Centre Orientation Guide

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Part 4: Behind the Scenes

4.1 How many different versions of the opening credits are there?
A: The opening to the pilot states: For the first season and the first half of second, the opening ran: Beginning with 'Indy Show', the opening narrations was more or less dropped, replaced by a montage of clips and voiceovers: The credits changed again fourth season, when Jon Gries was finally included; the background music changed and the dialogue, while the words did not change, was re-dubbed to a darker, edgier tone, particularly from Jarod. there was another minor shift somewhere in fourth season; they seem to enjoy playing with the credits.

4.2 What other actors have made regular or pivotal appearances on 'The Pretender'? In what roles?
A: Young Sydney/Jacob is played by Alex Wexo, who appeared in A Few Good Men, Buffalo Heart: The Path of Death, and Weapons of Mass Destruction, as well as guest appearances in "NYPD Blue" and "Diagnosis Murder".

Jarod's mother is played by Kim Myers, whose list of credits includes Hellraiser: Bloodline, "Key West" (Dr. Reilly Clarke), "Studio 5-B" (Samantha Hurley), When He's Not a Stranger, and Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge.

Major Charles, Jarod's father, is played by George Lazenby. Best known for his turn as James Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, his other roles run from a stint on the long-running soap "General Hospital", and appearances on "Hawaii 5-O", "Superboy", Kung Fu: The Legend Continues" and "Baywatch", to The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E. and other TV movies, and appearances on the big screen in Fatally Yours, Death Dimension, Fox Hunt, Fatally Yours and Four Dogs Playing Poker, among others.

Younger Jarod ('Baby Love', 'Pilot', 'A Virus Among Us') is played by Jonathan Osser. He has also made appearances on "Hiller and Diller", "Men Behaving Badly" and "Boy Meets World" and had roles in the movies My Fellow Americans and The Skateboard Kid II.

Kyle, Jarod's brother, was played by Jeffrey Donovan (Throwing Down, Critical Choices, Sleepers). Young Kyle is portrayed by Zachary Browne, who has made guest appearances on "Wiseguy", "ER", and "Renegade". He also appeared in Man of the House.

Argyle, the twitchy sometimes-nuts acquaintance of Jarod's introduced in 'Unforgotten", is played by Leland Orser. He has a long resume of TV appearances, including "The Outer Limits", "Married With Children", "NYPD Blue", "Star Trek: Voyager", "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine", "Boston Common", "Mad About You" and "The X-Files". His movie appearances include The Bone Collector, Resurrection, Very Bad Things, Saving Private Ryan, Alien: Resurrection, Excess Baggage, Escape from L.A., and Independence Day.

Debbie Broots is played by Kelsey Mulrooney, who has also appeared in the movies She's So Lovely, Norma Jean and Marilyn (as Child Norma Jean), A Little Princess, The Christmas Box, and The Great Mom Swap, as well as the 1994 series "The Boys Are Back" (as Sarah Hansen), and an episode of "Seven Days".

Sydney's son, Nicholas, is played by Darren Kennedy; his only other listed appearance is as Smithy in the 1995 movie Clockwork Mice.

Nicholas's mother Michelle is played by Leigh Taylor-Young. Born on January 24, 1944, her movie appearances include Addams Family Reunion, Stranger in My Home, Dreamrider , Napoleon and Josephine: A Love Story, Jagged Edge and Soylent Green. Her TV appearances include roles on "Peyton Place", "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine", "The Sentinel", "Malibu Shores", "Dallas", "Murder, She Wrote", and "Picket Fences".

4.3 What is the building used as the exterior of The Centre? Where is it?
A: The Centre is actually a water filtration plant, located on the border of Toronto and Scarborough, Ontario, overlooking Lake Ontario.

4.4 Is Blue Cove, Delaware a real place?
Thorough examination of Delaware maps has revealed no such town. Sorry, but Blue Cove is fictional.

4.5 Who created The Pretender? How is it connected to Quantum Leap?
A: The show was created by Steven Long Mitchell and Craig Van Sickle; they are also the executive producers and generally write (and direct, in Mitchell's case) the first and last episodes of each season, along with pivotal plot episodes. (Also, this team wrote five episodes of Alien Nation.)

