X-Files mythology, TenThirteen Interviews Database, and more

Montana State University Communications Services: X-Files' creator Chris Carter explores Mulder Montana roots, speaks at MSU April 23

Montana State University Communications Services
X-Files’ creator Chris Carter explores Mulder Montana roots, speaks at MSU April 23
Carol Schmidt

4/11/01 – Writer and producer Chris Carter says he gives very few lectures on college campuses about his long-running television show, “The X-Files.” But an opportunity to look into the Mulder family roots resulted in his scheduling a lecture at 7 p.m. April 23 at Montana State University’s SUB Theatre.

Yes, the truth is out there. It seems that perhaps the deepest secret about the complex Mulder family may not be the long-running conspiracy, but rather that the enigmatic “X-Files” character has roots in the Gallatin Valley.

Loyal “X-Files” fans may know that Fox Mulder, the brainy protagonist played by David Duchovny, was named after Carter’s mother, the late Catherine Mulder Carter. (Scully was named for longtime-Los Angeles Dodgers’ baseball commentator Vin Scully – no relation). But very few people know that Carter’s mother was born to a Dutch-American family in Manhattan, Mont.

“I’ve heard about Montana all my life,” said Carter, the originator, producer and chief writer of the deftly-written television show about two rebellious young FBI agents who are assigned the bureau’s most unusual cases. Carter said coincidentally, his father also lived and worked on a Montana ranch for a time before landing in the Los Angeles area where he met and married Carter’s mom. “I’m doing this one (MSU lecture) because I wanted to come to Montana and I was asked by Shari (Mulder) McCoy, who is my cousin,” Carter said. McCoy is MSU’s presidential administrative assistant. Carter said he is also looking forward to visiting his uncle, Norman Mulder, a retired Manhattan banker now living in Bozeman who is McCoy’s father.

According to McCoy, the Mulder family moved to the Amsterdam-Manhattan area from Grand Rapids, Mich. Seven of their nine children were born in the Gallatin Valley and after an unsuccessful turn farming here, the Mulders moved to Southern California to start a feed and grain business in Bellflower, Calif. Norman Mulder was the only one of the nine children in the family to return to the Gallatin Valley. While McCoy and Mulder are Carter’s closest area relatives, there are probably many distant relatives still living in the Gallatin Valley’s Dutch community, McCoy said. She added that the California and Montana Mulders have always been, and remain, close.

“We were the Montana cousins that always spent two weeks in California every summer,” McCoy said. She recalls large, happy family gatherings and recalls that both of Carters parents were very loving parents supportive of their sons’ interests. Chris’ brother, Craig, is an endowed chair in physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The “X-Files” was a fresh but controversial show when it debuted in 1993. With compelling and unpredictable writing, the series quickly became a cult favorite generating millions of fans throughout the world. Soon the offbeat series about two young, renegade FBI agents found its way into the fabric of American life and was the basis for an “X-Files” movie.

In 1997 Time Magazine named Carter one of “The 25 Most Influential People in America.” People Magazine voted Carter one of its “Most Beautiful People of 1998.” Carter is the subject of the cover story of the March/April issue of “Emmy” magazine. “X-Files” has received an Emmy, three Golden Globe Awards for best television drama and the Peabody Award for Excellence in Broadcasting. Carter’s latest offering is “The Lone Gunmen,” an “X-Files” offshoot featuring the computer geek characters often seen in “X-Files.” Carter and his Ten Thirteen Productions (named for his birthday, 10/13) is under contract to do one more series for Fox.

Carter said his first visit to Montana, which may include a talk with MSU film and television students, will be short. Much as he would enjoy it, he said he will have no time to rent a snowboard and head up to the mountains. A legendary surfing enthusiast, Carter got his start freelancing and then signing on as a staff writer and editor for “Surfing” magazine after he earned a journalism degree from Long Beach State University in 1979. He still brings a board with him to the “X-Files'” set most days.

Carter said he plans to give a few prepared remarks when he lectures at MSU, then will open the lecture to questions from the audience.

Tags: ,

Comments are closed.