IN MEMORIAM — Barbara March

Barbara March as Lursa

Barbara March (October 9, 1953 – August 11, 2019)

An infamous Klingon has ascended unto Sto-vo-kor. Barbara March, an accomplished Canadian actress whose theatrical credits ranged from Star Trek to Shakespeare, has passed away after a battle with cancer. She was 65.

Trekkers best knew Barbara as Lursa, one of the villainous Duras sisters in episodes of ST:TNG, ST:DS9, and the movie ST: Generations. Together with fellow Canadian Gwynyth Walsh as B’Etor, the sisters took treachery to new heights, becoming thorns in the sides of both the Federation and the Klingon Empire.  It was Makeup Supervisor Michael Westmore who made Lursa and B’Etor’s cranial ridges look similar, indicating that they were from the same house.  Costume designer Robert Blackman designed their Klingon uniforms, often incorporating a revealing bustline that was quickly referred to by fans as “Klingon kleavage.”  And no, neither March nor Walsh used any chest padding.  Offstage, March and Walsh were frequent convention guests, often appearing together in full Klingon regalia.

March had been married to actor Alan Scarfe, who had also guested on ST:TNG and ST:VOY.

Posted in trek articles | Leave a comment

Captain’s Weekend — Third Edition

L to R — James Cawley, William Shatner, and myself.

Going up north to the Star Trek Set Tour is always something of an adventure, and this trip was no exception! I stayed at a nice lakeside resort called ‘Trout House Village’ in Hague, a small hamlet about ten miles south of Ticonderoga, along the northern portion of Lake George. My room was small and spartan but comfortable, and the lake view was well worth the journey!

However, there would be something different about those particular two days. It seemed that Mr. Shatner’s third visit coincided with the tail end of “Americade” – a huge, week-long motorcycle rally that was taking place in nearby Lake George. Indeed, ‘rolling thunder’ could be seen and heard throughout the weekend, from the Northway to the local roads. There was no escaping it – we even had bikers showing up to take the set tour!

L to R —
Doug Drexler, James Cawley, Daren Dochterman, William Shatner, Denise and Michael Okuda


Speaking of which, our main guides for the event were top members of the “Star Trek” art team – Doug Drexler, Daren Dochterman, and Mike and Denise Okuda. They did their usual superb job until Shatner’s evening arrival. Bill soon went straight to work, inviting everyone, fans and staff alike, onto the Bridge for a free photo op with ‘THE Captain’ in ‘THE Chair!’ I was even able to ask Mr. Shatner about what it was about Ticonderoga and the Set Tour that kept him coming back. He said that he was very comfortable with us, and that he knew that both he and his fans would be well looked after and have a great time. Over his two days, Mr. Shatner lead his usual ‘Inspection Tours,’ held Q&A sessions on the Bridge, did photo ops, signed autographs, performed his live stage show at the local high school, AND he even threw another night-time beer and pizza party, this time at the local Elks Club. Bill would come away saying that he was very impressed with the professionalism of the Tour’s volunteer staff during his stay. We thank you for that, Mr. Shatner, and we are already looking forward to having you back with us once again.

However…Bill did hint that next time, he wants to do a barbecue…and karaoke!

Somehow, the thought of sitting in the Elks Club, listening to Bill Shatner warble his rendition of ‘Rocketman’…

Well, the mind does boggle…a little… 😀

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

IN MEMORIAM – David Hedison

David Hedison, 2009

Albert David Hedison Jr. (May 20, 1927 – July 18, 2019)

Actor David Hedison has passed away. He was noted for roles in a few classic films, such as The Enemy Below (1957), The Fly (1958), and The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965). Science fiction fans knew Hedison as Captain Lee Crane of the submarine Seaview in the Irwin Allen TV series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964 – 1968). In later years, he would portray CIA agent Felix Leiter in two James Bond films, Live and Let Die (1973) and Licence to Kill (1989). Hedison was 92.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

In Memorium

We take some brief time to honor a few recent departures —

Morgan Woodward as Dr. Van Gelder


Thomas Morgan Woodward (September 16, 1925 – February 22, 2019) — actor, best known for roles in TV’s Dallas and 1967’s Cool Hand Luke. Trekkers will remember his two roles in Star Trek: TOS – Dr. Simon Van Gelder in ‘Dagger of the Mind’ and Captain Ron Tracey in ‘The Omega Glory.’ He was 93.

Morgan Sheppard as the Klingon warden


William Morgan Sheppard (August 24, 1932 – January 6, 2019) — British actor, had roles in Babylon 5, Doctor Who, and Max Headroom. Trekkers will recall his four appearances on Star Trek
ST: TNG – ‘The Schiziod Man’ – Dr. Ira Graves
ST: Voyager – ‘Bliss’ – Qatai
Star Trek (2009) – Vulcan Science Minister (uncredited)
Star Trek VI (1991) – Klingon ‘Rura Penthe’ Warden
He was 86.

