Gordon’s Alive! returns with another spectacular exclusive interview, this time with no less than arguably the world’s No.1 Flash Gordon fan. It was my pleasure to finally meet Bob ‘The Curator’ Lindenmeyer in the flesh at the 35th anniversary last year – you can read part 2 of this conversation at the all-new celebration page right here but in the meantime, enjoy this one on one before reading two of two..!
Bob – Thank you so much for taking the time to speak to Gordon’s Alive –
Your name has been synonymous with Flash Gordon for some years now but to the uninitiated, how would you describe yourself, your background and your association with the film?
I guess I would try to describe myself as trying as hard as I can to hold on to that little boy who was 11 years old and has his mind blown by Flash Gordon. I have always been an artist and creative type, even back then, I spent my time building models or drawing spaceships. Luckily for me that is now what I do for living.
As for my association with the film, it has come in part, because of my tenacity and not fearing to ask. If I hear about anything go on Flash related I just start calling around and ask if I can be involved somehow. That has worked really well for me, that and the fact of being a super-fan means I will usually do this stuff for free.
What are your earliest memories of the movie and when/where was the first time you saw it? Was the impact instant and what was it specifically that prompted you to start collecting? What was your first item?
Back in 1980 I was 11 and my friend and I rode our bikes to the theatre on a Saturday afternoon. I was, as all kids were back then a huge Star Wars fan and desperately consumed anything that had a spaceship in it. Battle Beyond the Stars, Star Crash? I was there!
I was already watching The Flash Gordon cartoon and was a huge fan, so the film was a must see for me from the get go. So there I was, me and Marc Beagle, parked in the second to the front row of an almost empty matinee. And then… FLASH! Ahh! blisteringly loud, I mean volume 11 loud. The way the film should always be played.
The thing that really struck me about the film, like others have said, was the color. Space wasn’t black, skies weren’t blue, ships weren’t white. It was unlike anything I had seen up to that point.
Collecting props was a revelation for me, this was before big budget auctions, and when Ebay was still friendly. I was making good money at a videogame company and every week, me and my fellow nerdy co-workers would go to the local toy store and by an action figure or two. There are documentaries on how adult collectors are trying to re-capture the thrill of finding that particular Jawa figure they got as a kid. I am no different.
Buried in a pile of cool action figures, one day I realized…If I didn’t by action figures from the movies I love for two months, I could afford to get something that was actually in the film. I then sold all of my action figures (not my Jawa) and started saving and searching for props.
My first Flash prop and maybe my first non-replica prop, was the sword. I bought it on Ebay from a guy in Scotland. Something that took some getting used to about collecting props is how trashed or simply made most of them are. My sword looks more like something Boba Fett would have than Flash…but soon you get to appreciate the roughness, these items have been used and there a charm and character about that.
Let’s talk about Chronicle Collectables. You previewed a prototype of a scale model of War Rocket Ajax at the Flash 35thAnniversary last November. What is your involvement with this and what has been used as the source of the replica?
I work for Chronicle, I do most of their marketing and packaging materials. It’s a great place to work, so many cool projects and opportunities. I asked if I could work there when I heard they had the FG license. Again…always ask!
The Ajax, obviously if you’re going to make FG replicas, you have to make the Ajax. I am lucky enough to own the only known Ajax in the world. It is not from the film (Ajax was destroyed during filming) but a replica build by the original modeller who built her for the film-the next best thing, in my mind.
I have tons of archival photos from the production, with these- and my Ajax as reference an all new Ajax model was created. Chronicle are big Flash fans too, so with our combined efforts pouring over the details, I think we have made the most screen accurate Jax possible. I am personally doing final assembly and paint master for the production run…literally right now. I’m so excited about it.
And what of future plans with Chronicle? Besides Ajax and the fantastic replica of General Klytus mask are there more Flash prop replicas or costumes on the horizon? What would be your dream recreation?
We hope to do a bunch of Flash stuff, some items are already in development. I’m not trying to be cheeky when I say I cant talk about them, that’s not my department. Maybe you can interview Chronicle? They would love that, I think.
I can say since it was teased at the 35th…Klytus’s mask, and the signature sword are coming.
Finally, you have alluded to working on a Flash Gordon book – can you confirm this and is there a publishing deal in place? If so can you reveal some of the content and will you be applying your considerable design skills to it in similar fashion to the Flash 35thcampaign?
My Flash book-geez I really want to finish it! There has been some unofficial chats with folks about getting this published. I honestly am not sure it can be published. Finding all the rights to the hundreds of photographs and info I have in my collection is the challenge. Any licensed book should have the proper “okays” to use the content. A book will be made. It may end up being a limited run for family and friends. I have “top men” working on it.
The book will be designed entirely by me and hopefully be even cooler than the 30 page program I did for the 35th. The collectors program was a good test run from start to finish for a full blown book.
Bob – Thank you very much..!