CTP Episode of the Day - 12.18.06 - Jose Chung's From Outer Space
Today's Cherished Episode: Jose Chung's From Outer Space (3x20)
Original Air Date: April 12, 1996
Written By: Darin Morgan
Directed By: Rob Bowman
A novelist interviews Scully about a rumored UFO abduction of two teenagers that seems open to a number of different interpretations.
"Then there are those who care not about extraterrestrials, searching for meaning in other human beings. Rare or lucky are those who find it. For although we may not be alone in the universe, in our own separate ways on this planet, we are all ... alone."
Some "Jose Chung" Tidbits & Musings:
-- Darin Morgan's last effort for The X-Files was "Jose Chung's From Outer Space," an episode rooted in the show's most basic premises, going all the way back to the "Pilot" and "Deep Throat": the government and the military are covering up proof of alien existence and while they're at it, they're deleting and altering your memories of whatever you think you witnessed. It's also the show's most baroque, flamboyant hour, as Scully related to a cheerfully cynical writer named Jose Chung the events of a most unusual alien abduction case involving -- possibly -- the government abduction and hypnotizing of innocent citizens.
-- The episode, not surprisingly, is loaded with in-jokes, beginning with its title. As a practical joke, the writing staff created the wholly fictitious "Jose Chung," an aspiring writer who kept phoning the office (writer John Shiban did the honors) inquiring about an unsolicited script he'd submitted. Chung was repeatedly dismissed, prompting more than a little surprise and confusion from the recipient of those calls when the name suddenly turned up on Darin Morgan's script.
-- The original title of this episode was reportedly "Eth Snafu," with the first word being a purposeful misspelling of the word "The." Snafu, of course, stands for Situation Normal -- All Fouled Up. (Or *bleeped* up, as Detective Manners might say!)
-- When Darin Morgan joined The X-Files, he knew very little about alien abduction or UFO lore, so he bought some books on the subject. "There was actually a lot more information about typical alien abduction in 'Jose Chung' than there has been in most X-Files," Morgan commented. "Usually the episodes that deal with abductions are about the Cigarette-Smoking Man and the conspiracy. That has nothing to do with standard abduction stories. I thought there was so much more out there about extraterrestrials, and these things should be mentioned. Even Roky, the character who went to inner earth, was another aspect of that, because UFO people think there are inner earth people. And the published accounts of Men in Black are actually more ridiculous than what I had in the episode."
-- Although Morgan was interested in exploring the nature of reality in "Jose Chung,' the convoluted narrative design was also his strategy to maneuver around the problems he had with plotting. "There was always a practical reason behind the deeper thoughts," he observed. "It was often a search to find a way to ease out of having to explain your plot. The coincidences in 'Clyde Bruckman' and the weird things about aliens and government involvement in 'Jose Chung' had to do with my needing an out. That out was the hypnosis angle. I felt like I could do anything. Unlike saying 'it's all a dream,' I could always go, 'It's all just memory implantation.' Even though the episode is all about aliens and the government conspiracy, it actually has more to do with hypnosis and how much we can actually know and remember. I always thought it was more interesting to have some of your memories changed than to have them completely wiped out, so this show was more along those lines. 'They' have the ability to change what you remember. To me, that was more terrifying than being abducted by aliens."
-- "It's kind of confusing to talk about, I know, but all this stuff was invented to avoid a specific plot," Morgan continued. "In terms of the multiple storytelling, I wanted to do something like Rashomon, where everyone had a different memory. I originally wanted to do it with Jose Chung interviewing a different person for each act. That still happened in the third act, when Chung talked to Blaine. But it was too complicated, so I stuck with Scully. But I find it appealing to use 'tales within tales,' where someone is telling a story and then a person in that story starts telling another story. The whole episode is really that, because even when Scully was telling her story, she was actually telling everyone else's account."
-- Director Rob Bowman recognized that the fun of "Jose Chung" was serious business. "There were so many details in the script, I knew the audience wasn't going to understand it unless I told it in a way that they could see into the story -- using repetitive staging and anything I could do to give them hooks along the way to remember how things tied together and allow them to be along for the ride," he said. Bowman admitted to reading the script "fourteen or fifteen times" before he really understood everything and then held a "very detailed meeting" with writer Darin Morgan to go over every aspect of the episode.
