HISTORY OF THE "Tribute to Roddy McDowall" WEBSITE
(how, when, and why it got started):
First off, I must confess that I'm a bit iffy on the
dates here. I am basing these numbers on the "file
creation" dates of my scans and the "date stamp" of the
first e-mail message I got about the page.
Sometime in October of 1995, I was playing around with
my scanner, still trying to figure out what the best
settings were for dpi and file type. I had scanned all the
"family and pets" pictures that I was interested in
scanning, and really didn't feel like repeating myself, so
I was wracking my brain trying to think of what to do next.
At some point, I wandered off to my bedroom in search
of scanable material. I have an autographed picture hanging
on my wall (which McDowall kindly sent me some years ago)
right where it can be seen by any and all who enter the
room. Grinning like a mad fool, I grabbed the photo and
rushed back to my desk.
When I finished scanning the autographed photo, it
struck me how cool it would be to have *all* my Roddy
McDowall pictures on computer -- Not only could I look at
them anytime I wanted, it would be easier to show off said
collection to my friends.
Still, I needed a way to organize all those scans. An
index of some sort.
Just then, a little cartoon lightbulb materialized
above my head. HTML! It was the perfect answer. I could
create a page with miniature pictures which, when clicked,
would automatically load the full size picture and easily
return to the index page again.
You can guess what I spent the next couple of evenings
Somewhere along the line, I decided to spruce it all up
a bit. Add a banner, write something meaningful, maybe key
in some reference material. It was a lot of hard work, a
lot of fun, and very educational.
I had no intention of putting the page on the web.
Every time I was trying to learn a new type of code, I used
my McDowall page to experiment with.
I had other projects going at the time, actual web
work, and was in a rush to get out of the house one day --
setting up a massive batch upload for the computer to chew
on while I was away. In my haste, the McD directory and all
its contents were included in the transfer.
When I came home, all the files were resting snuggly on
my space provider/server. It seemed a shame to delete them.
I told myself that I would leave the stuff on the web, and
add a link on my homepage, for that one other lonely
McDowall fan out there who might stumble across it one day.
A couple of months later, I got an e-mail message from
(either Pam or Robin, don't actually recall) that lonely
fan I had speculated about. It was a great kick to finally
have someone to share my stories and opinions and favorite
A week or two after that, I got another message. And
two more the next week. I decided to throw a "hit" counter
up on the page. When the numbers started climbing, my jaw
nearly hit the floor - and the e-mail messages were
By the end of 1995, there were 10 of us sending
electronic messages across the country to one another, and
I decided it was time to create a mailing list or I'd be
spending the rest of my life answering e-mail.
As February of 1996 winds down, there are 18 list
members...and there's new mail to the list almost weekly
from interested persons and potential new members.
It only seemed natural that the next step was to give
ourselves a name -- to form an "unofficial" club. Names
were tossed around the list for a couple of weeks, with
"The Musgrave Foundation, A Roddy McDowall Fan Club"
winning out over such candidates as The Gooney Birds, The
Lord Love A Ducklings, and other less "dignified" names.
Currently, the RM tribute page averages 50-80 hits, or
visits, per week. Of course, many, if not most, of these
are repeat visits by the same person; using special stat
tracker software to monitor the site still reveals a
minimum of 30 separate visitors per week.
The Roddy McDowall Fans are coming out of the woodwork
and gathering on the World Wide Web.