Keystone
Astronomer
Goes to B-5
Babylon-5 button


Part 3
The Method of Their Madness
or
Aliens, off with Your Heads!


by staR-L Dietz

Now, where was I? Oh, yes. After lunch with the crew, we were returned to the Zocolo set to do several more scenes at a slightly accelerated pace. Like light speed!

As the primary actors proceeded with their lines and the plot thickened, the extras were directed to become agitated and move in toward the action. One of my favorite events of the day was when I was directed to come from behind a wall (off camera) and walk into the scene just as Lyta Alexander was leaving the scene. Repeating this scene was a lot of fun for me because we kept bumping into each other and smiling after the collision. I have to admit that Ivonova was my favorite female character on the show, but now it is definitely Pat Tallman! She can run me over any time!

I also had a close encounter of the Bruce Boxlitener kind. It was earlier in the day. Bruce (I call him Bruce now) stopped by to check out the progress, so I went over to him (we were between scenes), introduced myself, explained that I wasn't a 'real' extra (although I play one on TV) and that I had contributed a lot of the set dressing art for the show since season one. He gave me a warm, firm handshake, said a few kind words and I went back to my mark. It took a few minutes for my heart to quit racing and I have to say that Bruce is a powerful presence and a lot taller than I expected. I actually shook hands with the President of the known Universe of 2,265!! What a GUY!

The afternoon shooting was a lot more hectic and animated. We were pounding on table tops as Lyta took control over our minds. We walked around like zombies in " Night of the Living Dead" I kept seeing Shadows in the shadows. The lights were harsh and hot, but they had large fans to move a lot of air when the cameras weren't rolling. You were lucky to end up near a fan between scenes. Small crowds would gather like birds in the breeze and flap their clothes or air out their latex heads. I'm actually quite proud of myself for not giving any 'spoilers' in this article.

About 6:30 p.m., Jason Howard (the set director and my foot in the door) showed up on the set and whisked me away for my tour of the other sets. What a relief to be out of the lights; I'll never work in that town again! They wanted me to become a Narn but I declined the honor; after all, my pony tail was already in the Zocolo sequence and Narns don't have long blond hair.

Jason took me on the grand tour. I saw it all. The highlight of the tour was the set of a destroyed White Star ship. One of the 'secrets' of the set is a lot of the walls are made from irrigation and drain field forms that you can buy at Eagle Hardware and Garden. It's that black plastic stuff with all the holes and I plan to build my own White Star upstairs at my house. Of course, I will need to get a lot of corn syrup and red food dye to simulate all the blood. Maybe I'll convert my computer room into the War Room.

In closing, I want to thank all the folks at B5 for the best SciFi ever done for TV and for the opportunity and honor of having my work on their walls. A special thanks to Jason Howard for getting me on the show and Don Hamilton for thinking of me when John Iacovelli asked him for some 'spacey' set dressing for season one.

in Valenís name
RL.DIETZ

PS: I didn't get Seven of Nine's autograph. :-(

Return to Keystone Astronomer goes to Babylon 5 part 1 or part 2

To visit this story through the eyes of time, you can click here to read the article I wrote for the Spokane Astronomical Society's newsletter during Season 2.


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