Saturday, April 25, 2009

ER Tribute to Michael Crichton

When Michael Crichton died, there was a brief tribute to him that aired at the beginning of ER on Nov. 13, 2008. It featured Eriq La Salle (who played Dr. Peter Benton) .

Then on April 2, 2009, just before the final episode of the series, NBC aired the documentary "ER Retrospective" which contained the following comments:

Steven Spielberg:

When Michael Crichton left us, he left a grand legacy in both television and motion pictures, but it’s ironic that the show is gonna retire its number in the same year that Michael left us.

John Wells (ER Executive Producer) :
The final episode is a bit of a homage to what we did in the first episode, in the pilot. And I felt as if he wrote it with me, you know. We had sat in a room and made the changes, and the things we needed to do in the pilot script. And I kept feeling like he was still there with me.

Noah Wyle (actor who played John Carter):
I would love to have him there when we have our finale party, be able to shake his hand and thank him for the life I lead.

But you know, I always felt he was watching, I was always aiming to please.

I would have liked a longer recognition of Crichton’s contribution as the creator of ER, but that’s my own bias. With 15 seasons, the retrospective had a great deal of ground to cover.

But I had wondered if there would be any kind reference to Michael Crichton in the final episode, titled “And in the End...”. The powers that be did not disappoint. In one scene, Dr. Morris is standing outside the ER and is freezing. He complains about the cold and says, “Global warming! A couple of those scientists should spend April in Chicago.”

I’m sure Michael Crichton got a kick out of that. :-D

Links and more info on Michael Crichton at:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day everyone! I feel the need to point out yet again, that being skeptical about mankind's contribution to global warming does not mean you don't care about the planet. It's interesting that if you express the slightest reservation about the causes and cures of global warming, people act like you're going on a hunting trip for endangered species.

This exchange between Kenner and Ted Bradley in Michael Crichton's State of Fear makes a good point:
“So what exactly is your point?” Bradley said. “You're saying that we don't need to pay any attention to the environment, that we can just leave it alone and let industry pollute and everything will be hunky-dory?”
For a moment, it looked to Sarah as if Kenner would get angry, but he did not. He said, “If you oppose the death penalty, does it also mean you are in favor of doing nothing at all about crime?”
“No,” Ted said.
”You can oppose the death penalty but still favor punishing criminals?”
”Yes. Of course.”
”Then I can say that global warning is not a threat, but still favor environmental controls, can't I?”

Crichton clarified his own position during his testimony in the Senate hearing on September 28, 2005:
“In closing, I want to state emphatically that nothing in my remarks should be taken to imply that we can ignore our environment, or that we should not take climate change seriously. On the contrary, we must dramatically improve our record on environmental management. That's why a focused effort on climate science, aimed at securing sound, independently verified answers to policy questions, is so important now.”

Links and more info on Michael Crichton at:

Friday, April 17, 2009

Posthumous Publication - Part One

There’s a great deal of discussion lately about the decision to publish two Michael Crichton novels (one unfinished) posthumously. Some people are skeptical or uneasy that a techno thriller that Crichton had only written a third of will be finished by another author selected by Crichton’s publisher and family. It’s a topic I find intriguing and I’ll research and ponder it for a future essay on this blog.

First of all, I think fears that Crichton’s estate will authorize other writers to create completely new novels to be published under his name are unfounded. I will explain more in detail, but in short Crichton was not merely a storyteller—he was a philosopher who explored ideas and issues through novels. Another writer would not be able to recreate the intellect and passion that were the soul of Crichton’s works. I also do not think the fans would go for it.

Here are a few things to consider about the unfinished novel:

• If Michael Crichton didn’t want someone else to complete the novel, (or publish other books that may be found on his computer), he could have legally restricted anyone from doing that in his will. And there may be other legal steps he could have taken. He was too brilliant a man not to consider what might happen when he died.

