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Conventions and Historic Events

Creation Conventions to plan and stage fan gatherings themed for STARLOG and FANGORIA enthusiasts, with amazing celebrity guests and studio access no other convention could match.

In 1986 I produced the 20th Anniversary Celebration of “STAR TREK” at the Disneyland Hotel with Creation Conventions. I greeted the gathering with, “This is where the Final Frontier meets the Magic Kingdom.” Gene Roddenberry was there, with most of the classic cast, and many of the staff (writers like STARLOG columnist David “Tribbles” Gerrold, special effects and makeup artists) who had brought Gene’s concept to life weekly on NBC for 3 years. My dear friend’s inspiring vision of a better tomorrow, had become a world treasure, and I was thrilled to honor him with the best “STAR TREK” celebration ever.

(STAR TREK 20th T-shirt design – STAR WARS 10th poster)

invited several of my Lucasfilm friends to attend, and they were astonished by the success of the event and the positive spirit that made the whole weekend invigorating. Lynne Hale, head of Publicity at Lucasfilm, reminded me that next year, 1987, would be the 10th Anniversary of “STAR WARS.” “I’d love to produce a “STAR WARS” celebration with you next year,” I smiled, “but George Lucas has to be there.”

“Oh no,” Lynne said quickly. “George doesn’t do fan conventions. He’s too busy.” George had given me an interview for STARLOG’s 5th Anniversary, even though he had turned down PEOPLE, FORTUNE and lots of major publications that had requested interviews. My one hour with him had turned into 3½ hours, and became a trilogy in three issues Of STARLOG. Today that interview is the longest and most extensive in Sally Kline’s book titled “GEORGE LUCAS INTERVIEWS.”

Howard Roffman, Lucasfilm President, smiled at Lynne and me, “Let’s see what we can do. George just might go for it.” And he did. George agreed to make his first-ever convention appearance on stage for the Sunday night finale.

The evening (May 1987, exactly 10 years after the World Premiere of Episode 4) started with a stand-up comedy routine by actor Rick Overton (“BEVERLY HILLS COP” and more than 100 other features), creating, with his vocal dexterity and microphone, a light-sabre battle.

Then we launched into a funny script I wrote in which C-3PO and R2-D2 appear, arguing as usual, a 2-droid comedy routine. R2 rushes downstage, bleeping and scanning the huge crowd. 3PO follows, scolding him, saying, “R2, I have told you many times, not to talk to strange humans.” To which R2 squeeks a protest, and 3PO replies, “Well, they certainly look strange to me.”

Anthony Daniels came over from England to once again don the gold metallic outfit, and informed me early on, “Kerry, I’d like to work on your dialogue a bit, if you don’t mind. I think I know how C-3PO talks by now, perhaps even better than George.” I never argue with a Protocol Droid, so Tony and I collaborated on the script, and it brought the house down.

Suddenly the droids are alarmed and, from a cloud of smoke, Darth Vader appears -- striding downstage, peering at the vast audience of Stormtroopers, Princess Leias and Cantina creatures, thousands of eyes glued on the tall black caped Lord –and, with James Earl Jones’ booming voice, growls, “Why wasn’t I invited?”

Producing this historic night is one of the greatest thrills of my life. I was able to put George Lucas and Gene Roddenberry on stage, talking to each other, for the one and only time. I also introduced all kinds of important STAR WARS individuals – actors Mark Hamill, Billy Dee Williams, Dave Prouse – Director Irv Kershner and Producer Gary Kurtz – Lucasfilm Executives Charles Lippincott, Sid Ganis and my dear friend Howard Roffman.

I read a brilliant letter of regret from Carrie Fisher, who could not attend, but clearly revealed her talent as a writer. She sent love to George for giving her “some of the galaxy’s most outrageous hairdos,” and “getting slapped, punched, chained, imprisoned and dragged from one planet to another. George, you really know how to show a girl a good time.”

I had worked all year with the people at Lucasfilm to make every detail of this event all it could be. I even stalked James Earl Jones at the stage door of the Broadway theatre where he was starring in “FENCES,” asking him to be the voice of Darth Vader for this tribute to George Lucas. He said YES, and a week later I went into a Manhattan recording studio to direct Mr. Jones reading my silly lines. His voice and my words got big laughs.

Then, Vader feels a trembling in The Force – the presence of a greater power. That’s when, in another cloud of smoke, George Lucas walked on stage, smiling with proud approval at his evil creation – Luke’s father. What fun, this magical realm I inhabit!

 

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