Las Vegas Con 9/96 w/William Shatner

By David Weinstein,

Las Vegas Star Trek Convention with William Shatner 9/14-15/1996

I grew up on reruns of the original series and I've seen almost every member of TOS and TNG. I've always wanted to see William Shatner and when the opportunity came up not only to see him but to get his autograph I jumped at the chance! Not only that but Vegas is always a fun town! Other guests included George Takei, Denise Crosby, Richard Arnold, Chase Masterson (Lita DS9), Mark Allen Shepherd (Morn), and Beverly Washburn, the woman who died in Kirk's arms in The Deadly Years. This convention was put on by Trek Productions, a relatively new company. It's a couple of guys with their office in Connecticut. They were all friendly, personable, and interested in talking to fans about what they wanted to see in a convention. I'll talk more about them and the con itself after the personality synopsis.

No spoilers ahead.

Chase Masterson (Leta the Dabo girl on DS9)

Chase is a nice, bubbly, enthusastic kind of person. Her attire reminded me of what Marina Sirtis likes to wear at conventions: skimpy, sexy, and revealing! While she does not articulate things to the level of detail that George does, her enunciation is strong, clear and accentless. She said that she was very happy to be there, that she as well as the rest of the cast enjoy doing conventions.

She said they are currently filming an episode of DS9 where they go to Risa which has Vannesa Williams as a guest star.

Chase said the Huntville Con last weekend was very enjoyable. They met some astronauts and there was some ride they all went on. It's the one where you are shot up into the air and then come down like in zero gravity. (Like the Big Shot on the Stratosphere in Vegas.) Apparently Rene went on it 15 or 20 times in a row to get out the stress of directing, she said. Then she was convinced to try it along with Mulgrew and Nichele. Armin refused to try it.

Denise Crosby

I had never seen Denise before but I had read that she was quite entertaining and she was. Both days she wore a gray t-shirt where she appearred to be, how shall I say, "unsupported", and black pants that wrap around the calf area. I started to have deja-vu from that Seinfeld episode where he dates this woman who always has on the same dress and he wonders if she has a closet full of them or what. Whatever.

She handled the inevitable questions about her TNG departure with sincereity and tact. Given that she was charging $10 per autograph and it did not appear to be going to any charity, it seems like she is not doing too well though she says to the contrary. Needless to say, I didn't bother getting her autograph. But I enjoyed her talk and Q&A.

She talked about how Sela was her idea and that the producers altered her original idea to what we see now. She would like to see Sela brought back for DS9 and said that Rick Berman liked the idea and would talk to the writers about it. Denise said she would like to see where Sela comes to terms with her human half and with that can be a bridge to peace between the Romulans and the Federation. Given Spock's inroads there I don't see why not.

The people she is most in contact with from TNG are Brent and Jonathan.

Of course she talked about her documentary and they were doing some filming there at the con. The second day she remarked that the current title is "Trekkies" (because Paramount doesn't own that) and I got ill. Here she was saying that she wants to show Trek fans in a sincere, loving, and respectable light with all types of fans, yet she uses the term for a title that most people don't like and that carries the most disdain from nonfans. ? I don't get it. There's got to be an alternative. How about Trekkers? Or Trekking Through Fandom? or Trekking something..... They expect to have the film out by sometime next summer. Release channels would be home video and cable, and if they are lucky theatrical.

Denise relayed a funny story where one day she is in the makeup trailer with Frakes when an earthquake hit. Frakes had a face full of shaving cream and liked to wear this pink bathrobe over his uniform so it wouldn't get dirty. Anyway they all run out of there during the quake. As this happened Denise ran into an ET film crew and they asked how she was doing with the earthquake and all. She pointed to Frakes and told them to ask him. So there was Frakes with a face full of shaving cream and a pink robe on answering ET's questions with perfect aplomb.

At the same time Patrick was driving to work in his new Honda Prelude. This was when he was new in town and had not experienced an earthquake. When he got to work he began complaining that his new car was not working correctly and he was going to take it back. The damn thing shakes and rattles! Denise then told him he had been in an earthquake and he exclaimed “Oh my god! An earthquake?! Oh my!” or something. At this point Richard Arnold piped in and said the reason he later got rid of the Prelude was that Wil Wheaton got a later model which was better.


