Patrick Stewart: Cowboy Singer


Something to bring a smile for Friday. This was sent to me by Robin Bangerter, who is from my Fort Lewis days, and it’s hilarious!

Caving for Star Trek


When I returned home to California in 1997, my father said, “Do you want to see the Batcave?”

Batcave?  He was referring to the cave used in the opening credits of the Batman TV series.

Dog in hand (she wanted the ride), we drove up to the cave, which is called Bronson Cave.  It’s located in Griffith Park.  When we arrived, some construction was going on.  A big wooden frame was being built around the cave, and there was a man inside, pumping some water out.

So we walked over and asked.  They told us it was for the coming Star Trek film.  Pretty cool just walking around and finding a Star Trek set.

I had to look it up again–couldn’t remember the name–for my book Golden Lies.  This is an article on it (he says in the video it’s the 4th film; it’s actually the 6th film).

Patrick Stewart Casting News


Patrick Stewart is going to play Bosley in the next Charlie’s Angels reboot.

I have to really think about that.  A long time.  I like Patrick Stewart…but Charlie’s Angels…

I saw the show in the original run.  I think everybody did because it was pretty popular.  Aaron Spelling produced, so David Hedison showed up twice on the show (first season and one of the later seasons).  It was new and different–remember this was the era when women were just getting into West Point.

The original angels were Farrah Fawcett-Majors (who passed away a few years back), Jaclyn Smith (doing a K-Mart brand of clothes), and Kate Jackson (seen her show up on TV in a few places).  David Doyle played Bosley, who gave them their cases and did other legwork (he passed away relatively young).  John Forsythe rounded up the group by being the mysterious Charlie that no one had ever seen (he was doing double duty on Dynasty).   While the costuming is tame by today’s standards, Spelling put the ladies in skimpy clothing that led to the media using the term “jiggle shows.”

And Charlie’s Angels does its own nod to the Airport movies.  Given Aaron Spelling produced, they also crossed shows with The Love Boat.  That was a weird combination, and much later in the series when they were going through Angels.

Charlie’s Angels showed up on MeTV, so I tuned in.  The original show has not aged well.  The stories are surprisingly not well-written, and the thing that drew audiences too it then are standard for films and  TV now.

I’m not sure if Patrick Stewart’s presence can improve the show.  Without the era and changes going on at the time, it’s a very standard private eye movie.  Doesn’t have anything special to it.

Crusing Nostalgia Con


Last Thursday, I drove to Maryland and went to Nostalgia Con.  That’s a convention for movie and TV buffs.  Major guest stars were Robert Wagner and Stephanie Powers.  Ricou Browning was also there.

It’s been quite a few years since I went to a media con, and things have changed and stayed the same.  I would have liked to do a drive by and get photos of Robert Wagner and Stephanie Powers (who looks awesome at her age.  Very trim and fit).  But the layout of the tables only allowed people to stand in line to get an autograph.   Photos from those two stars were $40, and if you wanted a shot with them, $60.  I might have stood in line for $20-$25, but $40 was out of my price range.

So a few of the celebrities I did get:

First up is me and the Green Guy.

Me with a mannequin of Frankenstein in the background

Ed Begley Jr…

Ed Begley Jr. signing autographs

This is Ricou Browning.  He’s the guy seated at the table.  If you don’t recognize the face, that’s probably not surprising.  He’s the man who was in the creature suit for the underwater sequences in The Creature from the Black Lagoon.  He did those shots holding his breath for four minutes!

He also was on Sea Hunt, Flipper, and did an episode of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.0

Ricou Browing seated at autograph table as fans line up.

And the creature himself.  The post-it is the price.  It was $$$$.

The Creature from the Black Lagoon stand up display

The closest I got to Barbara Eden.  She was supposed to make an appearance, but cancelled (along with Loni Anderson) due to the hurricane.  We just got clouds and some rain.

Dealer's table with I Dream of Jean doll

I stayed only for the day.  In that past, I would have cruised the dealer’s room and gotten autographs and photos from as many stars as I could.  This time I went to the seminars on films.  One that was really good was on The Andy Griffith Show.  The presenter  was very knowledgeable–they were down to trying to identify two people who were in the background.  None of the stars remembered who they were, and they apparently didn’t do anything more than be background players.

Trivia: The Mayberry set was used twice for Star Trek, once in Miri and once in City on the Edge of Forever.  Floyd’s Barbershop can be clearly seen in one of the scenes.

Because of what I saw here, I’m starting to watch the Andy Griffith Show again.

And one final picture.  This was out in front of the hotel.

Three horses made from plants and metal frames. Two are grazing and the third is looking up.

Contest Giveaway: Guess the Actress


Since no one guessed this, I’m going to call time on it.

This actress is Barbara Luna, who starred as the captain’s woman in the Star Trek fan favorite (and mine!), “Mirror, Mirror!”  I had to crop the photo to not give it away–there’s a picture of her and the mirror Spock sitting on the table.

Photo of actress at her table at a con

I’m doing a contest!  First person to guess who this actress is gets a coupon code for the 2018 Military SF Bundle!

Hint: She was on Star Trek.

 

Check out the Bundle:

12 book covers in the military SF bundle

 

Photo: Michael Ansara of Star Trek


Michael Ansara on stage with his wife

 

One of my favorite characters of all time on Star Trek was Kang, played by Michael Ansara.  He brought nobility and pride to the Klingons, which clearly influenced later development of the aliens.  So when he was on the guest list for Farpoint in 1997, I jumped at the chance.

The photo is of him and his wife.  This was the first appearance he ever made at a con, and I believe he only did two.  (Sorry the photo is blurry.  The lighting was really bad, and these were the best I was able to get).

