Tidbits, trivia, anecdotes, little-known nuggets and more from the worlds of sci fi and fantasy television.
The mysterious and sinister “Smoking Man” from the X-Files television series–played by William B. Davis–was one of the primary figures in the alien conspiracy that was central to the show’s story arc, and he was regularly seen smoking one cigarette after the next. But did you know that Davis himself does not smoke, nor does he believe in U.F.O.s?
Davis was fifty five years old when he first took on the role of the character who would come to be known as the “Smoking Man” (or sometimes “Cancer Man”) on The X-Files, and on the show he would almost never be seen without a lit cigarette. However, Davis himself had giving up smoking over twenty years prior to when the series debuted. For his role, he was given the option of smoking real cigarettes or an herbal alternative (which I’m pretty sure did not involve a particular five-leafed variety of plant). He at first chose real cigarettes, but later changed to herbal because he feared he would become addicted to tobacco again. And despite his character’s proclivity for smoking on television, Davis would become a spokesman for the Canadian Cancer Society, tapping into his notoriety from The X-Files for the anti-smoking campaigns they promoted.
As far as Davis’ opinion on aliens and the other paranormal phenomena that regularly appeared on the show, the actor was a follower the skeptical movement and did not give much weight to claims that these were real. He became a member of the the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and has acted as a spokesman for the organization, giving lectures at conventions and universities. When asked about his belief, or lack thereof, in the paranormal he said: “The onus is on you to prove the extraordinary . . . I did a lot of research and saw where a lot of the arguments were wanting.”
And while Davis is best known from his recurring role on The X-Files, he has had a long career in acting, beginning on the stage and then moving to television and movies. And he has quite a number of genre credits on his resume which include guest-starring or supporting roles in shows like Airwolf, Sliders, The Outer Limits (1995 remake), Stargate SG-1, Supernatural, Human Target, and most recently on the Canadian series Continuum. He will return in the role of the Smoking Man in the X-Files revival series which debuts on FOX on January 24th.
Useless but essential pop culture tidbits and trivia from the worlds of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror
Did you know that Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski wrote a proposal for a Star Trek reboot years before the J.J. Abrams movies came out? Did you know that Han Solo was originally supposed to be a green-skinned alien or that some of the early actors considered for the role included Billy Dee Williams, Al Pacino, and Chevy Chase? How about that FOX originally wanted someone more like Pamela Anderson to play the roll of Scully on The X-Files? Or that in 1974, science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke predicted the Internet? Ever hear of Varney the Vampire?
Find out the truths about these and more in Sci Fi Trifles. Trivia, anecdotes, little-known nuggets and more that present an addicting glimpse into the story behind the story of sci fi. Once you’ve started reading them you will wonder how you have managed to live so long without knowing them!