Obviously one can have no idea how he really looks. He's tall, light hair, about late 30's? wore tennis shoes with slacks, and a Hawain like shirt. Mark has a very laid back California like demeanor, soft spoken and seems very nice. He brought his artwork with him some of which has appeared in the backround of DS9 in the bar and Jake's quarters. He is also in a band which plays some odd sort of music and he had a table where you could get some art or a tape. His backround was more in art and performance art.

Mark said that as an extra he only gets about a day's notice that they'll need him for a scene. He also had no idea till they filmed that there would be that scene where Morn almost speaks.

Apparently in Germany where they dub tv shows, Morn is given grunts and groans.

George Takei

George was his usual smiling, enthusiastic, deep voiced, well articualted self. I've seen him numerous times and it was still a pleasure. The first day he was wearing some sort of Polo shirt which had a logo and the word "Sulu" printed under it.

He said that the ratings for his appearance on Voyager were the highest ever and that it's possible executives are seeing it as a pilot for a series starring "Capt. Sulu". Everyone liked this idea and George said it would allow cameos from the other TOS people. He suggested Chekov as his first officer.

Someone asked about his appearance on Howard Stern. He responded "Oh My!". He said initially he didn't know who Howard was but that his book publicist or whomever told him to do the show. So he's waiting in the green room and said that he remarked to someone else in there that he didn't know why they had the station in there tuned to such a vulgar radio station. The other person then said that's the show they were going on. He was shocked! (Oh please.) Then he goes in there and was shocked when Howard remarked that anyone who had such as deep voice must have a long dong. Then of course later he finds out about that sampling of his voice saying Oh My! being used all the time on the show. When his publicist wanted him to go on again some time later George did not want to but they told him that going on Howard was like doing 10 other shows and that there was such a huge listership that he would sell more books.

I never thought there would ever be a connection between Howard and Star Trek or that any ST people would go on but lo and behold.... I wonder if Doohan will go on to promote his forthcoming book?! Actually Howard is a big Star Trek fan, including TNG. (He also loves B5!)

George's book came out two years ago but by G-d he's still plugging it! (Time for another Howard visit! :) In fact, he talks about the Japanese WWII interment. One woman commented that she as a teacher uses parts of that for her class. He, of course, mentions the controversial section on Bill so that you'll salivate and just have to buy the book! But he is very tactful about it and says that Bill is a very talented actor that brought to life Gene's vision of Capt Kirk and that without him and his personality in all that is part of Gene's vision of IDIC, there would not be the Capt. Kirk we know and love yesterday and today!

His Eminence, William T. Shatner

I was surprised. Mr. Shatner was very funny, enthusiastic, and entertaining. When he entered all hell broke loose and people cheered and clapped and gave him a standing O, which, regardless of the controversy he deserves because he is, after all, Captain James T. Kirk, himself. Of course Patrick gets the same fanatic adulation and is extremely entertaining but Kirk is the original.

Anyway, he talked about a number of things which I'll recite from memory as best I can.

His latest practical joke on Leonard Nimoy happened like this. They were flying to the Huntsville Con on a private Paramount jet but stopped off in Tucson for a quick Shatner appearance at a con. In the car with them was a very pretty admin assistant. Bill gets out and tells Nimoy to meet him at that exact spot in an hour. So Nimoy goes off to watch the Sampras match. In the meantime while on stage Shatner gets a crazy idea. He told the audience that Nimoy was going to meet him right outside the door and wouldn't it be funny if they all surprised him?! He explained about the pretty girl. So he divided the audience up into four groups and had each recite a particular line like: "Leonard you are a married man how could you?" and "He's a married man how could you do that?" and something else and "We still love you Leonard!".

Bill gets the whole audience (On Sat it was 1000 people and on Sun it was 2000) to hide around where the car would pull up. So the car pulls up, Shatner gets in, and then motions for people to run out. They do and then he motions for the first group. Nothing. The second group. Nothing. The third and fourth nothing and finally when they approach the car they are all yelling "We love you Leonard!". So Nimoy turns and looks at Shatner in the back seat and says: "Somewhere, somehow when you least expect it, I'll get you!" or something like that.

