So You Wanna Be A Cousin?

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It started out as a joke. Really. After we learned James Read would no longer be on Remington Steele, I wrote my own version of the "Murphy Leaving the Agency" story. Pat Gonzales was kind enough to print it in Steele Files. But that wasn't enough.

Murphy was such a "nice" guy. It was hard to get used to not having him around. Then, suddenly, we started discovering other "nice" guys. WKRP had just started its syndicated run here in our area and Elaine was watching it (with headphones on so as not to disturb anyone). One day she had to share with me Andy Travis' cute buns. After that we all started watching the show and guess what? Andy was a "nice" guy too.

Then Scarecrow and Mrs. King premiered. I remembered Bruce Boxleitner from "How the West Was Won" as a scrawny kid with long, stringy hair and a funny-looking nose. I guess I missed the last season, because suddenly this boy grew up. Now, as Lee, he was playing a "nice" guy and doing a great job.

Elaine then decided that Joel Higgins must be a cousin as well. After a long campaign to put him in the family, I relented, but insisted on a character. I didn't want a cousin Joel, and I didn't think Edward Stratton from Silver Spoons fit into the family tree. So we brain stormed and remembered Salvage One. Thus, Skip entered the scene.

Now comes the joke. We were talking about these men and how they were so totally wonderful they must be related. Funny, right? I thought a little story would be enjoyable. I wanted to put them all together in some kind of western setting, say a rodeo. Out of that, and a few throw-away lines from WKRP, came "Reunion."

When I wrote this epic, Scarecrow was still in its first season. We'd been given very little of Lee's background other than the fact that he was an orphan and had been raised by an uncaring uncle who was life-time military. So I made up a history. Unfortunately, the writers decided they needed to supply some of that information too. Only they got it wrong. I guess they hadn't read "Reunion."

The cousin universe is definitely different than the aired Scarecrow world. However, I feel vindicated in that Scarecrow was never consistent with their facts. I guess they didn't think anyone would notice if they gave Lee three different ages when he was orphaned, or that suddenly his mother was British, yet he had a red-necked uncle named Clayton. We still don't know how he was related.

In any case, that was the beginning of the cousin universe. As time went on, more and more people joined the family. It was hard to keep going back to "Reunion" and make sure they were all mentioned, so I quit trying. Anybody who doesn't appear in the story just didn't make it that year, I suppose.

I placed "Reunion" first in the zine since it was written first. You should really read it first. The rest of the stories are placed in chronological order of when they take place, not when they were written. They shouldn't be too hard to follow. If you get confused along the way, there is a family tree in the back of the zine as well as a glossary and a cast of characters.

I hope you enjoy.