The show's premise is similar to Quantum Leap in some ways -- both tell the story of a man who cares about people, desperately trying to "put things right" by assuming different lives. The stronger connection, however, is in shared crew members. QL writer Tommy Thompson is a co-executive producer and has written two episodes. Creative consultant and writer Chris Ruppenthal wrote for Quantum Leap, including the infamous 'B-Man' (Halloween) episode. Since "Curious Jarod," Velton Ray Bunch has done the music. And several of the directors, including Michael Zinberg and James Whitmore, Jr., also worked on QL.

4.6 Are Pretenders real?
A: Yes, actually. According to Mitchell and Van Sickle, the character of Jarod is based heavily on Ferdinand Demara, a real-life pretender who died in 1982. Mitchell says, "What's fascinating is that there are real people like this. It wasn't like we made up a superhero. Demara was, in fact, a surgeon--he read a book and became a surgeon and even taught surgery. He became a prison warden, a Trappist monk and a college professor." (From
Cinescape magazine.)

4.7 The Pretender was cancelled? Where can I write letters of support for The Pretender to NBC? What else can I do?
A: Yes, The Pretender has been cancelled. Official word came down May 11, 2000 that NBC will not renew the show for the 2000-20001 season. But hope has not been lost -- TNT will be airing the first four seasons beginning in Fall 2000, and there are other potential markets for the the show. Check out
Operation Save the Pretender for more information, and what you can do to help.

To protest the decision, you can contact NBC at:

Mr. Garth Ancier
NBC Entertainment President
3000 W. Alameda
Burbank CA 91523

Curt King
NBC Exec. Dir., Primetime Series Publicity
3000 W. Alameda
Burbank, CA 91523

NBC Viewer Relations
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112

4.8 Where can I write to the show and the actors?
A: According to the NBC web page, actors and the production crew can be written care of:

Pretender Productions
6250 Canoga Avenue
Woodland Hills, CA 91367

Thre is also an e-mail address for the show, pretender@nbc.com, but TPTB say they cannot forward any e-mail to the actors.

4.9 Are there fan clubs for the actors or the show?
A: No "official" fan clubs exist to our knowledge. However,
Yahoo does have a number of clubs dedicated to the program and most of the main actors. Each Yahoo club has its own bulletin board and chat room; they also frequently have picture archives and links to print articles. Many of the actors have official or unofficial web sites dedicated to them as well.

4.10 Where can I get scripts for the show?
The Script Shop claims to have Pretender scripts for sale, but this has not been confirmed. They can be contacted at:

Harvest Moon Entertainment
PO Box 3332
Santa Monica, CA 90408-3332

4.11 Is there any merchandise available for the show?
A: There has never been any "official" merchandise; word is that NBC and Fox (formerly MTM) cannot agree on how they would split the profits. "Unofficial" merchandise (pictures, mouse pads, t-shirts, etc.) is sometimes found on auction sites such as E-Bay, or may be available in the dealeršs room at conventions.

4.12 Do the characters have any nicknames or "net names?"
A: Yes, some of them do. Here's a list of the most common ones used: Jarod -- sometimes referred to by his moods, such as HallmarkJarod (when spouting platitudes) or ScaryJarod (when angry with someone)
Miss Parker -- usually abbreviated as MP
Mr. Parker -- known as Daddy P or DP (Daddy Parker)
Mr. Lyle -- sometimes called Mr. Style because of his love of designer clothing
Brigitte -- often referred to as Zheet, a play on the way her name is pronounced
Mr. Raines -- sometimes called Dr. Billy (he was once a doctor), or Rev. Billy (from his "conversion" to religion in Season 4)

Sydney, Miss Parker and Broots are often collectively referred to as The Three Stooges (following one of Jarod's pranks), or the Scooby Gang (after the cartoon).

4.13 Is there really going to be a movie? When is it airing? On what channel?
A: Yes, there is really going to be a movie! The Pretender 2001 will air on TNT Monday, January 2, at 8pm (E/P). The movie is slated to both resolve the season 4 cliffhanger, and delve into the background of Jarod's original escape from The Centre. The main cast, including Michael T. Weiss, Andrea Parker, Patrick Bauchau and Jon Gries, will all be reprising their roles. For more information, check out the
TNT site.

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This page last updated January 2, 2001.