-- "I went at it piece by piece," Bowman said, "hoping that it would come together in the end. I tried to make all versions of the story seem possible -- what actually happened and what might have happened -- and let the audience figure out what they believe."
-- Despite its comedic overtones, Bowman pointed out that the show did have a serious story regarding a conspiracy and cover-up at its core, so he played the hypnosis scenes very soberly. "That's the theme of the entire show," he suggested. "One's perception of reality, and how it can be altered by mere words." For all that, Bowman added, "It was just a kick to do."
-- "Jose Chung" included many references to classic sci-fi films, the first of which was the opening shot meant as an ode to the Imperial Star Cruiser opening of Star Wars. Just as the scene was about to be shot, the crane lift broke and it took three hours to fix. "That shot took all night to get," Morgan said. "I know because Rob Bowman called me the next morning and yelled 'That shot took all night to get!'"
-- Harold Lamb, the boy on his first date with Chrissy, was named for Harold Lloyd's character in the 1925 movie The Freshman.
-- The aliens in the episode teaser were played by two of the assistants in the make-up department. "It was poetic justice," Bowman said. "They spent so many episodes putting all this stuff on people and now here they were naked, covered with make-up, and it was very cold. They were just miserable."
-- The large alien who abducted Chrissy, Harold, and the two Air Force pilots -- described in the script as "Behemoth From the Planet Harryhausen," an homage to stop-motion effects wizard Ray Harryhausen -- was actually stunt coordinator Tony Morelli in a costume devised by special effects makeup supervisor Toby Lindala. The suit stood more than seven-feet high with stilts built into it, so Morelli's feet were actually situated in the knees. Morelli spent more than 10 hours inside the outfit, rivaling Morgan's own ordeal playing the Flukeman in "The Host." Lindala proudly pointed out that the suit featured remote-controlled eyes and eyelids, which moved. Beck then digitally manipulated the footage to make the creature look more like a product of stop-motion animation.
-- "We didn't have the time or money to do a proper stop-action model," lamented Morgan. "Toby built a suit. The scene was shot, speeded up and then slowed down by computer to give it a jerkiness. Mat Beck had to do a lot of work on it. I hope it looked like stop-animation."
-- Lord Kinbote (the name of the red creature) shared his named with Dr. Charles Kinbote, a possibly mad scholar from Vladimir Nabokov's novel Pale Fire. (Nabokov was Darin Morgan's favorite writer.) This novel was written as a diary of certain (real and imagined/possibly entirely imagined) events by Dr. Charles Kinbote, who is eventually revealed to be a somewhat less-than-reliable narrator. In short, Kinbote is certifiably mentally ill, probably with multiple personality disorder, and certainly with a paranoid personality disorder.
-- "In one of his interviews, Nabokov made the point that reality is a word that should always have quotes around it, because everyone's reality in a sense is different," Morgan said. "People will look differently at the same object, depending on their backgrounds and past history. That was a direct influence on this episode."
-- The names of several famous UFO researchers and skeptics show up in the episode. Klass County, where the episode took place, was named for Philip Klass, who wrote books debunking UFO sightings. In his book UFO's Explained he said, "No single object has been misinterpreted as a 'flying saucer' more often than the planet Venus." This line is very close to one spoken by one of the Men in Black.
-- The fake alien pilots, "Robert Vallee" and "Jack Schaffer," took their names from UFO authors Robert Schaffer and Jacques Vallee.
-- The MP who arrested Schaffer, Sergeant Hynek, was named for J. Allen Hynek, a researcher who once worked for the U.S. Air Force and who wrote The Edge of Reality: A Progress Report on UFOs.
-- Although it's hard to imagine anyone other than Charles Nelson Reilly playing Jose Chung, comedian Rip Taylor was actually the original choice for the role.
-- "When word got out that Charles Nelson Reilly was the guest star, a lot of people on the set were like 'Charles Nelson Reilly?'" Rob Bowman said. "But we all ended up having some of the most fun we'd ever had on The X-Files. As funny as it was in front of the camera, it was even funnier behind the camera. It was a struggle to keep everyone from laughing and ruining the take."
-- "The first scene of the episode that was shot was the first interview scene between Jose Chung and Scully," said Darin Morgan, "and I think once they saw that scene, everybody was on board."
