Plot in Pictures
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Random S-A-V-E-W-H-O Memories by Rob Warnock, 2000
First off there's no way it could've been 15 years ago. Now that that's out of the way, I guess I'll start. Considering that it really was 15 years ago, it's really hard for me to remember a lot of what happened, so I'm just going to randomly throw things out as I think of them.
I'm not really sure where the original idea to do S-A-V-E-W-H-O came from. I think we just had a bunch of random scenes that we'd come up with, but no way of linking them. I think the "cancellation crisis" is what gave us the format for being able to tie them all together. I think having a lot of different short scenes helped because it meant that we couldn't shoot the whole thing in one day like we had done until that point. I can't even remember what the first scene we shot was anymore. (Jennifer, come to the rescue.) (Katy Womaning's interview, shot June 14, 1985; I missed it since I had my convocation to go to....--JAK) So, here are things that I actually do remember....
Pat Engle being really pissed off most of the time because we accidentally blew him up during the last scene where the 6th Doctor shoots the 4th Doctor. Well, OK, we didn't really blow him up, but I think he did get burned. Anyway, it meant that he only appeared off camera for the "Hand of Fear" and "City of Death" scenes because we couldn't get him to get back into costume.
The day we had to shoot the "Deadly Assassin" scene, we needed a doll to be the shrunken victim. Of course, we didn't plan ahead so John Wirth, Steve Shiller and I went to the store in costume to buy some cheap Barbie or something. Naturally when we got to the checkout there was no price on it. The cashier got on the loudspeaker to scream, "I need a price check on a Barbie!" I think that was just in case there was anyone left in the store that hadn't seen us. I think we did tend to wear our costumes in public a lot back in those days, though, because we were complete, idiotic spuds.
Then there was the "Two Doctors" scene that we shot at Taco Bell (so it would look like Spain). The manager came out to ask us what we were doing. I tried to leave before I had to answer, but wasn't quick enough. Of course pretty much everyone else had already bailed by that point, so I was stuck there trying to explain what we were doing outside of Taco Bell w/ a camera and people dressed in something akin to tin foil.
No Federation production in those days would've been complete without a trip to the beach. As usual, pre-planning made sure that Chris' Rabbit ran out of gas on the way there. Luckily Dennis came by and bailed us out quite by accident. I seem to remember Jennifer and I staying in the car so that we didn't have to walk around in our costumes. I think I always felt slightly dumber doing that than other people. Of course it could've been worse. At least that day I was playing the 5th Doctor, and not Victoria. Speaking of which, I'm not sure who's idea it was to have guys play some of the female companions this time around, but I'd like to find out who set this wonderful precedent. Although I guess it was a good idea since I remember my reaction the first time I saw Pat Reardon as Dodo. And then there's Maude (Chris as Barbara). I just wish I had been around when the "Unearthly Child" scene was being shot with Chris and Pat in drag outside of the scrapyard at closing time when all of the butch workers were leaving.
The "Unearthly Child" scene with the 1st Doctor beating up Susan is still on of my favorites. Along with "Ha! Klotons", the aforementioned "Deadly Assassin" scene, and the two Romanas fighting scene (see if you can spot Jennifer and Sue laughing). The most fun scene to shoot, however, for me, was the 5th Doctor Androgum scene. Mmmmmmm, Ho-Ho's, celery and popcorn. What a wonderful combination. I suppose if I'm mentioning my favorite scene, I should mention my least favorite. The 5th Doctor cabaret scene. I still cringe when I watch it. Or usually conveniently leave the room. In fact, I think I'll leave now.
Jennifer recalls in 2000....
The making of S-A-V-E-W-H-O has become completely entwined with my graduation from college it isn't funny. As I face the 15th anniversary of one, I face the 15th anniversary of the other (which means that next year, I hit the 20th anniversary of becoming a Doctor Who fan and graduating high school— and, really, I am too young to have graduated that long ago!)
We worked on the S-A-V-E-W-H-O script throughout the spring of 1985. Rob and Chris and I would write bits on our own during the week, and get together on Saturdays (frequently with Chris hauling both Rob and his Trash-80 computer down from Libertyville--we would camp out in the lounge across from my dorm room) to review what we wrote and put the good stuff into the computer. (One Saturday session was enhanced by Philip wanting to try out his new bartending skills, since he was taking a mini-course in it. Ideas just seemed to flow once we all had a couple of grasshoppers in us. Ah, the joys of being newly-legal to drink! Not that Rob was....)
We were originally going to start filming a week earlier than we did, but the weather was so crappy we postponed it. Chris was grumpy that I insisted that we not film on June 15th-- silly me for wanting to have a graduation party! Rob filmed some stuff with his sister Kathy the evening of the 14th (the Katy interview, and I think the Servaspam bit at the Taco Bell), and then we returned to Northwestern on Sunday the 16th to film a lot of Peewee and Tommy bits. (Rob was grumpy because, even though we were going to do some 5th Doctor stuff that day, we fell behind and had to reschedule it. The shot of him passing the camera with a drink at the beginning of the "Jo leaves the Doctor" sequence is the only time he appeared on camera that day, and he made sure for some time afterwards that we were well aware of that fact!)
We filmed every day the following week, always meeting at Chris' house before going off to film (if we were in fact going someplace). One morning we spent at Libertyville High School. One afternoon (detailed in Rob's memories), we ran out of gas. We had so much to film, and really so little time to film it in, that it has all become one big blur to me. Things that stand out, though, are
I got to help with the editing, mostly because Chris had access to real equipment through his school but wasn't as familiar with it as I was. We did a lot of split audio in the production, which really helps give it an air of professionalism. We slogged down to Columbia College for most of a month to get it done. (We were trying to get it done in time to bring to Panopticon in New Orleans the end of July.)
S-A-V-E-W-H-O is still one of my all-time favorite Federation productions. In 1993, I had an Aussie guy come up to me at Visions and ask if I was the girl who played most of the companions in it! I can safely say that the production has made its way around the world!