Giddy from lack of oxygen, induced by hyperventilating in the presence of Nichelle Nichols [post below], I decided to plunge on into the deep waters of fangirldom and cough up the $20 for the Gorn captain's autograph yesterday afternoon.
That is to say, Bobby Clark's autograph.
He and several others who made guest appearances on Star Trek or who are--what would you call them?--specialty actors, such as stunt people like Bobby, have tables in the vendors' room, which is enormous.
They charge about half what the big stars charge for autographs. I don't know if they charge for photos too, but Clark, anyway, let me take his photo free, after I paid for his signature (on a Gorn item, to be disclosed later).
He was a really nice guy, if not super verbal. I asked him if that suit was hot, and he said yes it was. They shot the episode ("Arena") outside near Los Angeles, and it was very hot.
There you have it. It was hot.
I started to tell him how I'd read that the stunt man who played the Creature from the Black Lagoon used to stay cool in his costume by hanging out in the swimming pool between takes.
But when I mentioned the Creature, Clark jumped in and said,
"That was Ben Chapman! He was a good friend of mine."
I said I had read about him when he died recently, and I was very sorry for the loss of his friend. Mr. Clark looked genuinely sad.
Then he said Ben Chapman used to have these fake 100-dollar bills with the Creature's picture on it, so he made some with the Gorn, and he pulled them out and gave me one.
We didn't talk anymore about how hot it was.
So, I don't know. This kind of generous kindness seems to be the norm here. My experience has been that the people at this con --from the vendors to the fans to the actors--are fantastic, in all senses of the word.
People sometimes mock Star Trek fans--a man sneered to the woman he was with, when the beautiful blue Andorian couple (m/f) walked past,
"Star Trek has all sorts of freaks, of all genders."
Though he meant that as an insult, it's actually a cool compliment.
We have all genders! 33 Flavors!
I'm finding people here to be more articulate and thoughtful than the norm. I've been asking people, What draws you to Star Trek?, and without missing a beat, people come up with in-depth, philosophical responses.
It is true, though, that some fans have drifted pretty far from the mother ship...
...like the guy who asked John de Lancie (Q), "How did they film that man who was stuck half in and half out of the shuttlecraft when you were in it?"
(De Lancie said, "They built it around him, and it's now his mausoleum. No, I have no idea.")
Or the woman who told Marina Sirtis (Troi) that she named her son Patrick James Tiberius Kirk, after the first two ST captains.
(Sirtis said, "Oh my God! What have you done to your child?!? I hope you're paying for his therapy.")
The actors obviouslly dislike dealing with true crazies (though they are always totally gracious about accepting praise, over and over and over again).
When someone who was being kinda weird (I can't remember what they were saying), Brent Spiner (Data) laughed and walked away, gesturing back toward the person and calling "Security!" The audience laughed.
Fans talk with resentment about how these people waste Q&A time with their stupid comments, but generally acknowledge that they are harmless.
But fans condemn the guy who heckled George Takei a few years ago, when George was talking about gay rights. I've heard a couple different people talking about this.
Yesterday when George announced his upcoming marriage to Brad, who is at his side through this con, the entire auditorium applauded.
[Photo here of George and Nichelle joking around on stage yesterday. Nichelle is going to be Best Lady at George and Brad's wedding, and Walter Koenig, Chekov, is Best Man.]
The ethos of the Star Trek fan universe truly reflects the Vulcan IDIC: "infinite diversity in infinite combination," so I was right to ask artist friends to make me pins of the IDIC symbol (a wedge piercing a circle).
They're on the backpack I'm carrying. Hannah made the white felt one, and Laura made the polymer clay (Fimo) one. They are much more beautiful than they appear here.
Thanks, you two!