::Dr. Indy comes up on stage, along with the Rescue Rangers. The crowd stands and applauds as the orchestra plays a snazzy arrangement of the Ranger theme song::
Dr. Indy: Hello again, and welcome to the third Golden Acorn awards!
::The orchestra follows up with a grandiose-sounding score, and behind the people on stage the curtain rises to reveal the huge 18-by-27 foot screen. Pictures and video from past award ceremonies play::
Chip: The first awards was the year of the Jaguar. Last year, it was the year of the Fish. Who will be the big winner this time?
Monty: Your guess is as good as ours, mates. But now, we’ve got something special to say.
Rangers: It’s our 15th Anniversary!
::The crowd stands as one, clapping and cheering. Streamers come down, and the RR symbol appears on the big screen with a flashing <b>15</b> showing on it. As the celebrating finally dies down, Dr. Indy resumes the podium::
Dr. Indy: To help us to commemorate this grand occasion, we have a very special guest. Give a round of applause to the writer of Rangerphile community’s first fanfiction novel and winner of the 2002 Best All-Time Story award. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Michael Demcio!
::Gasps of surprise from the crowd lead to another round of cheers as the veteran Rangerphile author comes on stage. He gets a round of hugs from the Rangers, and shakes Dr. Indy’s hand then settles in front of the podium. As the audience calms, Demcio clears his throat::
Demcio: I've been asked to say a few words here about what the Rangers mean to me and what led me to write Rhyme & Reason. The problem really is that "few words" part since anyone who's read this story knows, I'm not exactly a person "Of few words" at least in my stories, but I'll do my best to keep it to the point.
::The audience laughs a little, and he contiues::
Demcio: What the Rangers mean to me and what led me to write
Rhyme & Reason
are really both intertwined and lay on a number of levels. Since one must always begin at the
beginning, I have to start by recognizing my love for Chip & Dale (platonic of course...not
that there's anything wrong with the other, to quote Seinfeld..) back when they were only a
couple of brilliant foils for Donald Duck, Pluto and Mickey Mouse.
::Chip and Dale look a little uncomfortable, but mainly
because of modesty::
Demcio: I love nature no end. Would that I could live as "The Boys" as I call them, do, paying no heed to such daily trails as the daily hassles & stresses of modern life. Where the land and the air is as Mother Nature intended. To play among the treetops by day and lay back at night nestled into a store of food with my best friend, as content as one possibly can be.
::Demcio gestures toward the two chipmunks::
Demcio: Equally for their humor in their quick wit in
outsmarting opponents, for the natural world they represent, and to be quite
honest, for their cuteness factor as well, Chip and Dale
were always my favorites. So one layer of this twofold subject is there within this most
dynamic of duos, a team among teams. For really at its heart this is what the Rescue Rangers
did. They took one of the greatest teams ever seen and expanded them. The two became five…
and unofficially six or seven depending on who you ask, but at its core, the idea is the same.
::Foxglove and Tammy wave from their places in the front row and Demcio nods as he continues on::
Demcio: The Rescue Rangers represent teamwork, friendship, and ultimately family, all the core ideas which contributed to make Chip & Dale alone appeal to me so much in the first place.
Outside of these core concepts lay one other very important thing. Beyond living in harmony with nature as The Rescue Rangers do, this renowned team also "lives" really for one sole purpose. To help.
::The crowd applauds in approval, the Rangers taking it with their usual blushes and grins::
Demcio: To help whoever, to help whatever, to help whenever, to help wherever. True they also live for the adventure it often brings as well, as adventure can become quite addictive in its own right, but even were that adventure is not present, the sense of satisfaction that would come from knowing that someone or something in need benefited from their efforts, or that a sense of justice was played out from their role, then adventure I'm certain, would be something that they would gladly relegate to watching in movies and playing in games.
::Demcio again gestures, this time to all the Rangers::
Demcio: Its more than just a matter of "Beating the Bad
guys". The Rangers represent an inherent desire in myself, and probably in
most people. That desire being in each day, to try to make the world a little
better than how you found it. To be able to do such things, for a
"living" as it were, and to do them with your best friends? Well
truthfully, short of my desire to fly, this is one of my greatest fantasies in
all the world.
::The audience applauds again, fully in agreement. Now the picture on the big screen changes to say “Rhyme and Reason” written large::
Demcio: Now, take all that into consideration as we step
into the wayback machine for a quick glimpse at some of the crucial elements in
my life as they played a role in leading me to write
Rhyme & Reason. Growing up, I always had something of a passion for mystery, normally from
being exposed to it so often. From my mother who always picked up mystery books at the library
to watching Scooby Doo every week, a mystery was something I never could resist. Give me a story about Sherlock Holmes, Nero Wolfe or anything of the like and I ate it up.
Now if memory serves me correctly, when I first got the
notion to write R&R for the APA fanzine "Where The Fun Begins" which
centered around the programs of The Disney Afternoon, a few other shows were
running at the time which served as a major influence. One of these was
"Where in World Is Carmen Sandiego?"
Dale: I loved that show! Where is Car-men San-dee-A-go! Where on earth can she be?
::Chip elbows Dale in the ribs, getting some laughs, and the screen changes to show a few clips from the Sandiego cartoon show::
Demcio: Dismissed by many as a "Kids show", in my opinion, it really was a well written (as well as well drawn) piece of animation, but beyond the mystery aspect that was always present, the character of Carmen Sandiego was in my eyes a very original one. She was not merely a "bad guy" who got beaten at the end, she was someone who—a lot like D.C.'s Catwoman come to think of it—was very clever, loved to play games with her adversaries, and while she did not get away with her main goal oftentimes, at least one goal of hers that was *hidden* within the main goal often times was slyly accomplished.