He was astounded at the crowds, at the number of people who came to see him.  If we hadn’t run out of time, we would have kept him on stage with questions!

But there was one that I still remember….

George Takei and James Doohan were both blasting William Shatner at the time.  So, naturally, “What was it like to work with William Shatner?” came up.  I imagine some expected him to dish up dirt.

And Michael Ansara stayed professional.  He said William Shatner was great to work with.

Contrast that to another guest at the same con, Mark Goddard.  He worked on Lost in Space for producer Irwin Allen.  Because he was in a TV series, he was horribly typecast and landed in soaps so he could work.  But then, soaps were the thing you took because you couldn’t get work and looked down on.  So he was very bitter and ranted on stage about Irwin Allen, though it wasn’t the producer’s fault.  Mark Goddard had accepted the role, and the culture that comes with popular series is that it can be hard to get roles afterwards.

I was shocked when I heard Mark Goddard, because that is going to turn some fans off.  Some come from a long ways to see actors.  That’s what they’re getting?

Anyway, after Michael Ansara got off stage, he went out to the lobby to sign autographs.  I got in line, which was quite long.  I was looking forward to actually meeting him.  But the crowds had worn him out, and the con shut down the line before I got there.

Sometimes the stories are best about photos!

 

Photo: John Crawford and Cat


John Crawford sits on sofa and plays with his cat.

Another blast from the past.  This was taken in the 1980s.  This is John Crawford, who was in both Star Trek and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

This photo was taken at his house in Studio City, California.  Some fans of “The Big Four” (all four of Irwin Allen’s TV shows) came to L.A. and were visiting the actors.  They were getting interviews for fan magazines about their rules.

We all sat down to chat in his living room.  This was the first time I had been in an actor’s house (and actually the only time), so I was terrified I was going to screw up and say something stupid.  The cat jumped up on the sofa and climbed all over him.  Clearly a case of “Pay attention to me!  These other humans aren’t important!”).

No veteran experience that I could find online, but he was at the right age to be a World War II vet.  He passed away in 2010.

Harlan Ellison RIP


Science Fiction writer Harlan Ellison passed away earlier this week.

I’ve never met him personally.  I know him more through the stories I read growing up.  One of his books, a fat one of short stories was in my library.  When I first got hooked on Star Trek as the fandom snowballed, I started picking up books from the science fiction section.  Harlan’s, Robert Silverberg, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clark, Robert Heinlein (it was the children’s section, so I got his juveniles).

And there were stories about Harlan Ellison:

  1. The most famous is the disagreement with Gene Roddenberry over the Star Trek episode The City on the Edge of Forever.  He didn’t agree with the changes Gene made to the script…but it’s still one of the most memorable episodes of all time.
  2. And one of those disagreements showed up on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.  He did do a script for the show; it was under the pen name of Cordwainer Bird.  As it goes, an executive suggested a change to the script, and Harlan pushed him.  Executive fell back and was injured.
  3. The final one was a con that I was attending.  Harlan Ellison was scheduled to attend the con.  But he demanded 1st class seating on the flight–for both him and his wife.  The con said they would do it for him, but they couldn’t afford to pay for his wife.  He refused, so they cancelled his appearance.

You know people are going to die off, but it’s still hard seeing it.  Writers, at least, can live on through their works.

Photo: Grace Lee Whitney from Star Trek


Medium Shot of Grace Lee Whitney

My novel Crying Planet is coming out in Story Bundle tomorrow. The story is everything I liked about Star Trek–space, adventures, aliens, and maybe a little bit to think about.  Plus military thrown in well, because.  So I thought it would be fun to put up photos I took of actors from shows like Star Trek.

This one is of Grace Lee Whitney.  It’s not dated, but I probably would have taken it in the 1990s at one of those cons.  I was going to quite a few then and getting a lot of photos.

She was on the original Star Trek, of course.  Not in that many episodes,  but she was pretty memorable to all the fans.  She passed away in 2015.

Pintrest has some nice shots of her. Mostly from Star Trek, but there’s a few bathing suit shots and some photos from her other roles.  Someone even Photoshopped one of her in a mirror universe uniform!

Science Fiction Becomes Military Fact


Side view of the shuttle Endeavor
I took this in 2014 when I went to California.

There’s been rumors for a while that the White House was talking about creating a sixth military branch, called “Space Force.”  Now there’s an official announcement.

It’s happening!

I remember when the first shuttle was announced.  The Star Trek fans got together and wrote NASA to name it after the starship Enterprise.  And NASA did!

The Enterprise shuttle was a test shuttle and never went into space.  It probably got more play on all the Star Trek series that followed, and actually was in the opening credits of Enterprise.

But the invention of the shuttle was a major milestone.  They were intended to be reused.  The earlier rocket ships of the 1960s could only be used once.

But I was disappointed when the shuttle program was abandoned.  It just felt like everyone gave up and decided it wasn’t possible to do more than go out to a space station.  Some of the things we use on a daily basis are because we had to be inventive for zero G.

In the hands of the military, this is going to be very interesting  It looks like Air Force is going to have the command. I’m just hoping Army gets some space travel.  When I was writing Crying Planet, I put an Army colonel in charge of the space cruiser because all I’d ever seen was Navy on spaceships.  I wanted Army to have some adventures!   But when I was telling someone about the book, she told me, “Oh, no!  You can’t have Army in command.  They don’t have the skills.”  Immediate panic set in.  It was my book!  I wasn’t going to change something that I’d intended.  So I came up with a reason for this person to get command, and it reshaped the story in some interesting ways.

This is all very exciting though.  Where do you think they will travel to?  Hoo-ah!