Dinosaurtheatre: Were you both interested in dinosaurs before you did these documentaries?
Gary: It was when I was a little kid growing up in South Dakota that I first became fascinated with them! Many important discoveries have been made in the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota over the years.
Eric: Dinosaurs have always been a passion of mine. I had dozens of plastics models and dino toys. Like a hungry raptor I devoured the entire paleontology section of the library in my little home town in Illinois.
My affection and curiosity for the creatures continued when I became a fourth and fifth grade science teacher at a suburban Chicago private school. We set up in a diorama in the classroom and, of course, each kid researched his favorite Cretaceous-era critter.
Looking back it is interesting to note that so many advances and discoveries have been made in our understanding of dinosaurs since I was a kid---and since I was a teacher. This was all before the great extinction theory was offered up by Dr. Luis Alvarez and his son Walter in 1980.
Not to brag, but I have had the great pleasure of getting to know Walter very well. He and his dad risked their scientific reputations on what was regarded as a crackpot notion. An asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs!?! Come on! Ten years after they submitted their paper, the impact crater off the coast of Mexico was found to confirm their theory. Finally, they were recognized for their brilliance---and courage. In conversation, Walter is eager to point out the miracle of fate that allowed humans to become dominant on Earth. Dinosaurs ruled the planet for 160 million years. Had that asteroid arrive 45 seconds earlier---or 45 seconds later---it would have missed the Earth altogether and the big beasts would still be in charge. The thought takes my breath away.
Dinosaurtheatre: What is your favorite of the documentaries? What is your favorite of the segments you did?
Gary: I loved them all, but if I had to pick a favorite I'd have to say turning into a “Garyosaurus” was a high point. The Chiodo Brothers did a great job on that stop motion puppet. I also enjoyed hanging out at the Tar Pits with Frank Nelson, Charlie Callas, Bill Saluga and Dave Willock.
Eric: Even though our shows were produced several years ago, my memories burn bright. Highlights include the weekend we spent at University of California in Berkeley with some amazing scientists. Paleontologists are a different breed. I enjoyed every encounter with them whether it be on a college campus or out in the field at an excavation site. And I gained such respect for the type of individual who devotes his life to the quest. This is hard, grueling, and dirty work with infrequent pay-offs. Yet, there they are in the hot sun, scratching in the dirt wit so that you and I will have a better comprehension of life on Earth.
Speaking of work, we often shot in museums late at night after the public was gone and yes, there in the dark surrounded by skeletons and artifacts my imagination would run. Goose pimples were not unusual. Hold it, did that shadow just move?
The trip to England and our visit to the Crystal Palace was remarkable. Here we saw what was once state-of-the-art thinking about dinosaurs. It was reminder that science is constantly changing as information grows and new ideas replace old ones.
Finally, I was tickled to work with Frank Nelson, a comic actor of legendary proportions from his work with Jack Benny on the radio and TV. He played the man-behind-the counter at L.A.’s Natural History Museum and the La Brea Tar Pits. Here he was in his early 80s and yet he had more energy and enthusiasm than anyone for on the set. He never flubbed a line or missed a cue. Something that can never be said about yours truly.
Dinosaurtheatre: How is the Ceratosaur you guys hatched doing? It must be fully grown by now.
Gary: He’s in his early 20s now and just graduated from college. Eric and I went to the graduation ceremony and were very proud, although there was a small incident when the Dean tried to hand him his diploma. But, don’t worry, the Dean is expected to make a full recovery.
Eric: Our little Ceratosaur should be starring in a reality series about growing up in Hollywood. It’s not easy being the only theropod in school, but he’ll soon be teaching paleontology at Harvard.
Dinosaurtheatre: What is your guys' favorite dinosaur? (this question assumes Eric's favorite may not really be the Stegosaurus)
Gary: The Googlersaurus because it looks like Warren Beatty.
Eric: I still like the Stegosaurus for his amazing looks, his vegetarian diet, and the possibility that he had a second brain that controlled that tail. He was a gentle giant who could take care of himself in a fight if necessary.
Dinosaurtheatre: Eric, do you still constantly wear sweaters?
Gary: Because Eric is so tall he ended up having to wear Garrison Keillor’s old pull-overs.
Eric: Let me defend my choice of wardrobe by saying those sweaters were fashionable at the time. (1980s) Check out a rerun of the Bill Cosby Show. Now, I only wear the occasional sweater when the temperature in Los Angeles dips below 50 degrees. And most likely it would be a simple, single color sweater vest and button down shirt.
Dinosaurtheatre: Gary, how did you turn back from being a dinosaur?
Gary: It was all thanks to a daily slathering of Floogerman’s fabulous line of salves and ointments.
Eric: I’m not sure Gary has turned back. One thing for sure he is super paranoid about asteroids.
Dinosaurtheatre: Gary, is that really your house in "More Dinosaurs"?! If not, where that house located and who actually owns it?
Gary : No, it wasn't my house, it was dinosaur maven and sci-fi writer Don Glut’s place in beautiful suburban Burbank. We thank him so much for letting us utilize it! My wife and I actually live in a tree-house near Beverly Hills.
Best Krelbs to all you dinosaur-lovers out there,
I'd just like to thank Mr. Owens and Mr. Boardman for taking the time to answer our questions as we, their adoring fans, surely appreciate it! If anyone else has any questions for Gary and Eric I can see if they'll be willing to answer those as well, so just send them my way!