THE

DICK GAUTIER

INTERVIEW

INTRODUCTION

Q & A SEGMENTS

CREDITS

PREAMBLE & RESPONSE

PART I

PART II

PART III

CONTRIBUTIONS & IMAGE SOURCE

Rodimus Prime Angry

ANGER: When it fills this 'bot, you'd better hope you're not a Decepticon.

TCC: There are quite a few things that set apart THE TRANSFORMERS from most of its peers, but perhaps the most rewarding element was its vocabulary. When taking into consideration the target group, the language was oftentimes uncommonly sophisticated, and I think in that respect, the show was educational as well as entertaining for many of its viewers, whether or not they were native speakers of the English language. I am actually a good example of that, as I am Norwegian and learned a vast amount of English from watching the series. Did you ever pick up on that aspect when you read the scripts?

GAUTIER: No. I didn't realize that. I guess I was too tuned in to my part.

TCC: If you ever actually saw any of the show, was there any part of it that stood out as especially memorable for you? If so, what was special about it? If not, are there any special off-screen moments that have remained with you?

GAUTIER: We all talked, kidded around, told stories, lied, bragged, and ragged on each other. In short -- we had a great time. As I recall, there wasn't a great deal of wasted time. It was pretty well organized in that respect. If we weren't needed they sometimes let us go out for a cup of coffee and hang around until they needed us again.

TCC: The original U.S. cartoon ended in 1987 with a trio of episodes collectively titled THE REBIRTH. A lot of new characters were introduced, and Hot Rod became a Targetmaster by "binary bonding" to an alien character named Firebolt, whom you also voiced. The sheer deluge of new characters makes me suspect that a complete fourth season may have been in the cards at some point. Did you hear anything like that at any point, or did you go into the recording of the final three-parter knowing that it would be the last time? Have you any idea why the show was cancelled?

GAUTIER: I heard that the violence on TV for kids was coming to an end and the Smurf generation was about to take over. That's all I know. Pressure was brought to bear by parents and school groups, which resulted in its demise.

TCC: The chances of Rodimus Prime ever gracing the screen again, be it small or silver, are most probably non-existent, but if it came to pass, would you consider portraying him again?

GAUTIER: Sure. Make me an offer.

"Don't suppose I could interest you in a used mantle?"
Rodimus Prime -- THE BIG BROADCAST OF 2006

Apeface

APEFACE: Think you can entice him with a banana split? I'd think twice.

TCC: Before you became a mainstay of the TRANSFORMERS ensemble, you had already done so many things. The stage, standup comedy, nightclubs, television, feature films, and much more. For a man with so many different ventures to his name, what has doing voice-over meant to your career? Also, among the many animated shows that you have done, how highly would you rate THE TRANSFORMERS?

GAUTIER: It was fun, slightly lucrative, and didn't interfere with other film and TV projects so it was great. Also a different kind of activity that I greatly enjoyed. I could play characters in animation that I'd never get on screen.

TCC: One of the dangers of acting is typecasting [i.e. being so associated with a certain type of character, comedic, heroic, or villainous, that one is rarely, if ever, asked to play anything else]. Despite your success in BYE BYE BIRDIE, you chose not to vie for the role when they made the movie two years later, as it might have done your career more harm than good. Does typecasting occur in animation voice-overs as well or can a voice actor pretty much hope to get any kind of role?

GAUTIER: No, that's the lovely thing about VO work -- in one show you can be the stalwart articulate hero, an unintelligible monster, and a raspy-voiced guard in a cameo role. You can be cast in as many roles as you can convincingly come up with. It's an actor's dream, really. We're all victims of our looks, good or bad or bland, and we get cast that way -- for our "quality" (whatever that is), our unintentional, natural persona. Whatever we inadvertently project is what we're allowed to play primarily (with a few exceptions). It's just another reason to love the world of Voice Over acting or (as I'm fond of calling it) Overactors Anonymous.

TCC: The face of animation has changed significantly since the heyday of THE TRANSFORMERS and its ilk. Computer-generated animation has proved enduring and may even supplant traditional animation in time. Even the TRANSFORMERS concept returned to the small screen in the mid-1990s via the popular BEAST WARS and BEAST MACHINES TV series, both of which boast said CGI animation. You've kept your hand in animation business to some extent, even contributing vocally to interactive computer games -- has the process of voice recording at all changed for you in time to the visual evolution?

GAUTIER: No. I still keep my hand (or voice) in on occasion, but as I said before, shows always evolve with or without us. I've done some CD-ROMs, etc. The technology has improved, but our job is the same. Stand before a microphone and be funny or weird or whatever they want us to be.

"Looks like you did okay without me."
Rodimus Prime -- THE BURDEN HARDEST TO BEAR

Firebolt

FIREBOLT: Exo-clad green man who made sure we got his "good" side.

TCC: There is no doubt that you have achieved a great many things over the past -- dare I say it? -- 40 years. You've been an actor of the stage and the screen, a writer, a producer, made a name for yourself as an artist, and now there is your website, which puts on display details on your career and your diverse talents. So what does Dick Gautier want to do that he hasn't done yet?

GAUTIER: I just completed writing a play. I'd like to see that produced and I have my first novel in NY with my publishers. That would be a kick. My other books (14 in all) are about art so it's not the same. If you wish me anything, wish that my novel gets published.

TCC: In that case, I certainly hope that it comes through for you. Can you tell me a little bit about the novel?

GAUTIER: I came up with an idea about a series of killings occurring in and around an L.A. comedy club. Since standup was my first gig and first love, I liked the idea of using a fresh and unusual venue for a mystery novel and I think (I hope) it turned out well.

TCC: I'd like to thank you for kindly taking the time out to talk about your part in making THE TRANSFORMERS what it was. It has been a very illuminating exchange. I hope that your current activities -- such as your novel and your art -- are keeping you fulfilled and that you'll find equal contentment in your future endeavours.

GAUTIER: Thanks -- some of the questions were challenging, the others you'll notice I skirted cleverly (or not). Actually, it was fun to be forced to look back into a pleasant time in my career. Doing THE TRANSFORMERS was always pressureless and fun because of the great and talented people I had the opportunity to associate with. When the fans listen to our vocal performances I hope that fun is communicated to them.

"In light of the information you gave us, I'm allowing you to go free."
Rodimus Prime -- GHOST IN THE MACHINE


For more on Dick Gautier's career, visit www.dickgautier.com, his official website. Launched in the summer of 2000, it comes with a fun biography, photos, an on-line store (which offers his many books on art, paintings and caricatures, and a selection of autographed photos), and an extensive resumé.

INTRODUCTION

Q & A SEGMENTS

CREDITS

PREAMBLE & RESPONSE

PART I

PART II

PART III

CONTRIBUTIONS & IMAGE SOURCE