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The Trek Nation - Creation's Grand Slam Conventions: Past & Present

Creation's Grand Slam Conventions: Past & Present

By Dr. Joseph DiLella
Posted at March 16, 2003 - 4:29 PM GMT

Joseph Di Lella, author of the popular Writing for Star Trek article series, will be attending Creation's Grand Slam convention this year, and reporting about it for TrekToday. Below you will find his preview of the event:


At the Pasadena Convention Center in Southern California on March 28th -30th, Sci Fi fans will enjoy a jamboree of actors from various Star Trek series, Star Wars movies and the long-standing television hit, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. As a three-time attendee, I can say that this year's list of actors and special events promises to be one of the better conventions presented by Creation Entertainment. With such stars as: William Shatner (James T. Kirk) and Leonard Nimoy (Spock), Michael Dorn (Worf), Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi), and Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher), Robert Picardo (the Holodoc), Ethan Philips (Neelix), and Jennifer Lien (Kes), Carrie Fisher (Star Wars), and Buffy stars James Marsters and Nicholas Brendon, how can a fan go wrong?

Let me give you a taste of my past experiences with Grand Slam Conventions. Afterwards, I'll present highlights for this year's upcoming festivities.

Creation's Star Trek Grand Slam 2000:
A Brief Tour Backstage . . . and to the Green Room

After missing Creation's Grand Slam in 1999 [The Four Captains: Shatner, Stewart, Brooks and Mulgrew all on stage together], I wasn't about to miss this one.

As a VIP guest, I went where few fans go -- the "Green Room" and access to the stars, their families and friends. Though I only attended on a Saturday, I met up with such Voyager favorites such as: Robert Duncan O'Neill (Tom Paris), Tim Russ (Tuvok) and Robert Picardo.

Surprising, each actor's real-life personality was similar to their on-screen personas. Robert O'Neill was laid-back and non-assuming, just like 'one of the guys'. Tim, ever the serious, intense type, told me just how 'excellent' his new CD was -- not to mention its brisk sales. Most enjoyable was meeting Tim's brother. He and I talked about our respective travel exploits throughout Europe. Robert Picardo held court with his fan club, but spent a few moments with me before settling in with his adoring public.

On the convention floor behind the stage, I met up with the lovely Terry Farrell (Jadzia Dax) and Nicole de Boer (Ezri Dax). Two Dax's, no waiting. Both were signing autographs for Gold Seat ticket holders.

And by the way: which Buffy actor do you believe enticed the most fans? If you guessed James Marsters, you're right. Spike must have had well over 200 fans in line for his John Hancock.

The evening music cabaret was lead by Robert Picardo, Robert Duncan O'Neill and Chase Masterson (Leeta). Tim Russ played guitar and also sang along with The Neil Isaac's Band.

[Further information on the 2000 edition of the Grand Slam Convention can be found in the Trek Nation report of the event, written by Jeff 'Koganuts' Koga.]

Creation's Star Trek Grand Slam 2001:
My Fondest Memory

In the buyers room, I met up with William Windom, best known as Doctor Hazlett on Murder She Wrote, who spoke playfully about, "The Doomsday Machine" episode on TOS. As for the technological villain of the piece, Bill (who played Commander Decker) remarked: "Hell that stupid thing was just a mashed up, wet roll of toilet paper. There was nothing scary about it."

When he put it that way, I was crushed. Sort of like telling a child there's no Santa Claus and that the presents really come from K-mart, not the North Pole? Still, I got him back for spoiling my infatuation with the pre-CGI story, Star Trek's take of the Atom Bomb.

During his stay in the dealers room, Bill played chess with a friend. While Mr. Windom signed autographs, I suggested to his partner that Bill had moved his piece when her back was turned. When she asked him if that were true, he chuckled. By the look on her face during the rest of my conversation with Mr. Windom, she wasn't so sure that it was a joke.

