WSB Agent Robert Scorpio
“I had quite a bit of input in the character of Scorpio and his story — especially regarding the gadgetry. A good example was back in about 1983, I was walking down the street and I saw one of those watch-television sets in a shop. It was probably one of the first ones of its type on the market. So I rushed in and bought it and took into the tech department at the studio and said, ‘Hey, can we do something with this?!’ The tech guys looked at it, pulled out a camera, and they fiddled around a little bit, and then bang! All of a sudden there’s a picture on my wristwatch. So I said, ‘This is just too good to hide!’ So I went flying upstairs to Gloria’s office and said, ‘Look at this!’ She said, ‘OK. Do you want to use it?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, let’s write it in.’ I was always bringing in stuff that I saw in magazines that I felt could be changed and modified. The tech department was very good at stuff like that. Later on, when Robert became police commissioner and he had that high-tech house, I had probably one of the first video phones that I had seen on television. And the commissioner’s house had all manner of stuff in it, which we never used. It was riddled with tunnels, and had special entrances in and out of practically every room. They added stuff as they went along when they needed it. I had an enormous amount of fun floating around in it. At the time, I don’t think anybody really thought that they were ahead of themselves. Everybody just thought that they were keeping up with James Bond. That’s really all they wanted to do. But certainly in soap opera it was unique — and especially now. There seems to be a great fascination with what we did back then. It has all passed into folklore now.”
Rogers reflects on Scorpio’s popularity. “He was loose. I got to do a lot of the action stuff, because that was what he was: he got out in the field and did things. He was a doer. And hence I had a lot of time to mess around with stuff and I carried a gun. We always had a box of tricks that I could pull out, whether it was messing around with a bit of machinery or anything at all to do your thing with. I would mess with the stunt guys and they would bring on fancy kung fu weapons and they would show me how to use them and I would take it in and say ‘can we use this?’ The butterfly knife was always fun to mess with. I liked to play with it and one of the things I taught myself to do was strip down my gun and assemble it again. I pulled it apart and stripped the thing about a hundred times and I got it to the point where I could do it without really looking at it. And so I just came in one time to a scene and just started to do it. The scene was happening and I just started to do it. And it was a nice little bit of nonsense.
“I guess the best remote we did was San Antonio. Actually, John (Reilly) came on the remote, and the remote actually went on for three days and it was longer than it should have. We had some weather problems down there and we lost completely to heavy rain. We couldn’t get any of the exterior stuff done at all. Automatically they were going to say ‘Let’s cut this and find something else to do,’ but Gloria said, ‘No, I need this,’ and we hung around longer. It was a hilarious five days but it was tough — we never slept. I mean, when you weren’t working you were partying somewhere. What happened quite often is you would go from the party straight to work. The amount of craziness that happened in that amount of time was just wild. Some of the stuff we did was really very, very spontaneous. And I know ad-libbing is frowned upon and seen as being unprofessional but back then we had a good idea on how to make it work properly and it was used extensively. A lot of the stuff that Tony and I did was really spontaneous. We would deliberately try to trip each other up. So you had to listen very carefully, listen to what the other person is saying and that was in the script. The art of listening became really important.
“Storylines were plugged in everywhere because GH was going into a different direction. GH was employing a different kind of storyline direction which no one ever did. I didn’t realize that until I left the show and could sit back and watch everyone else’s show. GH was completely different to everyone else’s if you sketched on paper what it was. GH employed a pyramid structure and I don’ t think they do that anymore but it certainly had a different way of unravelling a story on-screen I worked with Tony well and I could keep up with him. Because his mind worked at 300 miles an hour all the time. He was always adding things, so you needed to be able to keep up with him, otherwise you just got steamrolled. And we would sit down and work it out together, maybe during lunchtime and sometimes come up with a whole different scene which didn’t have anything to do with the show but it was a lot of fun. Gloria would come down and say ‘Well, don’t forget about this point here and that and this,’ because she would think about how it would fit into the overall story. There were certain parts that needed to be stressed in order to make sense of the story for something that was going to happen later on. We would be so wildly out of control with what we were doing that the story got lost. We were having too much fun that she would come down and pull it all together.”