Stardate 41238.5 (Oct. 10, 1987):
William Shatner arrived in Wilkes-Barre not for an away mission or shore leave but to speak at a “Star Trek” convention at the Irem Temple on Franklin Street.
Shatner, known for his role as Capt. James T. Kirk in the “Star Trek” television series and its several films, headlined the convention organized by Dreamwerks Productions of Moosic. He spoke for more than an hour before a crowd of 1,300 fans, talking about the franchise and its latest movie in production, “Star Trek V.”
“I can’t tell you what the movie’s about, but it will involve more character development and lots of action,” Shatner said, adding that he worked on the film with Harve Bennett for more than a year.
Shatner also answered audience questions. His memory was a bit foggy with some answers, according to a Citizens’ Voice article from Oct. 12, 1987. But answers about his female co-stars were clear.
At one point during the Q&A, a young girl in the crowd wearing Vulcan ears asked if the new movie needed extras. Amused, Shatner brought the young fan on stage, and she got to shake the hand of the first man to pass the (Kobayashi Maru test.
In addition to Shatner, the convention also featured displays, information on upcoming science-fiction movies, a costume parade and vendors selling “Star Trek,” “Dr. Who” and other memorabilia.
Bob Catalano of Dreamwerks told the Citizens’ Voice that it was real coup to have Shatner speak at the convention. Leonard Nimoy was to speak but had to cancel because of work on the film “Three Men and a Baby,” Catalano said. Nimoy directed the film that starred Tom Selleck, Ted Danson and Steve Guttenberg.
“We’re lucky to get (Shatner),” Catalano said. “We had to do a lot of fancy footwork. Shatner only did one convention this year, and he had a choice to appear either here or in Manhattan. Luckily, he picked Wilkes-Barre.”
Tickets for the convention cost $15 in advance and $18 at the door.
Brian Fulton has been the librarian at The Times-Tribune for the past 15 years. On his blog, Historically Hip, he writes about the great concerts, plays/musicals and celebrity happenings that have taken place throughout NEPA. He is also the co-host of the local history podcast, Historically Hip. He competed and was crowned grand champion on an episode of NPR quiz show “Ask Me Another.” Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9140; or @TTPagesPast