Creation Grand Slam 2002:
Hail to the Stars

On Saturday, the audience listened to Mike Piller (former executive producer of TNG and DS9 fame) talk it up about his new project, a series for the USA Network called, The Dead Zone. This Stephen King's small screen adaptation is destined to be a hit show, said Mike. His lead actors, Nicole de Boer and Michael Anthony Hall (just nominated for a 2003 Best Acting in a Television Series Saturn Award) were present and spoke to the strengths of the show.

Perhaps Trek's biggest star, William Shatner, waved to the crazed crowd, speaking for nearly an hour. William spoke lovingly about his new wife, a re-vamped website, his beloved horses, his devoted daughter, and his favorite charities. During his chat with the fans, several Star Trek beauties from the past (Lee Maryweather, Celeste Yarnall, et. al.) walked up to the stage. Each one kissed their former leading man before walking off to their respective autograph tables.

Perhaps the biggest round of applause came when Bill introduced Ricardo Montalban (Khan) to the crowd. Ricardo, in his typical down to earth fashion, spoke about his time on the second Star Trek movie, The Wrath of Khan. Mr. Montalban mentioned that he never met Bill Shatner during the shooting, but simply growled at a large blue screen as the script person read Captain Kirk's lines. Though Mr. Montalban doesn't get around well these days (back injury), he and his Khan counterpart hugged before leaving the stage. That act brought tears to most everyone, even the two actors.

Another prominent television star, Joan Collins (Edith Keeler on The Original Series's "Edge of Forever"), spoke for a half an hour about her time on the Trek set, the TV series, Dynasty, and her sister, the romance novelist. Looking on with the rest of the audience -- not more than ten feet from me -- was Max Grodenchik (Nog). He couldn't take his eyes off the stunning leading actress. Who could blame him? If I had asked him Max to autograph his personal check to me for a million dollars he would have signed it -- that's how enthralled Mr. Grodenchik was while listening in from the cheap seats.

Let's not forget about Kate Mulgrew -- Captain Janeway of Voyager. She talked about women's role in television, her husband's political campaign, and the long run of Voyager. At the end of her appearance, Ms. Mulgrew sold autographed scripts of "Caretaker" and "Endgame" to raise thousands of dollars for Alzheimer [an illness her mother now suffers].

Last but not least -- all of the Enterprise regulars (except Scott Bakula and Jolene Blalock] met up on stage to thunderous applause. John Billingsley (Dr. Phlox) was the funniest; A.T. Montgomery (Travis Mayweather), the giddiest about being a new Trek regular. Dominic Keating (Malcolm Reed) told us about his days watching Voyager on his roommates broken-down television, just hoping to land a steady acting job. Later, he placed an impromptu call to Jolene Blalock's cell phone. No success. You could actually hear the sighs of all the young men in attendance as Keatings apologized for her absence.

Creation Grand Slam 2003:
What Awaits Us All?

This year's convention promises to be just as big as the last three, maybe better. William Shatner is accepting a Creation Lifetime Achievement Award. Star Wars fans will see Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), David Prowse (Darth Vader) -- even Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) in a rare convention appearance. Other notable Sci Fi/Fantasy stars making an appearance are: Gina Torres (Firefly), Juliet Landau (Drusilla on Buffy), Andy Hallet (Lorne on Angel), Brian Thompson (The X-Files alien bounty hunter) and other supporting actors and guests stars from Star Trek over the past 35 years. Friday and Saturday evening parties and cabarets (Wil Wheaton's comedy troupe, music, singing, plus dramatic readings by several Star Trek actors), plus a fan-based Star Trek, Sci Fi, and Buffy video contest, makes this a jammed packed weekend.

I am not affiliated in any way with these fine people, but I still recommend you look at the schedule of events, at www.creationentertainment.com. For guaranteed autographs from major stars, you may need to buy VIP/Gold seats. Otherwise, simply buy tickets at the door.

Hope to see you there . . .

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Dr. Joseph DiLella is a freelance writer and panelist at the San Diego Comic Con. He can be reached via this page at AllExperts.com.