Official Buckaroo Banzai : Ancient Secrets & New Mysteries Series Updates from Director W. D. Richter (1998-1999)

The following historical information contains the official updates released by Buckaroo Banzai Director W.D. Richter during the time period when the Buckaroo Banzai : Ancient Secrets & New Mysteries TV show was under consideration.

Official News From Director W. D. Richter


November 3rd, 1998 :


The Banzai Institute for Biomedical Research and Strategic Information


"After all these years, one of course, expects the inevitable and amazed reaction, 'We thought it would never happen!' Let me simply share with you B. Banzai's own reminder when delivered the glad news by Earl Mac Rauch:

'The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once. That said, now on to the business at hand.'"

-Rick Richter
November 3, 1998"

December 11th, 1998 :


FROM: W.D. Richter
TO: Loyal Buckaroo fans everywhere
SUBJECT: Buckaroo Banzai pilot script
DATE: December 11, 1998

What a pleasure it is to make this announcement: Earl Mac Rauch has just completed the hour-long pilot episode script for our proposed Fox Network / PolyGram Entertainment television series, "BUCKAROO BANZAI ANCIENT SECRETS & NEW MYSTERIES."

The script will be submitted to the Fox Network on Tuesday, December 15, 1998 and, if well-received, will be the basis for an exciting weekly exploration of Dr. Banzai, his extraordinary accomplishments, and the equally extraordinary people who volunteer their time at the Banzai Institute.

Hopes run high at the Institute. A courageous gentleman at PolyGram named Steve Gelber (a die-hard fan) has championed our cause and has found an equally adventuresome ally in Rob Dwek of the Fox Network. Rob commissioned the pilot script only a month ago, and Mac Rauch has been writing away furiously, night and day, since then.

Perhaps one of the most exciting recent developments has been the arrival at the Fox Network of Doug Herzog as new president of its entertainment divisionand, as such, its chief television programmer. Mr. Herzog comes to Fox from Comedy Central (and before that MTV) where he drew praise for his bold, innovative, and radical programminga strategy he,s vowed to implement at Fox as well. I was particularly encouraged by Mr. Herzog,s remarks to the media when his appointment was announced: "I think you've got to look at different ways of being funny. I'm going to take chances and take risks. I've always seen Fox as a maverick brand, a renegade brand."

I've always seen Buckaroo Banzai and the Hong Kong Cavaliers as a maverick band, a renegade bandand they certainly have different ways to be funnyand they sure as hell take chances and risks. Wait until the pilot if you doubt me on that. Buckaroo finally locks horns with The Scourge of Burma, The Spawn of Hell, The Face That Is No Facethe unspeakably horrid Boss of The World Crime League and Supreme Commander of the Legion of Death, the one, the only HANOI XAN! It's not a pretty sight.

And look to Simon & Schuster in the not-too-distant future (their Pocket Books division) for a new series of Buckaroo novels that Mac Rauch will be adapting from the secret journals of that hard rockin, Hong Kong Cavalier, Mister Reno Nevada. In fact feel free to contact Simon & Schuster to reserve your copy now! And thank you for all the years and years of wonderful support. We owe you one."

January 1, 1999

Here is the announcement for the Official Banzai Institute web page (

Dear friends of Buckaroo Banzai:

In response to the many inquiries we have received regarding the possibility of a Buckaroo Banzai television series on the Fox Network, I am pleased to announce the official Banzai Institute web site. Like the Institute itself, this web site is dedicated to the betterment of the human condition through scientific research, public service, and rock-n-roll.

The Banzai Institute web site, available on the World Wide Web at, features the latest news of Institute activities interwoven with tantalizing hints of Buckaroo's future adventures. Also available on the site are notes on Buckaroo merchandise, links to fan sites, and an exclusive interview with Dr. Banzai himself, written by Reno Nevada (with a little help from his friend, Earl Mac Rauch). Of special interest to students of Banzai history is a never-before-seen video excerpt from the original director's cut of the 1984 movie, THE ADVENTURES OF BUCKAROO BANZAI ACROSS THE EIGHTH DIMENSION.

As Dr. Banzai says in his introduction to the site, we hope that you "move with grace and leisure among these sundry offerings" which are being made available to all Institute members and other friends of Buckaroo Banzai, wherever they may be.