Peter Mayhew, the face behind Chewbacca


Peter William Mayhew (May 19, 1944 – April 30, 2019) — British-American actor, best known to Sci-Fi fans as the gentle giant of Star Wars, for his role as Chewbacca, the Wookiee. Originally, bodybuilder David Prowse was in line for the part, but when he opted for Darth Vader instead, the 7-foot, 3-inch Mayhew immediately got the job. He would portray the character for all of his live-action appearances from the 1977 original through 2015’s ‘The Force Awakens‘ until health issues forced his retirement. Mayhew died of a heart attack. He was 74.

Posted in trek articles | Leave a comment

Encounter with William Shatner

Willie Yee, MD, attended the William Shatner Weekend at the Star Trek Original Series Set Tour in Ticonderoga, New York, June 7 – 9 2019. Dr. Yee is a volunteer for the organization.

This was William Shatner’s third visit to the Star Trek Set Tour. We were a bit surprised after his first visit when he said he would really like to come back again. He apparently likes the setting and the type of audience it draws, and the way we have treated him.

I was on the Set Tour crew for the first visit, and I barely got a glimpse of him, passing in the hallway, and getting out of the car. I missed the second visit. I made arrangements to go to this one in the hope that I might get a closer encounter. Also, going to the Set Tour is a chance to get together with friends that I have come to know over the past 10 or so years. I offered to help out in any way I could (priority) with the event, and hoped something might come of it.

Willie and William Shatner on the bridge

On Friday evening, I got dressed in my Governor Donald Cory costume, and staged myself in the Sick Bay. As Mr. Shatner came through on one of the tours he conducted, there was a pause while people squeezed into the small space of the examining room. I took to opportunity to elbow my way to the front of the crowd, and said to him “It’s time for the obligatory Star Trek inspiration moment.” He repeated my words to the crowd, and I proceeded to tell him about my daughter who is an astrophysicist and attributes her interest to Star Trek. He asked if she was here, I said no, and then he told Tommy Thobe, his personal assistant, to get my name. After the tour Mr. Thobe came and told me that Mr. Shatner would like me to be on the bridge with him Saturday morning, with a couple other people who were affected by Star Trek in some way. Continue reading

Posted in trek articles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

In the News: Game Night Recruiting and Fun

Game_Night_1

USS Henry Hudson crew members Alex and Krystina share some laughs at a recent game night.

Game_Night_2

USS Henry Hudson game nights usually get a large turnout of old and new faces.

USS Henry Hudson crewmember Alex Hasapis is featured in a Poughkeepsie Journal article about the resurgence of traditional “board” games. This is especially appropriate, since Alex was recruited as a valued member of our crew after attending the open game nights we host monthly. The article focuses on traditional games as a great way to get real face to face interaction with friends. As a ship in the Starfleet Command Star Trek fan club association, the USS Henry Hudson has been able to recruit many members via our open game night, which is listed on Meetup. Everyone is welcome to catch up with friends old and new, share some laughs and pizza, and of course play a variety of hands-on games. Congratulations to Alex on his contributions to the article, which you can read at https://goo.gl/DQuG2d

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Star Trek Set Tour — Captain’s Weekend

William Shatner, Captain James T. Kirk, on the Bridge

William Shatner, Captain James T. Kirk, on the Bridge

During the weekend of December 7 and 8, it was my pleasure to volunteer at the Star Trek Set Tour in upstate Ticonderoga, New York. The occasion was the ‘Captain’s Weekend,’ featuring a return visit from Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner, along with the chance to meet Anson Mount, the new Captain Christopher Pike on Star Trek: Discovery. Both men were late arrivals, but they were both also very congenial. Shatner treated his fans to autographs, photo ops, and ‘inspection tours’ of the Set Tour’s key attraction – a full-sized, detailed replica of the Desilu Star Trek soundstage, at it was some fifty years ago.

Chris Hunter

Chris Hunter, son of Jeff Hunter (the original Captain Pike), poses with the Set Tour’s latest creation — a replica of the helm/transporter console as it appeared in the 1964 pilot, “The Cage,”

Shatner regaled his guests with several ‘behind the scenes’ stories about his fellow original cast members’ And after hours, Bill treated guests and staff alike to a beer and pizza party at a nearby pub, signing more autographs, giving out copies of his CD, and even pouring shots of a new ‘James T. Kirk’ bourbon!

Anson Mount

Anson Mount, Captain Christopher Pike, on the Bridge

Mr. Mount was also up to the task, posing for pictures with the Tour’s newest showpiece – a replica of the original helm console, as seen in “The Cage,” the first pilot episode for the series. Both celebrities also entertained their fans with a private question-and-answer session on the Bridge, and both gave stage shows at the local high school.

It gets COLD in Ticonderoga during the winter season, but not even temperatures in the teens and twenties stopped our crowd from enjoying the pleasure of the Captain’s company. Mr. Shatner and Mr. Mount, on behalf of the Set Tour, we thank you both for a delightful Star Trek weekend!

