Hercules: The Legendary Journeys -- 4 Season
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Beanstalks and Bad Eggs

 

   

This episode can be called a take on the famous fairy tale "Jack and the Beanstalk".

 
   
Kevin Sorbo: I think we're going to have a Hercules classic in this season's premiere called "Beanstalks and Bad Eggs". The story is basically a hilarious reworking of "Jack and the Beanstalk" in which Hercules and Autolycus climb a beanstalk to save a kidnapped woman and have to deal with an evil giant Typhoon. The show is a hoot. We're up there bouncing around in the clouds and we're chasing after Harpies which, in the mythological world, are pretty nasty little critters. (22.09.97 Universal Pictures Press Release)  
   
Glenn Shadix (Typhoon) explained that the way they filmed him as the giant was they put the camera up real close to him and then Kevin Sorbo would stand about 25 feet away and they would both act like they were right close together. So, the illusion was given that Typhoon was a giant. (16.11.02 Convention in Vulkon)  
   
Episode disclaimer: No permanent cases of Harpies were reported during the production of this motion picture.
 
 
Hero's Heart

 

   
   
   
   
   
Episode disclaimer: As Fortune would have it, Iolaus' memory was not harmed during the production of this motion picture.
 
 
Regrets... I've Had a Few

 

   

Hercules (Kevin Sorbo) takes on the villainous Claxon and his cronies in to night's brawling episode, but during a lull has a mystical interface with Soleste [Celesta, of course], a ghostly bimbo. She is a kind of Big Bosomed Reaper who floats along to assist those whose time has come and to guide them to wherever the dead go when she guides them. Hercules, using as much manly charm as one can use on a spectrechick who is not flesh and blood, begs her not to take his best friend. Our rating: inspired trivia. (23.02.98 The Canberra Times, Australia)

 
   
Paul Robert Coyle (writer): It was something like 70% "Young Hercules". It was the last episode shot and Kevin wanted to finish early so he could leave early on hiatus. [Sorbo had to appear on the "Kull" premieres.] We had already shot the "Young Hercules" pilot. But Rob wanted to shoot a "Hercules" episode and use "Young Hercules" footage to promote the release of the two hour video. Later on as the season progressed and Kevin had his medical problems, we had to go back to Young Hercules more often, as you know. At that time, though, "Regrets" was going to be the only one. I pitched essentially the story you saw aired, with Young Hercules getting into a fight with a gang kid, not knowing his own strength he takes the kid's life and feels bad about it. He returns to the farm with the kid's body and he doesn't lie but he doesn't tell the whole truth. The father makes the assumption he was the kid's best friend and Hercules goes along with that, ends up living with the family and finding the family he never had with Zeus. That's probably not a fan favorite but it's one of mine. (19.02.99 Whoosh!)  
   
Episode disclaimer: Jaras' cause of death remained a mystery during the production of this motion picture.
 
 
Web of Desire

 

   

Working title - "Kiss Me, Deadly"

A good episode... for Halloween

 
   

Gina Torres recalled that she auditioned for Nebula - the lethal captain of the "Leviathan" - without ever having seen the H:TLJ. But then she saw an episode and after getting one look at Kevin Sorbo, she purred, "You and me... New Zealand... bet." (01.99 Santa-Monica Convention)

 

 

 

The character of Nebula was originally written for just three episodes, in a story arc involving a plot to kill Iolaus. Luckily for Gina Torres, Kevin Sorbo became temporarily ill, so the Iolaus plotline had to be postponed. This meant a reshuffling of plot ideas and characters, and Nebula was given an extended stay. (03.01 Xena Magazine)

 
   
 
   
Episode disclaimer: The original Website was severly harmed during the production of this motion picture. However, through the miracle of modern technology, it was reinvented several centuries later.
 
Stranger in a Strange World

 

   
Kevin Sorbo: I would like to do an episode where they give me different colored hair, mustache, beard, or something. People know it's me yet I want enough changed and play a different voice, a different character, and play just a bad ass. (In a low gravely voice Kevin says) "Bring this Hercules to me!" Something really out there. I think it would be great. I wanna be a bad guy. It would be fun. (06.96 Answers for H:TLJ Forum)  
   
Kevin Sorbo: There's a parallel universe episode in which I get to play both Hercules and a guy known as The Sovereign, who's a really nasty piece of work. Now that we're in our fourth season, Rob Tapert and the writers are really stirring things up. It'll be an interesting mix of both comedy and drama. (22.09.97 Universal Pictures Press Release)  

