It was a surreal when-worlds-collide scene during the SAG solidarity rally today held outside the union's headquarters, which are conveniently located across the street from Variety.
The rally was designed to be a demonstration of SAG's resolve to fight for a "fair deal" and make it crystal clear how SAG feels about the primetime contract that its fellow actors union AFTRA just reached. The "vote no" chants and frequent cries of "AFTRA sucks" from the crowd left little doubt where SAG leaders come down on how the unions' 44,000 overlapping members should vote, as Variety's ever-laboring Dave McNary reports.
But as I made my way closer to the speakers platform where SAG's Alan Rosenberg and Doug Allen were speechifying, I was stopped dead by the presence of an Other. I started to hear the whispers. I ducked, scanned Wilshire Boulevard for signs of Smokey, and then looked up at the turquoise sky to make sure that a commercial airliner wasn't about to explode overhead.
After all, this wasn't just any Other -- it was Ethan. The first infiltrator of the Oceanic 815 survivors, the guy who kidnapped a preggers Claire and tried to hang our dear Charlie. Until Charlie shot him in season one, Ethan was a key lieutenant of Benjamin Linus. (We might've known Ben has had a hand in Hollywood's labor strife. It's just like him.)
After the speakers finished, I indulged in a little "Lost" fandom with actor and SAG board member William Mapother (pictured right), who was gracious as could be (and a bit defensive at the suggestion that Ethan had physically hurt Claire, I might add). Like many actors, he seemed pleased to be presented with incontrovertible evidence that he had brought to life a character that connected with viewers in such a memorable and visceral way.
As a working thesp and SAG board member, Mapother was clearly well-versed in the issues at stake in the negotiations, and thoughtful about the rights and compensation issues that are most important to middle-class actors. He was very intelligently articulating his reasoning when -- whoosh (cue the "Lost" scene-change sound file) -- Kent McCord walked up, and I found myself in TV geek heaven all over again.
I've said it before: There's never been a better cop show than "Adam-12" (and that includes Jack Webb's "Dragnet," IMHO), thanks to the humanity that McCord and (the great) Martin Milner brought to their roles as officers Jim Reed and Pete Malloy. (Pictured below, Milner at left)
McCord, also a SAG board member, and Mapother chatted a bit, and I had the pleasure of feeling like I was standing at the intersection of two shows I adore. It was telling that McCord was continuously interrupted by SAG members coming up to tell him their woes -- problems with the health and pension plan, problems with unreported income, problems with late payments of residuals, etc.
Finally, in yet another TV mashup, actor Mark Moses, aka the creepy Paul Young from "Desperate Housewives," walks up to introduce himself and shake McCord's hand.
"I just want to thank you for all the work you do for the guild," Moses said.
McCord responded with a nod and a quiet "thanks," just like Jim Reed always did.