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Space: 1999 Convention
June 13, 2000
Remember the TV show "Space: 1999"? I loved that show when
it was on, and sometimes you can still catch repeats of it.
The main premise was that a nuclear accident causes the
Moon to blast out of Earth's orbit, stranding a group of
people on a moonbase (I wrote about the show
on my Bitesize pages).
Like Star Trek, the show has a devoted following. If you're one
of these devotees, then you would have loved
Main Mission: 2000.
It was a convention for
fans of the show, held in New York City on September 1-3, 2000.
Many of the stars of the original show were there, as well
as writers and others involved with the production.
I was invited to give the "Reality Check" talk at the con,
which is a science-based talk about the show. I talked about
things like, can you really blast the Moon from the Earth's orbit?
(well, no), how many planets are really out there, and other
astronomical topics that were in the program.
I was also on a few discussion panels with the writers, where
we answered questions from the audience.
It was a huge amount of fun. Below are some pictures that I took or were
taken of me from the meeting, with descriptions.
The Opening Ceremony of the con started with the introduction
of the guests, including Yours Truly. It was the morning
of the first day, so I was still feeling awkward and a bit out of
place among the stars and writers of the show. Still I took
my place and talked when the time came. I was immediately
made welcome and had a few laughs from the crowd. This was the
start of a warm fuzzy feeling that lasted throughout the weekend.
From right to left we have Zienia Merton (Sandra on the show),
me, Barry Morse (the
redoubtable Professor Victor Bergman on the show), Keith Wilson
Prentis Hancock (Paul Morrow on the show), Chris Penfold (writer),
Johnny Byrne (writer, bent over) and
Tom Lowery, MC of the event.
This is a picture of Catherine Schell (who played Maya in the series),
a young Swedish women I met named Monica
a website about the show (as if it were an internal page for the Moonbase),
and Zienia Merton.
Here we have Chris Penfold and Johnny Byrne, two of the writers for
the original series. I found them both to be personable and friendly.
Johnny has a deep interest in tying physics and metaphysics, as
can be seen in many of his episodes. Chris is more quiet and
everyone found him to be a perfect gentleman.
A lot of folks dressed up for the costume party. The costumes
were great, and some were from the original show.
Left to right is Zienia Merton, Grace Lee Whitney (Janice Rand from
the original Star Trek series) and Catherine Schell. This panel was called
Sci Fi Divas, and was basically a side-splitting hour of Tales From The
Women Stars. There was a lot of scatological talk and gestures, and
it was shocking to hear Catherine, an elegant and graceful lady,
say "Who do I have to [very bad word] to get off this picture?"
My hotel mates Doug (left), me and Dave (right). These are great guys,
and I'm really glad I had the honor to meet them. We spent one night
talking until about 4:00 in the morning, laughing until we basically
Here I was, finally getting up the nerve to sit in the VIP
guest room, when in walk these clowns. This photo was taken
by one of the Galactica fans; more pix of the con by them can be found
Battlestar Fan Club convention photos page. From left to right is
me, Terry Lee (Ms. Schell's assistant for the duration of the con),
Catherine Schell, James H. (Jim) Burns (author and actor), Johnny Byrne,
Chris Penfold (facing the camera), George Bellak (who wrote the
original version of the "Space:1999" pilot) and Sophia (something),
a writer who is Richard Hatch's girlfriend.
Another shot of the green/VIP room.
"Battlestar Galactica", wants to revive the series.
He has a short trailer which is actually pretty good. He has an idea
for a new series which also sounds pretty interesting, called
"The War of Magellan ". With any luck, he'll need an astronomy/science
advisor for that one...
Another shot of Richard and me.
A few of us went barhopping in New York and found a place
inauspiciously named Hurley's. From left to right are
John Muir, Kathryn Muir, Robert Ruiz (second in command
of the con and going on about two hours sleep in the past week
when we went out), Greg something (anyone know his last name?)
Roy Bjellquist and Tera Baker.
I had the honor and pleasure of serving on a panel discussing the
relative merits of the first season of "Space:1999" versus the
second season. The stars, writers and set designer described
their mistreatment on the show's second season, and after a few
minutes of this the mood was somber. Finally, John Muir turns to
me and says, "So, describe the science differences between the two
seasons! " Ah, right. With the atmosphere so grim, I decided
to simply be myself and make jokes. I did, and I humbly submit
(pbbbbt, right) that it helped lighten the mood considerably.
In the picture, that's me on the left, with Johnny Byrne,
Zienia, Catherine, John Hug (an Eagle pilot on the show,
and a man clearly enjoying himself immensely at the con),
Prentis Hancock (Paul Morrow on the show) and Chris Penfold.
Another shot of the panel, while things were still glum.
A longer shot of the panel, showing hosts (from right)
John Muir and Tom Lowery (who also was commander in chief
of the con). To the left of Tom is set designer Keith Wilson.