In Depth

Master of Fantasy: Robert Halmi Sr.

Robert Halmi Sr. came to the United States in 1950 with a still camera around his neck. Fifty-eight years later, Mr. Halmi and son Robert Jr. have produced more than 200 made-for-TV moves and miniseries. Their productions have won 104 Emmys.

Just last year, their production company, RHI, developed, produced and distributed 43 TV movies and miniseries to broadcast and cable networks around the world.

Escapism Artists

Telling stories in the sci-fi and fantasy realm has been an RHI specialty. Last year’s “Tin Man,” Sci Fi Network’s Emmy-nominated reimagining of “The Wizard of Oz,” was typical of the big-budget, high-rated fare the Halmis are known for.

And at 84, Mr. Halmi is on top of a genre known for looking ahead. How does he do it?
“He never switches off. He is on 24/7. I don’t think he sleeps,” said David Howe, president of the Sci Fi Channel. “He lives for reading books and figuring out what his next project is, and he’s got the rights to books and comic books that I’ve never heard of.

“He really is a guru on some of this stuff, and he’s very passionate about the genre and very committed to telling great stories through this genre,” Mr. Howe said.

Mr. Halmi has several high-profile projects in the works. They include “The Last Templar,” a four-hour miniseries for NBC starring Mira Sorvino, about the pursuit of a medieval decoder; Sci Fi’s “Mirabilis,” about a former paradise where the supernatural substance bloodsteel once was plentiful; and “Rise of the Gargoyle,” also for Sci Fi, which tells the story of an ancient monster unleashed in modern-day Paris.