This convention had a long guest list. From Star Trek, there wasMichael Dorn (Worf), Terry Farrell (Dax), Robert Picardo (the Doctor), andChase Masterson (DS9's Leeta). From Xena, Hercules and Cleopatra2525, there was Victoria Pratt (Cyane of Xena, Sarge of Cleopatra2525), Paris Jefferson (Athena of Xena), and Robert Trebor (Salmoneusof Hercules and Xena). The X-Files was representedby William B. Davis (Cigarette Smoking Man) and Chris Owens (Agent Spender).A number of other actors from a variety of other series were also present,such as June Lockhart (Lost In Space, Lassie), Celeste Yarnall,Lawrence Montaigne, France Nuyen, Pamelyn Ferdin (all TOS guest stars),and Herb Jefferson (Lt. Boomer from Battlestar Galactica).
When I first started going to cons in the early 80's, you usually hadone or two "big names" and a couple of other guests like a recurringcharacter or a memorable guest star. The con was usually centered aroundone show, be it Doctor Who, Star Trek or some other genreshow. Now, as you can see from the list above, there are a multitude ofguests from different genre shows.
This con was not massively attended - always a good thing for the con-goer,if not for the con presenter. The venue was the Hofstra University's gym,with the Q & A area curtained off from the dealer area. Because it was alarge gym, the acoustics were terrible. The autograph area was to the sideof the Q & A area, which meant that you didn't miss the next guest's talkwhile you were getting an autograph. It also meant a lot of people chattingin line and making it harder to hear the guest on stage.
On Saturday, as Chase Masterson was giving her talk, she spotted me inthe audience and waved hello to me. That was pretty cool, although it wasweird to have everyone turn and look at me. She later auctioned off a bio-hazardcontainer prop from DS9 and raised at least $550 for her charity, Caringfor Babies with AIDS. At the end of her session, she changed from an ankle-lengthblack dress (slit way up the side, of course) to a towel, to drum up attendancefor the Saturday night cabaret. I don't know how she managed to change soquickly.
William B. Davis (Cigarette Smoking Man on The X-Files) did apresentation before his Q&A and pondered the meaning of The X-Files.He has a wonderful voice. I noticed Chris Owens, who played his son, AgentSpender, watch him for a while from a balcony area behind the stage. Oneamusing question was if he and Ann B. Davis, from The Brady Bunch,were related. He wondered why he always gets asked this question, and theanswer is no. As with Star Trek, no one is ever dead on The X-Files,so there might possibly be a return of his character.
Bob Picardo came on while The X-Files guests were doing theirautographs at the side of the Q&A area. This made it very hard to hear whatBob had to say. Also, you had to keep an eye out to see when your row wascalled for autographs. As it turned out, quite a few of us in my sectionmissed our X-Files autographs because we were trying to listen toBob and missed our call. When we went up to the line security to wonderwhen we would be called, we were told that the line was cut off. We protestedthat no one had called our row. As it turned out, they did, but we didn'tnotice. The inside half of the rows were watching Bob and didn't noticewhen the outside half of the row got up to get autographs. Security saidthe line went so fast that they went to those standing in the back to askif they wanted autographs. Telling us this did not make us feel any better.Oh, well, next time. I will always take a talk over an autograph. My feelingabout autographs is that it gets you that five seconds of face time withthe actor. I wasn't upset, but some others were.
Bob told us that at the same time he was filming The Wonder Years,he was also playing the character Dr. Dick Richard in China Beach.He went from a week of filming Dr. Richard having a nervous breakdown onChina Beach to Coach Cutlip being hit on the head by a basketballon the weekend. That week stands out to remind him how wonderful it is tobe an actor.
This was the first time he's been to a con with another actor who playsa character with no name. He was referring to William B. Davis, who playsthe Cigarette Smoking Man on The X-Files. "We should get togetherand compare notes."
What would he like to see happen to his character? In the episode wherehe meets his creator, Dr. Zimmerman, the Doctor finds out that all his counterpartsare cleaning conduits. It would be nice for the Doctor to claim the glorythat Dr. Zimmerman had intended. Will the Doctor be rebooted, phased out,decompiled? Bob hopes there will be some acknowledgement of the Doctor'ssuccess over the years and recognition for his cranky creator, Dr. Zimmerman.
In the episode "Real Life," it was the first time the Doctorcared for someone other than himself. Bob recently re-watched the episodesince he was trying to find one minute that represented his work on Voyagerto put on his resume tape. He picked the scene from "Someone To WatchOver Me" where he professes his love for Seven of Nine in the holodeck,but it's really a holographic Seven. He also chose a twenty-second scenewith Andy Dick (also playing a holographic doctor) where the Doctor is braggingabout his sexual encounters.
How does he like playing Dr. Lewis Zimmerman? "I like it a lot becauseI don't have to have the ridiculous posture that I have as the Doctor. Iget to slouch." He mentioned that the Doctor is two inches taller thanLewis Zimmerman. It's all posture.
In the episode where the Doctor shared Seven's body, did Bob coach JeriRyan? For "Body and Soul," Bob videotaped the scenes where theDoctor is in charge of Seven's body; that way Jeri could see how he wouldplay it. He thought Jeri did a magnificent job. He loved the way she screwedup her face in the Doctor's sour look. He actually called her, the nightthe episode aired, to compliment her.
Bob brought his usual two signed cast photos. One was auctioned off forhis local Habitat for Humanity, and the other for his children's publicschool.
At the end of the Q & A, Bob gave a preview of the evening's concertby singing a verse from his parody song, "I'll be Sold For Christmas."He also brought out a cardboard Seven standup to give us a tease for thatevening performance.
Bob and Chase signed at the end of the day. I gave Bob my usually "Phillycare package" of TastyKakes and he posed with one for a photo.
Now, for the Saturday night cabaret. I got to this a little late andas I came in, Robert Trebor was already on stage. He sang three songs dealingwith money, staying with his Salmoneus character from Hercules andXena. The songs were a Monty Python piece, "The Money Song,""If I Were a Rich Man" (from Fiddler On The Roof), and"Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" Robert would be great in FiddlerOn The Roof or A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.
Chase Masterson then sang a variety of songs in the style of the originalsinger. She started her set with "Latinum is a Girl's Best Friend,"a takeoff of the Marilyn Monroe song. Chase had four Marilyn Monroe songsin her set of ten, but I thought her best was the one she sang in the styleof Judy Garland, "You Made Me Love You." Chase changed costumesfor every song. Most of the time she just added an accessory like a featherboa or a hat, but she actually changed clothes twice.
Bob Picardo came on last and, as he said during his talk, did every songin his repertoire. He started off with "What's My Name?" and continued,in the spirit of the season, with "I'll Be Sold for Christmas."After several more songs, the cardboard cutouts of Janeway, Torres and Sevenmade their appearance. The song Bob sang with these three cutouts was "What'sNew Pussycat?"
Chase and Bob also did two tunes together. One was Bob's parody of Sonnyand Cher's "I've Got You, Babe." I've seen Bob do this song withRoxann Dawson with Roxann singing from a cheat sheet. I've also seen Bobdo this song with himself, which is pretty funny. Chase had the lyrics memorizedand was a great foil for Bob. They also did a song which required Bob tosit in a chair as Chase sang around him, teasing him with her feather boa.Bob had all the right looks!
At the end of the evening, Bob and Chase stopped to sign autographs andpose for photos, which was a nice touch. I got both of them to sign my programand got a photo with Bob. It was a great way to end the day.
Report and photographs © 2000 by Loretta Painter. Report and photographs reproduced on the Official Robert Picardo Home Page with permission of the author/photographer.