Mike Lloyd Ross
Mike Lloyd Ross | Cast and Crew
Mike Lloyd Ross was the creator of the Salvage 1 television series Thanks to a couple of his friends, I have learned a little bit more about him. He was born in 1933 or 1934. He was barely 50 when he passed away due to lung cancer in the early eighties. He was an electronics technician aboard the U.S.S. Pollux in the mid 50's just following the Korean war. He had a vivid imagination back then, and used to put on little shows for the crew. In addition to Salvage 1, Mike also wrote some scripts for the TV show "Simon and Simon", along with William M. Whitehead. He also wrote the script for a TV movie in 1981 called "Dream House".

Pete Matulavich Speaks About Mike Lloyd Ross

Producer/ writer/ director Pete Matulavich was a friend of Mike's in the 70s and 80s. He was kind enough to answer some questions about Mike Ross. Pete started with a few interesting facts:

He (Mike Lloyd Ross) also created the short-lived series American Girls which was a take off of Charlie's Angels. Mike was primarily known as simply Mike Ross and only used Lloyd to
differentiate himself in the credits from another Mike Ross. While Mike worked primarily as a producer-writer, he was a good director and was frustrated that he couldn't convince the powers that be to let him direct.

Q: Did you ever work with Mike Ross professionally? If so, did you work on Salvage 1?

I first met Mike when he and I were hired by the same production company (Hennessy Films) to write and direct some Navy recruiting movies in 1973. One Mike did was called "Pressure Point" and followed a cocky Navy flight school candidate through the rigors of flight training. Business Screen, a publication back then, named it the best industrial film of the year. I
would agree.

Another noteworthy industrial Mike wrote/directed was called Firebugs (I believe), and was made for the LA Fire Department. It was all about identifying arsonists. It was cleverly done. Mike did quite a few films for the LA Fire Department, before his big break with Salvage. By the way, the pilot episode, the TV movie version, was called Salvage. I'm not sure even Mike knew why they changed it to Salvage 1 for the series, other than to differentiate it from the pilot movie.

I was attempting to develop an episode of Salvage 1 for Mike when the series was cancelled.

Q: Did Mike Ross ever get the chance to direct anything in the business?

No, afraid not. Not outside of industrials. And I knew why. He was just too valuable as a producer for the executive producers to let him be taken away from his primary job, which was to keep the series on track. While Mike was only about 5'8, and around 140 pounds, he had boundless enthusiasm and excuded energy and positivism that was contagious. He could be a
pain-in-the-ass sometimes, though.

Q: Do you know if Salvage 1 was a good or bad experience for him? How did he feel about it once it was a series?

All in all, it was a great experience for him, but frustrating as well. He was not satisfied with the caliber of writers nor directors that were available for the series. One writer/director, though, Mike Robe, a close friend of Mike's, did do an episode, and it helped launch his career, as he
has done lots of TV movies and series since. I forget which episode Mike Robe did for Mike.

Q: What was he most proud of among the shows he worked on? Did he have a "dream" project that he never got to work on?

He was probably the most proud of the pilot episode of Salvage. It was a very good show.

Q: Do you know how much creative input Mike had regarding the series?

Actually, I believe he had considerable creative control. The problem he had with directors stemmed from the fact that the best ones were generally working on more established series of that time. Mike felt he was scraping the bottom of the barrel when it came to finding directors. He couldn't hire just any director. They had to be DGA, of course. As far as problems he had with some scripts, those could be mitigated by Mike since he could re-write them. I remember he liked the script about the race horse. Perhaps you recall that episode.

Q: Did Mike Ross have a particular enthusiasm for spaceflight and science?

Yes, I feel he did. When he and I flew on one of the first jumbo jets (I guess it was a 747), he was excited just like a kid, marveling at how something that large could get off the ground.

Q: You and Mike started out in industrial films. Do many people make the leap from that to the general entertainment field?

A few do. Others whom I personally know about, include the two guys (S.S.Wilson and Brent Maddock) who went on to write/produce Batteries Not Included, Short Circuit, Tremors, etc. In fact, Short Circuit was inspired by a robot they designed for an educational video. Ron Underwood and I worked for the same company producing educational and childrens videos, and he went on to direct City Slickers and have a dozen other major features.
Industrials and educationals afford a way for people to learn the craft and make a living while they do so. It is a not a major avenue to major entertainment projects, but it is something of an avenue. There are literally thousands, if not tens of thousands, who are employed in the making of industrials, educationals and training films. The vast majority, though, never get into TV or motion pictures.

By the way, the plot for the pilot episode of American Girls was based on an arsonist character Mike developed for that LA Fire Department video I mentioned to you, Firebugs.

Many thanks to Peter Matulavich for the enlightening information!


Hosted by www.Geocities.ws