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SWAMP THING TV SERIES

DC COMICS IN THE MEDIA

DC CINEMATIC MULTIVERSE

PARLIAMENT OF THE TREES IN THE MEDIA

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK IN THE MEDIA


OVERVIEWEdit

Developed for television by Joseph Stefano (known for the classic movie Psycho and legendary series The Outer Limits), Swamp Thing was filmed in the brand-new Universal Studios Florida facilities and soundstages. This was allegedly granted to demonstrate the new studio because the series could be produced cheaply and quickly. For the first thirteen episodes, the crew shot on location in actual Florida swamps and returned to the studio for other scenes. However, the swamps not only prevented them from creating favorable lighting but also required lots of time to transport people and equipment from the swamp to the studio. They finally decided to build a swamp in the studio which, according to Durock, looked "ten times better than a real swamp."

Actor/stuntman Dick Durock, who played Dr. Alec Holland (Swamp Thing) in both films, reprised his role for the more serious-toned TV series. He wore a modified version of Carl Fullerton and Neal Martz's latex suit created for The Return of Swamp Thing, and he spoke in an electronically altered basso profundo.[1] Since his profuse sweating caused the lip and eye prosthetics to fall off while shooting the previous films, Durock simply had makeup applied in those areas for his television costume. "In the first feature it took close to four hours. In the second feature it took close to two hours. By the time we did the series, which ironically was by far the best makeup and costume, we had it down to about 45 minutes," he recalled.

Durock worked twelve hours a day, six days a week for 50 straight episodes without a break. In addition to the burden of wearing an 80-pound costume, the schedule required him to learn ten pages of dialogue each day. "I don't think this has ever been done before in the history of Hollywood where a guy wore a costume for that amount of time," Durock noted in a 2008 interview. However, he also recited the schedule as "two shows a week, three days each show, ten pages of dialogue a day. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and at the end of the day they hand you another thirty pages." This may allude to the schedule after the rigorous first 50 episodes. What's more, Durock stressed that "I had no experience as an actor at all, other than playing on Rockford Files and a zillion other shows, but not as an 'actor' actor per se."

Swamp Thing debuted with "The Emerald Heart" on Friday, July 27, 1990 at 10:30PM Eastern. The show's introductory narration decrees:

The swamp is my world. It is who I am; it is what I am. I was once a man. I know the evil men do. Do not bring your evil here, I warn you. Beware the wrath of Swamp Thing.

After the pilot episode and first 12 episodes, Executive Producer Stefano left the series and production was temporarily halted for some retooling by new Executive Producer Tom Greene. However, by the end of the first season the network and studio sensed that the show could attract even higher ratings and further modifications came when Tom Blomquist was enlisted as Executive Producer to revamp the series for two more seasons and lengthy production order of 50 episodes. Those episodes, which helped make Swamp Thing the highest rated original series on the USA Network, were less dependant on elements from the comic books and instead introduced anthological science fiction stories featuring guest star characters encountering the mysteries of the swamp. Swamp Thing regularly featured guest actors, such as Roscoe Lee Browne as "Duchamp", (a Voodoo Houngan/Bokor, who refers to Swamp Thing as "Loa of Green Things; the Spirit of the Swamp"), Tyne Daly as Dr. Arcane's fierce rival, Wolfman Jack as a carnival owner, Debby Boone as the estranged daughter of a beloved local woman, Philip Michael Thomas as a ghost trapped for eternity with his bickering wife, Andrew Stevens as a politician, One Life To Live stars Robert S. Woods and John Loprieno as escaped convicts, and Adam Curry as a rock star. Two episodes also guest starred professional wrestlers Terry Funk, Kevin Nash, and Jorge Gonzáles a.k.a. El Gigante.

The series also introduced characters like the Kipp family, as well as a completely new incarnation of Anton Arcane played by Mark Lindsay Chapman. A young boy named Jim Kipp, played by Jess Ziegler, was intended to appeal to the young audience. However, after the first 12 episodes, a decision was made to return the series back to a darker theme seen in the original Swamp Thing film. Consequently, the story had Jim Kipp abducted by a South American child stealing ring acting under the orders from Dr. Arcane, and Jim never appeared again in the series. Durock noted, "The way they wrote him out was kind of a shock to me and everybody else except for I suppose the writers... That's a hell of a way to meet your demise!" Indeed, the Swamp Thing evolved as it went along. Regarding these shifts, Durock commented, "I guess we finally got it ironed out after the first 23, and with the next 50, we kind of tried to hit a balance."[2]

Jim Kipp's fate and several other unresolved plot points from the first season were resolved by the new writing staff in the second season. Primary among those was Alec Holland's quest to find a cure for the affliction that had turned him into a swamp creature. Several episodes were dedicated to his desire to rediscover his human nature, including his unrequited love story with a beautiful scientist, Dr. Ann Fisk, played by actress Janet Julian who dedicated herself to helping him. Another innovation in the second and third seasons was an exploration of Dr. Arcane's madness, in an attempt to explain his penchant for evil.

With the network eager to release new episodes, many in the first season were aired out of their original order in the series' original run. The disorganization created the effect of sporadic or unfulfilled plot points in various episodes, an issue that was corrected in the first DVD set. Due to its strong cult following, however, Swamp Thing would later re-air on Sci-Fi Channel and be featured during the S.C.I.F.I. World schedule in the early 2000s (decade). As of 2008, the series airs on Chiller in movie form and is available on its official website.

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