 
Paul Robert Coyle (writer): Kevin Sorbo hated that script at first. <...> But none of his original notes addressed the Sovereign. He was concerned that Hercules got left behind in the "real world" while Iolaus went and had the adventure. Yet I always felt that the wacky fun part was in the bizarro world, but the heart of that story was Hercules left behind with the alternate Iolaus, teaching him to be a hero and sending him back. Kevin had a lot of concerns, nevertheless, so I did an emergency re-write, days before shooting. He was so concerned that the story should be put off and not shot at that time, but if we did that, we would have lost Lucy because she was only available to us for two days before "Xena" started shooting again. A lot was at stake there. I worked literally around the clock to please Kevin and fix production concerns. But every word is mine and I take great pride in that one. It originally did not have that ending. We left the Sovereign in his world originally and everyone was concerned about how we could leave this evil dictator in power. How could we neutralize him without killing him, because then Hercules would die. It seems easy now, because you know what happened, but we didn't know what to do back then. (19.02.99 Whoosh!)  
   
Sharon Delaney, President of the Official Fan Clubs, said that when Sovereign throws Xena over his shoulder and starts to carry her off - Xena's laughter is the real article; Sorbo wasn't scripted to do that. He just threw it in, much to Lucy Lawless's amusement at the time. She added that Kevin "loves playing the Sovereign, he adores it." (08.98 Cherry Hill Convention)  
   
Michael Levine (director): I have an episode airing in a couple of weeks that is so funny, it was a lot of fun to shoot. When you direct down there, you don't necessarily work with all the people that all the fans are familiar with. This one has everybody. It has Ares, it has Aphrodite, it has Joxer, it has Xena, it has Gabrielle, and since it's a "Hercules" episode, it has Hercules and Iolaus. It's a hysterical episode - the fans of the show are really going to enjoy this one. Just go with it, because it's a whole lot of fun. I do know that this last "Hercules" I did, there's some pretty broad stuff there, and you could go very broad or you could pull it back. I called Rob Tapert and asked, 'How far do you want me to go with the comedy?' and he very simply said, 'When you think you've gone too far, you haven't.' So it was kind of carte blanche to take it as far as I wanted. (24.10.97 Web-Interview by Michelle Erica Green)  
   

Alex Tydings said the cake was real, so they had to get it right in one take, as there was no prop cake. So she grabbed two big fistfuls of cake ready to smear Lucy, and Lucy grabbed the whole top layer. (14.06.07 Xena convention, report by EZ Ryder)

 
   
Episode disclaimer: No Heart-Throwing, Love-Sewing, Smooth-Talking Ares inpersonators were harmed during the production of this motion picture.
 
 
Two Men and a Baby

 

   
Kevin Sorbo: We're doing an episode called "Two Men and a Baby" that I co-wrote. We crossed the line on this show - you know there's no rules on the show; we bounce around from century to century and that's what makes it fun. We did a Christmas episode, and I said, "Okay, now we've left mythological and we've gone biblical." I was always fascinated with the story of Moses, so we took a Moses-type story.
Q: You find a baby in the bulrushes?
Sorbo: Exactly. You're with me - you know your Bible! And we bring Nemesis back, the Goddess of Divine Intervention. It deals with her baby. We think it could be Hercules' baby, but it's not; it's another god's baby, and there's a big fight.

((04).97 Net article-MrShowbiz)

 
   

You came up with the story for the 'Two Men and A Baby'? -- Kevin Sorbo: Yes, it was my idea, but I worked very closely with John Hudock who actually wrote the episode. Once we broke the mythological barrier in "Hercules", I thought it would be great to adapt a Biblical tale like the Moses story. <...> There's a lot of humor in the episode since the baby has various powers. But there's also a good deal of soul-searching Hercules must do in considering the possibility that he may be the baby's father. (22.09.97 Universal Pictures Press Release)

 
   

Kimberley Joseph is breaking hearts in New Zealand-based drama "The Adventures of Hercules" [sic]. She has joined the cast of the hit show as Nemesis - former hit-woman to the gods - and she couldn't be happier. "I'm having a great time, I really am," says Kimberley on the phone. "I've had a chance to do fantastic stuff." The "stuff" she's done includes fighting, horse-riding and kissing Kevin Sorbo, who plays the mythical hunk! Kimberley trained for her fight scenes, but when it came to passionate clinches with Sorbo, practice wasn't necessary. "He is a lovely man, incredible, so it wasn't very hard," giggles Kimberley. "It was very nice... I guess you get used to doing screen kisses. The only difficulty I had was with his height. He is a very tall man!" (05-06.97 Inside TV mag, Australia)

 
   

Kevin Smith: I remember when we were doing "Two Men and a Baby" and they had this huge fight scene planned, but it was the season's end [wrong] and Kevin <Sorbo> was flying out that night, and we were losing light and we couldn't go into overtime. Peter Bell, the stunt coordinator, got hammers and handed them to us: "We're running out of time, here are two hammers, just slug at each other". (01.99 Starlog #258)

 
   
   
Episode disclaimer: No Fire-Bealching, Levitating, Neo-Natal sons of a god was harmed during the production of this motion picture.
 
