Earlier this week, this geeky doofus from Maine was given the absolute opportunity of a lifetime by joining Lew Halboth and John Garrison from FanSets to the world premiere of Star Trek: Discovery in Hollywood California. To say that I am eternally grateful to these fine gentleman is the largest of understatements. It was unlike anything I could have imagined, from the blue carpet event, where EVERY Star Trek series was represented by at least one celebrity, to the premier of the 6th live action Star Trek television series itself. As the September 24th quickly approaches and we get ready for an AMAZING ride with Discovery, I wanted to provide all the great readers of treknews.net my experience of attending such an amazing event!
The journey started waaaayyyy over on the East Coast in Maine where I started my journey. Getting up at 3:00 am Los Angeles time, I headed to Manchester, New Hampshire for my flight to Chicago and then to Los Angeles, where I happily arrived at 3:30 PM to what can only be described as controlled chaos at LAX followed by traffic that I have never seen the likes of back in Maine. I was staying a mere 12-miles from the airport, yet it took over an hour to arrive at my destination. I think I can walk those miles faster than car ride, but at least my Uber driver was very pleasant and we had a great conversation about Star Trek, sci-fi and movies in general!
Upon arriving at my destination, the home of fellow podcaster and great friend, John Champion from Mission Log: A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast, we got all spruced up and headed over to the Arclight for a great evening. However, I honestly had no idea what to expect and was completely blown away by the experience. By the way, if anyone EVER tries to out-wardrobe Mr. Champion, I will only quote Ivan Drago from Rocky IV with simply “You will lose!”
As we arrived at our destination, we met up with our good friends Lew and John from FanSets who were eagerly waiting in line to enter the theatre. Before we got in line with them we wanted to take a look at festivities taking place on the blue carpet so we swung around to the front. Our vantage point was not great as things were gated off so that press could take pics and interview the celebrities but that didn’t stop me from getting a few great shots.
As our location was not that great for pictures we decided to go wait in line and spend some time with the guy who made this entire trip possible. Lew and John from FanSets are two of the coolest people on the planet and getting to hang with these guys for this event was one of the things that I enjoyed the most. Only a few minutes after we got in line with them the doors opened and we were allowed inside the theatre lobby. As we were the first to enter (thanks John and Lew for standing there so long), we parked ourselves right next to the door where the celebs entered the theatre from the blue carpet. First to walk by was the legendary Nichelle Nichols who gave me a big smile as she walked past me and I did my best to keep my cool.
I then spent some time talking with Lew and John on my left as other stars came in. A few minutes later I turned to my right and standing there in front of me… not two feet away… looking RIGHT at me was the one and only Mr. William Shatner. He smiled and said “Hey, how are you doin?” in those mellifluous tones of his, like in his version of “Rocketman,” and continued to walk past me within arms length. “OMG OMG OMG he is talking to ME” I thought. I think all I could muster was a feeble “Doing great Mr. Shatner! It is an honor to see you,” but truth be told it may have come out of my mouth completely incoherent. As I looked back over to Lew, he had a huge smile on his face and all he could do was nudge me on the shoulder and say “Dude, this is what it’s all about!”
It was an absolute joy to see every series represented at the premier. From the aforementioned Ms. Nichols and Mr. Shatner from The Original Series, The Next Generation was represented by several folks including Gates McFadden, John DeLancie and Jonathan Frakes. I saw the wonderful and talented Nana Visitor from Deep Space Nine at one point and also was thrilled to congratulate Terry Farrell and Adam Nimoy on their recent engagement. Although I did not get to see them, I know that Robert Picardo and Roxann Dawson represented Voyager, and Enterprise stars Linda Park and John Billingsley were also in attendance. Speaking of Mr. Billingsley, it was a joy to meet him and speak for a few minutes. Anyone who has seen him at a convention know he is hilarious, and he did not disappoint in the few minutes we had together. It was great to spend some time with him:
There were so many great things that occurred that night, but two things will always stand out for me:
The first involves my dear friends from Star Trek: Continues, Vic Mignogna and Michele Specht. Anyone who listens to Trek Geeks knows how special the group from STC is to Bill and I. We love them and think that STC stands head and shoulders above any other fan production ever made. I had heard through Facebook earlier in the week that Vic and Michele had been invited to the event and was so happy for the two of them. What I did NOT know was that they both were invited to attend and were featured on the Blue carpet! I’ll tell you it was so great when I looked outside at one point and saw Vic out there. My smile must have been a mile wide. Then when he looked into the theatre lobby and saw me standing there…the reaction was priceless and I will never forget it. As they entered the theatre it was so great to meet up with my good friends again and I am so thrilled that CBS included them in this special occasion!
Second was getting to meet and speak with Mr. Doug Jones, who plays Saru on Star Trek: Discovery. I have been a fan of Mr. Jones for years, from Hocus Pocus, through the Hellboy movies, Pan’s Labyrinth and the Strain just to name a few and Sari us already my favorite character on Discovery. In honor of Mr. Jones I was sporting a Lt. Saru pin (which is available on the FanSets website – lil plug there for the boys) on my sports jacket. Upon finally meeting him, because our good friend from TrekRanks, Jim Moorhouse was interviewing him for what seemed like HOURS, we shook hands, and I showed him the pin which Lew was wearing as well. Well he LOVED them and he leaned forward and kissed both my pin and Lews! It was one of those zen moments that you don’t really believe is happening, but was. He is such an amazing individual and it was great to discuss the show and talk with him for a couple minutes. Of course he was so gracious in allowing a couple pictures to be taken with him:
As he was turning to go speak to some other folks, I put my hand on his shoulder and he turned back around towards me. I put out my hand to shake his one more time and said “Mr. Jones I want to thank you for what you are about to share with us and thank you for what you are contributing to this great universe of Star Trek. I know from everything I have seen how passionate you are about this and we all love you for it. Thank you so very much and welcome to this amazing family!” I was completely taken aback as he bear hugged me and said “Dan, thank you so much for that. I am proud and so excited to be part of Star Trek and I hope we, in turn, make YOU proud”. With that he headed off to talk to some other folks, but what he said to ME will resonate with me forever.
With that, we headed into the main theatre to witness pure magic with the premier of Star Trek: Discovery. Being on the East Coast, an event like this is something I never dreamed to be a part of. It was an evening that I will never forget and the only thing that was missing from it was my friend, podcast partner and brother in Trek, Bill Smith. I am so honored that I was able to represent Trek Geeks and Discovering Trek even for just a couple of hours and I again cannot thank the guys from FanSets enough for the chance witness Star Trek history.
And oh, by the way Mr. Jones, we are already so very proud of you! LLAP
Feature photo credit: Marcus LaCroix