-- The original script included a Mulder/Scully flashback during that first interview scene; it was eventually cut for time. But it followed the line where Chung asked Scully when she was first made aware of the case, and here it is:
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
SCULLY: Actually, my partner was aware of the case before it was even a case.
~~ MONTHS EARLIER - Mulder sits behind the desk now, perusing the computer, while Scully's at the file cabinets doing busy work ~~
MULDER: Scully, listen to this -- last night, several UFO sightings were reported in Klass County, Washington, near Jacobs Air Force Base.
SCULLY: (facetious exuberance): Then what are we waiting for??!
MULDER: The Air Force initially acknowledged the "unidentified" sightings, then later recanted, claiming they themselves were conducting tests in the area. The Air Force will only categorize a sighting as "unidentifiable" after a lengthy investigation and then as a last resort, yet in this instance, they seemed all too willing to label it as such.
SCULLY: Mulder, that has all the makings of a military cover-up so complex that to try to decipher its many layers may leave you questioning the nature of reality itself. Best let it be.
MULDER: We've been together for three years now, Scully. The least you can do is feign interest in some of my interests.
SCULLY: It'd be easier for me to do if all your interests weren't either paranormal or pornogr --
CUT TO ~~ PRESENT TIME ~~
SCULLY: -- aphic -- don't put that in your book. That's sort of an ... inside joke.
CHUNG: Oh please, you don't have to worry about things like that. Now, when were you made aware of the case proper?
(Chung scribbles down a note reading "Mulder pervert??")
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
-- Charles Nelson Reilly "scribbled" quite a bit as he appeared to take notes throughout the episode. But that's all it was -- scribbles. "He never once actually wrote anything," Rob Bowman said.
-- Perhaps foremost, "Jose Chung" provided a breath of fresh air for everyone on the series at a time in the production year when many were beginning to drag and feel their energy fading. Charles Nelson Reilly captivated virtually everyone and "gave us a lift," as assistant director Tom Braidwood remembered, with his enthusiasm. Reilly's antics included crying "Nurse! Nurse!" each time he needed to consult with the script supervisor and nicknaming everybody, calling costume designer Jenni Gullett and costume supervisor Gillian Kieft by nicknames like "senorita" and "Carlotta," as in, "Okay, senorita, what's next?" Asked about the most interesting guest they costumed during the season, Gullett and assistant costume designer Janice Swayze shouted "Charles Nelson Reilly!" almost simultaneously.
-- "He really was delightful," Gillian Anderson concurred. "He was one of the most hysterical people I've ever met in my life. Everything was a joke to him, and he really made life on the set light and fun and a joy."
-- The foul-mouthed Detective Manners was named for X-Files director Kim Manners, who directed both "Humbug" and another of Morgan's efforts, "War of the Coprophages." The director Manners had earned a reputation for what might be politely called colorful dialogue. "I swear a lot," he says, matter-of-factly.
-- Kim Manners was once an actor and at one point was even going to play the detective himself, but he proved too exhausted from his prior directing assignment to do so. "I had agreed to do it, but for the good of the show my first loyalty was to directing and not acting," he said.
-- Darin Morgan was disappointed that Manners did not play the role. "He said he was too tired," Morgan said, "but I think (1) he just chickened out and (2) I let him read the script. If I hadn't let him read the script before we started shooting, I think he would have done it."
-- Rob Bowman said that the original script included lots of borderline curse words for Detective Manners to utter (like "that's a F-ing UFO"), but when Standards and Practices started to protest, Darin Morgan took action. "Being the rebel that he was, Darin just got rid of all the curse words and had Manners say 'bleeping' or 'blankety-blank' instead." "And it actually turned out funnier," Morgan added. "So for once I had to thank the censors."
-- The title of Jose Chung's novel The Caligarian Candidate (which Scully said was "one of the greatest thrillers ever written") combined two famous film titles: The Manchurian Candidate and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Hypnosis or mind control, which played a big part in this episode, was a theme of both films. In The Manchurian Candidate, a brainwashed soldier is manipulated into believing in alternate versions of reality by political enemies; and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, is a German silent movie also dealing with mind control and an evil hypnotist.
-- Chrissy's first hypnosis session is performed by Dr. Fingers played by one of Darin Morgan's favorite actors, Alex Diakun. "He appeared in almost everything I wrote," Morgan said. "I just love his voice."