• Michael Crichton signed a deal with Harper Collins to write two techno thrillers. Next was the first one. As the contract specifies the type of novel as “techno thriller”, the pirate novel does not fulfill the contract. As Crichton probably received an advance for both books when he signed the deal, his estate may be required to either let someone else finish the novel, or return part of the advance to Harper Collins. Unless there was a clause in the contract voiding the estate’s obligation in the event of the author’s death.

• Michael Crichton used his novels to comment on things that people need think about. Even if he was not able to finish his novel, he had probably done a great deal of research. If Michael Crichton had something to say, I want to hear it, even if someone else has to help convey the message.

A very important thing to remember is that Harper Collins cannot decide to publish anything of Michael Crichton's without the permission Crichton's family. So to criticize Harper Collins is unfair and an inaccurate perception of the situation. If Crichton's family authorizes the completion and publication of the unfinished novel mad other works, who am I to criticize them? His family knew him much better than his readers did, and Crichton left his legacy in their charge. I strongly feel it is not my place to second-guess his family's motivations and actions.

(One posthumous work of Michael Crichton’s has already been released. According to Wikipedia, Crichton’s widow Sherri gave birth to their son John Michael Todd Crichton on February 12, 2009. I wish him good fortune throughout his life, and offer congratulations and best wishes to his family.)

Links and more info on Michael Crichton at:

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Spanish TV Tribute to Michael Crichton

I discovered this two-part tribute on the homepage of Erik’s Michael Crichton Collection. Even though the narration is in Spanish, (which I don’t understand very well), the video clips are marvelous—with some footage I’ve never seen before.

Crichton en DCINE (I)

Crichton en DCINE (II)

Thank you, Erik!

Links and more info on Michael Crichton at:

Monday, April 6, 2009

And Possibly More to Come...

Take note of this quote from the article Posthumous Crichton Novels on the Way:

Ms. Nesbit said that Mr. Crichton left “many, many electronic files,” and that there could well be other novels or unfinished material. “We haven’t begun to really go through it all,” she said.

So who knows what else may be there? In an online discussion in Nov. 2005, I asked Michael Crichton if there would ever be a sequel to Travels. He said:

Actually, I have been trying to get a sequel to Travels finished for quite some time.
I don't know how it happened but it has been almost twenty years since that book...

Links and more info on Michael Crichton at:

Newsflash--Two Crichton Novels to be Published

Michael Crichton fans will eventually have two new books to read.

According to a New York Times article, Posthumous Crichton Novels on the Way, an adventure novel titled Pirate Latitudes which in set in Jamaica in the 17th century, will be published on Nov. 24.

According to the article "The new novel, discovered by Mr. Crichton’s assistant in the writer’s computer files after his death, features a pirate named Hunter and the governor of Jamaica, and their plan to raid a Spanish treasure galleon."

Harper Collins will also publish a technological thriller Crichton had started writing. Only a third of the novel was completed so the publisher, Crichton's agent Lynn Nesbit, and his estate plan to find an author to finish the novel based on Crichton's notes and plan to publish the novel in the fall of 2010.

From the article:

Ms. Nesbit said that Mr. Crichton was “the most private of all authors that I have ever met in my life,” and that he never showed his agent or his editor any material before he had a complete draft. She said that other than the general category of technological thriller, she had no idea what the incomplete novel was about.

Ms. Nesbit said that she and Mr. Burnham had discussed some possible co-writers, but no decision had been made. She added that any selection would be made in collaboration with Sherri Crichton, Mr. Crichton’s widow, acting on behalf of his estate.

I had assumed his new novel for Harper Collins was finished. (See Michael Crichton's New Book ) I do recall Michael Crichton saying in an interview that once he had completed his research and notes, the actual writing of a novel took only a few months.

Links and more info on Michael Crichton at:

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

ER Series Finale – April 2, 2009

ER, the hit medical TV show that Michael Crichton created will air its final show in a two-hour series finale on Thursday, April 2, at 8 p.m. EST.

Michael Crichton wrote the pilot for ER, which premiered September 19, 1994 and ran for 15 seasons.

Crichton website ER page

Official ER website on NBC

Links and more info on Michael Crichton at: