Scorch was a 1300-year-old dragon who lived with TV weatherman Brian and his daughter Jessica. Scorch could talk, and appeared with Brian on his news program posing as a ventriloquist's ...
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Character actor Michael Shannon has been nominated for his second Oscar for his role in the 2016 thriller Nocturnal Animals. "No Small Parts" takes a look at some of the other characters he's played in the past.
Scorch was a 1300-year-old dragon who lived with TV weatherman Brian and his daughter Jessica. Scorch could talk, and appeared with Brian on his news program posing as a ventriloquist's dummy. Scorch would make jokes during Brian's weather forecasts. No one knew Scorch's real identity. Written by
Marty McKee <firstname.lastname@example.org>
It's only now, after recently re-discovering the comedy stylings of puppet master Ronn Lucas, that I have begun re-embracing Ronn's most popular regular character, Scorch the Teenage Dragon. Scorch's origins, per Ronn's website are as follows:
Scorch was developed by Ronn in 1983, while he was driving to a comedy gig in San Francisco. At the time, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus was playing the Cow Palace, and had as its main attraction something called "The Living Unicorn." This fascinated Ronn; and he soon thought: what if mythological beings from the past could interact with the mortals of today's world? In that light, the character of Scorch the Teenage Dragon was born. Eventually, Scorch and Ronn became top draws in comedy clubs across the U.S. --- until the late 1980's when Ronn was approached by an executive with Britain's Thames Television who soon suggested the idea for a weekly variety show, to be hosted by Ronn, with Scorch as the main star.
"The Ronn Lucas Show Starring Scorch" ran for 5 seasons on Thames before the British Government bought out the licensing agreements for all of the nation's ITV networks. By 1990, this move effectively put Thames out of business, forcing Ronn and Scorch back to the States. In 1991, writer/producer Allan Katz, in partnership with executive producers Haim Saban and Shuki Levy, and production legend Edgar J. Scherick, did a development deal with Ronn and Scorch. They loved the dragon; but they considered the human to be a little on the so-so side. Wasting no time, they licensed the rights for Scorch to CBS, and the storyline for a series was soon put into the planning stages. The resulting sitcom, entitled simply "Scorch," aired on CBS from February 28th to March 13th, 1992, shortly after the 1992 Winter Olympics.
In the story, Scorch goes to bed on the night of September 19th, 1892, only to reawaken a century later. The night is dismal, but Scorch decides it's a perfect night for flying. Wrong. The dragon is soon struck by lightning while hovering over New Haven, Connecticut; his crash landing marks his introduction to the Stevens family. Brian, the family patriarch (portrayed by Jonathan Walker), is constantly on the move while seeking a job; his recent divorce has seriously impacted the life patterns of Brian's 13-year-old daughter Jessica (Rhea Silver-Smith). Taking pity on their dragon discovery, Brian and Jessica decide to keep Scorch. Next morning, Brian is interviewed by Jack Fletcher (Todd Susman), general manager at WWEN-TV. Seems they're looking for a guy to do the weather for their afternoon news thing, 'New Haven at Noon.' At first, Brian fails to land the job, but leave it to Scorch to save the day. Jack quickly assumes that Brian is in fact a ventriloquist, and that Scorch is his dummy --- and before long, the two are immediately hired to join 'New Haven at Noon' anchors Allison King (Brenda Strong) and Howard Gurman (John O'Hurley, pre-"Seinfeld").
For a 1300-year-old dragon, Scorch doesn't look a day over 12 (give or take an aeon). Alas, Ronn never got credit for his contribution to the show; and, per Variety's not-so-rave review, the plot too closely resembled that of NBC's already popular "ALF," which itself was about to be cancelled. After airing the last of the six episodes they'd originally ordered, CBS pulled the plug on the Scorch project. Wimps!
I would love to see the full six episodes on DVD, if at all possible: it occurs to me that Ronn and Scorch have the full potential to appeal to the kids (the sitcom's apparent target audience); unfortunately, the combination gimmick idea --- that of cashing in on the science fiction element combined with rehashing the basic elements of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"'s WJM-TV newsroom sequences --- are somewhat unfavorable, at least in terms of both conception and execution. Still, the largely unknown cast plays off Ronn and Scorch with hilarious imagination; more, Scorch himself provides each of the show's six episodes with a jolly, wisecracking languor --- the type you don't get on a sitcom in this day and age.
Today, Ronn Lucas lives and performs in Las Vegas, where he shares his life with Scorch; his first puppet star, Buffalo Billy; the Harley-loving punk puppet Chuck Roast --- and many, many fans. One such fan, London-based Debbie Quince, has created her own website which, like Ronn's own pages, preserves the memory of both of Scorch's TV series, American and British versions .... along with the latest info regarding this legendary dragon ..... a dragon whose story is only now beginning to re-surface. I just hope somebody takes a chance on Ronn Lucas and his puppet pals and decides to let them (and especially Scorch) return to the limelight soon.
Scorch, The Movie? Hey, it could happen!
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