-- "One thing I learned when I did research for this episode," said Morgan, "was that people who are hypnotized can be influenced by what is in the room where they are hypnotized. Like the coffee and donuts in the room during the first hypnosis."
-- Technical challenges included the alien bondage equipment, which was meant to be revealing without running afoul of Fox's broadcast standards department. "Actually, I think Darin just wanted to see that actress in that outfit," Bowman joked.
-- "Even though they had some funny lines, David and Gillian had to be their normal investigative selves in this episode," Rob Bowman explained, "and I felt badly because they didn't get to enjoy the humor in the script. But their characters had to walk the straight and narrow in order for the rest of it to work."
-- Roky Crickenson, the witness to the kids' abduction, was named for Roky Erickson, the psychedelic lead singer for the "13th Floor Elevators" who went on to form a band called 'Roky Erickson and the Aliens'. The real Roky was obsessed with alien visitation, paranormal phenomena, and pyramid lore.
-- "You meet people all the time who seem very normal," Darin Morgan said. "And then the more you get to know them, you begin to realize that they are a complete nutball. That's the kind of person I wanted Roky to be -- someone who appeared perfectly normal, a blue collar worker, but then you realized he was a nut."
-- The Men in Black in this episode came before the movie of the same name, but after the comic book.
-- Darin Morgan wrote the role of one of the Men in Black for Jesse Ventura because "he was my favorite wrestler at the time." Born James George Janos in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after graduating from high school, he served in the U.S. Navy in Vietnam and eventually became a Navy SEAL. He created the stage name Jesse "The Body" Ventura to go with the persona of a bully-ish beach body builder, taking "Ventura" from a California highway map. As a professional wrestler, Ventura wrestled as a "heel" (the bad guy). He continued to wrestle until the mid-1980s, when blood clots in his lungs ended his in-ring career; he claimed the health problems were due to his exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam.
-- Ventura became a color commentator for professional wrestling before becoming an actor. The first step in his political career was being elected to a four-year term as mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis with a population of around 56,000. He did not run for a second term and appeared in "Jose Chung" about a year after completing his term. But he wasn't done with politics; in 1998 Ventura, as a member of the Reform Party, was elected the Governor of Minnesota. He served one term and did not seek reelection.
-- In his famous "Playboy" interview, Ventura confessed that he had no idea what his lines in "Jose Chung" meant.
-- When Mulder was reading Roky's account of the alien abduction, "I had Lord Kinbote talk in that bad Shakespeare or medieval lingo where people speaketh and showeth," said Morgan, "because it seemed like in all bad sci-fi movies set in the future, they always have the characters talk like that."
-- The line that Roky's manifesto was written in "screenplay format" was one of Morgan's favorite lines in the episode. "Everybody wants to be a screenwriter," he said.
-- In Chrissy's second hypnosis scene, Dr. Fingers changed into Dr. Hand during her recollection involving the military. Darin Morgan offered no explanation as to the characters' names, but noted that he did remember the actor playing Dr. Hand: "I think we cast him because he was bald, but I remember his name because his first name and his last name were the same, Mina E. Mina."
-- Most of the people standing in the background during the hypnosis scenes were relatives of X-Files crew members.
-- "I remember Rob Bowman called me and told me I was going to love the actor they cast as Blaine," Darin Morgan recalled. "He said, 'People will believe this guy wants to be abducted by aliens ... because I think this guy really does.'"
-- Blaine had an "I Want to Believe" poster just like Mulder's in his room, except that the "Want to" was covered, leaving the words "I Believe."
-- In his first scene, Blaine was wearing a Space: Above and Beyond tee shirt, an obvious plug for the show that his brother Glen Morgan created with partner Jim Wong. Coincidentally, on the same night that "Jose Chung" aired, David Duchovny made an uncredited cameo guest appearance on Space: Above and Beyond playing a pool shooting alien named Handsome Alvin. That same S:AAB episode included a reference to another X-File episode written by Darin Morgan -- "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose."
-- David Duchovny joked that the little falsetto yelp he let out upon seeing the dead alien body came close to approximating his singing voice. The "girly scream" was a reference to a line in another Darin Morgan episode "War of the Coprophages." When Mulder confessed that as a child he screamed when he saw a praying mantis, Scully asked him if it was a "girly scream."