Shatner talked about being the show President or whatever at Mardi Gras. At one point he was wandering around and felt like he was blending in with the crowd. All these guys were yelling up to women on the balcony to take it off. So he figured he wouldn't be noticed and yelled the same up to the balcony. Right next to him an older lady exclaimed something like: "Mr. Shatner! How dare you!"

At one point he was talking about people who imitate him and there was some guy who was very good at it. So he was talking to this guy and did some lines and asked him who was that. The guy said he didn't know. Shatner says "Thats me!" The guy said: No its not! and back and forth like that they went. It was pretty funny. Then at one point Shatner is talking about Kirk and utters the famous line: "I'm Captain Kirk!". It was funny hearing it come out of his mouth live. (see end for addendum to this.)

One person asked him about the Sat Night Live sketch. He sort of gave a sarcastic smirk and talked about how Sat Night Live was an odd yet difficult show to do. He then said that he loved Star Trek as much as that guy did. Another person asked him what his favorite episode was. He didn't answer directly but talked about how they used to film scenes without always knowing what came before or after and that he liked the ones which were difficult to shoot the best.

Another person asked him about his ET experience. He said with more or less a straight face that yes he did in fact have an ET experience. He said one day he was riding his motorcycle in the dessert with some friends when his bike broke down and he fell off. The others were on up ahead not realizing what had happened. So there he is in 120 weather wearing leathers and can't decide between leaving the leathers on and sweating to death or taking them off and baking to death. So he leaves them on and trudges forward with the bike cause he couldn't leave it there. Then he sees or feels something beckoning him forward so he keeps going forward. He figured that unless he had help he was a goner, and then "Help" arrived. Ala in the ET format but he didn't explain further. I have to commend him for his forthrightness about this incident whether real or not.

He said that as a celebrity he gets death threats from time to time. One incident involved a threatened kidnapping of his kid if he didn't leave a certain amount of money in a bag in the middle of Candlestick Park. The FBI was on the case and he said they all wore black suits with white socks. That if someone walked into his office he knew it was the FBI if he saw white socks with black pants. Anyway on one occasion he was being escorted to an event with bodyguards, people who were ex-CIA, KGB etc. They took him to a secure building on a secure floor with no one else around. He took off his clothes and went in to shower before his appearance. When he came out his clothes were gone! How could that happen in this supposedly secure area? He doesnt know what to do as it was his only set of clothes. Then the phone rings and a woman is one the other end. She says hello. He says who is this? She says she's got his clothes. I won't spoil one of the punch lines here but anyway he demands them back. So there's a knock at the door and he stands behind the door with his hand out. She hands him something and tells him to sign it. So he does and she hands him his jacket and then something else to sign for his pants. Finally she says for him to "sign this" and pokes her naked butt through the door!

At one point he was talking about films and related things and he remarked offhand that he knew he would never get another chance to direct...

Both days someone asked him how it was to be on Howard Stern. He said that doing the show was like walking a tightrope without a net. He had to be very careful and on top of his game cause he knew that if you weren't, Howard or Robin could just nail you. Actually my impression is that Howard likes and respects him so he doesn't have anything to worry about as Howard goes easy on him.

How they got him to sign autographs after all this time where he hasn't I'll never know. (Only people with reserved $50.00 seats got autographs but that's fine with me.) Maybe it was money or maybe it was that he feels it will promote his other projects such as the books and CD Roms. I'd like to think that he has truly come to terms with himself and his role as Kirk and that as he gets older he realizes that there really isn't a whole lot of time left and that if he is to leave his mark, to touch as many people, his fans, as possible before it's too late, that now is the time.

