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The Infamous Teapot

This came up recently in another thread, but I thought I should give it its own topic so that more people would see it.

The "infamous teapot" was an editing mistake that slipped into "Midnight on the Firing Line" when the widescreen version was first created for the U.S. Sci-Fi Channel. It was fixed by the show's second or third rotation, but lots of folks saw it, and some of us even asked Warner Bros. to include it as a extra on the S1 set.

For those of you who missed it in the U.S., or who never saw it because you've only seen the show overseas or on DVD, here it is, courtesy of U.K. fan Bruce Goatly.

And yes, I know that it isn't strictly a teapot. (It is the pot Londo uses for hot jala, the one that conceals the components of the gun he will assemble so that he can try to kill G'Kar.) But "infamous teapot" just has a ring to it. :)


Yes, indeed, thank you for posting that link to download the clip. I had heard of the teapot, but I had never seen it myself. It's a lot more blatantly there up in the scene than I was expecting. It's amazing that that could actually get put into the episode like that. Thank the Maker that they got it fixed.
It's amazing that that could actually get put into the episode like that.

Apparently it has to do with the way that digital editing systems are set up. You can "preview" one or more scenes while assembling another, and it seems it is real easy to drop a segment from the wrong one into your "live" shot. The sequence should have been Sinclair, C&C vessel, then cut to Londo's quarters and the teapot, which he then converts into a gun. Someone inadvertently dropped in "teapot" instead of "C&C" and it wasn't caught.

I stage managed a play in college that used an unusual form of staging - the curtains were closed on the apron, while on the stage proper bleacher seating was arranged on three sides of a rectangular area where the action took place. As stage manager I sat "backstage" with the prop and costume people - which is to say, I was sitting on stage in front of the curtain. The lighting controls were in the booth at the back of the theater, but the lighting guy couldn't see anything, I had to relay instructions to him by headset. (Because he couldn't see when actors entered and exited, and couldn't hear the lines being delivered, all of which were his cues for lighting changes. So we get through the first act of opening night with everything going fine, when suddenly one of the actors starts ad-libbing lines about the fire works at the big picnic down by the river. Now there is reference to a picnic in the play, but no fireworks. I look up at the cieling, and see various colored lights going on and off for no apparent reason. It turned out that the theater was being used for a concert the next afternoon, and our lighting guy was programming his pre-sets for it on the "stand-by" lighting console. At least he thought he was working on the stand-by console. Between the play and the concert he'd been up for about 30 hours straight, and he was merrily doing his pre-sets on the live console in the middle of our show. :)

After a little argument ("Of course I'm not on the live board, do you think I'm an idiot) we got the problem solved. So in some distant way I can understand how the Teapot Incident came to be. (And they probably QC'd it at high speed without sound, because they would primarily be looking for visual flaws - which the teapot wouldn't look like without the audio cue.

Oh, and thank Heaven for actors who can think on their feet. :)



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