-- Darin Morgan referred to the scene where Scully grabbed Blaine by the collar and threatened him, "Gillian Anderson at her sexiest."
-- "I don't mind making fun of Mulder," Morgan said. "He's presented as the seeker of the truth, and to me such people are always somewhat ridiculous."
-- "Everyone looks at Mulder as having all the answers, he said. "Most of the other episodes present him as usually right. I've always found that the things he talks about, if a normal person talked about them, you'd go, 'This guy's crazy.' He's supposed to be a smart guy, but I've never looked at him as such. He's just luckier in some of his explanations. And Scully, although skeptical has the right approach when she says, 'I don't believe this.' Before I wrote for the show, Mulder always seemed like the more interesting character, but once I started writing for it, I found that I liked Scully more."
-- Morgan could not resist adding his own satire of Fox's alien autopsy show, Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction shown on the Fox network earlier that year (even though it was also referred to in "Nisei"). "We were all watching the alien autopsy tape one day, and it was so ridiculous!" Morgan recalled. "The Bigfoot footage at the end of 'Jose Chung' was just so damn phony, but you have no idea how much it costs to get the rights to that thing. You think about how much money has been made on that footage, and it's a crime! And I feel the same way about the alien autopsy: it's a swindle, and it's almost disturbing to see how many people take it seriously." Morgan expressed his sentiments by having his alien autopsy hosted by the Stupendous Yappi, the fake psychic from "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" (played by Jaap Broeker, David Duchovny's stand-in).
-- Blaine's "Roswell! Roswell!" is a parody of Al Pacino's "Attica! Attica!" from the 1975 film Dog Day Afternoon.
-- The title of the video that Chung showed Scully, Dead Alien! Truth or Humbug? was a reference to the first X-Files episode written by Darin Morgan, "Humbug."
-- Darin Morgan recalled that David Duchovny had a very bad cold the day the alien autopsy scene was shot, and that all his lines had to be looped in later because "he was too nasal that day."
-- Rob Bowman recalled that during the same scene everyone started laughing after Gillian Anderson pulled the "alien's" mask off (to reveal a human being) because the actor's head hit the table with a loud "thunk."
-- The scene when Jesse Ventura's "Man In Black" visits Blaine to retrieve the videotape originally included dialogue, but the episode ran long so the scene was changed to action only. Additionally, the "backbreaker" wrestling move that Jesse Ventura did on Blaine was a "piledriver" in the script, "but that was just way too dangerous to do," said Darin Morgan.
-- Another of Darin Morgan's favorite lines is "I didn't spend all those years playing Dungeons and Dragons and not learn a little something about courage." "When the show plays in syndication, they have to cut out two minutes," Morgan said, "and they always cut out the scene between Mulder and Blaine that has that line. I hate that."
-- Visual effects producer Mat Beck recalled this episode provided one of his funniest "fix-its," as one of the missing pilots turned up naked as he walked across the highway, and his unit was called upon to obscure the character's bare butt in order to mollify Fox. "We did a huge flare coming off the car headlights to cover up the butt," Beck said. The funniest part was that "the guy was not naked when we shot it," according to Darin Morgan. "He had something on, but the censor thought he looked naked and Mat had to cover it."
-- "I always had stereotypical 'boo' scenes or act-outs [ending an act] with a dead body," Darin Morgan said. "I was proudest of 'Jose Chung,' in which only two people died, and I didn't have a death on an act-out. You get in the habit of saying, 'Okay, here's a dead body,' cut to commercial. But you usually have to have those. The X-Files was a kind of horror show, so you had to have those moments of genuine terror or grossness."
-- When Mulder was talking to Shaeffer in the diner, Shaeffer was molding his mashed potatoes into a mountain, a reference to Richard Dreyfuss molding mashed potatoes in the form of Devil's Tower in the alien-abduction movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
-- "I wrote the last act in one night," recalled Morgan, "and I didn't change one line except in the diner where Mulder said something about covert intelligence operations and secret military airships. I only did that because Rob and Bob Goodwin said that people wouldn't understand what was going on. Otherwise, it was exactly the way I wrote it."
