Alas, the show ran but one season and then disappeared. But it remained close to my heart as one of my first (and ultimately, few) professional writing jobs. I typed out the first two episodes on my portable typewriter (Seriously, Google it) and used my first paycheck to buy my very first computer, so I could type future scripts on a word processor. My first computer was an Atari, which is all I could afford with that first paycheck. But I could play “Space Invaders” whenever I got writer’s block.
So, years later, I’m a member of the Activities Committee for the Writers Guild of America, East. One of our duties is to organize the annual Writers Guild Awards held sometime before the Academy Awards, in the thick of awards season. It was a dinner back then, and we were always looking for different venues to have it in. This particular year we wound up using the newly-reopened “Windows of the World” atop the WTC.
In addition to our duties leading up to the dinner, we had to work the dinner itself. Yeah, we attended free but we were on the clock. The job I usually took was award mule. You know on the Oscars or Emmys or Tonys, that beautiful girl who walks the statue out to the winner once he or she is announced? That was me at the WGA Awards. There were other things to be done, including wrangle and herding our celebrity presenters into the venue. I never took these jobs. I just felt I would screw up in some manner in front of stars like Dustin Hoffman, Dick Cavett, Steve Allen or Conan O’Brian. So I begged off and steered clear of the talent. Until this year. Jerry Orbach was one of our presenters.
Armed with my Roy Rodgers paper place mat (which featured the Galaxy Rangers from their merchandizing tie in a decade earlier) I made it a point to step up to the stars to brief each on what was expected, since there was no rehearsal. After giving Mr. Orbach the spiel I asked him if he could do me a favor? “Sure,” he responded (I’m paraphrasing here).
I told him how GR was my first real writing job and I would be honored if he could autograph my place mat. He chuckled and did so. Smiling, his wife asked, “Where do you people come from that know about that show?” Assuming she hadn’t heard, I repeated that I wrote for the show. Then I asked, “Has this come up before?” She told me that indeed people did mention the show to him. I was stunned! Who beside the people who worked the show (and some of them were hazy on the topic) would remember this show? And that’s how I learned the Internet was my friend.
I Googled “Galaxy Rangers” and discovered quite a rabid fan base out there who did truly love the show. Shallow as I am, I signed onto their email server list and traded emails with them. They were thrilled to have one of the writers in the midst. I was considered a god among them. They were easily impressed. The show had played around the world. There were toys in Europe. Fans in Australia. VHS tapes on Ebay. I wrote some stuff for them as they began setting up websites. I shared my insights to the show and my souvenirs. Years later, when Transmedia Productions announced they were finally putting the whole season on DVD, it was the fans that hounded them with questions and requests. One fan had contacted them and talked them into taking questions from the fans to be answered by the show’s creator as one of the DVD extras.
So, me, in a snarky mood, asked “Hey, why aren’t the writers being featured?” She actually passed that along to the producers. A couple of weeks later, I got an email from them asking if I wanted to participate in the DVD. Guess what? I said yes. So, there I am, with my frequent co-writer and cohort John Rawlins, talking about our time on the show being a DVD extra and, bringing the rambling full circle, getting to be part of the tribute reel they put together for Jerry Orbach that was included.