Faithfully yours,

W.D. Richter

July 28, 1999


To: All Fans of B. Banzai
From: W.D. Richter
Subject: The Way Things Are

A few years ago, I overheard Dr. Banzai remark to a concerned unit of Tibetan commandos as the clock struck midnight in a particularly dark hollow of the Universe: "We're all in this together...whatever 'this' is." Now, B. Banzai was actually waxing philosophical, I concluded, and was thus referring to our shared time on this and other planets ... but his remark might easily be brought down to Earth and used to describe the crazy adventure of bringing his exploits back to the screen -- silver, cathode-ray, or plasma, take your pick.

And so now, it seems, we must temporarily divert our energy from the task at hand to contend with rumors that the forces of evil have gathered to demand we "dumb down" the great pilot script Mac Rauch completed in January ... and that Mac and I are "fighting tooth and nail" against such madness.

But this is only more gibberated nonsense. In fact, we have received no orders from anybody anywhere in any form whatsoever. Yet. But if we do, can you imagine what Buckaroo's instructions to us might be? I have my hunches. And so I will close as I opened, with a quote from the guy who got us all into this fine mess in the first place, Buckaroo Banzai. The good doctor was commenting upon his own penchant for getting himself into the thick of life, try as he might to follow a simple path: "It's almost as though I have polyhedral eyes. I focus on one thing and yet I'm seeing ten others -- things to be done -- because I've always had an obsession with the truth and the obligations it entails -- all the great questions. The only thing I'm certain of is a man must go down fighting, living by his lights and doing what little good he can and as best he can, for those who come after. That's the real test, the only victory.

And you should know too that other rumors fly ... that Mac Rauch is hard at work on a new series of Banzai Chronicles, THE LIZARDO QUARTET, and that the Institute is seriously considering making available to scholars on a limited basis, a NEVER PUBLISHED THREE-VOLUME HISTORY OF HENRY SHANNON by the famed British biographer Lytton Strachey, c. 1930. Believed to have been originally planned for inclusion in Strachey's highly acclaimed Lives of Eminent Victorians, the manuscript apparently had its genesis years before, when Strachey still accepted Shannon at face value as the hugely successful munitions baron and patron of the arts he pretended to be ... and not, as Strachey later realized, the 600-year-old master criminal Hanoi Xan, whose origins could be traced to the steppes of Mongolia and the time of Kublai Khan.

Rumors? May I suggest we all chew on these last and not obsess about what might or might not happen in Hollywood? At least until it does.


December 15, 1999 :


To: All Fans of B. Banzai
From: W.D. Richter
Subject: Status

Dear Friends:

Dr. B. Banzai stopped me in the hall a few days ago. He'd been working with a team of NASA engineers for 72 hours straight, trying to establish contact with the Mars Polar Lander. As you can imagine, he was pretty haggard, but not so tired as to fail to say "hello" to a friend.

Anyway, Dr. Banzai wanted to tell me how much he had enjoyed reading Earl Mac Rauch's revision of the "Buckaroo Banzai: Ancient Secrets & New Mysteries" pilot script for the proposed Fox Television series. He said that he was particularly pleased that Rauch's new version focuses even more on certain ongoing threats to public safety. "Without being too alarmist," said Banzai, "I think you are performing a public service by helping people to realize the insidious dangers posed by the World Crime League. For that, I salute both you and Fox Television."

Dr. Banzai asked me when we might expect a decision from the network on whether to "go to pilot" with the project. I explained to Dr. Banzai that the revision, which had been requested by Fox, had just gone to the network last week. The nature of the television industry, I explained, was that it was inherently unpredictable. Projects can languish in "development hell" for what seems like forever, only to be "fast-tracked" at the drop of a hat when you least expect it.

"How well I understand that," Banzai smiled. "It is as Albert Einstein once observed, that a moment on a hot stove seems like an eternity, while an afternoon with a pretty girl seems like an instant." In the meantime, I reminded him, Rauch continues his work on the "Lizardo Quartet" of novels.

At that point, Mrs. Johnson interrupted us with an urgent call for Dr. Banzai from the United Nations Famine Relief Project (something about airdropping watermelons), and he was off. I could only wonder what adventures the future still holds for the good doctor.


W.D. Richter 

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