Mr. Gavin kindly agreed to the following e-mail interview with
me to which he responded on 12/5/99. Like the David Gerrold interview
elsewhere on this site, there is some small bit of duplication of answers to
these questions...not being a live interview, I tried to ask what I thought
would cover all the bases on these subjects.
Thank you, Robert!
Clayton Barr: Did you have any particular scenes to perform during
the audition for the role of Kevin Porter? Can you describe them?
Do you know how many actors tried out for the part?
Robert Gavin: During the audition, I read scenes from the first episode
"Tasha." I was very nervous and excited, and it showed! I made a few
mistakes, but I asked the casting director if I could start over. He agreed. I
was truly grateful to the casting director. There were about 1000 or more actors
who auditioned for the part of Kevin Porter. One my best friends, at the time,
Bobby Jacoby was the other actor who almost received my part. It was narrowed
down to Bobby and me. He later played the Knight in one of the episodes.
CB: Why do you think you got the role over other actors?
RG: My looks! I was 19 years old and looked 14. I also looked like
the boy next door; a cute teenager. They probably thought I would make the cover
of several teen magazines too. Thanks to my boyish good looks, I made it into a
few. My mother told me that I was good looking at the time and I am taking her
word for it. But, I don't think I was talented as an actor. I never tried
hard enough. And, I could never memorize my lines. That is the key to success as
an actor, in my humble opinion.
CB: In talking to you on location years ago, I recall that you were the
only one of the main actors who had watched the original
Land of the Lost.
Had you seen it before landing the role of Kevin Porter or was it a sort of
research into the "mythology" of the show after the fact? Are there
elements of the original show you wish had been added to the '90's version?
RG: I used to watch the reruns when I was a child before school. I
never did any research into the first show for the part of Kevin Porter. I was
just told by many people that the first show broke many records for popularity
in the 70's. Anyway, I never put much thought into what elements the 70's show
should have been added to the new show. That was not my job or concern. I was
just thrilled to be working as an actor, at the time, and concentrating on my
job at hand.
CB: What was the most difficult thing about working on a special effects
intensive series? Was it difficult to act against actors who were in
RG: Since I was a child, I have always enjoyed fantasy-based movies, TV
shows, literature, etc. I truly have an imaginative mind. As a result, it
was very easy to work with the special effects and the actors who wore the
costumes. It was more difficult for the actors wearing the costumes than I
because of heat and exhaustion they experienced. But, they never complained and
did really well as actors and human beings.
CB: How much involvement did Sid and Marty Krofft have on the show?
RG: A lot. They created the show. However, Mr. Randy Pope was the
man in charge. He had a lot to do with the success our show had, and he worked
day and night. He reminds me a a lot of my current girlfriend's father.
When you look at the word business man in the dictionary, I see five people that
I idolize in the business world: 1. Michael Eisner, 2. Jerry Jones, 3. Randy
Pope, 4. Warren Buffet, 5. Michael Dell. The definition: A dedicated and
hard worker who has a unique vision and can articulate it well through actions
and sweat (mentally), and also loves his job as if they were his children and / or wife. Anyway, Mr. Randy Pope was more
of a father figure and really encouraged and motivated me to be a better actor
and human being. He was always there for me as a friend and that was very
special; this was very rare in "Hollywood." To this day, I still
telephone him and he just listens to me for hours, and still gives me good
advice too. What a true gentleman!
CB: Supervising producer Randy Pope has said that the original concept of
the show included having the jungle girl (Christa) be an older Holly Marshall
from the '70's series. Do you know anything about how that was going to be
worked in and why the idea was abandoned? There are also rumors that a
prime-time holiday special was considered during the second season. Do you
have any knowledge of that?
RG: There were a lot of rumors, but none came true. I sincerely
believe that they intended to do such shows and plots, but ABC and Disney
probably declined. You can't cry over spilt milk now...
CB: Why did the series not return for a third season?
RG: I was never told and never asked. I was taught very early in
life if "they" wanted you to know, "they" would tell you. At
any rate, since the show was canceled, this allowed me to go back to college and
graduate from USC.
CB: Do you still stay in touch with anyone from the show?
RG: I wish I could. I had special relationships with several of the
cast and crew. Especially, Bobby Porter and Ed Gale. They were my best friends
on the show. In addition, I very much enjoyed working with the sinister sleestak
"Tom," as well as Shannon Day. She was a very special friend.
CB: What keeps you busy these days? Are you still involved in the
RG: No I am not. I have read at Amazon.com that I am working as an
editor for several films. To be honest, I have never worked for anyone but
myself. Well, unless you count acting in movies, commercials, or TV shows as
working for somebody. Then, I have worked for someone else. Currently, I invest in
several companies, both public and private. I am currently working on my 2nd
"real" business as CEO. I have been working on this project for more
than 2 years. I figure I have another 1-2 years before I am fully operational.
Top secret...I also have a nonprofit organization (Conical Cornea
that means the world to me. I enjoy helping others and making them feel hopeful
and loved. However, there are some sad times as well. But, the support my
organization brings to people all over the world gives me laughter, pleasure,
and genuine warmth. Importantly, money and acting never resembled the joy I feel
every night because of my organization. I am truly helping others and their
CB: Has there been any talk about a reunion of the cast for a movie
or special or even a convention appearance?
RG: No. I have heard that Sid and Marty Krofft are touring the
fan club circuit with some cast members from their 70's shows. But, I would not
do a reunion because I do not want to be known as a "washed-up" child
star. I never entered acting to be a star. I only did it because it looked fun and it paid
very well. I never intended acting to be a long term career. I was always
interested in the business and entrepreneurship ever since I was 9 years old. I
used to subscribe to the "Entrepreneur Magazine," and then I would order their
merchandise and sell it to my neighbors. I have started more than 20+ business
since I was 9 years old. When I worked on Land of the Lost, I would always ask
Mr. Randy Pope and Mr. Marty Krofft questions that pertained to the business
aspect of the show. Mr. Marty Krofft always replied that, "Show business is
a business, hence the word business." I have always remembered that
sentence. Mr. Marty Krofft was a brilliant businessman and Mr. Sid Krofft was a
truly creative genius.
CB: Have you collected any of the
Land of the Lost merchandise
such as the various Kevin Porter action figures?
RG: I currently have the action figure that they made of me, as well as
the board game. I know the company Tiger made a lot of toys, but I was too cheap
to purchase them at the time. I wish I could get them now.
CB: Any anecdotes you care to share about the days on the set of
of the Lost?
RG: It taught me responsibility and gave me insight to who I really
was as a human being. It also allowed me to mature quicker than my piers. I
worked with about a hundred people a day, who were two-three times my age. At
that time, I was very young and immature. When I first arrived on the set, a
gentleman told me that it cost ABC $150,000 a day to film this show. Next, I
thought, this is no playground and I suddenly grew up quicker than, anyway. I
also never missed a day of work. I never complained. I never talked back. I
always took orders like an officer, and I never acted like a star. You know why?
That is what they paid me for- to be a professional, and that is why I had such
a great working relationship with ABC and the cast and crew. We were one great
family, which is one thing I truly miss and will always remember. I even have
the footage on my camcorder. However, I do not miss show business, but I miss
the camaraderie on the set. One thing I have learned in life, is that you
sometimes have to pack the luggage and move on, but ALWAYS enjoy the luggage