George Takei Book SigningBy Jeff 'Koganuts' Koga
Posted at September 6, 1999 - 5:00 AM GMT
Yesterday, Metro Comics in Santa Barbara had a signing with George Takei. It was originally scheduled for 1:00-3:00 PM, but he was about 25 minutes late (he drove himself instead of having a driver take him up), most likely because traffic was rather bad from the Los Angeles area to Santa Barbara (Labor Day weekend). Despite his tardiness, he stayed an extra half hour to sign autographs.
Takei was dressed in a blue and white Hawaiian type shirt and shorts, and signed for his fans and posed for photos. As expected with his appearances, he was in a good mood, taking time with each fan to get to know them and thanking him/her for supporting Star Trek.
The format of the appearance was interesting. Naturally, the fans who wanted Takei's autograph got them, but they also had to wait in another line if they wanted to get their photo taken with him. Reason being, he didn't have to sign and then get up to pose for a photo, which he felt would disrupt the flow of the autograph line. I know it sounds a bit odd, but I would have to agree with him, since the autograph line was smoother and didn't necessarily take as long, even when he talked with each fan in line.
I asked Takei about the Howard Stern interview that he did a few years ago when he was promoting his autobiography, and he joked that he should get residuals because his infamous "Oh my!" comment is still used quite often to this day on his show.
I would even go so far as to say that Takei's comment has become a part of his persona. In fact, after he did that interview, many fans would ask him to sign something like, "To Jack -- Oh my! George Takei." When I admitted to begin one of those fans, he pointed at me, and replied, "So you're the one!" :)
Takei mentioned that when he first received the list of interviews he was going to do for the press tour to promote his autobiography, he crossed out the Howard Stern appearance (as well as a few other shows)! However, the publicist got on her hands and knees begging him to do the show because of his large audience (and the potential number of people who might buy his book), and so he agreed to do it if she got up and stopped pleading. :)
Takei did seem a bit uncomfortable when I mentioned Howard Stern, and he replied that he wasn't the type of person who would usually do his show. And he's right. :)
Takei plugged his official site at www.georgetakei.com. He even writes a monthly column for it to get regular visitors to his site. As for how his official site got created, when he was at Lucent Technologies, someone there asked if he had his own site. Takei replied that he didn't, the Lucent person offered to do his site, and it was created soon thereafter. However, another person in Los Angeles said he could do a better site than the Lucent person. Hence the current incarnation of the site.
In terms of current projects, Takei has an independent film coming out that he recently shot called Who Gets a House?. It's a comedy, filmed in Montreal, about two warring couples. Takei plays a contractor. In addition, he has also recently done three voice-overs for commercials -- eTrade, the state of Montana, and another one that he couldn't remember.
As for Takei's mother, who travels quite often with him to conventions and cruises, she is unfortunately "slowing down" as she's about 83 years old now. Takei also used that term to describe James Doohan's current condition. :(
One thing that I did not know was the fact that Nichelle Nichols refuses to sign one particular famous cast photo of the entire Original Series crew (with Majel Barrett) on the original Enterprise bridge, because her face is partially obscured by another actor. She has apparently refused to sign that photo ever since it was published thirty years ago.
Jeff 'Koganuts' Koga is a regular contributor to the Trek Nation, as well as webmaster of unofficial fan sites for John Woo, Chow Yun-Fat, and Garrett Wang.