Having gotten numerous autographs from TOS and TNG people and done the whole autograph thing, I have to say, though I'm certainly not complaining, the whole thing was kind of odd. On Saturday the line was very quick. We handed our whatever to someone, they passed it to him, he signed it before we even got up to him, and we just sort of picked it up with the other stuff without really a look or a word to or from him. It was very quick. I guess maybe that's the deal since he doesn't like doing it. I don't know. Maybe while he is comfortable on stage being the center of attention, he is not comfortable one on one with fans. I really wanted to say something to him so I had to kind of go out of my way to get in there and say something. I told him I was glad to meet him and that he came. He then looked up and thanked me. And then I said I really enjoyed his appearances on Howard. He then gave me sort of a look that could kill which was also maybe just an ironic sort of look and thanked me. Very gracious.

Sunday was different. The line was slower and we were able to be there when he signed our whatever and he actually looked at each person as he gave it to them. Unlike after seeing other ST people, I still don't know what to make of him after all that. I can't figure where he's coming from. But hey, now I've got two signed photos of His Eminence!!!! :)

Richard Arnold was there and showed slides and a trailer from the new TNG film. He said several member of voyager such as Torres will be directing eps this season. The new film he said is like a cross between TNG and aliens with its dark mood and the Borg assimilating the Enterprise. From what I saw it looked very cool. He said they expect it to be one of thebest yet with a big box office draw. He also said that you will see the cast wearing these vest things mainly cause they want to sell action fogures wearing them. He said when it came to Paramount and asking why they did or did not do something, it usually could be boiled down to "It cost too much." or "They could make money off it." Also one reason why they don't like to take stories from prior eps like the Thomas Riker thing is cause then they have to go back and pay the original author more money and then if the scripts didn't stand alone they'd always having to be paying more authors. Poor babies. Listen. Can you hear the sound of the world's smallest violin playing? I guess that's why Voyager can be as lame as it has been. Let's sacrifice great storylines to save a few bucks. I don't even know why we bother to film these tv shows anyway except to market dolls.... :)

Richard said that Paramount, despite the knowledge of the huge market and following and ready audience, pretends that each Trek film is the last breaking down all the sets and having no contracts with the stars for any future films.


While the format of the con was similer to a Creation Con, they are not like creation. They made it so that each guest had their own table and would be there throughout the day to sign so that people wouldn't have to wait in crazy lines. Many of them did do the line thing anyway. As they are a fledgling company with little money to advertise or get guests, they did so with some creativity. They got George to come by having his publishers foot the bill by doing it as a book signing. Therefore since George was there courtesy of the publisher, he would only sign books. This may have put some people off but at least he was there and they had an oppotunity to hear him talk or ask questions.

The dealers room was also a real dealers room not what you see at Creation. Or what I've seen anyway. (We'll see how long that lasts.) There was even one dealer who displayed what I'll call exotic "cutlery", the sort of stuff you'd see at a Highlander con. You could also find various forms of the blooper reels with additional SNL footage and Jim Carrey doing Trek (brilliantly) on his old comedy show. I think its time they started including the Howard Stern TOS bit from his old Channel 9 show where Uhura gets captured by lesbians from the Planet Lesbos and Kirk's hair is constantly falling off! At one point it doesn't beam down so he has to have it beamed down special.

If you get a chance to go to one of their cons I would encourage you to go before they get too big. As they are new this one had fewer people and it was easier to get close up seats even the reserved ones (I had third row center). And there wasn't a mob at the front taking photos so you could get good photos in a leisurely fashion without being jostled etc.

You can get on the snail mail list at via email at: .

I have a good memory don't I?!

At the end on Sat night they needed volunteers to hand out flyers so being an out of towner with not a whole lot to do, I did. Around 8pm they went to hang out near The Mirage and Treasure Island since that is the busiest area. However, I had other plans so I handed out flyers as I walked down from there towards the Stratosphere. At one point I stopped in at a casino to try and win a Mustang GT at the slots and got $50 instead. I took that and continued on. After Stratosphere which has fantastic views of the area, around 11:30 I went back to Treasure Island and stood on a corner and handed out flyers. There were tons of people so I gave away a lot.

