CTP Episode of the Day - 10.11.06 - Shapes

Today's Cherished Episode: Shapes (1x18)
Original Air Date: April 1, 1994
Written By: Marilyn Osborn
Directed By: David Nutter

Mulder and Scully travel to an Indian reservation to examine deaths caused by a beastlike creature.

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(Thanks to chrisnu for today's pics.)

"They told me that even though my deodorant's made for a woman, it's strong enough for a man."

Some "Shapes" Tidbits & Musings:

-- The episode title comes from the shape shifting (from man to animal) that is the subject of the episode.

-- Fox had suggested doing a more conventional monster show, and Glen Morgan and James Wong -- who had been wanting to come up with something exploring Native American mythology -- proposed the Manitou, a slightly different approach to werewolves designed to serve fans of that genre while still feeling distinctive in The X-Files fashion. "A horror show should be able to do these legends that have been around since the thirteen hundreds," said Morgan.

-- Manitou, The Great Spirit, is an Algonquin term, often erroneously applied as spirit monster. Manitou combines the meanings of Spirit, mystery, magic, and generally is applied to the manifestation of some form of power that is not readily understood or coming from elsewhere.

-- When the old man points out that Mulder's name "should be Running Fox or Sleepy Fox," the agent responds, "Just as long as it's not 'Spooky Fox'" -- a reference to the disparaging nickname Mulder earned at the FBI Academy (mentioned in the "Pilot") stemming from his belief in the paranormal.

-- One potentially humorous scene that failed to make the cut had a cow blocking the agents' car, with Scully waving her arms and yelling, "Baseball glove! Leather purse!" trying to shoo the beast out of the road.

-- Marilyn Osborn, who wrote this episode, also wrote several episodes of Morgan and Wong's Space: Above and Beyond, and served as executive story editor for that series.

-- David Nutter enjoyed directing this episode, especially the technical challenges like lighting the sequence around the bonfire. "If you have people standing around this magnificent bonfire," said Nutter, "you should light them as if they are part of it." For that scene, Nutter said, "I actually went down to a part of Vancouver where they had an assembly every week for Native Americans. Basically, I grabbed these guys and I cast them and put this in part of the show which I thought could actually help give a lot of authenticity."

-- The sound effect of the Manitou's roar consisted of 12 different elements.

-- The Native Americans mentioned were the Trego Indians, but the episode took place in Browning, Montana. The only Reservation near Browning belonged to the Blackfeet Nation, not the Trego. While there was a Nation known as the Trego, they were neither in Montana, nor did they even have a Reservation.

-- Oopsie! During Joe Goodensnake's funeral, the part in Mulder's hair switches in between shots. After he got out of the car, his hair was parted on the left. Then in the shot after Gwen gave Scully one of her brother's possessions, his hair was parted on the right. In the next shot when Mulder talked to Sheriff Tskany, his hair was once again parted on the left.

-- Ish said he was at Wounded Knee, which referred to the 71-day standoff between federal authorities and militants of the American Indian Movement at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. Wounded Knee held some significance in American Indian history as it was the site of the last armed conflict between the Great Sioux Nation and the United States in 1890.

-- Donnelly Rhodes (Jim Parker) started his acting career on 1960s westerns including Maverick and Wagon Train and has continued to work steadily in television including current roles in Battlestar Galactica (Dr. Cottle) and Three Moons Over Milford. Before his role on The X-Files, he was probably best known for playing Dutch Leitner on the long-running comedy Soap.

-- Michael Horse (Charley Tskany) made a rather lackluster debut as Tonto in a poorly-received film remake of The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981), but he moved on to better projects, including playing Deputy Tommy "Hawk" Hill in Twin Peaks when David Duchovny played transvestite Dennis/Denise Bryson. His opinion of David in a dress: "It's a good color on him."

-- Ranae Morriseau's (Gwen Goodensnake) most recent project is a yet-to-be-released made-for-TV movie called Open Season (not to be confused with the animated film of the same name) about a woman who returns to her small home-town to investigate her father's death, which authorities considered a hunting accident. Morriseau plays the town sheriff. The movie includes another familiar X-Files face: William B. Davis as Judge Landers.

-- Ty Miller (Lyle Parker) was best known for playing "The Kid" on the western series The Young Riders. He later had a recurring role as a Tech Agent on Without a Trace.

-- Once & Future Retreads: Donnelly Rhodes (Jim Parker) appeared as General Francis in "Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man." Ranae Morriseau (Gwen Goodensnake) was Josephine Doane in "Anasazi." Dwight McFee (David Gates) was the Commander in "Little Green Men," the Suspect who tells Donnie Pfaster Scully's name in "Irresistible," and Havez in "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose." Paul McLean (Dr. Josephs) was Special Agent Kautz in "Anasazi" and "Zero Sum," and a Coast Guard Officer in "Nisei."

Please share your first impressions, favorite (or cringe-worthy) moments, classic lines, favorite fanfic, nagging questions, repeated viewing observations, etc., as today we celebrate "Shapes"!

Polly