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Huntsville
30th Anniversary
Convention
August 1996
Huntsville, Alabama, US

This Con report is based on a review given to me by an acquaintance who did attend this 30th anniversary bash.  Many thanks to Terri for allowing me to archive this report here.

          

As this was a 30th anniversary bash, several of the Star Trek regulars were in attendance, including Robbie.  Terri started out her journey to the Huntsville Con in the best possible way: she had a Robbie sighting!  As Terri was boarding her plane from DFW to Huntsville, she discovered, much to her excitement, that Robbie was on the same flight.  Being the good little Trekker, she minded her P's and Q's and left the poor man alone, sure he would certainly be besieged by enough fans at the con in the next two days.

The next day at the con, Terri was able to obtain autographs from Robert Picardo, Ethan phillips, and Robbie, who were all seated together.  Terri stated that all three men were very open and talking to each other and to those obtaining autographs.

Terri first approached Robert Picardo and expressed her appreciation of his sense of humor.  She also expressed her wish to see the three of them (Picardo, Phillips, and McNeill) work together more because they have great chemistry together.  Robbie then leaned across Phillips and said, "They should let us.  It would be great!"

Terri then proceeded on to get Ethan Phillips' autograph and commented to him that nobody would recognize him out of makeup, except from Benson.  Ethan stated he liked it that way.

And then, finally, the big moment arrived.  Terri was face to face with Robbie.  As he signed her picture, Terri told him that there was a group called the Collective on American Online's Paris/Torres message board writing stories featuring Paris and Torres as the main characters and they were having a romance.  Robbie commented, "Really?  That seems to be the direction the series is heading, too."  Terri recommended that he check out the stories and Robbie replied, "I might do that."

In making this report, Terri mentions that Robbie pays close attention, looking into your eyes as he listens to what you say, and she reaffirmed what we already know: his smile is absolutely gorgeous!

After the public appearances that first day, there was a private party for the stars and Galaxy Ticket holders at Space Camp.  Cameras weren't allowed, nor was soliciting autographs; however, the stars mingled and talked to everyone.

Terri got the opportunity to mingle with James Doohan, Walter Koenig, Robert Picardo and, of course, Robbie.

Terri says that Robert Picardo is the funniest, most charming, social guy she has ever met, and that Picardo and Phillips love to joke around and they both like to pick on Robbie just to see if they can get him to blush, which Terri added he does very well.

When her chance came to mingle with Robbie, Terri asked him if the actor who played Durst in 'Faces' also played the Vidiian doctor and did they use his real face or was it a mask after the transplant?  Robbie said it was the same actor playing both parts but that the Durst face transplant was a mask and his real face didn't show at all.  Terri further commented to Robbie that some people were upset because they killed Durst off, and now they're upset because they have also killed off Hogan, Suder, and Seska.  The remainder of Terri's conversation with Robbie went something like this:

Robbie:  Yeah, a lot of people died in the episode.

Terri:  Yes, but you got to be a real hero.

Robbie:  Yeah, this season I'm probably going to be more heroic.  Stop being a rebel.

Terri:  You know we had a discussion about Caldik Prime and what happened and decided you couldn't really be all that guilty because if you'd really killed three people, wouldn't that cause a pilot to suffer a loss of confidence, and then you wouldn't be such a hotshot pilot now?

Robbie:  You would thinks so.  But Paris is dealing with a lot of guilt.

Terri:  We sort of thought he was exaggerating his own guilt because of his father's perfectionism.  In fact, since the show hasn't provided much of a backstory for Paris' past, we just wrote our own.

Robbie:  Really?  Good for you.

Terri:  You come across as a very sympathetic character, and in the stories [P/T Collective's on AOL], you're very heroic.  You should read them.

Robbie:  I might.  But you know, we're really busy on the show and reading other people's ideas and opinions might be a little--

Terri:  Distracting?

Robbie:  Yeah.  The show may not be going the same direction.  But this season, I think Paris is going to put a lot of stuff behind him.

Terri:  I understand dealing with guilt.

Robbie:  Me too.

That was Terri's close encounter with Robbie, and yes, I'm very envious!

On Sunday, Ethan Phillips, Robert Duncan McNeill, and Armin Shimmerman did a presentation in the arena where they talked about the shows and answered questions.  Robert Picardo hosted the event and introduced the trio.  After Picardo left the stage, Ethan, Armin, and Robbie jokingly made rude comments about him, which Picardo responded to from backstage.

According to Terri, Ethan Phillips was hilarious but he kept getting really silly.  He and Armin were doing most of the talking so they started trying to get Robbie to talk.  Terri suspects Robbie was just trying to stay out of trouble.  At least twice, Ethan [Robbie calls him John] made a crack about how handsome Robbie is and "don't you think he's good looking?" in an effort to embarrass him.  Of course, that created quite a stir in the audience.  They then moved into a conversation about how bald Ethan and Armin are and Robbie said, "I'm losing my hair!"  Armin told Robbie he still had a lot more than Armin himself did, to which Robbie responded, "They pain in my hair."  Ethan:  "They what?  Where?"  Robbie:  "Where I'm losing my hair!  They pain it in, like they did with Riker."  Then Ethan again made a comment along the lines of: "Isn't Robbie good looking?"  This time, Robbie put his arm on Ethan's shoulder and said, "Yeah, John and I dated a few years ago," causing Armin to yell, "Don't say that!  It'll be all over the Internet by tonight!"  Ethan pretended he didn't know what the Internet was and started talking about his makeup as Neelix and said the little crease in his nose was for ATM cars--no, actually, it was a little butt--and he was mooning the audience every week.  Armin evidently decided Ethan was getting too weird and moved on to some questions that people had written out for them.

Armin's first questions was: "How has being part of Star Trek changed your life?" -- which he directed to Robbie.  Robbie thought about it for a second before saying, "Well, for one thing, I've never had a little plastic toy of me before!"  He held out his hand, holding his fingers about four inches apart to indicate he meant the toy action figure of Tom Paris.  Then Ethan Phillips chimes in with: "Does that mean you play with yourself now?"  Robbie turned as red a s a sunburnt chili pepper, dropped his face in his hands and just shook his head.  He couldn't believe Ethan had said that and he had no idea what to say.  Ethan went on to say: "I bought 400 of the Neelix dolls and I just throw them on the bed and roll around in them."

When they only had five minutes left, Picardo came back out and said he had a question for each of them that had been sent backstage (a setup if I ever heard one!).

Picardo:  Robbie, the first question is for you.  What's going to happen on the show when Tuvok goes through pon farr, the Vulcan time of mating?

Robbie:  (looking puzzled that the question was directed to him)  I don't know, but I plan to be in a shuttle.

Picardo:  Ethan Phillips, this person wants to know if there is any truth to the rumor that you were in prison for bestiality for seven years in Oklahoma?

Ethan:  No, that's not true.  You couldn't call it bestiality, and it was six years.  And it was in Montana.  No, wait, a squirrel is a mammal.  I guess it was bestiality.

Picardo:  Armin, this fan wants to know if there's any truth to the rumor that you're actually only seventeen years old but you've had a really hard life?

Armin never did get around to answering this one.  He only shook his head as if he despaired of ever controlling the irrepressible Robert Picardo and Ethan Phillips.

After their appearance, Robbie and Picardo ran upstairs to sign autographs for half an hour before they left to catch their plane home.

In closing, Terri commented that all the stars were very funny, entertaining and kind, and that Robbie is very sweet.  She highly recommends meeting him should you get the chance.

          

Thank you, once again, Terri, for sharing this Con report with us.  If anybody should wish to contact Terri, you may email her at:  Terri