Here is the lost 1980 pilot

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jayrath
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Here is the lost 1980 pilot

Postby jayrath » 9 years ago

Good freaking Lord, I have no idea how I was ever to do a commentary on the full run of the series, because I spent four hours just on the pilot today, adding up my thoughts.

Here is a description of, and commentary on, the lost 1980s pilot. I had a search made of all the 1980s series elements. All have been discarded except the pilot. Most sadly, footage shot for a later documentary seems to have been discarded or taped-over. I still have my audio tapes of that. This was all composited onto 3/4 inch audio/video tape -- now a forgotten medium -- so even if everything else is ever rediscovered it will be a chore just finding a facility able to dub the raw elements down into a watchable format. I had the pilot transferred to digital a year ago. It is still mostly unedited, with "begin" and "end" leader film, for editing in Japan.

The pilot was taped in December and January of 1980/81. The initial cast was much, much smaller than the eventual series cast; the production team had to make sure we'd won the bid. So we all had many multiple parts. Patty -- "Astro" -- was very pregnant. We taped the pilotin a TV studio. This was never repeated. When we did the series it was all in radio studios with video playback monitors.

The program:

Laboratory, lots of lightning, etc. I have the first words ever in the series! -- a bald guy with glasses going "whuh?" as a huge robot comes to life. Then it topples, dead, burning. Director Del Lewis as Boynton cries, "Cut the power!" as we go to title.

Titles in my unedited version are in Japanese, and are not the regular series titles.

We see the city. We cut to Boynton at home. Skunk appears in the doorway. "Is your father at home?" Good lord, I was 17 when we did this, and my voice has dropped an octave since.

Toby eavesdrops as I urge Boynton to share his research. I reveal that I have and own the Omega Factor, which he needs for success. On my way out I encounter Toby and and call his dad a fool.

I leave. Dad is unhappy -- "I just can't seem to make a robot like a human." Toby runs to Boynton with a solution -- a boy robot will solve his engineering problems he says.

Next day, Boynton orders changes to "robot Number Five ," to make it a boy. Debbie Holmes is the first female voice in the show, a lab tech.

Toby phones dad -- dad is busy, though he had promised to take Toby to the amusement park. Toby is sad: "But you promised!" Boynton orders Toby and Jump home. Toby takes a robot car, alone.

The car overturns. Jump sniffs at Toby's hat and whimpers. Boynton drives up, cries as we cut to the hospital. Toby's head is bandaged in two ways. Toby is dying. He asks, "That robot you're making? Please name it after me." He goes on to ask for Boynton to "Take good care of it, like you did of me." Those are his last words.. The monitor reads "terminated," which on reflection is extremely disturbing.

Hard cut to lab. Astro has "10,000" horsepower, flying through the air." The lab tech seems to have had a romantic relationship with Boynton, now threatened because of his obsession. "It's like a terrible weapon," she says. We see examples of the boy robot's powers -- lasers, searchlight eyes on the skeletal body and such. All dark, few red spots on the body, glowing eyes. The African-Japenese (?) tech is Paul Nelson, later the voice of adult Atlas. We had lunch togeher a few weeks ago, and he looks just the same.

Many of these scenes were of course integrated into the series.

Whoa! Astro is pretty ugly as a robot here. No rounded head, just a flat skull with flashlight eyes. Whatever he is or will be, Boynton makes all promise that it is a secret!

Hard cut to me, laughing as Skunk. I am photographing all the blueprints for Astro. I moan and laugh.

Next day I take it all to a castle, guided by gargole robots -- the home of -- name not mentioned. In the script he was Walpul Guiss. His name supposedly was a play on "au jus" sandwiches, but I still don't get it. He's a guy with a moustache and sleeping gown. I do his voice, too -- both of us me, playing against each other. It's definitely me; Dave Miller and I often confused parts -- we sounded so similar, but the pitch variation and vocal vibrato is always a sign that it's me. And I remeber doing the overlay, speaking opposite Skunk on the monitor -- lots of track work for the engineers working that night. Anyway, Guiss is delighted. Now he can create "the world's greatest android." He laughs, I laugh as Skunk. Scene darkens, leaving only my evil, glowing eyes.

Cut to prime minister Elefun in the lab -- it's all madness says Brian Perry, the absolute best actor of us all. Contrary to the new movie, Elefun is against everything. But Boynton comes back late a night. Steam issues from Astro's ears and nose, as he comes alive; he has bare feet and toes -- round hollows in his soles where the rockets must be. Music is Wanger's Zarathustra, better known as the theme to "2001: A Space Odyssey."

Astro steps down from his lab table -- and falls over.

Boynton: "I'm your father. Call me dad.

Astro: "D-d-daaad!"

Astro and Boynton at home. Our robot breaks windows naively, he does not know his power. He eats food -- and a metal fork. He's also still naked but for his shorts! Not even any red socks or shoes -- bare legs feet.

