About The Show
Adventures in Con-Going: The Sequel
Saturday Morning: I Want My Mumy... I Got My Mumy
In the morning, we got breakfast in the hotel. We saw Peter and his sisters, all wearing Space Cases jackets. You can see Harlan Ellison wearing the jacket at /scnews_9.html. On the back, it has the full Space Cases logo embroidered. You can see the back at http://www.nikki.demon.co.uk/sf/babylon5/wolf96.html. Very cool.
We went to the first lecture of the morning, "I Want My Mumy," all about Bill Mumy's career. It's amazing, some of the things that guy has done. Twilight Zone. Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Lost in Space. Movies with Jimmy Stewart and Bridget Bardot. Babylon 5. And of course, Space Cases. (grin) Side note on this: Apparently Bill Mumy has a thing about how his last name is pronounced, it's pronounced "moo-my", instead of "mummy" and one of the panelists said something like, "If you say his name wrong he'll have to slap you." And Tracey, of course, piped up, "But what if I *want* to be slapped by Bill Mumy?"
Later that morning, we ran into Bill in the lobby, and Liz, Harrison and Lynn got to meet him. As we were talking, a woman came up and showed Bill a picture of herself with a baby. "It's not mine, is it?" Bill joked. The woman laughed. "As a matter of fact, it is." she replied. Bill feigned being terrified as he looked at the picture. For a just moment, he got a genuinely worried look on his face as he realized that the child looked like him. Then he suddenly cried out, "That's Seth!" Yes, it was indeed a picture of Bill's son, Seth Mumy. Apparently, the woman was a friend of a friend. Bill sighed with relief. "I saw my house: gone. My car: gone."
Saturday Afternoon: The Main Speakers
Later that day, we heard Bill speak. If you ever get a chance to see him at a convention, don't miss it! He's led an amazing life, and he has a lot of wonderful stories to tell. He's also a delightful person to talk to, a self-described "wacky cat" and a "villain," unlike his character Lennier on B5.
The convention was completely sold out, and there were not enough seats in the room where Bill was speaking. People were lined up in the halls to get into the major lectures.
About Lost in Space: Bill told us of his love for superheroes as a child, how he used to play Superman with a cape. Being on LIS was a dream come true for him: he got to be a little superhero, and he worked with his hero, Guy Williams, TV's Zorro. He talked about how upsetting it was, the way the show was canceled when he was 14, and how it was canceled after the season had wrapped, without any warning, so they never got any closure. Something about the way he described it made me think of Space Cases, and how painful it must have been to see that happen again, to other teenagers. He's working on an LIS special with clips. They hope to have some in-character stuff with Bill. Jonathan Harris and the Robot. A fan asked Bill if Angela Cartwright, his Lost in Space co-star, being a child actor, had ever had any serious problems of her own, to which he offered, "No, the only problem Angela ever had was me." Bill was engaged to Angela Cartwright in the 70s, but never married her. His favorite LIS episode was the one where Will goes back to Earth. He prefers the more serious, B&W episodes to the campier color ones, but he's developing an appreciation for the color ones because his son Seth likes them. He said that the chance of a new LIS series is about the same as the chance of him sprouting a bone from his head (like is B5 character).
About Babylon 5: A lady asked Bill about how much of himself he thought was in his Babylon 5 character Lennier. He responded that he actually wished that more of Lennier was in *him*. Then she gave a longish speech about how in order to portray Lennier so well, he must have some of that goodness inside him, and so on, and so forth, to which Bill replied, "You're wrong, but thank you anyway."
In other theatrical work: He talked about an upcoming project with fellow Ferna Hernan Mark Hammill. He explained his role on Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, how they filmed a perfectly normal interview, then cut it up and took everything out of context to make it look ridiculous. He thought that was hilarious. He was the first American actor to be kissed on screen by Bridget Bardot, when he was 10 years old. Somebody in the audience asked about his Twilight Zone role, when he played a kid with the power to make people disappear. The questioner referred to the character as a "brat." Bill, in character as the bratty kid, said, "Are you calling me a brat? You're a bad man!" The questioner dove off stage and ran away (jokingly). Bill was in 3 Twilight Zone episodes in his youth. One of them was entitled "Long Distance Call," and Lynn was the first to recognize that this was probably the source of the title for the second season Space Cases episode Long Distance Calls.
Bills son Seth has been in three movies. Seth likes acting, but isn't passionate about it. In fact, Seth's first role came about when a family friend was having trouble finding just the right kid for a role in 3 Wishes. Seth innocently said, "I'll audition for you, Martha." He auditioned and got the role.
Musically: He recently made a solo record album, including a song the Ballad of Will Robinson. He has worked musically with Barnes & Barnes, America and the Jenerators. . Barnes and Barnes is coming out with a new album, entitled "Yeah! The Essential Barnes & Barnes." It has three new songs, but they're a bit raw, so he couldn't perform them.
He talked a bit about the nature of show business. He noted that a part of the business is accepting rejection. In a comment hauntingly familiar to SC fans, he remarked that you have to accept the fact that "creatively and artistically, people are going to screw up your vision." He talked about his transition from child actor to adult actor, noting that many child actors can't make it as adults because, frankly, they can't act and they were just lucky. Bill was in a movie called "Hard to Hold," which he described as "Hard to watch" -- dreadful, but it paid for his pool. He said that Peter is the only guy he ever wrote a fan letter to, "And now I get to work with him!"