 
Prodigal Sister

 

   
Right now, the writer Robert Bielak is finishing an episode provisionally titled "Prodigal Sister," influenced by the John Wayne classic "The Searchers". Bielak: "This young boy and his sister were separated by an amazon raid - this is a splinter, renegade band of amazons who 14 years ago decided not to do the normal amazon custom of procreation. Well, this particular renegade band did not want to wait, so they went in and slaughtered the populace, left the boys to die on the river bank and took the young girls with them, so there was no nine-month waiting period; they could start training them right away." (12.97 Legendary Heroes - Starlog special)
 
   
Danielle Cormack (Ephiny, she was Fox in "Les Contempibles"): In this episode I'm the token good Amazon. Kevin and I talked about putting a look in there like "Have I seen you somewhere before?" We filmed about two months ago. (05.06.97 Whoosh!)  
   
   
Episode disclaimer: The Amazon Hokey-Pokey was not harmed during the production of this motion picture. In fact, this catchy number is now being performed in dance clubs around the country.
 
 
And Fancy Free

 

   

Michael Hurst is one of our most versatile actors and a celebrated practitioner of the works of Shakespeare. But sometimes his career zig-zags along a sublime-to-ridiculous path. In 1993, he had gone from staging Hamlet to the spoof-sidekick role of lolaus in "Hercules", the television series which made him an international star alongside American actor Kevin Sorbo. Between, he'd also directed the pantomime Aladdin, in which he played the Widow Twankey. Unfortunately, one of the American Herc producers saw Aladdin, and had a bright idea, as American television producers do. Sometimes. Twankey, she decided, just had to be in Hercules, no matter how ludicrous that might be. The accent was a problem, for a start, as Twankey speaks in a broad northern English accent. "I tried doing it in southern American but in the end I said, I cannot do this unless it's in the north country accent. It is my mother, and unless I channel that energy I can't do it," recalls Hurst.
And so Twankey was unleashed upon the ancient legendary journeys, not once but three times. To Hurst's amazement, the American audiences loved it, and to this day he is still asked to attend conventions in the United States as Twankey. She refuses to go. "My rule about the Widow Twankey is that she doesn't stand close scrutiny - you get a bit close and it's quite horrific."
(16.02.05 New Zealand Herald)

 
   

"Aladdin" - The Pantomime, Watershed Theatre --- Looking and sounding like Ken Dodd in a frock, Michael Hurst's Widow Twankey is a marvelous dame who, as well as being Aladdin's mum, is MC of this great little holiday stage show. Hurst is obviously relishing being on the boards again after the grind of the Hercules TV series and it's great to have him back in this piece of good-natured silliness, which he wrote and directed himself. All the good old panto elements are here: Music, songs, awful jokes, pratfalls, fantabulous costumes and glittery sets (with a few props from Hercules and Xena), romance, fights, and a really happy ending. There's a comic dame, a dumb sidekick, a princess, a wicked empress, policeman, robots and, of course, the Genie of the Lamp." (22.09.96 Sunday Times, Auckland NZ)

 
   
Michael Hurst talked about the genesis of the Widow Twanky. In England there is something in theater called "Pantomime Dames" which is not exactly the same thing as "Drag" because it's always known that the "Dame" is a guy. He said that for example if you were doing a Pantomime Dame production of Cinderella, the two ugly step sisters would be the "Dames". In the Pantomime version of Aladdin, the Dame is a character of "Widow Twankey". Michael wrote a story called "Jack and the beanstalk" where Jack's mother was the "Dame" character and her name was "Edith Sidebottom" (which is the "actress" given credit for playing Twanky on "Hercules"), who was based on his mother (who was really funny). (09.03.01 Report from Valley Forge Convention)  
   
Kevin Sorbo: In the episode called "...And Fancy Free", I wind up ballroom dancing in a sort of matador outfit. I really got a kick out of that. (22.09.97 Universal Pictures Press Release)  
   
Kevin Sorbo: I loved the second episode Michael Hurst directed which was it was the one with the ballroom dancing! Loved that. Loved that episode - at the very end I decked on this totally different costume, I was the only one that got to wear the same costume everyday (chuckles), stupid leather pants! It was good to have something different like that. Michael did a good job. (03.04 Phone Call Conversation, formerly on Apollo's Temple site)  
   
