Bill Faries (Site Owner) Interview
June 12th, 2010
First of all, I want to thank all of you who keep coming back. You guys are the reason why this site is up. The love you all have for your favorite childhood toy and cartoon is just overwhelming. We get a lot of hits to the site each month and I’m very happy that we are able to share all of our information with the world! Thank you again!
1. What inspired you to start this site?
Back in the late 90’s, I started to become fascinated with computers more and more as each day passed. I had been taking a lot of classes and things like that in high school. The element that I really got behind was web design. I admit I was terrible at it when I started but everything I’ve done up until today has been self taught.
Around mid 2001, I decided I wanted to make a website. Initially, I had no ideas at all so the initial ideas stalled for a little while. One random day, I was cleaning up my room and I found something wedged between the bottom of the wall and where the floor met up. My original Matt Trakker figure from when I was a child had been trapped there for a number of years! After I found him, I began to tear apart my house to try and find any other survivors from my childhood. I was only left with a broken down Jackhammer, a Firefly that was missing a wing, a very sad looking Thunderhawk and Miles Mayhem and Sly Rax. Now when I was a kid, I had every MASK toy out there up until the 4th series. I never really had any of those until I started to re-collect.
I was curious about my favorite toys from when I was kid so got my dial up modem running and surfed the web looking for MASK. I was very impressed by 1 site in particular and I want to say it was Albert Penello’s. I know there was one out there that was really extensive but after that, there was nothing at all. What I felt was the best toy / cartoon of my childhood had no following at all in the United States.
I essentially got everything little bit of info I could find online and through my own knowledge and created the first version of the site: MASK Domain of Matt Trakker. I think it was on geocities! This website was my learning tool as well. I taught myself my web design / development skills through building up this website.
You will see a lot of different layouts because of that.
2. What is the best and or worst thing that has happened with this site?
The best thing to happen to this website was the message board taking off. I love that all of you can re-connect from time to time about the show or toys.
Also, the day Lance Anderson reached out to me turned this site around for good. His insights where and will always be the corner stone of my site. The other interviews are all great as well but Lance’s is pure gold.
The worst was trying to implement a blog style website and it never really took off. Julieann helped a lot but it couldn’t just fall onto two people. I guess another thing that is the “worst” is that I can’t get in touch with 90% of the cast to try and interview them. I wish there was a way we could reach Doug Stone. It would be a truly great day if he could give his insights of his work on the show.
3. What are (some of) your short term plans for this site?
As time permits, I want to fix some of the ways the pictures are portrayed by using Flash image viewers for each of the page to give it a more dynamic feel. I would really love some still images from the show.
4. Any long term plans?
Long term…I would like to make a dynamic flash banner that uses clips from the show in full motion to really make the home page pop. That will take some time though. I would love to have some screen captures from the shows as well. I have some but don’t have the time to really sit there and get them. I really want to take the page into a Flash version of it but as I said earlier, time doesn’t permit just yet for that.
Another new website layout may be in the works very soon.
5. If you could change one thing about this site, what would it be? Why?
I want to be able to host videos like on youtube right on the site but it puts such a strain on bandwidth that at this time, I cannot do it. I want to host all 75 episodes here.
6. What is your fondest memory of M.A.S.K.?
I still remember the Christmas morning when I opened up my very first MASK toy….the Thunderhawk. I have a picture of it somewhere as well. It is one of my earliest memories as a child as well.
7. Describe your collection.
Because of where I live, I don’t have a ton of space for a big collection. I guess that is a blessing in disguise. It sure does help save money! Right now, I basically just collect the figures. According to my calculations, I have all of the loose figures in the series. I’m missing some rare MASKS but for the most part, it is complete. I do have my original toys that survived my early years along with a fully restored Goliath. It was my favorite toy from the series so I had to have it again. Other vehicles are Thunderhawk, Firefly, Raven and Condor. If I had the space and money, I would most likely have completed the vehicle collection by now.
8. What do you find most interesting about this series?
For the time when it came out, this series really knew how to appeal to kids. Secret identities, cars and planes that changed into something else and special powers that come from an awesome looking MASK. As I watched them when I was older, the stories were really creative for 1985 as well.
9. Do you have any favorite episodes? Why?
Raiders of the Orient Express. It was the one episode that I actually remembered when I saw the show again for again in the early 2000’s.
10. In your opinion, what are the worst episodes? Why?
I never liked any of the Racing Series which is a popular thing among fans. The stories where lame although they had the coolest vehicles.
11. If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be? Why?
That is a pretty hard question. There have been so many influential people throughout history. My minor in college was History actually. I guess I don’t have 1 particular person but I would love to know what it was like to be one of the people who signed the Declaration of Independence.
12. You only have time to save three things from a fire in your home. What are they?
My girlfriend, my cat and my laptop.
13. If you were written about in the newspaper, on the front page, how would the headline read?
Old Man Yells at Cloud. (one of my favorite Simpsons lines)
14. If you won $20 million in a lottery, what would you do with the money?
Take care of my parents first, then my brother and girlfriend. After that, I would by myself something nice, invest in a MASK movie and then the sky is the limit!
15. How would you describe yourself?
Quiet, motivated, dedicated and stubborn. All great qualities ha.
16. What kind of people do you dislike?
You know those people who drive 30 mph under the speed limit on a single lane road? I’m not too fond of them! Also, people who litter are up there as well.
17. What energizes you?
2 cups of coffee in the morning to start. I guess I really just want to try and out do myself as much as I can.
18. What might someone be surprised to know about you?
I minored in History in college and have only used my knowledge to tell people they are incorrect when trying to tell others something about history.
19. Is there anything else about you (or this site) that you want to share with us?
I am a die-hard Philadelphia Flyers fan. I have been my entire life.
20. What are three things you could ask others to assist you in doing with this site?
I need high quality images from the show. I don’t really have any and would really love them. I would also love some reviews of episodes, toys, etc… but haven’t gotten a big response for that as of yet. As for a third, I would love for everyone to advertise the site as much as possible. I’ll create some banners and stuff for that to go along with what we have already.