The cast of Star Trek Voyager Robert Duncan McNeill, Robert Beltran, Roxann Dawson, Garrett Wang, Tim Russ (behind pole!), Kate Mulgrew (in a baret), and Robert Picardo (joined by former Trek production staffers Lolita Fatjo and Eric Stillwell)
On Sunday, April 1, 2001, Robert Duncan McNeill’s fan club, RanDoM Flight sponsored a charity brunch and cruise to benefit The Elizabeth Glazer Pediatric Aids Foundation and The Wildwood School. Joining Robbie as his guests were the majority of the Voyager castmembers. (Pictured above.)Despite the overcast weather and the chilly temperatures, the cruise was a great chance for a small group of fans to have brunch with their favorite actors, hear some funny stories about life on the Voyager set, and have their pictures taken (and have one-on-one conversations with) the stars of their favorite show.
Highlights of the chat with the cast included:
Robbie started by saying that last year’s cruise chat (which featured only the men) had deteriorated fairly quickly into off-color jokes and stories. Of course, that led into a retelling of…
A funny (and now almost legendary) story about a doctored erotic photo of Garrett mailed to him in a fan letter. (This is a PG website, so I won’t repeat the details, except to say that the photo was of an unnamed, well-endowed, nude man onto whose body Garrett’s head had been digitally grafted.) While there’s some dispute between Robbie and Garrett as to who was the one showing off the photo to the cast and crew, it was clear that this memorable picture made the rounds of the set for quite a while.
This conversation led Kate to beg for sympathy: “Do you see what I’ve had to put up with for seven years? Wienerville, ladies and gentlemen! Wiener jokes! Wieners at warp! Impulse wieners!” To which Robbie added, “Subspace wieners!” [AUTHOR’S NOTE: I only report ’em, I don’t make ’em up….]
Roxann and Kate had a bit of a debate about who causes the other to break up the most on the set. Garrett and Robert volunteered to play their favorite scene between B’Elanna and Janeway (a send up on a briefing room scene from “Parallax” which ends–after a stream of technobabble–with the two women jointly exclaiming, “Warp particles!”). Kate retaliated by imitating the two men on a recent evening shoot. Her impression included pretending to pass out in her chair. (Clearly an in-joke for the cast implying that perhaps someone was caught asleep on the bridge….)
Roxann and Garrett also teased Tim Russ for having his own bed on the set, including a strategically-placed heater. (Garrett sang, “Tim’s nuts roasting on an open fire….”)
On a more touching note, Kate shared that she recently filmed her last scene alone with Tim Russ. The scene was intended to be an emotionally wrenching one between Janeway and Tuvok, and she said she couldn’t stop crying when it ended.
The event concluded with a live auction of several collectibles, including:
A rare, autographed “Captain Proton” poster (see photo above)
An autographed medical PADD and hypospray (thoughtfully demonstrated by “the Doctor,” who injected Tim Russ in the butt)
A shirt worn by Robert Beltran at the last Galaxy Ball (his own fan fundraiser). The shirt was pre-signed by several of the cast, and Robert put it on to have Kate sign it, too. In an entertaining (and effective) attempt to increase the “value” of the shirt, Beltran rubbed it across his body and–for a moment–shoved it into his slacks. (See what Kate has had to put up with for seven years…? *grin*)
Bob Picardo also auctioned off a seventh-season crew baseball cap autographed by the cast. He suggested that it was even more valuable since, after being worn by him all morning, the hat was now soaked in his sunblock. (The hat also made a brief stop in a similar spot to Beltran’s shirt. Good taste demands that I not say more, but photos of this moment are likely to be online already….)
An “instant” set tour, personally conducted by Robbie, of what’s left of the Voyager sets (which doesn’t seem to be much; the cast revealed that the engineering and mess hall sets have already been dismantled….) This tour went for an amazing $8,000 to a very deserving fan, who is also a member of Robbie’s fan club–and a talented fan fiction writer. (In exchange for not revealing her identity, I demand a blow-by-blow description of her day on the set!)
A hand-drawn cartoon of the entire Voyager cast, created exclusively for the cruise. While the drawing included only eight of the ten cast signatures, Robbie promised to get the other two to increase its value (and drive up the bidding). It worked: the picture sold for $1,500.
In the end, with the proceeds of the live and silent auctions and a celebrity table raffle), the event was reported to have raised over $23,000 for the charities.
A fan’s notes:
This was an amazing event. For this group of actors to spend so much energy and to be so patient and generous with their time (during a period where they are having to say goodbye to each other and their jobs of seven years) was remarkable. They went out of their way to be approachable, and to make sure everyone had fun. Each posed for hundreds of photos, shook hundreds of hands, and did their best to make everyone feel personally connected to. (Robbie didn’t leave until every fan who wanted to got to say hello and get a picture.) Classy people, all around.
Aside from getting to spend the morning with the cast, it was great to meet so many people face-to-face that were only disembodied on-line names before. I know this is an experience many fans have had in the past, but it was a new thing for me. Thanks to everyone from the PTC Archive and PTFever who made me feel welcomed into the community of fans, especially Tex, Jam, and Julie.
Very personal thanks to Eric and Deb Stillwell. Eric isTrek’s former Pre-Production Coordinator and co-author of several Trek episodes including Voyager’s“Prime Factors.” He also happens to be a twenty-five year friend and childhood pen pal who dragged this horribly shy correspondent up to meet Kate, Roxann, Tim, and Robbie. Without Eric’s insistence that I have the fun I came to have, I would have chickened out of talking to any of them. I owe you, Eric! (And Deb, for joining us and helping me feel welcomed to the world of fandom.)
Special thanks and congratulations to Deb Stone, who runs RanDoM Flight and who (with assistance, I know) coordinated the cruise. It was a ton of work for her and the others, and it came off seamlessly.
P.S. – Apologies for the few and fuzzy pictures. My digital camera doesn’t zoom and my fill flash didn’t fill, but I wanted to get something online right away. I’m willing to bribe any others who attended to post better shots on the web. (Or email me and I’ll post them for you, with proper attribution.)