Bruce Campbell: Coming soon - an episode called "Strictly Hercules", which will include a long dance number. Kevin Sorbo is practicing his dance moves every Saturday. (19.07.97 Origins Convention)  
   

And, of course, he's also a ballroom dancer thanks to season four's episode "And Fancy Free". "I love that episode," remembers Sorbo, smiling. "Michael Hurst directed that one and I think he did a great job. I did four weeks of ballroom dancing while we were shooting. They brought somebody in to give me lessons and on weekends I would go and spend three, four hours each day on the weekend, just sort of running some moves, things like that. That was fun. The producers thought I'd be afraid to do that, they thought it'd be a kooky, sissy thing and I wouldn't want to do it, and I said, "I think it'd be a blast, so why not?" And what about Michael Hurst's performance in drag as Widow Twanky? "The guy loves wearing a dress, what can I say?" Sorbo says straight-faced. (11.01 Xpose #61)

 
   
 

Michael Hurst, showing Sorbo's expression: Kevin really didn't know how to deal with me, dressed in drag! (2000 Video-Interview made in Auckland)

 
   

Kevin Sorbo: Michael created a character based on his own mother and I was very nervous and he was very comfortable when wearing women clothing... <2-3 words are indecipherable because of the laughter> Better him than me. I'd make one very ugly woman... (10.01.03 Interstellar Transmissions, Radio Show - thanks Sovka for helping)

 
   
Willa O'Neill (Althea) was asked about what it was like working with Michael Hurst all dressed up as Widow Twanky, and she said it was great fun, to see him ordering everyone around in his corset and makeup. (11.00 Report from Convention in Palo Alto)  
   

Eric Gruendemann (producer): On "Hercules", it's funny, I have about 25 favourites and they're all very different. It's hard for me to pick. I'll tell you one I loved is one that Michael Hurst directed called "And Fancy Free". I like the shows that break new ground and I will say this, it took me about two years of solid convincing to get Rob Tapert to agree to put Michael Hurst in drag on our show. I particularly liked that episode and I thought Kevin was marvelous. (11.98 Whoosh!)

 
   

Some stories are pure comedies. Others dark and depressing. Hercules went straight for laughs much of the time and even got into a phase of dabbling in pantomime. In "And Fancy Free" (a parody of the film Strictly Ballroom), the hard-man hero is caught up in a dance contest with a girl partner with two left feet. To teach her the necessary skills quickly he enrols with her in Widow Twankie's dance academy, (the widow is played in high comedy by a near unrecognisable Michael Hurst). (11.98 Matrix mag, produced by the British Science Fiction Association)

 
   
 
   

If you were lucky enough to watch "Strictly Ballroom" (Australia, 1992), you will readily point out that this episode was mostly a homage to the movie, which is wonderful mix of comedy, drama and dancing. Young talented dancer Scott refuses to let the fear of punishment to rule his life. He can do more than is allowed by the Dance Federation and he wants to do more. His partner quits, leaving him alone. Ungainly beginner Fran teams with him. It might be love - but it isn't. Together, they boldly challenge the dancing world and their new steps become the bomb of the Ballroom Dance competition.

 
   

But there was another movie to borrow from - "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" (1985). Shy teenager Janey has a dream of being on Dance TV. Daughter of wealthy man intrigues against her to win the competition, her tough father does not accept her participation... She has lots of trouble and two friends - a girl Lynne, who loves to dance and helps Janey to sneak out of the home, and her dancing partner Jeff. And they are ready to fight for their right to dance!

 
 
In the movie "Witness" there is a scene where Harrison Ford is working on a birdhouse he had crashed his car into. Kelly McGillis (the Amish woman whose son Ford is trying to protect from crooked cops) brings him a glass of lemonade. He drinks it up, letting some of it spill down his neck and onto his chest. The look McGillis gives him is very similar to the look that Althea gives to Herc. (post by Michael Martinez at alt.tv.hercules)  
   

Strange to say, it feels like the episode has one more corner-stone - "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll.

In the cover's place we can notice that Widow Twanky presents herself as "Mad Alice" or that her village house accomodates the whole dance hall with large windows. Things are not what they seem to be... Shall we open the book?

Chapter 1 - Alice: "I wonder if I shall fall right through the earth! How funny it'll seem to come out among the people that walk with their heads downward! <...> I shall have to ask them what the name of the country is, you know. Please, Ma' am, is this New Zealand or Australia?"

Chapter 2 - Here we can find the fan and the parrot (Lory).