LTCDR Steven Robinson

LTCDR Steven Robinson, the author, on the Bridge

Posted in trek articles, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Remembering Two SciFi/Fantasy Legends

They were not directly related to Star Trek, but we still would like to cite the recent passing of two notable scifi / fantasy figures —

Stan Lee in 2014

Stan Lee in 2014
Photo by Gage Skidmore

STAN LEE
(December 28, 1922 — November 12, 2018)
No, Stan Lee did not invent comic books, or the comic book superhero.  However, it could be strongly argued that Lee spent the majority of his life REinventing them.  Over his decades-long career, Lee helped turn Marvel Comics from a small publishing house division into a multimedia giant that has dominated its industry.  Working with other writers and artists — Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko in particular — Lee helped to create and pioneer a new breed of superheroes with a more natural, true-to-life style — Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, the Mighty Thor, the Fantastic Four, Black Panther and Doctor Strange, to name several.  In his later years, Lee assumed the role of publisher and worked to develop his properties for TV and films, often making cameo appearances in Marvel-related movies.  Recently, Lee had been battling pneumonia, and he died on November 12, aged 95.  He joins Joan, his wife of 69 years, who died last year, also aged 95.

Douglas Rain

Douglas Rain

DOUGLAS RAIN
(March 13, 1928 — November 11, 2018)
Back in the mid-1960’s, British film director Stanley Kubrick needed a voice actor for a film project he was wrapping up.  During rehearsals, actress Stefanie Powers was asked to voice the part for Kubrick’s actors.  On the set, the director first went with actor Nigel Davenport, but later dropped him — too British.  In post-production, Kubrick first tried actor Martin Balsam, but dropped him as well — too American.  Kubrick finally settled upon a Canadian stage actor, Douglas Rain, feeling that he “had the kind of bland mid-Atlantic accent we felt was right for the part.”  The part, by the way, was the HAL 9000 computer in 1968’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.  Rain was only given HAL’s lines instead of the full script, and he spent a day and a half recording them.  Rain later reprised HAL’s voice for the film’s sequel, 1984’s 2010: The Year We Make Contact.  Rain died on November 11 of natural causes, aged 90.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Real Life ‘Planet Vulcan’ Found

Real Planet Vulcan

Could we someday really visit the “real” planet Vulcan?

Although “Star Trek”‘s ‘planet Vulcan’ happens to be fictional, real-life astronomers have just announced that they have indeed found a ‘Class M’ Earth-like planet — right where Vulcan is supposedly located!

The new planet was been found orbiting in the habitable zone around the star HD 26965, also known as 40 Eridani A, the star considered to be the location of Vulcan in “Star Trek.” The finding comes from the Dharma Planet Survey in a new study led by University of Florida astronomer Jian Ge and a team including Tennessee State University astronomers Matthew Muterspaugh and Gregory Henry.

Ge says “The new planet is a ‘super-Earth’ orbiting the star HD 26965, which is only 16 light years from Earth, making it the closest super-Earth orbiting another Sun-like star. The planet is roughly twice the size of Earth and orbits its star with a 42-day period just inside the star’s optimal habitable zone.”

40 Eridani is actually a triple star system with three dwarf stars, and 40 Eridani A is said to be the primary star of the system. It has also long been unofficially considered to be Vulcan’s home star. “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry himself favored the system. It’s been the location of Vulcan in both fan-made and officially licensed books.

Posted in trek articles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Many Questions, Few Facts About Picard Series

Patrick Stewart

Sir Patrick Stewart discusses his new series at ‘Star Trek Las Vegas’

As Trekkers, we were all excited over the recent announcement of an upcoming new “Star Trek” TV series to feature the return of Jean-Luc Picard, as confirmed by Sir Patrick Stewart himself. We know that the series is obviously still in development, but as fans, we have since learned very little.

As of now, there is no title, no announced cast, and very little in the way of story hints, other than, as Stewart put it, “Twenty years will have passed, which is more or less exactly the time between the very last movie – Nemesis – and today.” This would set Picard’s series more or less on the cusp of the 25th century, on or about the year 2399.

NextGen Reunion

The famous Next Gen ‘reunion dinner’ photo
L to R – Burton, McFadden, Stewart, Sirtis, Spiner and Dorn

Meanwhile, fellow “Next Generation” cast members Marina Sirtis, Gates McFadden and Michael Dorn put in a recent appearance at the Rose City Comic Con in Portland, Oregon.  Ms. Sirtis, who had recently created a lot of Internet buzz with a shared photo of a ‘cast reunion’ dinner with Sir Patrick Stewart, almost immediately said of it “I got 30,000 likes [on Twitter]…that is the most likes I ever got. So, don’t ask us anything about Patrick’s show, because we know nothing.” The Deanna Troi actress then clarified, “All I have to say, all we have to say, I am speaking for all three of us now, When Patrick said “Jean-Luc Picard is back,” he didn’t say TNG is back.” The three then made it plain — as of now, they have not been asked to be any part of the new show.

And as for Patrick Stewart, he’s about to portray the Bosley character in a new movie reboot of the “Charlie’s Angels”TV series, which is due out in September of 2019. He’ll also be seen next March as Merlin in “The Kid Who Would Be King.”

Posted in trek articles | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment