was really about. To think that she had filmed the original "The Invisible Man" 67 years ago is breath taking. No one at that dinner table had been born while she was filming.

The first scene we all shot with Gloria was the dinner scene. For the first time in the history of I-Man, all six of the lead actors were in their positions BEFORE they were called on set. We were all so excited that we just sort of arrived early and waited for Gloria to show up. The crew gave us a hard time about that. Gloria received a wonderful round of applause when she walked on set.

There was a cut section at the dinner table where Paul is ad-libbing and he slaps me on the back and laughs "Charlie Brown, youíre a good man!" It was a hard slap on the back and my reaction I think indicated it.

The food was all real and edible, but it was cold and to keep continuity none of us ate. The shot of the turkey was an insert. The food being bullet-ridden was filmed later. The insert director really wanted to blow up the turkey but it never happened.

Gloria is a very bright and witty person. She had all her lines down pat. The hardest thing she had to do was remember our names and who we were. With six people around the table and odd pronoun agreements (to the Official: "Mr. Hobbes tells me that you and Mr. Eberts work for him") she often got confused as to who she was addressing. She slipped on a line only once and apologized for it. We then informed her that most of us never know our lines and she felt much better about it.

Mrs. Stewart also talked about her experience on the original "Invisible Man". In particular, she wasnít too fond of her co-star Claude Raines. Fresh from the theatre, Claude kept trying upstage Gloria in 50-50 shots (both actors are facing each other). The director would tell him to stop but he would keep on doing it. Evidently he was trying to make Gloria disappear.

The director of the original "Invisible Man", James Whale is the subject of the film "Gods and Monsters". Brandy asked Gloria if she had seen it. Gloria replied that she had received a private showing. Obviously affectionate for James, she said that the film captured a lot of him, but that "Nothing could ever show you what a kind and unique gentlemen he was."

Gloria was telling a story in between takes when a 1st A.D. told her that they were ready to shoot. Gloria turned to him and said with pretty clear resolve "I havenít finished my story yet." The A.D. wisely backed away and every one present listened to the woman with 70 years acting experience in over 25 films and an academy award nomination finish her story.

After she was done filming I had her sign a reproduction of the lobby card for the original Invisible Man. She signed it "Best Wishes to Mike, Gloria, Stewart". It is now framed and hangs on my wall. The sense of history that we all received from acting and chatting with Gloria was enormous, and it ranks up there as one of the cooler times of my life.

The second in my "Eberts doing a random action with a prop in a scene", is when we are interrogating the women about Darienís whereabouts. In the beginning youíll notice me playing with the clear glass eagle on the desk. No reason, it was just there so I grabbed it!

Well, there we have it: the good, bad and the ugly of another Eberts File. I hope you enjoyed this installment, because if not then what the heck am I doing writing these! In all seriousness, thank you for being what you are, great fans. Iíll be back in two weeks for "Sense of Community" and hopefully so will you!