Chapter 7 - Twanky: How does the porcu know to pine? Why does the beaver give a dam?! What is the difference between a duck?! --- The Hatter opened his eyes very wide on hearing this; but all he said was, "Why is a raven like a writing-desk?"

Chapter 10 - The Lobster Quadrille
"It must be a very pretty dance," said Alice timidly.
"Would you like to see a little of it?" said the Mock Turtle.
"Very much indeed," said Alice.
"Come, let's try the first figure!" said the Mock Turtle to the Gryphon.


Letter of Lewis Carroll to his Child-Friend: "As to dancing, my dear, I never dance, unless I am allowed to do it in my own peculiar way. There is no use trying to describe it: it has to be seen to be believed."

Oh, yeah - blue-and-white dress reminds about Walt Disney's Alice from the musical wonderfilm...

   

Town called Rhumba = For the dance, the rhumba is African based and was usually relagated to the lower classes due to the lascivius nature of the dance. The most popular rhumba melody - "Besame mucho".

 
 

Henchman: Now, what is it they say, again, to, ah, wish someone luck? Oh, yes-- break a leg.

break a leg = idiom, meaning: good luck, have a good performance

 
   
Episode disclaimer: The Widow Twanky, once again on top of the dance world with the success of the Hercules Hustle, was not harmed or tripped during the production of this motion picture.
 
 
If I had a Hammer

 

   

"If I Had a Hammer" is a song written by Pete Seeger and Lee Hays in 1948. It was a Civil Rights anthem of the American Civil Rights movement and numerous other artists from around the world have recorded versions throughout the years. "If I had a hammer I'd hammer in the morning, I'd hammer in the evening All over this land. I'd hammer out "Danger!", I'd hammer out a warning, I'd hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters All over this land."

 
   
Paul Robert Coyle (writer): I think it's one of our more underrated episodes. We couldn't do that kind of story anymore with Kevin playing a dual role on camera 95% of the episode. Not since his accident. He's recovered, but we would not want to put that kind of stress on him. "Hammer" was 95% Kevin on the screen. It was great. (19.02.99 Whoosh!)  
   

All the artists are easily recognizable: Picassus paints a cubist eye, Davincius makes Mona Lisa's look-alike, Warholius places four different coloured Herculeses on one canvas a la Andy Warhol. And in the same place Xerox gives a black and white copy. "The Ponderer" openly refers to Rodin's sculpture "The Thinker".

 
   
Robert Trebor commented that an outtake from this episode was an exchange between him and Kevin Sorbo about the grapes, and using a melon instead. (01.98 Burbank Convention)  
   
Episode disclaimer: Hercules proved once again the true measure of a man is not the size of his grapes, but the size of his heart.
 
 
Hercules on Trial

 

   

"I am Hercules!" - "I am Hercules!"

To get this, you have to watch movie "Spartacus" - a similar scene is staged at the end. The revolt, led by the gladiator-slave Spartacus, is put down. The Romans are searching for the leader, but they don't know what he looks like. So Spartacus' soldiers respond by saying "I am Spartacus!".

 
 
Episode disclaimer: Due to extensive DNA testing, Hercules was proven innocent during the production of this motion picture.
 
 
Medea Culpa

 

 

Mea culpa (Latin) = In the religious practice of Catholics - the formula of a repentance: "by my fault".

 
   
Dean O'Gorman (young Iolaus) played opposite two different actors as the young Hercules: Ian Bohen in "Hercules" and Ryan Gosling in the series "Young Hercules", and the actor admits that he had a different approach to working opposite the two actors. "Iolaus reacts a lot to Hercules, and Ian's take on Hercules was very different to Ryan's," he acknowledges. "Something I was conscious of was that people would watch the show to see if I was like Michael, but I soon found my own niche and my own way to play the character. I also thought that people would look at the show and say, 'Well, Michael can be funny; let's see if you can'." (03.01 Xena Magazine #16)  
   
Episode disclaimer: No Two-Headed, Fire-Breathing, Regenerating Gildred were harmed during the production of this motion picture.
 
 
Men In Pink

 

   

While the title of episode come from new movie "Men In Black" (1998), it's plot is a take-off of the highly popular old movie "Some Like It Hot" (1959).

