The early part of day two of The Walter Koenig Star Celebration resembled a more-intimate-than-usual Star Trek convention, with familiar Trek actors recounting their experiences for devoted fans, a dealers' room of folks selling memorabilia, an auction and, of course, photo and autograph opportunities. Over in a ballroom, fans watched a video featuring Trek luminaries congratulate Koenig on his Star; it was the same video that appeared on StarTrek.com several months ago. They were also treated to a screening of the touching short film Handball, which Koenig starred in with Battlestar Galactica veteran Herb Jefferson. Koenig, who also wrote and produced the short, and Jefferson play two older men battling it out on a handball court, with dark personal secrets revealed as the game progresses.
Also on tap were panels devoted to InAlienable and Of Gods and Men, and an announcement of a new Trek fan film entitled Renegades. Sky Conway, whose company, Planet Xpo, produced The Walter Koenig Star Celebration, announced Renegades and then led an auction. A dozen or so items were up for sale, including a gorgeous photo of Majel Barrett, Grace Lee Whitney and Nichelle Nichols, signed by Barrett and Whitney, with Nichols to add her signature later on in the day. It sold for $100, a major bargain. Musing about the Koenig event between items, Conway noted that it was Rod Roddenberry who came through with the last of the $30,000 needed for Koenig's Star. "He certainly is the son of his father," Conway said. The top sale of the day was a beautiful oversized print of the TOS and TNG Enterprises in space, autographed by all 14 actors from both TOS and TNG. It fetched a whopping $2,000 and probably was worth more.
Following a panel devoted to Babylon 5, fans gathered to hear from a range of Star Trek guests: Celeste Yarnall, Bobby Clark, Jack Donner, Leslie Hoffman, Michael Dante and Tanya Lemani. Dante, who portrayed Maab in the episode "Friday's Child," remembered a most unusual meeting with Gene Roddenberry. "He said, 'You don't have to read for it,'" the actor stated. "If you like it, you've got the job.'" Dante liked it... and got the job. Yarnall guest starred as Martha Landon in "The Apple." She joked, "It's not the red skirts that die... It's the red shirts." Later, Lemani -- who was Kara in "Wolf in the Fold" -- said to Yarnall, "Celeste, I have to say one thing. I wore a red skirt... and I died!' The exchange drew a huge laugh from everyone. Donner, who guest starred as Subcommander Tal in "The Enterprise Incident," joked that he never actually met Gene Roddenberry, but heard, "he was afraid of Romulans."
Cut to a couple of hours later. It's 6:30, time for a cocktail party outdoors at the Beverly Garland Hotel. Fans are gathering, many of the men in suits and ties, many of the ladies in dresses. It's the same with the actors and the special guests who've come to join in the fun. Nichelle Nichols arrives, looking glam and glittery. Harlan Ellison is holding court in the shade. Tracy Scoggins is there, as are Jamie Farr, Courtney Peldon John Carrigan, Chase Masterson, Jerry Doyle, Dorothy Fontana and more. Walter Koenig is there with his wife, Judy. Koenig's daughter Danielle taps her dad on the shoulder. He sees her and there's a twinkle in his eye. "Hi, darling," he says, wrapping her in a hug. He and Nichols embrace. StarTrek.com catches a moment with Koenig. "It's... neat," he says of the proceedings, a broad smile on his face. "I'm really enjoying myself."
An hour later, the group -- which now includes Wil Wheaton, Garrett Wang and Manu Intiraymi -- heads into a ballroom for what emcee Jimmy Pardo promises will be a raucous roast of Koenig. He emphasizes that it is a roast and that the fur may fly. Pardo isn't just the emcee; he's Koenig's son-in-law, married to Danielle Koenig for 14 years and the father of Koenig's grandson, Oliver. "The family was worried it'd never happen," Parado says of the Star. "We were worried his toupee would get a Star before he did." He adds another zinger, saying, "I'm going to keep this moving because it's 9 o'clock and most of you are usually asleep by now."
Pardo then introduced a series of speakers, some of whom shower love on Koenig, while others indeed skewer Koenig. Judy Levitt fell somewhere in the middle. Danielle Koenig dropped some well-timed F-bombs (quoting her father, by the way). Nichelle Nichols offered only praise (and a song). Jerry Doyle absolutely blasted Koenig, hysterically so. "You're seven of seven," Doyle pointed out, noting that Koenig is the final member of the TOS cast to receive a Star. "I understand they save the best for last. That's not true." Tracy Scoggins heaped on praise, as did Chase Masterson, while John Carrigan gently teased his friend. Tim Russ offered words of praise, and Jamie Farr did, too. Harlan Ellison served up a riotous, profanity-laced ramble that had the audience clapping appreciatively. Finally, Pardo introduced the man of honor. Koenig -- who'd hugged each speaker after he or she left the stage -- acknowledged a lengthy standing ovation and spoke briefly, thanking everyone for coming and joking that now he'll needed "another 10 years of therapy."
Visit StarTrek.com again tomorrow for our recap of Walter Koenig's Star Ceremony.
Photos by: Malik Emami
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