A few months ago, I got the pleasure of meeting and spending time a true hero of mine, Kenneth Johnson! I shot and edited a video interview with him for Retro Rewind, and that’s how I got to be there, for this once in a lifetime experience. For those reading, that don’t know who Kenneth Johnson is, he’s a TV icon, having been at the helm of some of the greatest TV shows. “The Incredible Hulk”, “The Six Million Dollar Man”, “The Bionic Woman”, “Alien Nation”, and that’s just scratching the surface of this tele-visionary.
Why I couldn’t wait to meet him…
When I was growing up, one of the movie events of the 1980’s that I really LOVED was the TV Mini-Series “V”. For some reason, this movie really was something I latched onto as a kid. When it re-aired in 1988 on a UHF station in Rochester, New York, I finally got to tape it, and watch it over, and over. I still have that VHS that I taped it on somewhere. I probably saw the movie about 100 times from 1983-1993. I did all I could as a kid to find the various books, trading cards, and anything “V” I could get my hands on. The main character in the film, Michael Donovan was super cool to me. He was a “News Shooter”, and thanks to growing up in TV at the same time this aired, this really made what I wanted to do, look so cool! In fact, that movie played a big role, in deciding what it was, I wanted to do when I grew up.
As I got older, I saw the real themes of the movie were far more than “Alien invasion”, the strong statements about fascism, and rebellion started to stick out in later viewings. I remember watching it with my dad, who knew I wanted to be in TV, and him pointing out some of the production aspects of the movie. The strong symbolism in shots, and the purpose in each shot and sound. I learned a lot of the art of film, through this movie, and watching it as a young “wannabe” producer/director. A good film to learn from, I might add.
Suffice to say, as a kid, I knew very well, who Kenneth Johnson was, thanks to this movie. After all, he wrote it, produced it, and directed it.
We shot about an hour long interview, for Retro Rewind. I edited out very little of the actual conversation, as it was quite interesting from beginning to end to see and hear. Anyone who would seek this out, would likely want as much as they could get, so I built it that way. As I set up the shots, he made suggestions, and even directed a bit, himself. I considered it an honor to be directed by him, in any way. Afterwards, we talked a lot more, and I got to tell Kenneth how much I loved his work.
He gave me insight into a movie I had seen many times. He told me details of shots, sound FX, and stories from the production. Some of which I knew, but to hear HIM tell it to me personally, one on one… He showed me props, Music Score notes, P.R. Material for “V”, and a lot of other items. His office is a museum of iconic TV, and film!
His walls are covered with a legacy of TV, Movies, and Productions.
I couldn’t buy a time like that, and wouldn’t trade a minute of it for anything! I got to hold the actual prop laser gun used in production! This one of the many “How did I get here” moments of my life, that I will treasure forever!
He is currently trying to get financing for a true theatrical version of “V” . The script and large fan base are already in place. I volunteered to be any level of crew for this movie, and he told me I could! So if anyone here has about 50 million they want to invest, you have found a great cause, and a sure hit!