 
   

Apparently, it's taking Kevin Sorbo longer to get in fighting shape to return to his title role in "Hercules" than was anticipated. Sorbo, who suffered an aneurysm in September, was supposed to resume work on the series at the end of November. But no, reports actor Bruce Campbell, "his return has been delayed, so they're doing several episodes that are non-Hercules". One of those segments, titled "Men in Pink", calls for Campbell and Michael Hurst to be in drag. (02.12.97 Los Angeles Daily News)

 
   
Q: How'd you get started in acting? -- Robert Trebor: Well, it was a decision I made in elementary school, I just played a Jack Lemmon's character in "Some Like it Hot" satire. (20.10.98 Real Hollywood chat)
 
   
Robert Trebor: In this episode Autolycus and Salmoneus had to change into women to escape from a certain death. It was very funny to do, especially the bed scene where Bruce and I share the bed. (12.98 SF Report Mag)  
   
Many thanks to Ahary for the tape!
 
 
Michael's Mom: Your are prettier than I am!
 
   
Episode disclaimer: Cupcake's sweet tooth was not harmed during the production of this motion picture. However, her love life experienced a slight setback.
 
 
Armageddon Now I

 

   
"Armageddon Now" begins exactly where "Maternal Instincts" (episode of "Xena") leaves off, with Xena and Gabrielle standing by funeral pyres of Solan (Xena's son) and Hope (daughter of Dahak and Gabrielle).  
   
Paul Robert Coyle (writer): Do you remember the scene in "Yes Virginia" where Michael Hurst as me is saying "What if we trap Hercules in the vortex?" That's literally how "Armageddon" came about. We had "Stranger" which hadn't aired yet but was coming up fast. I said to Rob, "Here's what I propose we do: We recut the ending of "Stranger" so Herc gets caught in the vortex with the Sovereign." He liked that idea but it was too late. "Stranger" was already going out to stations via satellite to air that weekend. So we could not fiddle with that episode. I said "We'll do another episode starting from scratch where Herc gets trapped in the vortex in the first act with the Sovereign." That would allow 85% of the story to take place without Hercules. (19.02.99 Whoosh!)
 
   
Episode disclaimer: Once again, Alcmene's fence was not finished during the production of this motion picture.
 
 
Armageddon Now II

 

 

Iolaus: Hercules! Uh! It is so good to see you! -- Hercules: It's, uh... it's good to be seen.

There was an interesting post at one newsgroup on January, 1999 - about Kevin Sorbo saying on a talk show that he loves Prince's music. The poster remembered Herc's reply: "The amusing part was the way he said it... with the same cadence and rhythm that Prince used in the song "Movie Star".
The singer Prince is native of Minneapolis, born in 1958. "Movie Star" was on the 1997 year album "Crystal Ball". You can listen it and decide to youself: "When I stepped from the limousine, They said - "Ooh, it's good to see ya". I said - "Oh, it's good to be seen, You know what I mean?"

 
   
Episode disclaimer: Although Alcmene's barn was blown to smithereens, remarkably she and Iolaus were not harmed during the production of this motion picture.
 
 
Yes, Virginia, there is a Hercules

 

   

To understand the title of the episode we have to go back - not to the Ancient times, but to the year 1897. A confused little girl, Virginia O'Hanlon, wrote the letter to the "New York Sun": "Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?" The answer on the Editorial Page, written by Francis P. Church, was entitled "Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus". It became one of the most famous editorials in newspaper history.

"<...> Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! Not believe in Santa Claus! Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. No Santa Claus?Thank God he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood."

 
   

After seeng Kevin so smoothly and effortlessly carry out Herc's duties - saving damsels in distress, using his brain before his brawn, kicking butt with empathy and the like, as well as just being an all around nice guy - we can't help but assume that the actor and his mythical-hero counterpart have a lot in common. <> "I'm a guy like anybody else," says Sorbo. Well, not quite anybody else. (12.96 Playgirl)

 
   

Paul Robert Coyle (writer): I vividly remember the day around the conference table when those guys [Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman] pitched that story to Rob [Tapert]: "Jerry is going to be out in the woods shooting paint balls, and Paul is going to be in Vegas at a craps table." I said, "First of all, I don't play craps, I play blackjack!" I was extremely amused by the story, but thought, "We're not going to make ourselves the characters and the stars of the show!" I was surprised that Rob bought it, but I was delighted with it all. Right up to the time it shot, I couldn't believe we were really going to go through with it. Now, when I appear at conventions, people have an image of me in their heads which gets completely trashed when I walk out on stage, because I'm not that character! (09.00 Xena Mag #10)

 
   

Eric Gruendemann (producer): I have a certain affinity in my heart for "Yes, Virginia" because it was so different and fun. <...> Bruce Campbell did Rob Tapert [whom he had known for a time], played him very close to character, even though he exaggerated the realism a little bit. (11.98 Whoosh!)

