By Tim Eldred
Ken Meseroll (Wildstar)
Over a year ago (as I write this), I got the green light to start working on the DVDs for series 2, The Comet Empire. Prior to that, the lovely Amy Howard Wilson (better known to most of us as the voice of Nova) had managed to re-establish contact with some of her former Star Force compatriots, including Ken Meseroll (Wildstar) and Eddie Allen (Desslok). To my delight and astonishment, Ken and Eddie were not only still working actors, they both lived in the L.A. area, just like me! As with the Brady family, it was much more than a hunch, I had to get these guys on camera for an interview.
With Amy’s help, I worked the phones during the month of August (naturally, my heart skipped a beat when I first heard them in person) and got them to agree on a day in September to conduct the interview at my home. Then began the arduous task of hunting down the equipment, finding the best rental prices, figuring out what video format to use, getting a friend to run the camera, etc. It was tiring, but each step got me one day closer to actually meeting these guys and asking all the questions that had been stored up for 20 years.
Yes, September 11, 2001 was going to be a very special day.
Eddie Allen (Desslok)
Like most people, I spent the morning in front of the TV. The very same machine that had delivered Star Blazers was now delivering nightmares. Nothing was going the way it should have been, and nobody quite knew what to do about it. I got on the phone to Ken and Eddie, and they had both already spoken. They were shaken up, but they still wanted to do the interview. And, of course, so did I. The equipment rental shop was open, so I made the trip through an eerily silent Los Angeles, which on any other day would be America’s worst obstacle course. I had the radio on, and listened to reporters struggling to put wordless thoughts into words. For those few hours, I was a stranger in a strange land.
It helped all of us to have something to do that day. There’s a certain personality you adopt in an interview, where no matter what side of the table you’re on, you do everything you can to help the other person feel comfortable so you get good conversation. And we definitely did. Anyone who has seen the interviews (series 2, discs II and III) heard the same laughter and congeniality that might have been recorded on September 10th. I’m happy to say that it continued even after the camera was turned off.
Were we dismissing the outside events? Certainly not. Were we frightened? Absolutely. How could we not be? Should we have waited for another day? I don’t think it would have made any difference. I thanked the Meseroll and Allen families in the interview credits, because I knew it couldn’t have been an easy thing to part with a family member on a day like that. This is the only part of the story I still have qualms about, so I’d like to thank them once again for the generous loan of their husbands and fathers.
It was an unusual thing to do on a very unusual day, and it made some pretty unusual memories for us. The last thing I’d like to share was something my friend Eric said (Eric had eagerly volunteered to run the camera for me). He hadn’t seen anything on TV until he got to my house, but he did listen to the radio, and remembered the opening scenes from Star Blazers, with the planet bombs raining down from an unseen enemy. He didn’t elaborate on it, but we both shared the silent thought that we knew a little now about what that might be like.