catalenamara (catalenamara) wrote,
catalenamara
catalenamara

The James Doohan Tribute Event - 8-29-04

I attended the “Farewell to Scotty” / tribute to James Doohan event on Sunday, August 29, 2004, with “T’Marii”. This was put on by a group named Planet Xpo – I wasn’t familiar with them, but they’ve certainly taken the Creation Convention model to heart, as it was the same sort of experience.

We got great seats. We hadn’t paid for the expensive assigned seats, but we went into the auditorium first thing, scoped out where the unassigned seats were, chose the best ones and stayed there the rest of the day. We were on the side, but had a completely unobstructed view of the stage.

This event had originally been scheduled for June, 2004, and then was moved to the end of August – I’m not sure of the reason. The idea behind it has always been that all of the surviving members of the TOS cast would be there to pay tribute to James Doohan.

Here’s the url:

http://www.planetxpo.com/doohan/

William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Majel Barrett, Walter Koenig and Grace Lee Whitney were all present.

I’d never had the opportunity to see Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner on the stage together at the same time, and it was so much fun. They obviously have gotten into their “Priceline” personas and are making a big joke out of all the talk over the years of the rivalry between the two of them. They traded some sarcastic comments, did exaggerated expressions and body language, etc. For example, Bill would say something sarky to Leonard, who would droop his head and shoulders, and hold and prolong the pose. And then he’d say something to Bill, who would get this exaggeratedly hurt expression on his face, and then he’d make a joke. Etc.

I have a *terrible* memory for the spoken word, so I can’t remember much of what was actually said. I’m hoping I can find a transcription posted to the net somewhere soon.

I do, however, remember when Bill made a remark on what was to be found beneath Leonard’s pants, calling it “sad and pathetic”. Leonard did the “hurt” pose, then stripped off his jacket, revealing a t-shirt saying “# 1 Vulcan”. Then Bill began to bounce around on the stage, and Leonard warned him to be careful, if he kept that up he might actually lose some weight.

Of the serious talk, Bill talked about his horses, and Leonard talked about “Shekhina”.

Other Sunday events: George Takei did an hour talk. I love that man; it’s always cool to see him. I loved his story about introducing James Doohan to sushi. Plus he had an absolutely hysterical tale of how he managed to get taken in by Howard Stern. Apparently one of the first on-air things Howard said to him was, “Deep voice – big dong?” George then mimed a slack-jawed expression of utter astonishment.

George *did* spend some time talking about his involvement with Los Angeles public transit system issues; I may well have been the only person in the audience who had any interest in that at all.

Gene Roddenberry Jr. showed a home movie taken on his father’s boat with him, a couple of unidentified women, and James Doohan. It was as interesting as most home movies are – which is to say, dead boring. Aside from shots of Gene and Doohan at the "wheel", and scenic shots of the California coastline, the vid itself was mainly memorable for a closeup of Gene (or James?) zipping up his fly. Apparently, what made this particular boating trip memorable was Gene had forgotten to fill up the gas tank, the boat ran out of gas and the Coast Guard had to rescue them.

If it hadn’t been for Gene Jr.’s commentary, this part of the day would really have dragged, but Gene Jr. spoke very movingly about the oddness of seeing his father’s home movies, which were shot years before he was born. (His father died in 1991, and he was 16 at the time). He had some interesting commentary on what it’s like to learn about his father from so many public and private people.

They are working on a documentary, called “Trek Nation”, about the impact Trek has had on people, from “public” figures (Bill Gates, various scientists, etc.), to “regular” fans. More info on this can be found at Roddenberry.com.

There was also a short film by Tim Russ, called “Roddenberry On Patrol”, which shows Gene Roddenberry going about his day as a traffic cop in the mid 1960s, getting inspiration for Trek from all sorts of weird sources. I’m not sure who played Roddenberry. They had a lot of the Trek actors in that – Walter Koenig played his landlord and Nichelle Nichols played a secretary to a studio head named Mr. Gorn. There are additionally several actors from Voyager in it (Robert Beltran, Robert Picardo and Ethan Phillips).

Here’s a description from the website: “In this hilarious, star-studded spoof of the "Star Trek" series, motorcycle cop/television writer Gene Roddenberry fights crime on the streets of L.A. while fighting a bad case of writer's block that is keeping him from writing his brilliant idea for a series set in space. The first parody of the much revered creator of Star Trek adds a whole new dimension of folklore to the Trek phenomenon.”

They had all sorts of “guest star” actors selling autographs and pictures: Joanne Linville (Romulan Commander), Arlene Martel (T’Pring), the actor who played Boma (“Galileo 7”), Michael Forest (Apollo), Gary Mitchell (Gary Mitchell), Barbara Luna (Marlena Moreau), Jack Donner (Sub-Commander Tal), Julie Newmar (Eleen), plus every single one of the people who played the hippies on “Way to Eden”, who treated (?!?) us with an onstage rendition of the songs from that episode.

Digression from my report: I have been busy rewatching all the TOS episodes, but I have yet to force myself to rewatch “The Way To Eden”. Or “Spock’s Brain”. I did manage to force myself to rewatch “The Omega Glory”, but then that has that cool scene where Kirk and McCoy are performing some sort of CPR on Spock. And (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, anyone), but I believe “The Omega Glory” is the only episode where Spock actually *admits* he needs medical help.

Also, anyone, is there any reason for me to actually force myself to rewatch either “The Way To Eden” or “Spock’s Brain”?

Back to my report.

The finale was bittersweet. Bill and Leonard left before the finale, but Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Majel Barrett and Grace Lee Whitney were on hand, as was astronaut Neil Armstrong.

It was a very sad moment when they actually brought James Doohan up on stage – he had a “deer in the headlights” look in his eyes, and I don’t know if he even had any idea what was going on. The Alzheimer’s has obviously progressed quite quickly.

I understand that Mr. Doohan did not participate much that weekend. I wasn’t there on Saturday, but T’Marii went there briefly to buy our tickets for Sunday, and she found out he had been scheduled to do personal autographs, but he hadn’t been able to sign after all.

I’m not sure what other events were held on Saturday, or if the entire cast was there then. My main focus was to see Bill and Leonard on stage together, and they were fantastic.
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