Whoosh! Issue Ten - July 1997


(CC) [50-72]






Robert Trebor
Photo courtesy of Chris Clogston

[50] After the showing of an introductory HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS clip, the house lights came up and Robert Trebor bounded on stage (to wild audience cheers and applause) wearing a long-sleeved black turtleneck, green pants, and athletic shoes. Not only was Mr. Trebor dressed comfortably, he seemed entirely comfortable on stage. If you have not had a chance to see him person, you really should make the effort, because this guy is fun! Robert Trebor's personality on stage seems much like that of his character, Salmoneus. He was warm and funny, very high energy, quick to laugh, good- naturedly teasing, and also generously patient with the questioners.

[51] After greeting the audience, he went right to taking questions. He said he would answer any questions except, "Who do you like to work with more, Xena or Hercules?" He responded, "I like them exactly the same!"

Robert Trebor
Photo courtesy of Chris Clogston


[52] Mr. Trebor then asked if Zwolf was in the audience (he was not). Zwolf had written a review of A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE (#H57) (a recent episode in which Robert Trebor had made his directing debut) and said it was the best HERCULES episode ever. He very enthusiastically wanted to say thanks!

[53] Mr. Trebor also commented on how much he enjoyed directing the HERCULES episode and that he would really like to direct a XENA episode, particularly one in which he could bring out new comedic elements from both Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor.

[54] Someone had mentioned to Mr. Trebor that the episode reminded them of an NYPD BLUE episode, so he called Mark Tinker, producer of NYPD BLUE and asked him to watch the HERCULES episode. Tinker thought the phone call was a prank and said, "Hercules is not a calling card for NYPD BLUE, pal!" and hung up on him. He phoned back and in the ensuing conversation, said he would view the episode. Who knows, perhaps sometime in the future we will see an NYPD BLUE episode directed by Robert Trebor.

Those Wacky Questions

[55] He good-naturedly answered questions like, 'Why is your character so annoying?', 'Why does your character always run away?', and my favorite "bad" question, 'Was Atalanta wearing underwear?'. In answer to the above questions, Mr. Trebor was funny and gracious. To the question of his character being annoying, he asked the audience, "Is Salmoneus annoying?" to which he got a loud "NO!" from the assembled group.

[56] As for the question about Salmoneus always running away, Mr. Trebor was philosophical, commenting that no sane person would run towards trouble (lots of audience laughter). He felt that Salmoneus sort of represented the average viewer, "a guy who wants to make himself comfortable in tough times."

[57] In answer to whether or not Atalanta wore underwear, Mr. Trebor asked the young lady how old she was. She answered, "Eleven". Mr. Trebor replied, "In six or seven years you will appreciate this, but there are certain things a gentleman (his emphasis) will not reveal." This was greeted with much laughter from the audience.

Robert Trebor
Photo courtesy of Chris Clogston

Blooper Reel Scenes and Ad-libbing on the Set

[58] A question was asked about the scene in the blooper reel in which Salmoneus and Nemesis are watching Peter Bell (stunt coordinator) perform a stunt completely ablaze, and Salmoneus appears to warm his hands over the stuntman's body. Was it really that hot? Mr. Trebor said that glue was used as fuel in the stunt and the floor was actually becoming uncomfortably warm. They were told they had to leave the area quickly and to remove their shoes as the shoes might spontaneously ignite. Talk about hazards in the workplace!

[59] A question about ad-libbing on the show was posed. Mr. Trebor said that a certain amount of improvisational changes are sometimes made during the "table read"; but most of what we see is scripted. A baby crying interrupts him. "Is everything OK? I sense discomfort out there!"

[60] One scene that he says he did ad lib to Lucy Lawless (after getting the OK from director Jack Perez) is the scene where he sings the "Xena Theme Song" in THE GAUNTLET. The creative use of the walnut shells was a direct rip-off from Terry Gilliam's MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL (1974) (where the clapping of empty coconut shell halves are used to simulate the sounds of horses' hooves -- author's note: when this movie first opened in Los Angeles, coconuts were handed out at the ticket windows and I recall being initially baffled). He said the expression on Lucy Lawless' face during this scene was perfect. Then, to the audience's cheers, he sang a rendition of the "Xena Theme Song" (the walnuts were simulated).

Biographical Data

[61] Robert Trebor was born in Philadelphia, went to school in Chicago, lived in New York City for fourteen years and is now residing in Los Angeles.

[62] To the question regarding his marital status, he replied, "I am very involved."