Robert Duncan McNeill
The other main guest, Robert Duncan McNeill (Tom Paris from Voyager), was a major disappointment. He was exhausted from his red-eye flight into town, didn't have much to say, and wasted about 20 minutes of his hour auctioning off a picture for charity (and he's not a very good auctioneer).
After McNeill, Peter spoke. He read from his forthcoming book, Triangle: Imzadi 2. A ST:TNG book, it fills in the gap between the end of Generations (where Worf and Troi seem to be a couple, and Alexander is with them) and Deep Space 9 (where Worf is pissed, alone, and just back from a Klingon monastery). The scene Peter read involves Worf proposing to Troi, and I couldn't help thinking, "The only guy in the universe who wants a commitment, and he can't find a woman who wants to commit to him..." The sudden death of Jadzia in DS9 had to be worked into the story. Originally, Worf's reflections on his relationship with Troi were triggered by the episode where Worf risked his career to save Jadzia. Now, the reflections are triggered by Jadzia's death, and Peter is convinced that the novel is better for it.
Liz raised her hand to ask a question, and when Peter called on her, she almost didn't believe it. In fact, he had to call her a couple of times, and when she finally caught on, she said, "You're calling on me?" Mostly, I think she was confused by the fact that there was also a guy next to her who had his hand raised, but Peter milked the amusement value out of it. Liz asked how Peter came up with the idea for SC, and where he intended to go with it. It seemed that more people knew about it than last year, but still, less than a quarter of the people in the room had even heard of SC. Shocking, considering that they are all fans of Peter's work, and would be the ones most likely to enjoy it. Peter said that he had heard that Nick was in the market for a kid's version of Star Trek, so he retoooled characters from an idea he already had. He got together with Bill to work on it. They made an effort to avoid what had already been done on Star Trek. They decided to put kids on a space ship in outer space, and make it an accident that would throw them across the galaxy. They would have to get back, learning to work together. As Peter said this, we heard people murmuring in the background that this was stolen from Voyager, but Peter explained that Voyager was announced a month after they developed the idea, and Voyager was just a name, no premise. After the script for SC was done, during development, they found out about Voyager. Oops. Peter didnt say much about the future he intended for SC, because "that would give away the ending!" Duh, that's the idea, Peter! He said he intends to write up the rest, and publish it as an online book. He did tell us that the characters have a destiny, that they do not realize that they are fulfilling it, and that the Spung are a part of it. The first season was 90% what they wanted, but then Nick took a firmer hand, screwed it up, and the ratings sank, so they canceled it. Peter talked about George "Warlord Shank" Takei, noting that he has a very slow voice, which is great for an actor, because it gives him more screen time, but lousy for everybody else, because they have to rush to get in their lines!
Peter is planning to write a New Frontier edition of the "Captain's Table" series of Star Trek novels. He plans to have a certain Captain Smith sitting over in the corner somewhere muttering something along the lines of "Friggin' iceburg! Why didn't the look-out crew have their binoculars?"
Peter is also tentatively committed to a three-book series in the Babylon 5 universe, dealing with the rise and fall of the Centauri Republic. This will be done with JMS's help, so it will be "official" B5 history. He's working on three Dinotopia books.
Saturday Evening: Party On, Dudes!
Our evening consisted of dinner, the masquerade, and a party. Nothing terribly memorable in the masquerade, other than a South Park thing. They had life-sized cutouts of the South Park characters, in convention gear: Spock ears on Stan and insignia pins on all. Kenny's head got knocked off by the Aliens thing, and red streamers flew out. Rats came on stage and carried him off. It was hilarious. Not much else really struck me. We did, however, catch Alan Chaffin, who showed up in Shark's Chat a few months ago under the nickname "Peter's Friend." I chased him down and introduced myself. There also was an interesting Klingon chorus thing. One of them came out on stage, and said something along the lines of "You have been found guilty of numerous crimes against the Empire. Your punishment is to have us sing for you!" and then they went into some kind of Klingon opera. Lynn noted, however, that it would have been twice as good if it had be>
Killing time before the party, we went to see ST: Generations, because we wanted to make fun of it MST3K style. We actually got away with it for about 20 or so minutes before someone turned around and said, "Could you keep the comments to a minimum? People are actually trying to watch this". I found that thought rather dubious, but, what can you do? We did manage to comes pawith a few gems, though. In the beginning of the movie there's a shot of the trashed Enterprise-E, and Harrison commented, "And the plot has holes in it too!" Then there was a scene where we see Picard in profile with a old-fashioned sailor's hat with a big pointed front, and one of us commented, "My nose is as long as my hat!". In another scene where Picard is upset because he's just received some bad news, and Riker says, "Sir, are you all right?" and Liz commented, "No, my Rogaine isn't working!". Then, Picard has just been informed that there's a message for him, and he's reading it. His expression turns grim. Liz said, "They changed the lunch menu *again*!" And finally, the gem of the evening, some of the bridge crew are talking with Data, and Crusher says, "Get it?", and Data says "Got it.", and all of us said, in unison, out of the blue, "Good." Ah, I love comedy.
Once again, Peter was the belle of the ball, dancing at the party until late at night. You'll notice, however, that I have not mentioned Peter's dance partner from last year, Carla. That's because Carla spent most of the con alone with Alan! We hardly saw her the whole weekend. They were in the room for the major lectures, and joined us for dinner, but passed on the parties.
This report continues to Sunday...