 
   
Kevin Smith: The New Zealand actors didn't really know the writers and producers - we had met them - we couldn't do a convincing parody. So, we took one element, and, like a cartoonist on acid, blew that one element out of proportion. The guy I played, Jerry Patrick Brown, I believe he dug it! I met his daughter at a convention and she told me so. I played him as a ball-breaking redneck. We were worried that they were going to leave the bathroom scene out. We begged them, "This could be the defining moment in television history". Not a single line of spoken dialogue, just four guys standing at a urinal. Genius! And to their everlasting credit, they had the guts to stick with it. (01.99 Starlog)  
   
Kevin Smith: I met Jerry very, very briefly in one of those whirlwind sort of things. I knew nothing about him, and I asked Rob, "Man, what's he like?" He said, "Well, he's conservative." So I thought, conservative, redneck. (Laughter) Sort of a leap! Once the production was highly embraced, it was great. Suddenly all this gear started turning up. I've got tattoos; I ride a motorcycle. And so at the read-through, that's where all the characters come out. I thought I'd gone too far with the gun-totin' NRA southern redneck, but they said, "No, no. That's good." I met Jerry's daughter one time when I was in the States, and she said her dad loved it. (06.01 Spectrum #26)  
   
Robert Trebor: I've got good memories of "Yes Virginia", where I played a student [Studio Head]. In this episode the whole production staff will be fooled. (12.98 SF Report Mag)  
   
Kevin Sorbo: The present day episodes were a blast! (03.04 Phone Call Conversation, formerly on Apollo's Temple site)
 
   
The episode was put together at the time of Sorbo's illness. From the comments Kevin made about it in the new "unauthorized" companion book, he wasn't feeling nearly as well as it appeared that he did. (the book is "Hercules, The Legendary Journeys: An Insider's Guide to The Continuing Adventures" by Robert Weisbrot, 2004)  
   

Michael Hurst said that his most memorable moment from the set was on "Yes, Virginia". Kevin Sorbo was seriously ill and off the set because of it. They were all quite concerned about him and worried about how he would be. Michael said that when Kevin came back on the set and said the words, "I'm back", it was very emotional. He said that Kevin looked rather frail, and he couldn't be on the set more than a hour, and people had to be quiet around him. (01.07 Xena convention, report by EZ Ryder 1)

 
   
"Strife was killed before? Okay In this episode we have the "real" Hercules, who is pretending to be an actor named Kevin Sorbo. This Strife is the "real" Strife, who may have been the basis for the fictional Strife from the show. A confusing concept at first, but not really that difficult to understand." (1998, Unknown lucid mind. I feel sorry using the quote without permission, but cannot resist the temptation... I'll be very grateful if someone can give me the name /nick of the author.)  
   
Episode disclaimer: Any resemblance between the Hercules cast and the Renaissance staff is purely intentional.
 
 
Porkules

 

   

This episode is a homage to the movie "Babe" (1995, Australia) about the brave piglet and his friends from the farm.

The story was made merely to exempt Kevin Sorbo from hard work on the set, though he had to do the voiceover.

 
   
At times the humour in Hercules stops the show from being anything other than a comedy. The comedy reaches its peak in "Porkules" when Hercules is turned into a pig (a parody of the film "Babe"), and its sequel, "One Fowl day" when the female pig who falls for him, tries her hand at becoming human for a while. There is a homage to tradition here of course, with Homer also having the crew of Odysseus's ship turned into swine, but the comedy detracts from the serious aims of the show. (11.98 Matrix mag, produced by the British Science Fiction Association)  
   
Episode disclaimer: Hermes wings were clipped during the production of this motion picture.
 
 
One Fowl Day

 

   
Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day (the fourth Thursday in November in the United States) - is an annual American Federal holiday to express thanks for one's material and spiritual possessions, which is celebrated with a dinner, usually held as a gathering of family members and friends. In the United States, certain kinds of food are traditionally served at Thanksgiving meals. The main is baked or roasted turkey (so much so that Thanksgiving is sometimes referred to as "Turkey Day" or "Fowl Day").  
   
Alexandra Tydings: That was so much fun. I loved that character. It was a real blast, and Kevin and I had so much fun together with the scenes, like when we're dunking our heads in the soup! (05.00 Xena Mag #7)
 
   
Paul Robert Coyle (writer): The giant chicken episode, was heavily mine. Adam [Armus] and [Nora] Kay [Foster] wrote the original draft but it had to be thrown out because it was originally a Kevin story. When Kevin was down for the count we had to throw that out and come up with an original story from scratch. We still credited it to those writers, but Jerry Brown and I really did it. The giant chicken was my idea. (19.02.99 Whoosh!)  
   
