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Flash Gordon visits Laredo

By George Gonzalez
On April 18, 2015

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Amongst the various colorful costumes, eclectic ensemble of celebrity guests and artists, one of the major highlights of the South Texas Collectors Expo was the reunion of Flash Gordon actors Melody Anderson and Sam Jones. Originally scheduled to have taken part in the STCE this past September, Jones had to cancel his appearance due to reshoots for the upcoming comedy Ted 2. However, the actor made-up for his absence, at this year’s event in Texas A&M International University Student Center.

Moderated by Legacy Comics Podcaster, Rick Sauceda, the two actors gathered in the Student Center auditorium to a very crowded audience. Melody Anderson played Dale Arden, and Sam Jones portrayed the titular hero. The Flash Gordon stars reminisced about joining the movie, as well as their own experiences while filming the 1980 cult classic.

Jones and Anderson both possess unique personalities, and their constant sibling-like bickering was both hilariously stingy and playful. There was great chemistry in the way they recounted their experiences working together and answering questions from the audience.  

Yet the films’ production was not as pleasant. As those in attendance learned, Sam Jones was never properly given the Flash Gordon role at the beginning of production. The film’s producers had him trying out costumes and different looks; however, unknown to Jones, there were several other actors competing for the same role at the same time.

Jones expressed his frustration stating, “Dying the hair was a long process back then. It was seven hours the first day with tinfoil. The whole works. It was orange one day, yellow the next, then white after that, and it went on for 30 days. So I was getting frustrated with that,” adding, “why can’t they make up their mind? Do they either want Sam Jones or do they want somebody else?”

After much negotiation between the filmmakers and Jones, the actor eventually sealed the lead role. However, “it was sort of non-celebratory when I found I had gotten the role,” admitted Jones, emphasising that he had been upset with the way everything had was conducted.

When Sauceda asked the actors about how it was like to arrive at the film’s extraordinary sets, Anderson replied how larger-than-life they were. However, the actress also humorously confessed, “If you look at the sets in Flash Gordon, go watch the movie Dune [1984]. They’re exactly the same sets! Am I right?” causing the audience to laugh out loud. “So if you do watch Dune, you can see that they were the same red walls and actually some of the same costumes,” Anderson added.

Anderson also revealed that a few scripted scenes didn’t make it into the final cut.

“At one point they fitted me in a spider costume. I was going to be painted all-green, put on fake teeth, and all this different stuff. I remember I sat around all day, green and cold but they never used the scene,” she said.

Disappointed, Anderson explained that the sequence had huge set with lots of spiderwebs and all different kinds of lights, adding, “The set was fabulous.”

Sauceda also asked the actors if they knew of the Flash Gordon mythology prior to joining the film. Jones explained he had read some of the original comics, and even watched the original black and white serials starring Buster Crabbe.

“I thought that was cool,” he said. “They were kind of funky, that whole spaceship with the sparkler in the back of it, and you can see the wire [it hung from],” laughed Jones when referring to the old serials.

Nevertheless, during the Q&A portion of the panel, Anderson revealed to fans that there were initial plans for a second chapter to the cult-classic. “There was supposed to be a sequel,” the actress revealed.

“You know, sometimes corporations and producers don’t get get along,” Anderson admitted. Clarifying, “We never knew what happened, but the fact is they didn’t make a sequel. But it was designed to create a sequel.”

While on the subject of sequels, Jones also discussed his involvement in Seth MacFarlane’s critically acclaimed comedy, Ted and the upcoming Ted 2. In the film, Sam Jones played an out-of-work, drug addicted version of himself. Interestingly enough, many of younger attendees were introduced to Jones through the success of Ted, and its constant references to the Flash Gordon film.

When asked by fans how it was like working alongside stars Mark Wahlberg and Seth MacFarlane, Jones enthusiastically replied, “It was great.” He added, “Wahlberg was humble, very quiet, very giving. Seth MacFarlane, [who was directing his first live action movie] was very prepared.” Ted 2 is set to hit theaters June 26th.

Toward the end of the panel, Jones revealed his screentime in the upcoming sequel is about the same as that of the first film. He states fans of the first film will love the second movie even more.


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