GateWorld's first interview with Gary Jones
, Gate Technician Walter Harriman
, has been a long time coming! We're proud to bring our first piece with him in video form.
While at Gatecon 2008 we sat down the the 10-year veteran of Stargate
to look back on the impact the show has made both to the industry, the fans and his own career. Gary, or "Jonesy" as his friends know him, remembers the late Don S. Davis, with whom he shared most of his scenes. He also reveals upcoming appearances in Season Five
of Stargate Atlantis,
and tells us about a manuscript he is hoping to publish into a book in the near future.
GateWorld's video interview with Gary Jones runs almost 22 minutes, and requires QuickTime 7.0
or higher. The interview is also available at GateWorld Play
GateWorld: For GateWorld.net, I'm David Read, and I'm here at Gatecon 2008 with Mr. Gary Jones. Technician Walter Harriman, Harriman Davis, Walter Davis ...
Gary Jones: Norman Davis ...
GW: Norman Davis, that was the other one.
GJ: ... Sergeant, Master Sergeant, Chief Master Sergeant. Whatever. It doesn't matter. In fact, I got to the point where I finally got t-shirts made up.
GW: You did?
GJ: Yeah, you should check them out in the [dealer's] room. I just had this flash. I thought, OK this is so much like the evolution of man. And I titled it, "The Evolution of Harri-man." [Laughter] Right? So you'll see it when you have a look at it. What it is, its like that classic illustration of the monkey, that turns into the man ...
GW: Yes, it gets bigger and bigger ... the silhouettes.
GJ: The silhouettes. Turns into homo sapien. Well, it starts off as the chimp. The monkey, just underneath it says,"the technician." The next one says "Sergeant Davis." And the next one says "Sergeant Norman Davis." The next one says "Master Sergeant Norman Walter Davis." And then the last one -- and the four, of course, are man growing, walking upright -- and the fifth one is a silhouette of me at the computer. And underneath that it says "Chief Master Sergeant Walter Harriman."
Jones didn't have a solid name for his character until eight years after the inception of the role -- and on another TV show, at that.
GW: Walter Harriman. Which wasn't confirmed until Atlantis. Interestingly enough, the episode "Home," where you say your name over the comm.
GJ: Is that right?
GW: "This is Sergeant Walter Harriman." Yeah, it was a dream sequence.
GJ: Oh, I've actually said my own name.
GW: Yes. That's right.
GJ: I lose track of these things. All I remember is that in the episode "2010" Richard Dean Anderson named me Walter.
GW: That's right, your first name. But the last name slid all over the place. My buddy Darren [Sumner] and I were thinking "We have to explain the last name. So for a guy, how do we do that," you know?
GJ: Well, I actually have the explanation for Harriman.
GJ: A lot of people don't know. It was the late great Don Davis. [He] was delivering a line, and it was written in the script as he referred to me as Ďairman.' Because I'm an air force guy, right? And of course Don's drawl, "Open the iris, airman." [Gary drawls like Don, elongating the word airman.] And after the scene was over, it was like, "Did Don say airman? It's weird, it sounded like Harriman." And next thing I know ...
GW: That's where that came from?
GJ: That's where it came from. Don Davis' pronunciation of the word "airman" turns into Harriman. And I'm Walter Harriman. It was the most patchwork, piecemeal way of getting my name together. And of course in "2010" when Richard calls me Walter. Everyone goes, "his name is not Walter." He goes, "Well, it is now."
Gary has fond memories of Don S. Davis -- particularly their introduction.
GW: You know you mentioned Radar. I wonder if he got that from M*A*S*H*? [Radar O'Reilly]
GJ: I have no idea. He didn't reference that when he did it. He just said, "Oh, he kind of looks like a Walter."
GW: You look like a Walter.
GJ: That's what he said. They're all scrambling around, changing the scripts. "Oh, I guess his name is Walter now." And I'm just sort of the innocent ... you know, like a drive-by naming. [Laughter] That's what it was, I was the innocent victim of whatever.
GW: Torri Higginson, one of her last things that she did before she departed Atlantis, she named Chuck. Technician Chuck. She gave him a name. And it's his real name too. But he looks like a Chuck.
GJ: I know.
GW: So that was perfect.
GJ: He's a great guy too.
GW: He is. We interviewed him, you guys are like passing notes, technician notes. Walking down the studio from each other, "How's it going over there?"
GJ: I know. I was on Atlantis the other day...
GW: "How's the gate room doing?"
GJ: I was on Atlantis the other day, and he walked by me at the breakfast truck ....
GW: You were on Atlantis the other day?
"'Did Don say airman? It's weird, it sounded like Harriman.' And next thing I know ..."
GJ: Yes, I did an episode of Atlantis.
GW: Oh, all right.
GJ: So that will be upcoming. And then I'm on the final episode.
GW: OK. They just shot -- they're working on "Identity" right now.
GJ: That's not the one I'm on. I was on the previous one.
GW: Can you tell us the episode name?
GJ: No -- I can't remember it. It will be like the second to ...
GW: "Brain Storm?" "Vegas?" "Enemy at the Gate?" No, that's not ...
GJ: You know what? It actually might be "Identity."
GJ: I think it might be.
GW: OK. Because they were shooting that two days ago. Sweet! So you'll be back.
GJ: If they were shooting that two days ago, then that's the one I was on.
GW: OK. Very cool.