Michael Hurst said he had a lot of fun directing it and working with Bruce Campbell. He talked about the scene when they both went rolling down the hill. He said there was no words because they were cracking up laughing too hard to talk. (01.07 Xena convention, Report by EZ Ryder)  
   
Episode disclaimer: No giant poultry was tripped, plucked, barbecued, deep-fried or otherwise assaulted during the production of this motion picture. Katherine's owners are orthodox vegetarians.
 
 
My Fair Cupcake

 

   

The first thing to think about this episode - it steals the premise of the movie "My Fair Lady" (1964), which was based on the famous romance "Pygmalion" by Bernard Shaw.

But then there is the second thought - about the movie "The Prince and the Showgirl" (1957), starring Marilyn Monroe and Laurence Olivier. The story was set in London in 1911. The coronation of George V attracts important european dignitaries. Among those arriving is Charles, the Prince Regent of Carpathia, who takes a time to see a cabaret performance. Been particularly interested by one of the performers, Elsie, he invites her to the embassy for supper. Pre-war atmosphere in Europe, Carpathian's intrigues against the Prince Regent... Charles realizes he has fallen in love with Elsie.

   

While Kevin Sorbo was recovering from a pulled ligament [aneurysm] last season, Campbell was called in more than once to spearhead entire adventures. <> "It had nothing to do with anything other than the fact that Kevin could not physically be there. The show was not attempting to take any weird directions," says Campbell. (11.98 Sci-fi Teen)

   
   
Episode disclaimer: No bakeries were harmed during the production of this motion picture, although many pastries were burned to a crisp.
 
 
War Wounds

 

   
Paul Robert Coyle (writer): That was one that had been scheduled for earlier in the season when Kevin was 100%. In other words, Hercules would have been the lead throughout that entire episode. As it wound up shooting, he's in the teaser for a little bit, then he gets called away and pops up later. I had to do a series of re-writes just cutting Hercules out of that story. Luckily we had Iolaus who was also a war veteran to play a lot of those scenes. (19.02.99 Whoosh!)  
   
Episode disclaimer: Any resemblance between King Iphicles, Hercules' half-brother, and Ares, God of War, Hercules' other half-brother, is totally unavoidable.
 
 
Twilight

 

   

Dean O'Gorman (young Iolaus): I like both the comedies and the dramas. It's good to have a bit of drama and tension in some shows. We did an episode called "Twilight" where there were big battles and explosions. We were working in mud, and director wanted us to look really dirty, so we were running around everywhere and there was mud and blood. That was cool! (03.01 Xena Magazine #16)

 
   
   
   
   
In Memory of David Keates  
Episode disclaimer: Caution: Nafoline Cannons are highly flammable and may be hazardous to you health. Keep away from children.
 
 
Top God

 

   
Paul Robert Coyle (writer): It was another of the emergency shows. It was thrown together and we used another "Young Herc" episode. I can't really take credit for that story, it was gang-banged out by the entire staff at the time. Jerry Brown, Alex, Bob, myself, Liz, all in the conference room. It wasn't even determined until it was half on the board that I was going to be the one to take it away and write it, put it on paper and come back with it. The point here was we were looking for another god villain other than Ares. We tried Apollo, but Apollo didn't work. He wasn't supposed to come off as a male version of Aphrodite at all. I saw him more as a brat kid. He wasn't supposed to be boogie boarding, he was supposed to be riding lightning bolts. They couldn't make that work, though. So he became a boogie-boarder. That episode is not close to my heart because it wasn't a story I was dying to do, then I left it and Jerry Brown ended up doing the script because I left to do "Xena". So I couldn't even follow that episode all the way through. I don't mean to be badmouthing it, it's perfectly watchable, but it just doesn't jump out as one of my favorites. (19.02.99 Whoosh!)  
   
Episode disclaimer: No Boogie-Boarding, Beached-Blond, Narcissistic Gods were harmed during the production of this motion picture.
 
 
Reunions

 

   
Q: Sadly, at some point, "Hercules" will come to an end. What would you like to see happen in that last episode? -- Kevin Sorbo: I would like Herc to go to Olymp. And finally meet Hera face to face. And have all the other gods around there with Hercules basically on trial trying to decide if he should become a full god or not. When they finally do at the end of the show Hercules basically tells them to go stuff it and he walks off because he didn't want to be a full god, just wanted to prove a point. Just have him walk down some Olympia avenue with clouds floating around, but I think the writers will kill him off. ((07).97 On-line Chat AOL Live Olds Celebrity Circle)
 
   
   
   
   
Episode disclaimer: Zeus's Godhood was not harmed during the production of this motion picture, although his short stint as a mortal was somewhat intoxicating.
 
   

 

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