Chicago Star Trek Convention Day 3 Recap

Chicago Star Trek Convention Day 3 Recap

Day three at Creation Entertainment's Official Star Trek Convention blasted off to an intergalactic start with a rare audience with two stars of the Klingon Empire, Martok and Gowron, a.k.a. J.G. Hertzler and Robert O’Reilly. Dressed in full regalia and intimidating the attendees with threats, barbs and insults, the two Klingon warriors had the audience in stitches relating stories of early makeup calls, the heritage of their human counterparts (J.G. Hertzler from the Swiss town where Heidi was written, Robert O'Reilly not surprisingly from Ireland), and responding to female audience comments that they look really cute. Martok remarked how he wished he had had a metal eye patch clamped to his head in the manner of Star Trek VI's General Chang (Christopher Plummer). Gowron remarked that back on Kronos they are known as rap artists. Both Klingons commented on how much they admired Kruge, the notorious Klingon played by Christopher Lloyd, who would be appearing later that day.

Suddenly a thick rap groove was heard over the PA system and the two launched into "We're The Klingons," displaying wordplay and vocal calisthenics not usually associated with hardened warriors. With elastic dance moves and urban street cred authenticity, they hammered the audience with several song cycles, incorporating Shakespeare and every other verbal weapon at their disposal. A poor member of the audience was summoned on stage and subjected to threats of humiliation and murder (all in good fun, of course). O'Reilly recalled a 28 hour shooting/makeup day, during which he essentially went bonkers. They then launched into their famous "chicken story" With Gowron clucking like a rooster, Martok spun a hysterical tale of an amorous pair of roosters competing for the attentions of a barnyard full of hens ("thank you, Lady, thank you Lady...") When one of them slows down, hilarity results. The two exited with a hearty "Ka'plaa" to the audience.

Creation's famous Stump The Experts Trivia Competition followed, with questions that spanned the entire Star Trek universe. Although the selected experts didn't ultimately win the contest, they still all walked off with handfuls of Trek goodies from the gift table.

Next up, College of Lake Country Sociology Professor John Tenuto returned for an entertaining and informative slideshow on "44 Years of Star Trek Collectibles". He spanned the evolution of the action figure lines, from Mego to Galoob to Playmates to Art Asylum to Diamond Select Toys. He discussed 20 years of Hallmark Ornaments, and that limited edition variants of such collectibles can retail for hundreds of dollars in the collectors aftermarket. Some other fan favorite items included a Classic Bridge wallpaper to transform your room into the Enterprise; collectors models from companies like AMT; games from Hasbro and Monopoly; "Pon Farr Perfume," a real-size Captain's Chair; tricorders, trading cards, cereal, waffles, Pez and catsup, all Trek themed; plates and drinkware; Tribbles and sneakers etc. Two particularly enjoyable items were the Mr. Spock liquor decanters, which Creation used to sell after acquiring a lot of them over the course of about 10 years, and the outrageous brand-new Enterprise pizza cutter! Also enjoyable was a historic TV commercial for the very first McDonald’s Happy Meal, featuring a Klingon from Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Following that, Creation co-CEO Adam Malin interviewed Jacob Kogan, who played young Spock in the Star Trek (2009). Jacob was comfortable and self-confident as he discussed the filmmaking process. He described losing his eyebrows for the role and the looks he would get from his schoolmates. He recounted the process of training with a stunt/Tae Kwon Do instructor to prepare him for the fight scene (he said he did virtually all the stunt work himself). A New York City native, Jacob plans to continue his high school education and attend college while continuing his acting career. He is currently appearing on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim on the show Delocated. He also related how great it was to work with director J.J. Abrams and shoot on location at a church in southern California in addition to on the Paramount lot. All in all, a very talented and well spoken young man.

Next up was Chase Masterson, who sang several song standards in her beautiful voice and smooth song stylings. A particular favorite was "The Way You Look Tonight." DS9 fans recall sentimentally Vic Fontaine singing that song on the final episode, followed by Dennis McCarthy's orchestral reminiscence of the piece as the camera tracked through the deserted corridors of Deep Space Nine. When Chase finished, Creation launched into its final and most ambitious No Minimum Bid Auction of the weekend, flying through almost 60 items that included a series of Star Trek press kits, more rare Galoob action figures, a commemorative promotional watch from the last film, and a signed 5 Captains montage photo.

With the auction's conclusion, Christopher Lloyd was brought on stage to thunderous applause and a standing ovation. The beloved actor, with a catalog of so many memorable roles, looked lean and focused as he answered a field of audience questions. He complimented Leonard Nimoy on his directorial style and dropped a spoiler that Leonard will be returning to Fringe (Chris will be guest starring, too)! He recounted with satisfaction his stint as Klingon Captain Kruge, although he confessed he wasn't sure why it was he that was cast in the role. He loved the makeup, the costume, and the language, and then proceeded to shout a series of Klingon expletives at the audience! Chris felt he got a few good hits in on Kirk, but that Kirk had a big boot (which he uses to kick Kruge off the cliff in that climactic scene from Star Trek III)! He also reminisced about the late Andy Kaufman (who he appeared with many years ago on the TV series Taxi), describing the comedian as a genius with a definite method. In describing the Taxi series, he said it was the ensemble and the stories that made the show such a success, and that he enjoyed working with the entire cast, which included Rhea Perlman and Danny De Vito.

Chris has many favorites from his career, but his first film, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, is special to him, with Michael Douglas producing and Jack Nicholson in his manic role. He also mentioned Louise Fletcher, who went on to become Kai Winn on DS9. As the discussion went on inevitably to Back to the Future, he confessed to never being able to take the DeLorean out for a "spin" (they evidently had 6-7 of them on set at a time). He said the stunt crew didn't like the car, and that it wasn't well made. He also described the second film as dark, but necessary to advance the story. He enjoyed riding the Back to the Future ride, which he did multiple times, and said he almost threw up on it! On preparing for a role as a Klingon, he researched by watching  others do it, and felt the costumery and makeup helped the transformation. He enjoyed playing a character with no moral conscience. In fact, he wished there was a way to genetically prevent greed. He also indicated he would like Kruge to be resurrected and play the role again, and he complimented Kruge for being the bad guy who destroyed NCC-1701.

A little known fact that Chris revealed was that Eric Stoltz was originally cast as Marty in Back to the Future, and they shot for 6 weeks with Stoltz before the powers that be determined that he wasn't giving them the comedic flair they were looking for. Of course, the rest is history. As Chris describes it, "the chemistry between Michael and myself was immediate." With the enormous affection the audience afforded Chris, it's clear his place in Star Trek history is permanently sealed.

Creation finished out the day with more excellent selections from their Star Trek music video vault, including such notables as Picard Vs. Janeway ("Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better"), The Cardassians ("It's A Sin"), Salute to Data ("Domo Arrigato Mr. Roboto"), and a heartfelt Tribute to Gene Roddenberry ("We Shall Be Free"). The day was rendered even more poignant with the revelation that this was the anniversary of Gene's passing. It really brought into focus how special a weekend like this was, where fans from all over the world (some were in from Brazil, UK and Australia) can get together and share their love of Star Trek and Gene's incredible positive vision for the future of our society.