April 8, 2005


'Star Trek' Bit Players Cling On: Even those with fleeting roles can live long and prosper in the world of Trekkie conventions, hawking autographs at $20 a pop. (Valerie Reitman, April 8, 2005, LA Times)

For three days, the actor sat at a table in a windowless wing of the Pasadena Center while hundreds of devotees milled nearby.

He posed for snapshots. He answered the same questions over and over. He doled out trading cards bearing his mug. For $20, he brought out a gold-ink pen and autographed glossy photos of himself.

Michael Dante may not be on any Hollywood A-list, but on this weekend in Pasadena, he was intergalactic. Dante was capitalizing on his appearance in a single episode of the original Star Trek series. It aired Dec. 1, 1967.

"But it was a very popular episode," Dante insisted, speaking in the same wooden tone he used as Maab, lead villain on the planet Capella IV. "It had action. It had comedy. It had drama."

More than three decades after the original "Star Trek" series ended in 1969, after 79 episodes over three seasons, Dante and other actors have discovered that they can milk even the most ephemeral appearances on the show by appearing at extreme fan conventions that can draw thousands of enthusiasts.

Two very good films on topic: the documentary Trekkies; and the comedy Galaxy Quest

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 8, 2005 6:14 AM

I've been to Toronto Trek several years in a row, and they are a lot of fun, but I've never seen the point of paying the $ for the autographs.

Besides, getting the autographs usually involves standing in line for 1-2 hours or more, depending on the fame of the actor doing the signing. Some of my friends bring small camp chairs into line.

Posted by: BC Monkey at April 8, 2005 10:01 AM

There is also Free Enterprise, which is notable for having a subtitle track to explain the nerd allusions.

Posted by: Mike Beversluis at April 8, 2005 10:01 AM