A few people told me that they had seen William Shatner at the show in TI. Then the next day I found out from one of the con guys that I had handed a flyer to Denise Crosby who was coming out of the show. I didn't realize it at the time although I remember seeing someone who looked sort of like her but it was dark and crowded and I couldn't tell. Funny. Now, to show you what I mean about the Trekkie thing, a few idiots who I handed a flyer to started going on about Trekkies and the Trekkie con and isn't that so funny and stupid. (The majority reaction if any was: Oh Cool, Star Trek! One guy at first was worried I handing out to his 10 year old that filthy trashy stuff that those other people hand out.) Later on my eyes bugged out as I watched some guy pull up to the Treasure Island lobby in a red Lambourghini Diablo!

In other Las Vegas news the Star Trek ride near the Hilton will be finished sometime next year. A woman who works on the staff was there and said that it will be a motion ride. As you wait on line you'll see exhibits on the history of Trek.

They will be finished with the new NYC pavilion and hotel/casino by the end of the year. It's got a statue of liberty and skyline with Chrysler and Empire state buildings! It's really funny. Also a cool roller coaster.

Apparently the Stratosphere is not doing too well and most of their money is coming from people who go there to go up the tower. The roller coaster is not working as it was not fast enough and they may try to get it to go faster. The Big Shot is working though and looks like fun!

Luxor is adding on in the lot between them and the Exaclibur. A big glass covered hotel. It seems they never have enough rooms. I don't care if they build the one next door, the only reason I'd want to stay there is to stay in the Pyramid. If I couldn't stay there I might as well go to Ceasars Palace or something! Luxor is so cool though, I just love it; it's my favorite place there! From the plane on the way back I got an incredible view of the strip after takeoff and the light from Luxor reaches way up where the planes go, possibly as high as a mile.

And much to my great dismay, the Tropicana has removed the Easter Island like Tiki Gods! AAGGHH!!!! I'm going to call and complain. Maybe theyre getting refurbished.

And last but not least, I still can't believe Denise Crosby is planning on calling her documentary "Trekkies". Gag me with a spoon! I could never be in a film with a name like that! And I'm not!

Another fan supplied some info missing or incorrect in my report:

From: Irwin Horowitz
Newsgroups: rec.arts.startrek.fandom
Subject: Re: Las Vegas Con Report 9/14-15 Shatner/Takei
Date: Thu, 26 Sep 1996 16:27:39 -0600
Organization: Idaho State University

The following weekend (21 Sept), Trek Productions had Shatner here in SE
Idaho. He told many of the same stories as reported by Mr. Weinstein,
but I did wish to clarify one anecdote related below:

David Weinstein wrote:
> His Eminence, William T. Shatner
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> At one point he was talking about people who imitate him and there was
> some guy who was very good at it. So he was talking to this guy and did
> some lines and asked him who was that. The guy said he didn't know.
> Shatner says: Thats me! The guy said: No its not! and back and forth like
> that they went. It was pretty funny. Then at one point Shatner is talking
> about Kirk and utters the famous line: "I'm Captain Kirk!". It was funny
> hearing it come out of his mouth live.
The > hearing it come out of his mouth live.

The comic referred to above is, of course, Kevin
reknowned Shatner impersonator. The story surrounding the above is that
Shatner is currently directing a movie for HBO entitled "Perversions of
Science, in which Mr. Pollack plays the lead. Pollack is nervous when
he first meets Shatner, wondering how he'll respond to this guy who has
made a minor career of imitating him. Over lunch, Shatner coyly asks
Pollack how he got his start in the biz...Pollack says that he grew up
listening to Cosby albums and imitated him. Shatner inquires as to
whether Pollack does "Kirk," which he denies. This leads to the above
scripted exchange.

More Shatner news: He is working on the third novel in his Trek
trilogy, entitled "The Avenger." It deals with ecoterrorism as a plot
point. There is also the possibility of an additional two trek novels
as well as work on a SF trilogy aimed at the "young adult" market.

And once again, there was a strong emphasis at the convention to a new
letter writing campaign to encourage the powers at Paramount to green
light a Sulu/Excelsior series of TV movies as the next big Trek concept.
If you are interested, get those letters in to Paramount!

Dr. Irwin Horowitz |
Dept. of Physics |


Return to previous page

Return to Home