[63] He was asked his chronological age. Mr. Trebor began to respond, "There are some things a gentleman...." just as Sharon Delany quipped, "Twenty-nine!". Volunteering that he went prematurely grey at the age of fourteen; his current age was somewhere between twenty-nine and fifty-eight.

[64] He was first bit by the acting bug when he saw the Jack Lemmon film, DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES (1962, Dir. Blake Edwards). He says he was "tracked very early" towards acting, taking children's acting classes. In college, he majored in theater at Northwestern University.

The "Other HERCULES"

[65] The conversation about burning shoes during the flammable stunt, led to Mr. Trebor to comment about the Disney HERCULES animated film. In a quick clip he saw, there is actually a character that looks suspiciously like Salmoneus! He said that the idea of "Hercules Air Sandals" in the song "Zero to Hero" was a direct rip off of Salmoneus product on HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS, even down to the squirrel bladders. The squirrel bladders in the sandals Salmoneus sold were actually made of rubber. Disclaimer: No New Zealand squirrels were killed to obtain bladders for the construction of Hercules Air Sandals. Not only would this be illegal in New Zealand, they are actually too small to be of any practical use.

Other Questions and Subjects

[66] To the question of what it was like working with Xena and Hercules, he offered the comments that both Kevin Sorbo and Lucy Lawless are fun to work with, down to earth, unpretentious, and mentioned a "tremendous flirtation" with Lucy Lawless.

[67] That was really him singing in HERE SHE COMES...MISS AMPHIPOLIS (#35). He said it was a fun episode to shoot and opined that this episode "got away with a lot because the director was a woman and if a man had directed it, he would have been booted for being a sexist pig."

[68] Mr. Trebor commutes to New Zealand 5 to 6 times a year, more than anyone else "except the special effects guy." He is going back in June to begin filming an episode.

[69] A small child wanted to know if he was padded for the show as he was too thin to be Salmoneus. Mr. Trebor laughed and turned to the audience, indicating the turtleneck, "Black. It's so slimming." He said that he was not padded for his role as Salmoneus and said it must be the costumes he wears for the role.

[70] As an aside, he mentioned that we would again see Atalanta return in a future HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS episode.

[71] Look for a Robert Trebor authored story line in the new XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS comic book, the title of the story is "The Theft of the Young Lovelies", which should be out in the fall.

[72] In closing, he said he would autograph body parts, "especially those of lovely women!"

Robert Trebor
Photo courtesy of Chris Clogston


[73] When Robert Trebor took the stage, the mood in the audience was light and fun. He was so energetic, he was like the energizer bunny on caffeine. He bounced all over the stage, talking about his roles as "Salmoneus" and "Waylan". The questions and answers started immediately. One woman complimented him on his directorial debut, and when he asked if she had seen the episode, she admitted that she had not.


Robert Trebor
Photo courtesy of Chris Clogston

[74] Some characters can move between the two worlds. They serve as the gatekeepers to our Camelot. Robert Trebor and his alter-ego, Salmoneus, take us gently by the hand and walk us back and forth, knowing full well that we may peek into paradise but ultimately, we must return to our own dimension.

[75] Trebor's greatest gift is his complete willingness to let us piggy-back on Salmoneus, for it is suspected that the actor and his persona are not all that dissimilar. He speaks of his work on the show with a delight that few people ever experience in their lives. He represents a kind of ideal as his immersion in this Paradise is complete. Robert is both actor and director. Salmoneus is friends with both Hercules and Xena. Both men are warm, funny, charming, mischievous, and a bit of a rogue; everything Salmoneus but entirely Robert. He looks thinner in person than he appears on the show and is charmed when someone mentions it. "Isn't black wonderful?" he exclaims, referring to the slimming powers of his turtleneck shirt and pants. Actually, it is his costume that makes him look so dumpy.

[76] Robert Trebor reveals that Salmoneus is the most blatantly human of characters: he unabashedly loves gourmet food, beautiful women and the good life. More importantly though, he is a gentleman. All great rogues are. When Robert Trebor is asked a question about the apparent lack of underwear on one of his female co-stars, he replies, calling the young disciple by name: "Jill, there are certain things a gentleman doesn't reveal." When asked: "Why do you always run away?" Salmoneus logically replies: "When confronted by danger, do you step in and say 'hit me?'" Robert is the perfect entree into this world: obliging, generous and seems to like so many of us in the audience that we cannot help but feel welcome. Our public rapture is safe with Robert Trebor. Instantly, we feel he shares it.

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