Astro discovers he can fly. A very, very famous line among the cast: "Hello, bird!" We thought that was very funny and quoted it for the run of the show.

Wait, something is wrong! Encountering dad, Astro's flashlight eyes glow red! He's transfixed.

Boynton calls Debbie, the lab tech. "It's going to blow up, like Robot Number Four did!" cries another. Debbie: "Doctor, it's going to cause some real problems if that boyu explodes in the middle of town." All-time best line. Ahem. Gee, y'think?

The robot disassembling car is called for. It's big and green.

"No, I love him," says Boynton.

Kids come up to red-eyed, hypnotized Astro, to play. He ignores them."Someone is calling me -- from far way. I wonder who it is?"

Back to Guiss' lab. Astro's twin is born. I appoint pointy Livian -- Debbie Holmes, again -- to take care of him. "Leave the education to Skunk. Boy Atlas looks just like Astro, except he is slimmer and has glowing gold hair. Unlike our boy, he's born with boots -- black ones.

Livian reaches out to touch Atlas -- and is nearly electrocuted!

Shoot, I'm far better as Guiss than as Skunk.

We cut the power!

Meanwhile, Astro comes to himself. "What am I doing here and what's going on?"

Boynton is in the robot disassembliong car.Big fight as everyone figures out what to do.

Astro theme for the first time -- in Japenese in this cut. Astro saves the whole crowd of bystanders from the random shots fired by the disassembling car. It finally takes flight, is torched, and Astro dumps it into the ocean.

But now Boynton is in the hospital. All bandaged as Toby was earlier. Astro visits. The secret of Astro's must be kept, dad says. However, after the day's doings, all must come out. "Okay, dad."

Astro leaves -- or tries to. Jump growls, but then goes along. Boyntom: "You see? He is my son."

Hard cut to boy-Atlas on Guiss' castle parapet. His hair "horns" are on each side. He has golden eye shadow and looks mean.

He speaks: "Livian, my name devil's son . . me? . . . I wonder. What is devil?" He looks out over the countryside, glaring.

I was boy Atlas too, and yeah, it's still a mystery to me.

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jeffbert
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Postby jeffbert » 9 years ago

Thanks, Jay; your contributions to this forum are very much appreciated! :astro: It is a shame that so many scenes were cut that the series dropped an entire episode.
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jayrath
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Postby jayrath » 9 years ago

I have no idea why it was cut up; it began the Atlas story arc perfectly!

sgupta
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Postby sgupta » 9 years ago

Interesting - I like how you document what you were thinking as you did it and also as you listened to it now. Thanks for sharing this. =)

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jayrath
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Postby jayrath » 9 years ago

Thanks. I dub it down to DVDs for everyone, but the rights issue is worrisome. If I can wrangle that, would people want to buy it?

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Postby Soul Rokkuman » 9 years ago

buuu.. and they just cut all that.. it's sounds perfect like the way it was :(

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Postby Anime Girl » 8 years ago

"jayrath" wrote:I have no idea why it was cut up; it began the Atlas story arc perfectly!


Well, I got a sort of a few ideas why it might have gotten cut. I heard from some people that they might have done this to make Atlas a more mysterious character. I heard from someone eles that they episode was exported already pieced together, but that can't be true. I did find the part two of the subtitled lost episode on YouTube, and at the end, Atlas tried to attack Guis for smashing Livian (Livian was cleaning the statues, but one of them fell and broke, so Guis got mad and scrapped her), so I believe that part might have been removed, due to censorship reasons, but that still dosen't explane everything else. :confused:
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avatargirl
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Postby avatargirl » 8 years ago

I know i would buy some dvds on ASTRO BOY

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Postby ASTROBUDDY » 8 years ago

It is interesting to note that the cuts were made after the dubbing had been recorded! That way cuts could be easily made if and where deemed necessary in order to sell to a particular market! It is so obvious to me that the cuts were made as an attempt to meet the practice and standards of the designated area of sale. For ex. it might have been thought that showing a "bad Astro" in the form of young Atlas, would be considered a negative influence on the young viewing audience. Although we of this forum might disagree, television standard and practices are very hard on what is acceptable in a broadcast show! Thus with the cuts made NTV in association with Tezuka Prod. sold the series to different markets. First, Australia where it was very popular and then to the U.S.A. where sales where poor with only one area (that I can be sure of) airing it briefly. In Canada, even more cuts were done, that they decided to re-dub the series. As for the rights issue, well again I think that's obvious with those scenes being blocked in the U.S.A on YouTube because of copyright concerns! But I would like to take this opportunity to thank jayrath for all the information re: "Astroboy" (1982). Dude, write the book already! For history's sake your story has to be told! I know I would buy the book! I :heart: :astro: :D
Last edited by ASTROBUDDY on Sat Jun 12, 2010 7:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby Bender the Sniper » 8 years ago

Good luck posting a video of it somewhere, Jay, but where's the Astro vs. Atlas eppy?
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