-- The Ovaltine Cafe on East Hastings Street, one of Vancouver's oldest cafes, was used in the shot where Mulder met the pilot and, depending on one's recollection of events, devoured slice after slice of pie. "It was kind of in a bad part of town," Rob Bowman recalled. "We had wanted to shoot something there for a long time, but this was the first time the owner said yes."
-- Although fans speculated that Mulder eating pie in the diner scene was a reference to David Duchovny's role on Twin Peaks, Darin Morgan said that "referencing Twin Peaks was not my intention." In typical Darin Morgan fashion he added, "I don't know what my intention was, but that wasn't it." But Morgan lauded Heather MacDougall's editing job on the entire episode, and this scene in particular. "Editors don't like to do those kind of obvious cuts," he said, "but it was so cool that Mulder was talking about missing time and the cut shows you that there is obviously some time missing."
-- Morgan said that he used the repetitive action of a person's hand on someone's shoulder and the repetitive hypnotic suggestion "you're feeling very sleepy, very relaxed" to indicate the parts of the episode where characters were most likely hypnotized, thus the second Man in Black's line to Mulder.
-- "I used Alex Trebek because the appearance of the Man in Black had to be someone that it probably couldn't be," Morgan explained. "When someone tells you they were abducted by aliens, and they start telling you the details, you think 'Wow, that actually might have happened.' But then they say the alien looked exactly like Alex Trebek, and that's where you stop believing and just think the person is a nut."
-- Originally, rather than Alex Trebek, Darin Morgan's choice for the second Man in Black was the original Man in Black -- Johnny Cash. But using Alex Trebek allowed Morgan to once again poke fun at David Duchovny's appearance -- and loss -- on Celebrity Jeopardy.
-- Scully's line that the case had more closure than some of their other cases was a reference to the fact that Fox and some critics constantly complained that X-Files episodes had no closure.
-- Referring to Mulder's speech asking Chung not to write the book, Darin Morgan said, "David did such a great job with that speech that really made no sense at all, but he did it brilliantly." Rob Bowman agreed: "He and Gillian always did a great job with all those words that sound like gobbledygook. They said it with such conviction rather than just memorizing the words, you couldn't help but believe it."
-- According to Mulder, Chung's publishing house was owned by "Warden White, Inc., a subsidiary of MacDougall-Kessler." Warden White was the agency that represented Darin Morgan; Heather MacDougall edited this episode, and Sue Kessler was an assistant editor.
-- "At the end of the episode, Mulder knew he was on to something," said Rob Bowman, "but it was so clouded and layered with deception -- deception by design -- that he was never going to be able to get the truth out of it. It was so confusing."
-- Added Darin Morgan: "Not like that whole black oil/alien rebel thing which was so easy to follow."
-- In his ending voiceover, Chung said that Roky had re-located to El Cajon, CA, which was Glen and Darin Morgan's hometown.
-- "Glen used to be a comedy writer," Darin Morgan said, "and his favorite kind of joke was having someone give a long and articulate speech that was very simple and then have them say something incredibly stupid at the end. So Roky's speech at the end of the episode was my tribute to Glen and his joke-writing. I gave the script to Glen and told him I wrote a joke just the way he used to and he found it immediately."
-- The manuscript for Jose Chung's book, From Outer Space, that Scully was reading was simply a copy of the episode's script.
-- In his book, Jose Chung used "Diana Lesky" and "Reynard Muldrake" as thinly-veiled pseudonyms for "Dana Scully" and "Fox Mulder." "Reynard" is taken from the French word for "Fox," "renard."
-- "Jose Chung" marked the only time up to that point that The X-Files theme itself was employed as dramatic underscore, according to Mark Snow. The composer altered the fifth of the six notes to create a more bittersweet tone accompanying Chung's monologue at the end about loneliness. "This whistle sound had never been used," Snow said, sounding a bit like Detective Manners himself by adding, "The show was so unique I just said '[Bleep] it, I'm doing it."
-- The episode ends on a poignant note, with Jose Chung wistfully reading from his book. "It was quite touching," Morgan remarked. "It felt right. I didn't want to end on a wacky note. The scene was humorous, but you also have certain points or feelings you like to express, and I guess the loneliness of human existence was one of them. When Chung goes on about how some people don't care about extraterrestrials, that is, I guess, my own summation about working on the show. I want to write about people rather than about aliens."