Misdirection. Subterfuge. All the tricks of a great
magician. This was no mere woman criminal. This was for the most part, Professor
Moriarty's perfect woman, folks! The next main element in shaping R&R in my
mind was oddly enough to coincide with this awards ceremony, the Disney
Afternoon show "Gargoyles" which is now being released on video.
::Lots of clapping proceeds from the audience as the big screen now shows some screenshots from “Gargoyles”::
Demcio: Who here, even if you didn't care for the
characters, could not help but be impressed with this show? Outstanding voice
actors, exquisitely detailed animation, but most of all *story*.
This show just plain *oozed* story depth! Like “Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?" this
was not the world where the villain always gets beaten at the end. This is not the world where
all the heroes share a good laugh due to their victory and the villain’s defeat.
THIS. WAS. *REAL*. No cutesy, no cuddly, no corny. This was
like comparing Adam 12 to NYPD Blue. In-depth stories, in-depth characters, in-depth
*everything*. Tell me, when's the last time before this show where the episode
ended with one of the main characters crying her heart out? Just, *real*.
Even Batman: The Animated Series which had turned the
animation and superheroing world on its ear for the sheer quality of it wasn't
Dale: What’s Adam 12?
Chip: An old police show, Dale. Like Dragnet, only with uniformed cops riding in the cars, like Kirby and Muldoon.
Dale: Oh, okay. I thought it might be some weird sci-fi movie I missed!
::The audience chuckles some and Demcio continues::
Demcio: All the time that I was watching “Gargoyles” and
marveling at it, I was thinking "If only Disney could have made The Rescue
Rangers like *this*." After all, as much I enjoyed Rescue Rangers, it was
for, to put it in context, being able to see beyond the surface, much as
Aladdin was "A Diamond In the Rough". There was way too much shlock,
way too much slapstick, way too much of treating these characters who even
without being clearly portrayed in certain key episodes as having just so much
*depth* to them, as though the only beings who would ever look upon their
escapades had not yet reached the age of five
It was, to be perfectly ironic about it all, a *crime*. So
one day, as the saying goes, I decided to do something about it. The only thing
that was really missing up until that point was the adversary. To that subject,
I have to give a great deal of inspirational credit to, interestingly enough,
something that much as I've been told with R&R sparking a resurgence in
authors writing about the Rescue Rangers, something that sparked a resurgence
in another much beloved piece of Popular media. That specifically was Timothy
Zahn's (and I still remember his name which is a testament to how much it
impressed me) trilogy of novels about Star Wars titled "The Emperor's Last
::The big screen changes again, showing various screenshots from Star Wars::
Demcio: This trilogy featured an adversary who, much as Senator/Emperor Palpatine is finally being conveyed in the "first" two Star Wars films, is shown as everything in my eyes that an adversary should be. That adversary's name was Grand Admiral Thrawn. Cold, calculating, smooth talking, ruthless and pretty much in all respects an out and out genius in psychology, strategy, misdirection and manipulation.
This guy knew what cards he had, what cards *you* had, and the exact order of the deck *after* it had been shuffled. This is the type of person that I wanted the Rescue Rangers to combat. No overused portly pussycats with bumbling sidekicks. No silly scientists. The quality of a character is made from the challenges set before them that that character(s) is able to overcome.
So my ultimate goal really was to give the Rangers the
greatest challenge they had encountered to date, and to make the story as
starkly real as possible, all with the express purpose of making them shine the
way that I knew they could, and that Disney had not allowed them all to do...oh
yes, and all while staying within the Disney "standards" guidelines
that WTFB had to adhere to so as to keep things on good terms with Disney.
::Demcio grabs a drink of water, Dr. Indy and the Rangers starting to look a little impatient. Demcio recognizes it and gets back to his talk::
Demcio: The one last thing that I want to mention here before wrapping all this up is one other key factor that kept playing in my mind through the time I was playing around with the ideas to R&R as scenes began to take shape. In line with wanting to make the Rescue Rangers as *real* as possible, I knew the ending to this story before I'd begun it. That ending was irrevocably based upon the very real world principle that "Sometimes the bad guy *wins*."
::Cheers come up from the villains’ box, quickly to be drowned out by the rest of the audience::
Demcio: Ivana won on a number of different levels in this
battle with the Rangers, and really I can tell you that I caught no end of hell
from a number of my fans (one of whom still
continues to ask me to this day when I'll write the sequel where Ivana will be caught and
punished or killed) as to how I could put the Rangers through all *that*, only to have them
not win the battle at the end?
Well really for anyone else here who's pondered that, the answer is simple. It wasn't really to get a rise out my audience, though I knew that would happen anyway. The reason was one part that real world "rule" I just mentioned, the other that really I wrote this story for one true reason. As a dedication. To myself. For really, if you don't write to please yourself, then the odds are that your writing is not going to end up pleasing anyone else.
So ultimately why did I write Rhyme & Reason? I wrote it
since I knew in my heart
what the Rescue Rangers really were about, and what the heights they were truly capable of
achieving. I just gave myself and everyone who came along for the ride the best seats in the
house for the "show". I knew they wouldn't disappoint us.
::Demcio waves to the audience, who applauds appreciatively,
along with the Rescue Rangers. As he leaves the stage, Dr. Indy comes up to the
Dr. Indy: Well, we knew his story had to be long for a reason…
::The audience laughs and Demcio waves from the front row::
Dr. Indy: Okay folks, on with the show!
::From the control booth, Dr. Batorious speaks up in his
Dr. Batorious: When we return, we will have the first awards for 2004, including the award for Best Website. The Golden Acorn awards will be right back.