I'd been asked to write a report on The Weekend on the Promenade for Rene's web site but had trouble working up any enthusiasm. I'd already written one each for Armin's web site, Sid's newsletter, and the joint publication of OARFC and ORACLE. I couldn't think of anything to say that I hadn't already said. Then I read Leanna Allen's excellent report and realized I could fill in a few gaps.
This was my fifth fan club event and they just keep getting better. We had four tables worth of photos, publications and other merchandise - up from half a table at Sid's first luncheon. Saturday morning, guests drew for the chance to sit at a table with Lolita Fatjo, Eric Stillwell, or Rene for the champagne brunch. Originally Armin was to have been in on the brunch but he had to attend a Screen Actors' Guild meeting that morning instead.
Rene's Q & A was the first celebrity event of the weekend. He was asked about "Don Juan in Hell" and he explained that this year's performance was cancelled because Ed Asner was on a honeymoon cruise with his new bride. Rene has no one to blame but himself for this, because he and his wife Judith were the ones who introduced them. The entire Q & A is available on videotape, so I won't go into more detail here.
I'd met Rene for the first time at the fan club event in Scottsdale, AZ '97 and had that photo with me for Rene to sign this year. I was pleased that Rene made a special effort to include my gift in this year's photo so I'd have a souvenir of that presentation. [Note: Carol's gift to Rene was a necktie. She made a tie for each of the guests; the fabric was silvery-gray, imprinted with portraits of all four characters. With Carol's permission, Rene put his necktie into the auction - the lucky purchaser added a tidy sum to the amount donated to charity that weekend! MK]
Immediately after visiting with Rene, I took my place beside Armin who offered me some of his pretzels. Having flown down to San Diego immediately after the SAG meeting, he'd missed lunch. Armin was very friendly and appreciative. Even though he was the one guest at the Weekend I'd never met before, he made me feel as if we were old friends.
At dinner on Saturday night, it was Armin's turn to be the celebrity of the hour and guests drew for chances to sit at his table. Rene sat with members of various staffs - fan clubs, weekend event, and Paramount Studios. I don't remember much of the dinner conversation, but the subject of Rene's lengthy filmography came up and I pointed out that Sid's fan club had a distinct advantage in this area. We could count his roles on one hand. I then added that Sid had played a king twice and there'd been some on-line speculation about whether any Star Trek actor could beat that. Rene could. He's played kings three times - though two of those were Shelley Duvall's "Fairy Tale Theater" productions. (This doesn't include King Lear since we were not including stage roles.)
I don't have much to add to Leanna's account of Sunday except to say that the person who stopped Andy from telling the San Diego airport story was his wife Irene. "Some of these people have to fly out of the airport soon," she reminded him.
Leanna mentioned that Rene spoke of his children's acting careers and it occurred to me that he's the only one of the four guys who doesn't have a relative who has been on DS9. Andy's daughter Rachel guest starred in "The Visitor", Armin's wife Kitty was a Bajoran official in "Sanctuary", and Sid's wife -- well, you know. It doesn't seem impossible that Rene's son or daughter could don a Starfleet uniform or some such thing and it would be fun for his fans.
I'd been a fan of the original Star Trek series, wrote fan fiction, even helped to put on a couple conventions, but it never even occurred to me to join a fan club for an actor. Then DS9 came along with its extraordinary cast who partnered with their fans to raise money for charity. They've changed Star Trek fandom forever.
Photo by Carol Reeg