-- "Why was the end so depressing?" Morgan asked on the DVD commentary. "That was the way you wanted it," countered Rob Bowman. And when the credits rolled, Morgan asked, "Who is this Chris Carter guy?" "I don't know," replied Bowman. "But he keeps sticking his name on all my episodes."
-- Charles Nelson Reilly started his career in the theater, winning Broadway's 1962 Tony Award as Best Supporting or Featured Actor (Musical) for portraying Bud Frump in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. He was nominated in the same category in 1964 for Hello, Dolly! opposite Carol Channing. Reilly moved on to supporting roles in episodic television and variety shows in the 60s and 70s, and became a staple on game shows that featured celebrity participants, most notably The Match Game which was hosted by his friend Gene Rayburn. Reilly met Rayburn when he was Rayburn's understudy in Bye, Bye Birdie on Broadway.
-- Reilly received a Guest Actor Emmy nomination when he reprised his role of Jose Chung in a 1997 episode of Millennium, "Jose Chung's Doomsday Defense," written and directed by Darin Morgan.
-- Since his appearances as Jose Chung, Reilly has done mostly voice work in television and film and has performed his one-man show, Save It For the Stage: The Life of Reilly,. He has also directed many Broadway and off-Broadway shows and served as an acting coach at the Burt Reynolds Dinner Theatre in Jupiter, Florida (Reilly and X-File alum Reynolds have been friends for years).
-- One bit of interesting trivia about Charles Nelson Reilly: At age 13, he was in the audience during the Ringling Brothers Circus tent fire in Hartford, Connecticut, on July 6, 1944, which claimed the lives of 168 people. The mother of his neighbor friend had taken the two boys to the show and the three managed to escape physically unharmed. Charles was saved by an older sister also in attendance, who lowered him from the side of the bleachers because the bottleneck below made it practically impossible to get out any other way.
-- This episode received an Emmy nomination for Graeme Murray, art director, and Shirley Inget, set decorator, for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Art Direction for a Series.
-- Once & Future Retreads: Alex Diakun (Dr. Fingers) was the Museum Curator in "Humbug" and the Tarot Dealer in "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose." Larry Musser (Detective Manners) was Sheriff John Oakes in "Die Hand Die Verletzt," Denny Markham in "Unrequited," and Jack Bonsaint in "Chinga." Michael Dobson (Sergeant Hynek) was Marksman #2 in "Duane Barry," a BATF Agent in "The Field Where I Died," and a U.S. Marshall in "Kitsunegari." Jaap Broeker (the Stupendous Yappi) played the same role in "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose." Terry Arrowsmith (Air Force Man) was a Uniformed Cop in "Synchrony."
-- For numerous reasons "Jose Chung" quickly became a favorite for many members of the cast and crew, including Gillian Anderson, who immediately cited the show as being among her third-season highlights. "It was such a smart script, sharp and tight," she said. "It was so well-written and fabulous, with some wonderful twists and turns it in. Charles was excellent in it, and I thought that Rob Bowman really did it justice. He pulled it together in a way that I don't think any of us expected when we first read the script. In reading it, it was great but confusing. Overall, it turned into what I found to be a really exciting, tight episode."
-- "Jose Chung" was Darin Morgan's last writing effort for the show; he left the staff claiming to be "burned out" after just one season. Although he entertained the possibility of writing a fourth-season episode, it didn't come to pass, although he did return as an actor in Vince Gilligan's "Small Potatoes."
-- "Jose Chung's From Outer Space" was so confusing that one's initial reaction, besides laughter, was to rewind the VCR and watch it again -- precisely the effect Morgan wanted. "I think it worked, for the most part, and even if people were confused -- because it was confusing, and purposely so -- I hope that they would recognize that for being part of it and enjoy it even more. I just wanted to get a reaction. I didn't care if they learned anything or got anything out of it. I hope they thought it was funny and moving, and were entertained on whatever level they needed."
(Thanks to chrisnu for today's pics.)
Please share your first impressions, favorite (or cringe-worthy) moments, classic lines, favorite fanfic, nagging questions, repeated viewing observations, etc., as today we celebrate "Jose Chung's From Outer Space."
Edited to Add: And in our Cherish the Past journey, that completes season 3, the second season to be finished.